Just last month, two notorious anti-Israel academics, David Palumbo-Liu from Stanford University and Bill Mullen of Purdue University, created a nationwide Antifa neatwork.
Palumbo-Liu and Mullen’s group is called the Campus Antifascist Network (CAN), with the intent to counter “fascists” who are seen as taking advantage of “‘free speech’ as a façade for attacking faculty who have stood in solidarity with [targeted] students.”
In a recent interview to Inside Higher Ed, Mullen said that the goal of CAN is, “to drive racists off campuses and to protect the most vulnerable from fascist attack,” and “to build large, unified demonstrations against fascists on campuses when they come.”
When asked about CAN’s opinion on the use of force and violence, including the incident where a conservative student was attacked by masked Antifa members, Palumbo-Liu declared that CAN “would advocate self-defense and defense in various forms of those who are being threatened by fascists, but not violence.”
Palumbo-Liu was more direct and open about his resistance to Nazis, the alt-right, and white supremacists on college campuses. For him, his primary concern is such groups’ “propensity to physical violence, aggressive confrontation and provocation, and violations of others’ civil rights.”
Palumbo-Liu also mentioned in his blog that CAN would extend support to faculty members who fascists “aggressively sought to smear, bully and intimidate … especially faculty of color.”
“Progressive scholars such as Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor, Johnny Williams, Dana Cloud and George Ciccariello-Maher, among others, have each been threatened with violence, or firing, for strong anti-racist social justice commitments,” he claimed.
Palumbo-Liu and Mullen are also known to lead popular campaigns to boycott, sanction, and divest from Israel. In 2014, Mullen called on anti-Israel group Electronic Intifada to “de-Zionize our campuses.” In an article published in 2016, “9 things you need to know about the Israeli occupation of Palestine,” Palumbo-Liu advised readers to find non-Jewish news sources for their news and updates on the region. He also edited the article to delete his recommendation of ‘If Americans Knew’ from his list, after being criticized for suggesting a source that is known to regularly publish conspiracy theories about Jews.
CAN has published an open-for-all “anti-fascist syllabus” that “analyzes past and present contours of fascist thought and organizing in their various forms, and provides tools for understanding and for fighting fascism today … Primarily, the syllabus articulates fascism as an historical expression of capitalism’s tendency to exploit and dominate poor, working class, and oppressed people.”
“The syllabus is… intended for students, activists, teachers, unionists, workers, and communities: Muslims, Jews, women, LGBTQI+ individuals, socialists, communists, anarchists, people of color, working-class people, and the alternatively abled, and is an act of solidarity with these communities’ struggles for self-defense,” according to the description available on the free online document.
Content from several progressive and left-leaning outlets such as The Nation, the American Socialist Quarterly, Mother Jones, Socialist Register, and Jacobin magazine, has been incorporated into the syllabus created by CAN.
Following the protests in Charlottesville earlier this month, CAN invited more academics to join its organization and support the cause. According to several reports, the group has seen a surge in its membership.