Oxford goes radical


A speaker at the Oxford Radical Forum last week condemned American foreign policy, saying that Barack Obama “does not have any regard for Pakistani sovereignty.”

John Rees, a political activist, broadcaster and writer, and a national officer of the Stop the War Coalition spoke on Sunday to address the question of whether the recent death of Osama Bin Laden would help to end the war on terror.

Rees, who was formerly a member of the Socialist Workers’ Party, argued that Bin Laden’s death would not achieve this end, and accused the America of wanting to “interfere in Syria as they have interfered in the Libyan revolution.”

He claimed that the legacy of Geroge Bush’s efforts to realign the international balance in favour of America would still continue, and that there has been no change in the way in which “imperialism confronts the obstacles to it”.

Nick Evans, a History and Russian student at Wadham College, and an organiser of the event, said that one of the forum’s strengths is the opportunity it provides to debate the “reaction to a specific event and contextualise it into the general period,” and added that the timing of this year’s forum – in the wake of recent events in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East, was particularly beneficial to providing interesting issues for debate.

The fourth annual Oxford Radical Forum, held mostly at Wadham College, featured eight different talks as well as a film screening and a club night at Babylove Bar.

Issues covered over the four days included “open-source culture”, the Libyan revolution, and Marxism and radical history.