Tag Archives: Howard University

Howard U. Students, Workers Unite vs. Job and Service Cuts

WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 4 — Over 300 Howard University students, CHALLENGE readers and workers protested the administration’s plan to cut services and jobs, and hike tuition. Workers from SEIU Local 32BJ joined in the rally in support of the students and also demanded that the University stop its plan to contract out union jobs.

The Howard University Student Association (HUSA) raised 13 demands, including the firing of the executive leadership in the Office of Student Affairs due to their efforts to censor students; a public, transparent budget so students could see just how real the supposed deficit is; improvements in on-campus housing facilities; expansion and upgrade of the computer network; and a recycling plan to comply with the law and to reduce global warming.

Administrators refused to meet with the protestors, some of whom decided to march into the administration building to confront these bosses despite the HUSA leadership’s effort to stop them. The campus police shoved and kicked some of the students, including militant members of the Political Education and Action Committee (PEAC), to keep them out. Hard to believe that the new president’s slogan is “Students First!”

The economic crisis is hitting universities hard, and they in turn are hitting students and workers with big tuition hikes, cuts in services, layoffs, contracting out union jobs, and a more repressive atmosphere.  The source of the economic crisis is the capitalist system with its single-minded focus on maximizing profit at the expense of everyone else. The universities’ role is to actually serve these capitalist interests.

During the same week that the protest occurred, Howard University announced a $2.5 million grant program from the Director of National Intelligence to develop a curriculum that will feed a pipeline of students into the CIA, NSA, and other intelligence agencies. This effort to provide more agents for imperialism complements the existing Howard University ROTC programs. ROTC enrolls almost 200 Howard students per year by bribing them with scholarships to become the executioners of workers and students in Iraq and Afghanistan. These wars are waged so that U.S. corporations can continue to dominate world oil markets and pipelines and maximize their profits. Military officers and intelligence agents are hit men for U.S. imperialism!

The struggle that heated up this week must begin to join with workers and students around the world to eliminate the source of the vicious attacks they face from profit-hungry imperialists across the globe. A concrete step these students can take in this process is joining the PLP.

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Howard U. Students Demand Halt to Racist Execution

WASHINGTON, DC, October 24 — During two days of rallying, members of Howard University’s Political Education and Action Committee (PEAC), were joined by members of Malcolm X Grassroots and the American Civil Liberties Union to fight the wrongful execution of Troy Davis.

PEAC speakers declared that Davis’ execution, scheduled for October 27, is one more example of the entrenched racism of the U.S. system. Davis, a black man, has been in prison almost 20 years for supposedly killing 27-year-old Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail in 1989.

The District Attorney and police intimidated and coerced witnesses to get a conviction of then 19-year-old Davis. Now decades later, seven of the nine key witnesses have recanted, and other witnesses have identified a person they believe to be the actual killer — but innocence is not a defense, according to the U.S. Supreme Court and the State of Georgia!

Campus police were sent to stop the PEAC rally, and a leader was detained when he refused to stop speaking on a bullhorn. Students continued their bullhorn rally despite the attack. The University administration’s effort to harass and suppress student activism — using the pretense that the students were “disrupting classes” — stands in stark contrast to the University’s endorsement of ear-splitting concerts and fraternity celebrations on the main campus at the same time of day.

This confrontation demonstrated that the so-called “legacy” of Howard University in civil rights struggle and progressive action is in reality a legacy of student and worker movements in opposition to the University. The University is a corporation dominated by big businessmen and the bosses’ politicians. We have no unity with the University administration which parades behind a fig leaf of liberalism while trying to blunt the revolutionary spirit of its students!

On the second day of the rally, Davis’s lawyer announced he had received a 30-day stay of execution, but this is only a temporary respite while the government figures out how to move forward with the execution of an innocent black man.

The racist (in)justice system is critical to the U.S. ruling class’s strategy of intimidating superexploited black workers and dividing them from other workers. But repression breeds resistance, and racism must give rise to anti-racist revolutionary unity.

Today’s financial crises and wars will give rise to ever-greater racist offensives against the working class as the rulers become increasingly desperate to build their profits and power. It is urgent that struggles like the Troy Davis case be linked to the battles of workers throughout the world. We must turn these into a fight for communist revolution to destroy the capitalist roots of racist oppression.

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