Attack Us If You Dare

The occupiers of 90 Fifth Avenue have received what we believe to be reliable information: that the pigs of the NYPD are preparing to attack our space in the early morning hours of Friday November 25. New School president Van Zandt made it clear in our last conversation that he would no longer tolerate our presence here, despite the fact that the space is now open to all and has been transformed into a political center of  debate and coordination of radical struggles and attacks on existing systems of oppression.

New School administration, despite their mealy-mouthed lip service to the movement, has decided to side with the banks, landlords, millionaire university trustees, and whining conservative students who are all clamoring for this break in the miserable daily routine to end. In a different world, New School would take this opportunity to expand the struggle, taking on the financial entities who hold the mortgage on this building, and who are responsible for foreclosing on innumerable homes. But, inevitably, police violence will be used to crush a tiny island of resistance in the black sea of corruption and power that is New York City. Until the movement as a whole has achieved the strength and clarity to organize its own struggles, outside of appeals to leaders, representatives, bureaucrats, and administrators, this will be the case.

Unwilling to sacrifice our dignity by surrendering a space we have taken and transformed with full legitimacy, we have chosen to barricade all entrances to this space and will defend it by all means available to us. Our contempt for private property and the legalisms used to defend it is total. No longer will they erect walls, deny access and suffocate and constrain our lives, without a forceful and energetic response. We challenge the NYPD to attempt to gain entry into a space that has proudly denied the pigs, the media and the press access to it during its week-long existence.

The arrest of a few comrades will not halt a massive challenge to the planetary system of domination and exploitation. We know that the attacks and spaces of struggle will multiply across New York City in a way that can never be contained by compromisers, reformists, hypocritical professors with their empty words, wealthy reactionaries, or the forces of police repression. Offense, rage and most importantly the foundations of life itself will never be extinguished.

25 November 2011

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Message for Thanks-taking

The autonomous occupation of 90 5th Avenue, which began its second phase Wednesday November 23rd, continues. Today we celebrate Thanks-taking, in solidarity with the general strike in Portugal, the ongoing revolutionary movement in Egypt, and comrades worldwide rejecting all forms of authority and manipulation.

An occupation cannot be voted away – it continues as long as the occupiers decide to stay, to show support, and to keep coming. As we said on November 18th, “private spaces must be liberated.” We believe this as much now as we did then. So this private space remains liberated.

Walking by the location offered by the New School administration, 2 West 13th Street, we saw the results of the most superficial expression of participatory democracy: a list of rules, and an empty space waiting for its subjects.

It is clear that this occupation was never about or for students; it was to destroy student-identity politics. This occupation’s affiliation and solidarity with the All-NYC Student General Assembly often served only to confuse its participants, as well as everyone else. A student can only be talked to as a student, which is exactly what we saw from the administration – what began as a patronizing tacit support, led to a condescending theater of negotiation. We are not students, workers, activists, or anything else. We are angry, and we want it all.

What the collaborationists among us have failed to understand, and what they have obscured in their communications with comrades and the wider public, is that we didn’t need to form a movement if we wanted to maintain a culture of compromise in the university, in the workplace, in the home, in the street – this is what we were already doing. If some want to continue, they can feel free. Anyone looking to experiment with other options is welcome to join us in this occupation, 90 5th Avenue, and all the other occupations we expect to see soon.

We have decided to take what we want, to realize that what we want is already ours, and to recognize that all those who try to inhibit these movements place themselves on the opposite side of the barricades.

24 November 2011

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From the Autono…

From the Autonomous Occupation of 90 5th Avenue:

Since November 17th, students, non-students, workers and others have transformed through political occupation a formerly isolating, frigid and closed study space into a 24hour educational hub for not just all students, but all people.  We have held this space for seven days and in that time we have set up multiple general assemblies, established a safer spaces group, dismantled institutional oppression with the immediate creation of gender neutral bathrooms, fed and housed over 200 people, provided teach-ins from an anti-capitalist perspective on the financial crisis and political struggle, and created a gathering place for political conversation.  In reclaiming a New School building, a private university with astronomical tuition, there has been a sometimes pre-conceived perception of elitism and exclusivity; some have said they feel alienated, that the space is still too white, or that the theoretical discussion is too pretentious or academic. Some of these issues weren’t resolved nor they could have been resolved in such a short window. But this contradiction–where anti-capitalist/anti-racist debate is viewed as an elite politics–is precisely what we are in the process of shattering in this space.  Hundreds of people have come to hear talks and have conversations about capitalism, revolutionary practice, anti-oppression, queer politics and international struggle.  Most who have had problems in the space have consistently returned, recognizing that the politics surrounding the occupation are not solidified, but are instead immanent to the space itself. 

Last night, November 22nd, marked the first attendance by many emphatic participants in the General Assembly.   Through several manipulative acts, including the creation of a town hall that was somehow broadly attended in spite of a mere two hours notice, the Assembly was packed by antagonists including several faculty and a large group of students who had not previously been involved in the occupation. For many of us the large attendance was a success, but very soon it became clear that the sole goal of the majority of participants present was not discussion, but a yes vote for the destruction of the occupation.   The intention was to disrupt any possibility of dialogue and to frame the voting of the assembly in the manner of representational politics and parliamentary theater.
At this assembly the faculty, the bureaucratic manipulators and students hand picked by administration revealed their faces.  Arguments about race and alienation, couching pro-capitalist rhetoric and theatrical fear mongering, were used to disrespect and disempower the open assembly.  Immediately after a perceived victory in “accepting” Van Zandt’s proposal, these individuals removed themselves from the process and demonized the continuing deliberation of the assembly’s remaining participants.

We are writing to expose the misinformation and the constant sabotage that has being circulating through media and disseminated by specific individuals whose only purpose is to break this occupation from within.  We also see this document as an opportunity to put forward a political perspective on these events, and on hopes for the future.

It is clear that we should not have trusted negotiations with the President of the New School about the security and the character of this occupation.  After six days of dealing with this matter it is evident that it has caused fragmentation not only of the occupation itself, but poses a larger threat for the entire student struggle and the growth of the occupation movement. Political organizations still playing ping-pong on the back of the student body, in favor of specific ideological positions and with vested interests, have succeeded in the creation of media misrepresentation, the recruitment of students against the occupation, and the disruption of any possibility of dialogue.  This has happened only for their own benefit to legitimate their bureaucratic actions, and to expand their conservative and archaic way of organizing.  This method of organizing is one that they are unable to and refuse to transform when confronted with a movement that is against of any form of leadership or representation.

The struggle can only develop with the opening of a space that is initiated by political praxis that remains open for any political analysis.

Any jeopardization of autonomous practice will doom the struggle to failure.

November 23rd , 2011

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