Children of the Proletariat

There is an ongoing, nation-wide, student protest in college campuses against the genocide and ethnic cleansing being carried out by the U.S. backed imperialist and settler-colonial outpost, Israel. Many college students and, to some limited extent, faculty members across the country are forming encampments in their own respective college campuses to withdraw from the educational process, disrupting their university’s fundamental function. These encampments by students are not just withdrawing from the educational process, but they are also a public expression of solidarity with the most oppressed and dehumanized peoples of the world: the Palestinian people. To show solidarity with the most oppressed is to extend recognition to them, to recognize them as human beings who are unjustly and brutally oppressed. This public expression of recognition helps pull the Palestinian people from the back seat of the world, artificially placed there by the U.S. and Israel, to the front and center of the world. The public expression of recognition by students humanizes the Palestinian people to reveal them to the world as free spirits fighting for their liberation, slowly corroding the underlying unspoken assumption of the imperialist propaganda machine that Palestinians are “savages” deserving collective punishment. The propaganda justifying the war rests on the implicit assumption that Palestinian people are not human beings, not free, living, flesh and blood spirits yearning for freedom, but “savages” who must be collectively punished for resisting the settler-colonial occupation imposed upon them since Israel’s inception. Challenging this assumption publicly through the human act of recognition by a noticeable and growing number of people in encampments is enough to elicit a reaction from the state to crack down and arrest students.

Despite this brave, profound, and human act of recognition by college students, many people refuse to support this world-historic event, an embryo of internationalism, the essence of which is the mutual recognition between people of their shared universal humanity happening on an international scale. Instead, some of them criticize it as an ineffective symbolic and performative spectacle. Among them, some so-called “Marxists” argue that these encampments are futile and insinuate that they make zero difference for Palestinian people’s liberation. Among these so-called “Marxists,” some argue that because most students are not proletariat, and therefore not part of the Revolutionary Subject, it makes little sense for Marxists to prioritize supporting and organizing students at the moment.

What these so-called Marxists fail to grasp is that a majority of these students, including some in Ivy League schools, are children of the proletariat groomed by universities to become proletariat who will sell their labor power in the market. The role of universities, following K-12 schools, is to produce literate and educated labor powers, alienated labor, ready to be purchased and consumed by capital for its self-expansion. The vast majority of these students are going to become an indebted proletariat, weighed down by student loan debt, who will sell their labor power for decades to pay off their debt. Moreover, these students who form encampments are making a very important, specific, and concrete demand that is directly pertinent to the labor struggle of the proletariat: to divest from weapons manufacturers of the military-industrial complex.

On the surface, the demand to divest from weapons manufacturers, who help fund universities to produce research pertinent to the production of military technology, and the interest of the proletariat seem unrelated. But these two seemingly unrelated parts are in fact intimately and intrinsically connected in the light of the whole. The proletariat in the U.S. are struggling to survive by living paycheck to paycheck and many are on the brink of becoming homeless. A majority of proletariat in the U.S. have significant debt with little to no savings. Meanwhile, the U.S. government is increasing its military spending on the production of weapons and arms as well as giving out loans to countries like Israel. Instead of using national tax revenue to provide free public healthcare, tuition-free higher education, and an overall high living standard, the U.S. government, being the servant of transnational capital, decides to purchase weapons and arms from the transnational arms manufacturers of the military industrial complex, increasing profit for the transnational capitalist shareholders of Lockheed, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, and so on. Every tax revenue dollar that turns into profit could have been spent to save lives, but instead it is turned into profit at the expense of lives in both the U.S. and Gaza.

There is a common interest between college students who make the political demand to divest from weapons manufacturers and workers who need the U.S. government to reduce its military spending to spend more on their living conditions. The common interest between college students and workers is that they have the same enemy: the transnational capitalist class who profit from the weapons manufacturing industry that is helping israel kill, maim, torture, and terrorize millions of Palestinian people. This common interest between two seemingly disparate struggles, the political struggle of students and the class struggle of workers, must be transformed into a single unified interest. It is not enough that both struggles have something in common. They must become one cohesive struggle against capital. Both universities and the U.S. Government are supporting transnational weapons manufacturers. The U.S. purchases arms from the transnational weapons manufacturers to supply them to Israel, while Universities are supporting transnational weapons manufacturers by lending their research. The political struggle in universities and the struggle of workers in the labor market are intimately connected, but this intimate connection must be grasped and taken advantage of in order to allow the development of a new revolutionary embryo. Students and workers in the U.S. and the Palestinian people share the same enemy: the transnational capitalist class. It is the duty of revolutionaries to unite students and workers into a single force powerful enough to pressure the U.S. to stop supporting Israel’s genocidal war. To abrogate this duty is economism that artificially keeps the political struggle of students, the labor struggle of workers, and the national struggle of the Palestinian separate.




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