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Professional Protester Charges $300 to Incite Demonstrations at Columbia University



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A 63-year-old professional protester, Lisa Fithian, was recently observed at Columbia University, inciting student demonstrators at Hamilton Hall. Fithian, a seasoned figure in leftist protests for close to five decades, was among the Palestine supporters involved in the ‘occupation’ of the university building.

During the protest, Fithian was filmed instructing students on barricading the building and emphasizing their cause as ending ‘genocide in Gaza.’ Her involvement at Columbia aligns with her longstanding career of activism and protest engagements.

When questioned about her role in the protest, Fithian denied being an organizer, attributing claims against her to the right-wing perspective. She mentioned conducting a training session on protest safety and logistics on campus earlier, invited informally by an unidentified individual.

New York City Mayor, Eric Adams, referred to Fithian as a ‘professional outside agitator,’ highlighting her reputation as a protest consultant who earns up to $300 per day for her services in managing protests and instructing on street occupation tactics.

With a history of participating in major anti-establishment movements such as Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter, Fithian published a book in 2019 titled ‘Shut It Down: Stories From a Fierce, Loving Resistance.’ In the book, she portrays herself as an ‘anti-racist organizer’ with a series of disruptive protest activities against institutions like the CIA and the World Trade Organization.

Reports suggest that Lisa Fithian has been engaging in protest training for various groups and unions, teaching both effective protest strategies and ways to evade police detentions. Her reputation in the activist community has earned her the title of ‘the nation’s best-known protest consultant.’

Amidst the recent Columbia University protests, suspicions have been raised about the involvement of organizations such as The People’s Forum, known for hosting events supporting regimes in countries like Venezuela and Cuba. The group’s alleged connections to the protests and financial support have come under scrutiny.

Furthermore, the Student for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organization, led by figures like Hatem Bazian and linked to controversial charities, has been identified as a key player in orchestrating protests across various educational institutions, including Columbia University.

The ISGAP report highlights the financial ties between SJP and organizations like the Westchester People’s Action Coalition (WESPAC), American Muslims for Palestine, and Jewish Voice for Peace, raising concerns about funding sources and organizational transparency.

The recent events at Columbia University shed light on the complex network of activism, protest consultancy, and external influences shaping the landscape of student demonstrations and socio-political movements across the country.

Rachel Adams

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