The Red Student Faction student group at the University of New Mexico defines capitalism as a “system of violence,” yet some of its members recently took a non-pacifist approach toward students supporting a free market economy, yelling obscenities at them.
The incident took place on campus during the Million Student March Nov. 12, when members of the conservative Young Americans for Freedom and libertarian Young Americans for Liberty flanked the march with signs offering slogans such as “Nothing is Free.”
Organizer of the counter protest and President of Young Americans for Liberty, Michael Aguilar, said he sought a peaceful counter demonstration: “We had a meeting before hand where I explained the need to be respectful regardless of how we were received.”
The counter-protest against demands for student loan debt forgiveness and free tuition didn’t sit well with marchers.
“They want to bring back slavery,” one of the Red Student Faction protest leaders shouted into a megaphone at counter protestors, according to an audio recording of the event obtained by The College Fix.
“This is what the Left does,” came the reply from one of the counter protestors.
“Yeah, this is what the Right does, they defend Nazis and Hitler and s**t like that,” the leader with the megaphone shot back.
“I’m Jewish, so…” one counter-protester replied.
“Go f**k yourself,” said someone in the crowd.
“No, go f**k yourself,” the ringleader replied, his voice amplified over the crowd.
“He’s Jewish, you’re a dumb*ss,” called out another student as the verbal volleys continued.
The members of Young Americans for Liberty and Young Americans for Freedom were also called “fascists” and other names as the event progressed. At times the exchanges were civil, other times heated.
But the Red Student Faction wasn’t done with ad hominem attacks.
At the rally, the Red Student Faction handed out flyers that read: “Muslims, undocumented immigrants, and refugees welcome at UNM! Bring your families. Fascists and racists out!”
The flyering effort was in response to “recent anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and anti-refugee hysteria in the United States following the terrorist attacks by ISIS in Paris,” a member of the faction stated in an email to The College Fix.
In addition, the group says they distributed the flyers after the House of Representatives called for Syrian refugees to not be allowed in the U.S.
Junior Ryan Ansloan, chairman for Young Americans for Freedom and a member of Young Americans for Liberty, said he was taken aback by the flyers when he picked one up by the political rally.
“I was personally offended because the student passing them out has often taken to referring to myself and other members of my student group as racists and fascists,” Ansloan told The College Fix. “He’s clearly referring to those who hold ideologies different from his own and saying that we are not welcome on campus.”
“On campus we should all be free to engage other students and they are clearly not interested in listening to or engaging other points of view,” he added.
In a statement to The Fix, the Red Student Faction said they don’t consider all Republicans to be racists or fascists, and added liberals can be racist, too.
They said their target audience for the flyers were “people like Donald Trump who advocate for corporate capitalism, encourage populist racist violence, and encourage American exceptionalism, and overt nationalism that promotes imperialism and war.”
“We would question why anyone would feel offended,” the group added in their email. “Are they offended because they are racist or fascist or uphold racism and fascism? No one should feel offended by basic human rights.”
According to the faction’s Facebook page, its members use “critical leftist and radical thought to frame, engage, challenge, transform and question the logics of systems of violence such as white-supremacy, racism, hetero-patriarchy, capitalism, colonialism, imperialism, liberalism, exceptionalism, sectarianism, sexism, Zionism, and capitalist-motivated industrialism—which causes widespread dispossession and environmental devastation.”
Editor’s Note: The main photo used for this story was taken at the Million Student March at UNM but is not a depiction of the shouting match described in the story. The student in the photo is not a member of the Red Student Faction. Also, while the faction handed out the flyers at the Bernie Sanders rally, the event’s organizers did not endorse the content.