The California state director of the Minutemen (or Minutemensos) Civil Defense Corp, Carl Braun, was scheduled to speak at UCLA this evening, but the event was eventually cancelled. Braun was invited by members of a student group, LOGIC (Liberty Objectivity Greed Indiviudalism Capitalism), to debate a member of the Ayn Rand Institute on the issue of immigration.
Needless to say, pro-immigration students weren’t too happy when they heard the news and saw the Facebook announcements. From their point of view, the Minutemen are vigilantes promoting a racist agenda. A flier for the protest called on students, professors and community members to “say no to hate” and featured an image of skinheads carrying Nazi and Confederate flags.
Over the weekend, Chicano and Latino student groups spread the word via e-mail, Facebook and MySpace announcements. They planned a protest objecting Braun’s appearance and what they called “hate speech.”
I’m not much of a fan of the Minutemen either, and decided to join the protest. I showed up around 6:30 to find classmates and a bunch of other students gathered outside of Moore Hall. A sign announced that the event had been cancelled and one of the student leaders mentioned that LOGIC cancelled because they could not cover security cost. They saw the cancellation as a victory, but the view from LOGIC was different.
Arthur Lechtholz-Zey of LOGIC blamed UCLA, “if UCLA truly cared about intellectual discourse, about the free expression of ideas, about scholarly debate, they would have made an effort to make the event move forward. Instead, they put up obstacle after obstacle” (LOGIC’s explanation).
Even though the immigration debate was cancelled, pro-immigration students still gathered and spoke out against their opponents. About 250 students and community members (including high school students and members of the Brown Berets attended.