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

Steve Bannon
Afroze Zaidi-Jivraj

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”.

Opposition

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

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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:

Protests

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

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