Nietzsche Club Banned at UCL


The Nietzsche Club was barred from holding meetings at University College London after a ruling that discussions about right-wing philosophers could encourage fascism and endanger the student body. As well as Nietzsche, a favorite of Benito Mussolini, the philosophers to be studied included Julius Evola and Martin Heidegger, who have been cited as inspiration by far-right politicians. The student society was never allowed to hold a public meeting after a series of posters advertising the new group appeared on campus. One asked if there was “too much political correctness?” Another claimed: “Equality is a false God.”

The rest of the story is here. The ban happened in March but is only now being publicized.

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Interested Grad Student
Interested Grad Student
6 years ago

I’m not sure the headline is accurate.

The text of the motion can be found here:

http://uclu.org/policy/up1343/motion-to-union-council-fight-fascism

The relevant resolutions are:

“This Union resolves
[1] To ban and otherwise prevent the installation of any further publicity of this group around UCLU buildings, and to urge UCL to adopt the same policy in the university buildings.
[2] To prevent any attempts by this group to hold meetings and organise events on campus.
[3] To reject any attempts by this group to seek affiliation and official recognition from UCLU as an official club or society.”

[1] and [3] appear, at least prima facie, to be within the Union’s competence, and [1] seems to recognize that they can’t make policy for UCL about university buildings. I’m not sure how to interpret [2]: unless only UCLU-approved organizations are allowed to meet on campus, it seems like nothing more than a vague aspiration that the authors of the resolution are powerless to enforce.

(I should add that the Nietzsche Club does seem like a rather banal pseudo-intellectual right-wing group—Evola and de Benoist aren’t serious philosophers on any reasonable reckoning—and not an organization whose purpose is to induce people to read or study or learn much about or from Nietzsche. But, of course, that in no way justifies attempts to suppress them. And of course no one who’s actually studied the relevant history would simply conflate fascism and right-wing traditionalism, however much one might dislike both.)Report

Kristina Meshelski
Kristina Meshelski
6 years ago

I don’t know about the general idea of the student union having the power to ban certain student groups without their having violated some pre-existing policy, but I have no sympathy for these would-be club members. They are clearly only interested in Nietzsche because they are racist. Fair for other students to object to such a group.Report

Interested Grad Student
Interested Grad Student
6 years ago

Well, hard right at least. There are plenty of disagreeable things in Evola, de Benoist, and some parts of Heidegger and Nietzsche to attract extreme conservatives; racism is only one of them.Report

jcee
6 years ago

Kristina Mishelski said: “They are clearly only interested in Nietzsche because they are racist.”

For the most part I would agree but in some in some of Nietzsche’s work there are grounds to believe his intent was misrepresented. Prior to his death his sister – Elisabeth Forster-Nietzsche – re-worked some of his writings, including sections of Will to Power, to make the writings appear more reflective of Nazi propaganda of the day… also probably with an eye to self-promotion. She was a rabid nationalist and known for her anti-Semitism. When the Nazis took power in 1933 the Nietzsche archive received publicity and funding from official channels.Report