Noche Diaz and other members of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) protested in the center of the quad Tuesday afternoon in defiance of Diaz’s ban from campus.
Diaz, who was arrested by the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) and banned from campus property last Wednesday for trespassing in Baker Dining Hall, accused the University of acting against its commitment to free speech by shielding its students from the RCP's ideas.
“There is a wall being built around the University of Chicago,” he said to a crowd.
Diaz attributed his arrest last week to police brutality and said he was taken into custody even though he was exiting the dining hall on his own.
“This had nothing to do with the way I said it,” he said. “This had to do with suppressing the message and the messengers.”
Diaz denounced the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and spoke about America’s history of genocide, slavery, and Jim Crow laws that he believes has resurfaced with recent events of police brutality around the country.
When two students arrived at the protest and held up an American flag in defiance of Diaz’s message, Diaz called it a “putrid, genocidal rag.”
“That flag is dripping with the blood of the people of the world,” Diaz said to the students.
The RCP promoted The New Communism by Bob Avakian, the chairman of the RCP, and encouraged students to sign a petition for an RCP-led revolution.
“You have to become part of the people who are making it their mission to put an end to the long nightmares facing humanity. You need to get with this revolution,” Diaz said.
Though the event defied Diaz’s ban from campus, the UCPD was not present at the protest. Diaz is not the first protester to be banned under the University’s No Trespass (Ban) policy only to later appear on campus without incident. Last fall, proponents of a Level I trauma center at the University of Chicago Medical Center spoke at a scheduled event in a University building despite having been banned from campus after locking themselves in the first floor of Levi Hall that summer.
Four Delta Upsilon (DU) pledges and a brother shotgunned Natural Ice beers at the center of the quad while Diaz was giving his talk. At the end of the talk, the brother with a beer in his hand approached an RCP member and asked, “Is there any way you could just describe this [movement] to me?” A man went over and talked with them for a few minutes, but declined their offer for a beer.
The RCP’s heavy presence on campus for the last several weeks reflects the University’s role as an early stop on its “Get Into the Revolution National Organizing Tour.”
A protest by the RCP at City College of New York (CCNY) last Friday appears to have followed a similar pattern to Diaz’s arrest and the aftermath, according to an account of events posted on the RCP’s website: several protesters entered a campus dining hall, were removed by security personnel and then charged with trespassing. In both cases, the RCP claims to have been leaving the hall when they were arrested and complained that the arrest illustrated the hypocrisy behind the institution’s commitment to freedom of speech. An event protesting the arrest of the arrestees at CCNY, who the RCP is calling the “CCNY Four,” is scheduled for Thursday on CCNY’s campus.
—Pete Grieve and Adam Thorp contributed reporting