by Giovanni Jackson
World Can’t Wait youth/student organizer
On the 6th anniversary of 9/11, College Republicans and College Democrats got together to stage a “memorial” at Malcolm X Plaza at San Francisco State University. World Can’t Wait (worldcantwait.org) activists, youth organizers with Revolution Newspaper (revcom.us), and others came together to take them on, to argue that there are other victims of 9/11 than just the Americans that died that day. We dressed in the orange jumpsuits and black hoods of the torture victims of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, and kneeled down on top of an American flag while they sang the national anthem and pledged allegiance to the flag.
This created a tremendous controversy and a large crowd gathered around to watch. Hundreds were drawn in by the commotion and many entered into the debate. The Golden Gate Xpress, SF State’s campus newspaper, featured it on the front page with the headline, “A different stand on Sept. 11.” The article however called what we did a “disruption” of a “nonpartisan memorial service.” Bill O’Reilly had representatives from the SFSU College Republicans and College Democrats on his show, standing in unity to denounce the “left wing demonstrators.”
What has become increasingly clear to this “left wing demonstrator” in the aftermath of our action, is that what we did was right, and a model for a new generation of rebels who’ve had enough and don’t want to play by the rules. Below is a response from World Can’t Wait – Drive Out the Bush Regime! to the Xpress article.
World Can’t Wait response to “9/11 Rally Turns Ugly”:
In the days after September 11th 2001, regular New Yorkers took over Union Square to send a bold message to the Bush Administration: “Our grief is not a cry for war!” Instead of listening to the people asking “Why do they hate us?” the Bush Regime unleashed a vicious juggernaut of war on the world and repression at home. On the 6th anniversary of September 11th – with two countries already devastated, and Iran in their sights – World Can’t Wait felt it was necessary to send a bold message to the College Republi-Crats: we will not allow you to use the victims of 9/11 to instill fear, blind patriotism, and unthinking obedience to Bush’s warmongering.
We wanted people to remember all of the victims of 9/11: from the post-9/11 round-ups and deportations of thousands of innocent Muslim and Middle Eastern people, to the people of Falluja, which was wrapped in barbed wire, its water and electricity cut, and then reduced to rubble. What about the victims of the Haditha massacre, or Abu-Ghraib, or the Afghan wedding parties which have been bombed, or the destruction of Southern Lebanon paid for and directed by the Bush administration, or the bombing of Somalia? How about the 1 million Iraqis who have been killed as a result of this war, or the 4 million that have become refugees? What about all of us, whose constitutional rights have been ground up by the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, “Homeland Security,” wholesale and unlimited domestic spying, and the rest of the fascist police state infrastructure? In short, 9/11 is not a “nonpartisan” day, as your article suggests – and these are not “nonpartisan” times. Just because the Republican president and the (Democratic majority) Congress are united in continuing this war, and just because College Democrats and Republicans share the same stage to cry crocodile tears and pledge allegiance, does not make it “nonpartisan.”
What happened this past Tuesday at Malcolm X Plaza was not “ugly.” It was actually a much needed break from the flag-waving rituals repeated on every TV station across the country. Many students and faculty came up to us to express their appreciation for making the question of 9/11 (and what it’s being used for) two-sided. In fact, the older African American man yelling at us and calling us “communists” in your photos actually came up to us afterward, apologized, and went on stage to resign from the Campus Republicans saying he’s sick of them using the “N” word in their meetings. Others told us they were disgusted by the display of jingoism 6 years into this endless war and said that college should be a place where people question the official narrative and stand up for what they feel is right. That is sorely missing these days. 40 years after the Third World Liberation Strike the College Republicans can claim to be oppressed by left-wing campus tyranny, but it is people like them that have state power. The College Republicans are having anti-immigrant bake sales at the same time as ICE raids are ripping apart immigrant families. This is not just a question of campus politics and a few loudmouth assholes. They have their eyes set on the last remaining bastions of critical thinking – schools like SF State, UC Berkeley, and UC Santa Cruz – with the aim of transforming all of society. If they can create an atmosphere at SF State where it’s OK to be openly racist and reactionary, and progressive faculty are intimidated by ridiculous claims of “left wing academic dictatorship,” and radical dissenting ideas are ruled beyond the pale and off the table… then they have won, not only at SF State, but in their efforts to remake the social fabric of this country – the so-called “culture wars.” In short, if we ignore them they will not go away.
David Horowitz – responsible for the firing of Professor Ward Churchill at University of Colorado Boulder, famous for arguing that black people should be thankful for slavery, and a close mentor of the SFSU College Republicans – is calling for a nationwide right wing campus assault October 22-26 called “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.” They plan to harass Muslim Student Associations and Women’s Studies departments, and feature speakers like former U.S. senator – and Christian Fascist – Rick Santorum, famous for opposing evolution and sleeping with his wife’s miscarried fetus. What is needed at SF State, and campuses across the country, is a political counter-offensive. If you are tired of sitting on the sidelines, waiting for the magical pendulum to swing back toward sanity, watching your rights be stripped away and your world burn… and you’re wondering where is the outrage, where are the protesters… then hook up with the World Can’t Wait club at SF State and let’s start the resistance!
For more info about The World Can’t Wait – Drive Out the Bush Regime! check out www.worldcantwait.org or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, September 17, 2007
by Giovanni Jackson