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After 20 Pro-Palestinian Students Arrested at Pomona College…

Students Lead Mass Walkout, Revcoms Open Up Discussion & Debate About Real Revolution

Colorful apartheid wall: "Resistance art at Pitzer College, April 8, 2024.


Colorful apartheid wall: "Resistance art at Pitzer College, April 8, 2024.    Photo: @revcomcorps_la 

At the end of March, students erected a mock “Apartheid Wall” on a lawn at Pomona College, calling out Israeli occupation and apartheid and demanding the college boycott and divest from Israel. Did the school administration respond to this by extolling these students for their broad-minded and creative resistance art? 

No, they had campus security rip down half the wall. 

RevComs talk to students at Pomona College, April 8, 2024.


At Pomona College April 8, 2024.    Photo: @revcomcorps_la 

When outraged students then marched into the administrative building on April 5 and nonviolently occupied college president Gabi Starr’s office, did she appreciate these students for their determined political activism against the accelerating U.S.-backed genocide in Gaza and seriously consider their demands? 

No, the Pomona administration called the riot cops on them and had 20 students arrested. Many of these students were then suspended and banned from campus!

Over the next week, students at Pomona and the surrounding colleges began a determined struggle in defense of these students. (Pomona is part of a group of colleges called the Claremont Colleges, seven relatively elite small schools located in the Claremont, California area.)

Hundreds of Students walk out and sit in street at Pomona College, April 11, 2024.


Students walk out and sit in street at Pomona College, April 11, 2024.    Photo: @revcomcorps_la 

On April 11, hundreds of students walked out from all the Claremont colleges in support of the arrested students and called for the colleges to divest from Israel. On the same day, Pomona faculty passed a resolution denouncing the college’s militarized response to student protests and demanding the charges be dropped and suspensions lifted. Also on April 11, the Pitzer College Council passed a resolution to close their study abroad program with the University of Haifa in Israel, although the Pitzer president Strom Thacker is pledging to veto it (Pitzer is one of the Claremont colleges, right next to Pomona).

Students walk out at Pomona College, April 11, 2024.


April 11, 2024, students walkout at Pomona College.    Photo: @revcomcorps_la 

Repression at Pomona Part of a Larger Pattern

This would be important at any time. But what makes it especially important is the larger pattern of escalating fascist repression of pro-Palestinian students sweeping the country now. On April 3, Columbia University suspended four students, banning them from campus, and evicting them from their University housing for the crime” of organizing a Resistance 101” program on the situation in Gaza that the University hadnt approved. At Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, the administration recently expelled three students for participating in a sit-in demanding divestment from Israel.

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In his Revolution #17 audio message, Bob Avakian breaks down why this is happening, what it reveals about the nature of this system, and the revolutionary potential of students:

[T]his so-called great American democracy” is in reality a dictatorship, where the power of the ruling institutions is used to viciously persecute, punish, and even eliminate people who pose a threat to the interests of the ruling class. Along with the murder by police and mass incarceration of thousands and millions of people in this country, which is continuing as you are listening to this, there is the vicious repression being brought down against people protesting the genocide in Palestine carried out by Israel, with the full backing of the U.S. government and both ruling class political parties (Democrat and Republican). Colleges, and especially elite” universities, have been a focus of this repression—repression which has crudely violated supposed rights of free speech” and standards of academic freedom.” Students and faculty have been targeted, and even university presidents have been driven out of their positions for failing to fully repress these protests.

Why is this happening? Because fundamental interests of U.S. capitalism-imperialism are at stake. Because Israel plays a special role” as a heavily armed bastion of support for U.S. imperialism in a strategically important part of the world (the Middle East”). And Israel has been a key force in the commission of atrocities which have helped to maintain the oppressive rule of U.S. imperialism in many other parts of the world.

And this repression is happening because representatives of the ruling class in this country have a definite sense that if youth especially at elite” universities begin to seriously question and act against what this system is doing—if the system loses the allegiance” of large numbers of those students—that can be a big factor in creating a real crisis for the system as a whole, as happened in the 1960s: a crisis that, now more than ever, this system really cannot afford, when the whole country is already being torn apart by deep divisions, with bitter clashes right among the ruling powers. So, at the same time as they are bitterly divided, the ruling powers of this country are firmly united in their determination to punish and intimidate especially students at elite universities who have stepped forward to protest the genocidal slaughter of Palestinians. The ruling class is desperate to prevent opposition to its fundamental interests from spreading and involving masses of people, from all parts of society.

All this reveals, more nakedly” than in normal situations,” the actual dictatorship behind the outer shell of democracy” of this country—and it shines a light on the strategic weakness of this system, when it does lose the allegiance of major sections of the people and this has the potential to spread to all parts of society, including among the dominant institutions of this system.

Leaflet of Bob Avakian's Revolution message about Palestine distributed at Pomona College.


Photo: @revcomcorps_la 

The Larger Importance of the Struggle at Pomona

In this light, it is very important that students at Pomona and the other Claremont colleges have not backed down, but have instead escalated their resistance in response to the heightened repression. 

And it’s very important that the revcoms were at Pomona the next school day after the arrests, and again at the walkout—standing with the students under attack, bringing Bob Avakian’s profound analysis of this repression, learning how people on campus are seeing things, opening up discussion and debate about real revolution, and calling on students to come to LA for revolutionary May Day

Students were very jolted by these arrests and suspensions, and many were extremely outraged about it, including many who are not political activists or particularly knowledgable about Israel/Palestine. One student told us how shocking it is that all of a sudden she’s by herself in the dorms because her roommate has been barred from campus. Another told us she came to Pomona from a rural town in a “red state” and had never expected this kind of thing to happen here. 

Struggle Over “Why” and What to Do About It

Among the activist students, there is a righteous desire to not be complicit in genocide and a lot of determination to keep fighting for BDS on their campus (boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel). And there is a lot of very justified anger at college president Gabi Starr. 

But in terms of why this repression is happening, students mainly think it’s because Starr is a sellout who just wants to protect the college’s profitable investments in Israel. The bigger picture and deeper causes that Bob Avakian speaks to in Revolution #17—the role of U.S. imperialism, its strategic interests, and state power dictatorship over the people—were mainly absent in people’s speeches and comments. While many of these students are losing their allegiance to Pomona college, and some are even expressing a willingness to sacrifice their college/career path in order to stand against this unconscionable genocide, a further rupture is required for students to lose their allegiance to this system as a whole.

Revcom Corps sign on A-frame at student walkout, April 11, 2024.


At Pomona College, April 8, 2024.    Photo: @revcomcorps_la 

When we set up in a busy walkway of Pomona College, we had a constant flow of people stopping to talk, intrigued and curious about who we were and what we were about. Our big A-frame sign opened up a lot of debate. The idea of an actual revolution was new and challenging for many people. When we asked one student if he’d ever thought about revolution and how thats different from nonviolent protest, as important as those are, he seemed taken aback and asked, You mean a physical revolution? Whoa… I would have to think about that.” Another student commented that we need some kind of major change, but real revolution will lead to a lot of chaos and it will take too long to recover from it, so can’t we do something else thats more of a smooth transition?

Our sign that contrasted REVOLUTION with NOT REVOLUTION became a major source of controversy. A few people could clearly see that all the things in the “not revolution” category represented reforms within the system. Others were skeptical and wanted us to explain to them why these things were not revolutionary. Isn’t “mutual aid” and “community organizing” the foundation for any revolution? Don’t we need a “revolution of the mind” to unlearn what we’ve been propagandized with? A few students who came up to us thought “decolonization” was a revolution, so we gave them the polemic on revolutionary communism vs. decolonization theory, which intrigued them. The second time we were at Pomona a student told us, Students were talking about your sign, and I wanted to ask you, why do you say self-care, intersectionality, and using your degree to do good, are not revolution?” 

In all this it was important and clarifying to bring people back to what the sign says about what a revolution actually is, and what we need to do now to fight the power and transform the thinking of the people, organizing thousands into this revolution and preparing to lead millions to seize on the deep divisions and crisis in society (which is likely to come to a head around this upcoming election) to overthrow the whole system—and their role in this, fighting to STOP this U.S.-backed genocide, getting into the @BobAvakianOfficial social media messages which break down why real revolution is necessary and possible in this time, and coming out May 1 to impact society with a growing revolutionary force.

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From the genocide in Gaza, to the growing threat of world war between nuclear powers, to escalating environmental devastation… the capitalist-imperialist system ruling over us is a horror for billions around the world and is tearing up the fabric of life on earth. Now the all-out battle within the U.S. ruling class, between fascist Republicans and war criminal Democrats, is coming to a head—likely during, or before, the coming elections—ripping society apart unlike anything since the Civil War. 

Bob Avakian (BA), revolutionary leader and author of the new communism, has developed a strategy to prepare for and make revolution. He’s scientifically analyzed that this is a rare time when an actual revolution has become more possible, and has laid out the sweeping vision, solid foundation and concrete blueprint for “what comes next,” in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America

The website follows and applies that leadership and is essential to all this. We post new materials from BA and curate his whole body of work. We apply the science he’s developed to analyze and expose every key event in society, every week. posts BA’s timely leadership for the revcoms (revolutionary communists), including his social media posts which break this down for people every week and sometimes more. We act as a guiding and connecting hub for the growing revcom movement nationwide: not just showing what’s being done, but going into what’s right and what’s wrong and rapidly learning—and recruiting new people into what has to be a rapidly growing force.

Put it this way: there will be no revolution unless this website not only “keeps going” but goes up to a whole different level!

So what should you give to make 2024 our year—a year of revolution? 
Everything you possibly can! 
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