It is not only the Palestinian Cause that has Moved the College Students in the U.S.

By Raúl Antonio Capote on May 6, 2024

Students standing for Palestine tear gassed on South Florida University. photo: Fight Back News

This new generation has had to grow up in a deeply divided United States, where the most retrograde and conservative forces are advancing.

More than 2,300 people have been arrested in the protests for Palestine, registered during the last weeks in the campuses of numerous universities all across the United States and it continues to grow with many high schools joining in.

What began at Columbia University  became a nationwide event, whose fundamental reason was the rejection of the Zionist genocide. However, the student actions express a string of problems and dissatisfactions suffered by young Americans as they look towards a miserable looking future.

Student statements, especially on social networks, show some of the motivations that led to these massive protests.

Almost all groups of protesters reject, first and foremost, Israeli barbarism in Gaza, and demand an immediate ceasefire. But the agenda also includes divestment from companies with interests in Israel, or from the U.S. military.

The struggle for social justice, against the mistreatment of minorities, racial discrimination, war, the impact of global warming, as well as the limits imposed by the government on freedom of expression, can be seen in digital networks, graffiti, chants and slogans.

On the other hand, the complex situation in which the majority of young Americans live is an important element to take into account.

The new generation has had to grow up in a deeply divided country, in which the most retrograde and conservative forces are advancing and occupying more and more spaces in society and politics, and threaten the rise to power of the most ultra-right-wing group of the American elite.

They live in a nation in which there are more guns than people, in which violence and drug addiction cause hundreds of deaths every day; immigrants are persecuted; demonized and chaos and insecurity are promoted to ensure control of citizens.

The social situation of many students cannot be overlooked. Research shows that in 66 higher education institutions in 20 states and the District of Columbia, 36% of them d0 not have enough to eat or have access to safe housing, according to a report published by Temple University and the Wisconsin Hope Lab Center.

In the U.S., about 70 percent of students take out loans to pay for college, so six-figure-plus debts are not an exception, but a common occurrence. Biden’s lip service to the problem by reducing the debt sounds more like campaign easy speak rather than really taking all the debt off of students back something they commonly carry with them their entire life while accruing interest.

The wave of student protests has now spread beyond the borders of the United States, young people from Canada, Australia, France, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Spain, to name just a few countries, are setting up camps and barricades, raising around the world the flags that their grandparents once wielded; those that make the powerful tremble and that seemed to have slept forever in museums.

Source: Granma, translation Resumen Latinoamericano