debate on Horowitz ad in the Progressive

George Snedeker snedeker at
Sun Mar 25 10:10:03 MST 2001

Debate on Horowitz Ad
Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive, recently published an
editorial criticizing the Brown students who protested the David Horowitz
ad and comparing them to "brownshirts" (see
Below is a response from a Brown student posted at The Progressive
website. --PG

To: editorial at
From: Shaun Joseph
Subject: Re: "Horowitz Flap Makes Left Look Bad"

Dear Mr. Rothschild,

I was very disappointed in the Progressive's recent Web editorial, "Horowitz
Flap Makes Left Look Bad." As a supporter of the multiracial coalition that
formed at Brown University to protest the Brown Daily Herald's printing of
and profiting from David Horowitz's lying, racist propaganda, I must say
your editorial did not have even half the story, at least as far as Brown is

The coalition that took the papers did so as a single, non-repeated act of
civil disobedience, after all avenues of negotiation with the Herald's
staff were closed off--by the editors' refusal to negotiate. I don't know if
you read Horowitz's ad, but the idea that it's an intelligent contribution
to the reparations debate is laughable. Horowitz claims that Blacks
benefited from slavery, and in fact prosper in America thanks to it; an
offense to
common sense if nothing else. The ad is NOT designed to promote dialogue or
debate, it is rather intended to alienate young people of color, and
the campus bigots. It is not an accident that Horowitz chose to launch his
campaign after the Bush coronation, when the right is trying to push through
a general program of reaction.

The question is not one of free speech--or if it is, it's of free speech for
David Horowitz, a well-funded racist, and something less for everyone else.
An extremely bigoted anti-gay column by a student was printed in the same
issue as the Horowitz ad, which evoked counter-speech, but not actions
the paper itself. What was so offensive to us was that the Herald, which
uses the University name and presents itself as THE student newspaper,
an empty vessel for hire to the likes of Horowitz, who does not have to
answer in any way to the community he slanders.

The comparison of us to "brownshirts" is particularly galling. Herald
editors told us confidently that they would print an advertisement claiming
that the
Holocaust never existed. And these bankrupts are our defense against
fascism? They are the standard-bearers of journalistic integrity? If you
want to know
how the corporate-media hacks learn that it's OK to speak any lie for money,
look no further than the youngsters running the Brown Daily Herald.

It's not simply a question of "good speech" and "bad speech." Horowitz is
spreading obvious lies, and we should not privilege his garbage by
that it's a serious argument in good faith. It is simply a
confidence-booster for bigots. And let us remember one thing (if nothing
else), that the civil
rights movement did not win by merely SAYING to the racists, "We are human
beings." The civil rights movement won because people ACTED like human
and fought the racists by any means necessary.

THIS, sir, is fundamental.

Sincerely, Shaun Joseph, Brown '02
International Socialist Organization

Perhaps if they had beat up Horowitz, you could call them Brown Shirts. G.S.

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