'Internationalist' student group calls for book ban at GW

Kara Zupkus
D.C. Campus Correspondent

  • A new left-wing student group at The George Washington University has been created to advocate for “internationalism” and “oppose nationalism” around the world.
  • Among its first actions will be an effort to ban two books from the school library that the group considers propaganda put out by the Japanese far-right.
  • A new left-wing student group at The George Washington University has been created to advocate for “internationalism” and “oppose nationalism” around the world.

    The Internationalist Students’ Front aims to challenge “popular narratives about U.S. foreign policy,” according to The GW Hatchet, which reports that the group plan to host “teach-ins” to warn classmates about the consequences of fascism.

    "While many of us are left-wing, I don’t think we can really be characterized as a communist student org because our main focus isn’t communism."   

    Alaina Taylor, a member of the organization, said that the teach-ins will also educate students on U.S. interference in elections abroad, as well as Winston Churchill’s role in the starvation of Indians during World War II.

    [RELATED: GW history majors no longer need US History course]

    Sheng Zhang, another member of the group, said that students should take a “cosmopolitan approach” to international relations, saying, “internationalism means that we stand in solidarity with every single struggle against oppression in the world.”

    Posts on the new student group’s Facebook page, meanwhile, have celebrated figures from the Black Panther Party and former communist leader Fidel Castro.

    Another member of the organization, Josh Gomez, disputed claims that the Internationalist Students’ Front is a communist group, saying that isn’t the main purpose of the club, though he acknowledged that the group is a radical organization, following in the footsteps of many other radical groups on campus.

    “Our main focus is anti-imperialist work and anti-imperialist ideas and ideals, and so while many of us are left-wing, I don’t think we can really be characterized as a communist student org because our main focus isn’t communism,” Gomez told the Hatchet.

    [RELATED: POLL: Millennials would prefer to live in a socialist country]

    George Washington University Law professor Jonathan Turley, however, has criticized the group’s effort to ban two books from the university’s library, which the group described to the Hatchet as propaganda put out by the Japanese far-right.

    “It is a uniquely poor way to start a group on offering different perspectives of historical events by trying to prevent students and faculty from reading alternative perspectives,” Turley writes, arguing that while one of the book’s denial of war atrocities is “painful” to read, faculty and students research these denials in their studies and sometimes “buy books to gain perspective of fringe or discredited views.”

    “It would be a far better focus for the group to work to raise their voices rather than to silence others,” he concluded, adding that “The issue is not ideology but tolerance of opposing views and works.”

    [RELATED: Socialist group calls for ‘extermination’ of capitalists]

    This new left-wing group joins the ranks of many that already exist on campus, including GW College Democrats, Young Progressives Demanding Action, GW Student Vanguard, GW Voices for Choices, GW Students for Justice in Palestine, Feminist Student Union, Fossil Free GW, Democracy Matters, and the Progressive Student Union.

    Campus Reform reached out to Internationalist Students’ Front for comment but did not receive a response.

    Follow this author on Twitter @kara_kirsten





    Kara Zupkus

    Kara Zupkus

    D.C. Campus Correspondent

    Kara Zupkus is a Washington, D.C. Campus Correspondent, and reports liberal bias and abuse on campus for Campus Reform. She studies Political Science and Journalism at The George Washington University, where she serves as treasurer of GW's Chapter of Young America's Foundation. Kara wrote for the Washington Examiner last semester and will be interning at NBC News this semester.

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