Late Saturday night (October 19th), CUNY public safety raided and seized the Morales-Shakur Center, on orders from CUNY Central. The next day, community members who found out were able to alert students who rushed to City College to defend their center. Upon arrival, they watched as David Suker (City College alumni and veteran of both the army and CUNY student struggles) was taken to a hospital, handcuffed to a stretcher after CUNY public safety officers threatened him with cruel and unusual punishments including torture. His only crime was refusal to leave the beloved Morales-Shakur Center, which by then had already been raided.
For the next couple of hours, students and community members poured out to City College. Some had arrived to see what was going on with the Center, and others to study for upcoming midterms. All were greeted with a militarized lockdown of the campus. Students on the inside were held against their will by CUNY public safety, but they managed to contact the media to come out and cover the lockdown. After school and public safety officials neglected to provide any explanations, students and community members on the outside began an impromptu protest, which led to the school being reopened at around 4:15.
However, the beloved Morales-Shakur center was still under occupation by the CUNY administration. In response, students and community members immediately set to organizing a mobilization for the next day. They worked tirelessly, racing against the clock to contact media, make flyers and every other necessary task.
At 12:30 on Monday October 21st, people began to gather on the City College campus, chanting and having speak outs. Around 100-120 people were already gathered when a fire alarm sounded and thousands poured out of the school. Using the human microphone technique, demonstrators informed the sea of students that they were protesting the illegal occupation of the Morales-Shakur Center and the lockdown of the school during which the students were held hostage. Then, the demonstrators began to march around the school and came to the entrance which the Center was located near. Public safety and NYPD locked the doors, but protesters managed to take an alternate unguarded entrance into the building. They marched into the building, through the library and out into a rotunda in the center of the building, which they occupied for 40 minutes as students and community members spoke out against the attack on the Morales-Shakur Center.
Later that day, many students who had been inspired by the mobilization joined the organizers to plan out the future of the struggle to win the center back. However, the struggle for the Morales-Shakur Center is also a struggle against the militarization of CUNY. The seizure of the center comes at a time when war criminals are hired to teach in CUNY, ROTC makes a return to campuses, and the Board of Trustees is preparing to pass measures to criminalize and control dissent. This is an attack on not only students and workers in CUNY, but on all progressive forces in NYC.
The RSCC calls on all revolutionaries, radicals, progressives and activists of all stripes to support CUNY students in the struggle to win back the Morales-Shakur center. These courageous young people will continue to provide revolutionary leadership, but in order to be successful against this attack on all progressive forces, all progressive forces must unite!
This Thursday October the 24th we will be rallying in front of City College administration building at 160 Convent Avenue at 12:30pm.
STOP THE MILITARIZATION OF CUNY!
LONG LIVE THE MORALES-SHAKUR CENTER!
(To learn more about the Morales-Shakur Center, see: http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/socialistvoice/cuny79.html)