Another day, another student fiasco. This time the scene of the crime is the London School of Economics and a new campaign called LSE Class War, launched earlier this month with its own radical manifesto.
Among the (fairly standard) demands for this groups are call for a ‘private school free’ LSE – a policy which would necessitate the removal of many of its international students – and calls to ‘decolonise LSE’ with ethnic minority quotas for the hiring of academics. More unusual is the demand to ‘install a David Graeber lecture series to celebrate the life of the revered professor’ – a reference to the left-wing academic who died last year.
This call to celebrate one former LSE academic is all the more noteworthy when one considers the campaign’s treatment of those hailing from other intellectual traditions. The society’s regard for ‘revered’ academics evidently does not extend to one Freiderich von Hayek, one of the twentieth century’s greatest economists, who lectured at the university from 1931 until 1950 and who won the 1974 Nobel Prize. For LSE Class War, the free market ideas advanced by the Hayek Society – the club which bears the classical liberal’s name – must be eradicated as they are ‘harmful to marginalised students.’ Their Instagram page calls for:
The dissolution of HayekSoc and all other societies that call for the oppression of working class people from the LSESU. We believe in a no platform policy for those who discuss ideas which promote ideologies that are harmful to marginalised students. LSESU HayekSoc promotes free market fundamentalist views which outwardly call for the oppression of working class people. These kind of ideas have no place on campus. We also want other societies that promote these views to also be dissolved from the LSESU.
Steerpike wonders whether the class warriors are in fact aware that global poverty has halved since 1990 thanks to those dastardly free-markets which LSE Class War professes to despise.
As Maxwell Marlow, the vice president of HayekSoc told Mr S:
This group is, of course, made up of hypocrites. They may be hiding behind amateurish Instagram graphics but if their Marxist and Labour sister societies have anything to show, it’s that a private school education is the perfect credential for being left-wing at universities. If they want to make LSE private school free, their self-purging would make Stalin proud. In comparison, three out of four of Hayek Society’s leadership are working-class, state-educated students! For the many, not the fees. We are always happy to discuss our ideas with anyone. We know that we don’t need to shut down other people or ideas by force because our arguments are built on rationalism, empiricism, and are victorious simply because we show that freedom is the best antidote to tyranny and malaise. But if you can’t beat ‘em, apparently you should shut ‘em up.
Good to see all is not completely lost in the free speech war on campus.<//>
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