Breaking Out for Rise Up October at Kent State University

September 26, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Kent State University in Ohio has a long history of struggle... struggle against racism, imperialist wars, and more. So a couple of Revolution Club members and a Revolutionary Communist Party supporter went out there during the first week of school. Thousands of students poured down the main walkway for hours—it seemed the flow never slowed. We got out 1,200-1,500 Rise Up October palm cards, some of the new BA quote palm cards, and a few Revolution newspapers on the first day there. We got names right away of people interested in Rise Up October and dozens of endorsements.

After going there twice, we summed up that we had been getting the word out but not linking that with people buying tickets to get on the bus and making Rise Up October a “Which side are you on?” issue throughout the campus. So on our next visit, our agitation still had lots of exposure of police murder and the genocide going on against Black and Brown people, but within it we sharply agitated “Which side are you on?” linking that to getting on the bus and being at the march of thousands and thousands in New York City. We got out on the walkway right in the middle of the crowds, challenged students when they nonchalantly, and in a detached, unconcerned way walked on, calling on them and others to take a stand to stop the police terror. We agitated that if they don’t take the stand against white supremacy and police terror, then they side with the police and the system that carries out this terror. Many of the students still didn’t want to hear it and walked smugly on. However, the agitation, the big Stolen Lives poster, and the Rise Up October poster made some people who were walking by turn around wanting to know what we were calling on people to do.

At this school it is usually the case that people don’t have cash, only cards, etc. and many say they have no money. One Black student saw the big poster of Rise Up October and came over, saying she wanted a ticket. She went to a bank machine and bought a ticket. Then she took cards and posters to take to classes. She is in a poetry group, and said she will take it out to them. She went off to get others, some of her friends, to get on the bus and to become organizers for Rise Up October like she had become on the spot. A white student put money down on a ticket and said if she can’t go she will contribute it for others to go .A professor bought a ticket for someone who can’t afford one. Several other students want to be in NYC on October 24. A student who wants to go grabbed palm cards and began getting them out right on the walkway. The agitation created a scene, which made some students feel uncomfortable, while it unleashed many others to commit to go to October 24 and organize others on the spot to go.

In a beginning way, “Stop Police Terror! Which Side Are You On?” became a sharp line on campus, a call to organize for Rise Up October and get others on the bus. We felt we broke with Rise Up October being an interesting idea, to making it a call for an urgent and necessary action to change the terms of how all of society looks at this and acts on it, for thousands and thousands to pour into the streets, insisting that this murder must stop. A Revolution Club member said, “When we called out loud and clear, ‘What side are you on?’ people turned around and got connected. It really spoke to people, like the one woman who was taken by the agitation, got a ticket, and began to get others to go.”




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