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News and reports

April 1, 2005 | Page 11

Defend abortion rights
By Dana Cloud

AUSTIN, Texas--If the right had its way, defenders of immigrants' and women's rights would be an endangered species at the University of Texas. But their efforts are meeting resistance.

On March 2, hundreds of students at the University of Texas at Austin mobilized against the scapegoating of undocumented immigrants by the Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT), who had planned a horrific "Immigrant Hunt."

When the YCT appeared with their table to celebrate Texas Independence Day, they were confronted by activists from Latino and Black student organizations and the ISO. The vocal protesters surrounded the YCT's table, shouting "Racist, sexist, antigay! Born-again bigots, go away!"

By the time the conservatives left (earlier than planned), their table had been dismantled, all their literature thrown in the trash, and the cookies and cake they brought for Texas Independence Day distributed to the people. Now activists have begun coalition meetings to continue antiracist organizing.

The abortion-rights struggle exploded March 23-24 when the notorious national anti-abortion organization Justice For All (JFA) set up on campus with their gruesome, 20-foot-high display of images of "abortions." In contrast to pro-choice student organizations, whose leaders actually discouraged protests in favor of a counterdisplay down the street, several dozen militant protesters gathered at the display for a confrontational rally.

Chanting "Pro-life, your name's a lie! You don't care if women die!" and "We're not ashamed, we're not sorry--Keep your laws off my body!" protesters marched around JFA's display. Speakers at the rally sounded the call for a new, unapologetic abortion rights movement and criticized both Republicans and Democrats for participating in the assault on our rights. One speaker pointed out the hypocrisy of bigots who defend fetuses and brain dead people while massacring innocents in Iraq and slashing welfare and other support for the living.

Though the counter-demonstration to JFA was smaller than the two previous times JFA has descended on UT, its militancy was a hopeful sign that we can rebuild a real, uncompromising movement for abortion rights.

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Defend academic freedom and dissent
By Alex Schulz and Brian Cruz

SAN FRANCISCO--In a packed room of more than 300 supporters, University of Colorado ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill took on his critics.

Churchill criticized the conservatives, right-wing talk show hosts, state governments and even his own university, all of whom have attacked him for writing an essay stating that the September 11 attacks killed "little Eichmans" in the World Trade Center. The comment wrongly implied that the victims were to blame for U.S. crimes overseas.

Focusing on his new book, On the Justice of Roosting Chickens, Churchill chronicled U.S. atrocities in the search to "maximize profits" from colonial days to the war on Iraq. Churchill placed the recent attacks against him in the context of a larger crackdown on anyone who opposes the war and U.S. foreign policy in general.

During the discussion, several people asked whether kicking military recruiters off schools could affect the occupation. "It's a good start, [though we need to] take it somewhere constructive," Churchill answered. While the burgeoning counter-recruitment movement alone won't stop the war, the fight is lending confidence to an antiwar movement that badly needs it.

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