The Time of Occupation

November 22, 2011

Will the occupation last?

Should it last?

We suggest some pithy lines from the addendum to Walter Benjamin’s Theses on the Philosophy of History:

A

Historicism contents itself with establishing a causal nexus of various moments of history. But no state of affairs is, as a cause, already a historical one. It becomes this, posthumously, through eventualities which may be separated from it by millennia. The historian who starts from this, ceases to permit the consequences of eventualities to run through the fingers like the beads of a rosary. He records [erfasst] the constellation in which his own epoch comes into contact with that of an earlier one. He thereby establishes a concept of the present as that of the here-and-now, in which splinters of messianic time are shot through.

B

Surely the time of the soothsayers, who divined what lay hidden in the lap of the future, was experienced neither as homogenous nor as empty. Whoever keeps this in mind will perhaps have an idea of how past time was experienced as remembrance: namely, just the same way. It is well-known that the Jews were forbidden to look into the future. The Torah and the prayers instructed them, by contrast, in remembrance. This disenchanted those who fell prey to the future, who sought advice from the soothsayers. For that reason the future did not, however, turn into a homogenous and empty time for the Jews. For in it every second was the narrow gate, through which the Messiah could enter.

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.

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An analysis and call for action

by New School Schwarz und Rot

“The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the ‘state of emergency’ in which we live is not the exception but the rule. We must attain to a conception of history that is in keeping with this insight. Then we shall clearly realize that it is our task to bring about a real state of emergency…” – Walter Benjamin

Recently there has been a lot of talk connecting the specific conditions at the New School with the general conditions of society-at-large. You may have heard the material and intellectual concerns of students couched in a radical critique of capitalism, injustice and hierarchical power. On the surface, this may seem abstract and out of touch with the everyday life of students at the university. It may appear as an attempt to shoehorn unrelated “activism” into an otherwise simple administrative matter. However, when we delve below the surface appearance of everyday life, it becomes clear that a generalized critique of society based on the twin logics of capitalist accumulation and hierarchical domination has everything to do with our struggle to redefine our school. The following is an attempt to communicate this relation between the general and particular and to reach out to those students who may feel distanced from last semester’s occupation.

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