Barnard-Columbia International Socialist Organization

February 28, 2009

Panel tonight: STOP THE BUDGET CUTS!

Filed under: ISO Events — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 3:50 am
The NYC ISO is hosting this great panel tonight. As always, contact us at columbia.iso@gmail.com if you’re like to take the train down with us!
—————————
STOP THE BUDGET CUTS!

Speakers
Marvin Holland: TWU 100*, founder of “Take Back Our Union” movement
Ajamu Sankofa: Private Health Insurance Must Go Coalition*
Doug Singsen: CUNY Student Union*
Kit Wainer: UFT*, Teachers for a Just Contract*

Moderator
Megan Behrent: UFT*, Teachers for a Just Contract*

Saturday, Feb. 28th 5:30pm
Local 802 Union Hall
322 W 48th St., between 8th and 9th Avenues

You’ve heard it before: Tough times are ahead, so as much as it hurts, we’re all going to have to make do with less. Major cuts will have to be made to programs and services that were already underfunded to begin with.

President Obama has proposed $3.4 billion in aid to NY for education and Medicaid, but this will only soften the blow. It won’t stop the cuts (it won’t even affect areas outside of healthcare and education—like the proposed MTA fare hike, for instance). But in a city like ours—the financial center of the United States—it’s painfully obvious that not everyone is tightening their belts. When their stock-market gambling habit nearly left the economy in total collapse, the same politicians who said we need to do with less rushed to pass legislation giving Wall Street a $700 billion handout—no strings attached. Where’s the bailout for us? We should demand NO CUTS!

Join us for a discussion about how these budget cuts are impacting working people, and how we can turn the anger against the Paterson-Bloomberg cuts into action.

*Speakers will not necessarily appear as official representatives

Sponsored by: (List in formation) CUNY Graduate Center Student Union, Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE), Independent Community of Educators, International Socialist Organization, New York Collective of Radical Educators, Solidarity, Take Back Our Union Movement, Teachers for a Just Contract, Teachers Unite

For more info or to endorse, call 646-452-8662 or email nyciso@gmail.com

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February 20, 2009

NYU students suspended for occupation – email & call the administration now!

Filed under: Solidarity, Statements — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 9:08 pm

See Socialist Worker coverage of the NYU occupation HERE.
See video footage of last night’s amazing solidarity rally HERE.
See photos from the past two nights HERE.

The occupation has ended – due to the disgusting NYU administration, who sent in security guards today to remove all of students occupying the Kimmel Center cafeteria. The administration never negotiatied with the students and when they said they would do so, they simply detained and suspended the four student negotiators who came out in good faith. (See below). Students were driven to their dorms and told to remove their belongings and were removed from their campus housing immediately and placed in ‘temporary’ housing. The students who were removed today are all facing suspension! Mass support is necessary to demand that these students be granted amnesty.  Please get as many people to email NYU as possible and show that we will stand together with the students and not be turned back.

Email & Call NYU Administrators. Sample Email after the break, click ‘MORE’ to see it. Demand amnesty and no suspensions:

NYU President John Sexton: john.sexton@nyu.edu & CALL 212-998-2345
John Beckman, NYU Spokesperson: jhb5@nyu.edu
Office of the Provost: provost@nyu.edu
Office of the Vice President: evp@nyu.edu

Today New York University has shown its true face more than ever. Claiming to be a “private university in the public service,” it is clearly not even in the service of those students whose tuitions allow it to exist.

Earlier today, NYU cut power to all outlets in the occupied space and turned off the wireless internet.  Obviously this was an attempt to silence and intimidate the occupiers who have broad-based support.

Then, NYU said it would negotiate and instead detained and suspended the student negotiators when they showed up.  Security has now broken through the barricade and people are being detained and suspended.

Instead of dialog and negotiation, the NYU administration has shown they prefer the authoritarian, dissent-quashing, dictator route. It is a true reflection of how they run their university. Nothing but thugs with suits on, interested in getting rich under the guise of “education.”

Be prepared to defend any individual or group that is targeted academically or legally for their role in the occupation. Widespread support for the occupation and its demands will not be extinguished by NYU’s hypocritical, tyrannical behavior.

(more…)

February 19, 2009

NYU administration REFUSING to negotiate with students: 5pm press conference, Rally later tonight!

Filed under: Solidarity — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 5:38 pm

Take Back NYU! – a student coalition, has been occupying the 3rd floor dining hall in Kimmel for almost 20 hours now, hours demanding budget disclosure, endowment disclosure, and student representation on the Board of Trustees.

For updates and the list of demands remember to go to: takebacknyu.com
Please sign this petition to show your support for the students inside: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/takebacknyu/

1) There will be a press conference at 5pm in front of Kimmel, located at 60 Washington Square South. The students will be speaking from the balcony of the occupied building.

2) Disgracefully, the administration is REFUSING to negotiate with the students – and instead, has given them a 1am deadline for evacuating the cafeteria – or face arrest. Of course, the police could go in sooner – so the number of people we have outside will make a huge difference. It looks like today and tonight are going to be key so we would encourage as many people as possible to head down there, both now and later tonight! For people coming to our “Marx is Back!” meeting at Columbia, we can take the train together after the meeting.

3) Earlier today 15-20 new students were able to get past security and join the occupation! for videos from inside, please check out this: Streaming video from the inside

Below is the most recent press release from the students inside:

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

CONTACT: Farah Khimji, fnk205@gmail.com, 214-277-3879
Emily Stainkamp, emilystainkamp@gmail.com, 336-207-8318

STUDENTS: NYU REFUSES TO NEGOTIATE, STALLS ON STUDENT OCCUPATION

NYU’s administration refuses any face-to-face contact with student occupation, drawing out Take Back NYU!’s occupation, currently making national news.  Members of occupation call press conference to demands student participation in negotiations and university decisions.

Occupied Kimmel Center on Washington Square Park, New York City (2/19/09) –

Students participating in Take Back NYU!’s occupation of NYU’s Kimmel center called for NYU’s Administration to finally offer acceptable conditions for face-to-face negotiations with the occupation.  NYU refuses to look students in the eye about its policies towards the occupation and its demands.

Throughout the occupation Take Back NYU! made it clear that good-faith negotiations are a condition to the occupation’s end.  NYU has only made one empty offer of faux negotiations after the end of the occupation.

Members of Take Back NYU! called a press conference for 5pm ET outside the Kimmel Center to demand NYU enter negotiations.  The policy of stonewalling students continues NYU’s legacy of inaction and obstinacy regarding student democracy and human rights at NYU – the occupation offers the administration a chance to improve its public image and stance on these key issues. .

During the press conference, students will propose expansion of pressure on the university to encourage the administration to come to the table over Take Back NYU! demands regarding student democracy and human rights at NYU.

The occupation, which began at 10pm on Feb. 18th with the seizure of the 3rd floor of the Kimmel Center has made news across the country and received declarations of support from universities across the world.  NYU’s Administration refuses to allow the students of the occupation a place at negotiations, instead relying on threats and intransigence to try to end Take Back NYU!’s campaign.

NYU students occupying their school NOW!

Filed under: Solidarity — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 3:38 am

The NYU students are occupying their main student center right now!

First the New School, then 23 UK campuses, last week the University of Rochester and now: New York University! Their demands include important issues like transparency for university investments (especially those with connections to the US or Israeli military) and stabilization of their tuition. To get more specifics click ‘more’ below or please see: http://takebacknyu.com/

Some ISO members are still inside the occupation and some of us rallied outside tonight. Approximately 60 students are STAYING IN THE BUILDING OVERNIGHT and are asking supporters to come back in the morning:

THURSDAY, FEB 19

– GATHER AT 10AM
Kimmel Center * Washington Square South and LaGuardia Place

– RALLY AT NOON!
For more information or updates, visit http://takebacknyu.com/
For info about the support rally, call Conor: 979-204-9253

(more…)

February 12, 2009

“Marx is Back!” at Columbia, Thursday 2/19

Filed under: ISO Events — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 6:50 am

join the facebook event here.

MARX IS BACK:

How Socialist Ideas Can Change the World

Guest Speaker: Jen Roesch, joined by Deepa Kumar

Thursday, February 19th, 8pm
Hamilton Hall, room 303, Columbia University
(Enter at Amsterdam & 116th St gates)

They said that Marx was dead—that capitalism had triumphed. Then came the realities of globalization, endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Now, even Time magazine and the Wall Street Journal agree that Marx’s ideas seem best suited for explaining the world we live in today. But Marx also predicted that the inequalities of capitalism would give rise to resistance. We’ve only just begun to see the emergence of a new generation of struggles, from the protests for immigrant rights, to the factory occupations of workers in Chicago, to the massive outpouring of solidarity with the people of Gaza and Palestine. Socialists believe that these struggles can be joined to fight for a different type of society—one in which greed, inequality and war are replaced with solidarity and justice. Come to a discussion of Marx’s ideas, how they apply to today, and then get involved in helping us to build a socialist movement. As Marx himself said, “philosophers have only interpreted the world, the point is to change it.”

Jen Roesch is a frequent contributor to the International Socialist Review and Socialist Worker. She is the author of “Turning Back the Clock? Women, Work and Family Today.” She is also an alumni of Columbia, where she was active in the defense of need-blind financial aid and the fight to win ethnic studies.

Deepa Kumar
is Assistant Professor of Media Studies at Rutgers University and author of Outside the Box: Corporate Media, Globalization and the UPS Strike, (2008, University of Illinois Press). Her articles have appeared in Socialist Worker, the International Socialist Review, Monthly Review Zine, and Znet.

Sponsored by the Barnard-Columbia International Socialist Organization. For more information, contact us at columbia.iso@gmail.com

February 10, 2009

Thursday – Freedom to Marry Day in NYC, Come rally for Same-Sex Marriage Rights!

Filed under: Solidarity — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 6:02 am

Some of us from the ISO will be getting “married” on Thursday morning to protest the lack of same-sex marriage rights in New York! Join on in…

FREEDOM TO MARRY DAY!

Help End Marriage Discrimination NOW!

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 12TH, 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Manhattan Marriage License Bureau, 141 Worth St. @ Centre St.

A gathering to support LGBT couples and their right to marry in New York State. All “solidarity couples are welcome”! You can participate whether you want to get married or not. If you come single, we will match you with a same sex partner to “marry”, if possible. The action will begin @ 8:00am outside the Manhattan Marriage License Bureau (141 Worth St.). We have scheduled it this early because it will allow us to take our positions before the marriage bureau opens @ 8:30am. The action will end around 10:00am, but if you have to leave before that to make it to work, that is perfectly acceptable. If you could manage to take an hour or two out of your day to come down and support, it would be greatly appreciated.

There will be two separate actions at the same time: “OUTSIDE”-There will be a rally outside for all those who support gay marriage “INSIDE”- couples who are wanting to get married attempt to go inside and apply for a marriage license.

If you are a couple who is wanting to get married, email us at impactnyc@gmail.com so that we can give you more info on the “inside” action. We hope to see everyone there!!! Even if you can’t make it, please take the time to invite all of your facebook friends and spread the word in any other way you can. We want this event to be huge!!!

If you are interested in getting involved with this protest or future events, visit http://www.jointheimpactnyc.wetpaint.com or email impactnyc@gmail.com. Sponsored by Join the Impact NYC, Marriage Equality New York, Civil Rights Front

February 7, 2009

Victory for Palestine at the U of Rochester!

Filed under: Solidarity — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 12:12 pm

FEBRUARY 7 – 2:00AM

VICTORY AT UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER!

The four statements that were drafted were signed by the Dean of Student Affairs.

1. University of Rochester will commit surplus goods to students in Gaza.

2. University of Rochester will commit resources and information to develop a Palestinian fund drive.

3. University of Rochester will commit to research ways to provide scholarships to Gaza strip students.

4. University of Rochester will commit to help organize a forum to expose or make transparent the investments of the university towards Israel.

The exact language of the statement will be sent out soon, but essentially the content of those statements, the University will move forward with.

This marks a first step in a divestment campaign at the University of Rochester and a model for student occupations against Israeli apartheid to learn from and gain inspiration from. The Dean of Student Affairs was shaking in his seat. This is the first of its kind occupation in this country on this issue and we won in under 9 hours! The administration of the University of Rochester can now be held accountable for signing the statement and can also be pushed further to ultimately get the university to divest from corporations that manufacture artillery, white phosphorus, bulldozers, and everything else that goes into the making of the apartheid. While they put up walls in regards to demanding aid and scholarships to Palestinians, the task now is to out smart them by learning the rules, the laws, and in what way we can work around them.

This is huge and many of us are still in awe of the victory and how quick the university acted when students mounted the pressure on them. Students from Students for a Democratic Society, the Campus Antiwar Network, the International Socialist Organization, Rochester Against War, Iraq Veterans Against the War and others really came together to help shape the direction of the negotiations that took place tonight. Thank you to everyone who called radio and TV stations, emailed other campuses and folks internationally. Thank you to everyone that provided food or extended a hand. Thank you to SDS who called this sit-in on their campuses and invited everyone to participate. Thank you to everyone at the occupation for showing the world what student power and democracy look like.

We feel proud of the step we’ve taken.

No justice. No peace.

– Adriano, TheSitch.com and the Campus Antiwar Network

February 6, 2009

U of R Students to Occupy Academic Building for Peace and in Solidarity with Gaza

Filed under: Solidarity, Statements — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 11:14 am
Amazing – students in the UK have been sitting-in to demand divestement from Israel for weeks now, and now the US occupations begin! Our members in Rochester are part of the action…


This is the blog that will be updated as the occupation continues today:
http://prometheus.scp.rochester.edu/ursds/blog
Forward widely!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

University of Rochester Students for a Democratic Society (UR-SDS)

University of Rochester

Rochester, NY 14627

U of R Students to Occupy Academic Building for Peace and in Solidarity with Gaza

Rochester, NY02/05/09— Students from the University of Rochester and members of the local Rochester community will be occupying an academic building on campus tomorrow for peace and in solidarity with the people Gaza and in opposition to U.S. support for the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and the recent atrocities in Gaza. The action, organized by U of R Students for a Democratic Society (UR-SDS), will begin on the afternoon of Friday, February 6 and will last until the University of Rochester administration meets the demands put forward.

The demands are:

1. Divestment: We demand the University of Rochester to adopt the “UR-Peaceful Investing Initiative” which institutes a peaceful investment policy to the university’s endowment which includes divestment from corporations that manufacturer weapons and profit from war.  (For example, the U of R invests in General Dynamics which manufactures weapons to maintain a 41-year occupation of the Palestinian territories and wars which slaughter Palestinian civilians by the 100s)

2. Humanitarian aid: We demand that the University of Rochester commit to a day of fundraising for humanitarian aid in Gaza within the next two weeks, as part of an ongoing commitment to provide financial support for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

3. Academic aid: We demand that the University of Rochester twin with the devastated Gaza University and provide the necessary academic aid (e.g., recycled computers, books, etc. ).

4. Scholarships: We demand that the University of Rochester grant a minimum of five scholarships to Palestinian students every year.

The recent war on Gaza has devastated Gazan society, taken hundreds of innocent lives, and has escalated the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Given the United States’ central role in supporting the war in Gaza and a harsh 41-year military occupation of the Palestinian territories, the students’ actions are to express solidarity with the Palestinian people and their struggle for life and peace.

The student occupation will feature a number of informational and peaceful consciousness raising events such as public talks, teach-ins, and sit-ins. The action was inspired by a wave of student occupations that occurred in 16 universities in England following the Israeli assault on Gaza.

This event is organized by the University of Rochester Students for a Democratic Society (UR-SDS), a local chapter of the national Students for a Democratic Society. UR-SDS was founded in the Fall 2008 semester and seeks to effect progressive social change on campus through educational events and direct actions.

For Regular Updates on events see: http://prometheus.scp.rochester.edu/ursds/blog

Confact Information

e-mail: uofr.sds@gmail.com

phone: 917-595-9317 or 917-757-1181

February 1, 2009

10 Arrested at Protest of NYC AIPAC Fundraiser

Filed under: Solidarity, Statements — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 3:45 am

(UPDATE: JOIN THE FACEBOOK SUPPORT PAGE HERE.)

One of our Columbia members was arrested, along with 9 other local student activists on Thursday night for peacefully blocking the entrance to a major fund-raising dinner of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which calls proudly deems itself: “America’s Pro-Israel Lobby.” That of course, can be translated right now into “America’s biggest supporter of genocide in Gaza.”  We hoped to spoil the appetite of guests like mayor Michael Bloomberg, so in addition to blocking the doors,  about 250 people  chanted loudly across the street from the dinner.  The arrested activists were each arraigned on five charges and finally released from prison early Friday evening. All had serious bruises from police abuse, but were okay.

Although the cops did not allow any press to document the arrests, (you could only hear people screaming) here are some PHOTOS of both the civil disobedience and the protest.

We will post more information on their defense soon – and more actions!

Or, as always, you can write us at columbia.iso@gmail.com if you’d like to get involved.

*FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*

CONTACT:
Colin Dillon
973 214 0916
colinjdillon@ gmail.com

Blockade Protest of AIPAC Fundraiser at Times Square Marriott Hotel

At 6:30 PM on Thursday, January 29, ten young activists peacefully blocked the two main entrances to the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square to protest the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Fundraising Gala. The action, which lasted just under two hours, coincided with a 250-person protest rally in front of the hotel, separately organized by the Break the Siege On Gaza Coalition—Student Committee.  All ten activists were arrested, spurring the formation of a campaign for their defense and for the conscious escalation of pro-Gaza activism.

More than a month after Israel began its massive assault on Gaza and amidst international protests, AIPAC held a $1500-a-plate fundraising dinner, its largest event of the year.  The event was attended by prominent business people, lobbyists and U.S. politicians, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  The blockade disrupted what the participating activists considered a disgraceful gathering.

The Marriot blockade comes on the heels of several similar actions opposing Israel’s recent conduct that have occurred in cities around the world such as Toronto and San Francisco and at over a dozen universities in England.    In its scope, tactics, and goals, the movement to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine recalls the movement that arose in opposition to Apartheid in South Africa.  Campaign participant Conor Tomás Reed said, “the blockade is a contribution to this international struggle and can serve as a catalyst for future actions.”

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