1 June 2018

Defend Revolution Club/Refuse Fascism Protesters!

Anti-Trump Leftists Targeted by UCLA Administration, Cops

(Young Spartacus pages)

We print below a March 19 leaflet issued by the Los Angeles Spartacist League and distributed at UCLA. According to a spokesman for Refuse Fascism, the L.A. city attorney has decided not to proceed with charges, for now, against those arrested at the February protest against Steven Mnuchin and during the Chelsea Manning event in March.

Since February, the UCLA administration and its campus police thugs have been on the warpath against supporters of the Revolution Club and Refuse Fascism, front groups associated with the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). On February 26, three women from these organizations were manhandled and arrested for vocally protesting Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at a public forum on campus. As much of the audience hissed, booed and jeered at Mnuchin’s remarks, the women vigorously condemned the Trump administration for deporting immigrants, bullying North Korea, and assaulting health care and Social Security. In the guise of defending “freedom of speech and expression,” cops yanked the critics from their seats and dragged them from the hall, all of which was captured in a video that Mnuchin and the administration unsuccessfully tried to squelch. According to Refuse Fascism, the three women were then charged with trespassing, while one of them—a UCLA student—was also charged with resisting arrest.

Meanwhile, two men were arrested while demonstrating outside the venue, one after being roughed up on a flight of stairs by two cops. Both were hit with charges of disturbing the peace. In addition, all five protesters were slapped with a verbal seven-day ban from campus.

A week later, on March 5, cops again arrested two of the protesters from the Mnuchin event as they waited in line to hear courageous truth-teller Chelsea Manning speak. Their alleged “crime”: violating the ban from the previous week. They were charged with “non-student refusal to leave” and banned from campus for seven more days.

These acts of repression were not isolated incidents. On March 1, a supporter of the Revolution Club Chicago participating in a silent protest in defense of undocumented immigrants was arrested by University of Chicago cops and charged with felony aggravated battery on a police officer and resisting arrest. A few days later, two Refuse Fascism supporters were arrested for reading out a debate challenge to Mnuchin in front of the Treasury Building in Washington, D.C. A March 7 Refuse Fascism statement noted, “RefuseFascism.org activists on two coasts have been targeted with excessive politically-motivated suppression, repression and governmental snooping, including by the Department of Homeland Security for nothing more than nonviolent political speech.”

The UCLA administration is the representative of the capitalist ruling class on campus. As such, part of its job description is to provide a platform for government leaders like Mnuchin and then sic its cops on protesters when they get out of line. Under capitalism, the primary purpose of the administration is to ensure that universities propagate bourgeois ideology and groom future professionals, CEOs, members of the imperialist officer corps and intelligence agents. Frequently, university officials are themselves business or political figures, like UC president and former head of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. As part of our struggle to make education a right available to all working people and the oppressed, we fight to abolish the administration and advocate worker/student/teacher control of the university. We are for free, quality public education for all, including open admissions with a state-paid living stipend.

Young radicals from the Revolution Clubs and Refuse Fascism are justified in venting their righteous anger at bourgeois figures like Mnuchin. During the worldwide Great Recession, he became known as the “Foreclosure King” for his role as chairman of OneWest Bank, which carried out tens of thousands of foreclosures heavily affecting seniors and minorities. Today, as part of Trump’s cabinet, he has been instrumental not only in cutting taxes for capitalist corporations and the ultrarich but also for imposing a new round of punishing imperialist sanctions on the North Korean deformed workers state. As part of our unconditional defense of North Korea against imperialist attack and internal counterrevolution, we Trotskyists defend its development of nuclear weapons and associated delivery system, while demanding that all U.S. forces get out of South Korea and Japan. We also call for an end to all sanctions, which have been imposed under both Democratic and Republican administrations as well as by the United Nations.

However, the RCP diverts justified hatred of these actions of U.S. imperialism into trying to build the left wing of a broad anti-Trump “resistance.” This can only mean helping liberals to round up workers and oppressed as voting cattle for the Democratic Party. That’s the purpose of the RCP’s fallacious claim that Trump is a “fascist”: cohering a “democratic alternative” based on a liberal program. The truth is that while Trump and the Republicans openly relish busting unions and demonizing black people and immigrants, the Democrats lie and do the same thing. Although the RCP has recently mouthed some criticisms of the Democrats for backing Trump’s foreign policy and averred that, “A Democratic victory in 2018 midterm elections is not going to change anything in this regard” (Revolution, 5 March), it has no principled opposition to the Democratic Party. When it shouts, “The Trump/Pence regime must go!” it remains utterly silent about who should replace it.

The RCP has traveled this path before. In 2004, in the midst of its campaign to “Drive Out the Bush Regime!” (music to the ears of many a Democrat), the RCP advised their supporters: “vote for [Democratic presidential candidate] Kerry if you feel you really have to” (Revolutionary Worker, 29 August 2004). Topping even this, Refuse Fascism last year mobilized rallies to “protest the firing” of none other than FBI director James Comey—the head of the bourgeoisie’s secret police! At the very moment that the Democrats embraced Comey as a freedom fighter against Russia, the RCP/Refuse Fascism followed suit, insisting that Trump’s dismissal of Comey was an “ominous” attack on America’s “norms” (see “RCP on FBI: ‘Communists’ for Comey,” WV No. 1112, 19 May 2017).

The RCP’s calls to mobilize “millions” in the name of “humanity” are the typical stock in trade of sundry liberal critics of right-wing bourgeois governments. These classless appeals to “people of good will” promote the illusion that fundamental change can come about through liberal pressure politics within the framework of the capitalist-imperialist system and do nothing to educate the multiracial proletariat in the understanding that its class interests are counterposed to those of the capitalist rulers. In contrast to the RCP, we struggle to break the working class and oppressed from the capitalist Democrats. Our goal is to win the most conscious workers—together with students and youth—to the perspective of building a revolutionary, internationalist working-class party that fights for socialist revolution.

As part of this struggle, we defend the left and labor movement against the capitalist state, including the anti-Trump protesters arrested for protesting Mnuchin. As the Partisan Defense Committee wrote in a March 19 protest statement to UCLA chancellor Gene D. Block: “These measures at a publicly funded university are a draconian suppression of democratic rights and an attempt to intimidate and silence any protest against U.S. government policies and representatives.” Hands off the activists! Drop all the charges!

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(reprinted from Workers Vanguard No. 1135, 1 June 2018)

Workers Vanguard is the newspaper of the Spartacist League with which the Partisan Defense Committee is affiliated.