Nietzsche Club Banned

A club celebrating the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche has been banned from the University College London for promoting fascist ideology. A union motion, passed earlier this year, recently went into effect.

This may quickly draw ire from Nietzsche fans, as the German philosopher is often mistakenly associated with Nazi ideology. Nietzsche, who was a critic of anti-Semitism, was the victim of a posthumous campaign by his sister to manipulate his work to appeal to the then-rising German Nazi Party.

However, it seems the UCL Nietzsche Club is in fact celebrating that manipulated, racist, legacy. The official university motion accuses the group of promoting “far-right” and “fascist” ideologies.

One poster for the group  read: “Too much political correctness? Student club about traditionalist art and philosophy (Benoist, Heidegger, Evola). Interested?” Another read: “Equality is a false god.”

Alain de Benoist, was a French philosopher credited with founding the New Right and deeply opposes multiculturalism. He prefers instead a kind of “separate but equal” approach to civilization.

The motion to ban the group, passed earlier this year,  also cites the group’s connections to Traditional Britain, a right-wing organization, as a cause for concern. The Nietzsche Club, before being renamed, was called “Traditional UCL.”

A UCL Twitter account clarified that the group was not “technically banned,” but could not be affiliated with the school. The resolution, however, prevents the group from publicizing their group in UCL buildings and from holding events on campus.

UCL, the Daily Beast notes, has banned plenty of other items on campus.

Tom Slater, whose “Free Speech Now!” campaign calls for open dialogue on campuses, said the Nietzsche Club had joined an increasingly absurd list of objects, people, and pop songs banned from colleges. “In the U.K. over the past year alone, we’ve seen everything from Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ to tabloid newspapers like The Sun and The Daily Star banned by scores of student unions on just as tenuous grounds,” he said.

But while banning groups that promote racism is one thing, one has to wonder if this sort of intervention could set a precedent for other groups looking to celebrate thinkers like Nietzsche in a different way.

The motion lumped together Nietzsche, Heidegger, Benoist, and Evola and called them  philosophers of the “extreme right.” That’s problematic in a world where Nietzsche and Heidegger, for instance, have been an inspiration many leftist thinkers and politics. Heidegger, for instance, is a major influence of Jacques Derrida, a French Jew and outspoken critic of anti-Semitism. Nietzsche is widely utilized by a variety of thinkers such as Gilles Deleuze and Michel Foucault, the latter a vocal critic of prisons and the medicalization of homosexuality.

  • vincent m

    Julius Evola is most definitely a fascist, at any rate.

  • They will let anyone into college these days.

  • muckraker12

    “Maybe these continentals are on to something…”

  • separateness

    Equality is a moral value, though. Which is to say it has no reality outside of the human brain. And thinking so doesn’t make me fascist or ‘right’ by any means.

  • Paul P

    Nietzsche’s contempt for anti-semitism is fully compatible with the
    proto-fascistic character of his philosophy. It is not completely true
    to say Nietzsche’s racism is merely a false deception or manipulation by his sister or the Nazi Party. Despite Nietzsche’s rejection of traditional racism he still champions a theory of domination based on an inherited biological superiority of “master” types over the “herd”, the “strong” over the “weak”, etc. In Nietzsche’s mind Jews and other (European) races share this more primordial biological inheritance, distinguishing them from inferior slave types. It is a racism without race.

    Also, I don’t agree that Nietzsche’s “extreme right” status is problematic” simply because radical leftist intellectuals have
    appropriated and reinterpreted his thought. Does the fact that
    economists/capitalist ideologues make use of Marx’s work “problematize” Marx’s anti-capitalist credentials? Nietzsche’s ambiguous political status is a result of an academic trend beginning WWII which has constantly ignored or denied the aristocratic and anti-egalitarian political dimension of Nietzsche’s thought. Recent work (e.g. Detwiler, Appel, Dombowsky, Waite, Bull… ) challenging this trend has demonstrated this political dimension is not a mere extraneous shell but fundamental to Nietzsche’s most basic ideas and arguments.

    • SirMe

      The European races are the slaves in todays world, when one group commits racial suicide, one has to wonder who the real rulers are….