Students for a Democratic Society First on Campus meeting
Salt Lake City, UT - members of Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack! and Students for a Democratic Society presented the basics of Marxism-Leninism to a group of 30 community members, students, and local organizers on July 9 2016. The presenters focused on the fundamentals of capitalism and socialism, the struggle of oppressed nationalities in the U.S. and abroad, and the need for a communist party of the multinational working class.
The first presentation gave an overview of Marxist-Leninist theory, starting with the emergence of capitalism and the exploitation inherent to it. The speaker, Sean Taylor of SDS at the University of Utah, highlighted the importance of the vanguard in building the revolutionary struggle in the U.S. and in combating U.S. imperialism abroad: “The vanguard has the duty of going among the people. Socialism cannot be instituted from above.”
Theresa Nielson, a member of FRSO and lead organizer of SDS, followed with a presentation on the struggle of oppressed nationalities - the Chicano people of the Southwest - Aztlán and African Americans in the Black Belt of the U.S. - as well as the ongoing fights in the Philippines and Palestine.
Ian Decker, also with FRSO, finished the school with “The Strategy for Revolution,” in which he discussed the practical methods of building a communist party under late capitalism. He specifically outlined the need for a strategic alliance of the multinational working class and the oppressed nationalities.
Salt Lake City protests one year of Trump
Salt Lake City, UT - Over 40 people rallied at the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building, Jan. 20, the one-year anniversary of Trump taking office. Organized by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and Utah Against Police Brutality (UAPB), the rally started with Kate Wilhite leading chants "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!" and "They say go back, we say fight back!"
Anthony Scoma and Shirley Reyes, members of SDS, spoke out against the aggressively racist and hawkish policies of the Trump administration, focusing on U.S. support for Israeli apartheid and the expansion of the border wall.
Sean Taylor, a member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack!, continued the theme saying, “The struggle we are here to commemorate is not just the struggle against the Trump administration. The fights for immigrants’ rights and full equality, for an end to racist and political repression, for women’s liberation and reproductive justice, for worker power and class struggle unionism, for free education, for LGBTQ liberation, and for an end to colonial and imperialist occupation are all united in the struggle against the monopoly capitalism and national oppression.”
Jessica Arter from UAPB called on the crowd to get involved in the struggle for accountability and community control of the police by joining in the campaign for a Salt Lake City Civilian Police Accountability Council.
Fifteen people joined Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) outside the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building, Aug. 27 2016, in solidarity with Palestine after the most recent attacks. The week before, over 50 airstrikes were launched in less than an hour by the apartheid state Israel against Gaza. The barrage was the worst since Operation Protective Edge in 2014 which killed over 2100 Palestinians.
The rally began with chants of “Viva viva Palestina!” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” which drew in passers-by from the street.
Theresa Nielson, president of SDS at the University of Utah, condemned the airstrikes as the continuation of the violence and terror that is at the foundation of the Israeli settler state and she called for an end to the billions in financial and military aid given to Israel.
Brooks Bergmann, also with SDS, spoke out against the imperialist intervention in the Middle East and called for support of Palestinian resistance. “The Palestinians have continued to fight for their right to self-determination and we are standing here in solidarity to say we will never accept the wall on the West Bank,” Bergmann said.
After Bergmann’s speech, Nielson led chants of “Money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation!”
Ian Decker of Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack! covered the ongoing political repression of the Palestinian American activist Rasmea Odeh, who was unjustly convicted in 2014 for immigration fraud. In fact, she was a victim of torture and rape by Israeli interrogators in 1969, and her ongoing prosecution is an attempt to silence her.
Nancy Hansen, one of the several passers-by that joined the rally, commented that tax money should not be going to Israel, but instead to the local homeless shelters, where many people in Utah are in need of education and jobs.
Speakers and attendees also expressed solidarity with Palestinian hunger striker Bilal Kayed.
The vice president of SDS, Sean Taylor, closed the rally, stating “The government that excuses police lynching, allows students to pile up mountains of debt, and weakens unions is the same government that supports Israel and bombs the Middle East,” they said. “We cannot expect the people who profit from our exploitation to suddenly grow a heart. We need to build organizations and struggle in the street.”
- [Students for a Democratic Society First on Campus meeting http://www.wherevent.com/detail/Students-for-a-Students-for-a-Democratic-Society-First-on-Campus-meeting]
- [ http://www.fightbacknews.org/2016/7/12/utah-frso-hosts-marxism-leninism-day-school FB News, By Nick Godfrey | July 12, 2016]
- FB News Salt Lake City protests one year of Trump By staff | January 21, 2018