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New School Occupation Redux: Summaries and Analysis

The New School Free Press has a nice timeline of events up, as does NYC Indymedia; the ever-reactionary NYULocal has a few photos from the short-lived occupation, as well as a piece prodding the NYU Administration to expel the NYU students involved. The New York Post interviews New School President Bob Kerrey, who idiotically laid out the terms of his own resignation:

This is the second student protest to unseat Kerrey in five months, but the former Senator from Nebraska said he is resolved to keep his seat, "unless the quality of my life deteriorates."

Below is a good short essay by New School student Dave Shukla that places the latest occupation in the larger struggle to reclaim the New School. When he writes "imagine what we could do," that's exactly what he wants us to do.

What Are You For?
by Dave Shukla

Yet another occupation. The entire center of campus around Fifth Avenue cordoned off by NYPD. Videos of cops beating up students on YouTube. What next?

Let’s be clear. It is a mistake to fixate solely on Kerrey. Among the pressures on the New School over the past eight years, he is simply a vector. He has position, mass, velocity, and direction. The question is, which?

Since December, there have been grudging concessions. Under scrutiny by the Trustees, the administration has been forced to act on some basic concerns – student space, a functioning student senate, tuition and financial aid relief, graduate student work compensation, socially responsible investment. While the administration expends great effort in trying to constrain student input or decision-making, these reforms nonetheless provide an entering wedge into shifting the structure of power in the university. Along with changes in the Faculty Senate, Deans’ Council, and especially the Provost’s Office, there is momentum that belies the argument that “nothing can fundamentally change until Kerrey is gone”.

This latest student action on Good Friday forces some difficult questions: How much closer are we to Kerrey’s resignation or removal? How much closer are we to rewriting his job description, or that of Murtha, Millard, Moskowitz, Gartner, Adams, Reimer or any of the rest of the administration that actually design and run the current business model of the university? How much closer is the New School to replacing these people, and repairing the damage they have done to the New School over the past eight years? How effective has student organizing and activism been over the past four months? Are we living our values, and is doing so yielding tangible results? What are we learning from?

Imagine that Kerrey is on his way out. Imagine that Murtha, Millard, all the rest are on their way out too. With them, the intense corporatization of the New School over the past eight years is at an end, and socially responsible financial practices provide us with long-term stability. Imagine what we could do.

Do you want a say in what student space is created in the new building at 65 Fifth Ave, or do you want another mess like the 16th St. building? Do you want a Starbucks on campus, or do you want work-study jobs to run a food co-op that serves healthy low-priced food? Do you want some of the most expensive dorms in the city, or do you want the costs cut in half by creating cooperative student housing? Do you want more tuition relief and financial aid? Do you want student representatives on the Board of Trustees? Do you want them to have the voting power that forces them to be taken seriously when fighting for student concerns? Is all of this news to you? If so, would you want a newspaper that was funded and staffed sufficiently to come out every week and cover every division?

In short, we all know what we are against. But what are we for?

New School Students Re-Occupy 65 5th Ave

Reports started flooding in early this morning, as a large group of New School students occupied and locked down the campus building at 65 5th Avenue. This action has seemingly come out of the blue, and it's hard to nail down a lot of specifics about what's going on. Whereas just the cafeteria in the building was taken last December, this occupation is aiming to control the entire building. The occupying students aren't affiliating themselves with either rival New School radical student group (Radical Student Union and New School in Exile), but I think it's safe to say there's a ton of overlap.

Cops are on the scene, and there are conflicting reports as to whether they've gotten inside the building at this point. The occupiers have a blog going:

http://reoccupied.wordpress.com/

There's also a FAQ, and a communique that was read by megaphone from on the roof, which from the text of it makes me think the occupation is primarily grad school students.

Keep an eye on NYC Indymedia too.

From NY1:


UPDATE: The occupiers are reporting both teargas released inside and four supporters arrested outside. I'm hearing that New School President Bob Kerrey told the NYPD they could do whatever they deemed necessary in removing the occupiers.

UPDATE: Aaaaand, it's over. All the remaining occupiers (19 in all) have been arrested and taken to the 6th Precinct. A call for people to rally there has been put out. Via a CBS affiliate.

More Coverage of the New School Occupation

Various Marxist parties have articles and interviews up on the New School occupation. The Stalinist Freedom Road Socialist Organization has an interview with Eric Eingold, and an article up in the Workers World Party's newspaper by SDSer Tyneisha Bowens discusses the role the UniteHERE local played in supporting the occupation.

The New School Occupation: Recaps and Analysis

—The New York Times has a few decent articles on the New School Occupation and the larger context of everyone hating Bob Kerrey, but probably the most useful writing on the occupation was written by one of the occupiers.

VICTORIES at the New School!

Letters of support have been pouring in, most recently one from Todd May of Clemson, and one from student activists at Antioch.

Last night, the occupying students (the Occupation Assembly) listed a set of demands (apart from the larger long-running demands) that they insisted be agreed upon by the administration that night:

UPDATE: Police attempting to break occupation

12:05 PM - Apparently Bob Kerrey made an appearance a few hours ago, and after he left the NYPD started coming in and attempting to pull out students at random. Things are a bit hectic, so I'm waiting on a call for more information, along with how the press conference went. The occupants' blog:

BREAKING: New School students occupy cafeteria!

UPDATE: The students' site, newschoolinexile.com, is up and working! Also, join their Facebook group!

New School Students Hold Sit-in

New School for Social Revolution
Organizers at the New School in New York City recently formed a Radical Student Union there, and all signs point to them really knowing their shit; from what I've read and heard, they're doing all the right things. I got this press release via email:

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEW SCHOOL STUDENTS HOLD SIT IN – DEMAND TO ADDRESS BOARD OF TRUSTEES

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