Anti-War College Protestors Blame Capitalism, American Imperialism for Possible Strike on Syria

Sep 13, 2013 by

Jennifer Kabbany –

Students at universities across the nation this week have come out against President Barack Obama’s plans to bomb Syria, and many largely blame capitalism and American “imperialism” as motives behind the possible U.S. military strike.

Protestors have likened the current president to George W. Bush, called America imperialistic and war hungry, and demanded socialism as the ultimate solution, as examples. Some also argued supporting the Al-Qaida-linked Syrian rebels would put America and its terrorist network nemesis on the same side.

“Syria is not a threat to the national security of the U.S. or its allies in the Middle East,” student Elias Deeb, who organized a protest at Brown University this week, told USA Today.

The Rhode Island anti-war rally included drum beats and signs, plus an image of President George W. Bush next to Obama’s face with the phrase: The Same Big Lie, USA Today reports.

At UC Berkeley, a pro-socialism student group this week took a stand against U.S. military intervention in the Syrian civil war, according to The Daily Californian.

“The only way to fight against this is to overthrow the entire system,” Joseph Scalice, a doctoral student at UC Berkeley, told the campus newspaper. “We’re calling for a socialist revolution.”

Capitalism was also blamed for the Syria situation at a rally Tuesday organized by the same pro-socialism student group, International Youth and Students for Social Equality, at San Diego State University.

“This is something that by our analysis really comes down to a crisis of capitalism,” IYSSE member Clodomiro Puentes said at the protest, according to The Daily Aztec. “This is not something that’s driven by any kind of principled opposition to human rights, it’s entirely driven by geostrategic interests behind Syria’s stance (in) Iran, behind Iran’s stance China and Russia, which are key economic rivals to the U.S.”

A protest in Durham, North Carolina, on Monday attracted not only Duke University students, but professors as well, some of whom called America bossy and blind.

“U.S. imperialism is dead in the sense that it can’t create stable territories,” literature professor Michael Hardt told the Duke Chronicle. “In fact, the failures of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are demonstrations of how dead U.S. imperialism is. The problem with dead U.S. imperialism is that it won’t stay buried.”

Not to be outdone, University of Florida’s Students for a Democratic Society have organized three anti-war protests since August, according to various news reports.

“Military intervention in Syria is completely deplorable and we wanted to demonstrate that the people of Gainesville are united against the government’s prolonged aggression in the Middle East,” Michela Martinazzi, an organizer with University of Florida Students for a Democratic Society, told FightBack news.

At a University of Toledo, Ohio, protest, some argued military action would link America with Al-Qaida-linked Syrian rebels.

“They are dangerous for everyone,” Joe Swade, who attended the protest with his son, told The Independent Collegian. “We don’t want Al-Qaida to win.”

At an anti-war protest at University of Pennsylvania this week, students said America has enough problems already.

“We simply can’t afford to go into another war,” Penn State student Stephen Sloan, 18, told USA Today. “We can’t even feed the hungry in our own country, so I find it hard to accept that our government wants to use our tax money to strike Syria.”

The protests average in size from about 20 to 30 students each, according to news reports. Often, more moderate views on whether to bomb Syria can be found in the opinion pages of student newspapers, where undergrads urge caution. Yet the more vocal opponents of the war take to the quads and the streets.

Other events have included a peace vigil at Syracuse University on Monday. That same day, a small group of students protested U.S. military intervention in Syria at Michigan State University under a huge banner that read: “No War with Syria.”

“We think a violent intervention in Syria is wrong,” Duncan Tarr, a jazz studies and history sophomore, told the State News. “The United States hasn’t pursued diplomatic means, and jumping into a military solution is an awful risk.”

And while socialists and libertarians typically make strange bedfellows, they got together earlier this month at Michigan State University to outline problems with military intervention at Syria in a joint effort between the Michigan State College Libertarians and the Young Democratic Socialist Organization.

Student Andrew Gibson, a political theory and constitutional democracy sophomore and member of the Young Democratic Socialist Organization, told the State News that President Obama’s actions exemplify “American imperialism,” explaining that the U.S. “government has no moral basis” for participating in the Syrian war.

via Anti-War College Protestors Blame Capitalism, American Imperialism for Possible Strike on Syria.

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