1968 and 2008 – 40 years after the year of activism

40 years ago this spring and summer – youth all around the world stood up and protested in a way that surprised many people in power. Students in Paris New York and all across Latin America, Europe and Asia.

For today I want to write about the Columbia University protests.

The protest linked many different groups and movements
Started with the plans for a new gym => separate entrances for locals and students
Which meant that a very white school in a mostly Black neighborhood meant segregation.

Issues related to Columbia finances and relationship to classified military research were at the heart of the fire but the gym was the catalyst. (Currently Columbia does not do such secret research directly but, according to students, it outsources and invests in this type of research.)

Consider the atomosphere: middle of the Vietnam war, the assasination of MLK was only 3 or 4 weeks prior,
people could not vote until 21 yo but knew that they would likely have to go to Viet Nam upon graduation.

The student strike grew into a movement was made up of diverse Columbia student and community groups. as well as student groups from CUNY an NYU.

Democracy now!
Has interviews and info from people this week –it might be a bit local but it is interesting - check it out. Juan Gonzalez brings up some interesting points about the affect of universities in urban settlings.

Student pamphlet produced and now available as a PDF on line:
Who rules Columbia?
Land use, land control, future plans

Auster’s article on this experience as a journalism student – quite different but valid of course.

I am sure there will be more new stories and articles on this – as baby boomers wax nostalgic about how passive youth are with respect to the war in iraq and Beijing Olympics.

Week of action–- but at Columbia there have been ongoing event remembering those who died in Iraq–- including 19,000+ name representing the Iraqi body and the 4000 some Americans. Check out 5 years of occupation 4/24

This weekend the community leaders will speak out in NYC.


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