October 09, 2006

Statement in support of Columbia U. Protesters

[From a WCW email]

Below is a statement written by WCW youth/students in support of the recent protest at Columbia U. against the founder of the fascist viligante immigrant-hunting group the Minutemen, where he was prevented from speaking. The students who took part in this protest are facing as-yet-undisclosed, but almost certainly severe, disciplinary action, and we're aiming to use this statement and who signs it to make it politically impossible for them to be seriously punished for taking a righteous and correct stand when a fascist people-hunter came to their school.

We're asking people to sign this statement, especially influential and prominent leaders in immigrant communities and in academia.

Please forward this around very widely, and ask others to do the same. If you have contacts for people who would be important to have as signatories, or if you go out and get signatories, send their info and their name to: youth_students@worldcantwait.org

Jack from the National Youth Team


Stop the Harrassment Against the Minutemen Protesters at Columbia!

No human being is illegal. The Minutemen, an armed vigalante group, had no intention of engaging in serious academic debate when speaking at an event hosted by the Columbia University Young Republican Club. The group's platform of normalizing racism and taking up arms to preserve white supremecy is a dark path that the world has seen before. Images of night riding Klansmen and Nazi storm troopers comes to mind.

When students dare to take action against groups such as the Minutemen and remain unapologetic in the face of administrative threats and right-wing media campaigns, they must be defended and their voice must be supported.

On the night of October 4th, students unfurled a banner that read: "No one is ever illegal," in both Arabic and English, on stage during a speech by Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist at Columbia's Roone Auditorium. The moral clarity embodied in this simple act of resistance is urgently needed on college campuses across the country. What would it have meant if Columbia's student body remained silent as the founder of an armed vigalante group spoke at their school?

Following the protest and cancellation of the event, the media has gone on a rampage to vilify and grossly distort the protests while New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has publicly criticized Columbia University's President Lee Bollinger for not moving fast enough in reprimanding the Minutemen protesters. The terms of debate surrounding the Minuteman protests at Columbia University are utterly intolerable and need to be dramatically altered. It is an alarming and disturbing sign of the times when the press labels an openly racist armed vigalante group that operates in the public eye as merely "controversial". As debate rages over the Minuteman's speech, it must be acknowledged that the Minutemen speak through guns and through actions fueled by bigotry and intolerance.

The discourse and debate over the Minuteman protest has been completely abstracted from the context of a country currently undergoing radical changes in governing laws and norms that date back to the very foundation of this country. It cannot be ignored or denied that the Minuteman's appearance comes at a time when the Bush administration is rounding up thousands of immigrants and is moving ahead with the unprecedented legalization of torture. Isn't the Minuteman's appearance coming at a time when the government has just shredded the constitutional right of due process and the President of the United States has vetoed stem-cell research based on religious grounds? It would be out of step with reality to narrowly equate the Minuteman Project with the Bush agenda. But so would discussing the Minutemen disconnected from the facistic direction the United States is moving under the Bush administration.

The attacks and possible disiplinary action directed at the student protesters by Columbia University are part of an increasingly repressive atmosphere that is aiming to rid American universities of critical thought and dissent. From the professors who have come under fire for expressing progressive or oppositional views, to the Bush administration's attacks on objective scholarship when it challenges its aims - this must be brought to a halt.

We demand that the students under investigation for protesting Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist face no threats of expulsion or any disiplinary actions!
[More from Toni's online group]

On October 4, the College Republicans at Columbia University hosted

Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist. The Minutemen are known for
inciting racist violence against immigrants. In an exercise of free
speech, students unfurled a banner on the stage reading "No One is
Illegal", prompting audience members to join them on the stage with
another banner with the message, "No to Racism". These peaceful
protesters were violently assaulted. Below is their initial statement
published the night of the protest as well as a link to a video
showing parts of the event. They are now under attack from the
administration and potentially face disciplinary charges. Please
support them by signing the online petition at
http://www.petitiononline.com/nominute/petition.html. The students
are also soliciting letters of support and solidarity, which can be
sent to them at nominutemen@gmail.com.


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