For many students, walking to class may take you through Morisset Terrance. On a regular day, the plain concrete surface is home to cigarette butts and abandoned pieces of gum. It’s nothing special—simply a part of a student’s route to class. Tuesday, Sept. 13, the plain and boring slab of concrete was a stage for a rather excitable group of communists and prospective revolutionaries. The comrades in question were (ironically) selling radical books for profit to the student population.
I usually pay no attention to such things; people have different views and campuses must continue to be a space where different ideas are shared and debated. However, hidden off to the side of a table, part of the “Radical Book Fair”, I noticed a disturbing symbol. The symbol—which represents to millions nothing but suffering and death throughout the world—is the hammer and sickle.
According to Tribute to Liberty, an organization backing the upcoming Memorial to the Victims of Communism project, “in Canada, over 8 million people trace their roots to countries that suffered under Communism.” The hammer and sickle, a symbol used by countless communist dictators, drips in the blood of its millions of victims: decent people who faced persecution for refusing to adhere to a radical ideology. It represents for millions throughout the world, the face of an evil state which suppressed individualism, human rights, and democracy.
Canada stands tall in the free world as a country of hope and opportunity, values which are inherently incompatible with the toxic ideology of communist sympathizers. Ironically, once again, these “communists and prospective revolutionaries” use their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech to boast about regimes where no such rights exist.
I’ll be the first to say, communist radicals should continue to enjoy their right to speak about their ideas, no matter how baneful they are. However, their activities must be on their own dime.
Through an organization called OPIRG (The Ontario Public Interest Research Group), communist groups that proudly wave the hammer and sickle, look up to villains like Stalin and Mao, and defend the unlawful persecution of millions, continue to enjoy healthy funding. OPIRG, in turn, receives a per-student levy enforced by the SFUO. Although students have the opportunity to receive a refund for their share of the levy, the period to do so is short and poorly advertised. Students don’t know what OPIRG is and are therefore unknowingly supporting radical causes.
I therefore call upon the SFUO executive to revisit their constitutionally guaranteed OPIRG levy which, without proper consent, forces thousands of students to support political radicalism on campus and across Ottawa.
—Marcus R. Mattinson, fourth-year Public Administration/Political
Science student at the U of O