Following our call for students to take on rape culture ourselves, independent UMKC students have posted their own flyers about Marc Casanovas, known (attempted) rapist! In spite of the administration’s increasingly desperate efforts to suppress and deny the severity of sexual assault on campus, the level of discussion and action on this matter on campus is at an all time high, thanks to our efforts and more importantly, the student body itself!
Our sexual assault campaign began last spring when, a student was raped in her dorms on February 23. The UMKC administration failed to put out an alert and claimed that it was “not a security concern”. In response, we protested with other organizations on campus. Unfortunately, this effort did not result in any changes – the protest was followed by town hall meetings and committees – a trap made of red tape, laid by the UMKC admin. After intense criticism & self-criticism, we discovered three errors – that we failed to recognize that the administration’s role is antagonistic to the student body, that we worked with stale “activists” who have never accomplished anything, and that we took too gentle of an approach. We will not make these mistakes again.
The following fall semester, when we heard about yet another sexual assault targeting a UMKC student, committed by UMKC students, we sprung into action, keeping the errors of last semester in mind. We contacted the victim’s sister, and other victims to determine what issues were most pressing for them – they all informed us that the administration denied the severity of what happened to them, took no concrete action against their assailants, and even defended the reputation of their rapists. The political line upheld by our Proletarian Feminist Committee is that by politicizing women and developing militancy (not masculinity) among them thru training (like PFC’s self defense program) and revolutionary actions, we can turn the methods of violence & repression used by capitalist-patriarchy on itself. Our campaign is a synthesis of this line with the concerns of the student body.
The success has been tremendous – most of the campus knows the faces of Marc Casasnovas and Enric Ferrer, to the extent that the administration moved Marc’s tennis game out of fear that the student body will execute prompt, severe and inflexible justice for his crimes! Almost everyone who we’ve flyered to has taken interest and showed concern, and we have witnessed many discussions triggered by our efforts.
We have learned many lessons from our fellow students. A few of our newer comrades were shy about organizing & getting involved, but thru practice they have transformed. The same comrades who used to be scared to talk to their classmates are now handing out hundreds of flyers in a day. We have heard multiple additional reports from people we’ve flyered with, and are taking on other cases of sexual assault neglected by the UMKC administration.
Unfortunately, we have also discovered that international students, even those from advanced ESL classes have not been taught words like “rapist”, “predator” “sexual assault” – this isolates them from hearing about these issues, leaving them vulnerable. This openly political manipulation of language learning is a horrible maneuver by the administration & reminds us that universities are only interested in producing workers for the system to exploit, with no concern for student’s well being.
Meanwhile, the reactionaries are quaking in their boots – the administration sends out futile emails that nobody takes seriously, and as the fear-filled fascists at the Sentinel put it, “Progressive Youth Organization (PYO) is taking no prisoners in its war”. Meanwhile, KC’s most famous (literal) basement dweller has branded us as “Kansas City’s premier anarchist/communist insurgent protesters” – the filth who comment on his blog are proud and open rapists who talk about UMKC women like we are objects for their consumption. The success of our campaign is proven by the fear we strike into the hearts of such scum.
All of this proves the correctness of the mass line method of organizing we use! This method takes the slogan “from the masses, to the masses”, and in it we gather the ideas, concerns and thoughts of the people, apply political theory and our organizational experience, and then return it to the people by taking action. Because these ideas ultimately stem from the masses themselves, this method serves to unite the most progressive people, to politicize the undecided and intermediate, and to isolate the reactionary elements. This process is a spiral – with each application, we learn more about the concerns of the people, leading the way for future actions. This is in contrast to NGOs and reformist organizations, who sit on their armchairs and decide what is best for the “problematic masses”
Finally, our advice to the rebellious campus heros who put up those flyers: Keep up the good work, don’t be afraid to use more militant methods, and try wheatpaste next time! It’s harder to take down.