Socialist Alternative

ON THE GROUND: Boston Gaza Solidarity Encampments

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In the past few weeks, college students across the country have set up encampments at more than 50 universities in solidarity with the Palestinian people under siege by Israel’s far-right government. The central demands at many of these encampments have been divestment of university endowments from companies linked to the occupation, alongside a full ceasefire in Gaza. Following in the footsteps of students who protested the Vietnam War in 1968, they have set up tents and peaceful occupations of public campus locations with no signs of slowing down.

However, the response by university administrators and Democratic officials in these cities has been swift and brutal. Over 300 students were arrested this past week at Columbia University and the City College of New York, with police removing press and legal observers before brutally assaulting the students and tearing down their encampments. Here in Boston, students at Northeastern and Emerson received the same treatment with over 200 arrested. Despite widespread solidarity and the peaceful nature of the protests, Democratic Mayor Wu weaponized an ordinance passed last year designed to clear the streets of homeless people to carry out these attacks, and university administrators have thrown accusations of antisemitism and violence at these protesters.

Nevertheless, the movement has continued to spread across the country as millions of young people and workers realize how committed these institutions are to putting profits over the safety of their students and the genocidal war they’re unquestionably linked to. As international pressure on the bloodthirsty Israeli government grows, the ruling class fears a nationwide movement that could oppose its policies of unlimited aid to Israel and bring Biden and the Democrats to heel. 

In order to achieve that goal, it’s urgent that the movement expand to bring other sectors of universities and working people into the fold. Graduate unions should pass resolutions mirroring the student demands and take strike action to shut down colleges and further pressure administrators. Major unions like the UAW which have already passed ceasefire resolutions could build for coordinated nationwide walkouts, and should rescind their endorsements of Biden while building for an independent workers’ party which can challenge the duopoly come November. Only a revolutionary, organized, international student and worker movement has the power to end U.S. funding for Israel and a permanent ceasefire.

As Socialist Alternative We Demand:

  • Full divestment of college funds from public and private universities linked to the Israeli occupation
  • Spreading the struggle to every campus and building a mass anti-war movement of students and workers
  • Building towards a nationwide walkout and strike, for a full shutdown of campuses across the country
  • An end to U.S. military support of Israel
  • A new anti-war party for working people, and a full break with the Democrats and Republicans
  • Permanent ceasefire and an end to the occupation
  • A socialist Palestine and a socialist Israel, as part of a socialist federation of workers across the Middle East

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