Revolution #66, October 22, 2006
Statement by New York City Branch of the Revolutionary Communist Party,USA:
Support the Columbia Student Protesters Against Fascist Vigilante Minutemen
No Charges, No Discipline Against the Protesters
No Human Being is Illegal
Wednesday, October 4, students at Columbia University took the stage with a banner saying “No One Is Illegal” in three languages to protest the appearance of Jim Gilchrist and two other leaders of the Minutemen hosted by the College Republicans of Columbia University. These students were widely supported on campus, by the audience at the event and by hundreds of demonstrators on the street outside. When they unfurled their banner they were physically attacked by the campus Republicans hosting the event (see video at youtube.com) and the event was then shut down.
A frenzy of accusations that the Minutemen were victimized by “progressive secular fascists” exploded on Fox News, the internet and in New York’s tabloid newspapers. Bill O’Reilly’s Talking Points of October 6th said: “All over the country these kinds of fascist tactics are being used by fanatical secular progressives who seek to impose their views on others, and silence and/or harm people who oppose them… This kind of anti-American behavior must be condemned by all Americans.”
New York City Mayor Bloomberg and Columbia University President Bollinger both issued statements attacking the students in the name of “academic freedom.” Campus security is investigating activists, including combing FaceBook, a huge campus-oriented internet network, for on-line organizing for the action. The university is under intense political lynch-mob pressure to penalize the students, with demands from Bill O’Reilly et al: “Columbia University must be held to account. Alumni should stop all donations to Columbia.”
Who are these Minutemen?
The Minutemen are a fascist paramilitary organization that advocates and deploys armed patrols on the border to hunt down immigrants like animals. They advocate and organize the removal of water and food stations maintained by religious and other concerned individuals to save the lives of people forced to cross through dangerous and isolated desert terrain.
Quoted in Revolution newspaper, Enrique Morones of the group Border Angels said, “Before I.N.S.’s Operation Gatekeeper, which was implemented in 1994, there was one estimated death along the border every month. Since then, an estimated 4,000 people have died trying to cross the border.” Morones told Revolution that 4,000 bodies have been accounted for, but that the realistic number may be considerably higher, “possibly as much as 10,000 deaths.” According to Morones, “This increased militarization and vigilantes like the Minutemen have forced migrants to more extreme and remote parts of the desert. Since last year, there have been over 464 migrant deaths—a number higher than the previous year.” ("The Minutemen - Enforcers of Death on the Border & Promoters of Racist Hatred," Revolution #45, revcom.us)
Today huge migrations of people are thrown from one end of the world to another by the race of imperialist capital for the highest profit. Under NAFTA and other treaties, millions of small corn farmers and others in Mexico have been destroyed and are forced to cross over to “El Norte” through the most dangerous border areas. They live and work in super-exploited conditions in the shadows of American society.
These are the vicious imperialist relations that vigilantes like the Minutemen have a special place in enforcing.
Now the students who went on stage to protest the Minutemen at Columbia have been slammed in the name of “academic freedom” and “freedom of speech.” Look. The Minutemen have nothing to do with contributing to academic freedom or freedom of speech any more than the Ku Klux Klan would be promoting critical thinking by coming to Columbia University. Do we need much more debate, dissent and critical thinking throughout all of society, on the big questions confronting people in this country and the world? YES WE DO. Do we need much more academic freedom and inquiry on campuses everywhere? YES WE DO. This is essential for humanity to understand the world as it is and bring about any kind of future worth living in. The Minutemen and the Klan are about just the opposite. They are first cousins whose only reason for existing is to enforce — with the noose and the gun — the nightmare of those living at the bottom of the most powerful imperialist country in the world.
Let’s talk about what IS happening with “academic freedom” at Columbia University and academia throughout the US, and what these rants about the “left wing dictatorship” at Columbia are in the service of.
Much more critical thinking and inquiry is needed on campuses and in all of society. In fact, a political and intellectual chill has been imposed on campuses across the country in the name of opposition to a supposed “left-wing dictatorship.” Right-wing operative David Horowitz’s spring 2006 book “The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America,” brands as “terrorists, racists, and communists” a list that includes 9 Columbia professors — more than at any other campus — along with many more of the most distinguished scholars and public intellectuals in the country. Hitler youth-types are fielded by Horowitz’s “Students for Academic Freedom” and others to secretly record lectures by progressive professors to feed to the “Right Wing Noise Machine” and to use as pretexts for formal complaints.
These forces are the spearhead on college campuses for the overall Bushite program of empire and theocratic fascism. They are determined to shut down the small remaining space in academic and intellectual discourse where some basic truths about the US — like the genocide of Native Americans, the theft of one-third of Mexico, the slavery of Black people and a history of patriarchy, and today’s real consequences of US empire on people around the world — are researched and taught.
The demands of the Horowitz forces for “balance in academia” might appear on the surface to be reasonable and fair. But under the cover is a witch-hunt aimed at suppressing critical thinking altogether, especially views that challenge imperialist narratives of the “greatest country on Earth,” etc., etc. Unchallenged imperialist narratives are essential in the cultivation of a base of support among people in this country for the expansion of brutal empire-building from Iraq to Iran (including the active planning for deployment of tactical nuclear weapons), for the legalization of torture and secret indefinite detention of so-called “enemy combatants” (a designation to be made solely by the President with no legal recourse), for the wholesale shredding of basic rights and legal protections, and for increased repression on the border, including measures to build a huge wall on substantial sections.
Witness the Horowitz-led attacks on University of Colorado Professor Ward Churchill for his anti-imperialist statements, and on the Columbia MEALAC (Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Culture Department) and Prof. Massad in 2004 for teaching the truth about Israel’s acts and policies against the Palestinian people. As a result of this attack in 2004, MEALAC is now run under receivership. “New ground rules are being established: any criticism or even questioning of the institutional foundations of the United States, or of the motives and interests behind its policies, will be treated as essentially treasonous. Left unopposed, this trajectory will lead to a situation of uncontested indoctrination enforced by the state.” [www.defendcriticalthinking.org, an on-line statement initiated by academics opposed to the suppression of critical thinking in the universities.]
The College Republicans of Columbia University are directly connected to the Horowitz forces. Their President, Chris Kulawik (also the president of the Columbia College Conservative Club), is a poster on Horowitz’s Frontpage.com website and wrote a 2005 article in the Columbia Spectator entitled “In Defense of McCarthy” and believes that “The claims levied against Senator Joseph McCarthy, historical fallacies which have stuck through the decades, have wrought a grave injustice.” Senator Joseph McCarthy led a witch hunt in the 50s that blacklisted thousands of intellectuals, actors and others out of positions and political life on the basis of accusations of being communists. THIS is the “academic freedom” being promoted in opposition to supposed “left-wing dictatorship” on campuses.
From the article “Nazi Cleansing of America’s Universities: Could It Happen Here?” by Reggie Dylan in Revolution newspaper #65:
“…The answer to the question ‘Could this [Nazi cleansing of universities] happen here?’ is, YES. But it could also be prevented, and something much, much better brought into being. As an important part of that, there is a need for political, ideological, and theoretical debate and clarity around the importance not only of challenging the direction the country as a whole is being driven toward, and the role the universities should play in society at this time, but also the need to fiercely defend, while deepening, an understanding of the scientific approach to reality. This must go right up against the onslaught by reactionaries gathered around Horowitz and ACTA (American Council of Trustees and Alumni), as well as by the Christian fascists, who would impose their absolutist concepts of ‘Biblically revealed truth’ with all the horrors that means for humanity.”
Support the protesters at Columbia — No Charges! No Human Being is Illegal!
Revolutionary Communist Party, New York Branch
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