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December 5, 2012

Dear Occupied Cooper Union,

We were inspired to hear of your occupation and see the red fabric unfurled from your windows, so near our own.  We have visited, hung around, and we will continue to do so and offer whatever we have that you might need. The past 48 hours have energized us, have challenged us to seek the places we could revivify our struggle on our campus, have helped us to remember fully and to refocus our attentions. But even as we are prompted to look back and recognize the many student struggles that feed your occupation, we equally recognize the absolute urgency of today. We hope this occupation will be infectious. We need it to be so. December 2012 is a tipping point for Cooper Union, but Cooper Union today must be a watershed for our student movement. We are grateful and excited.

In the president’s meeting today, some in the crowd shouted that to expect free tuition is incomprehensible. This position – that education without tuition is ludicrous – is often bolstered by comparing no- or low-fee institutions like yours to those like our own, whose undergraduate fees amounts to a sum more or less equal to the median yearly income of NYC households. Somehow, our situation, in which the entire yearly earnings of a family would be spent on one students’ tuition, in a city in which income and work are so thoroughly striated by gender, race, and legal status – this is somehow more plausible.

What logic makes something that was possible in June seem unthinkable in December? Cooper Union was free, just as CUNY was in 1970 (following an occupation by Black and Puerto Rican students demanding open admissions). Why not now? Administrators claim spikes in tuition are a natural offshoot of the crisis, as if it wasn’t the administrations’ plans that made the university vulnerable to the vicissitudes of capitalist crisis in the first place. Jamshed Bharucha rehearses an argument typical of adminstrators’ euphemistic austerity boosting: Cooper Union’s funding structure was “shortsighted.” Cooper Union is a relic in an age of student debt, that mechanism that perpetually defers the crisis by deflecting it onto working class futures. We do not let pass without notice the deep irony of calling free education shortsighted while the average trade of financial equity brokers lasts a matter of microseconds.

As we roam through the rubble of financialization’s impact on higher education, it is clear that pressuring administrations to find new investors for endowments is not a solution. Should, then, we press for a reclamation of the welfare state, and recenter public education in the production and stabilization of a fully-employed working class? Let us be clear: there is no going back. Industrialists like Peter Cooper founded free schools in capitalist societies, and we live this contradiction coming to a head. So, we turn away from administrators, from capitalist benefactors, from the talking heads and the haters. We turn to your occupation, recognizing it as the only kind of place in which we can think through and construct the education, and society, we want.

Yours,

Some feminist faculty and students at NYU

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We, students of the New School, stand in solidarity with Cooper Union students who are currently occupying the 4th and 8th floors of the Foundation Building to protest threatened tuition implementation. At the New School, we are by now very familiar with tuition increases to fund enormous new development, a lack of financial transparency, and the barring of student participation in decision making. As the 60 5th Avenue building continues to rise we are sinking into more private and federal debt.

We support Cooper Union’s Save our School’s demands:

1. Cooper Union maintains its commitment to free education

2. Cooper Union immediately implements increased financial transparency

3. That President Bharucha step down.

Standing in front of the CU occupation, we are reminded that nothing will change unless we continue to fight together and show solidarity across schools and universities. We see this struggle in the context of the privatization of education and the crisis of capitalism.

President Bharucha told CU students today that CU has reached a limit for free education. How is it that an institution like Cooper Union, which survived for 159 years (through other crisis) suddenly faces an insurmountable crisis that challenges its core principles of education ‘as free as water and air’? In our struggles as student and workers, we resist the idea that shouldering their debt is the solution.

The way the administration chooses to deal with this crisis has been to push this burden onto students, workers, and faculty. How is it that while the students around the world (Canada, Mexico, Chile, Puerto Rico, Italy, Greece and many others) continue to fight for free, accessible education, we in the United States are expected to accept a fate of limited exclusive education and ever increasing debt?

We support Cooper Union students who have taken necessary measures to make their voices heard. When the administrators prevent access to information, when the board members decide the future of students behind closed doors, it becomes clear that we as students have no choice but to occupy behind barricaded doors..  Students and workers should not depend on leaked documents about the financial future of their schools.  It is absolutely necessary, in all schools, that we directly participate in the discussion of budgets and projects through action.

SOLIDARITY WITH COOPER UNION//  WE WILL NOT PAY FOR YOUR CRISIS//

ALL POWER TO THE OCCUPATIONS!

Enter the Vandalists

February 5, 2012

(repost from magicmuscle blog)
Picture of the occupied condo building in Williamsburg by Stephanie Keith

On Saturday night a group apparently semi-related to Occupy Williamsburg threw a party in a vacant condo building. The party and its riotous aftermath have been covered by the New York TimesVillage Voice, and the Daily News to name a few, but so far only one statement has been released from the occupationist side: a tract posted on anarchistnews.org titled “Enter the Vandalists” and signed by the “Geiseric Tendency,” possibly a reference to the historicVandal King.

Resorting to an automatism characteristic of their class, the gentry of Williamsburg summoned their militia
to dissolve the siege being laid to a conspicuously empty palace of banality, newly erected in the heart of their 
spectacular playground. The vandalists had recognized the inhospitablility to life of this sarcophagus for the young
professional class, and did not shy from the conclusion that it lent itself only to defilement. The object of
their critique was not limited to the class for whose consumption the condominiums that cover Williamsburg are
 produced, but included the extreme boredom that the proliferation of these kinds of spaces induce. The prevalence of
the condominium is a symptom of the spreading homotopia that is the Metropolis—the endless repetition of the same 
forever.

The vandalists will not reconcile themselves to merely appropriating these habitats—designed for gradual atrophy, optimized for the most comfortable postponement of death. Rather, they want to see them recycled in the urban
biosphere; turned into manure from which unforeseen species might emerge.

It will not only be the police, the rich, and the reactionary press that will slam the vandalists—activists 
will likely join in as well, decrying the occupation as not being social enough, not populist enough. Why did it have to 
be a party, with booze, hip hop music, and NO RULES? Why not an attempted squat? Why was the media not called?
 Why was the action not ‘consensed’ upon in some public group? No one will understand the vandalists because they are
not of either world; they seek neither professionalist capitalism nor professionalist activism. Perhaps if squatting a social
center were still sometimes tolerated this desperate mayhem would not have occured, just as if there were anything to be 
gained from joining Organized Labor or Revolutionary Parties perhaps we would not see the global masses chaotically
rising against singular abstractions of all authority (Wall Street, Mubarak, the IMF, Money, etc).

Activists call protests, the vandalists instead call potlucks. Potlucks of destruction.

We can expect more Occu-parties and general bad citizenry from these vandalists leading up to an ultimate act of 
descecration, an intelligibility strike, on May First.
-Geiseric Tendency

Read the rest of this entry »

Things that happened

November 20, 2011

 

Daily Update from Occupied 90 5th Ave.

 

 

1.) Today, students from schools across the city met in citywide GA, mobilizing for a solidarity rally at CUNY Monday and launching the Occupy Student Debt campaign.

2) The People’s University, held in the occupied space today, hosted Olivier Besancenot, former French Presidential candidate, anti-capitalist, and mailman. Besancenot spoke to need to develop an international student movement. The video will be posted soon.

3.) Dmitri Nikulin came to give a talk about Foucault on truth-telling and radical action, and to begin a conversation about the importance of dialogue between a variety of political perspectives in free spaces.

4) At present, press is not allowed into occupation itself, because the GA has decided upon the need to maintain the occupation as an open meeting space where people feel free to speak without fearing that press are listening in. However, we are happy to answer any questions downstairs or via e-mail / phone. Press should contactpress@allcitystudentoccupation.com for more information.

 

http://allcitystudentoccupation.com

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.

New School Re-Re-Occupied

November 18, 2011

All-City Student Occupation @ 90 5th Avenue – Inaugural Statement

Two days ago the NYPD, under the orders of a billionaire mayor who does not represent us, raided Occupy Wall Street with riot gear and batons. Today we occupy. Everywhere. On this historic day of global action, the students of New York City public and private universities and colleges, in solidarity with the 99%, Occupy Wall Street, labor, and all those dispossessed by our economic and political system, will expand the struggle and occupy a university space.

Today, the university is a supreme symbol of social and economic inequality. Skyrocketing tuition costs at public and private institutions deny us access to higher education and saddle us with crushing debt. We will reclaim this elite space and make it open to all. We will foster dialogue and build solidarity between students, workers, and others excluded or marginalized by economic and social inequalities. We will build community through the commonality of occupation. We will offer free education – this is systematically forbidden. We join a long tradition of student activism and struggle. We the indebted and the future unemployed and underemployed stand committed to this movement for our collective lives. We invite all to join us in this open occupation.

Workers, students, and the millions of this city unite!

Together we will be victorious.

ESCALATE the Struggle. EXPAND the Movement. OCCUPY!

PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELY

English follows Arabic

بيان للشعب من معتصمين بالتحرير – الرجاء النشر والتوزيع

بيان للشعب

أول القصيد: وعود الرئيس وأحداث الأربعاء 2 فبراير

نحن محتجون منذ 25 يناير الماضي، ومعتصمون في ميدان التحرير، ندين  بشدة الاعتداء الغاشم الذي نفذته مرتزقة الحزب الوطني علينا في مقر اعتصامنا يوم الأربعاء  2 فبراير تحت غطاء المظاهرة المؤيدة للرئيس لمبارك ويستمر العدوان يوم الخميس 3 فبراير. ونأسف لدخول البعض من شباب مصر مع البلطجية والمجرمين ممن اعتاد الوطني تأجيرهم في الانتخابات، وساقوهم علينا بعد أن أشاعوا اكاذيب عديدة يروجها النظام وإعلامه بخصوصنا وبخصوص اهدافنا المنادية بتغيير للنظام السياسي يكفل لنا ولجموع المواطنين الحرية وكرامة العيش والعدالة الاجتماعية، والتي هي ايضا من اهداف هذا الشباب، ولذلك نريد توضيح الاتي:

أولا، نحن مجموعة من شباب مصر مسلمين ومسيحيين، أغلبيتنا الكاسحة لا تنتمي لأحزاب سياسية ولا لها نشاط سياسي من قبل. حركتنا ضمت شيوخا وأطفالا، فلاحين وعمال ومهنيين، طلبة وموظفين على المعاش. حركتنا لا يمكن تصنيفها على أنها مدفوعة أو محركة من قلة بحكم الملايين الذين استجابوا لشعاراتها باسقاط النظام، وانضموا اليها يوم الثلاثاء الماضي في القاهرة والمحافظات، في حدث لم يشهد حالة عنف واحدة أو اعتداء على الممتلكات أو تحرش من أحد بأحد.

ثانيا، حركتنا متهمة بأنها ممولة من الخارج، وتمدها الولايات المتحدة، وأنها قامت بتحريض من حماس، وبأنها تحت قيادة وبتنظيم رئيس الجمعية الوطنية للتغيير محمد البرادعي، وأخيرا وليس آخرا، بأنها موجهة من قبل الاخوان المسلمين. وتعدد الاتهامات بهذا الشكل في حد ذاته يثبت زيفها. المحتجون كلهم مصريون أهدافهم أهدافا وطنية واضحة ومحددة. المحتجون ليس لديهم لا سلاح ولا معدات أجنبية كما يدعي المحرضين. واستجابة الناس الواسعة لها تكشف أنها هي ذاتها أهداف جموع المصريين عموما، وليس أي فصيل أو كيان داخلي وخارجي.

ثالثا، يلقي النظام وإعلامه المأجور زورا وبهتانا بالمسئولية عن التوتر وعدم الاستقرار الذي شهدته شوارع مصر في الأيام الماضية، وبالتالي عما يسببه ذلك من أضرار لمصالحنا ومصالح أمتنا ولأمننا جميعا، على الشباب المتظاهر. فليس المتظاهرون سلميا هم الذين أخرجوا المجرمين من السجون ليخلقوا حالة السلب والنهب في شوارع المحروسة. ليس المتظاهرون هم الذين فرضوا حظر تجول يبدأ من الثالثة وأوقفوا العمل في البنوك والمخابز ومحطات الوقود. وحين نظم المتظاهرون مظاهرتهم المليونية خرجت في أحلى حلة وأفضل تنظيم، وانتهت سلميا. المتظاهرون ليسوا هم من قتلوا 300 شخص بعضهم بالرصاص الحي، وجرحوا أكثر من ألفي شخص في الأيام الماضية.

رابعا، خرج الرئيس مبارك علينا مساء الثلاثاء ليعلن عدم ترشحه في الانتخابات الرئاسية المقبلة وتعديله لمادتين في الدستور، وخوض حوار مع المعارضة. وقد هاجمنا الاعلام الرسمي عندما رفضنا “تنازلاته” وقررنا المضي في حركتنا. إن مطلب التنحي الفوري لمبارك ليس مسألة شخصية. لكننا نستند في ذلك على أسباب واضحة من بينها:

الوعد بعدم الترشح ليس جديدا. فقد وعد مبارك عندما جاء رئيسا في 1981 بعدم الترشح لأكثر من فترتين، ليستمر بعدها لأكثر من 30 عاما. كما أن الخطاب لم يضع أي ضمانات لعدم ترشح ابنه جمال، الذي يظل حتى هذه اللحظة عضوا في الحزب الحاكم، ويستطيع ترشيح نفسه في انتخابات لن تتم تحت اشراف قضائي، إذ تجاهل الخطاب الاشارة الى تعديل المادة 88 في الدستور. كما اعتبر الخطاب حركتنا مؤامرة من قوى تعمل ضد مصالح الوطن، وكأن الاستجابة لمطالب الجماهير عار وعيب. وأما فيما يتعلق بالحوار مع المعارضة فكم من حوارات ادعى النظام انه سيقوم بها خلال السنوات الماضية وانتهت بمضي دولة مبارك في طريق المصالح الضيقة لمن يسيطرون عليها.

وجاءت أحداث الأربعاء لتثبت صحة موقفنا. فبينما كان خطاب الرئيس يوعد، كانت قيادات نظامه ترتب مع البلطجية والمسجلين خطر من المأجورين مؤامرة الاعتداء الوحشي في التحرير بالسنج والمطاوي وقنابل المولوتوف، يصاحبهم أعضاء الحزب الوطني بإطلاق الأعيرة النارية بالبنادق الآلية على المتظاهرين العزل المحاصرين في الميدان، الذي أدى إلى مقتل سبعة على الأقل وإصابة المئات، منهم بإصابات بالغة، وذلك لإنهاء حركتنا الشعبية الوطنية والتمهيد لبقاء الحال على ماهو عليه.

حركتنا مصرية – حركتنا مشروعة – حركتنا مستمرة

شباب معتصم بالتحرير

A Statement from the protesters at Cairo’s Tahrir square

to the Egyptian people

The President’s promises and the bloody events of Wednesday February 2

We the protesters who are currently on sit-in at Tahrir (liberation) square in Cairo since January 25, 2011 strongly condemn the brutal attack carried out by the governing National Democratic Party’s (NDP) mercenaries at our location on Wednesday February 2, under the guise of “rally” in support of President Mubarak. This attack continues on Thursday February 3. We regret that some young people have joined these thugs and criminals, whom the NDP is accustomed to hire during elections, to march them off after spreading several falsehoods circulated by the regime media about us and our goals. These goals that aim at changing the political system to a one that guarantees freedom, dignity and social justice to all citizens are also the goals of the youth. Therefore we want to clarify the following.

Firstly, we are a group of Muslim and Christian Egyptians; the overwhelming majority of us does not belong to political parties and have no previous political activism. Our movement involves elderly and children, peasants, workers, professionals, students and pensioners. Our movement cannot be classified as “paid for” or “directed by” a limited few because it attracted millions who responded to its emblem of removing the regime. People joined us last Tuesday in Cairo and other governorates in a scene that witnessed no one case of violence, property assault or harassment to anyone.

Secondly, our movement is accused of being funded from abroad, supported by the United States, as being instigated by Hamas, as under the leadership of the president of the National Assembly for change (Mohamed El-Baradie) and last but not least, as directed by the Muslim Brotherhood. Many accusations like these prove to be false. Protesters are all Egyptians who have clear and specific national objectives. Protesters have no weapons or foreign equipment as claimed by instigators. The broad positive response by the people to our movement’s goals reveals that these are the goals of the Egyptian masses in general, not any internal or external faction or entity.

Thirdly, the regime and its paid media falsely blame us, demonstrators, for the tension and instability in the streets of Egypt in recent days and therefore for damaging our nation’s interests and security. Our answer to them is: It is not the peaceful protesters who released the criminal offenders from prison to the unguarded streets to practice looting and plundering. It is not the peaceful protesters who have imposed a curfew starting at 3 o’clock PM. It is not the peaceful protesters who have stopped the work in banks, bakeries and gas stations. When protesters organized its one-million demonstration it came up in the most magnificent and organized form and ended peacefully. It is not the protestors who killed 300 people some with live ammunition, and wounding more than 2,000 people in the last few days.

Fourthly, President Mubarak came out on Tuesday to announce that he will not be nominated in the upcoming presidential election and that he will modify two articles in the Constitution, and engage in dialogue with the opposition. However the State media has attacked us when we refused his “concession” and decided to go on with our movement. Our demand that Mubark steps down immediately is not a personal matter, but we have clear reasons for it which include:

* His promise of not to run again is not new. He has promised when he came to power in 1981 that he will not run for more than two periods but he continued for more than 30 years.
* His speech did not put any collateral for not nominating his son “Gamal”, who remains until the moment a member of the ruling party, and can stand for election that will not be under judicial supervision since he ignored any referring to the amendment of article 88 of the Constitution.
* He also considered our movement a “plot directed by a force” that works against the interests of the nation as if responding to the demands of the public is a “shame” or “humiliation”.
* As regards to his promise of conducting a dialogue with the opposition, we know how many times over the past years the regime claimed this and ended up with enforcing the narrow interests of the Mubarak State and the few people who control it.

And the events of Wednesday proved our stand is vindicated. While the President was giving his promises, the leaders of his regime were organizing (along with paid thugs and wanted criminals equipped with swords, knives and Molotov bombs) a brutal attack plot against us in Tahrir square. Those thugs and criminals were accompanied by the NDP members who fired machine guns on unarmed protesters who were trapped on the square ground, killing at least 7 and wounding hundreds of us critically. This was done in order to end our peaceful national popular movement and preserve the status quo.

Our movement is Egyptian – Our movement is legitimate- Our movement is continuing

The youth of Tahrir Square sit-in

February 3, 2011 at 11:30am