Re: Committee to Investigate the April 10th Occupation of the New School -- 05.18.09
Re: Committee to Investigate the April 10th Occupation of the New School
To help push along the inquiry into the facts concerning the occupation of 65 Fifth Avenue on April 10th 2009, we are offering clear and direct responses to all the questions that the New School committee is seeking to answer. We do hope this clears some things up.
On Tue, May 5, 2009 at 4:56 PM, Announce@newschool.edu wrote:
May 5, 2009
The Chair of the Board of Trustees and the Co-chairs of the Faculty Senate have
agreed to form a Committee, to be convened by the Chairman of the Board, to conduct a detailed inquiry into the facts relating to the occupation of 65 Fifth Avenue on April 10, 2009 and subsequent events.
Among the questions we expect our report to inquire into are the following:
1. How was entry into 65 Fifth Avenue effected early in the morning of April 10?
Through the vortex.
2. How many persons entered the building at that time?
A risk of lobsters.
(a) How many were students or faculty of the University? How many were not connected with the University?
We are all connected to capital; the university is a capitalist enterprise; we are
all connected to the university. QED
3. What was the stated purpose of the entry and how was that purpose communicated?
The effacement of law through an act of divine violence communicated through its very being(-out-of-time).
4. Did the persons entering the building threaten or cause physical harm to any persons or property in the building?
I remember when the property cried, torrents of saltwater down the gutters of law.
"Respect my rights," the doors sang. "Over my dead body," whispered the epoxy. "But my texture!" the carpet chanted. "Be my lover," the paint responded. A family of things, packed together in church. "Shhh! The sermon is about to start," opened the gates.
"All ye who have gathered here today," the building pounded with fury, "take note of the power of our lord and savior, the One whose name shall not be spoken, the One whose form is in us, which connects us, which gives us strength to go on. Praise be to he, the truth of our time, the time of our truth, the Proper One."
On the one hand, an overexploited proletarian was calmly and peacefully escorted out with no harm whatsoever, with precise care and speed so as not to scare or upset him. The police interrogation session frightened him, as he said, not the students. Any subsequent pain was completely unintentional and students have made strong efforts to articulate their remorse.
On the other hand, a gaggle of students were pepper-sprayed directly in the
eyeballs, while people outside were socked in the jaw and slammed headfirst on the ground by our friendly neighborhood legally justified violence agency, the police. No admissions of guilt, no apologies, nothing from the force of law. Only the uninterrupted monologue of self-praise.
5. Did any of the persons in the group that entered wear ski masks, carry
weapons, or articles that could be used as weapons or threaten harm to people or property? Did people who had contact with the group and observed its behavior believe they or others or property were being threatened with physical harm?
The mountains inside were laced with fog, and the air was dry and curt. Of course skis were requires to pass between valleys, and go from peak to peak. Masks blocked the snow, but the articles were of no use. Why bring in articles when all have
access to .PDF's? Weapons were carried across the valley, the weapons of trust, solidarity, love, freedom, courage, friendship, and joy. Hard to fit them in our bags, we wore them outright, swallowed them wholesale, or shared them amongst us
like a murder of crows.
The behavior, observed by numerous scientists, sociologists, marketers, security apparatuses as well as other lobsters, schoolchildren, criminals, and Greeks, had a definite structure. A seemingly unheard of phenomenon in recent time, only recognizable through historical forms of activity, the behavior was seemingly the actual product of one's own creation, desired and willed from start to finish, blocked from all mechanisms of recuperation and apparatuses of domination. A practice of theory, opaque to estrangement, transparent to life, this form of being is immanently hostile to the researcher's quota for new cool identities to be bought and sold for the upcoming quarter.
"They or others or property," a perfect synthesis of our times, a formula of modern community. They. Others. Property. They, that is the group over there, distant, multiple, separate. Others, the non-self, different, unsame, unnamed, outside. Property, the name of all names, the lining of the cloud, the eye of shame, the uncommon, the seal, the stamp, the bullet in your trust, the debt of time, the wealth of cemeteries.
6. What information about the entry, or the behavior of the entering group was initially communicated to University Security?
"01011100101001000100111010101011010101010101001010101001011010010101" was IMMEDIATELY reported to all university security facilities. Any attempt of the administration to deny such genuine information sharing is outright BLASPHEMY.
(a) To whom did University Security communicate this information?
(b) Was additional information communicated to University Security? When? Was
this information further communicated? To whom?
If what human beings had to communicate to each other were always and only something, there would never be politics properly speaking, but only exchange and conflict, signals and answers. But because what human beings have to communicate to each other is above all a pure communicability (that is, language), politics then arises as the communicative emptiness in which the human face emerges as such. It is precisely this empty space that politicians and the media establishment are trying to be sure to control, by keeping it separate in a sphere that guarantees its unseizability and by preventing communicativity itself from coming to light. This means that an integrated Marxian analysis should take into consideration the fact that capitalism (or whatever other name we might want to give to the process dominating world history today) not only was directed to the expropriation of productive activity, but was also and above all directed to the alienation of language itself, of the communicative nature of human beings.
7. When were responsible senior members of the Administration first notified of
the occupation of 65 Fifth Avenue?
Timing. Schedule. Structure. Instant. Instant. Instant. Time on the continuum. Point 1, Point 2, Point 3. In-between Points: 1.5, 1.6. In-between in-between points: 1.51, 1.52. Infinity alpha vs. Infinity beta. Timing is everything. Succession, not simultaneity. 1, 2, 3, n+1. A linear progression to extend infinitely. Progress. The law of progress. A starting point. Zero. God. No end point but redemption. Redeem us, redeem us yesterday, transfinite.
The clocks tell the time. The time tells the day. The day tells me to work. Burn the clocks. Negate time. Liberate the day. Abolish work.
(a) What was the subsequent chain of notification?
x told y, y told z, and z was like, oh my god, i can't believe x said that! i know, y said, but x is always, like, saying that. i know i know, said z, but i didn't think that would be said this time. come on, y said, you're so dumb sometimes. oh shut up y and kiss me.
(b) When President Kerrey was notified, what facts were communicated to him?
Facts: The concatenation of descriptors, tied together around a monad, linked to a chain on a continuum of linear time. Repetition of the same. The law of the situation. Automatism, objectified.
Truth: Material burdens carried by faithful subjects in the wake of catastrophic events, undecidable from the law of the situation. Novelty through rupture. Anomic presence of the void, declared.
8. Who initially communicated with the police department about the occupation of 65 Fifth Avenue? What information was given to the police department? Todayís territory is the product of many centuries of police operations. People have been pushed out of their fields, then their streets, then their neighborhoods, and finally from the hallways of their buildings, their universities, in the demented hope of containing all life between the four sweating walls of privacy. The territorial question isnít the same for us as it is for the state. For us itís not about possessing territory. Rather, itís a matter of increasing the density of the communes, of circulation, and of solidarities to the point that the territory becomes unreadable, opaque to all authority. We donít want to occupy the territory, we want to be the territory.
(a) To which notification did the police respond?
"They have swords!"
i. What was the response?
"Shields, helicopters and tanks, oh my!"
(b) Did any later call provoke a further police response? Whose call and what
(c) To what extent, if any, did the police respond to specific requests from any non-police department request for specific types or levels of police action? To what extent was police action dictated by internal police guidelines for dealing with similar demonstrations.
The extent to which the demonstration was dictated by a similar extent, allowed for a guideline of levels to be requested. If any, the internal types were similar to the specific response for dealing with non-departments. QED
9. Were University guidelines relating to demonstrations observed by the occupiers, other students, faculty, and the Administration?
"Demonstrations . . . have great potential to disrupt normal functions."
- Demonstration Guidelines
As a community devoted to fulfilling its potential, the disruption of normal functions is the highest goal any demonstration can achieve, according to the University Guidelines on Demonstration. The occupiers did observe this injunction, and materially unleashed the potential for a disruption of normal functionality. This task, highest among all, achieves its goal when a particular function becomes useless, and the object, structure, or event that houses said function is reintegrated into the totality of life as a unified social practice. Such cohesion of activity realizes an inseparability between physical location, social relations, and temporal unfolding. However, as the Guidelines discuss, this potential unity is impossible to achieve without a simultaneous destruction of the imposed functionality in which the demonstration seeks to supersede. To demonstrate in practice these dual purposes of social action in a unified way is the goal of every real demonstration. Occupation is the logical result of such guidelines.
(a) What aspects of the guidelines were not followed?
"Free exchange of ideas requires active, ongoing, sometimes arduous support by the university community."
- Demonstration Guidelines
We too believe in the free exchange of ideas and other commodities, and we hope that a transparent space of democratic communication can open up new vistas for the transportation and circulation of such ideas or commodities in our world. Without such arduous support, how can new ideas or commodities enter the world and impose their reign upon our defeated wills? We need active, ongoing support of the free exchange of ideas or commodities to make this university, this community, this world, function. Anything else would be anti-civilized.
"The exercise of the freedom of expression does not mean its unlimited exercise at all times, in all possible manners, in all places."
- Demonstration Guidelines
An unlimited exercise of freedom would surely lead to the collapse of all time, proliferation in all possible manners, and secession in all places. A regulated, disciplinary management of freedom must contain such a threat before itís too late. Occupation, as the most salient form of unified activity, if done properly could lead to the unlimited exercise of freedom. Hence, at all times, in all possible manners, in all places, we must cut it off at the start.
i. Were there reasons for their not being followed?
ďThe University also will designate a bulletin board in the lobby of the Albert List Academic Center where members of the university community can exercise their right of free expression on any issue.Ē
- Demonstration Guidelines
Without such a bulletin board to exercise their rights on "any issue," what would students do? How else would they communicate their unimportant opinions to uninterested students? What other alibis for non-action would they have, if not for such a bulletin board? Where would security administrators go to look for potential threats and disruptions? How would people communicate about the petty values of their lives without a hostile object to confront them with predetermined forms of how they are supposed to already respond?
The growing infantilization of modern students and the increasing formation of student groups are two aspects of the same process. Democracy attempts to organize the newly created student groups without affecting the property structure which the students strive to eliminate. Democracy sees its salvation in giving these students not their right, but instead a chance to express themselves. The students have a right to change property relations; Democracy seeks to give them an expression while preserving property. The logical result of Democracy is the introduction of aesthetics into political life.
Students respond by occupying everything.
10. How did negotiations for the occupants to leave the building start?
With two-hundred police vehicles surrounding four city blocks containing hundreds of cops with riot gear, guns, shields, helmets, and helicopters above swarming, with 50-60 cops on the roof of the building sledgehammering their way through the doors as chainsaws cut through the front, with three-hundred sets of reinforced metal barricades blocking every entrance and containing every exit, the negotiations started on equal terms to the nineteen occupiers inside who had no weapons but the courage amongst them.
(a) At what point were the occupiers asked to leave the building?
When time took up arms and imposed its will on space.
(b) Did the occupiers request a negotiating intermediary? If so, how long
before one was identified?
The occupiers respectfully requested the autodestruction of all authority and the immediate liberation of spaces of conflict such as 65 Fifth Ave. However, the immediacy of their claim strayed from their theoretical commitment to the dialectical logic of mediation. Hence, a debate broke out, between the pro-immediatists and the pro-mediatists, with the first group arguing for the direct sublation of mediation through the supersession of the dialectic itself in struggle, while the latter group reaffirmed the necessity of mediated existence as a historical legacy to be completed and not to be avoided. The two camps finally came to a conclusion in practice when they discovered their own activity Ė as unity of subject and object in-itself and for-itself Ė emerged as the presupposition of both.
This occurred at 5:55am and 37 seconds.
i. What role did the intermediary play?
The intermediary finds that it immediately is and is not another occupier, as also that this other occupier is for itself only when it cancels itself as existing for itself, and has self-existence only in the self-existence of the other. Each is the mediating term to the other, through which each mediates and unites itself with itself; and each is to itself and to the other an immediate self-existing reality, which, at the same time, exists thus for itself only through this mediation. They recognize themselves as mutually recognizing one another.
(c) At what point did the occupiers indicate that they would leave the building
Clearly, the moment when the occupiers announced their peaceful intentions to leave the building was on the rooftop after they dropped the OCCUPY EVERYTHING banner but before they unfurled the APRIL FOOLS MOTHERFUCKER banner, as they waved black and red flags in masks and read the pamphlet ďAnti-Capitalism at the New SchoolĒ by New School Schwarz und Rot from a bullhorn to the crowd below, which started with a line from Walter Benjamin that said:
The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the Ďstate of emergencyí in which we live is not the exception but the rule. We must attain to a conception of history that is in keeping with this insight. Then we shall clearly realize that it is our task to bring about a real state of emergency.
(d) Were the occupiers told that, since the police believed that they occupied the building unlawfully, they would have to be identified and subject to possible criminal sanctions?
Police: #%#%#%#% FUCK YOU@#$@#%$ UNLAWFULLY$%#^%#^%#^%
(e) What was the reaction of the occupiers?
Occupier X: Hey, Y, are we occupying this building unlawfully, as he said?
Occupier Y: Yes.
Occupier X: Well, how come we didnít get a permit first, and occupy it lawfully?
Occupier Y: Because youíre a fucking idiot, X.
(f) Did any try to leave the building without being identified?
The more I am recognized, the more my gestures are hindered, internally hindered.
Here I am, caught in the super-tight meshwork of the new power. In the impalpable net of the new police:
THE IMPERIAL POLICE OF QUALITIES.
There is a whole network of assemblages through which I ďintegrateĒ myself, and that incorporates these qualities in me.
A whole petty system of filing, identification and mutual surveillance.
A whole diffuse prescription of absence. A whole machinery of mental control, which aims at panopticism, at privatized transparency, at atomization. And in which I struggle.
(g) Did occupiers open the doors to let the police into the building? Or did the police force the door open?
The Occupiers have the ball with 12 seconds left in the 2nd half, but the Police are coming up quick behind them, on top of them, in front of them, beside them, below them. The Occupiers pass left, give and go, double-back, ball is in the paint going up for the net and NO, blocked at the last minute by a Police shuffle. Double-barricaded, fouled out, the Occupiers try a final take to the hole but the clock RUNS OUT and the subs never get the chance to come in and take over from the starters. Overall, the Occupiers take everyone by surprise with their elegant moves and tight coordination, but they didnít count on the hard Police defense, which was, just to be frank, backed by the University refs. Next time, with the Occupiers having the home court advantage, weíre likely to see a rematch that nobody can predict.
(h) Did any of the occupiers resist arrest? Were there forcible arrests with injury to the persons arrested or the police?
The only force that resisted arrest was the force of history. At first suspended in the light of practice, historyís deactivated status contained a potential for what some call redemption. With its decapitated body, the angel of history no longer looks back or forward. It simply wanders aimlessly against, or with, the storm of progress. But when time is arrested, the body of history leaps over the storm and, in its wake, unleashes an even greater one. A hurricane of truth liquidates the storm of progress and, for a moment, happiness wanders amongst the mortals. When the force of law catches sight of such a void in its very own fabric, it unifies all its disparate elements to block it. Resisting arrest, the angel of history enters the storm again, wandering indistinctly until the next catastrophe. The mortals are not saved, and the incomplete project of redemption sits, waiting for another to take it up.
11. Are there University policies and procedures for communicating about events such as these with the University community and with the general public?
A MESSAGE TO THE NEW SCHOOL COMMUNITY CONCERNING THE ILLEGAL CRAZY OCCUPATION OF 65 FIFTH AVE BY A BAND OF NONSTUDENTS WHO FUCKED UP OUR INVESTMENT IMAGE AS THE PETTY-BOURGEOIS UNIVERSITY FOR THE HIP CONSUMER-STUDENT MARKET-NICHE WITH THEIR UNREPETANT PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE OF TOTAL REVOLT.
The New School loves protest. Hey, we were founded on protest. Iíve been to protests. This one time, I was protesting so hard on acid that I had to arrest myself for fear of total liberation. Ah, yes, that was 1966, right before all the bad protests started, but after the good ones lost their steam. How come todayís protests arenít like the ones from those days? Back then, before every protest, we did mounds of coke and painted our nipples red in order to frighten the police when we lifted our shirts. We usually had an orgy or two afterwards, rolling on lush carpets in groovy apartments as Jefferson Airplane wrapped round my head and the orgasmic unity of two, three, four lovely souls was synergized to the television screen. Every protest was sexual, and all sex was protestual.
But now, our youths are lost. Caught up in boring meetings and clandestine actions, they forget the true nature of protest Ė immediate social ecstasy. Sure, thereís something like a cause or campaign, but the protest form has been exhausted when it no longer leads to the generalization of joy. Iím not saying that we understood this back then. On the contrary, we of the previous generation didnít realize that such a goal was in fact cancelled by our drug-induced sexual escapades. Yeah they were fun,but their limited nature did not prepare us for the counter-revolution to come. Today, any revolt that pushes social pleasure either to the future horizon or contains it to the instant of action blocks the possibility for a time of joy that sees no end in sight. In effect, our limited freedom allowed us to go back to work happy. This was our mistake. I hope the students donít repeat it.
These students must break out of their student ghettos and connect to the larger social tension at hand. An occupation is cool and all, but that was so Ď68. I would have thought that students could do more than just occupy a building for themselves. How come they didnít occupy multiple buildings and invite the whole city in? How come they didnít create their own self-defense network? How come they didnít make the building into a site for propaganda, action planning, radio broadcasting? How come they didnít connect with plumbers and electricians in the neighborhood, construction workers and subway drivers, restaurant workers and coffee servers? What would have happened if the entire block was freed from its subservience to selling commodities, enforcing work, and managing order? A place where people could talk directly, think clearly, enjoy freely, and live according to their actual needs and their shared desires.
But our students are still young. I am their enemy, I guess, but I am closer to them than they think. We see each other clearly, without the fog of politics or the mask of reform. I know what they want, they know what I want. I will oppose them so as to help them become stronger. And they will. One day, when our lives are tied together in a real struggle against capital, weíll laugh at these days of youth and smile behind the barricades as the empire crumbles to the ground.
With Fists Raised,
(a) If such policies and procedures exist, to what extent were they followed?
Because governing has never been anything other than postponing by a thousand
subterfuges the moment when the crowd will string you up, and every act of
government is nothing but a way of not losing control of the population.
New School for Endless Occupation