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Letter to the Editor: The Minnesota Daily is against communists organizing on campus. What happened to free speech?

Students for Socialist Revolution respond to an Oct. 4 column.
Image by Morgan La Casse

Interest in revolutionary politics is on the rise, with up to 20% of young people describing communism as their ideal economic system.

When the Minnesota Daily published a hit piece, we –– Students for Socialist Revolution –– were shocked to find no trace of our political ideas in it. Instead, the article was full of lies backed up by social media and blog posts.

Instead of a story on why communism is surging in popularity with college students, the Daily chose to publish a piece that would not look out of place at TMZ or some other gossip rag.

One of the main criticisms levied against the International Marxist Tendency, our parent organization, was that it charges money.

The fraternities and sororities on campus charge students thousands of dollars a semester to affiliate. Out-of-state tuition at the University of Minnesota is $33,818 a year. The University of Minnesota Foundation has an endowment of $3.3 billion. How that money is distributed is unclear. Meanwhile, students with loans after a four-year degree from the University have an average student debt balance of over $25,000.

At least in our student group, unlike everywhere else under capitalism, we all vote how things are run. 

Who does it really serve to attack a left-wing student organization?

The Daily has joined the right-wingers in saying our student group “should not be allowed to operate on campus.”

This is a political attack on communist students.

The Daily took at face-value the accusations from students, two of whom went on record, that the International Marxist Tendency supports rapists. It references an incident of abuse that was investigated by the Canadian section, over a year ago. The abuser was expelled within eight days of the complaint.

A public statement by the Canadian chapter was published at the time, responding in full to these allegations and detailing the concrete steps taken. While the Daily linked this statement in the original online version of the column, none of its contents were directly quoted in the opinion column itself. Thus, important context was de facto left out, and a one-sided picture was presented.

The International Marxist Tendency takes cases of abuse very seriously. Can the same be said of the University or any other capitalist institution?

In 2017 fewer than half of sexual assault cases were investigated by Minnesota colleges and universities. In 2016, the University paid off a settlement of $500,000 to protect the football team from allegations of rape. 

Students for Socialist Revolution fights against all forms of oppression –– including transphobia, for an end to sexual harassment and the liberation of all of humanity. No one should be able to bribe their way into a sexual act or get out of the consequences of being found out by handing their victims a wad of cash or a promotion. 

Millions of youth in the U.S. are realizing there are no small solutions to these big problems and that humanity has the resources, science and technology to provide a dignified existence to every human on this planet. A better world is possible and we must organize to make it a reality. Vandalized posters will not stop us from working towards this goal.

The building of a mass communist party is necessary. We invite all students who feel the same to get in touch with us.

Cal Zeman is a member of Students for Socialist Revolution and submitted the letter on behalf of SSR.

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  • MP
    Nov 2, 2023 at 2:13 pm

    Ignorance and “Borgish” assimilation are rampant in today’s Western society. No nation has ever reached true Communism, and never will. If you want Socialism so badly, I dare you to go live in PRC, N. Korea, Russia, etc. You will learn what Marxism-Fascism actually has as goals. 100% control, comply or die or spend the rest of your life in a gulag. Wake up, “Comrades”!

  • Anon
    Oct 18, 2023 at 1:49 pm

    Hi Cal,
    Don’t lose your hair. Criticism is not an infringement on anyone’s free speech, just to make sure you’re aware.

  • Steve Hauser
    Oct 18, 2023 at 11:10 am

    Though an avowed and unapologetic capitalist, I support the 1st Amendment rights of communists.

    Also, I would offer that there is no need to “slant” any stories against communism. Communism stands on its own merits, or lack thereof (my perspective). Tell it straight, and people can accept it or reject it as is.

  • Brandon Balma
    Oct 18, 2023 at 10:25 am

    Thank you, Cal.
    This response seems to be contributing to the slippery slope of continued finger pointing and victimhood of this organization. Maybe instead of placing blame and referencing expelling the member, you should be asking why said student was attracted to your student organization in the first place. Yes, saying that your organization shouldn’t be allowed on campus is a political attack. Welcome to politics and organizing!
    While you outline some moral and justice-oriented stances in the 3rd to last paragraph, what does the Students for Socialist Revolution actually stand for at the local, state, and national level? Are you working with state legislators, our city council, or the Board of Regents to implement structural change to the problems you’ve outlined? From your official Instagram page I picked one glaring encouragement to our students, “Intifada Until Victory!” This stance is atrocious given our Jewish and Muslim community of students who have familial connections to Israel and the Palestinian Territories. I ask you to think critically. How can you possibly liberate ALL of humanity or advocate for humanity in the Middle East by calling for an Intifada? I’ll answer: You cannot.