Syracuse University

Uniting with Righteous Resistance, Bringing Revolution, Learning Through the Experience



Editors’ Note: This is excerpted from a quick snapshot from a member of the National Revolution Tour who was part of a team that visited Syracuse University for a day following an escalation of white-supremacist threats and righteous resistance provoked by that.

We came in to Syracuse U. after six nights of shutdowns, sleep-ins, and protests to unite with and learn from this righteous struggle. How do we learn from this and how do we do what the people of Puerto Rico and Hong Kong did [mass, nonviolent, sustained protests, in this case drawing from those examples to what is needed to oust the fascist Trump/Pence regime–ed.]?

Students are in fear. Many have left to go home. The students had a list of demands that were not being met. They were agonizing over how to sustain and grow their movement, especially with their own friends and classmates who agreed with the whole thing. We went further with what was happening with Nazification of college campuses and what was happening with Ann Coulter and Don Jr., including that one of the people there with us was arrested on the freeway and how that trial played in with the fascism. The students we talked to were familiar with Ann Coulter but didn’t know who Steve Mnuchin is other than his name being familiar. And we air dropped the graphic with the text from revcom on all floors of the library....

In Barnes Center, where the occupation and sleep-in has happened and a “safe space” declared, many students were open and curious to meet the revolution for the first time. Communism was a scary word for a few. Others understood while not being a communist that it was something different and they asked questions. We got into Reform vs. Revolution when someone began asking some questions they had “answers” to already, of communism being “a nightmare for people.” This was done absent engaging with the 5 STOPS and what this country has done to the people of the world, which we brought in, and many of the students we talked to in one group agreed with us about America. The core organizers were split in how they felt about the revolution. Some watched us the whole time and how students were responding to us. Others liked that we had come so far to join as long as we were “respectful” of their space.

Out across the campus there is a quiet and eerie feeling. What is a beautiful campus is now a place of dread and terror for many. There were not many students, but when we began the agitation at the same library where these attacks occurred with the core message of 5-2-6 and core message of the day from, students began walking up from nowhere asking for flyers and to be organized. These were mainly unorganized people who deeply cared about other people and wanted to see Trump/Pence “out now!”

An African woman from New York City said she was tired of these “band aid solutions” of reforms and was not only interested in getting these fascists out of power but had been looking for this kind of revolution of sweeping away the whole system. It will be difficult for her to be down in NYC for the mass meeting [#OutNow mass meetings Sunday, November 24–ed.]. A white student came up who really hated what was happening on the campus and thought #OUTNOW was a clear demand he could join with rather than deciding then if he would join in on working toward an overthrow of the system. He said he could not make it to the #OutNow mass meetings but will spread the word by flyering and social media.

One of the main organizers met us again out in front of the library. He was friendly and felt disturbed about the larger world.... He ended up coming up to some of the BLM (“Black Lives Matter”) identity politics hustlers who we ran into towards the end of our visit [see below] and had them back off and came outside to talk to us.

A journalist came over to our table to express her support for us. She had received our air drop the same way these fascists used to threaten and terrorize people, with a graphic of the quote from As a Mexican and Jewish woman, she was directly affected by these attacks, although secondarily she felt she could pass and survive through this. She was so happy to learn about us and took a photo of us to post on her Twitter. Back at Barnes Center, we met a Black man from the Bronx who was interested in the revolution. He stood up against the BLM identity politics hustlers.

The BLM and allies of identity politics hustlers were set on us from the beginning although they didn’t bear their fangs until we were getting ready to leave. They faced the necessity of students’ support for us. Their posturing at the end was only worthy of a theatrical performance, and it was all a front. We took a righteous stand and struggled against it, but I also summed up after that we had more freedom than we acted on and seized at the moment, and it was a learning experience for all of us... for example, the Black man from the Bronx and main organizer we met in front of the library did stand up for principle, against forcing us out... Freedom comes out of the necessity we face and what exists, to be transformed. In reflection, people may be “won over” to one side but people aren’t stupid to not see complete bullshit. Many have their heads up their asses but through compelling and bold agitation, the objective situation can be transformed by the subjective (and vice versa as reality itself is changing with the role of accident).

We had about a dozen people organized. We summed up that we should have been more “to the masses in a mass urgent way.” Could we have gone to different places to disturb the air? Considering how many people had come up to us and told us to come back the next week or semester, there is so much potential that has opened up and can open greater if we had stepped on the social accelerator, organizing, pedaling harder, setting terms ... and pushing and pushing ideologically and politically through....

November 17, the Barnes Center at Syracuse University is occupied by #NotAgainSU protesters. Photo: @CitrusTV


For more than a week students at Syracuse University in upstate New York occupied the university’s wellness center in response to a series of white supremacist incidents, outraged that the administration's response had not taken the threats seriously enough. The incidents of vandalism began on November 7 when racist graffiti targeting Asians and African-Americans was reported in one of the residence halls. But the students were not alerted about this by school officials for a week afterwards, endangering the safety of the minority students on campus.

Several more incidents followed, with racist and anti-Semitic graffiti appearing inside more campus buildings and a swastika marked out in the snow. Slurs were reported being shouted targeting Jewish, Asian and Black students. Then, on a Saturday night, an African-American student was verbally assaulted by group of 14 fraternity members and friends as she walked by. The latest reported incident was an anti-Semitic threat made to a faculty member. A dozen or more threatening incidents have been reported in all.

The students ended their occupation at 8 p.m. Thursday, November 21 after the school's chancellor said he had agreed to the 19 conditions put to him by #NotAgainSU, the Black-led protest group, and international students. They continue to call for the resignations of Chancellor Syverud, the head of the school's Department of Public Safety, the Senior Vice President for Enrollment and the Student Experience, and the Associate Chief of Law Enforcement and Community Policing.

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