[Marxism] Cops storm New School

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Apr 10 09:54:39 MDT 2009

April 10, 2009, 10:05 am
Police Storm Occupied New School Building
By Colin Moynihan

Updated, 11:40 a.m. | Police officers wearing helmets and other riot 
gear entered a New School building at 65 Fifth Avenue, carrying bunches 
of white plastic handcuffs attached to their belts, evidently to arrest 
a group of students who had occupied the building earlier on Friday.

As senior police officials, firefighters and emergency medical 
technicians looked on, the police officers surged into the building. 
Moments later, several were seen leaning over the parapet; the banners 
that the three dozen or so students occupying the building had hung were 

The students had occupied the building shortly before 6 a.m. on Friday 
with the intention of staging a takeover similar to the one carried out 
at the university in December, according to a graduate student who is 
involved in the demonstration.

“The students just entered the building, the student said at 5:55 a.m., 
adding that he was outside, on a sidewalk. “And the police are already 

Around 7 a.m. several dozen students, standing on the sidewalk on fifth 
avenue, erupted into cheers when several masked people appeared on the 
roof of 65 Fifth Avenue, waving red and black flags and lifting clenched 
fists in the air. The students on the roof, draped banners over the side 
of the building that read, “Kerrey and Murtha resign now!”

Police officers were already on hand, and as the morning went on, the 
numbers increased until dozens of officers stood on all sides of the 
building and the streets surrounding the building held mazes of metal 
barricades and yellow police tape. Students on the sidewalks outside the 
building said they were members of various groups — all of whom were 
disgruntled with the administration.

A woman who identified herself as Alex Johnson, a fourth-year politics 
major, said she was a spokeswoman for the students inside, and spoke to 
a reporter by phone from what she said was an undisclosed location. 
Asked how long the students intended to remain inside the building she 
said, “As long as they can.”

Asked what it would take to make the students to leave voluntarily, she 
replied, “It would take Kerrey and Murtha resigning.”

Among the students watching from across the street was Andy Folk, 21 a 
junior at Eugene Lang College, studying fiction and philosophy. “I’m 
here to show solidarity and support,” he said. “We and much of the 
faculty continue to have no confidence in Bob Kerrey.” Mr Folk added 
that he thought Mr. Kerrey wanted to soften the radical legacy of the 

As senior police officers and fire official arrived on the scene the 
masked students on the roof used a megaphone to address the crowd below. 
One of the masked figures read a lengthy critique of capitalism and 
contemporary life, which a student below identified as an essay, “On the 
Poverty of Student Life,” that originated at the University of Strasbourg.

By 10:30, the part of Fifth Avenue below 14th Street, as well as 
adjoining side streets, were filled with city vehicles. There were 
police vans, an emergency services unit truck and a mobile fire 
department command center and fire department ambulance. Paramedics 
stood at the ready and police officers, holding what appeared to be blue 
prints of the building plans huddled together.

A group of police officers, one holding a sledge hammer, walked toward 
the building.

Tensions rose shortly before 11, when a crowd of people rallying in 
support of the students dashed east on 14th Street, pursued by police. 
Police officers and about 40 protesters faced off on the south side of 
14th street. A line of officers advanced toward the protesters, who 
retreated towards Union Square, some shouting at the officers.

At the same time, on Fifth Avenue, about 70 police officers wearing 
visor helmets and carrying long plastic shields lined up in front of the 
main entrance to 65 Fifth Avenue. An officer made a announcement through 
a megaphone that police officials said was designed to let students know 
that officers were about to enter the school.

Other officers on horseback patrolled surrounding blocks where, by 11 
a.m., more than 100 police vehicles were parked.

The December takeover lasted about 30 hours. Then, students barricaded 
themselves inside a ground-floor cafeteria at the building, protesting a 
host of issues, many connected to the administration of the university’s 
president, Bob Kerrey.

The students adopted a list of eight demands including a greater student 
voice in university affairs and the resignations of Mr. Kerrey, a former 
senator from Nebraska; James Murtha, the executive vice president; and 
Robert Millard, treasurer of the board of trustees, who students said 
was connected to a private security company working in Iraq.

That action ended after negotiations, but a students group calling 
itself the New School in Exile promised further disruptions if Mr. 
Kerrey did not accede to their demand to resign by April 1.

“With their demand still unmet as of this date, students have once again 
reclaimed this neglected, symbolic building which housed the New School 
for Social Research,” student organizers said in a news release on 
Friday. “On the 75th anniversary of the University in Exile, New School 
students are reclaiming the tradition of protest and political action 
that birthed the university and gave it meaning for generations to come.”

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