Revolutionary Student Brigade

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Revolutionary Student Brigade was a Marxist-Leninist student organization active in the 1970s in the United States. The RSB was founded at a conference on June 15–17, 1974 which was attended by about 450 students from 80 campuses. Its predecessor was the Attica Brigade, which was one grouping that can be traced to the Students for a Democratic Society split in 1969. The RSB was the student organization associated with the Revolutionary Union, which became the Revolutionary Communist Party in 1975.

The Attica Brigade was an anti-imperialist student organization in the United States in the early 1970s. It was initiated in 1972 by the Revolutionary Union. In 1974 the Attica Brigade changed its name to the Revolutionary Student Brigade at a conference on June 15–17.[1]

Two months after the seizure of the Statue of Liberty, in June of 1974, a convention was held in Iowa City to form a new student group which would be spread throughout the country. Approximately four hundred and fifty students from some eighty colleges and universities across the country then launched the Revolutionary Student Brigade (RSB), perhaps the most militant and action-oriented national grouping on U.S. campuses in the 1970s.

Among its more notable actions were the organization of the “Off Our Backs” demonstration in Philadelphia in the spring of 1976, participation in the conflict to prevent the destruction of the International Hotel (the I-Hotel, the home of many aged Asian people in San Francisco’s Chinatown), and the 1977 confrontations over the decision of the administration of Kent State University to construct a gym on the site of the killing and wounding of anti-war demonstrators by the Ohio National Guard during the Vietnam War.

The Attica Brigade aimed to fill the vacuum of left wing activism on campuses after Students for a Democratic Society split in 1969. The name of the organization is inspired by the Attica prison uprising in 1971. Attica Brigade organized an Eastern regional conference that drew 250 attendants from 31 campus chapters in New York on March 31 - April 1, 1973.[2]

When the Revolutionary Communist Party split in 1977 this struggle was reflected in the RSB; a significant section of the Revolutionary Student Brigade left the Revolutionary Communist Party, taking the RSB name with them. They joined the Revolutionary Workers Headquarters, a new Marxist-Leninist organization which emerged from the RCP. Those who remained in the RCP and renamed their organization the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade. Disagreement over how to organize students and youth played a role in the RCP-RWH split.

The Attica Brigade / RSB waged a number of important campus battles of the 1970s, including continuing the student anti-war movement as Nixon pursued "Vietnamization"; working to discredit Nixon's efforts to hold onto power as the Watergate scandal unfolded by staging a "sit-in" takeover of the Statue of Liberty in April, 1974; supporting the 1976 Soweto uprising in South Africa; and working to keep the memory alive of the student protesters who were killed in May 1970 at Kent State and Jackson State.

In 1980, what was left of the RSB joined with the Student Coalition Against Nukes Nationwide (SCANN) and Midwest Coalition Against Registration and the Draft (MidCARD) to found a new organization, the Progressive Student Network. Prior to this merger, RSB cadre had been active in both of the other two organizations.[3]

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