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By Giles Howard, guest columnist and student at University of Pittsburgh
Anarchists and the student groups affiliated with them vocally promised to take “direct action” against local businesses in countless online and print publications over the last few weeks. Thursday night, Pittsburgh witnessed what “direct action” meant when hundreds of protesters and students smashed shop windows, lit dumpsters on fire and rioted in the streets.
Their behavior was predictable and, while the police took their threats seriously, other individuals in positions of power did not. The University of Pittsburgh allowed student groups to organize on campus with what I see as the goal of causing mayhem in the streets of Pittsburgh.
If the school doesn’t immediately take action against two specific student groups who took an active role in planning and promoting the G-20 protests, which turned violent, Americans should be outraged — tax money shouldn’t go to institutions that seemingly support and protect perpetrators of violence and civil unrest.
The first group, Students for Justice in Palestine, endorsed the Pittsburgh G-20 Resistance Project’s “Radical Student Call,” which incited students to “take to the streets of Pittsburgh to disrupt the summit” and “disrupt schools and financial institutions.” When the university was informed that this student group was calling on people to disrupt schools, the University Office of Student Life initiated an investigation into the matter and found that Students for Justice in Palestine were simply engaging in their right to freedom of expression and association.
But last night, we witnessed the results of the proclamation issued by the Resistance Project and endorsed by Students for Justice in Palestine. Life in Oakland was disrupted as protesters took to the streets in Pittsburgh destroying private property.
A second group at Pitt, Students for Radical Change and Liberation, was permitted by the university to hold a meeting on campus called “Mass Action 101,” in which a representative from the anarchist Pittsburgh Organizing Group prepared students for the G-20 protests and taught them how to manage their “arrest-risk.”
This group was brought to the attention of University of Pittsburgh administrators after they, upset over my columns of G-20 protesters in the student newspaper, circulated an e-mail that read: “[Giles Howard] deserves a nice shovel to the face.” The administration was aware of the group and of its threat against a journalist and still allowed it to hold a planning meeting with a local anarchist group on campus where students learned how to participate in a “mass action.”
This “mass action” has been revealed as an orgy of violence targeting the police, local businesses and personal property throughout Oakland. The fact that these violent protests were partially planned and incited on Pitt’s campus is shameful.
The Thursday night events demonstrated that anarchists and their student sympathizers are determined to bring violence to every community they touch. These groups should never hold another meeting on campus nor receive another dollar in funding from the school.
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