Solidarity Statement with the Students of Sarah Lawrence College

Photo by Ella Harltey (source)

The May Day Student Organization (MDSO) extends its solidarity to the Diaspora Coalition and aligned students protesting racial and economic inequality at Sarah Lawrence College.

The issue of access to resources for oppressed nationality and low-income students is pressing, and we support your demands for the removal of cultural and economic barriers to attendance at Sarah Lawrence College. Student activists must struggle to put an end to all forms of inequality in the university, including those based on race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and immigration status.

We join you in condemnation of the reactionary professor Samuel J Abrams, and call for a curricula and professoriate which serves the interests of the people. The affiliation between SLC and the Koch Foundation on the one hand, and Abrams, the Institute for Humane Studies, and the white-supremacist League of the South on the other, illustrates the close relationship and identity of interests between the educational system, business, the ‘non-profit’ industry, and fascist movements in capitalist society. Against this, we call for a revolution in the sphere of education- for a university that is democratically controlled by the people and that serves the interests of the people.

We enthusiastically support your demand for the expansion of ethnic studies at SLC. The history of this struggle runs deep. The longest student strike in US history was spearheaded in 1968 by the Third World Liberation Front and resulted in the establishment of a School of Ethnic Studies at San Fransisco State University. This tradition continues into the present day right here in New York City, with organizations like the Diaspora Coalition and the Coalition for the Revitalization of Asian American Studies at Hunter (CRAASH) agitating for the expansion of ethnic studies programs. In the context of the mass defunding and privatization of higher education, university administrations are hostile to student demands for ethnic studies, since the programs are not profitable from a business perspective. Administrators use austerity logic to deny student demands for the implementation and expansion of ethnic studies, while cutting themselves fat paychecks. The contradiction between our interests and theirs is clear.

We encourage the student occupiers to remain militant and uncompromising in the face of attempts at repression and conciliation by the administration of Sarah Lawrence. The interests of students are fundamentally opposed to the interests of administrators, who run the university like a business and are unresponsive to moral appeals. You must therefore rely on your own strength to force their hand and win your demands.

When you are able, we would love to talk more about how we can build a national student movement together.

The May Day Student Organization

[The MDSO is a newly founded organization which traces its roots to the 2018 May Day Occupation of the New School Cafeteria in New York City. Our membership is composed of current university students, graduates of the student movement, and political activists who want a university that serves the people. Our goal is to build a city-wide student mass organization around our program, which is the result of extensive research into the US education system, and years of experience in student organizing.]

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