Following the news that former Chief Strategist to President Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, is to speak at the Oxford Union on Friday 16th November, students are mobilising to oppose the meeting with the white supremacist celebrity.
Despite of evidence that Bannon was confirmed as a speaker at the start of September, the news of his appearance were made public only yesterday. Stephen Horvath, the union’s president, insists that the talk will be an opportunity to “hear from an individual who has been at the centre of the rise in right-wing populism, as well as to critically question and debate the ideas and rhetoric of Mr Bannon”. Apparently Horvath hid the news even from the Union committee. In response, the Secretary of the Union, Nick Brown, has called for an emergency meeting in attempt to disinvite Bannon from Oxford. This was unsuccesful: the motion to cancel Bannon’s appearance was dismissed, with 6 votes in favour and 7 against.
After playing an important role in bringing far-right ideas to the mainstrem politics in the US, Bannon is currently keeping himself busy with a new project: namely, mobilising Europe’s far right and fascist organisations to come up with a united front before the upcoming European Parliament elections in May 2019. For this purpose, he has created a populist group “The Movement” which aims at prividing European far right with advice and resources in hope of advancing their ideas in the European politics. In September 2018, Bannon has visited Italy, France, Holland and the United Kingdom and held talks with his European counterparts. To join The Movement, an organisation must stick to some basic principals: it must promote the idea of national state, oppose migration and freedom of movement, and fight with “radical islam”.
If you are so inclined to join tomorrow’s protest organised by Oxford Anti-fascists and Oxford rs21 groups, please meet tomorrow, Friday 16th November, at Oxford Union, Frewin Court, OX1 3JB at 2.30pm. You can follow the event page here.
Photo: Oxford Anti-Fascists