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
March 5, 2010
-Walk-Out / Indoor demo at CUNY Hunter:
At 1pm students and supporters gathered on the 3rd floor of the 68th street campus. There was a large police presence inside and outside the building. Students attempted to move toward the upper part of the building to get more students to participate but were blocked by campus security. Scuffles broke out as students forced their way past a campus guard and took to the stairwells.
Word has it that, inside the building, the financial aid office had its windows broken, and the much hated security turnstiles at the entrance to the building were attacked and broken.
Before the demo, signs were posted up on the 3rd floor saying that the indoor demo would not be permitted but the simultaneous rally called by the International Socialist Organization (ISO) and others would be. There are also rumors that ‘Student Activists’ were warning other students via text message that unpaid agent provocateurs would be coming to Hunter to cause a riot (more on this when we get confirmation). A New School Student supporting the Hunter walkout was ejected from the building possibly after being pointed out by an ISO activist (there have been conflicting reports).
Students and allies marched through Hunter’s walkways, to the cheering of students standing by, many of whom joined in. The INDOOR DEMO proceeded to the 3rd floor:
The police were in full force blocking the escalators but at least 40 students broke through into the back stairwell and surged up the stairs, only to find yet more police on every single floor blocking every door.
While some ran through the building urging students to walk out of their classes, others began to urge people to leave the building and attend the rally outside. A few scuffles broke out between people involved in the walkout and those running the permitted rally. 3 or 4 individuals have supposedly been arrested inside of CUNY Hunter.
Eventually enough people were pushed out of the building by the police or by Organizers who wanted to have the rally and talk at the crowd:
More info soon…
Hundreds participated in a successful teach in that will hopefully build up to larger actions in the future.
– CUNY Graduate Center
about 30 Graduate Students (also adjunct professors) from the CUNY Grad Center arrived with allies at school this morning, to see five black cop cars parked in front of the building and the cafeteria filled with police. The students, however, were headed towards the elevators (the only means of entering the building), and filled them with their angry bodies, blocking entrance to the elevators while others spoke to people about the cuts, their shitty jobs, and encouraged folks to go to Hunter College. One of the elevators was boarded by a plainclothes police officer who shoved one of the students to the floor. He stayed in the elevator, harassing the students for their names and calling them cowards while the students hurled insults. He left the elevator only when the students exited to find support.
CUNY Grad Center Students also executed a banner drop, small but real (LUV U RIVERSIDE), with only more to come.
The Grad Students exited unscathed and immediately went to join the Hunter walkout.
– Centralized Rally
-There is currently a heavily policed and relatively small march making its way to the MTA hearings at F.I.T.
occupation still going, it needs support!
More to come,
For breaking news from California check:
March 1, 2010
From The Facebook page:
Affordable education is deteriorating and we’re being drawn further into debt. We’re facing budget cuts, tuition hikes, and the ongoing commodification of our
STUDENTS FROM PRIVATE AND PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES ACROSS THE CITY ARE STANDING IN SOLIDARITY WITH EACH OTHER.
Together we are imagining a university beyond its current state of inequality. This is not about facebook groups, marches, and political slogans. These alone are not sufficient. This is about how our very bodies realize a breakdown in the way things run. This is about how they coalesce and liberate a space through affinity. Through common anger and ecstasy.
Politicians and Admins agree there’s a crisis. They’re right, it’s right here.
This is a call to RECLAIM OUR UNIVERSITIES and ourselves from pseudo-existence.
MEET AT SCHWARTZ PLAZA (BETWEEN BOBST AND THE WELCOME CENTER); ROVE AS NECESSARY.
SPREAD THE WORD.
February 6, 2010
Occupy Everything Fight Everywhere Strike March 4!
The call has gone out. On March 4th, students, workers and teachers throughout the nation and across the globe will strike. Pre K-12, adult education, community colleges, and state-funded universities will come together in an international Strike and Day of Action to resist the neoliberal destruction of public education in California and beyond.
We stand beside all who wish to transform public education, and we seek to advance the struggle by generalizing the tactic that has, by far, been the strength of the movement: direct action.
In keeping with the spirit of March 4th, we call upon everyone, everywhere, to occupy everything—from collapsing public universities and closed high schools to millions of foreclosed homes. We call on all concerned students and workers to escalate the fight against privatization where they are, in solidarity with the California statewide actions. We envision a network of occupied campuses in multiple states across the nation.
April 22, 2009
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.
[editor’s note: Kerrey’s message is in normal font, the response is in bold]
Message from President Kerrey to the New School Community
A response to President Kerrey’s message to the New School Community
The past few weeks have seen increased protest actions on and off our campus. These demonstrations have involved many individuals outside of The New School community and the issues they protest vary. Among their concerns are the war in Iraq, Darfur, homelessness, and the economy.
Mr. Kerrey is quite confused. The direct concerns are Kerrey and Murtha and their characteristic lack of tact, understanding and ability to run a university. This includes, but is not limited to the brutality shown by the NYPD on April 10, Mr. Kerrey’s support for the Iraq War and the pressures of the economic downturn on the New School Student body (and students as a whole). Is it so unreasonable to think that students who care about such things are only self-interested and thus would not be concerned about homelessness and the genocide in Darfur? I think not. However, Kerrey seems to forget the part of Thursday’s actions when the rally (predominantly students of The New School, joined in solidarity by students from other NYC Universities) stood outside his home and reminded him that they want him to leave.