First Published: The Call, Vol. 5, No. 30, November 29, 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Decorah, Iowa–Close to 1,000 students gathered in the Luther College cafeteria November 19 as a number of speakers protested the administration’s repressive attacks on students and especially the newly-formed chapter of the Communist Youth Organization.
Although the CYO chapter was formed only three weeks ago, the administration moved swiftly to prohibit it from using campus facilities. At the same time, the campus officials took steps to censor the student radio station which was scheduling a good deal of time for revolutionary political discussion.
These latest attacks followed a wave of cutbacks in financial aid and minority student admission programs, which had already provoked sharp student struggle. In addition, the Luther students have been demanding that faculty meetings be made open to students. More than 85% of the student body supported this demand through a petition drive, and about 100 students sat-in at the last faculty meeting in October.
The Nov. 19 rally was sponsored by the CYO chapter and SUDL, (Society for United Democratic Liberation), an anti-imperialist organization active on the campus for two years. Speakers at the rally exposed the administration’s attempt to isolate communists and revolutionary ideas from the masses of students.
Grace Swanson, a representative of the Luther CYO chapter, told The Call, “We in the CYO here see that it is our task to give communist leadership to the growing wave of student struggles. The attack on the CYO, SUDL and the campus radio station must be closely linked to the attacks on minority students, the cutbacks, and other acts of political repression by the administration.
“Although the main enemy in this struggle is the imperialist system which controls colleges like Luther for their own purposes, the main danger we must be vigilant against is reformism. We must turn these student battles into a part of the working-class struggle against capitalism, and not see them as an end in themselves. For this reason, we will be actively participating in Anti-Repression Day December 4, and also hope that support for our struggle can be built among workers and oppressed people on that day.”
Swanson added that more mass meetings would be called to organized students in defense of the CYO and the revolutionary activity which is now taking place on the campus.