December 5, 2012
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.
Some feminist faculty and students at NYU
December 4, 2012
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!
March 3, 2010
SOLIDARITY TO ALL STRIKERS, RIOTERS, AND OCCUPIERS!
Our desires are empty, our power is null. Our gestures of escape are pushed to the margins – drunken debates with coworkers, crumpled pamphlets, the violent fantasies of miserable morning commutes, graffiti in the bathroom stalls. Struggle is a daily reality. Rather than forcing our anger against our common enemies, we turn our struggles inwards. We let our self-doubt grow infectiously as we wallow in self-appointed passivity. We drink ourselves to death to survive this meaningless culture.
But our individual struggles are communal and our set is beginning to take notice. In times of crisis the working class has two options: accept cutbacks in order to keep capitalism running, or revolt against the bosses and politicians who we all know we don’t need. “The people united will never be defeated!” chants the left. We stare at the metal barricades in which they’ve trapped us, despising this chant in its inaccuracy. We are defeated at every turn. So we search the crowd for others as angry as us, and
we see it in the eyes of the youth. No words are said to confirm the energy that propels us towards the barricades.
“California is a vision of the future,”
says the old new left of the East Coast academia, far enough away to study it as if it is the past.
The walls are ours to tear down, the streets are ours to shatter. Its matter hold no authority. Bricks are no longer stamped with the name of the empire, and all roads lead to an infinite number of terrible paths. The enraged classes are growing in size and strength and desire for something new and terrifying beyond the barricades.
Let us teach others to fight. Let the eace-police feel their irrelevance. Let the police-police trip as they chase us down alleyways. Let University Presidents from San Diego to Boston dump frenzied memos on each other. Let the student class and the working class ally and together abolish their social categories!
NEW CHANTS FOR MARCH 4:
Social War must be made! Students to the barricades!
Taking the streets is not enough! Occupy! Fuck shit up!
The university is dead! Kill the Student in your head!
Human strike is now in sight! It’s 2010! It’s time to fight!
Forever’s! Gonna! Start to-night!
Debtors of the world revolt!
FORM! CONTENT! FORM! CONTENT!
COAT! LINEN! SELF-ABOLITION!
Open up the Vortex! Let us all in!
December 12, 2009
While some following the UC unrest are are lamenting the attack against the Chancellor’s mansion, few have offered alternatives to hold him accountable for repeatedly ordering officers to assault and arrest his students. We, however, applaud all actions that students, individuals, mobs, friends, and just regular fucking people take against those that mobilize the violence of the state. The fury and vengeance of those outside the chancellor’s mansion was born through the actions of the police and chancellor themselves; they are now seeing their progeny.
September 25, 2009
We seek to push the university struggle to its limits.
Though we denounce the privatization of the university and its authoritarian system of governance, we do not seek structural reforms. We demand not a free university but a free society. A free university in the midst of a capitalist society is like a reading room in a prison; it serves only as a distraction from the misery of daily life. Instead we seek to channel the anger of the dispossessed students and workers into a declaration of war.
We, members of the Italian student movement who have been continuously mobilized since last autumn against the cycles of university reform, against an unstable job market and for a new student ‘welfare’, have passionately followed your action at the New School on April 10. We’ve been following your struggle for the resignation of President Kerry, guilty in our eyes of creating a corporate university administration who blatantly disregards the interests of the students and faculty, the core of the university. With the careful attention we pay to protest movements in other countries, we bared witness to the police repression and brutality that the university administration unleashed on its students. As we are all part of world-wide student struggles, we want to express our solidarity with your movement and all arrestees.
A few days beforehand, during the new school occupation in new york, performed to stand up against Bob Kerrey’s lack of financial and political transparency. The students of New York clashed with the violence ‘police’ reaction which militarized the campus and removed the occupiers by force. More than 20 students were put under arrest, and now are laden with judicial charges which in our eyes are heavy-handed.