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Columbia lit a fire! Spread the Palestine solidarity encampments!

By Freedom Road Socialist Organization

Something big is happening. From Columbia University to UCLA and points in between, the student movement that stands with Palestine has been erecting encampments on campuses. The results have been powerful. The demand for universities and colleges to divest from, and break all ties with, Israeli apartheid serves to weaken the apartheid regime.

Politicians from both parties of big business have chosen to weigh in. The White House has denounced the demonstrations, Trump says the protests are a “disgrace,” and House Majority Leader Johnson wants the National Guard called out. By building the encampments, taking over buildings and taking to streets, the student movement is challenging the U.S.-backed Israeli genocide in Gaza. Students have joined a march that ends in the liberation of every inch of Palestine.

The repression that is being dished out by school administrators who run to local and state police, and even the FBI, is testament to how much this movement has already accomplished. It is driving home the point that Israeli apartheid is no better than the system of white minority rule that existed in South Africa. It is criminal and cruel – it must go. Those who are complicit with apartheid Israel are being judged accordingly.

This wide scale solidarity with Palestine is putting incredible pressure on the Biden administration and the entire Democratic Party. The White House is facilitating the genocide in Gaza and a growing section of traditional Democratic Party voters are anger and alienated. There is a war of liberation going on in Palestine.

This U.S. government is on the side of genocide. The student movement stands with those who aspire to freedom, and by doing so it undermines the ability of the U.S./Israel to wage war. That is why it is being treated as such a threat by the powers that be.

School administrators and others are lying to demonize this movement. They say foolish things like “it’s antisemitic to demand an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine” or that those who support resistance to occupation are supporting “terrorists.” In fact, it is those who attack pro-Palestine students that are calling good “evil” and evil “good.” So, these same administrators and their pals in politics resort to repression. They ban student groups, pass laws against student activism, and send out the cops to shut down the encampments. They will fail. Those who resort to repression will find they are lifting up a heavy rock, only to drop it on their own feet.

Likewise, those in power who try to divide the campus on the Palestine issue will not succeed. They try to pit students against non-students, “peaceful” protesters from the more militant, and try to police what activists can think and say. The fact that Palestine encampments are spreading – rapidly – is the best refutation of this trickology.

Now is the time to add fuel to the fire. Students can make a powerful worldwide movement to liberate Palestine. Institutions of higher education need to break all ties with apartheid Israel. No more U.S. aid to the Israeli occupation. From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!

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