From Comrades on Our Founding Meeting
Solidarity with May Day Student Organization
New York Boricua Resistance shows support for our comrades involved in the formation of the May Day Student Organization. The call to action has never been more prevalent than today, with the crisis on our campuses that include but are not limited to tuition increase, male chauvinistic, racial/ ethnic discrimination and the continued praxis of defunding ethnic studies programs across the city. In the unjust practices of academia, it is the duty of every student to take upon themselves the task of taking student ownership of our universities. The university system within their elements prepare students to join the workforce and to be obedient to our class oppressors. They also have and continue to undermine activist efforts to create equilibrium between the student body and the administration, by shutting down sites of radical thought, cutting club funds and silencing leaders through expulsion.
In a time when student loan debt has reached $1 trillion, with wages stagnating while the cost of living increases, the university system is run as a business, disregarding student needs. The mass effects are as well faced on the U.S. colony of Puerto Rico with the public university system becoming privatized due to lack of resources. The student movement has been corralled to a corner with many students fleeing the disintegrating institution.
Ernesto Guevara once said, “our youth must always be free, discussing and exchanging ideas concerned with what is happening throughout the entire world.”
New York Boricua Resistance
Solidarity Message on the Founding Meeting of May Day Students Organization from Disha Students Organization (INDIA)
Disha Students Organization, India extends its heartfelt solidarity and congratulations to the May Day Student Organization on the occasion of its founding meeting. It is indeed a welcome move, given the political, social and economic atmosphere we are living in the present times. The profit-driven capitalist system has turned education itself into a saleable commodity which can be purchased like anything else in the market and only those who can afford to buy it can get it. In India too, we are witnessing persistent attacks on the very idea of ‘University’, especially under the current Fascist dispensation. The US model of debt-driven education system with huge fund and fellowship cuts as envisaged by WTO-GATT Agreement, signaling the neoliberal era in the sphere of education, too, is being forcibly introduced by the Modi Government under the fancy-sounding names of ‘Autonomy’ and ‘Students’ Loans’. This is a huge challenge confronting the students’ movement today. Besides, the curtailing of democratic space within the University Campuses and imposing curbs on freedom of expression and assembly, too, is something that needs to be countered tooth and nail. As goes without saying, University spaces do not exist in vacuum and hence broader as well as organic solidarities of students and working masses ought to be forged to resist the capitalist onslaught. This holds true for Students-Youth movement in India, US and elsewhere. We are pleasantly surprised to see that we share a lot of items of the agenda of the May Day Students Organization. Disha Students Organization once again conveys its revolutionary greetings to the May Day Students Organization for this initiative and the journey ahead. We also hope that we would be able to do something together in the future.
(Member, Convening Body)
Disha Students Organization
Crisis + Critique
We are pleased to learn about your endeavor and would like to wish you the best, which is certainly yet to come. Arguably, the necessity of peoples’ struggle globally is mounting as capitalism prevails. the economic and political crisis that broke out several years ago is a structural part of this social system and has repeatedly occurred in recent history. It is part of its faulty nature and an inevitable procedure. Austerity has been applied on a global scale in an attempt to overcome the crisis and save the system. The means used for this purpose is the deepening of oppression and exploitation of the working masses, war outbreaks, and all the cruelty against humanity and nature.
At such a moment, it is highly important for the majority of the global population to be able to defend their rights, fight to take back all which was lost in the last few years, and even claim to much more. The contradiction of this era has proven to be the incoherence between the need for form, quality, and quantity of struggle, and the actualities of active struggle around the globe. This sparsity of struggle is precisely rooted in the lack of revolutionary ideas and the groups that serve, advance, and use them in favor of organizing the masses. thus, the aim of a revolutionary force should be the promotion of proper directives that will lead to the reconstruction of peoples’ movements and spur the people to get organized and involved in the fight against capitalism. It is imperative that these directives and political agendas be specified according to the interests of the groups of people that they pertain to.
To be more specific, the struggle for free higher education and the preservation of its public character, where possible, is a timeless demand of students’ fronts worldwide. The importance of this right can be easily proved. Defending and fighting for free and public higher education is defining for the improvement of peoples’ lives, as a result of their labor. Enjoying labor rights at the work place and gaining proper remuneration for one’s labor is inextricably linked to the education the individual has earlier received—always keeping in mind the fact that the level of education offered is mainly a matter of class struggle. It is obvious that students’ interests could not be further away from the lifelong hunting of professional credentials, or the relentless acquisition of academic titles. The access to education and to job security should be pursued as universal rights.
In the course of this fight, producing the desired outcome depends on clarifying several aspects of the problem. Analyzing the role universities play under capitalism leads to safe conclusions about what the goals and the boundaries of such a struggle should be. This struggle for education is clearly associated with the struggle for labor rights. The unity of the two struggles is important for both the effectiveness in achieving short-term goals, such as free access to education, and for long-term goals, such as serving the socialist revolution. Since universities were established to protect and perpetuate the interests of the bourgeoisie, they need certain mouthpieces that will unscrupulously serve their causes. Professors occupy this important academic position and thus are pitted against the struggle and interests of students. As a result, it must be clear that students ought to depend on their own power and on their allies from the labor movement in order for their struggles to succeed.
Taking all the above into consideration, we would like to let you know that your declaration is a promising milestone, a much needed contribution to the movements of your country. If served by proper political practice, it can be the necessary and sufficient condition that will lead to victories.
Our best wishes and solidarity to your cause.
Athens 6 March 2019
AROC Greetings to MDSO
Austin Revolutionary Organizing Collective (AROC) extends greetings to our comrades in the May Day Student Organization! It was one year ago today that communist students and staff struck a blow against austerity and further immiseration of the working class in New York City at The New School. That strike, that direct action was claimed by many opportunists as theirs, but we know the truth just like you do—it was the act of communists and victory for the proletarian revolution, perhaps small in the grand scheme of history, but bold and fearless. It built your power, and it was our honor to send a message of solidarity to you at that time. Now we are excited to see you setting down roots and building a permanent organization there in the capital city of global capitalism. May you strike many more and greater blows in the months and years to come!
AROC cadre speak often of pursuing revolution in our lifetimes, making the work of overthrowing imperialist capitalism a practical reality that we will live to experience and whose fruits we will—as many of us are able—live to enjoy. There is tremendous work to be done and a seemingly infinite series of tasks necessary to do that, but the strategy required to make this happen is no mystery: we need a revolutionary party for the proletariat prepared to take power through any means necessary. Building this party and drawing its roots deep into the proletariat requires a faithful application of the Mass Line, going to the massing and bringing the truth of communist analysis to the struggles of their day-to-day lives, synthesizing this experience and these conceptions into a new knowledge that will allow us to act even more decisively in the class struggles in our midst.
It is AROC’s study of the great revolutionary comrade Antonio Gramsci—a warrior hero who has been criminally expropriated and slandered by much of liberal intelligentsia—that reminds us that the ruling class suppresses the masses not only through the violent repressive apparatus of the police and army, but primarily in our time and place through so-called civil society. The masses are hemmed in and controlled through institutions like academia and the cultural, political, technological, and social formations it produces. Universities take surplus value extracted through exploitation of the Global South and put it to work to these repressive ends.
Disrupting those value flows, dismantling the political structures underlying these institutions, demanding that they serve popular ends and not the narrow interests of the bourgeoisie, are revolutionary tasks, and as revolutionaries in a community whose primary industries are intellectual (home to one of the largest universities in the United States), we watch eagerly to see what you learn and accomplish. Knowing a few of the comrades helping to lead your efforts, we are highly optimistic for the future.
As final words of encouragement today, we would remind you all that the proletariat is the only class capable of building socialism, and to beware falling into the trap of so many leftists in the past, letting the world of campus politics hypnotize you and draw you away from the struggles of working people with nothing to sell but their labor power, and nothing to lose but their chains. Critically examine your own class interests and do not hesitate to struggle against incorrect ideas, especially the swiftly rising social chauvinism of our times. Again, your presence in New York City puts you in the belly of that particular beast as well, as many of the most prominent exponents of this tired and failed tendency are active right there. We all must work right now to form an alternative pole of attraction for the burgeoning revolutionaries trapped in that backward milieu; but be confident that if you allow the masses to lead, if you submit yourselves to the will and interests of the proletariat, those ready for revolution will join you, and together we can defeat capitalism once and for all.
Again, congratulations on your continued success and on this launch of your brave efforts. We look forward to crossing paths there in New York, here in Texas, and in many places beyond and in between. Hasta la victoria siempre, comrades, and once more—
—Happy May Day!
From the MDSO
Solidarity with the Students of Fieldston
Dear Students of Fieldston,
The members of the May Day Student Organization of New York City would like to congratulate you on your victory over the Fieldston administration. This is truly a remarkable victory not just for the students of Fieldston, but for youth of the whole people. Your experience will serve as an example to other young student militants around the city. We at the May Day Student Organization are impressed and inspired by the leadership and discipline displayed by the young activists in your ranks. We support your militant struggle against racism in education, at a time when the need for militant struggle against racism in our education system is as pressing as ever. Working class black mothers are jailed for sending their children to “the wrong school district”, in order to give their children access to resources they are deprived of by the American dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. At the same time white members of the bourgeoisie are being implicated in an elaborate and widespread Ivy League college-entrance bribery scheme. We know these white parents will not be held to the same standards as black parents who take much more modest measures to give their children a good education. To bear witness to the racial caste system, which the capitalist class employs to divide the black and white masses in struggle one has to go no further than their local public school.
We find your demands for a a curriculum that educates students on the rich history of struggles waged by oppressed peoples, and the demand for affinity groups especially important. Historically, Black Student Unions and other ethnicity based student organizations have played an important role in waging struggles which have shaped our education system in ways which are still observable today. However the victories won by these groups have been persistently rolled back and attacked since the major student struggles of the 60s and 70s. It’s time to stop ceding ground to racist bourgeois school administrators, and put power in the hands of the people!
Our organization came about from the demand for a permanent, disciplined, and organized body of students with a fighting capacity, in the wake of the 2018 May Day occupation of the New School Cafeteria. Last Spring The New School administration attempted to lay off 31 workers, all of whom were people of color. The New School administration thought they could treat these workers as if they were nothing, but with the support of the students these workers showed them that the working people are in fact everything! On May 1st 2018 over a hundred students poured into the cafeteria, and occupied it for two weeks until The New School administration met our demand to rehire the workers. After the occupation, we were faced with the question of how to continue the struggle against the capitalist class and their unrelenting assault on oppressed and exploited people, in the sphere of education. Our answer was to write a program around which we would construct a student mass organization capable of struggling for its realization. The attached program is the distillation of years of experience in student organizing, and the product of extensive investigation and reflection on the state of the US education system. We hope you will find it useful in your future struggles. We would love to meet sometime in the future to further discuss how our organizations can build a genuine City-Wide student movement in NYC!
The May Day Student Organization
Solidarity with the Students of Sarah Lawrence College
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