Bangladesh students celebrate worldwide struggle
Published Apr 14, 2010 5:55 PM
Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST), along with the All India Democratic
Students Organization and All Nepal National Independent Students Union
(Revolutionary), was invited to attend the end of the 25th anniversary
celebrations of the Socialist Students Front of Bangladesh.
The Socialist Students Front, the youth and student organization of the
Socialist Party of Bangladesh, was founded in 1984. That was thirteen years
after Bangladesh won independence from Pakistan through armed struggle, in
response to the Pakistani government’s repression and its neglect
following a devastating cyclone.
The SSF has tens of thousands of activists around the country. This was evident
in the many thousands who attended the rally and march in the Bangladesh
capital of Dhaka on March 31.
The rally was held at the University of Dhaka and the march proceeded from
there through the city. The thousands of students, many carrying red flags,
wound through the streets, blocking traffic and inspiring many onlookers with
militant chants for socialism and against U.S. imperialism.
The international participants engaged with student activists from throughout
the country, from Dhaka to Syhlet and Chittagong. The theme for the new era of
activism, ushered in after the end of the 25th year celebration is “A New
Era of Student Movement,” whose goal is to win education as a right for
Panels were set up so the guests could engage with Bengali students. The focus
was the struggle for education in Bangladesh and across the world, even in the
imperialist nations. Many of the students prepared questions for the
international activists. These ranged from wanting to know about the various
struggles in India for education and against Indian expansionism to the
struggle in Nepal for socialism, to the success of the March 4 Day of Action to
Defend Education in the U.S. and the left movement in the U.S. The Socialist
Students Front had sent a solidarity letter to the activists in the U.S.
organizing for March 4.
The international activists were able to visit many universities while in
Bangladesh: the University of Dhaka, which has a rich cultural history and is
one of the oldest and largest universities in the country; Jahangirnagar
University, which is the only school where all the students reside on campus;
and Shahjalal University of Science and Technology.
The guests visited many other places as well, including a monument to the many
who were killed in the national liberation struggle against Pakistan and in the
language movement that started after Pakistan declared Urdu as the only
official national language. This drew the ire of the Bengali people who were a
nationally oppressed group with its own culture, traditions and language.
Students from the University of Dhaka organized protests, even though the
government had outlawed assemblies, meetings and protests to counter mass
The activists also visited a tea field where they were able to talk to some of
the workers. They are trying to organize those who toil under oppressive
conditions, working up to 12 hours a day, stooped over and forced to pick tea
leaves rapidly in the blinding hot sun.
The international participants agreed to deepen their relationships as part of
the international struggle to demand and win education as a right for all.
Representing Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST) at the SSF events,
Hales played a leading role in mobilizing students and youth for the March 4
education protests across the U.S.
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