(cut to 10 minutes for the first disruption)
Some brave women took the lead in standing up to MRA Milo Yiannopoulos at Pitt.
TW: This jagoff literally got Trump bro’s to applaud in order to intentionally trigger survivors of assault, said campus rape culture doesn’t exist, spewed a ton of racist bullshit, and everything else you can imagine.
Several students left the assembly room in tears.
“2468 STOP THE VIOLENCE STOP THE RAPE”
“WE’RE HERE, WE’RE QUEER, WE’RE FEMINISTS AND WE’LL FUCK YOU UP”
Pittsburgh Student Solidarity Coalition statement:
We do not believe that Milo should be censored, or that the administration has any right to prevent a student group from hosting controversial speakers.
That being said, the reality of campus rape culture is not an opinion, it is daily violence experienced by 1 in 5 of our female classmates. When Milo told a crowd of Trump-bros that rape culture isn’t real, they cheered. When he told them that applause would trigger survivors of assault, they clapped, pointed and laughed at women that were crying in the audience.
We are not trying to change their minds, we know they will never admit to their roles in oppression. There is no “debate” to be had over and over again in some imaginary vacuum, racism and sexism must be confronted.
If we do not confront bigots, we have no hope of stopping their violence. You cannot ignore hate-mongers because the violence they inspire will only spread. You cannot ignore large gatherings of racists and sexists because they will only continue to normalize their discourse and build their capacity to act. Trump’s new right-wing is part of a national movement that is growing in popularity regardless of the attention we give them.
The varying types of disruptions taken on by autonomous students, Pitt Against Debt members, USASers and PSSC were not intended to silence an “opinion” but rather to let the bros in the audience know that the culture of violence they perpetuate will no longer be tolerated.
Milo doesn’t just piss us off or upset us, he is threatening people. We went there to show the racists, transphobes, rapists and sexists in attendance that they are not welcome on this campus. We will fight back, because some of our lives depend on it.
PSSC post-Milo solidarity event statement:
This past week the Pitt College Republicans Hosted speaker Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of Pittsburgh. As many of us know, Milo’s presentation was blatant hate speech that incited acts of violence against marginalized students and created general fear and anxiety amongst many members of the Pitt Student body.
Following this event, many Pitt students are wondering what to do next. How do we as students move forward after an evening of such hate and trauma?
Some students want to reform the school or the SGB to bar speakers like Milo from our University. This idea is a great way to stop inciting hate speech from reaching our campus. However, censorship is a slippery slope, and this plan of action fails to address the broader reasons for Milo’s presence at Pitt. We cannot myopically view Milo’s appearance as a result of SGB or administration oversight. Rather, we must understand Milo’s hate speech within its national, political context.
Milo’s speech is part of a nationwide movement of hatred, of threatening and murdering our brothers and sisters from marginalized and oppressed communities. It is no coincedence that students were chanting “TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP” as feminist protesters disrupted Milo’s event. Monday night highlighted a movement of hatred on our campus and in our nation that is bigger than one speaker or one student club. This is a national movement that condones misogyny, homophobia, racism, transmisogyny and xenophobia. This is a national movement that has called for it’s followers to carry out acts of violence against people from marginalized or otherwise oppositional communities. Thus, we must address Milo’s presence and form strategies of resistance based on the national context in which this event and its aftermath is occurring.
As we move forward as a student body, we need to take into account the contingency of students on our campus who are currently willing to terrorize students from marginalized and oppressed identities. What do we do as students when we see men harassing our sisters at a South O party this weekend? What do we do tomorrow when we see the police threatening our friends of color?
The administration and our SGB has given us wishy-washy answers promising that they are making changes but enusring us that change is slow to come. Unfortuantley, promises of change from our systems of governance are often more about PR and attracting prospective students than fundamentally addressing the issues that we as students have. Has anyone noticed a decrease in sexual assault since the It’s on Us campaign began? Has any trans student felt safer now that we have gender neuteral housing? The changes that the administration and SGB can offer us are important but they do not address the root reason for the hatred that is unleashed against marginalized students on this campus. The promises of “change will happen” does more to pacify us and to stop us from fighting for our needs than it does to fully address the problems we have.
With reform only going so far to address our concerns, we need to think of new ways to ensure that students on our campus are safe and able to express their identies. We must fundamentally change the way that we as students support one another. Our struggles are united in an effort to oppose the movement of hatred that Milo represents. In that regard, it is important that we stand with one another to support eachother, to provide for one another. We need to change the culture of our campus from one of apathetic disregard towards issues from marginalized students to active participation in ensuring that students from marginalized groups are respected and safe.
With this in mind, join us tomorrow night to discuss our needs and to discuss how we as students can provide for one another and empower eachother to stand in solidarity against hatred. Join us as we choose to stand in solidarity for love and care.
One of the flyers that was thrown in the air:
Communiqué distributed during the first autonomous disruption:
Ok, we get it. You disagree. Why didn’t you just ask some tough questions? Isn’t that a better use of your right to free speech?
The discourse of free speech in democracy presumes that no significant imbalances of power exist, and that the primary mechanism of change is rational discussion.
There can be no truly free speech except among equals—among parties who are not just equal before the law, but who have comparable access to resources and equal say in the world they share.
Just last month in Pittsburgh, Janese Talton Jackson was shot to death for telling a man “no.” Is a woman really as free to express herself as a man, when even a simple “no” can get her killed?
Ideas alone have no intrinsic force. Our capacity to act on our beliefs, not just to express them, determines how much power we have. In this sense, the “free speech in crisis” slogan is strikingly apt: in America, you need capital (and often times some good ol’ white cis-male privilege) to participate, and the more capital you have, the greater your ability to enact the ideas you buy into.
In a country where nearly every textbook, every classroom, and every TV-screened political debate affirm the logic of hetero-normative patriarchy, capitalism and the State, the “free and equal exchange of ideas” is a hollow gesture. Given this larger context, most dialogue around “the issues” is just a superficial repetition of foregone conclusions, based on the unexamined larger frameworks for understanding that we’ve already been given. This is what passes for “debate” in this society. It should be no surprise that its function is to keep things as they are.
What’s more, what is the point of debate if there is no sanctioned action to achieve the results of that debate? If every misogynist was suddenly convinced of the reality of sexism, would the Patriarchy suddenly crumble? We would still find ourselves in a place where our only choices lie between the endless deliberations of useless politicians, on the one hand, and the direct action of our own social forces, on the other.
So this all raises the question: What happens when the debate is over? Do we act then? But what if our acting stifles further debate? Is that bad? When do we act?
This action is in solidarity with the brave queer folx and women at Rutgers. You are an inspiration, and we send our love, rage and solidarity.
Shout out to the UNControllables at the University of North Carolina, we totally ripped off The Divorce of Thought from Deed for this communiqué.
Some Street Justice:
The Student Government Board held a forum for students to voice their concerns about the event, a blatant attempt to recuperate student anger within the conventional channels. Some reformist groups took the bait and are now attempting to force the administration and SGB to remove their neutrality clause and restrict the ability for student groups to book controversial speakers. Should they succeed, the admin will clearly use their new power to censor anarchist and other revolutionary speakers, not just hate-mongers. And it’s hard enough to secure any funding for the events that radicals book in the first place. However, the forum did at least embarrass the school and catalyze a wave of solidarity efforts.
At the forum, several Pitt Republicans mocked and photographed survivors of sexual assault as they courageously relived their trauma in front of a large crowd. In retaliation, an unknown number of hackers created fake facebook accounts for these assholes, editing their real photos as negatives and flipping them upside down, and posted their personal information online, including their home addresses and their parents’ phone numbers. The next day, flyers with the fascist assholes’ names, faces, and parents’ phone numbers were spotted around campus.
While we think this autonomous action is pretty badass, we’re not going to get that personal and repost the information.
You can read the reformist demands HERE
Photo cred goes to Cayley Dittmer!