May 20, 2024

On April 24th, 2024, an event called “Popular University for Gaza” in support of Palestine started by the “Palestine Solidarity Committee,” a student organization at the historic University of Texas at Austin (UT), ballooned into a massive rally of support for the anti-genocide, pro-Palestine forces, prompting a brutal, unjustified police crackdown by the Texas state.

Texas Department of “Safety” officers, equipped with all sorts of armaments from tear gas, mounted troops, assault rifles, and bulletproof equipment, were marshaled on the campus in an attempt to disperse the rightfully assembled rally. A few unarmed, innocent protestors were snatched from the crowd and unceremoniously zip-tied, arrested, and hauled off in police cars. 

So far, estimates state that around 50 students and activists have been held in Travis County Jail, with many being booked, according to the Austin Lawyers Guild. A local Austin journalist for FOX 7 news was also arrested. So much for free speech!

Pro-Zionist students smugly waved their puerile Israeli flags and taunted their fellow UT students as they were beaten and arrested.

The Palestine Solidarity Committee was explicitly denied their lawful right to protest by UT’s Office of the Dean of Students yesterday, April 23rd, stating that the event “…violate[s] our policies and rules, and [will] disrupt our campus operations…  [we] will not allow this campus to be ‘taken’ and protestors to derail our mission…” 

Their mission is willfully supporting genocide!

The University has explicitly denied the right to protest, speech, and association to the student body they claim to protect and value. 

The University’s text message alert system advised students to stay away from UT’s iconic “South Mall” due to “police activity” — an inaccurate euphemism for a fascist crackdown on students, professors, and citizens expressing their rights. The campus intercom system, which was never used during fascist demonstrations at the University campus, was blaring warnings to all students in an attempt to scare them off.

The hypocrisy of the State government and the University of Texas’s administration, led by Republican Governor Greg Abbott’s plaything UT President Jay Hartzell, is unbearable and criminal. President of UT, Jay Hartzell, has rambled on and on about the importance of free speech for years but, in reality, has nothing but contempt for it — something he shares with Governor Greg Abbott and the entire capitalist class.

President Jay Hartzell watched students be brutalized and arrested for merely exercising their rights (rights he championed!) from his comfortable air-conditioned office, where he fleeces students of tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege of denying them their rights. Hartzell later blatantly lied in a university-wide email, stating, “Today, our University held firm, enforcing our rules while protecting the constitutional right to free speech.” He called the protestors “disruptive” — a lie that the hundreds of video clips from that day show. The state instigated violence, not the peaceful pro-Palestine students.

The pro-Zionist, pro-genocide UT administration, headed by Jay Hartzell and his capitalist crony backers, has long allowed pro-Zionist organizations to establish so-called “block parties,” spewing Israeli propaganda and deluding citizens, yet has never afforded even an ounce of the same respect to our pro-Palestinian comrades. His blatant lies confirm his moderate “centrist” gilding to be a lie; he is an out-and-out Zionist and pawn of the ruling class.

The “rights” of Americans are only worth so much and are only protected when it is in the interest of the capitalist state to “give” such rights. When people actually wish to express their discontent, they are treated like criminals and hog-tied like animals.

Students were brutalized and arrested under the watchful eye of UT’s famous tower, whose inscription reads, “Ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.” The students have indeed learned many powerful truths today: that the bourgeois state does not value their “rights” or their “freedoms” and that the actions carried out by Israel, at the behest and support of the United States of America, are nothing more than a genocide — a genocide that is protected by this country’s cops and institutions more than their rights will ever be!

After the students were pushed off the campus grounds, the police forces yielded, and the victorious students returned to the main grounds of UT’s South Lawn to continue their peaceful protest and events. The sheer scale of the police response is both unprecedented and completely unwarranted. In the end, the protestors still held the campus victorious.

A protest is scheduled for noon tomorrow, April 25th, and it remains to be seen if the forces of the capitalist state will show up as strong, or even stronger. The students and workers of Austin should be there to meet them and show solidarity.

The Palestine Solidarity Committee has done nothing wrong and has merely abided by and upheld UT’s motto: what starts here changes the world! All UT students should support this rightful, lawful protest and continue to agitate and organize.

The actions of these brave students are inspiring and should be emulated on every campus across America until the United States stops supporting the genocidal campaign of Israel and until every educational institution immediately boycotts, divests, and sanctions Israel!

These students have our full support! We demand the expedient and complete release of all students arrested, not just at UT but across America!

Not a single dime for genocide! Victory for Palestine!

This is a developing story, and we will continue to report on it.