There are very few intellectuals who have been as attacked, censored, and blacklisted as long and as ruthlessly as the Middle Eastern scholar, Norman Finkelstein. He has been hounded out of universities, denied speaking engagements, and had his books and scholarship either ignored or dismissed. It is surprising, perhaps, that Professor Finkelstein’s latest book, I’ll Burn That Bridge When I Get to It! Heretical Thoughts on Identity Politics, Cancel Culture, and Academic Freedom is a savage attack on identity politics. He likens the current woke culture of the left to red-baiting when his heroes, Paul Robeson, Pete Seager, Rosa Luxemburg, Paul Sweezy, and Annette Rubinstein were marginalized, and in the case of Luxembourg, assassinated.
The latest victim of cancel culture wave is MintPress News founder and editor-in-chief Mnar Adley. Adley had been booked to host and moderate an event discussing anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) laws in the United States, and how Palestinians are under increasing pressure to silence themselves, when she was herself, ironically, removed from the panel at the behest of a shady advisor. The event was hosted by Voices From the Holy Land, an organization that hosts documentary films and group discussions in order to give voice to those ignored by the mainstream press and to educate the public about the realities of living under the Israeli occupation. It was scheduled for October 9th online and featured a screening of the documentary “Boycott”, followed by a discussion.
On the show this week, Chris Hedges discusses cancel culture with Dan Kovalik, author and associate professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh. Dan Kovalik is the author of ‘Cancel This Book: The Progressive Case Against Cancel Culture’.
The Rev. Will Campbell was forced out of his position as director of religious life at the University of Mississippi in 1956 because of his calls for integration. He escorted Black children through a hostile mob in 1957 to integrate Little Rock’s Central High School. He was the only white person that was invited to be part of the group that founded Martin Luther King Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He helped integrate Nashville’s lunch counters and organize the Freedom Rides. But Campbell was also, despite a slew of death threats he received from white segregationists, an unofficial chaplain to the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.
The cancel culture — the phenomenon of removing or canceling people, brands or shows from the public domain because of offensive statements or ideologies — is not a threat to the ruling class. Hundreds of corporations, nearly all in the hands of white executives and white board members, enthusiastically pumped out messages on social media condemning racism and demanding justice after George Floyd was choked to death by police in Minneapolis. Police, which along with the prison system are one of the primary instruments of social control over the poor, have taken the knee, along with Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of the serially criminal JPMorgan Chase, where only 4 percent of the top executives are Black. Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world whose corporation, Amazon, paid no federal income taxes last year and who fires workers that attempt to unionize and tracks warehouse laborers as if they were prisoners, put a “Black Lives Matter” banner on Amazon’s home page.