Here’s a fascinating and encouraging development from yesterday’s second-month celebration of the occupation of Zuccotti Park, something to indicate that the movement is far from being a flash in the pan and far from being defanged. A group of students and other protesters have taken over a space at 90 Fifth Avenue in preparation for creating a free “people’s university.” It may also provide an alternative space for at least some of #OWS’s displaced denizens during the winter months, provided the city and the owners of the building (which happens to be one of the nation’s largest banks, according to the protesters) don’t try to Bloomberg/Brookfield them out.
A Statement From the 90 5th Avenue Occupation follows the jump:
As we are continually and violently pushed out of public spaces, the people of this city must find new spaces in which to foster dialogue, learn and engage politically. Private spaces must be liberated; the movement must expand. We students, educators and members of the broader public have come together to occupy this space, seeking to transform it into a place of public education, safe and open to all.
Much of the repression of this movement has been conducted under the pretense of public health and safety. We, the occupiers, declare that we have the utmost concern for the safety and well-being of this occupation and its participants. New School President David Van Zandt and the New School Administration have expressed concerns that we observe the building’s fire code. We share these concerns. Licensed fire guards are included among the occupiers and we will continue to take the necessary steps to prevent harm from coming to anyone.
We reiterate that this occupation is not a New School action; this building actually belongs to Wells Fargo, whose role in the current economic crisis is well-known. We are occupying a building: and we, as occupiers, are not solely students – we are workers, teachers, students, unemployed, under-employed, indebted and exploited. We are creating a common space that will eventually be open to all. In addition to the people’s university, the CUNY adjunct project, and the all-city student assembly, we are in the process of planning a series of open teach-ins and events. Schedule forthcoming.