On the one hand, critical theory condemns the occupation. (see letter below)

On the other hand, critical theory defends the occupation. (see letter below)

Can it do both and still be itself? As an old dialectician once said,

CRITICAL THEORY has to be communicated in its own language — the language of contradiction, dialectical in form as well as in content: the language of the critique of the totality, of the critique of history. Not some “writing degree zero” — just the opposite. Not a negation of style, but the style of negation.

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“OCCUPY EVERYTHING”

The Battle to Take Back the New School

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.

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Dear friends and colleagues,

We write from Paris, a city where protests, demonstrations, and yes, even building occupations are frequent occurrences; a city whose traditions of creative, robust forms of political expression we admire and one whose
inhabitants regularly manifest what seems to us a healthy dose of self-respect in objecting publicly and forcefully to demeaning and unjust conditions. Having breathed this atmosphere for many months now, we view recent events at the New School in a different light from that reflected in communications we have so far received.

Granted we are far away. And undoubtedly we miss many nuances. Nevertheless, having carefully read all the documents sent to us (student manifestoes, presidential memos, and communiqués from deans, provosts, trustees and individual professors), we can see no justification for the Administration”s resort to police force against the occupiers of 65 Fifth Avenue. Furthermore, we are against proposals to condemn both sides. On the contrary, we urge the faculty to condemn the administration”s action forthwith and to support the right of the demonstrators to their protest, regardless of our agreement or disagreement with their views and goals.
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