Category Archives: Students

America’s Right Wing: YES to Quran-burning, NO to Flag-Burning

Originally posted to Islamaphobia Today, May 14, 2011

 

 

When LSU graduate student Benjamin Haas planned to burn the U.S. flag to protest the clamping down of civil liberties and the right of due process for “students and suspected terrorists alike”, an angry mob of over 1,000 people came out to stop him.  Haas “sustained physical and verbal taunting”and in fact received numerous death threats.  Had the police not been there to protect him, Haas might have been seriously hurt.  (Haas backed down from burning the flag.)

 

Here’s a video of the despicable mob (hint: any time you see Americans wrapped in the flag chanting “USA! USA! USA!” more often than not they are war-mongers):

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Filed under Anti-Imperialism, Anti-War, Education, Imperialism, Islam, Louisiana, Middle East, racism, Southern United States, Students, Uncategorized, United States

The Florida Legislative Session

by KurtFF8

The following video was produced by the Florida AFL-CIO about the actions that workers took to fight back against the reactionary legislature in Florida.

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Filed under class struggle, Corporations, Florida, Gulf States, labor movement, labor unions, Leftists in the U.S. South, Southern United States, Students, Tallahassee

Florida Workers and Students Fight Back!

by KurtFF8

All around Florida on Friday, students and workers help rallies and marches to voice their opposition to the anti-union attacks, attacks on women’s rights, students and education, and the environment.

Here is a list of videos and media coverage

News coverage:

Tallahassee Television coverage

Tallahassee FAMU newspaper coverage

Tallahassee FSU newspaper coverage

Pensacola coverage

Gainesville student paper coverage (also there is video coverage from the Alligator)

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Filed under austerity measures, budget cuts, class struggle, Environment, Florida, labor movement, labor unions, Leftists in the U.S. South, Southern United States, Students, Uncategorized

Fight Back Florida, March 25th

On March 25th, cities across Florida will be holding rallies and marches to demonstrate that Florida workers are going to fight back against the recent anti-worker measures introduced by the state legislature.

Rallies will be held in various cities around the state.  Check the website for more details http://www.fightbackflorida.com

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Filed under austerity measures, budget cuts, class struggle, Demonstration Announcements, Florida, labor movement, labor unions, Leftists in the U.S. South, Students, Upcoming Events

Recent events in Florida’s Capital

[This was originally posted on the Tallahassee Socialist Organization’s blog]

By Mike C

There were a few events of interest in Tallahassee in the past week or so that should be noted:

Egypt Solidarity Demonstration 2/5/11

About a week an a half ago, a small crowed comprised of many TSO members stood at the Capitol to show their support for the Egyptian revolution.  The demonstration was a last minute call for a rainy day and was well received by those driving by on the crowded intersection of Apalachee Parkway and Monroe St.

The demonstration was covered by the newspaper of the Florida A&M University, the FAMUAN:

It was a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon as protesters assembled on the Capital Lawn carrying handwritten signs reading, “Freedom in Egypt” and “We Support Egypt.”

Local residents and organizations held a solidarity rally to express their support for freedom in Cairo.

Anti-government protests, demanding economic and political changes, began in Egypt on Jan. 25.

Since then, tens of thousands of people are filling the streets of Cairo and other cities and have called for President Hosni Mubarak to resign after 30 years in power.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” a famous quote by Martin Luther King, Jr., helps to define one of the many reasons why American protesters are voicing their opinions.

“It should affect us all as Americans because it is what a truly American concept is about putting in a democracy,” said Alla Hadi, an Egyptian-American attending Florida State, whose family, and friends that are worried about what is going on in Egypt.

“We have to voice our support.”

This demonstration was held the same weekend as demonstrations across the country, from California, to New York City, Washington, DC. and South Florida all held similar events, as well as other Southern cities like New Orleans. (For more information on other demonstrations, check out the ANSWER Coalition’s article)

Public Hearing on Racist Immigration Bill 2/7/11

On February 7th, a public hearing was held to discuss the possibility of the introduction of a bill similar to the now infamous  racist “SB1070” Arizona law that promotes racial profiling.  As the Florida Progressive Coalition Blog reports, 90 percent of the speakers at the hearing were opposed to the prospect of such a bill with only 2 people speaking in favor of it during the entire event.  Folks came from all over the state to voice their opposition to the bill as well as people from Tallahassee.

Here’s one example of the opposition voiced during the hearing:

Pro-Choice Action 2/17/11

Last but certainly not least was the recent visit to the Florida State campus by a group that attempts to equate abortion to genocide.  Florida State students organized a counter demonstration to show that groups that go around attacking womens’ rights are not welcome on their campus and that opposition will be loud and heard.  Chants like “When choice is under attack, What do we do? Stand Up, Fight Back!” were heard in a busy section of the FSU campus while those promoting their anti-choice message were attempting to spread their message of hate.

While the group that was traveling by may seem like a fringe group in its message, their visit to Tallahassee comes at a time when abortion rights are under attack by the Right-wing in America (including attempts to limit access, attacking Planned Parenthood).

The pro-choice counter-demonstrators outnumbered those anti-choice by dozens, and stayed until the anti-choice folks packed up for the day, opposition to their second day is expect as well.  The student newspaper is also expected to run a story on the event.

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Filed under ANSWER Coalition, Florida, Gender, Human Rights, immigration, Imperialism, Leftists in the U.S. South, LGBT, Southern Identity, Southern Strategy, Students, Women

Louisiana college students protest budget cuts in Baton Rouge

By E. P. Bannon
13 November 2010

[Originally posted to World Socialist Website]

University students from throughout Louisiana descended on the capitol in Baton Rouge on November 10 to demonstrate against cuts in state spending on education. About 500 students from Louisiana State University (LSU), Southern University, University of New Orleans (UNO), Southeastern Louisiana University (SELU), University of Louisiana-Lafayette (ULL), Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University and Grambling State University were in attendance.

The budget cuts in education, already amounting to $310 million, are part of a larger series of austerity measures that will affect virtually all state-funded public services. Recently, Governor Bobby Jindal, a Republican, announced an additional cut in higher education spending of as much as 35 %, or up to $500 million more.

Students crowded the steps at the base of the capitol with signs, banners, and raised fists. As elsewhere, the policies of the federal and state governments have produced major disillusionment and an acute feeling of frustration among students, workers and youth in Louisiana. One sign, outlining the state’s crisis of education and indicting Governor Jindal, read sarcastically, “Iff you kan reede this, thanck Bobby Jindal.”

State officials and legislators made clear their hostility to the students’ demands. Only one Democratic state legislator attended the demonstration. Another legislator screamed at demonstrators as he left the capitol building. “We don’t need socialism in our economic policy,” he said, “and we don’t need it in our educational system! This is Un-American!”

Coupled with the ending of the meager federal stimulus package at the close of this year, the entire state higher education system is in crisis. Tuition has risen sharply, entire departments and programs have been cut, teachers, faculty and workers have been laid off, and services essential to the survival of these institutions are in danger.

“The cleaning staff in the Liberal Arts building have been laid off,” one UNO student explained. “The classrooms are filthy. It’s not uncommon to see trash all over the room. My anthropology classroom even floods.” He went on to talk about his financial concerns: “My tuition is skyrocketing. If it goes up any more, I won’t be able to continue.”

Foreign language departments have also been hard hit. “First they cut our third level course, then our second year course, and in the spring they will even cut German 1101,” a professor of German at LSU explained. One of her students added that if he graduated in the spring, he would still have to make up a course due to cuts in the university’s curriculum.

There were a series of speakers at the rally, including students and professors from each university. The majority of speakers, although passionate, did nothing reveal the class character of the situation—appealing instead to the Democrats against Governor Jindal. Typical was a professor from Southern University who proclaimed, “When young people get involved in the political system, you can literally change the world!” Such a statement expresses and propagates the misconception that the corporate-controlled two-party system represents the interests of the people.

One exception was Gregory William Esteven, a student from SELU, who broached the wider issues confronting working people: “All our public universities are facing such situations to one degree or another, and it means that higher education will be available to increasingly fewer people, and especially to the working class who make up the vast majority in this country and state. It means that Louisiana will have a dramatically-less educated population, which translates into a less educated workforce and political culture.”

The stories told to the rally show the direction of the education system, not only in Louisiana, but also across the United States and other developed nations. The universities’ lack of funding will result in the abandonment of an entire generation of working class youth, and loss of a vast intellectual potential. The education-deprived youth will be offered only the future of becoming instruments of the ruling class in new wars driven by the profit concerns of the ruling class.

There has been resistance to this new ruthless offensive waged by the capitalists, although it has been sporadic and lacks unity or direction. Last month, roughly 70 UNO students occupied a campus building for several hours, ending with a brief and minor clash with the police.

The working class and youth need a new direction. The youth and working class must break from the big-business parties and independently pursue a socialist program—a program that values the many over the few, of human need over profit.

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Filed under austerity measures, budget cuts, class struggle, Education, Gulf States, Louisiana, Southern Strategy, Southern United States, Students, The Left, Uncategorized, United States, workers

Higher Education Rally, Louisiana

By hasten_await

Students from across the state of Louisiana (including high school students) are protesting against devastating budget cuts to education. They are gathering at the state capitol on November 10 to voice their outrage. A broad united front of students and those who stand in solidarity with them has formed across the state, inclusive of groups as ideologically diverse as liberals, anarchists and communists. (Though certainly the radical leftists are a minority, albeit a highly-active and vocal one.)

 The latest round of cuts to higher education totals $35 million, while Republican governor Bobby Jindal is attempting to borrow $25 million to build a new juvenile prison facility.  Two-hundred eighty million have already been cut since 2008. The new cuts would eliminate 109 full-time jobs in the state university system, while entire academic programs are being liquidated; for example, at Southeastern Louisiana University, the degrees in French and French education are being cancelled, despite the fact that the French language is an important aspect of Louisiana’s cultural heritage.

It’s telling that the Jindal administration is so eager to cut funding to public higer education, in effect further gentrifying it and adding more bodies to the reserve army of the unemployed,* and is at the same time eager to expand the prison industrial complex in this state. Louisiana already ranks near the bottom among U.S. states in terms of education, and is the leading incarcerater in the world. This shows where the Baton Rouge government’s sympathies lie – certainly not with the broad masses of the people. Jindal and his cronies in Baton Rouge have been open about the fact that they would like to see education completely privatized.

*I will use the example of SELU again to demonstrate the effect that these cuts will have on working class students. SELU has been historically one of the most affordable universities in the region. Relatively low tuition allowed many working class students to attend this university. In order to compensate for the budget cuts, SELU raised tuition 10% this Fall, as authorized by the GRAD Act, and will continue raising tuition until it reaches the southern regional average; this could take up to six years.  

Paul Rainwater, the Commissioner of Administration and the main budget architect for governor Jindal, perversely said, according to the Times-Picayune, that “the actual cuts to colleges aren’t as severe as the administration’s detractors have said. When increased tuition and fees are factored in, the cuts amount to $88 million since 2008.” (This appears to be a paraphrase.)

I love this BS capitalist logic. Actually, it’s not BS if we understand that “capitalist logic” means logic that is favorable to capitalists (i.e., the actual rich people who own everything). He’s saying that the cuts aren’t that bad because increased fees and tuition make up for a portion of the cuts. They in fact do that. But who benefits from increased fees and tuition? Certainly not the vast majority of students who attend schools in the state university and technical college systems. 

 These cuts negatively impact the working class. More fees and higher tuition are not something that should be welcomed by a generation of students who are already burdened with historically-unprecedented levels of debt, who are working one or more low-wage (typically service industry) jobs, and who will possibly never pay off their student loans. That higher fees and tuition are helping to offset slightly the severity of the cuts should not offer much comfort to such students. What we are seeing in the midst of the worst structural crisis of world capitalism since WWII (among many other horrendous effects) is the further gentrification of education. Public education was originally created to open up education to people who are not wealthy (at least that intention was part of the picture). Now that our public universities and technical colleges are being slashed, education is becoming more and more the privilege of elites. The capitalist class will not stop until they steal every last thing from the people, or are overthrown by a revolutionary workers’ movement.

For more information, visit Occupy Louisiana and Stand Up for LA.

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Filed under class struggle, Demonstration Announcements, Event Announcement, Gulf States, Louisiana, Prison Industrial Complex, Prisoners, Southern United States, Students, Uncategorized, United States, Upcoming Events