The Campus Protest Dilemma

The Campus Protest Dilemma

Recently, white tents cropped up in the plaza of my own local University. Set with signs, catering, and seemingly no other daily obligations, members stayed from early morning to late evening. Seemingly overnight pro-Palestine protesters had become a fixture on the Campus. I had been aware of the protests on large Campuses but, prior to the past few weeks, aside from spray paint on surrounding buildings and the occasional sporadic formation of chanting crowds which dissipated within a few hours, the Campus had been relatively quiet. My campus is not unique in this, over the past weeks this phenomenon has spread across not only American Universities, but also Australian, English, and other European Campuses, both large and small. While individually, the presence of pro-Palestine protests on campus is innocuous, when one observes such a simultaneous global phenomenon, it begs a global explanation. It was proposed to me given the uniformity of the protests featuring tents of the same colors and signs with the same slogans, the catering, and the like indicated that there was some sort of Financial backing spurring this surge in activism.

The favorable candidate for financing these protests was, of course, George Soros. Proponents on the right have been quick to point out that the rapid rate at which protests are spreading and the uniformity would point to a level of organization behind them, and Soros has funded protests such as BLM in the past. The left has swiftly pushed back on this as conspiratorial. However, regardless of who is funding and the rationale behind it, this would greatly change the dynamic of the situation.

Up until this point, the proposed dichotomy of the Campus Protests for dissidents has been the following:

1- Passively support the Palestinian Protesters.

2- Disregard the protests entirely and take neither side.

The logic behind the first idea was of course that insofar as the Palestinian Protests forced the issue of the influence of the Israel Lobby in American politics and exposed how the interests of the Israel Lobby diverged from those of Americans, it was beneficial to simply ride the wave. After all, the hope was to take advantage of some of the cultural conversations now occurring and re-direct the conversation into America First perspectives. Additionally, it was observed that the further that the Israel Lobby was pressed, the more they exerted their control over Campus Policy and Legislative process, further reinforcing the argument of a visible highly influential Israel Lobby.

The second was motivated by the skepticism of both the degree to which America First and Palestinian protestors shared values and to the degree the movement could be co-opted and the narrative controlled. To them, the cost of siding with a movement motivated by anti-white, anti-colonial, and anti-west sentiment, outweighed or diluted any supposed benefits of the protests.

The idea that the protests are funded and organized adds a new layer to the ongoing dilemma. At this point, it has become clear that both sides of the narrative are heavily controlled, and as time goes on will continue to be increasingly influenced and shaped by paid activists infiltrating and pushing the narrative of their funders. This component of the protests largely changes the landscape that we are operating in. One interpretation of this could be that the introduction of Soros and the notion of outside financing and influence serve to disrupt the narrative in the form of bad jacketing by proxy. By inserting Soros into the equation it insinuates that Palestine protests in their entirety are a political ploy being used to push an agenda opposed to that of Dissidents. It also puts into doubt whether the protests were ever organic to begin with. However, one could imagine this might be the very intent of this – to infiltrate and redefine the objects of the Protesters to align with goals beneficial to the left and to decrease trust in the authenticity of the protests from Dissidents. It is worth noting, that as time goes on it has become increasingly more apparent that some people are allowed to protest without repercussion, while others are penalized – as seen by the doxing of the Ole Miss protestors contrasted with the celebration of the protestors at UNC. The difference between these two groups I’ll leave the readership to infer. Regardless, one thing has become clear – there is exactly one demographic in this Country that has retained the ability to protest on either side of the Conflict and engage in total freedom of speech, while almost every other group endures increasing censorship and scrutiny.

Insofar as this is the current predicament it seems we are at a crossroads, with increasingly limited options -support the Palestinian protests knowing that they are infiltrated, in hopes that escalation of pressure will provoke the Israel lobby to further demand concessions from Universities and the Government showing to the public the extent to which Israel controls our Nation. Or, to disengage, in which we concede the right to protest at Universities and the Israel lobby retains all the concessions it has so far obtained. In many ways, this seems to be a lose-lose scenario. That, however, is only true if one pre-supposes all the protests are inorganic and subverted.

The violent use of police in many of the Ivy League Universities such as Columbia illustrates a very different picture. In protests such as BLM which were funded by Soros, the police took a much more benevolent role, and videos circulated of Cops dancing with or kneeling in solidarity with often violent and disruptive protestors. This is a far cry from that being seen on College Campuses’ whose protests have been considerably less violent, less destructive, and by virtue of being largely confined to campus less disruptive to public life as a whole. Yet, the Police seemingly have no issue barging in with batons and shields to depose these protesters. So then the trick becomes, determining which protests are organic and which are strategically placed and funded as narrative control, to which I would propose a simple heuristic: the authenticity of a movement will be discernable by the level of hostility and force imposed upon it, while those which are controlled may see little repercussions and likely positive representation from Media, Governments, and Institutions. The concern we are facing is whether we can maintain any control over the narrative, and if we wish to do so then it would be vital that we identify correctly, those who share our sentiments -or at minimum who can be used to further the Dissident Narrative- and those who are in opposition to us.


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