A Portland, Oregon, professor says that cancel culture has come for him, and now his forthcoming book has been canceled.
On Twitter, author and professor Bruce Gilley — an Oxford-educated scholar who teaches at Portland State University — describes himself as the "Scourge of the academic left" and a "Pro-colonial professor," as well as a "Member of the board of the National Association of Scholars."
'The Last Imperialist' and calls for cancellation
As highlighted by the Daily Mail, Gilley recently announced that his book — which was set to be published later in October — was cancelled after a petition blasting him and his book for endorsing a "white nationalist perspective."
In an editorial published in the Wall Street Journal, Gilley said that he had been a victim of "Black Lives Matter moral panic" and as a result, a publisher cancelled the book.
The publisher, Rowman & Littlefield, yanked the book — a biography of imperialist Sir Alan Burns titled "The Last Imperialist: Sir Alan Burns' Epic Defense of the British Empire" — after Maoist philosopher Joshua Moufawad-Paul, of Toronto, Canada, crafted a petition claiming Gilley was "pro-colonial" and endorsed a "white nationalist perspective."
The petition, according to the outlet, also accused Gilley of engaging in a "pig-headed refusal to deal with the rigorous historical analyses" and called for his publisher to immediately terminate the series as it would only "lend academic credibility to paternalist and eurocentric revisionism and neo-colonial and settler-colonial propaganda and policy."
The petition apparently worked its magic and shortly after the petition went viral, the publishers notified Gilley that they would be cancelling the book's release.
'The Communist Necessity' and Gilley's defense
Gilley pointed out that Moufawad-Paul has a blog titled "Marxis-Leninist-Maoist Mayhem!" and has written a book called "The Communist Necessity."
The professor wrote, "'The Last Imperialist' is the culmination of five years of intensive primary source research into the life of Burns, who was a governor of the Gold Coast (now Ghana) and a prominent critic of rapid decolonization while serving at the United Nations after World War II."
"The book," he continued, "passed peer review with Lexington Books last December, and it carried endorsements from two giants in the field of colonial history, Jeremy Black and Tirthankar Roy. The book was already being sold to distributors and stores."
Gilley said that the greater series, "Problems of Anti-Colonialism" — of which he was a co-editor — also went through a peer review process.
According to the U.K.'s Times, "The Last Imperialist" was set to be the first volume in a planned "Problems of Anti-Colonialism' series.
"The series was planned as a forum for critical responses to the anti-colonial and 'decolonizing' intellectual projects that have become pervasive in global politics (and maybe in your workplace)," he added.
Of the abrupt cancellation of his latest work, he wrote, "I attribute the ease and suddenness of my latest cancellation to this year's Black Lives Matter moral panic."
"It has taken cultural totalitarianism to new levels, challenging the U.S. ethic of freedom," Gilley insisted.
Emboldened by the cancellation, according to Gilley, Moufawad-Paul "crowed about the success," and took to his blog where he lauded the publishers, which he said "paid attention to the academic community and Gilley's shameful series has been rejected.'"
'Liberal fair play is a tool of oppression'
Gilley said that the situation could be almost amusing, or at least has a silver lining.
"Watching this latest boxcar roll by in the sorry train of cancel culture may finally convince my center-left friends that the situation is dire," he added. "In recent years, many well-meaning bipartisan initiatives, like Heterodox Academy, have been launched to try to reinvigorate political diversity in the academy and more broadly in elite culture."
"But these are Enlightenment solutions to a totalitarian problem," he said. "Appeals to democratic principals won't move those who believe, like Lenin, that liberal fair play is a tool of oppression."
The professor continued, "The putrefaction of the university, and of elite American and European culture more generally, has made the task of rebuilding liberal institutions an urgent one. Gentlemanly appeals to open-minded debate are no longer enough."
His suggestions? Withholding federal funds from institutes of higher learning that demand students "learn grievance studies and maintain offices of diversity, equity, and inclusion."
Gilley concluded by pointing out that the "mob's takedown" of the series only shows its importance.
"The stage actors have appeared right on cue in this dramatization of what 'decolonizing' means for free speech," he warned. "Whatever the fate of our book series, freedom is needed more urgently than ever."