Olaf Kosinsky

Students react to Alice Weidel cancelling Union talk

Far right leader of the AfD in Germany has cancelled her speech at the Oxford Union, following pressure from anti-racist campaigners.

This comes after Oxford’s Student Union and the Oxford University Labour Club both passed motions condemning the invitation for her to speak.

Protests had been planned from various groups for the duration of her speech.

A collective statement has been issued, signed by representatives twenty eight student societies. These included the Oxford SU Campaign for Racial Awarneess and Equality, Oxford SU Disability Campaign, Oxford SU LGBTQ+ Campaign, Oxford SU Women’s Campaign, Oxford SU Class Act, Free Education Oxford, Oxford Migrant Society, Common Ground Oxford, Oxford Left Network, Oxford Climate Justice Campaign, Oxford Central African Forum, Oxford Students’ Palestine Society, RS21 Oxford, Oxford University Hindu Society, Race and Resistance Network, Oxford Afghanistan Society, OULC, Oxford University LGBTQ+ Society, The Changing Character of War Research Group, Oxford Queer Studies Network, Oxford Sustainability Society, Oxford Pro-Choice Society, On Your Doorstep Homeless Campaign, Oxford South Asian Arts Society, Oxford Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy, Oxford University Living Wage Campaign, Oxford BAME Drama Society, ‘Hard to Get’ Research Group.

The statement says: “As Student Societies of Oxford University, we welcome the news that Alice Weidel will no longer be speaking at the Oxford Union next Wednesday. However, it is deeply regrettable that the Union saw fit to invite an unashamed racist to speak in the first place. We note that the Union has previously hosted speakers such as the BNP leader Nick Griffin, the leader of National Rally Marine Le Pen, and the Holocaust denier David Irving. This is not the first time that students have been forced to tell the Union that neither their values nor those of their speakers are acceptable and we don’t believe that it will be the last. We are proud of the collective effort of our community in opposing Weidel and the AfD and remain steadfast in our commitment to opposing fascism and racism, in all their forms”.

Kate Douglas from Oxford Stand Up To Racism said “This is an important victory for anti-racists. We were expecting hundreds to join our protest, and the cancellation shows that anti-racists can make a difference if they organise and mobilise.

She added: “All oppose the Oxford Union giving a platform to a representative of a party that is deeply racist and has Nazi members.  The AfD has built it’s fortunes on the racist scapegoating of Muslims, migrants and refugees and played a key role in neo-Nazis hunting migrants on the streets of Chemnitz.  Already we face a sharp rise in racist attacks and didn’t want racism being fuelled here.”

The Oxford Anti-Fascists, who were planning to protest the talk told The Oxford Student: “We are pleased to hear that Alice Weidel has cancelled. She was never welcome in Oxford and the Union should never have invited her. We will continue to mobilise against racist hate wherever it tries to raise its head. Oxford is anti-fascist!”

Weidel’s appearance at the Oxford Union was due to be on 7thNovember and she was one of the largest names on the termcard.