A Statement From the 90 5th Avenue Occupation

November 18, 2011



As we are continually and violently pushed out of public spaces, the people of this city must find new spaces in which to foster dialogue, learn and engage politically. Private spaces must be liberated; the movement must expand. We students, educators and members of the broader public have come together to occupy this space, seeking to transform it into a place of public education, safe and open to all.

Much of the repression of this movement has been conducted under the pretense of public health and safety. We, the occupiers, declare that our primary concern lies in the safety and well-being of this occupation and its participants. New School President David Van Zandt and the New School Administration have expressed concerns that we observe the building’s fire code. We share these concerns. Licensed fire guards are included among the occupiers and we will continue to take the necessary steps to prevent harm from coming to anyone.

We reiterate that this occupation is not a New School action; this building actually belongs to Wells Fargo, whose role in the current economic crisis is well-known. We are occupying a building: and we, as occupiers, are not solely students – we are workers, teachers, students, unemployed, under-employed, indebted and exploited. We are creating a common space that will eventually be open to all. In addition to the people’s university, the CUNY adjunct project, and the all-city student assembly, we are in the process of planning a series of open teach-ins and events. Schedule forthcoming.

4 Responses to “A Statement From the 90 5th Avenue Occupation”

  1. Squat the World Says:

    Solidarity from Greece!
    I’m translating your statement and communicating it through

  2. I am in total solidarity with you. . Let’s take down this Bastille of a society brick by brick, the way the French did in 1789, throwing the yoke of our ruling class today they way they did then!. So I am veru happy we are starting to resist with ever more determination; for instance by linking arms to force the police to break through us at Wall Street the other day; and I am even happier at the thought of our daring to move the barricades the police had put up around Liberty Park. Freedom is handed to no one on a platter. It must be taken, just like it has been slowly and surely been taken away from us.

    This is why occupying the university makes total sense, since the university represents the interests of the ruling class (rather caste) in our society, making sure in myriad subtle and not so subtle ways those interests are preserved and advanced. No more than Wall Street should our schools be free to pursue ‘business as usual’! Let them learn a lesson for once!


    Philip Beitchman, Ph.D.
    Adjunct Associate Professor of English
    Medgar Evers College of The City University of New York

    • janet Says:

      so explain it to me. Are you giving up your income to teach for free? What the heck are you saying? You made out well, I bet on the loans that pay the tuition and your salary. Please help me understand. What do you want? Even in England where the university system is paid for differently, they are having their issues. What freedom are you talking about? Freedom of a free education? There is no such thing as a free anything. Someone has to pay for it. So just tax us all to death so we can all live at the same level of poverty and never be able to aspire to anything else.Why bother with the education at all? I really want to understand. There are plenty of issues to deal with. Like -Crony capitalism. I agree with the fact that school cost too much. My daughter will have over $80,000 to pay to be a teacher! But she knew going in that she could have gone to other schools that cost less. that was her FREEDOM of choice. We need to makeover how we educate. Why do Universities have to build luxurious facilities for the students to live in. That is where the costs come in. Because kids these days are so spoiled and entitled. Why are there so many tenured professors who make too much money – are you one of them? If you want to do something overthrow the entire congress and senate and start over. Make them live by the same rules everyone else does.I am going to vote to replace Washington with different people. i am going to write the President and other officials to make changes we need. Stop making our police look bad by doing their job. They make far less than you and would probably take a bullet for you if they had to in order to protect you. OCWS needs organizing and that scares me. Our way of life is about to change and I bet it will not be for the better. What is so wrong with being middle class? What is it that we don’t have? Do we need food, water, heat, a car, Ocean City/ If we all grew up and stopped trying to have it all we might make this world a better place. the middle class wants exactly what the rich want – MORE. You represent such a double standard and bet that this rant will receive more educated profanity than I care to hear. But honestly I am just trying to understand your protests.

      • First of all I didn’t make out so well. I teach college (literature) but on a part-time basis and have almost always done so, paid by the hour and hired by the semester, depending on enrolment–most of my teaching life (30 years of so) without benefits and no pay between semesters and summer; and certainly no security or tenure. True I don’t teach for free, but for next to nothing. If I taught totally for free I would have starved to death long ago and not been around to protest today; and I surely make much less than the cop who is beating us over the head to get us to unlock arms when we’re trying to wake Wall Street up to the reality of the suffering and exploitation they’re putting us through.

        The fact is that we do not live in a Democracy, but a tyranny (of money) that calls itself a Democracy to better facilitate the hegemony of the ruling class of the rich and propertied.
        Read Chris Hedges and a host of others on this matter; c’mon do a little homework, or look it up on the net!

        Although the police have certain roles to play in society, like responding to emergency calls in case of accident or an aggression, it’s basic function is to protect property, and almost all property in this country and under this system is owned by a tiny minority, something like the 1%; as far as ‘taking a bullet’ for me–that’s a laugh. All the guns I noticed at Zuccati park were owned and operated by the ‘forces of law and order’–and I felt much more threatened by their weaponry than by the masses of obviously unarmed protesters. As far as changing the system, which you seem to imply voting can effectuate, my ( maybe ours, but I only speak for myself) point of view is that once you enter the ‘democratic process’, at least as the Corporations and the State they control have fashioned it, you are playing by the rules of the owners of the means of production and the greater share of profits producted by it; in other words, like gambling at Las Vegas, the house will always win. The same goes for the legal system, which simply enshrines the rule of the most powerful. Therefore our protests will not be at the ballot box, nor will they always observe the letter of the law; although we need to be ready to use both of these, exploiting contradictions in both the electoral and judicial systems to advance our cause and exact concessions, where possible.

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