Anarchist conference descends into chaos

Portland State University students disrupted a panel on anarchy in protest against speaker Kristian Williams

Heather Saul@heatheranne9
Wednesday 14 May 2014 11:18
Kristian Williams (L) was due to speak at the fifth annual Law and Disorder Conference
Kristian Williams (L) was due to speak at the fifth annual Law and Disorder Conference

Campus police were called to a Portland university campus when a conference including a panel on anarchy quickly descended into chaos.

The annual Law and Disorder Conference (LDC) had invited anarchist author Kristian Williams to speak at the conference entitled 'Informants: Types, Cases and Warning Signs' at Portland State University, where “rabble rousers, trouble makers and luddites” were welcome to attend, according to the LDC's website.

The group may have later come to regret this extended welcome after protesters descended on the conference, apparently upset by Williams' presence because of controversial comments he made in his essay 'The Politics of Denunciation' when discussing sexual assault and survivors.

Video footage saw Portland State University students chanting “we will not be silenced in the face of violence,” while some shouted “no-one speaks for me, I speak for myself” and others insisted they would “not live in a patriarchal society”.

Another cried “f*** Kristian Williams and f*** you trying to silence us” closely followed by "f*** you pig" to whoops and cheers from the audience.

After campus staff took the stage, the calls changed to a simple f*** you!” before the “we will not be silenced in the face of your violence” chanting resumed again.

When staff announced that police had been called, Williams then found himself accused of “co-operating with police”, with PSU students claiming: “Kristian Williams wants people to get arrested instead of walking out the f****** door.”

The panellists appeared to have had enough by this point and chose to flee the building before security arrived, with one explaining: "I personally do not feel safe in this place and I am gonna leave because the police are coming."

The Law and Disorder Committee has been quick to stress they did not call campus police via a statement released on Facebook, which said: “Due to concerns of the safety of those involved, a Student Activities and Leadership Program (SALP) adviser was present at the event at their own behest.

"Concerned by the tone of the protest, they chose to have Campus Public Safety Office called. When campus public safety arrived the choice was made by the panelists to leave to avoid any confrontations with the protesters and the CPSO.

“In summation: the CPSO were called by the school. Considering that the event is held at and funded by the school, the organisers were unable to prevent that, and the panellists dispersed to prevent action being taken by the CPSO.”

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