December 20, 2009
Everywhere: we are working, thinking about the work we have to do, talking about it, stressing about it, putting it off, forgetting to do it. “How was your weekend?” “Oh, pretty good. Not very productive though. I have SO MUCH WORK to do this week.” “Yeah, me too. Finals are ridiculous.”
We keep fueling our engines, we keep focused, keep clean, keep occupied, keep rested. We keep in line so that we can keep working, performing our assigned tasks, so we can blow off the release valve two days a week, faithfully returning to work every Sunday night.“We get down on all fours to climb the ladders of hierarchy, but privately flatter ourselves that we don’t really give a shit.”
We Keep Building Brown and ourselves with it. A school is its contents, its students, its faculty, its staff. A school is its structures, which our tuitions (invested) pay for: dividends accumulated in endowment. The endowment must always grow bigger, and as it does those on the higher rungs of the pay scale climb even higher and become more numerous. The workers become less of a burden and their benefits (financial aid for students, health care for staff) and jobs are temporarily safer. More gets invested into attracting more and better (wealthier) students. Up go the Building Brown signs. Like all institutions under capitalism, The University is nothing but a Once-ler, biggering its money. Everyone needs money. Non-profits still profit, simply having greater privilege, rewarded for “altruistic” behavior, a crucial function of self-preservation in perpetuation of our world-system.
December 9, 2009
SAN FRANCISCO – a business building at SFSU has been occupied ~6am Wednesday morning
SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — An early morning protest on the San Francisco State campus over budget cuts and fee increases has university officials scrambling this morning, as student organizers say they have taken over the school’s business building.
KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports
It’s the week before finals at SFSU, and protestors say they didn’t want to let the semester go by without making some kind of statement on the recent fee increases brought on by California’s budget problems.
The 20 or so protestors inside the building donned masks and blocked the entrances to the building with desks and chairs, while another 30 protestors gathered outside.
Students tell KCBS that paying $2,300 to $2,400 in tuition next semester prices many working-class students out of a college education.
“If you’re scared today you’ll be scared tomorrow as well and always and so you’ve got to make a start now right away we must show that in this school we aren’t slaves we have to do it so we can do what they’re doing in all other schools to show that we’re the ones to decide because the school is ours.”
The Unseen, Nanni Balestrini
Days later, voices in unison still ring in our ears. “Who’s university?” At night in bed, we mumble the reply to ourselves in our dreams. “Our university!” And in the midst of building occupations and the festive and fierce skirmishes with the police, concepts like belonging and ownership take the opportunity to assume a wholly new character. Only the village idiot or, the modern equivalent, a bureaucrat in the university administration would think we were screaming about something as suffocating as property rights when last week we announced, “The School is Ours!” When the day erupted, when the escape plan from the drudgery of college life was hatched, it was clear to everyone that the university not only belonged to the students who were forcefully reasserting their claim but also to the faculty, to every professor and TA who wishes they could enliven the mandatory curriculum in their repetitive 101 class, to the service workers who can’t wait for their shift to end, and to every other wage-earner on campus ensuring the daily functioning of the school.
Last week, the actualization of our communal will gave us a new clarity. The usual divisiveness of proprietorship was forcefully challenged; cascades of hidden meaning rush onto rigid notions of possession and our eyes look past surface appearances. So now when asked, “who does the university belong to?” we can’t fail to recognize that the college itself was built by labor from generations past, the notebook paper is produced by workers in South America, the campus computers are the output of work in Chinese factories, the food in the student cafe is touched by innumerable hands before it reaches the plates, and all the furniture at UC Berkeley is produced by the incarcerated at San Quentin. Thus the university, its normal operation and existence, ought to be attributed to far more than it regularly is. To claim that the school is ours requires our definition of ownership to not only shatter the repressive myth that the college belongs to the State of California and the Regents but to also extend belonging past national and state borders and throughout time. It’s clear, the entire university, for that matter, every university belongs to everyone, employed and unemployed, all students and all workers, to everyone of the global class that produces and reproduces the world as we now know it. The school is ours because it’s everyone’s and the destruction of the property relation, with all its damaging and limiting consequences, is implicit in the affirmation of this truth. It’s our university…
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November 20, 2009
Wheeler Hall at UC Berkeley occupied this morning after unsuccessful occupation of Capital Projects yesterday. Police entered building at 6 am, pepper-spraying and beating occupiers. Most of the people remain barricaded on 2nd floor, holding strong. Police are threatening to use tear-gas. Close to 50 police in riot gear inside the building beating on the door. . .
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October 29, 2009
On Sept. 24, thousands of students, faculty, and staff walked out of University of California campuses across the state. The walk-outs and one-day strike were called by a wide coalition of UC unions and activist groups as a largely symbolic protest against the budget cuts, fee hikes and firings associated with the state budget crisis. At two campuses, however, in Santa Cruz and Berkeley, some people then walked back in and began to initiate occupations. Administrators and activists alike were stunned that the logic of symbolic protest had been abandoned for concrete, insurrectionary activity. Occupation, a tactic which is mostly unfamiliar in the U.S., is widely generalized in many social struggles throughout the world, and points towards new dimensions of struggle and autonomous organization that are likely to prove particularly vital as the economic crisis continues and deepens.
WHAT IS AN OCCUPATION?
An occupation is a break in capitalist reality that occurs when people directly take control of a space, suspending its normal functions and animating it as a site of struggle and a weapon for autonomous power.
Occupations are a common part of student struggles in France, where for example in 2006 a massive youth movement against the CPE (a new law that would allow employers to fire first-time workers who had been employed for up to 2 years without cause) occupied high schools and universities and blockaded transit routes. In 1999, the National Autonomous University of Mexico City was occupied for close to a year to prevent tuition from being charged. Both of these struggles were successful. In Greece and Chile, long and determined student struggles have turned campuses into cop-free zones, which has in turn led to their use as vital organizing spaces for social movement involving other groups like undocumented migrants and indigenous people.
Occupations have not been seen much in the U.S. since the 1970s until 2008 when workers at the Republic Windows and Doors Factory in Chicago occupied the building and won back pay from the bank that foreclosed the factory. In following months, university students in New York City staged several occupations in resistance to the corporatization of their schools. It was this activity which inspired the students in Santa Cruz and Berkeley.
May 18, 2009
Yeah, you, the one behind the computer screen with the saucer eyes and granola crumbs in your whiskers. Don’t look around to your left and right. We’re talking to you, potential collaborationist, potential disrade. Wearing that ironic shirt, reading Foucault and listening to an album that’s so off-the-wall indie it’s the theme song from Full House on repeat for 83 minutes. There is a subtle intimation of distortion at the beginning of minute 51, but no other added effects.
We want you to bask in our joy at the recent news that Bob Kerrey will remain as president of The New School for two more years. Weeks ago, when he announced his resignation, we conceded a small defeat. But we had been duped. How genius: he was really just announcing his future resignation!
[insert generic manifestation of happiness here]
To help push along the inquiry into the facts concerning the occupation of 65 Fifth Avenue on April 10th 2009, we are offering clear and direct responses to all the questions that the New School Investigation Committee is seeking to answer. We do hope this clears some things up.
On Tue, May 5, 2009 at 4:56 PM, Announce Announce <Announce@newschool.edu> wrote:
May 5, 2009
The Chair of the Board of Trustees and the Co-chairs of the Faculty Senate have agreed to form a Committee, to be convened by the Chairman of the Board, to conduct a detailed inquiry into the facts relating to the occupation of 65 Fifth Avenue on April 10, 2009 and subsequent events.
Among the questions we expect our report to inquire into are the following:
1. How was entry into 65 Fifth Avenue effected early in the morning of April 10?
Through the vortex.
2. How many persons entered the building at that time?
A risk of lobsters.
(a) How many were students or faculty of the University? How many were not connected with the University?
We are all connected to capital; the university is a capitalist enterprise; we are all connected to the university. QED
3. What was the stated purpose of the entry and how was that purpose communicated?
The effacement of law through an act of divine violence communicated through its very being(-out-of-time).
4. Did the persons entering the building threaten or cause physical harm to any persons or property in the building?
I remember when the property cried, torrents of saltwater down the gutters of law. “Respect my rights,” the doors sang. “Over my dead body,” whispered the epoxy. “But my texture!” the carpet chanted. “Be my lover,” the paint responded. A family of things, packed together in church. “Shhh! The sermon is about to start,” opened the gates.
April 25, 2009
Are the core values of the New School being upheld? This question has sparked bitter debate between students, faculty, and administrators at the New School. Whether it’s student actions, faculty roles, university identity, or administrative decisions, everyone has an opinion on whether or not it fulfills the “core values” that secretly govern our university.
Thankfully, we of the Reoccupied Investigative Committee have got hold of a leaked document from 1919 (revised as of 1933) that marks the actual core values of the school. From now on, we have a measure, a standard, a baseline from which to hold reasonable conversations in the future. Judge for yourselves.
April 22, 2009
By BARUCHA CALAMITY PELLER
Owing to pending legal issues, as well as continuing intimidation from school administration towards student organizers, all the New School students are quoted anonymously in this article, at their request. CB.
“We occupied a university building, workers in Chicago occupied their factory, people facing foreclosures have refused to leave their homes. Occupation is not merely a tactic to get some demands met; it is a practical strategy for taking our lives back into our own hands. Let’s occupy everything until everything is ours.” – a student at the New School for Social Research, NY
On Friday, April 10, in the first lights of a cool Manhattan dawn, banging could be heard up to a block away from the four-story New School building at 65 5th Ave, and the sound of chains scraping against metal permeated the silent morning.