This past week the College of Arts & Sciences Student Council received a plan to increase the A&S Course Fee to $60 per credit hour. They are standing to make $3.1 million from this increase, but at what cost to the students? This change would have impacted more than 9,000 students who would have to pay anywhere from $500-$1000 more in fees each semester. This fee is also recurring from year to year. Each year the fee will increase due to another decision by UMKC administrators. They haven’t informed any of their students of this proposal either, not even so much as a courtesy email or letter in the mail. PYO-KC as an organization flyered and posted information surrounding the town hall and imploring students to be involved to oppose administration and the CSA student council’s proposal.
The financial strain that this proposal puts on students is immense. A large amount of students who go to UMKC already rely on scholarships with many having to take out thousands of dollars in loans on top of those inadequate scholarships. UMKC students are forced to work long hours at local businesses, rely on their family, and sacrifice study time to pay for rising tuition costs. Nevertheless, we have won a concrete victory last night in regards to the proposed tuition hike on behalf of working class and oppressed nationality students. Last night at the University of Missouri-Kansas-City town hall meeting about the recent proposal to increase tuition we mustered up our forces. What we found was the scheduled town hall was to be held in a pathetically small room in the Administration building that could have fit no more than 30 people, our organization composed more than half of those in attendance nevertheless. We voiced our opposition in many ways, which the administration and College of Arts and Sciences student council was ill-prepared for. Continue reading “Dare To Struggle and We Won! UMKC Tuition Hike Defeated!”→
In the weeks prior to a landmark Supreme Court decision on DAPA and DACA+, a decision that would affect the lives of millions of people across the nation, the Obama administration’s ICE decided to carry out its second major immigration raids of the year; this time in the Midwest. Under the guise of “removing criminal aliens,” ICE has rounded up 331 immigrants in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Kansas and Missouri. Much of the language of the statements from ICE justify these raids in the interest of “public safety,” but they contradict the impact that immigrant rights groups in the area claim is doing more harm than good.
ICE raids break up families and traumatize children who must contend with witnessing armed groups of men abducting their parents and siblings from the safety of their homes. The remark of “removing criminal aliens” is also a ruse that includes individuals working with infractions as minor as working with a made-up social security number. Chicago was the hardest hit city with 106 arrests made. In our own state of Missouri, 39 arrests were made in the Kansas City area. Such actions constitute a treacherous violation on the part of the Obama administration, which has deported more immigrants than any other previous administration combined in recent history.
This coming on the cusps of promising comprehensive immigration reform. It is clear to us that immigration reform and collective liberation cannot come at the mercy of the carceral state, which must be fed with a constant supply of prison inmates to fill it’s jails, but rather a willingness to resist. History has taught us that no people is given their freedom without standing up and fighting for it. The very fact that immigration reform is being discussed, that DACA was won by the People, was not from a change of heart from the Democratic Party and the Obama administration. Rather it was won from the willingness of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers rising up to demand their right to not be separated from their families. Who fought to have access to the right of education.
In Missouri a reactionary bill was signed into law, HB 2003, that would seek to undermine DACA by charging Dreamers international rates to attend public universities. The law is supposed to go into effect August 28, 2016, but already schools are hiking tuition on ‘DACAmented’ students. In Kansas City, community colleges which cannot charge international rates, and thus are immune to the language of the bill, still see it fit to charge out-of-state tuition to DACA recipients, even though they are under no obligation to do so. Such racist attacks by Missouri’s legislature, and the signing of the bill into law by Jay Nixon, who assured undocumented youth that it was “unenforceable,” show that it is not the politicians in whom we can trust, but in our own ability as The People to resist. Such moves which seek to undermine the victories we have made must be soundly and firmly rejected.
We are issuing a call to resist not only the ICE raids but Missouri HB 2003 . We will not relent until this unconstitutional law is repealed and Dreamers are given access to schools in the state in which they reside. We will not sit idly by and allow so many members of our community be treated in such a neglectful, violent and racist manner.
The chairperson of the Progressive Youth Organization, Andrés, was invited to speak at Longview Community College surrounding the issue of segregation. As a lifelong resident of Kansas City, in a segregated, now rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, our comrade gives an analysis of segregation as an institution of racism and ties it with the capitalist mode of production. He also comments briefly on the role Kansas City played in segregating America’s cities and how even after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act Kansas City continued and continues to remain a very segregated city. The video of the lecture is provided as well as the presentation paper to go along with it.
The Roots of Racism
So to begin we should go back to the roots of segregation which is a form of institutional racism. This begs a chicken and the egg question of which came first? Well when we talk of how people perceived one another some groups of people were viewed as being lower than others we see this in how the Romans and Greeks would call non-Romans and non-Greeks “Barbarian”. We see even in the Aztec world in which the slur for nomadic peoples was “chichimeca” or dog-speaker. People had a conception of prejudice of other people throughout millenia, there was a semblance of superiority even, but the institutional aspect of this prejudice taking the form of laws, the social division of labor based on race and nation only come about under capitalism. It would not be wrong to say then that we know what came first in this question. The chicken is capitalism, a capitalism which developed rapidly in the post-feudal, post-Black death age of Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. We should reflect upon just how Western capitalism got it’s first start-up that is it’s first huge surges of capital and wealth, in the process in which Karl Marx called “the primitive accumulation” which he notes in his volume Capital:
The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signalised the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief moments of primitive accumulation. . . . [They all] depend in part on brute force, e.g., the colonial system. But, they all employ the power of the State, the concentrated and organised force of society, to hasten, hot-house fashion, the process of transformation of the feudal mode of production into the capitalist mode . . . . [C]apital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt.Continue reading “Capitalism and Segregation At the Roots (with Video)”→
As 2016 rolls around, so does the 5th year of the Syrian Civil War. Millions of people have fled the country attempting to escape the violence, preferably to Europe or the United States. In a 289-137 the US House of Representatives voted to make it harder for refugees fleeing the tragic violence to come here. In Missouri, Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder and the Missouri Republicans want the State to deny entry for all Syrian Refugees. Meanwhile Governor Jay Nixon wants “more safeguards” to an already restrictive process. While in Kansas politicians like Sam Brownback are attempting to block refugees from coming in signing an executive order to prevent refugee resettlement! Governor Sam Brownback is a gubernatorial travesty, and is trying to shift the attention away from his failed policies and joins about 20 more governors, in denying refuge for those fleeing terror and violence caused by this country’s imperialist policies. They are not alone, presidential candidate Donald Trump, one never to disappoint with his racist rhetoric, has even gone as far as to call for a ban on all Muslim immigration and a national database as we “cannot be sure” if they are terrorists or not. Implying that the majority of the world’s Muslims are only a shove away from adopting the tenets of the Islamic State. This sort of language is what comes right before a campaign of ethnic cleansing. Using racist and Islamophobic rhetoric, the Far Right in this country has demonized and painted with a broad brush all Muslims and people of Arab descent as terrorists. We must stand together against these reactionaries because they do not only affect refugees from countries like Iraq or Syria, but also refugees fleeing violence in Central America.
In our disgust over the continued purge of black and brown people – that is, in the campaign of the criminalization of our cultures, which we see in the mass incarceration of our people, and in the brutality of the police which is intentionally directed at us – we made it clear that our duty was to fight, with them, for their right to live, and to live freely; not behind bars, but as human beings. To do this meant first to identify, then to combat the first component of the global power structure with which all oppressed peoples are necessarily well-acquainted; that is, the state and national police, which resides in the belly of the beast and whose role is to enforce racist, sexist, and otherwise intentionally oppressive law.
In our horror over the abuse, rape, murder and needless incarceration of helpless Central and South Americans – who merely flee what has been imposed on them in their home country by crusades of destruction by the United States government, which, though with more subtlety, continue to this day – we made clear that our duty was to fight, with them, for their humanity. To do this meant first to identify, then to combat the second component of the global power structure with which all oppressed peoples are necessarily well-acquainted; that is, the imperial army, whose purpose is to extend the imperial dominion far beyond its official borders, and to enable the pillaging of the world’s resources.
In our anger over the continued exploitation of workers’ lives and their alienation from social life, we made clear our resolve to fight, with them, for the return of true political power to the proletariat. To do this meant first to identify, then to combat the third component of the global power structure with which all oppressed peoples are necessarily well-acquainted; that is, the capitalist mode of production, the purpose of which is to de-politicize the masses by alienating the class of people who build our civilization from their human value, from social life, and therefore from any meaningful political engagement, while creating an oligarchic class of super-rich aristocrats capable of pulling the puppet strings of the latter two components with wealth pillaged from the working class.
In our dissatisfaction with the present apparent aimlessness resulting from the actions of political groups – that is, with our comrades, who, like us, work with the oppressed in mind, but, not like us, work towards an end, if towards an end at all, with the oppressed out of mind.
We therefore organized a Serve the People Program. On March 28th, 2015, we, the Progressive Youth Organization, came together with friends and allies at 9th and Van Brunt Athletic Fields. We, as workers and students of Kansas City, did more than stand in solidarity with our fellow Kansas Citians, as we have done countless times before, but took time away from our jobs and schoolwork to provide the oppressed masses with material aid: We distributed donated clothes and shoes, toys, hygiene products, and even served food. But rather than serving, as the philanthropic liberals do, in the name of charity, we understood that the correct action was to empower the masses. For the best way to avoid injury is not to eternally replace bandaids, but to attack the cause of injury! When the people realize their true potential – that is, when their value is returned to them and the efforts of their labor is socialized – it will be possible for correct political action.
That is to say, revolutionis the only mechanism which utilizes the full power of the people; the full power of the people is achieved through service to and politicizing of the people; therefore, Serve the People Programs, which serve and politicize the masses, are the vehicle towards revolutionary politics.
On May 1st, 2015, Progressive Youth Organization will be holding another Serve the People Program at Budd Park starting at 4:00 PM.
On the 104th Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution President Barack Obama announced two executive actions to provide relief to nearly five million undocumented immigrants for three years. The first would grant deferred action to parents of American citizens or permanent residents who have been in the country for five years and youth who were brought into the country illegally as of 2010. While this relief is much needed and would provide relief from deportations and a relative security from job discrimination for millions it still would leave four million people unprotected and at risk for deportation, something the Obama administration is quite well at with an average rate of 400,000 people deported every year by the administration. And it seems this could even climb at a higher rate as the President has also promised to increase border security, adding to already one of the most militarized borders in the world; nearly surpassing the Demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. Continue reading “Too Little, Too Late: We Are Not Political Pawns!”→