The OC Blog Back Issues Our Mission Contact Us Masthead
Sudsy Wants You to Join the Oregon Commentator
 

What the Pacifica Forum Issue is Really About

This is a guest piece submitted to the Oregon Commentator by a student. Unfortunately, by the time we received it we did not have space for it. We have instead chose to post it to our blog as the content is time sensitive. Be advised that the student is not a member of the Oregon Commentator and their views do not represent the editorial position of the Oregon Commentator.

*Note: I am not representing the interest of either opposing faction in terms of this issue: the Pacifica Forum, or its protestors. I represent the legal system applicable to all persons of this country as defined by the institution of the UO’s Code of Conduct, the Oregon State Constitution and the Federal Constitution. I am a realist; I hope I can convince readers to be realists with me.

There seems to be a general misunderstanding by the Pacifica Forum protesters about the causality and validity of their protest.  The Pacifica Forum has become notorious for housing uncommon, extremist ideological perspectives that few of us share or respect. Speakers at Pacifica have denounced Judaism, preached hate, and lashed out at community members: they have been specifically praised and acknowledged by neo-Nazi organizations and the NSM (though it is important to point out that the Anti-Hate Task Force, the group leading the protest against PF, has been praised and acknowledged by neo-Communist organizations).  But, in order to objectively and dispassionately review the behavior of the Pacifica Forum, as is necessary for legal dispute like banning them from government property, it is important to translate and apply our laws to this organization, not just attack them on morality and personal emotion before litigation is announced. Unfortunately for many protesters, our laws protect this organization.

The Anti-Hate Task Force has explored many reasons to remove Pacifica over the past few weeks: consistency seems to be an issue. These claims range from “hate speech is not free speech,” which changed into “students should decide what to do with student money,” (kind of laughable) which changed into “they should have to pay for space”, which changed into “it’s a matter of safety.” These claims range in solutions from “remove them from the EMU” to “remove them from campus,” to “remove them from the community.” There has always been great appeal in this country for the college student to mobilize and demonstrate, but the inconsistency and disorganization of the protest misrepresents the ideals of our University and represents a completely ignorant approach to social and legal change. How do I know? I tried to tell them just this and “fascist white supremacist” was yelled at me. It can be hard to legitimize verbal assertions, like those against Pacifica, when the same verbal assertions were falsely subjected to me, under very tame circumstance: it makes me wonder how much fascist propaganda actually circulates the forum.

From my exposure to both of these groups, like any realistic moderate living in our community, I don’t identify with either: I do not like the disgusting people Pacifica Forum has brought in, and I do not like the fabricated ideals of the protest. It is, however, in everyone’s (including you, readers) best interest to understand the law in a circumstance such as this: the best protests in this country’s history haven’t been a question of morality, which is a concept exempt from dispassionate objectivity and fluid in emotion from human to human, but are a question of legality.

Readers, this is really abundantly important: hate speech is free speech.

The exception to this law does not apply to a public forum.  What is illegal in this country is action that is a result of race (or gender, or sexual orientation, or age). Action that results from any of these “isms” is something known as “incitement of violence.” The battle between incitement of violence and the First Amendment has been fought in this country for longer than any of us have been alive. This situation is no exception.  Civil Rights laws are crafted in a way that protect an individual from physical harm, not laws against the institution of racist propaganda itself.  A quote from an anonymous protester claims that “fascist propaganda leads to fascist action time and time again.” It is the fascist action that is illegal time and time again, not the propaganda (furthermore, fascist propaganda also doesn’t lead to fascist action time and time again so this argument is kind of moot). The EMU and the UO housing contain policies that prevent the ideology of public racism: something exclusive to an area of residence as well as the diversity center on campus. There is no doubt that Pacifica Forum should have been removed from the EMU, not for adhering to racist ideals as an organization but for simply housing them; there is nothing wrong with hosting racist speakers as a testament to free speech, but because of EMU policies, the EMU is not the place to do it. But these anti-racism policies do not extend to the rest of campus.

From this fiery, uninformed allegation of “hate speech isn’t free speech” branched the continuing fountain of misinformation. The protest took roots in combating unproven issues of safety from threat, safety from assault, and safety by prevention. None of these roots have any legal nourishment.

Legally, the issue of public safety begins with the concept of action. Action is what drives legislative process, action is what can violate freedoms or create ground for litigation against threat or assault. Once action is determined, than there must be evidence to determine the causality of that action. These are not concepts that the protesters have understood up to this point, and are concepts I hope to clarify to perhaps allow them understanding in pursuing the matter legally; no action has been sufficiently proven to be the fault of organization of Pacifica Forum. What we have is a lot of speculation about hate crime and violence in the city of Eugene that is not directly correlated through evidence.

Yes, realists, there is hate crime, and yes there is intolerance, and yes there is racial or sexual violence, and yes there are neo-Nazis in Eugene. Hate crime and violence and Nazism exists far beyond our borders and far beyond the reach of Pacifica Forum. The existence of this does not directly put Pacifica Forum at fault. Even if specific members who have committed hate crimes have attended Pacifica Forum meetings, this is not sufficient evidence to fault the organization of Pacifica, it is sufficient evidence to fault the persons who acted in violence. Any person may attend any open forum and become enraged by any other opposition to the point of physical assault. It is logically insufficient to say that the organization is the causality of the action unless there is physical evidence that proves incitement of violence was promoted in a specific instance by this organization. In layman’s terms: the organization must place the gun in the hand of the shooter, not the shooter got the idea from the organization. A legal example of this is Timothy McVeigh: a man immersed in anti-government militia propaganda groups for his entire adult life, yet McVeigh was subject to the law by his actions, not the group by their teachings.

Further misunderstanding of the law in terms threat is displayed by the protest. There are essentially two branches of threat that can be litigated against. The first and most common and easy to prove: the act of threatening. The second, harder to prove, more applicable to this situation: the feeling of being threatened. The act of threatening is defined by Oregon State law as “by word or conduct the person intentionally attempts to place another person in fear of imminent serious physical injury.” This means that threat has to effectively be a specific entity targeting another specific entity; the claims made by Pacifica Forum members of “watch yourself at night” or “you’re not ugly enough to rape” are not instances of threat toward a specific target and from another specific target.  A threat under Oregon State Constitution would read: “I am going to rape you.”  It should be noted that if the above statements are considered threat (which they’re not), so would the statement “now we know who you are,” which is a lovely sentiment I received by protesters after observing the Pacifica meeting on Friday, January 22.

The legal response of feeling threat, because several member have reported feeling so, is much more applicable to the situation, it just requires a significant amount of more evidence to prove other than the statement of feeling threat itself; people have a lot of reasons to feel threat about a lot of things so it’s necessary to prove it. This evidence requires the stipulation of the “reasonable man,” as well as a stipulation of “immanency.” The “reasonable man” is a term used often in legal procedure to apply objective relativity to a situation. If the concept of the reasonable man, as defined by a legislative body,  would find words threatening, then those words are legally threatening. Both of the above statements from Pacifica members could, under the right light, be read as threatening by interpretation of the reasonable man. It is the concept of immanency that sinks both of these statements in terms of legal credibility toward feeling of threat. Immanency, as the word implies, requires the immediacy of physical harm from a threat: that the victim will be attacked immediately or before any sort of chance to escape the attacks. Neither of the above claims are imminent; both statements refer to an ideological opinion that may be enacted at some point in life, which removes the burden of legal threat from the members of Pacifica who stated them. The absence of actual rape works against immanency.

Even if (a big if) the legal definition of threat, assault, or feeling of threat can be successfully linked to any persons who have attended Pacifica Forum, the next task is even more daunting: proving fault against Pacifica itself. It is important to note that Pacifica cannot be legally responsible for violence or threat until after specific individuals are ruled guilty. Our legal system requires this stepping stone from proving individual crime (which has not been done yet), and then proving organizational crime (which has certainly not been done yet). Again, the “reasonable man” stipulation show up here. If it can be proved that the reasonable man should have known not to bring in a dangerous person, based on background and historical information, and that dangerous person committed one of the crimes listed above, then is can be argued that it is the fault of the organization. Similarly, if you can prove that the organization has an ideology in violence that would lead to violent events (realists, it should be noted that this is impossible because the very point and nature of the Pacifica group is the absence of group ideology—this example is merely for lawful understanding), and those same violent events occurred, then you can litigate against the group.

The third vein of public safety explored by the protest is that of prevention: prevention against the possibility that future physical harm or threat will be exposed to the community. As are the laws of immanency applicable to threat, these laws are applicable to prevention as well. Under the Federal Constitution, legislative bodies do not have jurisdiction to pass litigation and effectively punish any persons or organizations for preventative purposes. As immoral as the protest may find these laws, legislation cannot be passed against a potential murder if they are thought to kill, only until they have murdered can they be punished. This is a concept that our country has righteously employed: innocent until proven guilty. Even court ordered restraining orders, an idea that most people think of as preventative court action, cannot be applied unless the restraining party can prove domestic action currently enacted against them, or the immanency of the threat of this action.

Can you imagine a country in which judges and juries could pass litigation based on premonition of future actions rather than the physical and provable actions that currently exist? This concept scares me much more than a country that permits the distasteful dialog of neo-Nazis. Imagine how much more racism, more violence, more hate would result. The very foundation of our judicial system is a dispassionate objective view on a situation that upholds every individual’s rights until sufficient proof reveals otherwise. The correlations, the sufficient proof, the proper evidence is not in place: solid lines that can accurately draw logic between events have not been drawn. It is apparent that the objection presented by the protest against Pacifica does not have these solid lines of legal right: their argument is entirely moral.

And, unfortunately for the protest, having moral opposition to violence or hate or assault or threat has no legal bearing. If the Anti-Hate Task Force wants to do good for this campus they will stop protesting the values explored in Pacifica, and instead look for evidence that the proverbial gun was placed in the proverbial hand. They should be looking for evidence that the organization is instructing violent behavior, which is much different than condoning or housing it. They should be looking for evidence that the “reasonable man” should not be allowing proven dangerous figures an audience by conducting background checks and historical checks. They should be looking to prove the immanency of the feeling of threat. None of this has happened: what has happened is blindly correlating specific events to the organization. Until the means of proof are explored by this protest, I, as well as any upstanding legislative body, will not support the protest. I do not even know if sufficient evidence exists in the world to correlate the organization with the actions, but searching for the legal means is certainly going to lead to a much better assertion against Pacifica than “I hate racism.”

If the issue the protest has with Pacifica Forum is truly violence, then I see nothing wrong with the concept of legally removing violent persons and disallowing them from campus, monitoring the group for who they invite to speak, and allowing the group to remain. This effectively solves the “safety issues” that the protest is blindly accusing Pacifica responsible for. But even this concept is one fought against by the Anti-Hate Task Force, which reveals that their affliction with Pacifica is not an issue of safety but simply an issue of disliking their organization. Realists, it is absolutely within the protest’s First Amendment rights to dislike Pacifica, to fight against them with words: to show them their ideologies explored are not recognized here: the socially outcast them. Words have always been the most successful vehicle for combating other words. But disliking the Pacifica Forum, without any sufficient means of proving them legally responsible, is no reason to litigate against them. If litigation occurs without the proof outlined in this article, this University is effectively crossing the line from monitoring (something governmental bodies do well and should do), to segregating. It is time for the protesters to wake up and prove these wrongs: give us all reason to be against the presence of Pacifica Forum instead of simply morality. It is time for the protesters to grow up and understand the ideals that are given to all Americans, even in the face of ideals that you dislike: “innocent until proven guilty.”

If we cannot uphold these laws, if the protest cannot prove these laws, or if litigation is passed against Pacifica Forum without sufficient proof of these laws, then this University has much bigger issues than a couple of alleged neo-Nazis on our campus.

  1. Evan P. Thomas says:

    Granted, I recognize that a majority of the ignorant claims have surfaced due to the student protesters, but you have not stood against it and you have supported it with your quotes. I do appreciate your ability to distinguish “hateful actions” from “hateful group,” and have been quotes saying such. But you have gotten swept away in this protest and furthered the misinformation through your own ideology, rather than a legal one, because of it.

  2. Evan P. Thomas says:

    Now we’re talking!

    Michael: “Nothing was

  3. Michael Williams says:

    Well, that didn’t work out any better. Let’s try this.

    You’re right, SEC. I used some reserved HTML stuff unknowingly and the important text disappeared in hyperspace.

    On the other point of “proving”: negatives are difficult to prove. If Evan wants to accuse me of fabrication and misinformation, he has the burden of proof. I think it is insurmountable, because I have not said the things he claims, and there is no evidence to support his charges.

    Here is what would have been posted had I been paying attention:

    Thank you, Evan. Many of your allegations lack any evidence to support them, and what

  4. Michael Williams says:

    You’re right, SEC. I used some reserved HTML stuff unknowingly and the important text disappeared in hyperspace.

    On the other point of “proving”: negatives are difficult to prove. If Evan wants to accuse me of fabrication and misinformation, he has the burden of proof. I think it is insurmountable, because I have not said the things he claims, and there is no evidence to support his charges.

    Here is what would have been posted had I been paying attention:

    Thank you, Evan. Many of your allegations lack any evidence to support them, and what

  5. SEC says:

    Michael…

    if he is wrong PROVE him wrong. don’t just say “good night. you have fantasies.”

    i’d like it if you to proved him wrong. I hope you can because that would make this whole thing more clear.

    however, just saying “when you want to start talking reality” makes you come off as overly emotional and empty because you didn’t actually SAY anything besides “VOID.” which proves NOTHING.

    On an entirely different note, did you guys read about the resolution not passing and about the new proposal? Thoughts?

  6. Michael Williams says:

    Oh Wow. That was ugly. All my remarks lost. Forgot this page uses html. After lunch I’ll redo it

  7. Michael Williams says:

    Thank you, Evan. Many of your allegations lack any evidence to support them, and what “specifics” you provide are wrong on the facts.

    >>>Evan P. Thomas says<<<>>The entire issue of safety that was just overturned two nights ago, maybe?<<NOTHING FALSIFIED, NO FABRICATION>>The information that you supplied as

  8. Java says:

    A “closed” Form would make it antithetical to what I understand to be its stated purpose. By being open to anyone wishing to attend, dissenting opinions can be expressed after a speaker finishes.

    Evan Thomas suggests the Forum could take an, “I care enough not to make it public” approach. I suspect peeking through keyholes would be compromised only by the loud whispering of, “She’s a witch!”

  9. Evan P. Thomas says:

    The entire issue of safety that was just overturned two nights ago, maybe? The information that you supplied as “threat” from the past, the information that Pacifica Forum is a white supremacist group, the information of how Pacifica’s past shows them to be a violent group…

    -Threat was disproved. Fabricated.
    -Pacifica Forum houses some alleged white supremacists, yes, that does not mean they are a “white supremacist group.” Fabricated.
    -Violence has yet to be correlated with the existence of the PF organization. Fabricated.

    I don’t doubt that YOU FEEL these things are threat or violence or white supremacist… but providing information that YOU FEEL, instead of what the LAW FEELS, in a situation where the LAW is being questioned by the people YOU provided information for… means that you support and provide fabricated information.

    As I’ve said in the past, if you want to help the community, find actual correlative information and supply that to your protests.

  10. Michael Williams says:

    Evan–
    You said
    >>> You indirectly crafted this protest and hand-fed the student population falsified information that was just yesterday officially recognized as fabricated. <<<
    What falsified, fabricated information? Be specific, Evan. Serious charge, that. Back it up.

  11. Evan P. Thomas says:

    “The lesson is clear. Don

  12. dc says:

    After listening to this morning’s radio show on KRVM, my comment suggesting the Orval Etter Free Speech Laboratory is all the more pertinent. Please take it out of “moderation limbo” and post it!

  13. Jay Knott says:

    Let me add my two cents’, based on experience with the ‘anti’ hate brigade in Portland.

    Evan asks Pacifica Forum attendees to show how big they are by making a small diplomatic concession so both sides can feel vindicated. This is the normal ‘conflict resolution’ approach. It sometimes works in divorce proceedings. It sometimes works in international disputes. But there is one place where it has failed miserably: it takes two to tango.

    In Portland, the pc left continue their campaign of harassment against people who have taken the trouble to visit Pacifica Forum to find out about it. A recent document by these thought cops about this issue contains the usual lies about moderate critics of Israeli policies such as Orval Etter. But it does contain some truth. It brags that they have managed to ‘get at’ the man who has suffered most from their campaign, via some of his colleagues. It crows that he missed attending a particular meeting to exercise his 1st amendment rights because of ‘scrutiny’ from the anti-fascists. This scrutiny included graffiti saying he’s a Nazi, “wake up Nazi it’s time to die…” and so on. He made the mistake of trying to compromise in order to protect his fellow workers.

    His attempts to make concessions have only encouraged the red guards. They demand he
    – publically apologize
    – focus on ‘unlearning oppression’
    – ‘regain the trust’ of the pc community
    – recognize that some of this community ‘feel unsafe’ when near him
    – etc.

    The lesson is clear. Don’t give an inch. Don’t make an attempt to be diplomatic. The Palestinians have been trying that for over sixty years! I appreciate Evan P Thomas’s work. But he assumes a common commitment to a framework for resolving conflicts, a respect for discussion, evidence, that kind of thing. He doesn’t realize that the Forum’s opponents don’t share those values.

  14. dc says:

    After watching tonight’s CTV airing of that Jan 8th Circus Forum, I am really rather mortified.

    But,
    My money says the protesters will keep dwindling and pretty soon we’ll be able to get back to regular form, in a smaller (on campus) venue for Orval’s remaining terms.

    I’m envisioning a future/permanent “Orval Etter Free Speech Laboratory” on campus, where student speakers of ALL stripes, will stand in line to hold the floor & flex their free speech muscles (so long as their presentations are well sourced and they leave time for Q&A/ feedback, of course).

    Details forthcoming.

  15. Evan P. Thomas says:

    Michael: I have been being specific. I brought up the time you bowed to the protest when you were referred to by PF, I brought up your continual presence at the senate meetings and meetings for the protest, I brought up your perpetuating of “information,” and I brought up your continual defense of the protest when discussing it with me. I’m bringing up specifics, I always have been. You’re just ignoring them for whatever reason.

    dc: I agree its a phantom phenomenon, and I agree that the “leadership” of the protest should be talking to you not playing the propaganda game. As much as I don’t approve of the talks, from my own personal ideology, that PF discusses, I do not fault PF for housing these ideas. But the situation is proving that someone’s going to have to be the “bigger man,” or someone is going to have their views be “oppressed” by the administration. Regardless of who steps up to end the conflict, I’d just rather see it end with the “bigger man” than the “oppression.” And if PF is looking for a way to improve their image (which regardless or not of whether you think the conceptions of the tarnished image is faulty, you should still be aiming to improve the image overall), perhaps it is advantageous of them to be that “bigger man.”

    Granted, I’m speaking entirely from a moral standpoint right now (which is something opposite of what I have written about this issue in the past), so I don’t have any expectations or plan on pursuing any legal procedure or any of that malarkey that the protest lapsed in judgment over. Just… having a conversation, I suppose.

  16. dc says:

    I can imagine publicly recognizing someone’s discomfort, but because I still think their fears and complaints are based largely on misconceptions, it’s impossible to envision closing the Forum to pacify them–which is essentially what you’re suggesting.

    From where I sit, it appears this particular bunch doesn’t HAVE any real issues with Pacifica, or they would have begun to articulate them by now. THAT’S when the dialogue can begin and the solutions will reveal themselves.

    No one, NONE of their leaders/hip has made any attempt to have a discussion with us. (Until you, here, now.) Not Emma, Not Gillespie (he is unable/said he is too afraid of me), Not Martinez, not The Girl from Facebook (“ooooooh Miiiichael, your waaaaaaay more experienced at this, than us!!!”)

    Yet every day, there are more and more stories of vague horrors (“their words”, “their views” “hate speech”, “bigotry”, “Nazi”, “racist”, “rapists” “threats”…) to reinforce their “uncomfortable” state.

    Theirs is more of a phantom phenomenon; they are afraid of the fantazma that clouds their ability to discern fact from fiction– they are afraid of ..___ enter pet-fear here.

    And they’re ENCOURAGED by the Hate-Force, who by the way, is an extension of the REAL supremacist group.

    The protesters should realize that ALL of the issues the Forum raises and the manner in which it has raised them, are defensible.

    No, we will not be catering to a crazed inarticulate mob, that can’t even find a reality based issue that names their “discomfort”.

    Someone besides the Hate-Forcers and those who are beholding to them, needs step in, if the students can’t find leadership amongst themselves.

    I appreciate the “sentiment”, Evan P. You’ll make some nation a fine diplomat, one day. Let’s hope it’s on behalf of American interests.

  17. Michael Williams says:

    >>> Evan P. Thomas says: You indirectly crafted this protest and hand-fed the student population falsified information that was just yesterday officially recognized as fabricated. <<<
    What are you talking about here? Are you trolling or making a substantive accusation? If the former, we're done. If the latter, be specific and we'll talk about it.

    Evan P. Thomas says:
    January 28, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    If you

  18. Evan P. Thomas says:

    In other words (because I realize the phrasing of that last post was kind of.. odd): it’s a compromise. It may look good for the forum, in the eyes of the administration, to be the one offering such. Plus, if the protesters continue to protest then it’s obvious that their agenda reaches further than a “safety issue” and it’s just an issue of them not liking you (as we already suspect, only in this situation if you were a closed forum, YOU would be outwardly protected… ideally). And if they don’t continue to protest, yay.

    Granted, I recognize that both PF and the protest are incredibly caught up in the “righteous fight” itself, that a compromise is kind of a ridiculous thought, but I thought it was I nice sentiment. 🙂

  19. Evan P. Thomas says:

    The issue, regardless of legal merit (which they don’t have), is of people simply feeling uncomfortable with the group. By making it a closed forum you would effectively be saying: 1) I recognize your discomfort and don’t care enough to leave, but I care enough to not make it public, 2) leave us alone.

    I mean, it’s not as if Pacifica is actively recruiting more members, so it’s not much of a detriment. The only difference between open and closed forum is that the powers that be (whoever, Roja, I don’t know), would simply need to be asked if they can attend… that would also rid you of the protesters.

    Think of it this way: the protest is going to continue until the administration does SOMETHING: whether that’s requiring you to pay to use the space, providing you alternate locations, etc. Either way, I think it’s very likely that Pacifica will be essentially “forced” to do something. If you make the forum closed, that is to say: YOU guys create the action, not the administration or the protest… you get to remain where you are and dont give the protesters the satisfaction of “winning” (which, you and I both know wont be because of them, it will be because of whether or not Lariviere decides to start charging money).

    It’s just stuff to think about. I don’t care if you guys meet to discuss Nazi things or even if any of you are white supremacists, because you’re legally entitled to be whatever the fuck you feel like being. It would just be an advantageous way for YOU to end this idiocy, instead of someone else ending it for you.

  20. dc says:

    What exactly are “the issues”, in your estimation?

    Would you be so kind as to try and articulate it succinctly for we Pacificaars?

    I’m running out to take my son shopping/ will check back before much-needed sleeeeeeeeeep. And I’ll think about your question.

  21. Evan P. Thomas says:

    Have you ever considered changing into a closed forum? All of these issues would evaporate if that happened…

  22. dc says:

    Snipped from http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/news/sevendays/24383318-35/pacifica-forum-group-participants-campus.csp

    Any “abuse” Williams has received is well earned and he knows this. As a matter of fact, he thrives on it, as it has helped him to create his new superhero identity. His fabrications have seemed to hold no limits, and he has shown no remorse or conscience. He has gone to great lengths to create a negative public sentiment against Forum participants via myriad different tactics, as this is what his handlers expect and likely demand. They’ve wanted us gone since 2006.

    Currently, Williams still falls upward. And he does fool some people. But, surely, going large as he has, will backfire on him, as his schtick is now out, in the public eye. One day soon, he’ll wish he’d gone off creating “Hate” somewhere else, where the spineless folk have their political discussions.

  23. dc says:

    I have information Evan. I have been documenting Michael Williams and his handlers’ activities against the Pacifica Forum since 2006. It’s a rather revealing read. My contact info is easy to get.
    You could email me, or call me directly.

  24. Evan P. Thomas says:

    If you’re not a part of the protest why have you argued with me about the validity of the protest (which, gee, it turned out I was right) for two weeks? If you’re not part of the protest, why did you attend the senate meetings and hold talks about it during this time frame?

    No leadership (from AHTF or otherwise) has been very capable because you’re all too pro-anarchy, pro-individual to actually employ leadership. Which is deliciously, ironically funny. You indirectly crafted this protest and hand-fed the student population falsified information that was just yesterday officially recognized as fabricated. I assume that you fed them information 1) because you don’t understand the way this information is validated (which I, perhaps ignorantly, choose to be incorrect by giving you benefit of the doubt that you actually do know legal procedure), or 2) that you had an agenda you wanted that information to be used in.

    What, exactly, did it “confirm” that we “know?” Because I’m pretty sure the opposite of “confirmation” of your claims just occurred yesterday.

    If you truly want to help our community, Michael, go find actual information, as defined by law, about a violent group instead of loaded speculation. In fact, I’ll even help you because I’m just as anti-violence as you are. The difference is that I know what actually constitutes it.

  25. Michael Williams says:

    OK CBT, I understand now. That’s not the first time it’s happened.

    2Evan–The bow was because I was a guest of honor: Rojas mentioned my name. (Hell, he even said he’s going to sue me!) The AHTF members there also stood for recognition when he mentioned the AHTF. People may as well know who he’s talking about. I hope we all looked like the respectable members of the community we are.

    >>AHTF is not enough of an organized entity to

  26. C.T. Behemoth says:

    Michael, you’re right.

    I am confusing AHTF with the Bias-Response Team. I apologize.

  27. Evan P. Thomas says:

    AHTF is not enough of an organized entity to “manufacture” any protests. Yes. that is true. But nobody ever claimed that: I said you propagated it and furthered it to suit your agenda; as I said, the protest was convenient. I mean for crying out loud, Michael, you took a fucking bow at the PF meeting last Friday when Rojas mentioned your name.

  28. Michael Williams says:

    CTB–

    I think you are confusing the AHTF and some other group. It is true that we have been consistently active in observing and witnessing Pacifica Forum’s programs, and have also responded to some other community (non-University) incidents, I don’t know of any AHTF activity around the “blackout.” Neither my memory nor my files show anything.

    If you have some info, and can let me know, maybe we can straighten this out. We are always glad to take credit for our involvement, but sometimes we get credit where none is due.

  29. C.T. Behemoth says:

    I am certainly not joking about the blackout. That was the most asinine witch hunt I’ve seen in a while. I can’t imagine what AHTF did when they discovered that the organizer was mixed race.

    As for PF, I’ve been well aware of their presence for the last ten years that I’ve been here. I’ve even gone to one meeting just to see what the hoopla was about. When I went the speaker was a holocaust denier, but it was a calm speech with about 20 people in attendance. I saw some of the members there who certainly struck me as white supremacist, but they were not threatening. They didn’t really say anything except “thank you” to the speaker.

    My point is that the only time in ten years of watching and listening to this PF stuff, this year is the only year where things got out of hand. What is the difference? Well, from where I’ve been sitting, it has been the AHTF and/or the mob of students who created the drama and manufactured a safety crisis.

    I’m glad that the ASUO resolution failed miserably.

    I’m just wondering what the next situation will be since it’s obvious that the AHTF is out and about looking to find something to hype into a problem. That’s what bothers me. The AHTF and friends are essentially creating their own reason for being. That’s why I keep referring to the self-fulfilling prophecy approach that they take to issues that they create in their own minds.

    That the solution for the blackout was to change the name to ‘knockout’ was also laughable because it merely shifted the opportunity for idiots to show up in blackface to one where idiots can show up in support of physical violence. Of course, violence doesn’t have the same sort of cachet that racism does. The AHTF approach was similar to the people who advocate for prayer in schools. That is, they thought that changing the name would keep people from doing something stupid. That’s just ridiculous.

    Of course, the blackout happened anyway and it was a smashing success. I guess we just got lucky that all of those whiteys showed up in black clothing and didn’t let their racial tendencies shine through.

  30. Michael Williams says:

    CTB–
    AHTF did not manufacture the current student opposition to Pacifica Forum. PF managed to do that on its own. PF pushed the envelope a little too far, brought on too much student attention.

    I assume you are joking about the blackout.

  31. C.T. Behemoth says:

    This instance is one of the two. Funny enough, the “blackout” at Autzen was the other. I’m afraid to go further back in time and see what the AHTF has found along the way.

  32. dc says:

    Hi. I had to take out the little chicken feet to make this post post properly/ please use only the ‘corrected’ one.

    and thank you.

  33. dc says:

    >>Every 3 or four years, a particular group of ravenous students that are enrolled at the UO start vehemently protesting Pacifica as well (though this year is by far the most visible).<<

    This is not true. There have been NO student protests since I have been an attendee (early 2005). According to Orval, there were no student protests prior to that time. The severing of previous sponsorships was INVARIABLY a result of (you guessed it…) Michael Williams' "lobbying".

    The CALC group has staged 3 Anti-Pacifica protests, and only in the Irving protest, did they involve students, via Sam Dotters- Katz and 3 or 4 "History" students~ .

    The other 2 protests were small FrankenMobs, comprised of non- campus folks, who fell for the AHTF PROPAGANDA (quite an interesting read/copies available upon request). These folks, like the current student protesters had not attended Pacifica and instead looked to the Hate-Force to create and cue their 'thoughts'.

    Williams writes: It is true we have a large body of accumulated knowledge concerning Pacifica Forum. If you would like to tap into it, come on over the Facebook debate page and I will be glad to share with you.

    WELL WELL, now this ought to be an interesting read.

    PLEASE PROVIDE A COPY TO PACIFICA. ORVAL AND I, AND OTHERS, WOULD VERY MUCH LIKE TO SEE WHAT 'KNOWLEDGE' YOU ARE HAWKING THIS TIME.

  34. dc says:

    >>Every 3 or four years, a particular group of ravenous students that are enrolled at the UO start vehemently protesting Pacifica as well (though this year is by far the most visible).<>It is true we have a large body of accumulated knowledge concerning Pacifica Forum. If you would like to tap into it, come on over the Facebook debate page and I will be glad to share with you.<<

    WELL WELL, now this ought to be an interesting read.

    PLEASE PROVIDE A COPY TO PACIFICA. ORVAL AND I, AND OTHERS, WOULD VERY MUCH LIKE TO SEE WHAT 'KNOWLEDGE' YOU ARE HAWKING THIS TIME.

  35. Michael Williams says:

    Evan said >>AHTF has been monitoring/fighting Pacifica forum in this community for years now<> Every 3 or four years, a particular group of ravenous students that are enrolled at the UO start vehemently protesting Pacifica as well<>You can argue that it

  36. C.T. Behemoth says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention that while I think that he concept of the AHTF is a good one…the only two experiences I am personally aware of have been where the AHTF has gone and looked for trouble where there was none. Then, cited the trouble they manufactured as something that must be dealt with. It just smacks of an organization striving to justify its funding or to come across as relevant.

  37. C.T. Behemoth says:

    I think the definition of hate speech is pretty loose here. The line, as far as I can tell, has been drawn at the ‘you hurt my feelings’ moment rather than what might normally be considered hate speech. Perhaps someone can articulate something here that can shed some light on this claim?

    I also think there is a great academic purpose that PF is, perhaps unknowingly, facilitating. That is, how groups respond to ideas they don’t like and why they choose the approaches they use. In this case, there is a really interesting comparison paper waiting to be written. The requisite ‘reality is stranger than fiction’ satire too of course. By extension, one might write a paper on the effectiveness and/or relevance of the ASUO and/or ASUO resolutions that speak for the “student body”. The list goes on and on really…

    On a side note…I “looooved” Emma’s spiel today in the Ol’ Dirty.

  38. Evan P. Thomas says:

    AHTF has been monitoring/fighting Pacifica forum in this community for years now, much longer than this current student population has been enrolled at the UO. Every 3 or four years, a particular group of ravenous students that are enrolled at the UO start vehemently protesting Pacifica as well (though this year is by far the most visible).

    You can argue that it’s the Universities problem all you want, Mike, but AHTF has been propagating this since most of us were in middle school. These past two weeks have just been convenient.

    And I’m not sure why you continue to put “legal” in quotations. You don’t agree with the law?

  39. Michael Williams says:

    Quote from article: >>The Anti-Hate Task Force has explored many reasons to remove Pacifica over the past few weeks….<<

    The students have been having an ongoing discussion of whether PF belongs on campus. The Anti-Hate Task Force has contributed our knowledge of PF's history and practices, but has not joined in that exploration. We recognize that is an issue for the University community to resolve.

    The Anti-Hate Task Force has never called for PF to be removed from campus, ejected from the EMU, or any other punitive action by teh University. There is a broad range of opinion:
    *Some of us feel the UO's preferential treatment of PF should either end or all community organizations should receive free access;
    *Some would like PF to stay on campus and serve some academic purpose by being used as lab samples, a case study of hate, put in a petri dish and examined by classes in history, sociology, psychology, religion, women's studies, creative writing, polemics, etc;
    *Others think First Amendment freedom of speech (not "free speech") makes their presence on campus unassailable untouchable but does not protect them from criticism and condemnation.
    *And there are other approaches and variations. We are a diverse group.

    There are several things on which we do agree: many of Pacifica Forum's presentations, even if "legal", have crossed the boundaries of acceptable ways to treat and speak of each other, many times becoming hate speech; our community is less safe when there is such a public and respected outlet for the purveyors of hate and bigotry; there is no useful academic purpose currently being served by Pacifica Forum on campus.

    The AHTF have been observant and we have been publicly critical. There are some "legal" behaviors a community does not have to put with, and that we should condemn as loudly and as actively as necessary. We have called on the community to respond to what we see as poisonous activity in our midst.

    Students are responding, and their response is setting a good example for their elders in the larger community.

  40. C.T. Behemoth says:

    It’s off-message.

  41. ER says:

    I tried to post this piece on the UofO students and community members against the Pacifica Forum Facebook page this morning.
    It was gone within 10 minutes !

  42. dc says:

    Laudable. Thank you for your work.

    >>The Anti-Hate Task Force has explored many reasons to remove Pacifica over the past few weeks<<

    This is a gross understatement. The hierarchy of this group has been actively clammoring to have us ejected from campus, for many years. They have not stopped "exploring reasons" since their inception. First public disclosure (to my knowledge) of this intent, was made by Dan Bryant, at the Groundhog's Day Forum, in 2007.

    Godspeed to you, in your worthy attempt to guide the "Invasion of the Incited" to a higher level.

  43. C.T. Behemoth says:

    I believe this scenario has some uncanny parallels to what we’re seeing so far.

  44. C.T. Behemoth says:

    How about…ignoramuses? That way they’re not stupid, just annoying.

    I have no doubt that we can link morality and intelligence, but I think we’re seeing one being projected at the expense of the other. In other words, your legal-rational response is far more influential to me than the emotional response the protesters have had. What I’m saying is that while I would consider myself a smart person (maybe a little egotistical too), if I am trying to make a point and persuade someone about something…I am not going to appeal to their emotions. I understand that such a tactic is often employed and to great success. However, to me it is insulting, even if I am not the intended audience.

    At the very least, I would hope to see some evolution toward intelligence with the protester’s points of view. However, and this is what bugs me, we have been seeing the opposite. In fact, the deliberate switch to ‘safety’ as the core issue is disgusting to me on many levels. That we then see the U of O and ASUO buying into this is, to me, a little alarming. An emotional response at the expense of the legal-rational realities that then inspires institutions that are supposedly legal-rational to emotionally draft letters and potential policy decisions that ban ideas in the name of ‘safety’.

    That’s why I’ve been in here railing against them. I have nothing against protest. I have nothing against feeling safe on campus. I think that, at the bottom of it all, there is some good intent. Still, we should not be seeing this tacit approval from the ASUO. Not only is it a dangerous precedent to set, it is encouraging emotional responses over legal-rational thought or actions. It’s telling people that all you have to do is go batshit insane over something and they’ll listen.

    The thing that pisses me off the most is that all of this hullabaloo is just giving Pacifica more of the spotlight than they’ve ever had in the ten years I’ve been here at the U of O.

  45. Evan P. Thomas says:

    I already spoke to one of the leaders of the protest and discussed the very concepts that I outlined in this article, as well as advised him (when he asked) about the future steps the protest should be taking to prove some of these legal processes. If they CAN, in fact, prove the legal process, then there is absolutely no reason to be against the protest, right?

    Where you’re getting misguided a bit, CT (and trust me, I understand your perspective), is that you’re attributing the argument the protest is having, which is a moral argument, to unintelligence. Morality and intelligence certainly can be linked; just because this argument they have is moral instead of legal does not make them “idiots” (though it should be noted that some people are drastically uninformed). What it makes them is ineffective. Key difference.

    Thanks for reading.

  46. C.T. Behemoth says:

    For the record…I hope you’re right and that if some of the protesting students read this, they’ll understand where they’ve gone wrong.

  47. C.T. Behemoth says:

    OCF: I think your first paragraph is contradictory since, if your assumption about them being intelligent is true, they would have never embarked upon this charade. Then again, if they are actually intelligent (or intelligently led), this is a purposeful approach of theirs. I’m not sure which situation I find more alarming; although, I’ll admit that my own either/or postulation is limiting potential explanations for their shenanigans. For the life of me though, I can’t think of any rational reasons to ‘protest’ PF this way or conduct yourself the way these bandanistas have.

    I think that if a group wants to do something that leads to some sort of change, they should think before they scream stuff like, “Fuck free speech” as they cause a ruckus which they then cite as a safety issue. I mentioned this self-fulfilling prophecy of theirs before. If they had never shown up, we wouldn’t be here discussing this crap.

    I don’t support the forum or its ideas (etc). I also don’t support idiots. Emotional reactions are fine. Protesting is fine. Agitating to ban groups because of the ideas or speech associated with them is not fine. Even moving them out of the EMU…no big deal. Also, I can see how students could band together like that and end up being morons. However, the fact that the UO Administration nodded in their direction and the ASUO is now drafting potential policy to ban the forum…..that’s what is really pissing me off.

  48. OCFan says:

    C.T.: I think this actually MIGHT get through to some of the protesters, because it’s a bunch of well thought out stuff that makes a lot of sense. You, on the other hand, find a way to insult the protesters with every post, so have no chance of getting through to them even if you’re right.

    The writer here touches on Moderate vs. Extremist issues that speak directly to my thinkin’ bone. I still think the forum are a bunch of evil old D-bags and want them gone, but I agree with this guy on pretty much every point too. I suspect that the protests are so disorganized because everyone agrees with the sentiment of the movement, but disagrees on the goals and the mission statement of the group. Which is to be expected, because the protests are made up of groups of unnasociated students who have banded together with very little prep because they all want the Forum gone. I think it’s pretty silly to want a big group of individuals to have a shared goal and line of retoric. This isn’t the republican party, they don’t have planning and talking points, nor advisors, nor lawyers. It’s just a huge mob of people who want the forum gone and know that facebook will tell them where to go to tell ’em so.

    I think, C.T., that expecting such a group to have a clear, focused message is pretty silly. There’s no structure in place to create the unified plan of attack that you seem to expect. They might totally be in the wrong here, legally speaking… But do you feel that they’re in the wrong to find the forum disgusting and distasteful?

    It’s an emotional reaction from a large group of people, and I find it kind of awesome in every way. Sure, it’s messy, but it’s aimed at the right people. This pretty much describes every protest that ever happened. I see you repeatedly asserting that they’re clown-pants silly, but I don’t get where you got the idea that a group of 400 students who randomly assembled themselves WOULDN’T be silly.

  49. C.T. Behemoth says:

    I hope the ASUO and Melinda Grier are reading this.

    I would include the protesters, but I’m not sure that they would ‘get it’.

  50. Pat & Al Plambeck says:

    We support the views of the writer, and are amazed at the obvious research he did, the thoughtful content, and the clarity of the exposition of the article.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.