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FRSO Student Commission: Build struggle in 2014

By staff |
February 23, 2014
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Florida students protest against verdict in Trayvon Martin killing
Florida students protest against verdict in Trayvon Martin killing (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Members of the Student Commission of Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) met to sum up the past year of struggle and discuss strategies for building the student movement in the U.S.

More students, from more areas of the country, were present at this year’s FRSO Student Commission meeting than in years past. It indicates that students are on the move and new communists are arising from the movement and joining the FRSO. From the Southwest, Midwest, South and East Coast, student comrades discussed and debated the issues facing the movements.

The Student Commission leadership opened with a summation of the work over the past year, highlighting the key campaigns that we participated in on a national level. Justice for Trayvon Martin rallies in Florida and across the country, campus protests to stop Obama’s war on Syria and demanding immigrant rights and tuition equity were the major ones. Student leaders also reflected on SDS’ March 2013 National Day of Action for Education Rights.

Michael Sampson from Florida State University Dream Defenders, organized a campus rally on the anniversary of Trayvon’s murder in February 2013. Sampson then helped to lead a midnight march of 300, mostly African American students in Tallahassee, after the Florida courts failed to convict George Zimmerman for murder. Sampson said, “Dream Defenders as an organization was born out of the murder of Trayvon Martin. We led one of the largest marches for Trayvon Martin and staged a month-long occupation of the Florida State Capitol to demand justice for Trayvon Martin. The movement for justice for those that suffer from national oppression and racism will continue to move forward.”

At the start of the school year, SDS participated in the international movement against U.S. drone warfare. Then in September, Obama threatened a new Middle East war against Syria. The Student Commission leadership responded by calling to raise the slogan, “U.S. Hands off Syria!” Student comrades participated in and led anti-intervention rallies in more than a dozen cities and on many campuses.

Campus leaders discussed their local campaigns and found greatly positive outcomes. A SDS leader described the ongoing fight against white supremacists and Nazis meeting in Dickson, Tennessee. He stressed the importance of the fight against national oppression in all its forms, especially in the South.

Comrades at the meeting talked about the January protest in Miami, Florida to close the Guantanamo U.S. torture prison. People’s Opposition to War, Imperialism, and Racism (POWIR) brought together over 100 activists, including dozens from SDS. National groups like Vets for Peace, Code Pink and the Committee to Stop FBI Repression spoke to stop U.S. torture of prisoners.

Other campuses summed up their campaigns to end rape culture. This issue brought new faces to SDS meetings, and built women’s leadership to demand college administrators take action instead of hiding the facts.

Still other campuses discussed their ongoing solidarity work with the labor, immigrant rights and anti-war and oppressed nationality movements. Comrades summed up their relationships with other organizations and sections of the people’s movements as positive and ongoing.

Comrades discussed how to contribute to both the local and national campaigns of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Dream Defenders in Florida and the student and youth immigrant rights movement. This representation from diverse sections of the student movement contributed greatly to the analysis, debates and decisions that arose over the course of the meeting.

Members of the commission pledged to join and build the Students for a Democratic Society call for tuition equity for undocumented students. “We’re excited to work within and outside of SDS to help build the struggle for tuition equity for undocumented students,” said Chrisley Carpio. “We’re sure that this struggle will grow across the country not only for SDS but other groups struggling for education for all.”

The Student Commission debated how students could help lead the struggle for tuition equity along with the other groups working on it. The Student Commission agreed that the struggle for tuition equity can and should occur among many different groups, both multi-national and oppressed nationality student groups working together, with principled unity towards justice and equality.

The Student Commission discussed mass work with a high level political discussion about the nature of organization and fighting back against injustice. They united around the need for Marxism-Leninism as a weapon against oppression. Leaders prepared a discussion on a study that helped to consolidate the cadres to the fundamentals of the Marxist-Leninist ideology.

On the topic, Gregory Lucero from Utah said, “We’ve all made great efforts to study Marxism-Leninism as students. We can learn historical lessons from the struggle and bring them to our fight for justice today.”

In the end, Student Commission cadre pledged a lifelong commitment to the people’s movements and the foundations of Marxism-Leninism. Student Commission Chair Stephanie Taylor said, “We had an in-depth discussion on the process of transformation, in which students fuse with the working class. By joining the working class after college, students demonstrate their revolutionary commitment to fighting for the working class for the rest of their lives. This is an important part of Marxism-Leninism and an important principle of forwarding our revolutionary goals.”

The student leaders summed up the past year of struggle positively, have unity moving forward, and plan to make 2014 one of the strongest years of student struggle in recent history, because we have a world to win.