Saturday, December 27, 2008

"An open letter to students by workers in Athens"

A letter to students, December 2008

An open letter to students by workers in Athens, against the background
of the social upheaval following the police shooting of a young boy.

A letter to students

Our age difference and the general estrangement make it difficult for us
to discuss with you in the streets; this is why we send you this letter.

Most of us have not (yet) been bald or big-bellied. We are part of the
1990-91 movement. You must have heard of it. Back then, and while we had
occupied our schools for 30-35 days, fascists killed a teacher because
he had gone beyond his natural role (that of being our guard) and
crossed the line to the opposite side; he had come with us, into our
struggle. Then, even the toughest of us got to the streets and riot.
However, we didn’t even think of doing what you easily do today: attack
police stations (although we sang “burn police stations…”).

So, you’re gone beyond us, as always happens in history. Conditions are
different of course. During ‘90s they passed us off the prospect of
personal success and some of us swallowed it. Now people cannot believe
this fairy tale. Your older brothers showed us this during the 2006-07
students’ movement; you now spit their fairy tale to their faces.

So far so good.

Now the good and difficult matters begin.

We’ll tell you what we’ve learned from our struggles and our defeats
(because as long as world is not ours we’ll always be the defeated ones)
and you can use what we’ve learned as you wish:

Don’t stay alone. Call us; call as many people as possible. We don’t
know how you can do that, you will find the way. You’ve already occupied
your schools and you tell us that the most important reason is that you
don’t like your schools. Nice. Since you’ve already occupied them change
their role. Share your occupations with other people. Let your schools
become the first buildings to house our new relations. Their most
powerful weapon is dividing us. Just like you are not afraid of
attacking their police stations because you are together, don’t be
afraid to call us to change our life all together.

Don’t listen to any political organization (either anarchists or
anyone). Do what you need to. Trust people, not abstract schemes and
ideas. Trust your direct relations with people. Trust your friends; make
as many people as possible in your struggle your people. Don’t listen to
them when they’re saying that your struggle doesn’t have a political
content and must seemingly obtain. Your struggle is the content. You
only have your struggle and it’s in your hands to preserve its advance.
It’s only your struggle that can change your life, namely you and the
real relations with your fellowmen.

Don’t be afraid to proceed when confronting new things. Each one of us,
as we’re getting older, has things planted in their brains. You too,
although you are young. Don’t forget the importance of this fact. Back
in 1991, we confronted the smell of the new world and, trust us, we
found it difficult. We learned that there must always be limits. Don’t
be scared by the destruction of commodities. Don’t be scared by people
looting stores. We make all these, they are ours. You (just like we in
the past) are raised to get up every morning in order to make things
that they will later not be yours. Let’s get them back all together and
share them. Just like we share our friends and the love among us.

We apologize for writing this letter quickly, but we do it swinging the
lead from our work, secretly from our boss. We are imprisoned in work,
just like you are imprisoned in school.

We’ll now lie to our boss and leave work: we’ll come to meet you in
Syntagma sq with stones in our hands.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

From an RSU member of The New School in Exile

I am writing this as a member of the New School Radical Student Union, a student organization whose goal "is to build a movement for social revolution. By social revolution, we mean a fundamental transformation in the defining values and institutions of the various spheres of social life (kinship, community, economy, polity, international relations)." However, in the article to which this response is directed (Rules of Thumb Learned by An Occupant of the New School i Exile), it seems that the only "revolutionaries" inside the New School In Exile's occupation of the Graduate Faculty Building were a group of about 20 anarchists. As many RSU members observed during the occupation, there was a feeling that anytime we opened our mouths we were immediately marginalized and scorned, so maybe it was difficult to actually hear our beliefs in the midst of holding a successful occupation. The RSU's constitution is explicitly anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti-sexist, and acknowledges the need for revolutionary organization (you can read more at

To write that many RSU members had a "pro-negotiation, 'Just reason it out with the authorities' attitude" is disappointing. Again, maybe it was loud, but we weren't saying reason with the authorities, some were stressing the need to open a dialogue and articulate demands that would allow us to win so that we would have the feeling we had when we left last rather than leaving "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory," as Tom Hayden puts it. Additionally, the split between those committed to direct action as a way to achieve our goals and those that were looking to begin a dialogue with the university administration is merely a tactical difference. There were many perspectives on what would have been the best way for the occupants to be able to leave the occupation victorious, which was the attitude of many of the RSU members

The claim that many "prominent [RSU] members were against the occupation," is highly inaccurate. In a meeting on Monday night, one RSU member proposed for the occupation to take place Thursday so that we could spend the next two days organizing the dorms and classroom buildings to spread the word about the occupation, articulate our demands, and get more people to join us either inside the occupation or outside in solidarity demonstrations. That proposal was voted down, but I fail to see where that equates to being against the occupation from the beginning (unfortunate perhaps as I'm sure many have read that a certain amount of New School students either did not know about the occupation or misunderstood its desired effect, something more prior organizing may have helped to limit). For a group with many, many members against the occupation from the beginning, the RSU sure did mobilize a large amount of people who were either participants in the occupation, or were helping to coordinate the demonstrations outside. This speaks to a certain amount of dedication in that some RSU members may have been divided in debate but were certainly united in action, something certainly lacking from some of the 20 revolutionary anarchists mentioned with the setting up of the "Autonomous Faction of Non-cooperation Against the Division of Labor." In fact, many of the RSU members who were participants were indeed willing to go to jail if necessary, and helped formulate demands and do what we could to keep the momentum going. Characterizing RSU members as being against direct action while being largely in attendance of an event that by definition was direct action is problematic as well. There was a difference in strategies in large part, for sure. I myself felt as though the occupation was being driven itself as a strategy when in fact it was part of a much more long-term struggle in which it was merely a tactic – albeit a highly successful one.

New York City is nowhere near the level of struggle taking place around the globe, and it will require a lot more patient organizing and education (which does not negate direct action) before it is. This occupation was an important first step towards more militant action, but we must keep in mind what things were like before the occupation. As it stands, Kerrey, Murtha, and Millard are still in power, yet we could not be in a better place going into the next semester. We must learn from these actions and begin to work together to build the type of student movement needed to take back the university from the warlords and business people who have final decision making power in how the school operates. The occupants of the Graduate Faculty Building articulated a very clear demand for a university in which students, faculty, and staff have a say in the operations of the university in proportion to the degree they are affected. Let us celebrate our significant victory and join in building a student movement capable of being a catalyst for the type of change that our society needs. Education, protests, occupations, and strikes – we must do whatever we can to build a movement and take back our university.


Radical Student Union
The New School in Exile

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Excerpt from the Times piece posted beow:

“This university was born in chaos and it ought to thrive in chaos,” Mr. Kerrey said. “This is a very important moment in the life of the school. It’s very constructive — not very pleasant, but I have been through more unpleasant things in my life.”

Mr. Kerrey, you seem to lack understanding. Chaos is not what the school is in, it is in revolution and revolution is never pleasant. And you are right, you have been through more unpleasant things in your life: you have had to live with the fact that you killed civilians, including children for over 30 years. You fought in a war, but now it seems you are afraid to allow your students to actually post comments on your blog. You, Mr. Kerrey are quite a dishonest and arrogant man, and We promise you, if you do not step down, we will make this the most unpleasant thing you have ever been through.

The New School in Exile

Letter from a Member of The New School in Exile

Hello everyone,

I wanted to say thank you and congratulations to everyone again. It
was amazing taking part in this with all of you, and I am still amazed
by what we did. I think that as we continue to look forward and begin
to plan what comes next we need to hold on to what is no longer just
an idea of what we can accomplish, but the very concrete fact that
when we come together we can mobilize, take action, and really stir
some shit up. We are going to continue this, and part of that is
knowing that the New School in Exile as an idea will always exist, and
as a website. We're keeping that up and running, and when the time
comes, it'll be there for us to mobilize again.

While I have been pretty quiet today I have been following the
conversations going on between everyone and I don't really want to
jump in on the debates because it seems like they been resolved at
this point. What I do want to suggest is that we all turn our
intention to the blogs and news stories that are continuing to cover
our OCCUPATION, not demonstration and start posting. For starters, our
good friend Bob's blog is back up and running: he says there were 50
of us in the cafeteria when we left...he lies. No surprise, but let's
correct it for the record. Beyond that the NY Times blog has
repeatedly challenged that it was an occupation and that we had
consent: no. And as to all the Kerrey chasing stories...I don't really
care what side of the fence you are on (I personally agree with (name deleted)-
he knew damn well what he was doing, and this was verified by the
reporter who watched it occur): my suggestion is
that when we come across it in print we counter-spin it. Kerrey has
oppressed us, Drunk Murtha authorized force against us, and
intimidated us. While Kerrey was supposedly being "chased" Drunk
Murtha was pounding on the glass of the room negotiations were taking
place in, and telling us if they weren't hammered out in five minutes
he would sic the police on us. The media wants intimidation, and the
use of physical force and violence: we got more than enough that was
directed at us by Kerrey and Drunk Murtha to go around. (Along these
lines a comment on Bob's blog says that "we" being white, rich kids
tormented a black security guard...we should also try to clear that
up...I think we should comment away on Bob's blog and if he doesn't
post them, we expose him for that too.)

In closing I would also like to suggest that we brainstorm on how we
want to go about continuing to target Drunk Murtha...I think we can
come up with a direct way for us to bring our charges and allegations
against him. I would also like to suggest that we try to have Jose
Velagas fired for his excessive and grotesque use of force and verbal
abuse of our fellow students and friends. Do we have other videos
showing him losing his shit?

Sorry to have this go on for so long....

Again thanks everyone!

In solidarity,
(Name Deleted for Protection)

From the NY Times: Behind Discord at the New School: Faculty Sees an Unfocused Leader

Published: December 20, 2008

Elevator access to the university’s eighth-floor administrative offices has been shut off to all but a few. After a 30-hour sit-in at another building, a proposed student assembly was canceled on Friday for security reasons. Some professors are so fearful that they have stopped using the e-mail system.

Over the last 10 days, the New School has become a campus in open revolt against the leadership of its president, Bob Kerrey, who was given a 269-to-18 vote of no-confidence by the full-time faculty. Mr. Kerrey, the former governor and senator from Nebraska, who took over the university in 2001, made some concessions, admitted certain mistakes, started a blog to face his critics and spent two hours listening to complaints from dissident professors. Yet the mutiny has intensified.

The catalyst for the rebellion was the recent dismissal of a popular provost, but the outpouring of anger and frustration has revealed a deeper, more complex set of problems with both the substance and style of Mr. Kerrey’s efforts to make over the university. The board of trustees, which controls the president’s fate, has so far stood behind him.

A politician without a Ph.D., Mr. Kerrey, 65, was recruited largely for his star power, and given a mandate to unite the New School’s eight disparate divisions and turn a campus long viewed as a kind of academic shopping mall for continuing education into a more ambitious and rigorous one with a greater undergraduate focus.

During his tenure, enrollment in degree programs has grown to 9,800 students from 7,100, and the endowment has more than doubled, to $214 million from $90 million. Freshman applications are up 28 percent since 2006.

But these successes have often come at a cost of alienating constituent groups at the university, spread across multiple buildings in Greenwich Village.

In dozens of interviews with professors, deans, trustees, students and former provosts, complaints abounded that Mr. Kerrey lets economic considerations trump academics, leaves professors out of decision-making, and has a frenetic and mercurial management style that has led to high turnover: In seven years, 18 deans have rotated through eight positions, and there have been four provosts, the last leaving after only a few months.

Critics said that Mr. Kerrey’s drive to change the New School has also been marked by about-faces on important matters, including capital projects, academic programs and faculty appointments. Even a 2005 campaign intended to help integrate what one professor called academic “silos” fell flat with names that made clear the programs were part of a larger whole but were tortuous to say: Parsons the New School for Design; Eugene Lang College the New School for Liberal Arts.

“There’s a profound lack of communication between the president and the faculty,” said David Howell, an economics professor at Milano the New School for Management and Urban Policy and co-chairman of the Faculty Senate (which Mr. Kerrey helped create, but whose meetings he rarely attends).

A key flashpoint in the growing dissent is James Murtha, the university’s executive vice president, who has often acted as Mr. Kerrey’s enforcer and who was also the subject of no-confidence votes by the faculty and of resignation demands by students. Several professors likened Mr. Murtha to Vice President Dick Cheney; at an unabashedly left-wing institution, there could hardly be a more stinging insult.

Mr. Murtha, who did not return calls seeking comment, has his hand in nearly every aspect of the university, according to current and former deans and faculty members. The turnover of provosts — the chief academic officers — has only strengthened the hand of Mr. Murtha, the chief finance officer.

“There is a sense that academics can never control their whole destiny because Murtha sits above the whole enterprise,” said one former dean, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, fearing retribution. Another colleague quipped: “I am not sure I can go to the bathroom without his permission.”

In an interview, Mr. Kerrey stood by Mr. Murtha, saying he had no plans to remove him.

After spending 45 minutes listening to faculty diatribes on Tuesday and trying to meet with the protesting students on Thursday, he suggested that the hubbub should be seen in historical context at a university that was founded in 1919 by a group of renegade Columbia professors and was a haven for scholars fleeing Hitler’s Europe in the 1930s.

“This university was born in chaos and it ought to thrive in chaos,” Mr. Kerrey said. “This is a very important moment in the life of the school. It’s very constructive — not very pleasant, but I have been through more unpleasant things in my life.”

The New School is by all accounts a difficult place to lead, since it is so many things to so many people.

Eugene Lang, established 21 years ago, is most like a traditional college, but its 900 undergraduates are a small fraction of the student body of 6,068 undergraduates, 3,320 graduate students and 13,000 adults enrolled in 1,000 continuing-education courses. Tuition and accommodations at its 10 dormitories are more than $40,000 a year, much like Columbia and New York University, with which it would like to be compared; average SAT scores are considerably lower, though, and it is far easier to be admitted.

About a quarter of New School students come from foreign countries. Of the Americans, 40 percent are members of minorities. More than half the undergraduates receive financial aid.

When Mr. Kerrey arrived, the New School was emerging from a period of relative obscurity, when it was known more for its night courses than for the scholarly work in the social sciences that had never stopped. It was also hopelessly fractured: some students enrolled in the design or music divisions did not realize they were part of the New School. Mr. Kerry’s goals were to bolster the institution’s finances and raise its profile.

Professors say they largely believe in the need for integration, but they object to the way Mr. Kerrey has gone about it.

The Parsons fashion program — featured on the Bravo network’s reality show “Project Runway” — is one of the university’s best-known and a huge money-maker, in part because the overhead per student is comparatively low. The much smaller architecture department, also part of Parsons, is more expensive, to operate, because each student requires expensive materials.

A former Parsons dean said that Mr. Kerrey and Mr. Murtha rejected efforts to expand the architecture department and instead instilled “enormous” pressure to expand the fashion program: it has more than doubled, to 663 students from 291 in 2001 (architecture has remained fairly steady, with 74 students now).

“They were shoving kids in anywhere they could fit them,” the former dean said. “It is as if the school was Procter & Gamble and we were talking about how many units of Tide to sell.”

Mr. Kerrey makes no apologies for trying to capitalize on profitable divisions, especially since the university is heavily dependent on tuition because of its relatively small endowment, even after he was able to double it .

“The architecture program costs a million dollars a year more than it generates — I have to make that million dollars up somewhere,” he said in the interview. “If you are not aggressive on enrollment at the New School, you find yourself underenrolled and in real financial trouble.”

One of the most common complaints at Mr. Kerrey’s meeting with the faculty on Tuesday was of wasted committee work, particularly on a much-discussed faculty handbook that sought to establish universitywide standards in hiring, promotion and evaluation.

While faculty members were involved in drafting it, Professor Howell, of the Milano school, said that the handbook was approved by the provost and the board of trustees in 2006, “hastily and over objections.” Worse, he said, faculty members, with a green light from administrators, have since spent “hundreds of hours” on revisions, but the instability in the provost’s office has stymied progress.

“The effect is that the work has been put in a drawer and closed,” he said. “The handbook looks exactly the way it did in 2006.”

Faculty members also blamed Mr. Kerrey for flip-flopping, rejecting his own ideas or studying them into oblivion. They cited proposals for a culinary program and a law school that went nowhere, and a signature building planned and planned, on a prominent site, at Fifth Avenue and 14th Street, then ultimately scrapped.

In 2004, Mr. Kerrey decided that he wanted to replace the existing building on that site, which has classrooms, a cafeteria and a library, amid wide agreement that it was drab and outdated. But participants in the planning said that the president pushed ahead with design ideas before the university had even settled on its mission.

“If he was talking to Donna Karan, trying to raise money, he would say it was going to be a fashion building,” recalled one, again speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of being punished. “If he was talking to someone else, he would say something else.”

The architect Frank Gehry said that when he visited the New School for a lecture and dinner in 2004, he was offered the commission to design the building — only to discover a week later that another firm had been hired.

“He stood up at the dinner and talked all about how I was going to design this great new building,” Mr. Gehry said of Mr. Kerrey. “I was very excited. It is a block long and a great site.”

Mr. Kerrey denied that he ever offered Mr. Gehry the job; four years later, the run-down building, on the east side of Fifth Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets, remains untouched.

Others cite similar incidents that have bred ill will.

Stephen C. Schlesinger, a foreign policy expert and author of “Act of Creation: The Founding of the United Nations,” recalled his nine years as director of the World Policy Institute, which used to be part of the New School.

The institute functioned as a policy group, with two dozen fellows who did not teach but were “great advertisements for the New School,” Mr. Schlesinger said. But it lost money. Mr. Schlesinger said he discovered that Mr. Kerrey did not want to “put up with that anymore” by reading a statement from him to that effect in The New York Observer.

Mr. Schlesinger asked Mr. Kerrey for a one-year sabbatical, and said the president asked him “four or five times” during that year to come back and teach. But when he went to discuss specifics of returning, Mr. Kerrey “said ‘there is no teaching job,” Mr. Schlesinger recalled, adding that he had “turned down other jobs.”

Mr. Kerrey described Mr. Schlesinger’s account as “pretty close to true.”

“I just couldn’t find a place for him to teach,” he said. “I wasn’t able to keep my promise.”

“That’s the problem with Bob Kerrey,” said Mr. Schlesinger, a son of the historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. “He charms everybody when they first meet him and then something happens and he turns around and punches them in the stomach. After that, you say, ‘How can I trust this guy?’ ”

News From a Student on the Security Situation

"Just wanted to let you know of an update on the consortium students being allowed in the building.

I am a PhD student at NYU and just got back from Fogelman library to pick up a book on hold. The guards were pretty hostile and threatened to "arrest me" -- but in the end I made a case for myself, pushed through, and got into the library. Overall, the guards were extremely sarcastic and over-the-top. Especially when I left and wished them "happy holidays" -- and they responded that "it was until I showed up"..."

The New School in Exile

More info on the so called "chasing" of Kerrey from a Member of The New School in Exile

I spoke to a reporter about the incident and he is also going to report it. He said that Kerrey was surrounded by security when he came out. He said that people began to crowd around him including reporters and cameras and perhaps a total of 20 people. He said that they were following him and that when they reached the corner he took off running for no apparent reason. He then ducked into his own house. He said that people followed him running as opposed to chased him. I do think this is important because it is an obvious ploy added to the fact that Kerrey quickly called the deans and announced this. I think the problem of the context of this entire debate is that we are allowing him to associate it and make it a part of the image of the occupation. Those of us in the occupation were always non-violent and our goal was to have a voice. If we wanted to chase Kerrey around we could have easily done that but our agenda was much larger. I agree that any person should have the right to their personal security and feel strongly about that as an academic, yet I wonder how much war criminal Kerrey believes that or how our faculty that has expressed their lack of safety and job security at our school feel about that. I know I don't feel like mine is respected when the head of security is taking pictures of my face when I am standing peacefully in a lobby, or when Jim (Drunk) Murtha repeatedly walks up to me and looks at my face and smiles calmly. We are allowing Bob Kerrey to act a victim when we have been victimized by him. If people did have strong enough feelings to chase him down, which I don't believe they did, then perhaps it is a testament to the decisions he has made throughout his entire life. It does not make it right but we cannot be held accountable for the levels of hate he has incited in his entire life. Let's turn this debate around, let's say that he may have been a victim for a minute and that we agree it is wrong if that is the case and we know because we have been victimized for far two long by his arrogance and his lack of respect for anything but the money that we give the school.
(Name Deleted for the Student's protection)

New Information

Dear Friends,

All the Students of The New School received this email today:

December 20, 2008

The Subcommittee of the Board of Trustees of The New School appointed last week by Chair Julien Studley met with the University Deans, and separately with the Officers of the University, on December 18, 2008 to listen to their reflections on the sentiments of the faculty on recent events and University governance. President Kerrey has also met a number of times with the Deans over the last two weeks, and he also met with both the Faculty Senate and the General Faculty.

It is obvious to the President, the Deans, and to us that there has been a major breakdown in communication and lack of confidence in governance at the University.

President Kerrey has already taken certain actions, which the Deans, the Officers of the University, and the Trustees support as first steps. President Kerrey has reversed his decision to assume the responsibilities of chief academic officer during the search for a new provost; he has agreed with the Deans to set up a process to select an interim provost that will include on a search committee representatives of the Deans, faculty, and students, and the process for searching and selecting a new provost is under active discussion; he is working with the Deans to establish a process for the building of a stronger Provost's Office with increased authorities to ensure the appropriate balance of responsibilities and the appropriate separation of authority between the Offices of the Provost and the Executive Vice President; and he has asked the Chairman of the Board of Trustees to begin a process to consider adding non-voting student and faculty representation to the Board of Trustees. In addition, in order to improve communication with the faculty, the President has announced that he will attend the Faculty Senate meetings in the spring and will establish a series of regular meetings between himself and the General Faculty to begin early in the new year.

These various processes will be reviewed by us, the Trustees, the President, the Deans, and the Officers of the University. We are prepared to meet with faculty, senior divisional and university administrators and students during this period, as changes to the University are implemented. The President has also suggested setting up an independent, confidential process for the presentation of concerns at the University without fear of intimidation. We will continue to meet with the Deans and the Officers of the University, as appropriate.

The Subcommittee of Trustees:
Richard Kauffman, Chair
Franci Blassberg
Steven Bloom
William Havemeyer
William Zabel

-This represents another victory for the students, and you can be sure that we will apply all necessary pressure to make sure it is carried out. Furthermore, we continue to encourage the Trustees to show Mr. Kerrey and Mr. Murtha (who, by the way was noticeably intoxicated on Thursday night/Friday morning and encouraging the Security Guards and Police to take violent action against the Occupation) the door. We do not feel that they are able to run our University without their favorite tactic, intimidation.

The New School in Exile

A new Post from the NY TIMES

December 19, 2008, 4:24 pm

The Columbia and New School Sit-Ins, Compared

It was not a redux of the Battle of Morningside Heights.

When students at the New School staged an occupation in an academic building Wednesday night in an effort to bend the administration’s ear and will, it was difficult not to look back to the famous sit-in carried out in 1968 by students at Columbia University.

The actions, separated by decades, diverged in many significant respects. For one thing, the New School students differed from their 1968 counterparts in their choice of venue. While the Columbia students took over the well-appointed office of Columbia’s president, Grayson Kirk, and (at least according to legend) smoked his cigars, the New School students focused their ire on their university president, Bob Kerrey, from afar. Instead of approaching his West 12th Street office, they occupied a large cafeteria around the corner in a university building at 65 Fifth Avenue near East 13th Street.

Of course, there were similarities, too. Both the 1968 and the 2008 sit-ins were attended by people affiliated with the Students for a Democratic Society and both were partly motivated by anger over university associations with an unpopular war. In 1968, Columbia students were upset that the university was affiliated with the Institute for Defense Analysis, which advised the government on Vietnam. This time, some students objected to connections between university leaders and the war in Iraq. Mr. Kerrey, who served in Vietnam, was an early and strong proponent for the United States invasion of Iraq. Students also criticized Robert B. Millard, a member of the New School board of trustees and chairman of the executive committee of a military supplier called L-3 Communications, which employed contractors accused in lawsuits of abusing prisoners in Iraq.

Sometimes there were simultaneous similarities and differences within a single issue. Take, for instance, the student stances on university buildings, important in both 1968 and 2008. The Columbia students wished to halt the construction of a gymnasium in Morningside Park. The New School students, on the other hand, wanted to prevent the razing of the building at 65 Fifth Avenue, which had been scheduled for demolition.

Some of the most telling differences were in the nature of the occupations. While the Columbia protests spread to several buildings, the New School students largely remained in the ground-floor cafeteria and appeared to concentrate on consolidating their position. Twice, students took school security guards by surprise, flinging open doors and allowing reinforcements to stream into the cafeteria from chilly sidewalks.

For many students, the cafeteria was home for more than 30 hours. Their numbers fluctuated from about 50 to close to 200. Conditions mixed the spartan and the modern. Students slept –– or tried to –– on the cafeteria’s hard wooden floors. The thermostat was often uncomfortably high. Pillows and blankets were in short supply, but technology abounded. Students shared laptops, batteries and phones. They were in constant contact with the world beyond the cafeteria, posting communiqués on the Web and e-mailing manifestos and updates to allies. Messages were exchanged with sympathizers at other schools like Antioch and Clemson.

Some of the available amenities were achieved through negotiation with school officials. During much of the occupation, students with New School IDs were permitted to cross freely between the occupied zone and the streets outside the building. Supporters were allowed to deliver food, coffee and even a movie projector (news footage of melees in Greece and an episode of Charlie Rose interviewing Toni Morrison were beamed onto a wall) after building hours on Thursday night.

Occupiers also enjoyed a sort of safe conduct between the cafeteria and a bathroom in a nearby administration-controlled hallway until sometime after midnight on Thursday, when the authorities apparently announced that anyone visiting the bathroom would be prevented from re-entering the cafeteria.

And although officers and security guards at times scuffled with students –– and banged a newspaper photographer into a wall –– the level of animosity was far lower on both sides than it was at Columbia, when baton-wielding police officers arrested more than 700 people and seriously injured some students and reporters during a predawn raid to take back the university.

At one point in the middle of the first night of the protest a student and a New School security guard whiled away some time by discussing the history of radical politics. On Thursday afternoon, after police and students grappled in a narrow corridor leading from the cafeteria to the street, a mood of détente eventually descended with representatives from both sides engaged in a Checkpoint Charlie-style standoff with a rude barricade of debris-filled metal Dumpsters separating them. On one side of the Dumpster blockade, two students sat on a concrete staircase watching two police officers sitting on folding chairs while keeping an eye on the steps.

At the same time, wooden tables and heavy recycling bins in the cafeteria were used as barricades and podiums as the students turned the space into a cross between a town hall and Trafalgar Square. They repeatedly held meetings to debate tactics and hold votes. Some of the assemblies were refreshingly quick and direct. Others were tangential and lengthy (sometimes numbingly so, particularly for the sleep deprived).

Over time a rough, flawed, sincere and respectful form of democracy emerged in the cafeteria. Factions with competing agendas and ideologies clashed, but more often than not found common ground or agreed to disagree. A group called the Radical Students Union (which included former members of Students for a Democratic Society) was said to have initially opposed the occupation, but requested later that the start time be slightly delayed so that they could join in.

On the final afternoon of the occupation, the students held one of their biggest meetings and also began using a form of shorthand sign language to communicate: waving both hands in the air indicated agreement; pointed index fingers meant somebody had a fact to convey; and fingers forming a triangle were meant to remind others to stick to the point.

Although Mr. Kirk, the president of Columbia, largely kept away from the demonstrators, Mr. Kerrey visited 65 Fifth Avenue at least twice on Thursday. Students at one point refused to meet with him directly, but later heard him out through an intermediary. Offers were extended, arrangements were discussed and votes were taken.

In the end, occupiers put aside calls for Mr. Kerrey and other administration officials to resign and instead voted to accept a four-point offer from Mr. Kerrey that included a promise not to penalize students involved in the occupation and agreements to give students a voice in selecting a provost and investing school funds.

Shortly afterward, around 3:30 Friday morning, the occupation ended not with the wail of sirens, but with loud shouts as students streamed from the cafeteria into nearby streets.

-It should be noted that Colin shared our space with us for a large portion of the Occupation and we all have great respect and admiration for him and his work.


The New School in Exile.

The Brian Lehrer Show / December 19, 2008 / Follow Up Friday: New School Occupation

Chris Crews, media liaison for "The New School in Exile" and graduate student at The New School, talks about how students at The New School who occupied the school's cafeteria claimed inspiration from the Greek protesters.

Notes from the Outside

When I got to the graduate building at 5pm on Thursday, I knew that the ID
thing would be a problem. I lost mine recently, and I'm on a leave of
absence so I'm not technically in the computer. I spent two hours trying
everything - I showed the guards my transcript, my passport, I went to the
ID office (which was closed) to prove that I'd done what I could, I had my
professor tell them that I needed to go in with him to take a final, I
tried the side door, and all I actually managed to accomplish was making
sure that Mr. Illicedo didn't like me. He didn't like me anyway; two years
ago he picked me up and threw me into a wall for singing Utah Philips.*
I'm still not sure what his actual position at the university is (some
security higher-up, I think), but he's a swell sort of guy, really.

Which brings me to a point about security, which has become rather
contentious. They are workers, they are doing their jobs, they are messing
with us, do we defend them or are they enemies? The line is pretty blurry.
In my experience at the New School, I've encountered two types of security
personnel. There's the basic watch-the-door guys, who are generally really
nice and sympathetic to student causes. I've seen them help distribute
fliers, retrieve personal items for students who get escorted out of one
location or another and leave things behind, hang out after actions to
talk about unions and administration.

Then there are their bosses, who are not stationed at the desk by the
building entrance, who wear suits instead of uniforms, and who call the
shots in terms of things like the situation at the graduate building this
week. To be sure, they were instructed to jack up security from the
administration, but they chose to enforce it in such a manner as to
prevent New School students, even those with valid IDs, from entering
their own university. They chose to have students forcibly removed if they
did get in. Most of the security personnel that was at the graduate
building door consisted of people from this group, or people who had these
bosses breathing down their necks.

I don't doubt that there are overlaps, but in general, I'm substantially
more annoyed with the guy who drags me out the door in a three-piece suit
than the reluctant guy who happens to share his department. Everyone has
some degree of agency, even the lower-level guards' actions are their own
and they can choose how strictly they follow protocol. But again, very few
of them were at the fifth avenue door.

Anyway, so they didn't let me in and then they stopped letting anyone in,
we banged on the door so they had the cops come and form a line to block
the entrance, it was a charming affair. We shared food, we talked, we
chanted, we were cold. We looked at the number of people standing outside
and had an idea.

We were going to try to take 55 w. 13th street as a secondary occupation,
but we would need everyone who was out there to come with us. At first, we
could only get 20 or so people, and they entered politely, signed in as
guests, and picked a floor to set up shop in. The news went out over the
New School in Exile blog, and I went out to get more people. The problem
was that not many people were into it, and the Tompkins march wouldn't be
arriving for an hour. I got a call from the people inside the building
saying that they needed more bodies, and were also thinking about moving
to another space, namely the Parsons building further down fifth avenue.

I tried to convince people to hold the space so we wouldn't get shut out,
but I wasn't there, and if people don't feel comfortable, they have every
right to hit the road. They left the 55 w. 13th street building, and we
began a scouting mission for an alternate space.

This is where it gets kind of ridiculous. As soon as the protesters left
the 13th street building, all of the buildings went on lockdown. We asked
the guards why, and they said that they'd heard about another occupation
happening and couldn't risk it. We were pretty stunned - we had managed to
shut down every single New School building simply by not actually
occupying one of them.

There are obviously some pretty serious downsides to all that - it's
finals week, the computer lab should be open 24 hours and I'm pretty sure
the Parsons building is supposed to be open late as well. Our intention
was never, ever to shut students out of spaces they needed to work. We
thought we would have a presence in solidarity, but hoped to disrupt the
building administration without making students' lives too much harder.
I've seen occupiers be blamed for the excessive force brought down on
them. Come off it - if you get robbed, your neighbors don't get mad at you
for having such a nice laptop, to use a more relevant example.

But what I want to emphasize is that, that night, the powers that be at
the New School felt so threatened by the idea of peaceful dissent that
they would sooner shut down everything and deal with frustration and
fallout along with it than face even the possibility of another
occupation. They were scared of their own students entering a building
that was open anyway.

There is power in numbers, definitely. But apparently, there is also power
in suggestion. Bob Kerrey likes to say that he is "embarrassed" when
students engage in loud and creative protest, but it's clear to everyone
with a brain that he's more nervous than anything else. He should be -
he's about to be unemployed.

*fine, so the Utah Phillips thing was in the middle of a Newt Gingrich
speech, but the incident in question occurred outside the auditorium and
the point remains that it hurt.

-Thanks for the letter and keep them coming.
The New School inExile.

Friday, December 19, 2008

From a member of the New School in Exile


Last night, at approximately 3 am this morning New School and other students have left the 65 5th Avenue building and declared the occupation successful, ending this stage of the action. , the occupants of 65 5th Avenue, marched out into the streets in victory. After more than two weeks of concerted actions on campus, students in the occupation were finally able to win significant victories in the ongoing struggle to improve the New School. Those victories include: an agreement not to press charges or impose academic punishments for students involved in the protest, the implementation of a Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) committee within the university, more autonomy and power for Student Senate to communicate with the student body, more representation on the Board of Trustees for students and faculty, and finally the creation of more student study space on campus.

This was only the beginning, and we look forward to continuing our work into the new year and Spring in the effort to realize a self-managed university in which students, faculty, and staff operate the university in proportion to the degree to which they are affected.

I want to take this chance to thank you all for your tremendous support. Whether you were outside cheering us on in, or expressing your solidarity online, we truly could not have done this without you.

For now, the occupation is suspended, and should we need to take up our residency again inside our university, we know that not only can we do it, but that you will be there with us.

Thank you,
-The New School in Exile

A personal Message from a member of the New School in Exile

Rules of Thumb Learned by An Occupant of the New School in Exile

(Student's Name Deleted)

For brevity, I'm not going to give the background of the occupation.

Two great sites to learn about it:; and

Some of these rules of thumb can be generalized, and perhaps others cannot; nevertheless, they comment on the specific context of the student occupation that lasted two days and won important concessions from the school, including amnesty. The students agreed to continue the struggle next semester. This is only the beginning...

Besides a 20 or so core of extremely devoted students, the demographics (and actual numbers) were in constant flux. Excuse the labels, but broadly, if there were 100 students at a given moment, roughly 25 were Anarchists or Revolutionaries of some sort committed to serious (sometimes spontaneous) direct action to achieve our goals. 40 were members of the Radical Student Union (formerly Students for a Democratic Society), were loosely affiliated with them, or whose politics generally fell in line with their pro-negotiation, "Just reason it out with the authorities" attitude. This is not to say that Anarchists spurned negotiations--I did not. Or that RSU members scorned the many direct actions in the occupation--though, I must write here, from the beginning, many prominent members were against the occupation, then against staying after the first night, then against taking control of the entrance/exit, then against our spectacular midnight ruse in the last few hours of the occupation that not only linked the wild supportive demonstration outside with us inside, but also breathed vastly new energy and power into our occupation, calling many of these successful and bold moves, among other things, "Custeristic". In fact I successfully defended a makeshift barricade with the fierce help of two fellow occupants who were RSU members. I am proud to call them comrades. The lines are somewhat blurred.

Finally, 35 were left liberals who were explicitly against direct action, even though, ironically, the entire occupation was predicated on direct action. Most joined after the initial occupation, probably believing our occupied space was "just a study space," or that "the authorities were permitting us to be there," as opposed to knowing it was us who made it so. To my knowledge, none in this group was among the 20 or so core of students mentioned above. I am critical of the latter two groups, but believe me when I write that even being there was a feat in itself, and I am sincerely thrilled they were bold enough to join.

These rules are by no means definitive. While I myself am an Anarchist who was pushing for more direct actions to expand our space, insofar as we were numerically and strategically capable, I encourage healthy debate and criticism of my conclusions.

1. Limited negotiation is fine in terms of winning explicit concessions, but in order to have negotiations, you must have bargaining power, and this requires bold direct action. This belief, this mode of resistance, was the reason for our success. Despite the political inclinations of many of our well-intentioned and intelligent comrades in the New School in Exile (and despite their ever-present reluctance), it was the taking of the cafeteria, the blocking of the doors, the control of the building, that was our power. Of course, our aforementioned "political" comrades celebrated each and every direct action vigorously after the fact, realizing the terms of negotiation had just been changed in our favor, despite their initial resistance to it, saying things like "it's too disorganized; it's too brazen; it's too illegal"--it's too this or that. Even our last action, when we linked the wonderful movement outside to us inside by the opening of a fire door at midnight, changed the status of the ongoing negotiations in our favor. This was said before us by one of our own negotiators, who herself was not necessarily pro-direct action.

It goes without saying that negotiations are meaningless if you're bold enough to topple those who would negotiate with you, and this end goal should always be kept in mind for those who want a radically better world. The ultimate power of authorities cannot be abolished through negotiation.

Forgive the platitude, but you must dare to win. Confident but collected, brazen but not reckless, direct action is a primary weapon of revolt. Do not wait for the authorities to give you permission. At the outset, we did not wait for their permission, and that impatience was the engine of our progress. Before that, we were stalled. Remember: the reason why we resorted to an increasingly provocative and popular occupation was because the words, the negotiations, of faculty were meaningless. Their vote of no confidence was mocked by Bob Kerrey's comments to the New York Times that the only votes he cared about were those of his trustees. The students were not even allowed into meetings concerning the No Confidence vote. We were only taken seriously when we dared. We were only taken seriously when we barricaded the cafeteria, when we controlled the entrance/exit, when we repeatedly disrupted operations in 65 5th avenue and elsewhere, contrary to the orders of police, of New School authorities. For that, we won important concessions and further destroyed the reputation of Bob Kerrey.

For that, we continued the inspiring example of the workers in Chicago.

2. While democratic consensus should be the watchword of a revolutionary situation--it was a crucial facet of our decision-making inside the cafeteria--direct action should not always wait for mass confirmation before being initiated. In our case, deliberation often took hours when there was an immediate concern at hand; and there was the problem of the newer, more liberal elements who did not have a clear-eyed conception of the occupation. Any further direct action would have been blocked.

On several occasions, a few of us had to bolster or defend a barricade without popular consensus. When we took the entrance/exit, we did not wait for popular consensus. Our spectacular midnight ruse did not wait for popular consensus--in fact, in a vote it was shot down.

This is philosophically problematic, I realize, and I am troubled by it. All I can say is that moves should be made to ensure that the consequences of a direct action should minimally affect those comrades who do not support it, and should never put them in harm's way. Now, if your enemy does not support it, that probably means you're on the right track.

3. The physical barricades--desks, tables, dumpsters, planks of wood, etc.-are merely one of two primary components of successful defense, and perhaps the weaker of the two. The physical barricades saved us multiple times. This is fact. However, when the NYPD were committed to smashing our barricades, they did so, and quickly, like when they physically extricated us from our barricaded fire exit. The second component is outside support and solidarity that is won through dissemination of your cause and actions. The media we received garnered wide popular support from liberal faculty members in other American schools to students in Mexico to Greek anarchists who did direct actions in shows of solidarity with us. It would have been even more of a public relations disaster if the NYPD mass-arrested 150 students. Outside support was too strong; the sympathetic public eye was focused on us! In fact, for many hours our front door was not barricaded physically because we knew we were too connected to vigorous outside support to be raided. I should note here that, in addition to the direct focus of your cause, it's also critical to expand your solidarity, connect the dots, between you and other movements.

Most apparently, an important reason why the NYPD did not storm our fortified cafeteria on the last night is because of the massive demonstration outside. (A banal meta-reflection, the cameras and journalists who were inside with us filming and reporting put an immediate stop to police brutality when the cops realized they were being recorded).

4. Security guards are not on your side. We can argue for days about whether they are fellow workers--which is an irrelevant argument anyway--but despite your friendship with a security guard, or the guard not being happy with his union contract, or the guard claiming he is on your side, he is not. Sure you can crack jokes with him and talk about your common music interests, but open your eyes when the moment is not trivial. He will push against the barricades. He will tackle you. He will rip your clothes. He will call the cops on you. That is his job. I think of economic conscripts, GIs in Iraq. Yes, they might bring candy to kids in the street. They might hate President Bush. They might even hate the military-industrial complex. But when there is resistance to their presence, they will be ordered to snuff it out. In order to keep their job, they must obey. This is not to say that soldiers or security can never be on your side, but it would require them doing precisely the opposite of what is required of them.

One more comment on this. There was a security guard during the occupation who was also a student. Some RSU members were friends with him, buddying up with the guy and even inviting him in at points. But what happened on the last night when we propped open a fire door and let in scores of supporters and students? This very same security guard who was "just a fellow worker" was seen tackling students trying to get on the right side of the barricades.

5. Ever-expanding occupation is an extremely effective tactic for revolution.

Craigslist, missed connections!

To President Bob Kerrey of The New School - m4m (West Village)

Reply to: [?]Date: 2008-12-19, 3:13AM EST
I saw you walking down the block, in the hallways, in the cafe, in the elevator You pretend to care about students, faculty, the welfare of this university- why can't students communicate with others? Why can't we have a better university? We are a progressive institution -we are supposed to be active and different from all the rest. Why can't we make the budget work with academics? Why 5 provosts in 7 years? If only we can know. If only there was some transparency. You: white hair, thin, always a retort in a debate, always a joke Me: a student, just a student, craving an education and a school to be proud of. Black hair, green eyes, we may have spoken once or twice. Maybe we can get coffee and you can answer these questions.

Location: West Village
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interestsPostingID: 963600075

Only New School Students w/ ID are being allowed in 65 5th (RT:12:40)

Dear Friends,

It seems that heightened alert and The Graduate Faculty Building continues. It has been brought to our attention that only NS students with ID will be allowed into the building today.

A student I know was denied entrance this morning despite showing her work-study pay receipt (complete with name and student number and the words: NEW SCHOOL, stamped on its front) and valid driver's license together. Students Must Be Able to Meet Their Educational Needs

We at the New School in Exile feel that this is highly inappropriate as we ended the occupation in good faith last night, they should be acting in the same fashion.

yours for full access,
The New School in Exile

Thank You, Everyone (10:42)

Dear Friends,

After a jubilant moment outside the University last night and continued demonstration through the streets of New York, we can say that we have won a decisive victory! And the it is only the first of many that we will need for our final goals.

Students and workers have long been neglected. Freedom Fighters see themselves branded as terrorists. However, we can change that, if we are able to claim, control, and defend our space as we did over the past three days, we overcome their illegitimate authority. Legitimacy, comes before and is far more important than legality, but legitimacy is also the birthplace of a new legality. The contract we forced upon Mr. Kerrey and Mr. Murtha through our negotiations last night is an excellent beginning. When we began this process we were the slaves to their master. Now we have a Social Contract of our own bringing us ever closer to our final goals.

This will not be our final act! We will continue to struggle for not just a place in the constitution of our university, but to be the constitution of our university.

We wish to thank everyone who has sent us messages of solidarity, the members of our faculty and the faculty of the Consoritum scholls who have supported us, both inside and out, and those members of the press who are sympathetic to our cause. We stand in solidarity with you all and you must know that we won last night and that we will continue to win.

In solidarity and with gratitude,
The New School in Exile.

Final Agreement!


1) I agree to grant total amnesty for all participants involved in the
occupation and all events related to it over the course of 12/17/08
through 12/19/08 at all New School Buildings. Neither criminal charges
nor academic disciplinary measures will be pursued against those
involved. The University will not press charges against Eliot Liu.

Staff and security guards will be compensated for all time lost over
the course of the occupation.

2) I agree that students may use the GF building at 65 Fifth Ave until
a suitable replacement is secured and instituted, which would include
the re-installment of suitable library and study space. This would need
to be approved by the USS. Due to my limitation under the board, and because of repeated and voiced student concern about the university's investments,

3) I agree that students will have voting representation on the search
committee for the interim-Provost and the Provost, as well as any
searches that may take place in the future for a new President. The
details of this will be worked out with representatives of the
University Student Senate, and input from the student body at large.

4) I agree for student participation to establish a committee on
Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) for the University's endowment
and that this committee will then establish an independent auditing
process with the SRI framework. The committee to establish the SRI will
meet by the first week of April, 2009.

5) I agree to grant the University Student Senate the ability to
communicate with the student body freely and without constraint (and to
not restrict their access to Groupwise email and other technologies that
enable this).

6) I agree that a representative of the USS should be allowed to have a
representative at meetings of the Board of Trustees in order to speak to
specific issues that pertain to decisions passed by the USS or directly
relating to USS business.

Bob Kerrey

New School Students End Dining Hall Sit-In (10:34am)

Student protesters who had occupied a dining hall at The New School, at 65 Fifth Avenue, said that they ended their sit-in around 3:30 a.m. Friday, more than 30 hours after it began.

Kevin Dugan, one of the students inside the cafeteria and the senior news editor at the The New School Free Press, said in a phone call that the students decided to leave after the university’s embattled president, Bob Kerrey, agreed to four demands: amnesty for students participating in the demonstration; student participation in selecting a new provost; creation of a committee on socially responsible investment, with student representation; replacement in other New School buildings of space that will be lost because of the demolition of 65 Fifth Avenue, including a library and a 7,000 square foot reading room.

At the beginning of the protest students had said they would not leave the cafeteria unless Mr. Kerrey and other administrators resigned. But as the occupation grew in size and stretched into a second day, a new consensus seemed to emerge, with some students saying it was it unlikely that Mr. Kerrey would agree to such stipulations and instead advocating goals that they said had a better chance of success.

According to Mr. Dugan, student mediators announced around 2:30 a.m. that Mr. Kerrey had agreed to the four terms. Those inside the cafeteria then held a lengthy discussion before voting to leave the cafeteria, he said, emerging onto side streets whooping in jubilation.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

New School In Exile WINS Major Victories in Third Day of Occupation!

1) I agree to grant total amnesty for all participants involved in the occupation and all events related to it over the course of 12/17/08 through 12/19/08 at all New School Buildings. Neither criminal charges nor academic disciplinary measures will be pursued against those involved.

The University will not press charges against Eliot Liu.

Staff and security guards will be compensated for all time lost over the course of the occupation.

2) I agree that students may use the GF building at 65 Fifth Ave until a suitable replacement is secured and instituted, which would include the re-installment of suitable library and study space. This would need to be approved by the USS.

3) I agree that students will have voting representation on the search committee for the interim-Provost and the Provost, as well as any searches that may take place in the future for a new President. The details of this will be worked out with representatives of the University Student Senate, and input from the student body at large.

4) I agree for student participation to establish a committee on Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) for the University’s endowment and that this committee will then establish an independent auditing process with the SRI framework. The committee to establish the SRI will meet by the first week of April, 2009.

5) I agree to grant the University Student Senate the ability to communicate with the student body freely and without constraint (and to not restrict their access to Groupwise email and other technologies that enable this).

6) I agree that a representative of the USS should be allowed to have a representative at meetings of the Board of Trustees in order to speak to specific issues that pertain to decisions passed by the USS or directly relating to USS business.

Final Copy will be posted Shortly!

Thank You Todd May

Just let us know when it's going down at Clemson. We'll be there post haste.

In Gratitude and Solidarity,
The New School in Exile

To the Students, Faculty, Staff and Supporters occupying 65 Fifth Ave.

December 18, 2008
Thursday evening, 7:42 p.m.

To the Students, Faculty, Staff and Supporters occupying 65 Fifth Ave.

I write to you this evening in support and gratitude. Support for your actions on behalf of the New School and in solidarity with those who struggle, and gratitude that you have renewed the meaning of the New School against those who would deny it.

Too often, in our world, we are told that politics is dead, that resistance is useless, and that public action is nothing more than an exercise in nostalgia. We are told that we live in a post-political world, where we must compromise with those who would oppress us and must subordinate ourselves to those who would manage our lives for us.

These past few days you have shown, as others in Europe, in Latin America, in Asia and Africa seek to show, that politics is not dead, that resistance is not useless, and that public action is precisely what our world requires and demands. To the forces of hierarchy and autocracy you have responded with democracy and collective action. To the forces of corporatization you have responded with community. To the forces of conformism you have responded with a critical solidarity that would make the founders of this great school proud.

As you sustain yourselves through this period, know that many of us are with you. Many of us endure the corporatization of university life, and we are with you. Many of us feel the sting of politicians who deny our voices in the name of efficiency and vocational training, and we are with you. Many of us recognize the isolation into which those in power would cast us, and we are with you.

You have nourished us with hope and for that we thank you.

In solidarity,

Todd May
Professor of Philosophy
Clemson University

Message from Antioch in Ohio!

We, the members of the Antioch College Action Network, offer our support and solidarity to the community of the New School. We believe that your struggle and our struggle are intrinsically linked.

The state of higher education

All across the country, in schools large and small, public and private, faculty, staff, and student concerns are being undermined by "business" practices. Tenure, academic freedom, and quality education are being undone by the same mentality that has led to the world's current economic crisis. Antioch College is precariously suspended. The Institute for Social Ecology has greatly reduced its operations and lost its own campus. New College in San Francisco has already fallen, and the New School in New York is fighting back. Antioch College with the Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute ( is, too.

Antioch has faced many of the same problems that the New School is currently facing:

Consolidation of power

The board and administration of Antioch University have placed huge amounts of power in a single executive, Chancellor Tulisse Murdock. The chancellor has consistently undermined the college and any attempts to save it. The New School faculty and students have stood up to President Kerrey's move to become provost as well as president.

Lack of transparency in governance

The administration of Antioch University, corporate owners of Antioch College, operated without checks and balances and in an increasingly secretive fashion. Cut off from the community they nominally served, the administration and board have made increasingly destructive decisions, culminating in the suspension of operations at Antioch College, the rejection of alumni offers to keep the college open, and the destabilizing of Antioch University's educational mission, and thus to the larger University community that they should serve.

Erosion of tenure

Antioch University has been eroding tenure at its other campuses, and there is strong evidence in board minutes and administrative practices at Antioch University to suggest that the suspension of operations at the college is an attempt to eliminate faculty job security at Antioch University as a whole. Like the New School's imbalance of 333 full-time (tenured) to 1,733 part-time faculty, a disturbing trend has emerged across higher education.

Community voting "No Confidence"

Like the New School's "No Confidence" vote in President Bob Kerrey, Chancellor Murdock has faced no fewer than four votes of "No Confidence" from faculty, students, and staff. The Board of Trustees have let warnings from their invested constituents and loyal staff go unheeded and let Murdock remain in power. Let us hope the New School's Trustees do not do the same.

Faculty losing authority over curriculum

The Antioch University Board and administration imposed a disastrous new curriculum on the faculty of Antioch College, cutting enrollment in half, and precipitating a financial disaster that led to the Board voting to suspend the operations of Antioch College.

We stand in solidarity with the autonomous occupiers of the New School against the rising prices of education, the reduction of education to a business model, the erosion of rights in our workplaces, and for the right to a sound and relevant education and the call for a just and responsible social solution to humanity's immediate and devastating crisis.

ACAN is an independent collective of autonomous alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends of Antioch College and villagers of Yellow Springs, Ohio. ACAN is a grassroots movement working collaboratively for a continuous and sustainable future for Antioch College. ACAN has no affiliation with Antioch University, the Antioch College Continuation Corporation, the Antioch University Board of Trustees, the Antioch College Alumni Association, or Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute.ACAN is responsible for the content of this statement. For more information about ACAN visit

Jim Murtha is a Coward

That's all.

The Best Chant of the Night (1:49)



Bye Bye Bob,
The New York Schools in Exile


Nothing like Bob Kerrey's presence to get people angry





The New York Schools in Exile

Wild Out in the Cold

While we are stuck in our glass bubble, waiting to hear back from our negotiators, those who still stand in solidarity with us outside are as noisy and exuberant as ever. We can all sense that change is in the air.

Mr. Kerrey's time is over, Mr. Murtha is a wreck (and an aggressive one at that), inside we are calm and doing the intellectual tasks of letters, manifestos and blogs. Outside, they loosing their voices in support of the idea of this university and universities in general.

We still Strive for our win!
The New York Schools in Exile

Mr. Kerrey I presume

Well, that irascible fellow, Bob Kerrey has returned to the halls of the Graduate Faculty Building unnecessarily escorted by the NYPD because he seems to think that peaceful democratic protest requires police protection. I wonder how he felt in Vietnam?

In Solidarity,
The New York Schools in Exile

No Food (1:16)

We have now been told that there will be no food or drink allowed to enter the premises from now on.

No Food, No Bathrooms, No Rights!

The New York Schools in Exile

A few thoughts on

Each direct action taken by the New York Schools in Exile to exert more control over our campus expands the terms in our ongoing negotiations. Every one, from the initial move to occupy, to barricading the side exit doors and we are still in solidarity with those braving the cold on Fifth Avenue have allowed us the upper hand in our negotiations with the final goal of removing Mssr's Kerrey and Murtha from their post.

The New York Schools in Exile

A Message from CUNY Who Stood with Us as One tonight

CUNY Students Statement of Solidarity from Inside the Occupation of the New School

As CUNY students facing cutbacks and tuition hikes put forward by Governor Paterson, the CUNY administration, and the Board of Trustees; we declare our full support and solidarity with the New School student occupation carried out against the New School's corrupt administration headed by the war criminal Bob Kerrey.

We consider their struggle our struggle.

We as CUNY students see the struggle of the New School students as part of a broader struggle around the world - from the uprisings in Greece and Italy to the recent Republic door and window workers occupation in Chicago to the striking workers at the Stella D'Oro bakeries.

We call on all students and workers everywhere to join in support and solidarity of the students here at New School (New York Schools in Exile) and we ask that you join us as students along with CUNY adjuncts, faculty and staff in our struggle against the tuition hikes, budget cuts and layoffs.

We are inspired by the struggle at the New School and expect this to be a step in creating a broad, inclusive, and diverse movement uniting the students, faculty, staff, and communities around the struggles at CUNY.

In Solidarity,
CUNY Students in occupied territory.

Restricting our space

The Police have told us that we cannot leave the room. Thus no bathrooms. There are quite a few of us here. We have lawyers filing injunctions concerning this restriction of our human rights as we speak.

In solidarity,
The New York Schools in Exile

See Bob Run (12:16am)

Over these past few days we have received support from people all over the world. People who are struggling, people who are fighting and people who are chasing New School President Bob Kerrey down the streets of Manhattan (or at least that is the latest word on the street). The excitement is palpable in this room right now, and people are working the press angle extremely hard, almost obliquely.

Also, we have just overheard that the Police are going to begin restricting our access to the toilets in the building. Good thing we have lots of bottles!

The Police are Surrounding us!

We still hold the room and a physical barrier. They are not very attractive. Dick Tracy Character ugly if you know what I mean.

They are yet to engage us directly.

We are contacting our lawyers, and taking pictures and video. Don't worry friends. We are not perturbed! Please continue to show your support.

The New York Schools in Exile.

Demonstration outside Mr. Kerrey's home! (11:56)

Sorry Bob, all capitalist pigs must be slaughtered in the realm of public opinion.

The New York Schools in Exile

Our Arrested Comrade has been freed! (11:53)

Elliot we are happy for your free state. Please accept our apologies for putting you in such a position to begin with.

In solidarity,
The New York Schools in Exile.

It's Our School

Just keep walking by, we'll tell you what we think!

The Students and Faculty of New York's institutions of higher education will no longer accept your poor judgment.

That judgment led you to horrific crimes in Vietnam. That judgment led you to act like a charlatan in the Senate. That judgment that led you to ruin our school!

Go Away,
The New York Schools in Exile.

A message for Bob and Jim






This is our place now!

This is our home now and we plan to exile you!


We Still have hundreds of comrades standing out the front!

We See you and We hear you!

We are Still ALL ONE!

WE are the New York Students in Exile!


OUR SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!

Negotiations continue (11:21)

Fully on our terms now of course!

We Will get our Part in choosing a provost!

Our Comrades will not have charges pressed!

We Shut Down the Whole School!

We will continue to negotiate the immediate resignation of the Administration!

We ask everyone for calm, we ask for peace, we ask for New York and the World to continue to support us! We have the Upper Hand, in no uncertain terms! It is not over.

Please continue to rally, continue to control 5th Avenue! We need continued progress! We will win!

Solidarity Solidarity Solidarity
The New York Schools In Exile!

It is Ours!

We have our own space!

Solidarity all around.

There is music and study and general joy going on right now in the Graduate Faculty Building.

We had some initial chaos when the building was taken considering we had a significant influx of people, but all is completely calm at this time.

We have gone to work securing what we hold, barricading our doors.

CUNY, NYU,HUNTER, BRONX COMMUNITY COLLEGE, MARYMOUNT MANHATTAN COLLEGE, and more. We are all in exile but we have found a new home. In this home, Academics and democracy rule. In this home, the students hold control. In this home WE are all brothers and sisters.

Solidarity Solidarity Solidarity
We are now New York Schools in Exile!




All Sides! (10:46)

Much More Solidarity and the whole city will be behind us!


Their Blocking traffic out there!

We Love You Our Brothers and Sisters and Mothers and Fathers and partners and everyone!!!

Tonight We are all One We are all Exiled!

(My voice is gone from the Chanting)

The New School in Exile.

To Those Outside! (10:35)

Stay With Us!

We are Working Hard!

We Love You and you are Us!

The New School in Exile!

From an Alum (10:20)

what you folks are doing is so awesome and so important to the new school. as an alum who is a bit too far to join you, all i can say is i and many others like me stand with you in love and solidarity. I've talked to many alumni at this point and we all think you're on the right track; spread the word to those on the inside, we really think you're doing the right thing!

love, support, solidarity,
(name deleted)

Love, support and solidarity from us too. Every message makes us stronger.
The New School in Exile

Communications from the Outside! (10:11)

We have so much Support outside!

Join Us!

Join us!

65 5th Ave!

The Lang Buildings have been shut down 55W13, the 11th & 12th Street buildings!

Solidarity, Solidarity!
The New School in Exile

Solidarity Site with 1000+ members (9:50)

We love the internet and the 21st century.

Comrades around the world:

On the Wolrd Wide Web,
The New School in Exile.

CUNY Can't Fail!

We have rumours of 100+ CUNY students on their way!

There's a Demonstration outside!

Mr. Kerrey, Open Those Doors!

We hear you outside!

The New School in Exile.

Democracy is an Art (9:30)

We are still with you friends!

Our resolve is lasting! We are getting stronger while the Administration gets weaker!

We are right now on the phone with One of the Deans, whom we will not name as per askance.

New School Academia is gaining ground.

The New School in Exile

Faculty Outside!

We now know that Faculty including esteemed Philosoher, Simon Critchley are being held outside.

Our Faculty is coming to support Us!

The New School in Exile.

55 W. 13th Street has been Occupied!

Our Outside contingent has taken the Building at 55W. 13th Street!

The New School in Exile Now holds two Buildings!

New Clashes in Greece

We are in Solidarity with You!

Solidarity rallies

A woman walks past police using tear gas in Athens (18 December 2008)
Some people were caught up in the protests as they shopped
Meanwhile all flights to and from Athens airport were halted for several hours on Thursday as air traffic controllers protested against government policies and demanded a pay rise.

It is part of an industrial action organised by the civil service trade union, ADEDY.

On Wednesday, protesters hung huge banners on the Acropolis, the ancient site that dominates Athens, calling for "resistance".

Conservative Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has rejected calls to step down, despite growing public pressure.

But earlier this week he acknowledged some of the problems that had fuelled the anger of young people.

In a speech to parliamentary colleagues on Tuesday, he said "long-unresolved problems, such as the lack of meritocracy, corruption in everyday life and a sense of social injustice disappoint young people"

Best Wishes,
The New School in Exile

Gawker: "Total Chaos" (8:28)


New School Prez hides from Dangerous Student Freedom Fighters

There you go Bob Kerrey,
The New School in Exile

To the Dancers of Thompkins Square Park! (8:16)

We Too find solidarity with our Grecian Sisters and Brothers!

Join us in your party!

Join us in our Cause!

Join us to Dance the Night Away!

The New School in Exile!

DAILYKOS We hear You! (8:08)

The New School in Exile

Solidarity, Inside and Out (7:57)

We can hear you! And now we are One!

It is a reverse Occupation.

Let Us In,
The New School in Exile

LET THEM IN! (7:53)


We Support You!

-The New School in Exile

Our Demands for Negotiation (7:50pm)

We, the students of The New School, demand:

1. Amnesty for all participants in this student movement, including Elliot Liu. Staff and security guards affected by this protest shall receive appropriate compensation and no repercussions for dutiful fulfillment of their jobs;

2. That students may use the GF building at 65 Fifth Avenue until a suitable replacement is secured, that all capital improvements at the university shall be suspended and these funds shall be redirected toward (a) an autonomous student space where we can study and engage in group work, (b) scholarships and tuition, (c) a respectable library, that students will be included in the decision-making process in order to establish a viable plan for a student space;

3. That all investments and finances shall be fully disclosed so as to permit complete transparency and intelligibility of the creation of a Socially Responsible Investment committee;

4. That an equitable and authoritative tripartite committee including faculty, staff, and students to select an interim provost as well as a permanent replacement for provost, and a new president and vice president, for which there will be no presidential veto for this committee's decision;

5. That there be regularly appointed a student as voting member on board of trustees; and

6. That President Bob Kerrey, Executive Vice President Jim Murtha, and Treasurer Robert Millard be removed from their present positions at the University.

We ask that these demands are binding, and that they be met in writing, on New School University letterhead, signed by President Kerrey or members of the Board of Trustees, BEFORE we leave this building, and that they be presented to students in the second week of spring semester.

We demand further that:
1. Demands 1 and 2 be approved immediately in writing;
2. Demand 3 be enacted in a succinct and clear presentation at a school-wide student assembly during the second week of the spring semester - and that the student body be notified of this next week;
3. Demand 4 be initiated by next week, and that we be notified of this in writing;
4. Demand 5 be finalized at the next board meeting; and
5. Demand 6 be met by the beginning of next school year.

The New School in Exile


Our Rebuttal:

First, there was no disorderly conduct involved.

The Treasurer of our Board of Trustees is the Chairman of L3 Communications the company that perpetrated the Abu Ghraib misdeeds.

The head of security did not address us until we already held the building for over an hour.



In Solidarity,
The New School in Exile.

NY TIMES BLOG from this afternoon (7:24_

December 18, 2008, 4:30 pm

Protest at the New School Turns Unruly

New School Steven Zimmerman, 19, was ejected from a New School building occupied by students. He was not arrested. (Photo: Yana Paskova for The New York Times)

Updated, 5:05 p.m. | Security guards and police officers collided with students at the New School on Thursday morning in a shouting and shoving confrontation, after an overnight sit-in at a university cafeteria organized to protest the leadership of Bob Kerrey, the university’s president, among other issues. The sit-in has continued into the afternoon.

What began as a placid protest with the tacit permission of university officials became chaotic shortly after 10 a.m. as the students tried to expand their occupation to other areas of the building at 65 Fifth Avenue, just south of 14th Street, which includes administrative offices. City police officers removed some students from the building, and students rolled metal Dumpsters into the hall to block the police, who eventually moved back outside. The police said one person was arrested for disorderly conduct.

Mr. Kerrey, the former governor and United States senator from Nebraska who was given an overwhelming vote of no confidence from the university’s faculty this week, showed up at 11:30 a.m. asking to address the dissident students, but they voted not to hear him out.

The demonstration began Wednesday evening in the ground-floor cafeteria, with about 50 students staying overnight citing a list of grievances with the Kerrey administration, dating back to his early support of the Iraq war. They adopted a list of eight demands including a greater student voice in university affairs and the resignations of Mr. Kerrey; James Murtha, the executive vice president; and Robert Millard, treasurer of the board of trustees, who students said was connected to a private security firm working in Iraq.

“Once the faculty vote came out, we thought now is the time,” said Jacob Blumfeld, a graduate student in philosophy.

On Wednesday night, the students pushed wooden tables against the cafeteria’s front door and blocked a rear corridor to the street with heavy recycling bins. Marcus Michelson, also a graduate student in philosophy, said the sit-in was meant to show that the students were serious about having a seat at the negotiating able. “This is about starting a dialogue, and to do that you have to be seen as an equal,” he said. “People just don’t give equality, you have to take it.”

As the demonstration began, a university official told the students, “You’re going about this the wrong way.” Later, after the building’s official closing time of 11 p.m., a university security official, Tom Iliceto, warned them they were “here without authority” but said they could stay.

“Anyone who leaves will not be permitted to re-enter,” Mr. Iliceto said. “However, no one’s safety has been threatened and no property has been damaged. So long as this remains the case, we will permit you to remain in the building this evening.”

The students spent the night painting banners with slogans like “Books Not Bureaucracy” and “New School in Exile,” a reference to the university’s origins as a haven for European intellectuals fleeing fascism.

Some students debated tactics; others gazed at computer screens or studied. Mr. Michelson read “On the Genealogy of Morality” by Nietzsche. Somebody else paged through “Early History of Rome” by Livy. A boombox blared music. Students alternated between catnaps on the wooden cafeteria floor and munching snacks delivered by supporters.

On Thursday morning, about 50 students who stayed overnight were joined by dozens of new arrivals. However, guards denied entrance to students from a consortium of colleges, including New York University and Cooper Union, who are normally allowed inside.

Shortly after 10 a.m., the students voted to expand the area they occupied. They entered a rear corridor at the back of the cafeteria and opened a door to East 13th Street. About 20 students who been stuck outside rushed into the cafeteria, and security guards ran into the hall in an effort to halt them.

Over the next 30 minutes, that cramped and crowded corridor was the scene of repeated shoving matches and loud shouting interspersed with pleas for peace by both sides. At one point, guards charged through the hall, thrusting students against a balustrade and banging a camera belonging to a newspaper photographer into a wall.

Students surged past the guards and attempted to block their path with pieces of plywood and trash containers.

Mr. Kerrey appeared in the building lobby around 11:30, standing in a knot of university officials. Students declined to meet with him and reiterated their demand that he resign. Cries arose from the corridor to East 13th Street, where police officers grappled with students, grabbing some and pulling them from the building.

After the skirmish, Damon Tavano Peters, a doctoral student in politics, approached Mr. Iliceto and asked for assurances that the city police would not be allowed back on university property. Mr. Iliceto countered by proposing that the students move the wooden tables from the cafeteria entrance.

“You keep asking for an agreement,” he said. “I’m not making a contract. I’m asking you very nicely to move the tables.”

By 2 o’clock, the tables had been moved a few feet, but students stood near the door. The crowd in the cafeteria swelled to more than 100, and the students held a meeting to discuss their next moves.