Someone painted a swastika on a community centre just days after Steve Bannon spoke at Oxford university

Steve Bannon
Afroze Fatima Zaidi

On Friday 16 November, the Oxford Union debating society at the University of Oxford hosted former Trump strategist Steve Bannon.

Just days later, someone painted a swastika on a community centre in Oxford. While there is no evidence linking the two events, it has led people to accuse the union of “normalising fascism”.


The event was only announced days before it was due to take place:

Despite the short notice, the announcement was followed by a great deal of opposition online due to Bannon’s openly racist rhetoric:

Oxford Union’s response, however, was to quote Bannon comparing Black Lives Matter and anti-fascist protesters to the KKK:

Even the university’s own student union objected to the event:

Oxford East MP Anneliese Dodds also released a statement condemning the decision to host Bannon:


Of course, students and activists in Oxford were not going let the event take place unhindered, and protests caused considerable disruption on the day:

Some people questioned whether the opportunity to ‘challenge’ Bannon is worth giving him a platform. This gem at the protests makes it clear why opposition is needed:

Racist graffiti

But it doesn’t end there. Just days after Bannon spoke, someone painted a swastika on a community centre in Oxford:

While there is no evidence of a direct link between the graffiti and Bannon’s speech, many people felt the union should take responsibility for the incident:

Oxford Union is unrepentant over hosting Bannon. It has uploaded a video of Bannon’s full talk on YouTube, and continues to call itself “The last bastion of free speech”.

The privileged few who get to go to Oxford, and join an exclusive club like the Oxford Union, have the luxury of hearing out fascist views. Because, after all, their privilege often protects them from the very real consequences of Bannon’s ideology.

Featured image via Wikimedia – Gage Skidmore

Get involved

Join the Reclaim the Fight: Feminists Rise Up Against Fascism demo on 25 November in London.

Support The Canary if you appreciate the work we do.

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed