Campus revolts inspire anti-imperialist solidarity

WW Commentary

Faced with the ongoing U.S.-backed Israeli genocide in occupied Gaza that has claimed the lives of 34,454 civilians, with 77,575 people injured as of April 28, according to Gaza’s Palestinian Ministry of Health, and caused the displacement of over 1 million people, the solidarity with Palestine is evolving into a global resistance to U.S. and Western imperialism.  

Students take over and rename Columbia building in memory of six-year old Palestinian martyr, Hind Rajab, killed Jan. 29, 2024, by Israeli troops.

The opposition has become omnipresent in the Global North, especially in the United States, where Gaza solidarity encampments have spread like a huge tidal wave since the first one began on April 17 at Columbia University. Within two weeks, students have set up encampments at over 100 universities and colleges. 

These encampments have become “liberated zones,” which include tents named for occupied Palestinian territories under siege, such as Gaza and Rafah. Donated food, water, medical supplies and blankets fill the sites, along with books and other literature for “people’s libraries.” 

The encampments’ demands are universal: All schools must divest funds from any part of their billion-dollar endowments that prop up the Israeli occupation; the U.S. government must cease supplying billions of dollars of weaponry to Israel with every congressional bill passed; and there must be a permanent end to the horrific genocide.  

Encampments have also sprung up in parts of Asia, Australia, Canada and Europe.    

Many encampments have faced police brutality and arrests, most notably at Columbia University in New York City, Arizona State University in Tempe, Indiana University in Bloomington, Emory University in Atlanta, Emerson College and Northeastern University in Boston, Washington University in St. Louis and Ohio State University in Columbus.

Dozens of pro-Palestinian activists have either been suspended or expelled by pro-Israel university administrations. Faculty members seeking to physically protect their students’ First Amendment rights to protest have also been brutalized and arrested. Some have even lost their jobs.  

Despite the vicious police repression, the students and their supporters have refused to be intimidated. They remain steadfast and resilient in forcing administrations to meet their demands. If any encampments get torn down by state repressive forces, the students find creative ways to relocate them.  

Behind all the police terror lies real fear among the repressive state apparatus and the ruling class they protect. They fear that this youth and student uprising is radicalizing

and changing class consciousness for unprecedented numbers of the working class. The most politically developed student organizers are linking the Palestine struggle to other important struggles like solidarity with migrant workers and with political prisoners like Mumia Abu-Jamal.  

Solidarity appreciated from Global South

These campus uprisings, sparked by the genocide, mass starvation and ethnic cleansing U.S.-backed Israel has forced on the Palestinian masses, now approaching the seventh month, have evolved into an important and strategic front for the anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist struggle. And no one knows this better than the Palestinian people themselves; they understand that the enemy extends beyond Israel and also know who their friends and allies are. Solidarity must be and should be reciprocal.  

The Palestinian people have a deep understanding and appreciation for what the eruption of the class struggle inside the belly of the beast — the U.S. Empire — means for their struggle. They understand that any challenge to the racist status quo inside the U.S. uplifts their 76-year struggle for national liberation and proves once again that solidarity knows no borders.  

Once the campus revolts erupted inside the U.S., Palestinians, along with the masses throughout West Asia, paid tribute to these revolts with heartfelt thanks and solidarity. And now the developments inside the U.S. have inspired organized student movements in Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait, Jordan and Türkiye — according to the National Students for Justice in Palestine.  

Gaza students acknowledge U.S. actions  

In an April 25 open letter to the U.S. student movement, Gaza student organizations under the umbrella of the Student Frameworks Secretariat, wrote, “When we see videos and images from U.S. universities today, we are reminded of our history of student struggle as well as the student uprisings of 1968, which challenged imperialism from Vietnam to Palestine and reshaped the face of Europe and the United States. 

“Now, in 2024, the student movement is once again leading the way. From here in Gaza, we see you and salute you. Your actions and activism matter, especially in the heart of the empire, in the United States. As members of Congress agree to provide $26 billion in additional weapons to bomb our people and continue the Zionist-U.S. genocide, you are taking meaningful action to shut down the war machine on your campuses.  

“It is clear that a new generation is rising that will no longer accept Zionism, racism and genocide and that stands with Palestine and our liberation from the river to the sea.” (Read the entire statement at

Repression fuels resistance

Palestinians continue to bear the daily brunt of Israeli airstrikes leading to massacres, like those at the destroyed Al-Shifa and Nasser hospitals in Gaza and Khan Younis respectively, with evidence of hundreds of civilians killed. The victims included children and health care workers, who were tortured, executed and even buried alive. 

Israel and the U.S. are blockading the Freedom Flotilla, made up of three ships with 5,500 tons of humanitarian aid, which is waiting to leave for Gaza from Istanbul, Türkiye.

History shows that atrocities such as these will continue to fuel the revolutionary flames of a united Palestinian resistance. Their struggle will inevitably lead to the long overdue emancipation of an Indigenous people. This victory will include the right of exiled Palestinans to return to their homes. It will also hasten the demise of the utterly hated imperialist system, the root cause of so much exploitation, oppression and misery for all of humanity. 

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