OULC denounces John Bolton invitation

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The Oxford University Labour Club (OULC) has voted to boycott the appearance of Ambassador John R. Bolton at the Oxford Union. President Trump’s National Security Advisor is set to deliver a talk at the Union on 1st June.

The OULC cited Bolton’s involvement in the lies spread about weapons of mass destruction leading up to the Iraq war, his prevention of the investigation of alleged war crimes committed by Americans in Afghanistan and his current push for war with Iran and intervention in Venezuela as reasons to boycott the visit. 

The statement, published today, reads: “The Oxford Union has continued to invite far-right speakers, this time inviting US National Security Advisor John Bolton. Bolton has a history of involvement in illegal wars and covering up war crimes, most notably as one of the architects of the Iraq war, and one of the chief propagators of the lies around WMDs that lead Britain and the US to declare war. He is currently creating and promoting war propaganda against Iraq, claiming to have evidence of Iranian attacks in the Persian Gulf that would lead the US (and likely some US allies) into another murderous regime-change war. By providing a platform to such a dangerous figure, The Oxford Union is sending a clear signal that Bolton’s history and current actions, which can only lead to further killings of civilians abroad, are acceptable in British public discourse. OULC stands firmly against this, and so condemns the Union for inviting Bolton, as well as encourages any Union members to boycott this event.”

After debating the condemnation of Bolton’s visit and the plan to protest outside the Union, the OULC resolved to amend the motion and boycott the appearance rather than protest publicly, desiring to reserve such protest for more explicitly controversial figures.

Interest in boycotting Bolton’s visit was also expressed on the Facebook group ‘Boycott the Oxford Union’, the campaign which boycotted the visit of Katie Hopkins and encouraged MP Naz Shah to pull out from the event in protest. No official protest has yet been planned for Bolton’s visit.

Image credit: Gage Skidmore