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Marxists Shut Down Campus Speech — Is Trump Inauguration Their Next Target?

Posted on | January 15, 2017 | 1 Comment


A Marxist-Leninist radical group that helped organize a violent protest to shut down a campus speech in California may be planning to make the upcoming inauguration of Donald Trump its next target, investigative journalist Lee Stranahan reports. The Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), which has previously been investigated on suspicion of aiding terrorism, is directly linked to the radical campus group, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), which was at the forefront of the demonstration Friday at the University of California-Davis (UCD).

College Republicans at UCD were forced to cancel Friday’s lecture by tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos and hedge-fund mogul Martin Shkreli after “a large number of protesters blocked access to the venue, and it was determined that it was no longer feasible to continue with the event safely,” university officials said in a statement to the Sacramento Bee. Protesters tore down police barricades and even attacked journalists covering the event at UCD’s Sciences Lecture Hall, Allum Bokhari reported at

Video footage shows protesters jumping barricades and throwing them towards police. . . .
ABC-10 reporter Frances Wang reports that her photographer was attacked with hot coffee mid-interview. . . .
Protesters were chanting “no justice, no peace, no racist police.” . . .
“We were told by the chief of Davis police that they could not guarantee the safety of the students, the speaker, or the police officers if the event should go ahead,” said Gabrielle McDowell, vice chair of the UC Davis College Republicans.
“As the organisation hosting the event, we would have been held personally responsible for any harm caused as a result of its taking place. We were therefore forced to cancel the event” she continued.

The UC Davis SDS chapter celebrated this as a “huge victory,” and the protest was also highlighted on the national SDS Facebook page.

The protest at UCD “may be a preview of what to expect at next week’s inauguration of Donald Trump,” Stranahan reported, “because the national group behind it already has a nationwide planned protest against America’s next President set for January 20th.” He noted the connection between the Davis chapter of the SDS and FRSO which, Stranahan said, “is plotting the end of the United States as we know it”:

This group [SDS] is the new incarnation of the 1960s radical group of the same name that gained worldwide infamy when it split to become the Weather Underground, a terrorist group bent on overthrowing the United States through violent communist revolution.
The new version was formed in 2006 has . . . . connections to an avowedly Marxist group determined to destroy the United States in the name of “racial justice.” That group is called the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), who describe their connection to the new Students for a Democratic Society on their website: “Members of FRSO have been working in SDS since the first National Convention in Chicago back in 2006.”

Two years after the SDS was reformed, an activist charged that FRSO members were trying to impose their “Maoist” agenda on SDS. “I believe that Maoism is in opposition to a democratic society,” SDS activist Rachel Haut said in a 2008 interview, “and thus [FRSO’s] position or reason for being in SDS is opportunist. We are attempting to build a student movement not a Maoist movement.” This accusation prompted a response from three members of FRSO’s “Student Commission.”

“Freedom Road members work very hard to maintain Students for a Democratic Society as a strong, fighting organization that benefits from its ideological plurality while remaining united practically by radical, anti-imperialist activism,” the FRSO members wrote, citing their party’s Marxist-Leninist “three revolutionary objectives”:

  1. Harm the enemy and win all that can be won for the people.
  2. Raise the level of consciousness, organization, and struggle of the mass organizations we work in.
  3. Win the advanced fighters to Marxism-Leninism and build organization for revolution.

An article at the FRSO’s “Fight Back” news site last year boasted of the group’s role in SDS, quoting FRSO activist Chrisley Carpio: “As the youth and students of Palestine, Colombia and the Philippines rebel, many students in the U.S. are thinking about socialism. The FRSO Student Commission deepened our commitment to build the student movement and to recruit new members all over the U.S., whether in small town high schools, big universities, or community colleges in cities and border towns. Despite political repression, we are planning to grow.”


SDS and FRSO have already promoted anti-Trump protests. In March 2016, after violent protests caused Trump to cancel a rally in Chicago, FRSO official Steff Yorek called for repeating the thug tactics:

“We need two, three, many Chicagos,” said Yorek. “Trump is an open advocate of racism and national chauvinism. Forcing Trump to chicken out of his Chicago campaign appearance was a real victory. Chicago protesters of all nationalities sent a message to the world, that here in the U.S. there is widespread and militant opposition to his reactionary agenda.”


Yorek and her lesbian partner, Jess Sundin, were among the members of FRSO who were targeted by a 2010 FBI raid in Minneapolis. Search warrants showed the agents were investigating FRSO for suspicion of supporting foreign terrorist groups including Hezbollah:

The warrant for the raid on [FRSO member Mick] Kelly’s apartment, in the 1800 block of Riverside Avenue, sought notebooks, address books, photos and maps of Kelly’s travels to the Palestinian territories, Colombia and in the United States on behalf of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. It also sought materials on his personal finances and those of the group, on Kelly’s “potential co-conspirators” and recruitment efforts for the group.
The warrant also sought any information about efforts to support FARC, a guerrilla organization in Colombia, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [PFLP], and Hezbollah, the political and paramilitary organization based in Lebanon.

No charges were filed as a result of the FBI raid, but FRSO openly advocates the anti-Israel agenda of PFLP. Last year, at the Left Forum in New York, the FRSO’s Sundin spoke in defense of anti-Israel activist Rasmea Odeh. In 2014, Odeh was convicted of federal immigration fraud charges after it was discovered that, in her immigration application, Odeh had concealed her role in a 1969 terrorist bombing in Israel.

The day after Trump was elected, FRSO issued a statement in which Yorek called for a “mass movement” to shut down the country: “We need to do everything we can to drown his administration in a high tide of struggle and fightbacks. We should aim to make this country ungovernable. . . . We need to light a fire and fan the flames.”


FRSO frequently features SDS news on its “Fight Back” site including the group’s call for an Inauguration Day walkout:

On Inauguration Day, Jan 20th, SDS will hold a national student walkout, in alliance with many other student groups. We will disrupt operations on campuses everywhere. Whether it’s against segregation, deportation, or war, history shows that the fight for an education system based on peace, equality, and justice has always been spearheaded by students and youth, and never by the White House.
While we anticipate continued attacks on undocumented youth, we’ve already seen more deportations in the last eight years under President Obama than we’ve ever seen in US history. SDS has protested to end them every step of the way.

Stranahan quotes an FRSO statement calling for “the establishment of an independent African-American nation based in the South” as well as “struggles of national liberation for all other nations brutalized by imperialist oppression whose homelands are within the borders of the United States, such as the Native American nations of the US, the Hawai’ian nation and the Puerto Rican struggle for national independence.”



One Response to “Marxists Shut Down Campus Speech — Is Trump Inauguration Their Next Target?”

  1. News of the Week (January 15th, 2017) | The Political Hat
    January 15th, 2017 @ 2:16 pm

    […] Marxists Shut Down Campus Speech – Is Trump Inauguration Their Next Target? A Marxist-Leninist radical group that helped organize a violent protest to shut down a campus speech in California may be planning to make the upcoming inauguration of Donald Trump its next target, investigative journalist Lee Stranahan reports. […]