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Student Activism

The Crackdown On Campus Protests Is Just Beginning

On April 24, as students were wrapping up their semester at Indiana University (IU) in Bloomington, the school’s provost convened an ad hoc committee to discuss a planned protest against the war in Gaza that was set to begin the following day. It was less than a week after Columbia University had called in the NYPD to break up an encampment in Manhattan, arresting more than 100 students, and tensions were running high nationwide. Already, over the winter, Indiana University had suspended a professor for sponsoring a talk by the student Palestine Solidarity Committee and canceled a major retrospective exhibition — in the works for years — by the 87-year-old Palestinian American painter and IU alumnus Samia Halaby, an outspoken critic of the Israeli occupation.

Divestment At The University Of Edinburgh

This Monday 17th June 2024, the University of Edinburgh Court rules on a historical decision on whether or not to begin an active and immediate process of divestment from ‘controversial weapons’ complicit in Palestinian dispossession and Israeli settler colonialism, which the University has been entangled with for well over a century.  The ruling of the court could mean immediate divestment from companies like Amazon and Alphabet as their ‘AI solutions’ might be plausibly in use in the mass targeting of civilians in Gaza. This would set a grand precedent and would serve as a concrete step to reducing our institutional complicity in violence against Palestinians.

UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Unleashes Police Mayhem Against Students

Before midnight on May 30, 2024, police officers from across California descended on the Gaza Solidarity encampment at UC Santa Cruz. Numbering in the few hundreds, police from the UC Santa Cruz, UC San Francisco, UC Davis, UC Riverside, as well as San Jose, San Bruno, San Mateo, Daly City, Pacifica, South San Francisco, Santa Clara, and Watsonville police departments, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, and the California Highway Patrol responded to a request, authorized by UCSC Chancellor Cynthia Larive, for “mutual aid.” What ensued was a brutal multi-agency assault by CHP and other police against unarmed protesters that lasted for nine hours and resulted in significant injuries.

Students, Gaza And A New Vision Of Safety

The sign hanging over the student encampment at Chicago’s DePaul University bore a slogan that has echoed through almost all of the justice movements over the past several years: ​“We Keep Us Safe.” The tents beneath it fragile, just a thin layer of canvas between the students and the rest of the world. A statement of purpose and of solidarity; a reminder of the tents so many Palestinians in Gaza are living in right now as they move, and move again, and move again from homes destroyed by U.S.-made bombs delivered by Israeli planes into supposed safe zones. But is there a safe zone when its safety is declared by the people who have declared war on you?

Corporate Media Push Conspiracy Theories To Discredit Students

Across corporate media, journalists and pundits introduced conspiracy theories to discredit the pro-Palestine student protest movement, particularly that they are funded by foreign countries or “outside agitators.” MSNBC‘s Joe Scarborough (5/9/24) went on a rant about the college students who have been staging the protests, suggesting to guest Hillary Clinton that they were influenced by China or Qatar: I’m going to talk about radicalism on college campuses. The sort of radicalism that has mainstream students getting propaganda, whether it’s from their professors or whether it’s from Communist Chinese government through TikTok, calling the president of the United States “Genocide Joe.” Calling you and President Clinton war criminals. Eventually, he called the students “extremists—I’m sorry—funded by Qatar.”

Every Single Day, Biden Chooses To Continue Funding Genocide

A dozen Debt Collective members were arrested when a coalition of students, debtors and cease-fire activists gathered recently in Washington, D.C. with a simple demand: ​“Fund Education, Not Genocide.” Pointing to the Biden administration’s use of executive powers to approve millions of dollars in arms shipments to Israel — and his refusal to use that same authority to advance student debt relief — Debt Collective organizers marched from the Department of Education to the Capitol to make their voices heard. Democratic Congresswomen Cori Bush (D-MO) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) addressed the crowd, urging attendees to keep the pressure on the Biden administration. ​

Lessons From The Wayne State University Encampment

Amid the latest military offensive in Rafah, the movement in solidarity with Palestine has remained active. Students across the country have been at the vanguard, setting up encampments and demanding that their universities divest from the Israeli war machine. The response from university administrations has been repression so intense that it has sparked broad outrage and condemnation because of its chilling effect on the right to protest and dissent. The intense crackdowns have led sectors of the movement to take up the issue of repression as a central part of the fight for Palestine.

Pro-Palestinian Protesters Re-Establish An Encampment

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - At least 200 Pro-Palestinian protesters gathered outside of the Cathedral of Learning lawn on Sunday evening to re-establish a “Palestine solidarity encampment.” At least one person was arrested. This comes over a month after the previous “Gaza solidarity encampment,” which saw a large group of protesters set up camp in Schenley Park for nearly a week. The protests began at the Cathedral lawn around 5:30 p.m. on Sunday evening. The protestors set up wooden barricades and fences to block police from entering the encampment. As the evening went on, more protesters joined the initial group.

Chicano Students Walkout For Principal To Get Job Back

Los Angeles, CA – On the morning of May 28, over 100 Chicano students at Mendez High School walked out of their classes. Students were demanding that their school principal Mauro Bautista be brought back after mysteriously being removed for more than a month now from the school. Starting at 9 a.m., the students walked out of their classes and marched along the front of the school, holding a banner that read, “Free Jefe!” After the march and coming back to school premises, the students refused to return to classes and staged a sit-in, where organizers read their demands and made speeches. Their demands were clear

Union Power Can Change Campus Protests Forever

Strikes are different from protests. Though protesters frequently say that they are making ​“demands,” it is more accurate to say they are making requests. Protests rely on persuasion. Their persuasion may be gentle, or it may be aggressive. It may rely on moral shaming to get its point across, or it may rely on the elevation of awareness, or it may rely on the pure intimidation of numbers. But protests, for all of their righteous fury and necessity, lack the legal ability to shut things down until change is achieved. Strikers, on the other hand, can truly make demands. Their proposition is simple: No work will get done until a change is made.

Gaza Encampments Have Spread Across The United Kingdom

I’m an American PhD student here at Oxford and it’s been very interesting talking to U.S. universities, coordinating with U.S. universities, and thinking about how to make our actions in the UK as effective as possible. We put our encampment up here at Oxford at the same time as Cambridge, on May 6th. The momentum is tremendous and the coalition that we built at this university is absolutely unprecedented. We’re also facing repression, but the difference between here and the U.S. is that that U.S. repression is far more visible, the violence is far more visible. Here, especially at places like Oxford which are such unchanging institutions for centuries, the way that they are trying to to battle us is much different. So far that’s largely meant doing strategic gymnastics to avoid us.

Drexel Students Set Up Palestine Encampment, Call For Divestment

Philadelphia, PA — Students at Drexel University established an encampment in support of divesting from Israel on May 18, following a rainy Nakba Day commemoration march from Center City that started around 4 p.m. Philadelphia and Drexel police officers quickly surrounded the encampment with a ring of metal barricades and largely barred additional people from entering; this was apparently at the orders of Drexel’s campus police chief. There was a brief struggle over the metal barricade components, and at one point an officer brandished a Taser at the crowd but was pulled back by another, shortly after our reporters got onsite. As of late Monday the encampment was still in place.

The Threat Of Democracy On Campus At The University Of Massachusetts

Before arriving at UMass Amherst last fall, Chancellor Javier Reyes was already notorious for his cavalier approach to critics. But few foresaw what he did on May 7. Earlier that day, organizers from a coalition of campus solidarity groups had erected tents on a small section of the lawn by W.E.B. Du Bois Library. Like virtually all the recent encampments in this country, there was no hint of violence from the campers. It was the latest tactic in a seven-month campaign to end UMass’s complicity with the US-Israeli war on Gaza. The organizers had four demands: that UMass disclose its financial ties to weapons makers and corporations with links to Israel, that it divest from those corporations, that it end study abroad programs in Israel, and that it drop all charges and sanctions against the students arrested in a peaceful building occupation last October.

University Of California Student Workers Begin Historic Political Strike

On May 20, University of California (UC) student and postdoc workers at the Santa Cruz campus began a historic strike against the repression of the student movement. UAW 4811, which represents over 48,000 workers, voted last week to authorize a strike in response to intense repression unleashed against students and faculty protesting for Palestine. Administrators at several University of California campuses invited in the police, who violently arrested and injured students, faculty, and staff. Many workers and students across the UC system also face disciplinary action from their universities, including suspension.

The Billionaires And Establishment Officials Unleashing Violence

It has been weeks since the brutal state repression and right-wing violence unleashed against some of the most prominent Gaza Solidarity Encampments, including the encampments at the University of California – Los Angeles and Columbia University. Since then, independent reporting has uncovered disturbing links between extreme-right counterprotesters and billionaire donors, as well as collusion between city officials and police conducting violent repression. At UCLA, Zionist counterprotesters conducted several rounds of attacks against the Gaza Solidarity Encampment. Student organizers reported counterprotesters releasing bags of mice injected with an unknown substance, as well as cockroaches.
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