From the Revolution Club, Los Angeles:

Anti-Zionist Protest Slams Up Against Nazification of the Campuses and Consolidation of Fascism

| Revolution Newspaper |


Students for Justice in Palestine, pro-Palestinian student activists, and the Revolution Club are under serious attack by the UCLA administration and powerful ruling class forces for a protest in May of this year that shut down an event held by Zionist conservative group “Students Supporting Israel” at UCLA called “Indigenous Peoples Unite.” This event took place three days after the May 14 massacre in the Gaza Strip in which the Israeli Defense Forces killed 60 and wounded 2,771 Palestinians. The attack on this protest is being used as a “test case” for going after pro-Palestinian activists—in which the consequences would mean the criminalization and outlawing of all student protest and dissent against the genocide being carried out against the Palestinian people. This is an important element of the Nazification of the universities overall.

This righteous and defiant protest consisted of over 50 people, including students from many different backgrounds. People stormed into the Zionist event blowing whistles and chanting on bullhorns: “Free Free Palestine!” “1-2-3-4 open up the prison door, 5-6-7-8 Israel is a terrorist state!” (See video here.) Students read the names of the 60 people who were massacred in Gaza by the Israeli military. This incredibly joyous protest completely and decisively shut the event down, and in the face of the determination and defiance on the part of the students, the police backed off and not a single arrest was made.

Days after the protest the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law—a Zionist organization that aims to shape legal policy across the country and is working to criminalize protest against Israel in the name of civil rights—got involved. They sent a letter to the UCLA administration demanding that the students and organizations involved be prosecuted. They specifically targeted student groups and even named individuals who were identified through text messages gathered by student infiltrators, social media posts, and the video of the protest itself! They even went so far as to use these as evidence of “conspiracy to commit a crime.” In addition, the Brandeis Center demanded UCLA implement a number of “policy recommendations” and threatened the school with a lawsuit for a violation of the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act if UCLA fails to do so. Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of “race, color, or national origin” in programs that receive federal funds.

To explain what this means: The Brandeis Center is arguing that protest against Israel is racist discrimination against Jewish people. Their demands included that the UCLA administration publicly denounce the protest, ban the off-campus organizations from campus, punish and prosecute all students involved, and change the definition of anti-Semitism (discrimination against Jewish people) to include anti-Zionism (being against the polices and state of Israel).1 If they succeed in these demands, the consequences would mean that the national organization Students for Justice in Palestine would be banned from campus as a “hate group,” and all protest against the genocide of Palestinians would be considered illegal. The implications of this are far reaching because the verdict would apply to all institutions that receive federal funds—which effectively means pro-Palestinian protest would be banned on campuses across the country.

In response to these outrageous demands, two UCLA vice-chancellors wrote an open letter in the campus paper, the Daily Bruin, publicly denouncing the protests and promising to refer all off-campus protesters to the LA City Attorney.2 This promise was reneged a few days later. A university spokesman said that because there were no arrests and no one filed a police report or complaint regarding the disruption, they would not be prosecuting. And they clarified that their promise to prosecute off-campus protesters actually referred to “an earlier, completely unrelated February 26, 2018 event with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.”3

This was a reference to a righteous protest of Mnuchin by students, members of the Revolution Club, and activists with Refuse Fascism. They disrupted Mnuchin with substantive protest and demands, and then they were physically assaulted and removed by university police! The video of this protest went viral despite Mnuchin’s attempt to suppress it—an attempt that the university initially went along with, despite the video being an important document of public record.

What’s going on here is that the attacks on pro-Palestinian student activists are overlapping with repression directed against the Revolution Club. The UCLA administration seems to be trying to manage this crisis by, on the one hand, not acting on the Zionists’ demands, but on the other hand, aggressively going after the “off-campus” Revolution Club as well as national and regional networks of groups like Students for Justice in Palestine—organizations that university officials would rather have off the campus anyway—for other protests and actions they have been a part of on campus. This is a compromise by the university administration to avoid resorting to openly repressive measures against the student body, which may result in things getting even more out of control and draw out even more defiant resistance.

This development calls to mind the well-known “First they came for the Communists...” quote from Martin Niemöller, a German pastor imprisoned by Hitler from 1937 to 1945, summing up some hard-learned lessons about the rise of fascism.4

These attacks are part of the moves nationally to go after organizations that stand against the attacks on Palestinian people. (See “Opposing Israel Is NOT Anti-Jewish: Major Fascist Move to Repress Campus Criticism of Israel.”) This includes a wave of recent laws that would make advocating for the boycott of Israel—because of their crimes against the Palestinian people—illegal. In addition, there is currently a case out of Rutgers that would also make criticism of Israel synonymous with criticism of Jewish people, having a similar effect to what is stated above.

These attacks against the Revolution Club are also part of a larger attempt at suppression of this Club at the forefront of aiming to prevent the consolidation of fascism and do that as a part of organizing forces for an actual revolution (see sidebar). The UCLA administration even tried to shut down an on-campus screening of the film of the talk by Bob Avakian, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible, about 30 hours before the event. This showing had been widely publicized for a couple of weeks on the campus. The school administration told the organizers that because of new UCLA rules, they would have to pay thousands of dollars for police and an “events coordinator” to hold this program because they deemed the event “controversial,” and they specifically cited the disruption of the pro-Israel program the week before. Students, and in particular the faculty co-sponsors, fought very hard up until the last minute to prevent these fees from being charged and enabled the event to go forward. The fees and restrictions were rescinded just seven hours before the program was to begin.

Once the Zionists discovered the UCLA administration was not going to meet all its demands, they decided to take matters into their own hands. The Brandeis Center (the Zionist organization mentioned above) flew out a legal team from Washington, DC, and major lawyers and organizations such as StandWithUs. StandWithUs is an international organization based in Los Angeles that is organizing youth to take on challenges to Israel and is spearheading the fight against the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions [BDS] movement on campuses. The legal team walked with members of the Students Supporting Israel to the UCLA Police Department headquarters and filed a formal complaint and police report.

The fascists are going on the offensive around this nationally. Over 40 articles have been written and republished in different newspapers and media outlets. Various fascist media like Breitbart and organizations associated with David Horowitz and Zionist newspapers and magazines have taken up this fight. Edwin Black, a prominent columnist, New York Times best-selling author, and Zionist published an essay denouncing the protest as a violent expression of anti-Semitism. After receiving the formal complaint, and after a massive amount of pressure leveraged against them, the UCLA administration confirmed that it WOULD in fact be prosecuting the Revolution Club and possibly others for the protest against this Zionist event.

As of this writing, we have not heard that these charges have been formally filed, but this is what UCLA has said they will do.

“This case is a turning point for all students across the country,” asserts StandWithUs’s Roz Rothstein. Alyza Lewin of the Brandeis Center agreed, stating, “Students across the country now recognize the importance of promptly reporting incidents like these to the police.” Edwin Black went on to write: “If prosecutions and convictions result from the May 17 UCLA event shut-down disruption, it is expected to help define the criminal limits of such disruptions at campuses across the nation.”5 As is gone into here, the Zionists are targeting any opposition, dissent, or criticism of the state of Israel, and they are using this case as a spearhead to shut down student protest and criminalize it, making it effectively illegal by labeling it as “anti-Semitism.”

This ties in with the pro-Israel event that was disrupted on March 17. The event was called “Indigenous Peoples Unite,” which was an attempt, on the part of the Zionists, to paint themselves as the original people of Palestine: akin to Kurdish people, Armenian people under assault, and people indigenous to the Americas. But this is ahistorical bullshit!

Israel is a country that was founded through wave after wave of displacement and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian people through military and paramilitary attacks. The event “Indigenous Peoples Unite” was a part of a concerted effort by pro-Israel forces to erase this history and turn reality upside down as a key part of legitimizing the genocidal colonization of Palestinian people and occupation of Palestinian land. Zionists are arguing that they are the original and indigenous inhabitants of Palestinian land and that anything they do to the Palestinian people (and any other people) is justified because of the bitter oppression that Jewish people have faced historically, and that any opposition to this is therefore anti-Semitic. This conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism is a key sledgehammer that the Zionists are using to attack student protest like this nationally.

Powerful ruling class forces that see U.S. imperial interest bound up with Israel, like the fascist Trump/Pence regime’s Department of Education and fascists like David Horowitz are working together with Zionists to reshape the universities as well as society overall. They are seeking to target any opposition to the fascist program of the Trump/Pence regime, any scholarship on the crimes of U.S. imperialism (as well as Israel), and any resistance to white supremacists speaking on campus as “violations of free speech.” They are moving to crush student protest and eliminate voices of opposition, as protest is more and more being suppressed and criminalized in society overall. They are attempting to bludgeon the truth and silence any critical thinking that stands in opposition to U.S. imperialist interests, as part of hammering into place a fascist order in this country. For this, they have to legitimize their fascist rewriting of history and facts in the places that have disproportionate impact in the dissemination of ideas, where some amount of opposition to the false narratives of American exceptionalism have been allowed to sprout—in other words, the campuses. They have to obliterate the basic concepts of truth, science, and objective reality in order to shove their white supremacist, woman hating, xenophobic, fascist program down our throats.

What is at stake here is not only the criminalization and banning, nationally, of all student protest against the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people (backed up by the U.S. empire), but the criminalization of even discussion and debate over the nature and history of the Israeli state by labeling them as “hate speech.” And all of this is part of a larger package—the complete restructuring of U.S. society into a fascist form of rule.

It is vitally important that a new generation of students and professors oppose the fascist goons on campus, and step forward to defend the unfettered search for the truth, intellectual ferment, and dissent. And beyond the campuses, all kinds of people—lawyers, writers, Jewish people, Muslims, other communities of faith, and millions and millions more—must stand up against this. One way or another, this struggle over the university and intellectual life will have profound repercussions on the struggle to drive out the fascist regime—and on the prospects for bringing a whole new society into being.

1. From Brandeis Center online piece: “UCLA’s failure to respond promptly and effectively to this discriminatory protest may result in a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of “race, color, or national origin” in programs that receive federal funds. Under the leadership of Kenneth L. Marcus, LDB’s President and General Counsel, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights announced in 2004 that Title VI applies to groups that face discrimination on the basis of shared ethnic or ancestral characteristics.”   [back]

2., May 24, 2018   [back]

3., June 14, 2018   [back]

4. “First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”   [back]

5., July 22, 2018   [back]

Clearing Up the Confusion: Protesting Israel Is NOT “Anti-Semitism”

Jewish people have been the victims of bitter discrimination and oppression for centuries, which took on monstrous levels culminating in the Holocaust when six million Jewish people were mass murdered in concentration camps. As an oppressed people, the Jews of Europe sought many solutions. For most this meant seeking integration into the larger society, and for many it involved getting into projects for universal human emancipation—that is, seeking an end to the oppression of the Jewish people as part of seeking freedom for everyone. For a minority it meant the Zionist movement, focused on building a separate Jewish nation-state for all Jews.

The establishment of this nation-state, Israel, with the backing of British and western imperialism, consisted of waves of ethnic cleansing, military, and paramilitary attacks against Palestinian villages aimed at displacing Palestinian people and then occupying and destroying Palestinian villages to make way for the expanding Zionist settlements. By December 1947, the Zionists had begun mass expulsions of Palestinians. This wave of terror, know as the Nakba (from the Arabic word meaning “catastrophe”), continued into the early months of 1949.

During the Nakba almost a million Palestinians were brutally forced from their land, villages, and homes, fleeing with only the possessions they could carry. Many were raped, tortured, and killed. The event held by Students Supporting Israel at UCLA called “Indigenous Peoples Unite” is a part of a concerted effort by pro-Israel forces to erase this history and turn reality upside down as a key part of legitimizing the genocidal colonization and occupation of what is Palestinian land. Zionists claim that they are the original and indigenous inhabitants of Palestine, but the question is not which of the many Middle Eastern tribal and ethnic group lived on the land thousands of years ago! It is that for many centuries, Palestine was overwhelmingly occupied by Arab people (with a very small Jewish minority prior to the 20th Century) and moreover that a Palestinian nation was formed and forged there with its own culture, language, economy, history and so on which was violently uprooted by Europeans—in this case Jewish Europeans—working in close political and military alignment with major imperialist powers. So it is ludicrous for the representatives of these European imperialist invaders to try and claim the mantle of an oppressed indigenous people fighting for their rights!

Opposing the crimes of the state of Israel is not “opposing Judaism” or Jewish people. Israel is holding two million Palestinians hostage in the Gaza Strip, which they’ve turned into an open-air prison. The Israeli military enforces a blockade, preventing any aid from coming in, leaving people without access to clean water and proper medical care, even resorting to storming ships that are bringing aid and shooting down the courageous volunteers. And to top it all off, they drop U.S.-made bombs indiscriminately, including on schools and hospitals, commit crimes against the Palestinian people which, if committed by another country, would be hailed internationally as policies of genocide, mass murder, and brutal occupation. Israel is not a solution to the age-old oppression of the Jewish people as Jews. And opposing the brutal crimes of the Israeli state is not discrimination but is, not only protected political speech, but also right and righteous.

Read more: Bastion of Enlightenment… or Enforcer for Imperialism: The Case of ISRAEL

The attacks on the Revolution Club are part of a larger attack from ruling class forces. The Revolution Club has joined in with to build a mass non-violent movement to drive out the fascist Trump/Pence regime. The Revolution Club is doing this as part of making revolution to overthrow the system of capitalism/imperialism. The LA City Attorney’s office has filed criminal charges against 11 Refuse Fascism and Revolution Club members. Some are facing up to 10 misdemeanor charges (with more charges on the way) and up to 5+ years in jail if you add the penalties cumulatively. Some people, if convicted, will face mandatory minimum jail sentences of 90 days and some people are possibly facing a lot more than that. All of this stems from two actions where the Revolution Club and activists engaged in non-violent civil disobedience which shut down the 101 freeway in downtown Los Angeles.  This in addition to a whole period at UCLA where, on different occasions, the authorities unjustly arrested members of the Revolution Club for engaging in political protest and speech.  This included multiple arrests from a challenge to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin who spoke at UCLA in February 2018 - the first Trump/Pence regime cabinet member invited to speak at UCLA which was in fact a grotesque normalization of fascism by UCLA authorities. Mnuchin, and the Trump/Pence regime he belongs to, were eloquently exposed as murderous criminals whose fascist policies are destroying the lives of millions of people in the U.S. and around the world. See the video.

Through all this, it's become clear that there is targeted political repression against both the Revolution Club and Refuse Fascism.  More on this will be written soon.


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