Maria Calef hopes the presence of the Party for Socialism and Liberation on campus will bring awareness of its causes to young people. (Photos by Danielle Cahn)
The Party for Socialism and Liberation’s Carolina chapter recently held a “Reject Fascism” rally outside Russell House at USC.
The Wednesday rally was a response to a perceived gun threat at one of the organization’s meetings on campus April 3. A University of South Carolina student allegedly said, “I only count about 13 of you in this room, but then I remember that 25 rounds can fit in the magazine of my AR,” according to a statement released by the party.
A few dozen protesters showed their support at the rally. Speakers condemned what they saw as a right-wing attack on their freedom.
“There was a direct threat made against us, and we thought we needed to respond,” party organizer John Prysner told the Carolina News & Reporter. “But this is really about a wider issue. It’s not just about this one threat. … And it’s being egged on and enabled by right-wing politicians and institutions.
One USC junior said they came to show support because of the lack of response to the threat from the university.
“I haven’t seen a sort of statement made about protecting the students or anything like that,” said Gage Pierce, who is not a party member. “It’s a little worrying for myself as a non-binary person. It’s worrying for my friends who are people of color. It’s worrying for my other queer friends and things like that to sort of see threats and bullying and things like that kind (of) go unchecked on campus.”
University spokesperson Jeff Stensland said the university immediately reached out to the parties involved to offer support and has released information to several news outlets.
Stensland said he couldn’t comment on the status of the investigation into the student who allegedly made the threat. He said the person in question has met with the Office of Student Conduct, and the student’s access to campus has been restricted.
Party member Maria Calef said she hopes to carry the message of the party to a larger audience.
“We want our voices to spread on campus,” Calef said. “We are anti-war, anti-capitalism, anti-racism and discrimination.”
Other protesters said they came to support the party’s general platform and are are concerned with the direction the country is heading.
“I just want to be more politically involved because I’m angry, because the United States is descending into fascism now,” said Carla Gonzalez, a USC junior who hopes to join the party. “So I feel like I probably have to do something about that.”