Students and Supporters at Evergreen State College Stand Up to Death Threats and pro-Trump Goons

June 18, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


On Thursday, June 15, about 200 people—students, professors, parents, progressives, anarchists, and anti-fascist activists—stood their ground on “Red Square” at the campus of Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, against several dozen pro-Trump goons. These white supremacist fascists were trying to carry out what they called “March Against Evergreen State College.” Led by the fascist group “Patriot Prayer” and their Nazi followers, the goons were confronted by protesters with large banners reading “Free speech does not equal hate speech” and other slogans. They formed a line in the main college plaza, forcing the reactionaries to hold their rally on the edge of the plaza.

Each spring, Evergreen—a small, progressive, innovative liberal arts college—traditionally holds a “Day of Absence,” where Black people leave the campus to show what it would be like without them. (It was inspired by a Douglas Turner Ward play of the same title, in which all the Black people of a town disappear to force other residents to recognize their contributions.) This year, following the election of the Trump/Pence regime, organizers suggested the reverse: that white people voluntarily leave campus for a day and take part in discussions on issues of race and equality.

This idea “offended” one white professor, who sent a public email to colleagues calling it an “act of oppression” against white people. A large group of students confronted and argued with the professor about his position, as part of a week of protests against racism. A video of the incident went viral, and became fodder for pro-Trump white supremacists everywhere. The professor went on Fox News and other reactionary media, was promoted by the alt-right Breitbart, and wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal in which he distorted what had actually happened and attacked the students, the administration, and the school.

What this turned loose on the students and the entire Evergreen community was horrific. Rants by the likes of Fox’s Tucker Carlson emboldened the Trump/Pence regime’s hard-core white supremacist base and fueled a barrage of threatening social media attacks by organized fascist trolls, who issued warnings and death threats targeting individual students, faculty, and administrators. The school was forced to shut down for three days in response to threats, including one by someone who said they were coming on campus to shoot people. The graduation ceremonies had to be relocated 30 miles from campus.

One Evergreen student wrote in the New York Times:

The fallout from that coverage hit our campus like a hailstorm. It … became a call to arms for internet trolls and the alt-right. Online vigilantes from 4chan, Reddit and other forums swarmed to unearth Evergreen students’ contact information. They have harassed us with hundreds of phone calls, anonymous texts and terrifyingly specific threats of violence that show they know where we live and work.

After an essay that this student wrote about what was happening on Evergreen was published, her name, phone number and home address were posted online by the reactionaries, and she was bombarded with attacks. Her name and personal information appeared on fascist message boards, along with rape threats and discussions about which racial slur fit her best.

On the day before the pro-Trump racists showed up at the campus, 50 protesters took part in an “Olympia Stands With Evergreen” action. It was organized by a 2011 Evergreen alumnus to show support for the students and condemn the white supremacist posters and graffiti widely posted on campus, and challenge the attempt by Republicans in the state legislature to take all state funds away from Evergreen.

The rallying cry for the Patriot Prayer storm troopers’ march was “It’s time we go in there and show them what respect is.” These defenders of white privilege were answering the call from Fox News mouthpieces to step in and put a stop to “campus craziness”—in other words, time for the Trump/Pence regime’s fascist program to be enforced on campuses around the country. This is another step in the overall assault on academia by the Trump/Pence regime.

Those who stood up to the neo-Nazi pro-Trump thugs at Evergreen State College and against all the attacks on the students and faculty must be saluted and supported. The fight to stop these fascist assaults on the campuses and to confront every effort to legitimize and “normalize” sending in or organizing on-campus fascist squads, is a crucial part of the overall battle to drive the Trump/Pence regime out of power.


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