'Internationalist' student group calls for book ban at GW

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.

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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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