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“The War Here and Abroad: CUNY and U.S. Empire”
Wednesday, December 4
CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth ave, rm 5414
3:00-5:00pm

RSVP/share: https://www.facebook.com/events/581438331904816/
A panel and discussion with Graduate Center professors David Harvey and Ashley Dawson, student Faris Al-Ahmad Zwiran, and Ali Issa of the War Resisters League and Jadaliyya.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics, the Middle Eastern Studies Organization, Free University NYC, the Critical Palestine Studies Association, and the International Socialist Organization–CUNY Graduate Center.

Among the issues at hand:

1. As commander of the Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq from June 2004, Petraeus collaborates with U.S. military officers who organize commando units that kill upwards of 3,000 people a month and torture many others in secret locations.

2. Petraeus directs the CIA, which oversees U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan and Yemen, among other countries, from Sept. 2011 to Nov. 2012. In 2011, there were an estimated 64 such attacks in Pakistan, with 435 casualties; in 2012, 64 and 304, respectively.

3. CUNY hires Petraeus to teach at Macaulay.

4. The NYPD brutalizes CUNY students protesting Petraeus’s hire.

5. CCNY seizes the Morales/Shakur Community and Student Center, pepper-sprays an alumnus, suspends two students, and turns them over to the law.

6. Meanwhile, a right-wing think tank urges the military to recruit CUNY students.

7. And ROTC returns, after being pushed out in 1971. Its headquarters? CCNY.

Flyer attached. See you Wednesday

War Here Abroad - CUNY and US Empire - flyer
twitter: #CUNYwar

vizKult May Day 2013 - Three People Walking...

In solidarity with all the students, faculty and staff who believe that knowledge is a commons.

MAY DAY – GENERAL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

10am – 3pm: Cooper Union Free University @ Cooper Square

3:00pm: NYC EDU BLOC Convergence + SPEAK OUT!!! @ Cooper Square

4:00pm: March to Union Square to join the May 1 Coalition rally & March to City Hall

9:00pm: Dance Party to Free Education @ Washington Square Park fountain

 

FREE UNIVERSITY CLASSES AT COOPER UNION
Schedule of NYC May Day events organized by Free Cooper Union and the Free University of NYC - check for updates!

Open Arts & Crafts Session
10am-3pm
Book Shields! Banners! Placards! Sidewalk Chalking!

“Space, Design, and the Everyday”
Matthew Bissen
10am-12pm

This course explores fundamental concepts of space and design with particular attention focused on how as designers and citizens we participate in the everyday design, reproduction, and production of our current and future realities. This course session will focus on architecture and counterculture and support the continuing development of semester long student projects.

“Organizing a NYC Student Movement”
Discussion with folks from Free University-NYC and All in the Red
11am-12pm

Join students from around NYC to explore concrete ideas on how to organize a city-wide student movement that can build on lessons from mass mobilizations in Quebec, Chile, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere, while also envisioning our own locally specific forms of student power.

“Understanding Basic Economics and Finance”
Ron Rubin
11am-12pm

There is a clear distinction between Economics (Main Street) and Finance (Wall Street). In order to understand how and why more and more of the value created by Main Street is flowing into the hands of Wall Street it is absolutely necessary to understand the distinction between these two related but different institutions and how they function in today’s world. Otherwise no real change will be possible.

“Watch the Gap: How Income Inequality and Poverty are Hurting America’s Kids”
Anthony Zenkus
11am-12pm

Poverty and Low Socioeconomic Status can cause significant challenges to the cognitive, emotional and physical development of children. They increase the risk factors for everything from child abuse to school failure. With one of the highest gaps in income equality in the world, and one of the highest child poverty rates in decades, the United States is creating a lost generation that will grow up with less opportunity and more risk- unless we act. Income inequality must be addressed as a public health problem with repercussions that effect the entire community.

Tidal: Occupy Theory Occupy Strategy Conversation”
12pm-1pm

TIDAL has held significant conversations with Free University. The discussions in Washington Square Park led to Strike Debt. The S17 event expanded our horizons. Now, as TIDAL seeks to internationalize and nationalize its project, we want to re-open the conversation. How do we learn from Detroit? From Athens? From Tunis? From Cairo? What are the means of that learning? How do we ensure that this conversation is mutual and beneficial to all? An open workshop for all hosted by Team TIDAL.

“Writing for Home, School, and Everyday Life”
Susan Naomi Bernstein
12pm-1pm

For new and experienced writers: This course presents the processes of writing for anyone who struggles to write. Together we will develop our own practices of writing for audiences and purposes that connect to our visions of social transformation for home, school, and everyday life.

“Imagining a Student/Worker-Run University”
Various Participants
12pm-2pm

This will be an open discussion that is meant to encourage the development of a vision of a Free Cooper Union run by students and workers. We will talk about precedents in the form of student-run coops, cooperatively run schools, worker takeovers, the tenets behind the wages for schoolwork movement, and the legal and ideological strands that can link Cooper’s past to this future.

“People Power and Politics”
Dominique Nisperos
12:50pm-2pm

Introduction to the Gay Liberation Movement, discussing Carl Wittman’s A Gay Manifesto.
Reading materials and outlines will be provided.

“NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium”
Ben Katchor
1pm-2:30pm

Discuss and share new models for the distribution of text/image work.

“Climate Debt/Climate Justice”
Andrew Ross
1pm-1:45pm

Climate debt is not yet part of the political architecture in the U.S. Where does it come from? What kind of justice does it involve? And why is it so important?

“Towards an Alternative School of Art”
Collaborative workshop with folks from vizKult, OWS Arts & Labor, and Making Worlds
1pm-2:45pm

The economic and structural realities of art schools as they exists today can often be a source of anxiety and frustration for artists, teachers, and staff alike, but what might an alternative model look like? In this workshop we’ll discuss the things we like and don’t like about the current art school system. Then we’ll learn about various alternative models and discuss amongst ourselves how they can be applied to or replace that system.

“Love Spam”
Barbara Browning
1:30pm-2:30pm

About a year and a half ago, I initiated an experiment in creating a surplus of sentimental value. I began by spamming random individuals with personally targeted, hand-crafted ukulele covers I made of sentimental songs. Victims ranged from an obesity doctor in Winnetka, Illinois to the anarchist anthropologist David Graeber. In this workshop, I’ll give an update on the results (thus far) of the project, and I’ll give participants some ideas for possible similar projects of their own.

“Presenting the New Edition of the Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual”
members of Strike Debt
1:30pm-2:30pm

“Art, Design, Architecture, and Activism”
Benjamin Young
1:30pm-2:50pm

What do art, design, and architecture have to do with activism? How can artists, designers, architects, and other cultural workers contribute to a radically egalitarian and democratic public sphere? How can we imagine other forms of communication and design outside that of advertising? What forms of public discussion, critical thinking, and social and political activism can take shape against or through mass culture, and how can art and design disciplines contribute to them?
Participants are asked to come prepared to discuss the following readings: Mira Schor, “Lowering the Bar on Activism,” Huffington Post; Mira Schor, “Books are Like People,” A Year of Positive Thinking; Reinhold Martin, “Occupy: What Architecture Can Do,” Design Observer; Reinhold Martin, “Occupy: The Day After,” Design Observer.

“Building the Commons in NYC”
Making Worlds
1:30pm-2:30pm

Join an open conversation about the commons and education.

“Why We Need to Break Up the Megabanks”
Cathy O’Neil, OWS Alternative Banking Group
2pm-2:30pm

“Song Share”
Everybody Now!
2:30pm-3pm

Want to learn the May Day song? Want to sing but feel afraid to? Want to have a rockin’ good half hour? Then this is the class for you!
Throughout the day many will be singing the May Day song “We Stand for Justice.” This class is to help everybody feel comfortable, confident, and excited about singing during the rally and throughout the day. No singing or music skills needed, for we all are singers. We welcome and invite you to join us. Let your voice be heard!

“Sociology of Race and Ethnicity”
Dominique Nisperos
2:15pm-3:30PM

Introduction to Colorblind racism, using excerpts from Eduardo Bonilla-Silva’s Racism Without Racists, Ch 3 and Conclusion; Brown et. al’s White-Washing Race: The Myth of a Colorblind Society, Ch 6. Reading materials and outlines will be provided.

Move your class / teach your own class at the Free University! Sign up here.

CooperUnion-dis

A little game of Hide-and-Seek ensued yesterday morning at Cooper Union by it’s Board members. Just like the last minute plans by Obama to move G-8 talks to Camp David last year fearing confrontation with the people it is supposed to be serving, the Cooper Union Board decided to change location of their meeting to an off-site undisclosed location, avoiding the presence of students, faculty, and community members.

Why hide? In yesterdays meeting the board was to decide the fate of free education at Cooper Union. News is now coming out from undisclosed “sources”  that the Board decided to put the onus on the faculty of Art, Engineering, and  Architecture, forcing them to find sustainable ways of funding the program. But some like the Cooper Union Student Action Group are suggesting the faculty was threatened by holding back fall admissions.  Ironically the current ideas for keeping education free at Cooper Union is to charge others for education – like charging for a pre-college program, undergrad summer program, and MA program.  Let’s see what else they come up with, until then back to the drawing board.

follow: @freecooperUnion
facebook: Free Cooper Union

Students Rally in Unity as Board Meets in Secret
by Cooper Union Student Action to Save Our School
March 6, 2013

Cooper Union Art School Agrees to Explore Revenue Options
Wednesday, March 06, 2013 – 09:01 AM
By Beth Fertig

Why is Cooper Union Being Occupied?
December 4, 2012
by group affect

Obama Moves G-8 Summit from Chicago to Secluded Camp David
Monday, March 5, 2012
by Common Dreams staff

PDF: Why is Cooper Union Being Occupied? by year0.org
Livestream: Inside the Cooper Union Clocktower Occupation

 

FRIDAY Dec 7. 2012
12 Noon  - student walkout @ Cooper Union
4:00 pm PCS/CUNY Student Debt Conference planning meeting, Grad Center 365 5th Ave. room 5414
5:30pm-6:00pm  Bruce High Quality Foundation Dance party @Cooper Union
6pm - Cooper U Alumni rally

 

SATURDAY Dec 8, 2012
11:00 AM CITY WIDE Student/Teacher/Faculty Rally at Washington Sq Park
-TBS- MARCH TO COOPER SQUARE (bring pots to bang on!!!)

** EXTRA SATURDAY NIGHT FUN **
 PARTY AT 8PM : Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space opening PARTY
155 Avenue C, NYC (between 9th and 10th Streets) (Chain cutting and other events start at 3pm)

[The following is a Arts & Labor Alternative Economies report back on the NYC Community Garden Coalition Occupy The Land! Unconference 2012. Expanded here with more photos and reviewed in "Gardening Art Grows into Activism In The Age of Occupy" by Martha Schwendener, Village Voice, Jun 13 2012]

596 Acres workshop at Southside Community Garden

596 Acres workshop at Southside Community Garden

596 Acres workshop at Southside Community Garden

This year the NYC Community Garden Coalition invited the working groups of Occupy Wall Street to help organize their first city-wde Community Garden Unconference. A member of Arts & Labor Alternative EconomiesMaking Worlds Commons Coalition  stepped up to organize a schedule of events for the Occupy the Land! Unconference, June 1-3.

Continue reading…

The ‘Infinite’ Strike Begins TONIGHT: With art education costing upwards to about $80,000 for an MFA and $60,000 for a BFA, a call for a new system of education is in order. Members and working groups from Occupy Wall Street and Strike Everywhere and Edufactory and others have begun the call to slowly erode the industrial-education-complex, aka edu-factory. Starting now, with a focus on stopping enrollment in private for profit institutions in September, VizKult joins the call for an ART STUDENT AND TEACHER STRIKE and the formation of new alternative education models!

 

communique on the building the infinite student strike, May 23, 2012:

 

SOLIDARITY WITH QUEBEC STUDENT STRIKE GOES ON

INFINITE SOLIDARITY WITH A CALL FOR INFINITE GENERAL STRIKE

 

 ACTIONS IN NYC ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 23, 2012:

6pm:   Night School in Solidarity with the Quebec Student Strike

Washington Square Park, Manhattan

8pm:   March Against Police Oppression

Meet in Washington Square Park, Manhattan

(reconvergence at Union square)

10pm:  Night School at Union sq.

WE MARCH AGAIN!

 

May 22 marked the 100th day of the ongoing Quebec student strike, one of the largest student mobilizations in history. Demonstrations against the massive tuition hikes (which would increase tuition by 60% over five years) occurred daily across Quebec, with over 160,000 students on “infinite strike.”  Last Friday, the Quebec government enacted a draconian emergency law (Bill 78) intended to break the strike. The legislation in effect outlaws public assembly, imposes harsh fines for strike activity and criminalizes protest, just as the struggle is gaining popular support and escalating to unprecedented levels. Many are questioning the law’s constitutionality.

 

Bill 78 summary:

·  Fines of between $1,000 and $5,000 for any individual who prevents someone from entering an educational institution.

·   The fines are higher for student leaders (up to $35,000) and for unions or student federations (up to $125,000). Fines double with repeat offenses.

·   Authorities must be notified at least 8 hours in advance about public demonstrations involving more than 10 people. Organizers must provide the start time and duration of the demonstration, as well as the routes of any marches.

·   No on-campus protests. Protests outside universities must stay at least 15 feet from entrances.

·   Encouraging someone, explicitly or tacitly, to protest at a school is subject to punishment.

 

No More “Good Faith”

The government of Quebec has conceded the power of the students by suspending the current semester, while the education minister has been forced to resign amid the crisis. The Quebec Premier Jean Charest claims that the government has negotiated in “good faith,” but the student unions say that the government has refused to budge on the central issue: TUITION HIKES. Students are fighting to maintain affordable, accessible higher education for all the people of Quebec. The crisis has put into question the political future of the Premiere’s Liberal Party and his own career. Civil liberties in Quebec are being fundamentally undermined. “Good faith” is dwindling between the people and the government.

What Is An Infinite General Strike?

The infinite strike is a voluntary and collective cessation of activities in order to assert claims that would not be addressed otherwise. The word “infinite” points to a confrontational stance with the government. It does not mean that the strike is limitless, but that its length is undetermined in advance. This means that the strike goes on until demands are met or until the body decides to stop the strike. In the case of Quebec’s student mobilization, the students meet every week to decide whether to continue the strike.  The educational system is a crucial part of the economy and it requires human capital in order to function.  Only through a strike is it possible to create the institutional congestion generated by a whole cohort of students that may not graduate. That is why an open-ended general strike is such a powerful weapon.

Why the Quebec Student Strike Matters For NYC

We are all in the red!  In Quebec strikers, demonstrators and sympathizers alike have shown their solidarity through the emblem of a red square, signifying a state of “being in the financial red”—untenable student debt. In the United States, the Federal Reserve recently stated that student debt stood at $870 billion, while the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (a new government agency regulating private student loans) estimated that it had already surpassed $1 trillion. As more and more students stand up and organize against exorbitant escalations in tuition and debt, similar draconian laws have been passed in the US. Unprecedented levels of police brutality have been perpetrated against student uprisings across New York City—at Baruch College, Brooklyn College and the New School, just to name a few. The state seeks to silence these students, many of whom have been arrested on trumped up charges that reek of biased intimidation.

It would appear that we too are in the red, both financially and politically. This is untenable. It is time that we stand in solidarity with students in Quebec and across the world to fight for our right to free education. On May 23rd we in New York City continue our solidarity and stand with the infinite strike. Our demonstration in solidarity with Quebec students is also in defense of our right to assemble and protest. An increase in the powers of the police and the state anywhere is an attack on us everywhere. State repression exists globally and it is unjustifiable. We will not stand by and watch our already limited voices be silenced even more. The warnings and fear mongering of new protest laws being enacted in Frankfurt, Chicago and Montreal will not deter us. The new laws only prove that our mass mobilizations are a threat to the powers that be. We will be heard. We will take part in our own lives and not be pawns for the workings of capitalism. Our rights are not given to us by governments but established by us. OUR LIVES ARE NOT NEGOTIABLE!

Call to Students, Workers and Debtors of New York

With call on students, workers and debtors from all walks of life to stand with us in our right to assemble and dissent in our commons, against police brutality and intimidation. There is nothing to fear or be ashamed of in this. There is only strength and solidarity for us to find each other. As we stand with the students of Quebec, we acknowledge their grievances, and join their chorus with our own. As Quebec does not stand down, neither will New York. We are not afraid, and see no limit on the horizon.  All we see is red!

 

WE ARE ALL IN THE RED!

 

Truama 1-11: Stories About the Copenhagen Free University and the surrounding society in the last ten years

front cover: Truama 1-11: Stories About the Copenhagen Free University and the surrounding society in the last ten years

“In 2010 the Heise and Jakobsen received a letter from the Ministry of Science noting them that if they ever wanted to conduct educational activities under name the Copenhagen Free University it would be breach a new law outlawing self-organised universities.”

Rare little booklets containing intimate stories like these are usually very valuable. This one Trauma 1-11  about the Copenhagen Free University looks particularly interesting especially with the word trauma in the title, and not bad for $2 from Half Letter Press. I am assuming there are some personal perspectives in here that might help balance the hear-say about the Copenhagen Free University. Actually, I don’t know many people who even speak about this University, besides what I read online. The last time I had a chance to read stories from the inside of a progressive art school was when I was reading Kunst Lehren/Teaching Art from the Stadschile Frankfurt/Main in 2008. During this time there was a whole explosion in discussions, panels, presentations, etc re-examining Art Academies. Which now, looking back at that moment, there was much talk but very little action, most people involved actually clung to their pay-per-knowledge colleges and universities, and now it is business as usual, even the more radical artists are teaching at the most expensive MFA programs to make matters worse. Since then Universities have realized that radical art teachers, once a nuisance to deal with, can actually increase enrollment $$, and as desperate as they are to stay afloat in NYC, they are really only radical in theory.

Anyhow, it’s summer vacation now for all students in America. Time to think about the student loans and the reality of the economy. I hope that the Fall brings some new ideas to the never ending want of a free university system, with MFAs in NYC averaging about $65,oooUSD, we’re along way from that reality. Occupy Student Debt Campaign, anyone?

——

Post Script: Anyone heard about a similar Free University of New York, held in a 14th Street loft in the East Village (1965) ? According to this personal account from Roy Licker (scroll to bottom for FUNY), it lasted only a couple of years, citing hidden Marxist motives from a very controlling management team among other things,  I’m still looking for some intimate accounts, like these.