The Party for Socialism and Liberation held a rally on Greene Street on Wednesday to call for an end to bigotry, the rejection of fascism and the abolition of a capitalistic society in response to a perceived threat of gun violence the group received at an interest meeting on April 3.
The rally was attended by around 50 students, PSL organizers and members of other organizations.
The interest meeting, where the organization received the threat, was advertised with the slogan, “Racism, sexism & bigotry are symptoms. Capitalism is a disease, socialism is the cure,” and speakers at the rally on Wednesday used similar rhetoric.
“There is no future within this system. There is no future in capitalism. There is no future in a system that demands war, a system that was born in war, a system that requires war every day simply to exist,” speaker Claire Clark said.
One of the main purposes of the rally according to PSL organzier John Prysner was to conduct outreach to encourage as many people as possible to join the movement for socialism. He said the turnout and foot traffic surrounding the rally proved successful.
“I think we had said during the program, even if we meet one person who's going to become a committed organizer, that makes such a huge difference,” Prysner said.
Carla Gonzalez, a third-year social work student at USC who was present at the interest meeting on April 3, said they attended to encourage peaceful discourse.
“I didn't feel much at the time, but I was just confused and most of all disappointed. I don't care about your ideology as long as you love other people, and you're not a bigoted person,” Gonzalez said. “I don't think me hating capitalism gives any person a reason to want to kill me and vice versa. You know, you shouldn't be threatening each other with violence.”
The A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) coalition endorsed the rally, and A.N.S.W.E.R. organizer Satya Vatti spoke about the importance of getting involved in organizing during the event.
“I think it's very important for people in the United States to be anti-war and to get involved in anti-war organizing. When we think about the distribution of the U.S. budget, about 50% of our national budget actually goes to the military, and it goes towards funding war,” Vatti said.
According to the Federal Office of Management and Budget, national defense amounted to around 11% of federal spending in 2021.
Overall, the rally set out to motivate people to organize against fascism, according to student community organizer AD Foster.
“Really the only option is to show up, to mobilize, to bring people out, to call on people, to call on organizations, to call on churches, unions, student organizations to come out and send a united, unified message loud and clear that we reject fascism and reject racism and sexism and bigotry,” Foster said.