February 19, 2009

The Occupation Will Not Be...Erm, Scratch That

Students--students I know personally!--are occupying Kimmel Hall at New York University. This is a sentimental moment for an old codger. The first building I ever occupied was an NYU library, forty years ago last fall.

But don't worry, I'm here to neither to wax nostalgic nor to offer advice from the vantage point of my advanced years ("Barricade? You call that a barricade?. Why, a cub scout pack could..."). I wanna give a shout out to the folks from Take Back NYU and their allies from other area campuses for their gutsy action.

Their demands can be found on their website, along with some useful info for the skeptical and self-righteous: they've been trying to negotiate with the administration for several years; the financial transparency they are demanding might have saved NYU from dropping $50 million on Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme, their calls for the university to serve the community and promote social justice show that this is not mere self-serving.

In particular, by making demands explicitly in support of the Palestinian people, which will draw no small amount of flak from Zionists at NYU and elsewhere, they are taking an important step in breaking the hold of the Israel lobby on the cultural and political life of this country. It keeps the heat on, as Hampshire College takes furious fire for its recent decision to divest itself of stock in corporations with major ties to the Israeli military.

The easiest way to support the occupation if you are in NYC is to find when solidarity demos are scheduled and attend! If you can, watch the website for calls to mobilize if a bust seems imminent. I hope today to get hold of some other NYUers from my era (especially ones who didn't get turfed out and actually graduated) to see if we can crank up some alumni support.

[h/t for the title to Isaac Silver]

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