KCPD and UMKC Are Working Together To Repress Student Activism

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After it was announced last week that Trump has plans to visit Kansas City, PYO began organizing a protest against him. Since then, local law enforcement has harassed, threatened, and in one case, arrested student activists who they believe are affiliated with PYO. We see this as a clear attempt at political repression, directed towards student activists who wish to resist Trump and his awful policies, and organizations that are attempting to build long-term opposition to capitalism. This should give pause to all activists in Kansas City and elsewhere.

The people of Kansas City resolutely oppose Trump’s policies of separating children from their parents, of building prison camps for immigrants, his racist travel bans, his plans to attack women’s reproductive rights, and the list goes on. He is not wanted in our city, and we plan to do everything we can to organize resistance against him, now and whenever he tries to come near KC.

On Tuesday afternoon, UMKC police entered a conference for competitive high school debate, and arrested one of the speakers, who is also a student activist, as he was delivering a presentation to the assembled youth.

On Thursday morning, KCPD came to the residence of a UMKC student activist, questioned him and threatened him with legal consequences for his involvement in student activism.

Local police have demonstrated a trend of arresting activists in very public settings, in an attempt to humiliate and intimidate them. This is the second time in our organization’s history that an activist affiliated with PYO has been arrested in a needlessly public manner. This student activist, who we will refer to as John, was arrested on a warrant for alleged felony property damage on UMKC campus. Oddly enough, the warrant was issued in mid-May for a crime that allegedly occurred last January. We hold that John is innocent of the crime he is charged with, and that this arrest was just a ploy to intimidate our organization leading up to the Trump protest.

This bullshit “property damage” charge is connected with an anti-sexual assault campaign that PYO led on UMKC campus during last Fall and Spring semesters, where students put up fliers outing campus sexual predators. To make this clearer, John was charged with a felony for allegedly putting up fliers on UMKC campus last January to warn the student body about sexual predators that UMKC refused to take action against. The charges allege that some fliers put on a door somehow caused over $7,500 damage to that door. Meanwhile, these sexual predators still have not had to face any repercussions, but even weeks after school let out for Summer, UMKC is still targeting student activists they believe were involved in this anti-rape campaign.

After this student activist was taken into UMKC police custody, they then transferred him into the custody of the KCPD and he was taken to Jackson County Jail, where he was then released that night. In addition to the felony charge, he was also ordered to stay off UMKC campus, even though he is a paying student. We are asking for donations to support this student activist as he fights this clear attempt at political repression.

On Thursday morning, another student activist, who we will refer to as Jack, had plain clothes police parked out front of his residence in an unmarked car. After noticing the suspicious vehicle, Jack walked out to see what was going on, where he was then confronted by the plain clothes KCPD. These cops then pulled up pictures that they alleged were of Jack participating in a May Day march. They then tried intimidating him, even threatening to contact his parents, in order to guilt him out of organizing and to give up info on other activists.

History shows us that political repression by itself cannot defeat revolutionary organizations, but if not studied and handled correctly, it can make operable an organization’s internal contradictions and therefore hasten its demise. We refuse to buckle under this kind of pressure, and will only let it strengthen our collective will and determination to organize the youth of our class, the working class, to fight back against this rotten and immoral system that brings misery to the masses at the benefit of a small few.

Repression is not going to stop us, it will only strengthen our resolve. The more desperate these agents of the State get with their repressive tactics, the more it validates the correctness of our politics. Our enemy is foolish enough to think that intimidation will work, but we will only keep growing and advancing – it is the law of revolution.

Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win


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