The New School Students’ Demands & Occupation Are Righteous; NYPD Assaults & Arrests Are Wrong

 

The World Can’t Wait strongly condemns the NYPD’s vicious and unjustified physical assault on students at the New School, and the arrest of 22 demonstrators. We demand that charges against all of them be dropped immediately, and express our full solidarity and support for these New School resisters.
 
On Friday April 10, more than 100 police officers converged on students who were non-violently occupying their campus. Video evidence clearly shows cops repeatedly pepper spraying students—proving the NYPD’s earlier insistence that officers did not do so to be an outright lie—and also shows police beating demonstrators on the street. This sort of brutality would be outrageous in any situation, but the fact that the vast majority of it was meted out against students on their own campus is all the more reprehensible.
 
The demands of the New School students, which included the resignation of war criminal president Bob Kerrey and greater student control of the campus, are righteous. We applaud the courageous, defiant spirit of those who decided to demand change themselves, rather than placing their hopes in politicians who repeatedly promise—but never deliver—such change.
 
At many points during the past few years, recognizing the tremendous galvanizing impact that waves of student resistance can have on society as a whole, World Can’t Wait and others resisting wars for empire, torture, and the many other crimes of our government have wondered: “Where are the students? Where are the youth stepping out to lead the charge towards a new, and radically different, society?” Recent bursts of political life at the New School, along with similar manifestations at NYU, inspires hope that a new generation of student resisters can and will step forward.
 
At the same time, the police brutality visited upon students at the New School must be linked to the heightened repression carried out by our government particularly during the Bush years, connected to escalating assaults on a broad range of people throughout the world, in forms including: Overt torture and spying on the people; undisguised wars of aggression; secret kidnapping and detention of people without charging or trying them; the raiding, detention, and deportation of huge numbers of immigrants; and killings of persons of color by law enforcement.
 
An increasingly vicious crackdown on dissent within the U.S. was driven home very powerfully in the massive police presence, pre-emptive raids, violence, arrests, and political charges against protesters at the national Democratic and Republican conventions in 2008. College campuses have been a target of this government crackdown on dissent. Images of riot police raiding the New School called to mind police tasering University of Florida student Andrew Meyer in September 2007 police because he was too persistent in asking John Kerry tough questions. 
 
Dissent from U.S. foreign policy brings consequences for faculty, too. Professors who speak out against the U.S. and/or Israel have been lately subjected to politically-motivated firings (whether they were acknowledged as such or not) of University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, for denouncing the brutality of the United States government and military throughout the world; Depaul University Professor Norman Finkelstein, for speaking out against the crimes against Palestinians by the state of Israel; and Bard College professor Joel Kovel, for the same reason as Finkelstein.
 
Reversing the fascist direction in which our government has moved during the Bush years, and bringing to a halt the crimes of this government will require massive and sustained independent political resistance. Recent displays of student activism at the New School and NYU are inspiring examples of what this resistance looks like; of the spirit of bravery and moral certitude that must fuel this resistance; and of the tremendous impact this resistance can have. 
 
We urge students at the New School—and those across the city and the country who have been inspired by their actions—to broaden their demands to address the mounting crimes of our government, including the occupations carried out for empire, and to raise their sights. A student movement can change the world by aiming not only for a radically different campus, but for a radically different world; a world in which the tremendous diversity of people on this planet live and work cooperatively for the liberation of humanity, rather than a world governed by brutal wars for empire, torture, and oppression.
 
In solidarity, The World Can’t Wait                 worldcantwait.org                       866 973 4463

 

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World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.