George Ciccariello-Maher

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George Ciccariello-Maher
George Joseph Ciccariello-Maher IV

(1979-03-12) March 12, 1979 (age 40)
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley
ThesisIdentity against Totality: the Counterdiscourse of Separation beyond the Decolonial Turn (2010)
Doctoral advisorWendy Brown
Academic work
DisciplinePolitical theorist

George Ciccariello-Maher (born March 12, 1979) is an American political scientist who was an associate professor of politics and global studies at Drexel University. After a tweet reputedly mocking the white genocide conspiracy theory, as well as other statements, Ciccariello-Maher was placed on administrative leave and later resigned from Drexel due to "death threats and threats of violence."

Academic career[edit]

Ciccariello-Maher did his undergraduate work at St. Lawrence University and Cambridge University, where he was a Davies-Jackson Scholar. He then completed a master's degree at University of California, Berkeley before taking a sabbatical in Mexico. After returning he finished a Ph.D in political science from Berkeley in 2010, and was then appointed as assistant professor of politics and global studies at Drexel University in Philadelphia the same year. He was promoted to associate professor in 2016.[1][2]

He is the author of three books. Ciccariello-Maher's first book, We Created Chavez: A People's History of the Venezuelan Revolution, concerns Hugo Chavez's Bolivarian Revolution. In a review for the academic journal Latin American Politics and Society, assistant professor Erica S. Simmons of the University of Wisconsin said, "Ciccariello-Maher offers valuable insight into what the coming years may bring."[3] He has translated books by Enrique Dussel, Immanuel Wallerstein, and Stefan Gandler, and is co-editor (with Bruno Bosteels) of the book series "Radical Américas," published by Duke University Press. He is a member of the editorial collective of Abolition: A Journal of Insurgent Politics.[4]

Ciccariello-Maher has served as a media commentator on Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution,[5] the role of white supremacy in the killings of Trayvon Martin,[6] Mike Brown, Freddie Gray and Philando Castile,[7] the Ferguson unrest and 2015 Baltimore protests,[8] and the abolition of the police.[9]

In October 2017, he became the subject of controversy after tweeting "All I Want for Christmas is White Genocide".[10] Following this and several other controversial tweets he had posted, Drexel University placed Ciccariello-Maher on administrative leave. On December 28, Ciccariello-Maher announced his resignation from Drexel, effective December 31, citing "nearly a year of harassment by right-wing, white supremacist media outlets and Internet mobs, after death threats and threats of violence directed against me and my family."[11]

In January 2018, Cicarriello-Maher announced on Facebook that he was now a visiting scholar at New York University's Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics.[10]


While in England, Ciccariello-Maher was a member of the Cambridge collective Anti-Capitalist Action, and was later arrested during the 20 March 2003 anti-war protest known as "Day X" that marked[clarification needed] the beginning of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[12][13][14] When four members were rusticated from King's College, Cambridge in 2002 for their participation in a squatted social center, Ciccariello-Maher co-authored an appeal document that resulted in their reinstatement.[15]

Ciccariello-Maher was a member of Bring the Ruckus, co-founded by the late Joel Olson.[16] In Oakland, he was arrested for involvement in the protests that followed the shooting death of Oscar Grant by transit officer Johannes Mehserle.[17]

Ciccariello-Maher supports Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution.[5] During opposition protests in early 2014, he appeared on Democracy Now to discuss his views of protesters' support for opposition leaders like Leopoldo López.[18] He has also been critical of those on the left and anarchists who have supported the Venezuelan opposition during those protests.[19]

Social media controversies[edit]

Ciccariello-Maher was active on social media, where his statements have created controversy, including calls for his dismissal.[20] His writing in Salon that "Riots Work"[21][22] claims that racism against white people is imaginary and that the police should be abolished. In 2015, he tweeted that a South Carolina school police officer, who lost his job after body-slamming a black female student during an arrest, should be done "like Old Yeller."[2]

On Christmas Eve 2016, Ciccariello-Maher tweeted, "All I Want for Christmas is White Genocide."[23] Ciccariello-Maher stated the tweet was sent in response to a racist backlash against State Farm Insurance for purportedly advancing "white genocide" by depicting an interracial couple in an advertisement.[24][25][26][27]

On Christmas Day, Drexel issued a public statement distancing itself from Ciccariello-Maher's tweet:

Drexel became aware today of Associate Professor George Ciccariello-Maher's inflammatory tweet, which was posted on his personal Twitter account on Dec[ember] 24, 2016. While the University recognizes the right of its faculty to freely express their thoughts and opinions in public debate, Professor Ciccariello-Maher's comments are utterly reprehensible, deeply disturbing, and do not in any way reflect the values of the University.

The University is taking this situation very seriously. We contacted Ciccariello-Maher today to arrange a meeting to discuss this matter in detail.

Ciccariello-Maher responded by stating that "white genocide" is an "imaginary concept... invented by white supremacists," adding that "It is a figment of the racist imagination, it should be mocked, and I'm glad to have mocked it." He criticized Drexel's response, which "amounts to caving to the truly reprehensible movements and organizations that I was critiquing... White supremacy is on the rise, and we must fight it by any means. In that fight, universities will need to choose whether they are on the side of free expression and academic debate, or on the side of the racist mob."[28]

Some critics dismissed the Drexel statement as a misinterpretation of the tweet,[26] and for infringing on Ciccariello-Maher's academic freedom and due process.[29] Hank Reichman, chair of the American Association of University Professors Committee on Academic Freedom, suggested that "Drexel should apologize to Professor Cicciariello-Maher."[30]

In March 2017, Ciccariello-Maher was again criticized for tweeting that he was "trying not to vomit or yell about Mosul" when a soldier was given a seat by a passenger in first class, on a flight he was on two days after the U.S. bombing of Mosul killed 200 civilians.[31][32]

Drexel's provost M. Brian Blake began an investigation into Ciccariello-Maher's communication on Twitter in April 2017.[33][needs update]

Shortly after the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, Ciccariello-Maher posted tweets saying the mass shooting in Las Vegas, which left 59 people dead and hundreds injured, was the product of a system that favors white males. His statements, such as "It's the white supremacist patriarchy, stupid", resulted in a number of death threats. Subsequently, he wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post in which he elaborated on his tweets, stating "I tweeted before then diagnosing a sense of double entitlement—as white people and as men—that, when frustrated, can occasionally lead to violent consequences."[34]


  • Ciccariello-Maher, George (2013). We Created Chávez: A People's History of the Venezuelan Revolution. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-82235-452-9. OCLC 963857640.
    • Spanish translation: Nosotros creamos a Chávez: Una historia popular de la revolución venezolana. Translated by Valentina Figuera.
    • French translation: La révolution au Venezuela: Une histoire populaire. Translated by Étienne Dobenesque.
    • Arabic translation: نحن من صنعنا تشافيز تاريخٌ شعبيٌّ للثورةِ الفنزولية. Translated by Bassam Abu-Ghazalah.



  1. ^ Ciccariello-Maher 2012.
  2. ^ a b "How a Christmas Eve tweet roiled a university (Philadelphia Inquirer)". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  3. ^ Simmons, Erica S. (Winter 2013). "Review: We Created Chavez: A People's History of the Venezuelan Revolution by George Ciccariello-Maher". Latin American Politics and Society. 55 (4): 208–211. JSTOR 43286500 – via JSTOR.
  4. ^ "Abolition: People". Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Ciccariello-Maher, George (March 13, 2014). "Venezuelan Jacobins". Jacobin. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  6. ^ "Black Skin, White Justice (Counterpunch)". Retrieved August 11, 2016.
  7. ^ "Yes, Philando Castile Was Killed for the Color of His Skin (Jacobin)". Retrieved August 11, 2016.
  8. ^ "Ferguson: Breaking Out of the Post-Racial Hypnosis, an interview with George Ciccariello-Maher (Roar Magazine)". Retrieved August 11, 2016.
  9. ^ "We must disband the police: Body cameras aren't enough—only radical change will stop cops who kill (". Retrieved August 11, 2016.
  10. ^ a b Silva, Cristina (January 2, 2018). "Professor warns America is 'at war' with alt-right and white nationalists, 'Academia is a crucial front in that war'". Newsweek. Archived from the original on January 7, 2018. Retrieved January 6, 2018. Ciccariello-Maher, a white man, first made national headlines after he wrote on Twitter in December 2016: "All I want for Christmas is white genocide." He then wrote: “To clarify: when the whites were massacred during the Haitian revolution, that was a good thing indeed.”
  11. ^ Gray, Melissa (December 28, 2017). "Drexel professor resigns amid threats over controversial tweets". CNN. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  12. ^ "Johann Hari, Champagne anarchists (The New Statesman)". Retrieved August 11, 2016.
  13. ^ "Letters: A class in anti-capitalism (The New Statesman)". Retrieved August 11, 2016.
  14. ^ "Johann Hari, Is Anti-Globalisation Just Mindless Ranting? (The Independent)". Retrieved August 11, 2016.
  15. ^ "Report to the Review Body" (PDF). Retrieved August 11, 2016.
  16. ^ "Class War University: Against Academic Alibis, The Best Education is the Struggle – An Interview with George Ciccariello-Maher". Retrieved August 11, 2016.
  17. ^ "Raider Nation, Volume 1: From the January Rebellions to Lovelle Mixon and Beyond" (PDF). Retrieved August 11, 2016.
  18. ^ "Venezuelan Protests: Another Attempt by U.S.-Backed Right-Wing Groups to Oust Elected Government? (Democracy Now)". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  19. ^ "El Libertario: beware Venezuela's false 'anarchists' (Roar Magazine)". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  20. ^ Jaschik 2017.
  21. ^ "Riots work: Wolf Blitzer and the Washington Post completely missed the real lesson from Baltimore (Salon)". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  22. ^ "Left Explicitly Condones Anti-Trump Violence". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  23. ^ "White supremacist Christmas! Right-wing media spent the holiday snuggling up to overt racism". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  24. ^ "Interracial Couple Ad Has White Racist Trolls Deep In Their Feelings". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  25. ^ "Drexel University Condemns Tweet by Professor (Teen Vogue)". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  26. ^ a b "Drexel University, Apparently Unfamiliar With White Supremacist Lingo, Censures Prof For "White Genocide" Tweet (Slate)". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  27. ^ "There Is No Such Thing as "White Genocide" (Jezebel)". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  28. ^ "Drexel Condemns Professor's Tweet (Inside Higher Ed)". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  29. ^ "Another university flunks the free-speech test (Los Angeles Times)". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  30. ^ "Drexel Must Defend Academic Freedom (Academe Blog)". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  31. ^ Sharman, Jon (March 30, 2017). "Professor 'tried not to vomit' when passenger gave up seat for soldier". The Independent. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  32. ^ "Professor tweets 'trying not to vomit' after passenger gives up seat to soldier". USA Today. March 31, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2017. He said he felt compelled to say something about Mosul, because the incident took place two days after reports that 200 civilians were killed in a coalition airstrike in Mosul, where U.S.-backed Iraqi forces are clearing the city of Islamic State militants.
  33. ^ Flaherty, Colleen (April 18, 2017). "Looking Into Tweets". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  34. ^ Quintana, Chris (October 10, 2017). "Drexel Puts Professor on Leave After Tweet About Las Vegas Draws Conservative Ire". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved October 13, 2017.


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