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Solidarity with the Student Protesters for Palestine



Thousands of students in colleges across the country have continued the growing protests on their campuses despite repression by university administrations and the government to end them.  These protests have been held in order to pressure their universities to stop supporting genocide in Gaza through their investments and their support for the apartheid regime of Israel.  The protests have also called for a ceasefire in Gaza and an end to Zionist oppression of the Palestinian people.

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Columbia students rally for Palestine

The campus actions come after months of protests across the country and across the world in opposition to what the International Court of Justice has called a “plausible” case that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza.  Despite this finding, Israel has doubled down on its war against the people of Gaza and Palestine and the US has upped its support for Israel, most recently with a new 26-billion-dollar aid package.


The campus protests have been happening across the country for some time but on April 17th, the students at Columbia University upped the ante and set up an encampment on their campus to maintain a permanent presence for Palestine; a fitting action given the fact that Israel has destroyed all the universities in Gaza.


On the same day that the encampment was set up, Minouche Shafik, the president of Columbia, testified before Congress in Washington, D.C. where she supported the false claims that the protests are antisemitic. She announced that she has fired a professor who expressed support for the Palestinian resistance, and she has since called the police onto the campus to put down the demonstrations.  Dozens of students have been arrested and many expelled.


Minouche shafik herself has previously held jobs with various imperialist organizations.  She was a former World Bank vice president, former International Monetary Fund [IMF] deputy managing director, former British Department for International Development permanent secretary and former Bank of England deputy governor and is presently a 2022-appointed Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Board member. 


The presidents of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard had previously been called before congress for McCarthyite interrogation to pressure them to curtail freedom of speech and clamp down on campus protests at their schools.  This interrogation caused both college presidents to resign. 


However, the repression of the student protesters has not stopped them, and in fact the protest at Columbia has grown in size and spread to campuses throughout the country.  Occupations and civil disobedience actions on the campuses are now also happening at UC Berkeley, The New School, NYU, Rutgers, Tufts, Vanderbilt, Yale, the University of Minnesota and many other places as the list grows daily.   Additionally, at Columbia, Barnard and other schools the faculty has come out to defend the students, and support freedom of speech and assembly on their campuses.  


With the school year coming to an end and graduations happening across the country the administrations are concerned that the graduation ceremonies could be disrupted by protest.  There is also a concern that with elections coming up in November, the protests are exposing the role of the US government and the Biden administration as being complicit in supporting genocide. 

Columbia 1968

In 1968, Columbia University decide it would knock down the homes of the people in the surrounding Harlem community to build a new gym.  This, happening in the context of growing opposition to the Vietnam war and led to a student rebellion that took over buildings on the campus.  The police violently removed the protesters from the Columbia buildings as students fought back.  This was the beginning of the protest movement that swept the country and the campuses and led to the police and national guard murders of students at Kent and Jackson State Universities.  These murders were followed by protests that shut down universities across the country.  Such an event today could have much more far-reaching consequences as US imperialism and Zionism have been exposed as never before, the US and its NATO allies are being defeated in Ukraine and their economic structures are being challenged.


UNAC urges total support for the student actions and demands.


Freedom of speech and assembly on the campuses and schools!


End McCarthyite repression!


Amnesty for all students charged or expelled!


Free Palestine!