University of Michigan Students Boldly Protest White Supremacy and Fascism

December 2, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


Chanting “No Spencer, No KKK, No fascist USA,” hundreds of University of Michigan students walked out of classes on Wednesday, November 29 to protest the administration’s plan to allow Nazi white supremacist Richard Spencer to speak on the campus. After the election last year, Spencer led a gathering of fascists in shouts of “Hail Trump!” and he was among the Nazi white nationalist mob at Charlottesville this summer. The students marched across campus, blocked traffic, and disrupted classes, calling to their fellow students, “If you are with us, join us.” Teams of students would run ahead of the main body of the protest, opening doors to classrooms to make their message known, while others would step into the classrooms, give brief speeches, and then head back outside to rejoin the march.

Despite the pressure of finals and term papers, a coalition of student groups called for the week of action and for a full student strike on Thursday, November 30. Several deans sent out letters to faculty members to hold classes instead of honoring the students strike. A statement from the students read: “The recent decision to ‘begin discussions with Richard Spencer’s group to determine whether he will be allowed to rent space’ on the University of Michigan’s campus demonstrates, as we have learned time and time again, the administration’s refusal to truly prioritize the needs and safety of its students. Though President Mark Schlissel stated ‘if we cannot assure a reasonably safe setting for the event, we will not allow it to go forward,’ Spencer’s history shows us there is no ‘safe’ setting possible when white supremacists and neo-Nazis are given permission to come to college campuses.”

On Thursday morning, a couple dozen students staged a sit-in at the office of the Dean of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts. They posted a handwritten sign on the door reading “U of M upholds white supremacy as usual.” There was also a standing room only teach-in Thursday with various elected officials, with some trying to channel the protests into electoral dead ends while some argued for the students to stand strong.

One of the student coordinators of the protests said, “I think what a lot of people have been saying is, ‘Why don’t you just ignore him? Why don’t you just ignore this and let him do his thing?’ Are we supposed to just ignore actual Nazis...? Do we just say, ‘Oh, it’ll solve itself?’ Let’s look at everything else that has happened in history. We can look at what happened with Hitler, we can look at slavery—a lot of people sat there and said we’re going to let this happen, but if everybody had done that, if everyone had said, ‘Let’s just let them do their thing,’ it never would have ended.”

The students’ militant protest and the spirit of this protest coordinator’s comment are important to unite with. In both instances—Hitler and slavery—too many people did sit it out for too long and did not act in due time. As Refuse Fascism has made clear: “You cannot try to ‘wait things out.’ Those who lived through Nazi Germany and sat on the sidelines, looking on as Hitler demonized, criminalized, and eventually rounded up one group after another, became shameful collaborators with monstrous crimes.”

As fascist foot soldiers like Richard Spencer are being unleashed and encouraged from the top levels of the U.S. ruling class, there is urgency to bring to these rebelling students the urgent need to drive out the whole fascist regime from power—and for these and many, many more students to become part of a broad, massive movement with the unifying focus of “In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America.”




Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.