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Fifty years ago, students at San Francisco State embarked on a campus strike that lasted five months – the longest student strike in U.S. history. Led by the Black Student Union and Third World Liberation Front, the strike was a high point of student struggle in the revolutionary year of 1968. It was met by ferocious repression, but the strikers persevered and won the first College of Ethnic Studies in the U.S. As part of Socialist Worker’s series on the history of 1968, current San Francisco State University Professor Jason Ferreira – the chair of the Race and Resistance Studies department in the College of Ethnic Studies and author of a forthcoming book on the student strike and the movements that produced it – talked to Julien Ball and Melanie West about the story of the struggle and the importance of its legacy for today.
Fascism has been thrust into the mainstream political vocabulary of the United States since the election of President Donald Trump on a platform grounded in xenophobia, corporate dominance and right wing white nationalism. If the growing resistance movement to Trump’s fascism is to realize its potential for societal transformation, it must draw from the deep well of Black anti-fascist resistance.
Our attention has been turned this week to Holman Prison in Alabama where rolling uprisings inside have led to prisoners taking control of certain areas of the prison. Prisoners have since released a set of demands including increased educational programs for prisoners, monetary damages for physical and mental abuse, and revoking the State’s 446 laws that – similar to Three Strikes laws – harden sentences for subsequent convictions.
Every American faces brutal, armed psychopaths known as the police. The “law and order” conservatives and the “compassionate” liberals stand silent while police psychopaths brutalize children and grandmothers, murder double amputees in wheelchairs, break into the wrong homes, murder the family dogs and terrify the occupants, pointing their automatic assault weapons in the faces of small children.
Chants such as “Kill the bill,” “Hands off workers! Make the banks pay,” “Who’s got the power: We’ve got the power” and many others are echoing off the walls inside and outside the Capitol. Since Feb. 14, tens of thousands of students, workers and other community members have liberated the Wisconsin Capitol in Madison in response to Gov. Scott Walker’s “budget repair” bill, which would eliminate collective bargaining rights for 175,000 public sector union workers statewide.
Marilyn Buck was a former political prisoner and prisoner of war. Along with Mutulu Shakur, she was responsible for the liberation of Assata Shakur from prison in 1979. She later went underground and spent 25 years in prison. She was released July 15, 2010. Then suddenly, only 19 days later, she was gone.