Wednesday, March 4, 2009

NYU Protesters Fail...Like Many Others

If anyone has been following the so-called "Kimmel 18" who barricaded themselves in an NYU building (in the cafeteria), it would seem clear that protests these days are completely ineffective (with the exception of the Univ. of Rochester who somehow gave in to student's demands after 9 hours). Other than the one exception, can you think of the last time a protest, sit-in, be-in, march, speakers, etc. actually got something important and significant accomplished? The difference between protesters today and those in the past ('60's) is their priorities.

The list of 13 demands that the Take Back NYU! protesters gave to the administration just about covered everything under the sun...from disclosure of the budget to sending aid and money to the University of Gaza, to the NYU library being open to the public. Disclosing the budget would be nice for all of us, but for a private school they really do not have to do it (although we would all like it). Providing aid and money to Gaza, no matter one's political beliefs, is plain stupid. NYU needs all the money it can get. My parents can barely pay for this school. I don't want money that I could be receiving as financial aid going to the University of Gaza, or any other University in the world for that matter. It is not NYU's job to rebuild/support other countries or regions. If Take Back NYU! really wanted to accomplish this, then they should have brought it up with the NY Congressmen or Senators. As for the NYU library being public...I would have to tell these protesters to join many other NYU students and kill themselves. Are you serious? For $50,000 a year you want our library to be open to the public? What the fuck will that do? It is already crowded enough. We do not need there to be even less of a chance to find a book we need for a class because some NYC resident wants to leisurely read it.

These demands were ridiculous and too broad. If they had focused on just Gaza-related demands or budget demands, then there may have been a chance of being successful. Instead, Take Back NYU! was made up of 20 different NYU student clubs who all had their own personal needs to fulfill before those of the larger group.

Another major problem, that eventually lead to their downfall was their single most important demand: Amnesty for all those involved in the occupation (the idea of the occupation is ironic, considering they are occupying a building in order to end an occupation...). When people protested in the 1960's against the Vietnam War and burned their draft cards, did they make sure they wouldn't get arrested before they did it? No, they got thrown in jail, fighting for a cause they believed in. The success of their ideas and the group were much more important to them than their own well-being. This is what the NYU protesters, as well as most modern protesters lack: selflessness. It will be a long time until we see another Abbie Hoffman.


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