FRSO: Building a new and revolutionary student movement
Jacksonville, FL – The Student Commission of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) recently met to discuss building a revolutionary student movement to challenge President Trump and the Republicans’ reactionary and racist agenda.
FRSO leader Chrisley Carpio explained, “Excitingly, about 30 students filled the room, many are new recruits at their first Student Commission meeting. They expressed nervousness, but delivered detailed, precise reports with confidence. We heard new voices during every part of the meeting. In a time of countless attacks from Trump's administration, students are joining the FRSO and building the student movement with emergency actions, campaigns and a determination to revive campus activism.”
Opposition to Trump is the unifying theme of today’s student movement. FRSO students described protesting Trump’s inauguration in 2017 and attending the massive Women’s Marches the next day. Some hosted campus events in solidarity with Native Americans and environmentalists at Standing Rock against the oil pipeline, both during Obama’s presidency and then under Trump.
In the autumn of 2018, FRSO student activists rallied on their quads to stop Trump’s nomination and #CancelKavanaugh in support of the #MeToo movement. Then as FRSO students were driving home from the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) Convention in Salt Lake City, a call went out to protest against Trump and Education Secretary Betsy Devos’ attack on Title IX and transgender rights.
In 2019, students rallied to support the immigrant rights caravans from Central America on the U.S. border with Mexico. When Trump falsely declared a state of emergency in mid-February, members of the FRSO student commission organized emergency protests demanding, “Legalization for all” and “No border wall!”
The FRSO opposes the border wall and the U.S. wars, coups and intervention that cause poverty and misery in Latin America. Many student comrades are now leading protests against Trump’s war threats and U.S. sanctions against Venezuela. FRSO stands in solidarity with the Venezuelan people, President Maduro, and the popular Bolivarian revolution, which is reclaiming that country for the people instead of U.S. corporations and the rich.
During the weekend meeting, one example of student activist campaigning really stood out. Student leaders talked about their Black Lives Matter campaign at the University of North Florida. They won a campaign to create an African American study major, $2 million for scholarships for Black and Latino students (using money cut from administrators' salaries), and increased Black and Latino enrollment.
Now, students are demanding the removal of a racist statue at the University of Texas Arlington. At Florida State University, students got a statue of a slaveowner removed.
“At the FRSO meeting, we decided to be bold and meet the political challenges of our age under Trump. The ruling class is unleashing attacks on the people, on many fronts. We see a new Supreme Court that attacks collective bargaining rights and reproductive rights. We see restrictions on immigration, continued racist discrimination and police crimes, especially against Black people. We see an economic crisis right around the corner. We see a continued, if clumsy, march towards more U.S. wars. At the same time, we know socialism is on many students’ minds, as protests and workers’ strikes are on the rise,” said Carpio.
Carpio continued, “Our opportunities to build struggle outweigh our obstacles. With fierce struggle, study, and determination, we are going to move forward with our demands for a new society, for socialism.”