Militant Journalism

Students organize to resist Rittenhouse’s enrollment at ASU

Flyer for the ASU action from the Students for Socialism Twitter.

photo: anti-racist protest on the ASU campus. credit: Liberation News

The recent acquittal of racist killer Kyle Rittenhouse has given vigilantes across America a green light to unleash violence against anti-racist, anti-capitalist activists. Journalists have been following Rittenhouse, who has quickly become an icon amongst the vilest elements of the fascist right wing, asking what his next moves are. During the trial, he stated he was enrolled at Arizona State University studying nursing. It turns out he was not actually studying nursing, and was not even a degree-seeking student at the school, but was merely taking for-credit online classes. Now, Rittenhouse says that he dropped his classes due to the stress of the trial, but wants to re-enroll as a degree-seeking student and attend classes in person. 

On-campus anti-fascist organizers in organizations such as Students for Socialism (a student wing of the Party for Socialism and Liberation), Students for Justice in Palestine, MECHA De ASU, and the Multicultural Solidarity Coalition have all joined forces to protest against Rittenhouse’s potential enrollment in ASU. The organizations say that Rittenhouse’s presence on-campus will attract other dangerous fascists, who now feel emboldened by Rittenhouse’s acquittal. They demand that ASU deny Rittenhouse any further enrollment, to release a statement denouncing white supremacy, and to shift funds from ASU’s Police Department to fund the Multicultural Center and a Campus Assault Advocacy, Resources & Education Center. Amidst a flurry of media attention, including hate-filled reactionary backlash to the protest announcement, the groups involved released the following statement:

“We have been contacted by many media organizations asking for a statement regarding our protest against Kyle Rittenhouse’s enrollment at ASU. Here is our position:

“We will not stand for a white supremacist killer on our campus. In our view, the Rittenhouse shooting is analogous to the Greensboro massacre, where 5 anti-racist protestors were killed by Klan members that were later acquitted by an all-white jury. Similar to the Greensboro massacre, the Rittenhouse case is a failure of the justice system to punish white fascist vigilante violence. The danger Kyle Rittenhouse presents is not just as a person on campus, representing the violence marginalized people face every day, but the racist and fascist right-wing elements that he will bring on campus. Since Rittenhouse shot and killed 2 anti-racist protestors and wounded another, he has been followed online and in real life by extremely violent right-wing nazis, fascists, and klan hangers-on. Having such a high-profile right-wing fascist icon on our campus would be giving these organizations a free pass to recruit and organize students.

“ASU has allowed these fascist factions to agitate freely on campus for some time. Even when their student clubs are caught spewing racist rhetoric, dressing up as Charlottesville nazis, or most recently hanging up swastika posters, ASU has been silent and upheld violence against Brown and Black people. At every attempt they make to galvanize support for fascism on campus, such as when they invited notorious racist Joe Arpaio, fascist ICE thugs, or killer IDF soldiers on campus, we have organized to stop them at each event — this time with Rittenhouse is no different. Our priority as student organizations is the safety of students above all else, and in this case safety from fascist violence. We are calling on the ASU administration, and our president Michael Crow, to stop hiding and denounce white supremacy by denying Rittenhouse any further enrollment at ASU.”

The protest against Rittenhouse’s enrollment at ASU is today, December 1, at 3:30 at the Nelson Fine Arts Center courtyard at the ASU Tempe campus.

Since the protest has been announced, students, left-wing media organizations, and progressive forces around the country have released statements of support for the fight against fascism. ASU organizers from Students for Socialism, Students for Justice in Palestine, MECHA De ASU, and the Multicultural Solidarity Coalition are encouraging students, media, ASU administrators, and community members to attend the protest and support the anti-fascist demands of students on campus.

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