cunymayday

in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, calls for a day without the 99%, a General Strike, and more!

To Be Wed: CUNY Chancellor Goldstein and Kroll Security Group

Matthew Goldstein and Kroll Security Group will marry Tuesday, the first of May, in a public ceremony. The wedding party, accompanied by the romantic strains of the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, will leave the Graduate Center of the City University of New York at two in the afternoon in a triumphant procession down Fifth Avenue to East 24th Street, where they will exchange their self-penned vows at the Southern Fountain of Madison Square Park.

Matthew Goldstein is the love-child of Mayor Bloomberg. Kroll is the pride and joy of parent company Providence Private Equity, a major investor in for-profit education, and chairman William J. Bratton, who among many other policing distinctions is the former commissioner of the New York Police Department.

Goldstein is the Chancellor of the City University of New York, where he is known for raising tuition beyond the reach of the working class, permitting the NYPD to spy on Muslim student groups, removing science laboratories and language requirements from undergraduate educations, and otherwise furthering the privatization of a once-proud public university system.

Kroll Security Group is a corporate and political socialite that services the likes of Bear Stearns, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, the New York Police Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, New Scotland Yard, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, former President George W. Bush, and the Homeland Security Advisory Council.

The couple began their relationship shortly after Goldstein oversaw the beating and arrests by the NYPD of CUNY students and faculty who attempted to attend a public hearing by the CUNY Board of Trustees at Baruch College on the 21st of November, 2011. Their love affair was a whirlwind and they announce that they expect their union to bear fruit, which they will name An Independent Report on the Events of November 21st.

Their wedding site is available at http://goldsteinkrollwedding.wordpress.com

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The Free University of New York City

Mission Statement

The Free University is a collective educational experiment that will be held on May 1, 2012, from 10am-3pm. In solidarity with the general strike, theFree University offers a public space for the 99% to disengage from an unequal system and imagine a model for alternative education. Those gathered in Madison Square Park, and those meeting in other spaces in solidarity, will create a university that is open to all, without debt or tuition for students, without pre-requisites, age limits or any other disqualifying requirements. Learning can only happen through interaction, exchange, and dialogue. To create a living future together, all must be included and welcome.

Free University as strike

The Free University is a form of strike, but it is not merely a withdrawal of labor. As students, educators, citizens and non-citizens, we strike with affirmation – actively bringing into being the world we want to see. It is a strike for an educational system that serves our collective needs and desires. It is a strike to become decision-makers in our collective future, for knowledge to be a genuine commons and a collaborative production – not a source of profit.

How to participate / What it will look like

The Free University is an open invitation to educators around New York City to participate in May Day 2012. During the day, lectures, workshops, skill-shares, and discussions will be held — all open to the public. If you are in solidarity with the general strike but cannot cancel your class, bring it here! We also invite all educators interested in volunteering special sessions and classes for the day. We will have designated spaces for the quieter and more intimate classes. Sign up here: http://maydaynyc.org/freeuniversity

Mission

We must create the Free University because our universities are becoming less and less free. Higher education is made less accessible by withdrawal of public support, the rising cost of tuition, and an admission system that makes university campuses replicate inequalities in wealth and societal power rather than reverse them. Higher education is devalued through austerity measures, corporate streamlining, productivity metrics, and budget cuts. We refuse to allow the university to become a place of ever-increasing surveillance, policing, and repression of dissent. We oppose the modeling of the university on corporate structures from unjustified executive compensation to the unnecessary standardization of the curriculum to the exploitation of contracted and adjunct labor. We strike against being doomed to lifelong debt, constant training and re-skilling, and against a system that saddles us with the cost of producing exploitable workers for the market. We refuse an educational system governed by the dictates of competition, individualism, and profit.

The site chosen for this Free University is symbolic. Madison Square Park is the public space closest to the site of the Free Academy of the City of New York, the school which was to become the City University of New York. We honor the historic commitment of educators to build free, public universities for all.

No single day, park, or effort can contain our vision; instead, we propose and will struggle to make all our universities places of free education, inquiry, and access to knowledge for all. We demand that our society put forward the necessary resources to provide such an education for all.

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Five Theses on the Student Strike

Written by autonomous students at the CUNY Graduate Center

I. As students, we strike at the heart of an economy that depends on an education system that exploits us, disciplines us, and profits from us.

To strike as students is to recognize ourselves as workers in the present and future economy. Our labor is necessary to produce and reproduce an
educational system which is a source of profit and plunder for the 1% and a source of disciplined and exploitable labor power. A student strike is a refusal of this role at every level—from high schools to colleges and universities. So long as the employing class pro! ts from our knowledge, we should not pay tuition and be plunged into debt in order to be employable. Instead, we should be guaranteed a wage to learn.

II. We strike to reject a system that divides us.

We strike because our desire to learn must not be used to maintain violent social divisions. We reject a system that exploits our differences and divides us along race, sexual, gender, and class lines. We are taught that education is our best means to “get ahead” in life, yet, many are also left behind, devalued, discarded, or simply excluded. We reject a system that forces us into vicious competition and pits us against each other.

III. We strike against a failing system that robs us of our future.

We strike against the devaluation of our education through austerity measures, rising tuition and budget cuts. We strike against being doomed to lifelong debt, constant training and re-skilling, and against a system that saddles us with the cost of producing exploitable workers for the market. We refuse an educational system governed by the dictates of competition, individualism, and profit.

IV. We strike to affirm and create education as we want it.

We strike for an educational system that serves our collective needs and desires. We want to be decisionmakers in our collective future, for knowledge to be a genuine commons and not a source of profit.

V. We strike to build our collective power and create something new.

To strike is to realize our power to determine our everyday lives. We refuse to let our bodies and our minds be held hostage to the current educational and work regimes, to collaborate quietly as the violent logic of capital bankrupts us of our present and future. We strike together to build a better world and reclaim our future.

Download Five Theses on Student Strike (PDF)

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Love is in the air!

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#DaysTilMayDay countdown

http://daystilmayday.tumblr.com/

COUNTING DOWN TO 1 MAY WITH
a radical struggle,
a radical speech,
a radical creative act,
a rad tune,
a radical text,
the commemoration of a radical life,
& a radical reason to strike
ONE OF EACH A DAY TIL MAY DAY. Great for starting class discussions!

As a preview of what’s to come, Day 30 featured:

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Teach CUNY website

Teach CUNY was a month-long faculty and student-led campaign in March to build awareness about the problems caused by decades of cuts to CUNY. The website (http://teachcuny.wordpress.com) includes resources prepared by BMCC faculty to help prepare for Teach CUNY Week, including

Teach CUNY 2012 is organized by a coalition consisting of the PSC BMCC ChapterNYPIRG, and Students United for a Free CUNY. For questions about Teach CUNY, email teachcuny@hotmail.com.

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Sample curriculum planner

1. What are the themes you want your students to address?

Examples:

  1. Who are the 99%
  2. Participatory Decision-Making
  3. Modes of Civic Engagement, Civil Disobedience, etc.
  4. Debt/Tuition Increases
  5. Privatization

Please add your own, too!

2. What materials will you use to help guide students’ exploration of the theme?

Examples: 

“There comes a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part, you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, the people who own it, that unless you’re free the machine will be prevented from working at all.” –Mario Savio (Leader of the Free Speech Movement, Berkeley, CA, 1964)

See additional pages on this site for Readings and Teaching Materials.

3.  What questions will help guide your exploration of the materials in connection with the theme? (to think about what is going on “beneath the surface” of CUNY…)

Suggested questions:

What’s going on here? What overall story is this poster showing?

(Where) are you on this?

What is the octopus? How did it get in the water and how did it get so big???

What does privatization mean to you? Why does it matter?

What does this poster say about neoliberalism? What the hell is that?

How are capitalism, privatization, and neoliberalism affecting public education? What else do these things affect? Do we see this in other places?

Who is drowning? Why?

What is sinking? Why? So what?

Who/what is disposable?

Who is making money here? Who is benefiting in other ways? Who is not? What are the differences between these folks?

Who is in the boat (upper left corner)? What decisions do they make? How did they get there?

What’s up with all this shit floating around the boat? (corporate logos as pollution)

What is growing up the right side of the poster (CUNY struggles/occupations as seaweed)? Where is it growing from?

Which people have occupied public spaces in the past, and why? What else have people done in the past to fight for their university/other common spaces?

What is the relationship between the 1969 CCNY struggle and 1975 tuition implementation? What else was going on at this time (think in terms of social movements…economic/political changes worldwide)? What was the result? Why?

Why are there gaps in the timeline of CUNY struggles?

How are adjunct and student struggles related? How have students and workers allied in the past? How/why is it important that we work together now?

What do racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, classism, nationalism, colonialism, etc. have to do with the defunding of public education?

What does it mean for all these people to be collecting together at the bottom?! (What can we do together down here???)

How is the CUNY crisis producing its own “gravediggers”? How is being on the bottom generative? What is the potential of coming together?

What is on the seabed?

How can we fight this Octopus? How would you sink the boat?

What is happening to the students being squished out the top, and kind of floating in the middle? Do you identify with any of their insecurities?

Why are the prison and military on here? Handcuffs? Corporations? What do you think the connection is to public ed?

Did you know we didn’t always have turnstiles and security at CUNY? Why do you think it’s changed? What do you think the implications of this are?

What is missing from this poster? What would you add???

Visioning/Strategizing…  What is the future of CUNY, and public education, in general? How can we have an impact and shape our own future? What do you want to see changed? How can we do this together?

4.  What will be the final product of students’ work that will help you see how they are interpreting the questions, materials, and themes, and that they can build upon in future sessions?

Examples:

  1. Students can write a paragraph/page connecting one or more of the themes from the poster to a theme or question that has been addressed in your class.
  2. Students can create a poster that connects one or more of the themes from the poster to a struggle from their own life, that visually or textually explains an action that could be taken to alleviate or address the struggle.
  3. Students write a letter, poem, song, rap, etc. that connects one or more of the themes from the class to a theme that has been addressed in your class or to a struggle in their own life.

5.  How will you be sure that students are not just making sense of the questions, materials, and themes abstractly, but also connected to their lives and experiences, and in a way that they can act on their new understandings?

Examples:

  1. After students create their product analyzing the themes and materials, they can have a conversation discussing what they created and how it reflects their own lives, experiences, and struggles.
  2. After students create their product analyzing the themes and materials, they can create a plan of action for whether/how they would like to be involved in the day/week of student action.
  3. After students create their product analyzing the themes and materials, they can discuss how the class they are currently in is helping them to address questions and themes that have arisen.
  4. After students create their product analyzing the themes and materials, they can discuss how they would like to address the material for their course in a way that helps them to address questions and themes that have arisen during these activities/conversations.

6.  What is the timeline of this session?

Example: 

5 minutes
Introduce the events of the week, your reasons for doing this activity, and what the activity will consist of.  Present one or more themes that you would like your students to address, and ask for questions, comments, concerns, etc. from the class

10 minutes
Present materials (poster, flier, quote, etc.) with guiding questions and have students respond to one or more questions using the materials you have presented (individually, in partners, or in groups of 3).

15 minutes
Present activity for students to write or create something using the materials and questions you have provided.

10 minutes
Have students who are interested present their work and engage the class in a conversation to connect that work to their own experiences and feelings about what is going on in their lives, in your class, in CUNY, in NYC, in the U.S. and in the world right now.

7.  What materials do you need for this session?

Example Materials:

  1. Copies of the poster/flier/quote/etc. for each student
  2. Flash drive with a copy of the poster/flier/quote/etc. to put up on a projector
  3. Blank paper for students to design their own posters
  4. Markers, colored pencils, etc. for students to design their own posters
  5. List of themes and/or questions to pass out to students so they can choose one
  6. Specific theme or question to write on the board for all students to respond to

8. How does this session fit into a broader set of sessions (unit)?

Example:

This is where you can demonstrate the connection between your course and this material so that you can justify it to any administrator or other faculty who challenge your use of class time for this purpose.  It is also an opportunity to authentically weave these questions, and themes into the rest of the material from your course.

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