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The mass movement to end the death and destruction occurring in Gaza has swept across the entire world, even in the traditionally “conservative” state of Arizona. Thousands have joined rallies and marches organized by the Palestinian-American Community Center (PACC) or student activist groups like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).

The larger demonstrations organized by PACC have found strength in numbers, and have not encountered any significant counterprotests. Isolated reactionaries or small groups do not feel emboldened to confront marches involving thousands, and instead limit themselves to inflammatory statements on social media.

However, college campuses like Arizona State University (ASU) or the University of Arizona (U of A) have become battlegrounds over free speech in defense of Palestine. Activists and demonstrators have been slandered as antisemites and intimidated. The communists of Socialist Revolution have participated actively in these demonstrations and are prepared to cooperate with any other group on campus to defend our movement’s right to express its opposition to the slaughter.

At ASU, following a Palestine solidarity rally organized by SJP and other campus groups, an online “journalist” doxxed two local activists, members of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) and Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL). The Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) and SJP were also targeted by the College Young Republicans, who sent a letter to the Dean of Students demanding these two student organizations be disciplined by the university for organizing the rally.

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At the U of A, a protest planned for the same day as part of a national day of resistance came under slanderous attack by U of A President Robert Robbins. Unfortunately, the protest was canceled by the organizers after Robbins released a statement asserting that the rally was antithetical to the university’s values, and slanderously claiming that the organizers supported Hamas and were spreading antisemitic hatred. Caving to the administration’s reactionary demands was a mistake! Measures could have been taken to resist the pressure, and the movement must draw important lessons from this.

As we go to press, activists at ASU are calling for students and activists to pack the student senate on Tuesday to defend SJP and other activists who proposed a BDS bill originally set to be debated at ASU’s student government. One activist says:

My sources have informed me that Zionist student leaders and groups have called in news, police, and even representatives for politicians to be at this meeting. Students groups who are organizing this are facing threats and intimidation from these groups, and possibly even the institution itself.

Under pressure from Zionist activists on campus, the student government decided to remove the bill from the agenda for Tuesday. These kinds of bureaucratic maneuvers cannot be taken sitting down, and we applaud the organizers for deciding to continue with the planned action despite this pressure.

Defend the movement with united action!

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The communists organized in Socialist Revolution will be mobilizing to defend these activists from intimidation. As we have made clear in the past, we do not believe boycotting Israel can effectively contribute to the liberation of Palestine. We call instead for “intifada until victory!” Only a generalized mass uprising of all the exploited and oppressed of Palestine and the Middle East is capable of ending the occupation and driving imperialism out of the region for good.

Nonetheless, we defend these comrades-in-arms in the struggle for Palestinian freedom because we adhere to the age-old adage that an injury to one is an injury to all! We believe the entire movement must vigorously defend any activist, demonstration, or organization that is attacked for being in solidarity with Palestine, including those we disagree with on questions of program and tactics. Anything short of this will divide and weaken the movement.

We believe in the power of working-class unity and strength in numbers. Protests like the one canceled at the U of A can only be protected by the united action of the whole movement. If Socialist Revolution were present at the U of A, we would have immediately offered to mobilize our membership to attend the rally and protect it, and we would have called on all other campus organizations to do the same.

In particular, we believe the United Campus Workers had a special duty to mobilize its 500 members in defense of the U of A rally. If this had been done, the rally could have proceeded, and the Zionists and the school’s administration would have suffered a political defeat. This will be the policy of Socialist Revolution at ASU and any other campus where we have a presence.

Following the vote on the BDS bill at ASU, Socialist Revolution proposes that all pro-Palestine organizations unite to organize a rally in defense of free speech for the Palestine solidarity movement, against intimidation and repression. Not only should we rally more students through platforms such as student government, we should also take this struggle into the open and work to organize and mobilize as much of the student body and broader working class as possible to defend Palestine. We invite all interested organizations to contact us and begin coordinating such a rally.

If you are a communist fighting for a free Palestine, get organized and join Socialist Revolution. We are building at schools and workplaces all over the country, and fighting to end the occupation with class struggle.

Hands off our campuses! 

An injury to one is an injury to all!

Down with US imperialism! 

Intifada until victory!