In the 1980s, Tom Burke was involved in the Maoist Freedom Road Socialist Organizationand their college front group the Progressive Student Network. He helped lead the 1990 split in Freedom Road which led to the formation of their rival Freedom Road Socialist Organization FightBack! faction.
- Because we must demand that the needs of the people come before the greed of the super rich. Millions are jobless and homeless, and millions more will be living on the streets if the government continues to waste trillions of dollars on saving wealthy bankers instead of saving people.
In October 2008, several thousand college professors, students and academic staff signed a statement in support of Bill Ayers in solidarity with former Weather Underground Organization terrorist Bill Ayers.
In the run up to the U.S. presidential elections, Ayers had come under considerable media scrutiny, sparked by his relationship with presidential candidate Barack Obama.
- We write to support our colleague Professor William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who is currently under determined and sustained political attack…
Tom Burke signed the statement.
On September 24th, the FBI raided the homes of twelve FightBack! supporters activists across the USA, looking for links to foreign terrorist organizations. Burke was one of those whose home was raided and who is being investigated by the FBI.
Afterwards, Burke said, “Speaking to the SDS Convention was a powerful experience. I spoke about the FBI raids and grand jury repression, including members of SDS. I relayed my student experience with the Divest Now! campaign to smash racist Apartheid in South Africa. Then, with the Progressive Student Network in the 1980s, we organized campus protests against CIA recruitment. We acted in solidarity with the revolutionary movements of Nicaragua and El Salvador. In 1991, the PSN helped organize mass rallies to oppose the first U.S. Gulf War on Iraq.”
Burke continued, “Today’s student activists have known nothing but the U.S. always being at war. I spoke and emphasized the importance of supporting liberation struggles in Colombia and Palestine today, to stop U.S. intervention.”
Grand Rapids, Michigan-based activist Tom Burke, one of the lead organizers for what’s billed as the Coalition to Stop Trump and March on the RNC, says the protest has two aims. “One is it helps to build movements in this country by tying local groups to national issues. Secondly, it has an impact on the elections because the media starts to cover what the protesters are saying. We have a very different agenda than the Republican Party— and this year, in particular.”