Thursday, April 12, 2012

One Year in The Marxist Student Union


As the spring semester winds down and the last meeting of the Marxist Student Union this academic year comes to a close, I can’t help but look back over the past ten months fondly. In that brief time, we have had over 7,500 visitors to our webpage and established a visible Marxist presence in Memphis.
     We began last July and made our debut on campus at the Student Involvement Fair the following month.

During that first semester we hosted discussions of Lenin’s Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism , What Is To Be Done, and  The Communist ManifestoFurthermore, our faculty adviser read a selection from The Communist Manifesto during Banned Books Week at the campus library. 
    The Marxist Student Union also actively supported our fellow union member Lee Harris in his campaign for the City Council seat of District 7 and were there at his campaign headquarters on Chelsea Avenue for the victory party when he defeated the Ford machine. 

That semester, the Marxist Student Union  issued a statement of support and solidarity to Occupy Memphis and helped organize its anti-Capitalist caucus. We hosted a screening of The Good Fight: The Story of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in cooperation with the anti-Capitalist caucus and sang the Internationale more than once.

In response to our support of the Occupy movement we were listed as one of the “dangerous groups” who supported OWS by Glen Beck and were also attacked online by Andrew Breitbart.
    The Vice-President of the Marxist Student Union was able to travel to the People’s World headquarters in Chicago to receive invaluable media training and actively participate in Occupy Chicago.

We also helped organize a rally and march at Occupy Memphis in support of OWS when they were evicted from Zuccotti Park. Representatives from Worker’s Interfaith Network, Graduate Students of African-American History, AFSCME, the CPUSA, the MSU, as well as Lee Harris and Steve Mulroy spoke before our march. Part of our preparations for the event were covered by Current TV reporter Christof Putzel. 

In keeping with the internationalist ideals of Marxism, we devoted the spring semester to Cuban solidarity.  Beginning with a screening of Che, we worked to educate the campus community about Cuba and build popular support for the Cuban Revolution. Our adviser, Dennis Laumann, gave a talk (to a packed auditorium) on the pivotal battle of Cuito Cunavale in the Angolan Civil War and its role in ending apartheid.

We were present at the formation of the Memphis Bus Riders’ Union, and continue to support the ongoing effort to empower the poor and working class people of Memphis in their struggle for adequate public transportation.
     The Marxist Student Union also hosted a talk by Dr. Guiomar Dueñas-Vargas, an Associate Professor of History and internationally recognized scholar, titled “Why the Cuban Revolution Did Not Fail.” Professor Dueñas-Vargas discussed the conditions in Cuba that led to the revolution in amazing detail and showed how the Cuban Revolution continues to benefit all of the people of Latin America.

We drew our semester to a close with a discussion of the Cuban Five. In the meeting we detailed the history of U.S. sponsored terrorism in Cuba, the biographies of the five Cuban anti-terrorist officers, and the miscarriage of justice their sham trial represents. Next week we will have a table in the University Center to collect signatures for a petition to free the Cuban Five in support of the “Five Days for the Cuban Five” actions taking place in Washington D.C. April 17-21.

Next year we hope to further educate the campus community about Marxism and advocate social and political action from a Marxist perspective by focusing on the civil rights struggle and the Black Power movement. Join the Marxist Student Union next fall. 2012-2013 promises to be a great year.

In Solidarity,

The University of Memphis Marxists

No comments:

Post a Comment