Behind the forced resignations of two women Ivy League university presidents, behind the banning of pro-Palestine campus student organizations and behind the censorship and doxxing of anyone who dares to challenge the U.S.-backed Israeli genocide in Gaza is a capitalist cabal of Wall Street bankers, private equity firms, military contractors and major backers of Israel like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Determined to silence dissent, these forces are part of an effort to create an atmosphere of fear, particularly on college campuses. They target students and faculty, including Jewish activists, who dare organize and forcefully speak out in support of the Palestinian people’s right to resist Israel’s genocide and illegal occupation of Palestinian lands. Black and Arab student organizers have been particularly targeted.
The attacks on pro-Palestine student activists go hand-in-hand with the vicious right-wing attacks on so-called “wokeness” and “diversity, equity, inclusion” (DEI), steps promoting some justice won by the outpouring of millions of people globally in 2020 in the Black Lives Matter movement. Then, following the police murder of George Floyd, young white workers took to the streets in militant protests side-by-side with their Black and Brown comrades.
It is no coincidence conservative activist Christopher Rufo was at the forefront of the campaign to force Harvard’s first Black woman president, Claudine Gay, to resign. Rufo is best known for launching the campaign against the teaching of “critical race theory.” One of the first acts of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was to align with Rufo in a hostile takeover of the New College in order to abolish the school’s DEI department. (The Nation, Jan. 4)
“Stop WOKE” legislation in Florida, Texas and several other states represents an effort to purge U.S. history of any references to violence against Black, Brown, Indigenous and Asian people by white supremacists.
Along with their puppet politicians from both bourgeois parties, this capitalist cabal would push society back to a time when only wealthy, white men had access to higher education. History would be taught only from the perspective of the rulers of white, settler-colonial states, whether the U.S. or Israel.
The working class needs to defend anyone facing these racist attacks and false charges of antisemitism, even when those under attack are not strong on the issues. We need a truly broad, anti-capitalist movement capable of challenging all the tools capitalism has historically used to divide the global working class: racism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, transphobia, ableism, ageism and more — not to mention being labeled “antisemitic” just for speaking out against genocidal Zionism and in support of Palestine.
The energy of the 2020 anti-racist street actions helped fuel the growing movement of young workers — multinational and multi-gender — to organize unions in workplaces from Starbucks to Amazon and beyond. The last two years have witnessed the success of major union strikes. In 2023, SAG-AFTRA and the United Auto Workers won historic concessions from their bosses.
And 2023 ended with significant demonstrations of solidarity with Palestine from the global union movement and the demand for a cease-fire in Gaza.
The momentum is growing to take on the right wing and the imperialist forces aligned behind Zionism. Let’s make 2024 the year to build a multinational movement of students, workers and all oppressed people capable of crushing the capitalist cabal.