The night of Sunday October 20, CUNY public safety officers held students hostage in the North Academic Center of CCNY as they raided a community center beloved to students and community members: the Morales-Shakur Center. The Center runs important community services, such as a farm share and a book exchange, as well as serves as a hub for progressive student organizing. Using the space, students have won victories such as the 24 hour library and free printing. Lately, it has been used to organize protests against war criminal David Petraeus, in a campaign to defend CUNY from militarization. The campaign gained international fame and solidarity, bringing embarrassment on the CUNY administration.
How does the administration respond? With further militarization!
The morning after the raid, the entire City College campus was put under lockdown and students were harassed by public safety officers. This came at the worst time, as students needed to get in and use the library to study for upcoming midterms. In their frustrations about the library being closed and a beloved community center being raided and shut down, students organized an impromptu protest that gained numbers and support quickly. Media, community members and city council members came to express solidarity, and enough pressure was built to force the administration to reopen the campus. However, the Morales-Shakur Center remains under siege.
Student organizers are calling for a demonstration at 12:30pm tomorrow, to protest this intensification of the militarization of CUNY. Anyone who opposes university officials taking students hostage, illegally seizing community owned space, a militarized lockdown of a public institution and harassment of students by public safety officers should come out tomorrow at 12:30. This is a threat to all progressive, radical and revolutionary organizing and activism in NYC. The siege of the Morales-Shakur Center marks the escalating intensification of the repression of anybody challenging the status-quo and unless all progressive forces unite at this point, the repression will become even more draconian.