A club dedicated to the philosophical musings of Friedrich Nietzsche has been barred from recognition at one of the United Kingdom’s top universities.
The University College London Union (UCLU), the student union of University College London, has approved a motion prohibiting the school’s “Nietzsche Club” from being recognized as an official student organization, advertising its meetings, or using facilities controlled by UCLU.
Posters for the group had advertised discussions of Nietzsche, as well as fellow philosophers Alain de Benoist, Martin Heidegger and Julius Evola. That, according to UCLU, was unacceptable.
“The aforementioned philosophers and thinkers are on the extreme-right, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, homophobic, anti-Marxist, anti-worker and have had connections, direct or indirect, with Italian fascism and German Nazism,” the UCLU’s motion said.
“Fascism has no place at UCL or UCLU, and… any attempts by fascists or the far-right to organise on campus must be met with unconditional resistance,” they continued.
The group’s complaints are not entirely baseless. Heidegger, in addition to being an important philosopher, was a member of the Nazi Party, and Evola was a friend of Benito Mussolini. Nietzsche, who criticized traditional morality and praised those who could move beyond good and evil, was a favorite philosopher of both Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, though many scholars say fascists misunderstood his works. Alain de Benoist is a modern philosopher known for reactionary writings that condemn neoliberal economics and praise ancient paganism.
While thought characterized as right-wing or “fascist” is evidently unacceptable, the UCLU clearly sees no trouble with the far left, with the motion also citing the group’s commitment to “the programme of a socialist transformation of society” as a reason for the club’s abolition. The motion is peppered with numerous other instances of leftist rhetoric, and occasionally veers off into complaining about modern political issues.
“Fascism is used by the ruling class to divide workers… and thus weaken their effectiveness as a force and undermine their resistance to policies of austerity, attacks on living standards and public services, and other consequences of the crisis of the capitalist system,” the motion says.
In a follow-up statement released Friday, UCLU said their actions were necessary for student safety.
“UCLU recognises the existential threat that the fascist movement poses to our members, and we believe that it is therefore necessary to prevent and disrupt the ability of fascists to organise – on our campuses, on our streets and in our society,” the organization said. “This is not a question of petty or bureaucratic “meddling” but of protecting ourselves as students and members of society from the real dangers posed by the fascist movement.”
The proposer and seconder of the approved motion, Sam Bayliss and Timur Dautov, are both members of the recognized group UCLU Marxists. Among other activities, the group holds regular reading groups on the writings and thought of revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, who killed and suppressed millions while imposing communism on Russia.
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