Given that college campuses have been central to activism by the so-called alt-right, is it time for a campus-based countermovement? Scholars behind the proposed Campus Antifascist Network, or CAN, think so.
“The election of Donald Trump has emboldened fascist and white nationalist groups nationwide, on campus and off, and their recent upsurge requires antifascists to take up the call to action once again,” reads an invitation to join the group, posted on social media this week by David Palumbo-Liu, the Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor and professor of comparative literature at Stanford University.
“As we wrote this letter,” it says, “hundreds of torch-bearing white supremacists were marching on the campus of University of Virginia chanting ‘Jews will not replace us’ and other vile slurs. An antifascist activist was murdered by these same forces in Charlottesville, raising the stakes of resistance to new heights.”
Network co-organizer Bill Mullen, a professor of American studies at Purdue University, on Wednesday called CAN a “big tent” that “welcomes anyone committed to fighting fascism.”
“We are diverse in our political points of view but unified by our fight against fascism,” he said. The idea is “to drive racists off campuses and to protect the most vulnerable from fascist attack.”
And of objections made by some that Trump is not a fascist? Palumbo-Liu said that is “literally an academic argument in the worst sense of the word. We need to pay attention to what is happening, not the labels that we feel are most fitting.”
Mullen said the network started with about 40 members concerned about alt-right campus activity and the recent set of death threats against professors — many of them…