Socialist Student Organization Leads Protest Against Whistleblower’s Imprisonment

International Youth and Students for Social Equality called Chelsea Manning’s imprisonment an attack on democratic rights.

Student activists protest the jailing of Chelsea Manning on the steps of the Kimmel Center for University Life. (Photo by Jesse Jimenez)

The chant “Free Chelsea Manning” echoed across the steps of the Kimmel Center for University Life on Thursday in protest of the recent imprisonment of the former army intelligence analyst responsible for the largest leak of classified documents in United States history.

Members of NYU’s International Youth and Students for Social Equality, the youth branch of the Socialist Equality Party, spoke out against the recent jailing of Chelsea Manning, who helped leak classified information regarding the Iraq and Afghanistan wars through WikiLeaks in 2010. Members of the group, which advocates for the rights of the working class, said Manning’s imprisonment was a “blatant disregard for democracy.”

“The IYSSE fights to expose [Manning’s] situation and mobilize the largest base of support among students and workers to defend democratic rights on a socialist basis,” IYSSE member Isaac Finn said.

Manning was arrested after a judge found her in contempt of court for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks and its leader Julian Assange. Manning had previously been jailed in 2013 and was released in 2017 after President Barack Obama commuted the rest of her sentence.

NYU’s IYSSE chapter treasurer, Sam Mitchell, said that jailing Manning amounts to an attempt by the Trump administration to crack down on journalistic rights.

“This amounts to censorship,” Mitchell said. “And it shows how far the ruling class will go to suppress information that compromises its economic gains.”

Tisch first-year Dayna Nolan has attended IYSSE meetings since coming to NYU and supports the movement to free Chelsea Manning.

“It’s really important,” Nolan said. “I think you should not be falsely imprisoned for what you believe in.”

Fellow Tisch first-year Gandhi Mendoza found out about the IYSSE after running into a member who was handing out leaflets. Mendoza said that action against the imprisonment of Manning is important.

“This is something we should be fighting against,” Mendoza said.

Email Jesse Jimenez at [email protected].

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