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Radical Elders Gather to Support Protesters at Columbia University

A delegation of some 20 members of Radical Elders assembled at the main gate to Columbia University at noon on April 30 at 116th Street and Broadway, and remained for several hours after making a statement in support of the students inside the University’s locked down main quad.

RE’s Dave Lindorff offers our message of solidarity in front of Columbia University’s gates (phone: Angel Roman)

Radical Elders Members Dave Lindorff, Jose Alfaro, and Estela Vazquez spoke, as well as Tom Goghan of Move the Money-NYC. Members came from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and the New York metropolitan area.

The official RE statement said;

“We want to applaud and honor the courage of the young students at Columbia in the face of a callous and cowardly administration that called in the New York Police to try and crush their peaceful and principled protest, libeling the their denunciation of Israel’s ongoing genocidal collective-punishment slaughter of the Palestinians of Gaza as being “antisemitic.”

By the time we had arrived at the campus with our message, which also made the point that the students were following in the steps of the SDS students and supporters who, 56 years earlier on that same April 30 date, had electrified college campuses across the country by taking over several buildings on the Columbia campus, including the university’s administration offices in Low Library, a sub-group of the encampment protesters had broken into Hamilton Hall and, after barricading the doors, were occupying the building.

We stated publicly to other demonstrators and assembled journalists that we understood the protesting students’ frustration with the university administration’s stonewalling and draconian punishment of many of the encampment protesters and its use of New York Police to bust up their encampment. We said we jnderstood and supported their non-violent action in occupying the building (one of the three that SDS students had taken over in 1968).

Among our group were members who are also affiliated with Jewish Voices for Peace, which also supports the pro-Palestinian protest at Columbia and on other campuses across the country where this latest student activism has rapidly spread.

Our action was noted, including with a photo, in an online update in the NY Times online reporting on the protests at Columbia written by NY times reporter Olivia Bensimon. Here is her update:

“Outside Columbia’s gates on Broadway and 116th, members of a group called Radical Elders are giving speeches. Many of them have been participating in anti-war protests for decades, and some of them are Columbia alumni. Pro-Israel protesters behind them yell that the hostages must be freed, and one, with an Israeli flag draped over his shoulders, screams,“No one can hear your lies, Jew Hater!” The crowd chants “Free Palestine” and “Sí se puede!” to drown him out, and N.Y.P.D. officers move him and another pro-Israel protester to a different area.”

This update was accompanied by a photo by Times photographer Ted Heisler, which shows the Radical Elders banner and some of our members holding it.

— submitted by Dave Lindorff

One reply on “Radical Elders Gather to Support Protesters at Columbia University”

I am so proud of Radical Elders. I appreciate all who participated in this action.
“We Ain’t Done Yet!”

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