Surviving Trump – A Plan for the PSC

Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee founded a club in his youth called “Fascism Forever.” Needless to say, we should not expect much good from Neil Gorsuch. Indeed by mid-2018, we can expect that Janus v. AFSCME will make it’s way to the Court, and the ruling will eliminate agency fees, enabling free riders—people who benefit from collective bargaining but who elect not to contribute to the union. The public sector, in the brilliant parlance of the far right, will become “right to work” (or, more honestly, “right to beg”). The question of the day is: how will the public sector survive this massive structural change? How will the PSC survive – dare we dream, even thrive – under such conditions?

The short answer is: we need every single one of the 25,000 CUNY workers – tenured faculty, adjunct faculty, professional staff, college laboratory technicians, CLIP teachers, graduate assistants – that constitute the PSC to be engaged in the contract fight of our lives in 2017. A powerful and successful contract fight will make us all – both full and part time members – want to contribute financially to the union, when the law no longer requires it. But this begs the question: how can we do better than we’ve done in the past?

Working from a document generated by rank and file PSC members, I propose that there are three core steps that we can take to make possible an inspiring and unprecedented contract campaign.

 

  1. The Future of the Tenure System and Justice for Adjuncts

Labor market trends in higher education have followed trends elsewhere – we increasingly see multi-tier systems, with some good jobs and many bad jobs. The labor force at CUNY is no different. Under-paid and under-integrated adjunct faculty teach the majority of courses at CUNY.

The decline of the CUNY tenure system will only accelerate if we fail to organize adjuncts. We need a set of demands that link the interests of tenured faculty in preserving – expanding! – the tenure system, with the interests of adjuncts, who seek better paying and more stable jobs. I propose three demands that link full and part time interests: 1. 7k/course 2. True lecturer conversion lines for all long-serving adjuncts 3. A cap on the proportion of CUNY courses taught by adjunct faculty. These demands combined would restructure the CUNY labor force to create more good jobs, stem the bleeding of tenure lines, and improve the lot of adjuncts, both long serving and new.

Finally, centering adjunct demands has another advantage – adjunct pay is so low that we can make a strong, moral, public case for additional funding from the City and State. Centering adjuncts is one key tool for breaking pattern bargaining.

 

  1. CUNY Rising +

CUNY Rising is a vital initiative – the PSC has helped to build a coalition of CUNY students, community and faith organizations, and other labor unions to fight for a free and fully funded CUNY. Our bosses are ultimately the City and the State, so only linking our fights with this kind of movement will get us a free and fully funded CUNY.

However, we need to expand CUNY Rising. The PSC has just received an influx of cash from back pay dues. We should use the bulk of this for member organizing, but we should also invest in CUNY Rising, hiring at least a full time organizer, in addition to the part-time support we get from the AFT.

But most importantly, CUNY Rising needs to have an obvious mechanism for member engagement. In our attempt to make CUNY Rising “authentic” we have severed the effort from the membership. But an engaged membership of 25,000 is far more potent than a single organizer. We need to be recruiting for CUNY Rising in our classrooms and in our neighborhoods, following the community organizing model of the Chicago Teachers Union, as they prepared for strike activity.

 

  1. Total PSC-CUNY organization.

Union power comes from one core place – its members. If we are engaged and organized around an inspirational vision of CUNY, our students and communities will support us, and our three bosses – CUNY management, the City and the State –will be afraid of us. How do we get to this point?

A brilliant Executive Committee, even an engaged Delegate Assembly is just not enough. For every 5 – 10 members, we need at least one deeply engaged member-organizer. This means that we need between 2,500 and 5,000 members who are serious organizers and strategists who take agency in this union. If that sounds like a lot, it’s only because we need a lot of power to win, to do better than we’ve done, and to survive and even thrive under a Trump administration. Every single one of us who is engaged needs to help build this structure, and we must use the bulk of the dues cash we just received from back pay to fund this effort.

We need to be able to able to mobilize ourselves – all 25,000 – both consistently and on a moment’s notice. We need to be collectively organized around a vision of a free and fully funded CUNY, constituted by a labor force with only good jobs. We need to know our targets – de Blasio and Cuomo – and we need to aim straight for them. CUNY needs an additional 3.5 billion dollars, and there’s no force other than the PSC that can get it. Let’s do it.

Luke Elliott-Negri, Chapter Chair

Non-Negotiable: Adjunct Parity in the Next PSC-CUNY Contract

Non-Negotiable: Adjunct Parity in the Next PSC-CUNY Contract

A Joint Statement by the PSC GC Adjunct Committee, the Adjunct Project, and CUNY Struggle

 

January 30, 2017

 

Adjunct parity can mean either a complete end to the multi-tier system of faculty labor (such as in the case of Vancouver Community College, where all faculty do the same work, have the same working conditions, and are on the same salary schedule, pro-rated for those working less than full time) or a pro-rata salary schedule for “part-time” faculty so that their wages are in proportion to that of full-time lecturers (as in the case of the California State University). Although many of us would like to see the “Vancouver model” in place at the City University of New York, where adjuncts make roughly 29% to 38% of full-time salaries, have little to no job security, and are largely sidelined from service and research, we recognize that the U.S. labor context and the much-larger scale of CUNY complicate the achievement of that goal.

 

Nevertheless, as we—a group of graduate students at the Graduate Center working as both graduate assistants and adjuncts—have discussed adjunct parity over the last few months, we have come to agreement on the following bottom-line, non-negotiable demands for the upcoming round of bargaining vis-à-vis the expiration of the current PSC-CUNY contract in November 2017:

 

  1. A pro-rata salary schedule for all part-time faculty in proportion to the full-time lecturer salary schedules, with a minimum salary of $7,000 per three-credit course;
  2. Genuine job security in the form of a seniority system based on date of original appointment and the number of credits taught over time;
  3. Representation of part-time faculty and graduate employees on the bargaining committee in proportion to their numbers in the overall bargaining unit.

 

Although the first two demands would not end the multi-tier system of faculty labor at CUNY, they would produce substantial movement toward parity between the salary and job security of part-time and full-time faculty. The last demand, meanwhile, would produce parity in the bargaining committee, which we hope would help the overall bargaining committee hold fast to the first two demands.

 

In solidarity,

 

Graduate Center Graduate Assistants and Adjuncts of:

the PSC GC Adjunct Committee

the Adjunct Project

CUNY Struggle

International Women’s Strike – Dialogue Session and Rally

Dialogue and Arts Session for Women’s Day of Action

Friday, February 24, 12:30-2:30pm, Room 5414; for more information email Travis.

Food and art supplies provided

To prepare for the Graduate Center community joining the March 8 International Women’s Strike/Day of Action, our GC PSC Solidarity Committee will host a dialogue and signs- / banner-making session.

  • 12:30-1:30pm: Discuss short readings about how women and allies can enhance the movement against Trump with bolder actions like the March 8 International Women’s Strike, and by centering those most endangered under his regime: women of color, LGBTQ women, immigrant women, Muslim women, and working-class women. Connect this to how women are underhired, underpaid, underpromoted, and mistreated at the Graduate Center and across CUNY — especially as adjuncts — which should be a major concern for our union.
  • 1:30-2:30pm: Create posters and a banner for the GC PSC contingent to use at the March 8 event

You can also find this event on Facebook.

 

March 8 International Women’s Strike: A Day Without A Woman

Wednesday, March 8, 12:30-1:30pm: rally for women’s work on the GC steps

NYC gathering time / location: TBA

For more information email Travis.

After the January 21 Women’s March amassed 1.2 million people in Washington D.C. and 673 sister protests around the globe (in total almost 5 million people), organizers now call on women and allies to strike on March 8 – International Women’s Day. Dubbed “A Day Without Women,” in reference to the massive 2006 “A Day Without Immigrants” May Day marches, protests will occur across the world, including New York City.

The Graduate Center community, in coordination with the GC PSC Solidarity Committee, will honor this call by holding a rally for women’s work on the Graduate Center steps, and then joining the NYC afternoon march as a campus contingent. We welcome you all to take collective action with us on this historic date.

 

Articles:

Beyond Lean-In: For a Feminism of the 99% and a Militant International Strike on March 8

Throw Sand in the Gears of Everything

Women’s March organisers plan a ‘day without women’ strike

Adjunct Teacher Retirement System Benefit

Did you know that if you adjunct even a single class, you are eligible to enroll in the Teacher’s Retirement System, New York City’s defined benefit pension? Read more about the benefit on the PSC website.

Applying is relatively easy. Here is the application you need to get started.

Also, once you are enrolled, please note that you are eligible for the Tax Deferred Annuity account, which offers an 8% return.

If you have any questions, please reach out to the PSC and ask for the benefits office: 212-354-1252

 

*Note: If you just learned about this benefit but have been an adjunct professor for years, you are allowed to “buy back” past years of service.

The GC Chapter Report, September 2016 – January 2017

These are bleak times, so we wanted to take a moment to report on the huge strides our chapter has made this academic year.

On top of our regular chapter-wide meetings, we had our chapter’s first ever New Member Orientation meeting this Fall, five committees have been established (anyone can join—more info here!), and between last Spring and this Fall we signed up 402 new members creating four more representatives for our chapter at the PSC Delegate Assembly (in addition to the 300+ that we signed up the year before, which created three additional positions). We also co-hosted events like the one with CFA organizer Jonathan Karpf on adjunct issues and the recent rally to support Saira Rafiee that took place outside of the GC. There is a lot still to do in the second half of the academic year, but for a fuller synopsis of chapter activities from the first half please see the report below.

 

More Money in the Pockets of Graduate Assistants

The organizational growth of the chapter has made both CUNY and the PSC leadership more responsive to the needs of GAs working for the GC.

  • Most GAs received a $750 contract ratification bonus in the fall compared with Adjuncts with a similar workload who, unfortunately, received only $250.
  • After meeting with Chase Robinson he agreed to maintain the current level of stipends when our wages go up this month and again in April. (Compare this with most 2nd-5th year Science Fellows, now paid through four-year colleges and not in our chapter, whose contractual raise may be clawed back by a reduction in other funding.)[1] He also agreed that next year’s admissions will enter at the new GCF first year rate of $26,128.

What if you think you didn’t get the right Retroactive Pay?

  • If you feel CUNY paid you the wrong amount or are just unsure, here’s a three step process:

Building a Fight for a Strong 2017 Contract in the Context of Trump

In an effort to spearhead the next contract negotiation and have greater participation in the process, the chapter has been a leader in identifying and mobilizing for a stronger and more inclusive contract fight at the GC and in the PSC as a whole.

  • Circulated a four-point contract plan at our December Chapter meeting centered around part-timer issues, support for CUNY Rising, preparation for a potential strike, and outreach to progressive labor forces. Began discussion within the chapter of wage and non-wage demands.
  • Proposed a “First Steps” resolution to the PSC with tangible steps including an immediate one-day planning “retreat,” quick constitution of an inclusive Negotiating Committee, and contract-focused meetings in all chapters. As a result of this work, the PSC Delegate Assembly adopted the heart of our proposal, and this full day planning meeting will take place in late February or early March.
  • Chapter activists are helping to create a PSC-wide survey of working conditions to better guide the formulation of demands and negotiations.
  • The Chapter formulated a change to PSC Constitution that will allow GAs and Adjuncts who change campuses to vote and run for office in their new chapter without the current waiting periods of four and twelve months respectively. This resolution was discussed at last month’s Delegate Assembly meeting. A subcommittee will work on it and then it will be up for a vote next month.

Internal Organizing and Outreach

Neither the fights described above or below are possible without building the number and training of activists and increasing the total number of GC-PSC members. The GC chapter has worked closely with HEOs in our shared goal of signing up new PSC members at the GC, regardless of title. This cooperative work has resulted in large chapter meetings, shared mobilizing efforts for last contract, committee work, membership drive and political actions.

  • An active presence at incoming orientation days meant we signed up most incoming 1st years as members.
  • The total membership increase means we have tripled the number of our representatives at the Delegate Assembly, beginning in April.
  • Public outreach through social media – the GC has a robust presence on
    Facebook:
    The Graduate Center PSC
    Twitter: @PSCCUNYGC
    Instagram:
    @PSCCUNYGC
  • We have made moderate progress on developing a departmental shop steward structure.
  • Discussions of workload issues has been ongoing at both the Departmental and GC-wide levels, with some success. We were able to establish that, in 2017-18, GAs at Hunter will only teach two sections, but were unable to get that change for the spring semester.
  • We have taken first steps to building organization at our affiliated campuses, the School of Professional Studies and the School of Public Health and held our first Labor-Management meeting at SPS.
  • We successfully changed the three-year appointment process for adjuncts at SPS and, after months of wrangling, we procured the release of a report on water safety there.
  • Discussions of what, concretely, it would mean to be a sanctuary campus are proceeding with Chase Robinson.
  • At each chapter meeting and each labor management committee meeting HEOs have given updates and made plans to implement the new provisions of the contract that are relevant to their titles.

Adjunct/External Organizing

The chapter has been active in mobilization and solidarity work with other chapters and other unions.

  • We are building strong ties to the Baruch and Brooklyn chapters and working with them to organize adjuncts there.
  • We have been active in the union’s official adjunct organization, and have put forward proposals that we believe will soon be adopted which will concretely strengthen adjunct organizing and political power within the union.
  • We held two meetings at CCNY to begin organizing the 2nd-5th year Science Fellows there in cooperation with the union chapter there.
  • We had initial discussions with Non-Teaching Adjuncts on other campuses in an attempt to better understand the issue of “Grader Pay.” A grievance about incorrect grader pay at Baruch and CCNY has been stalled by management for most of the semester.
  • Along with several other PSC chapters and the Adjunct Project, we hosted Jonathan Karpf of the CFA for a discussion on winning pay parity for adjuncts.
  • The chapter has mobilized to defend our membership from attacks by the Trump administration, including having a robust presence at the Women’s March and co-organizing a well-attended rally for PSC member Saira Rafiee.

[1] We are seeking to work with those other chapters to organize these former chapter members.

Rally for Saira

Today at 1pm there was a rally for Saira Rafiee, of the PhD program in Political Science, who was impacted by Donald Trump’s disgusting executive order regarding movement of peoples into the U.S. Bob Nelson, recently retired from the GC, was on hand and passed on this account:

I was at the rally for Saira Rafiee at the Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn this afternoon.  About 100 were in attendance, mostly students, and lots of media, both local and national. The BP [Brooklyn Borough President], Eric Adams, MC’d. He read Saira’s Facebook post in its entirety, and expanded the issue to include K-12 students and parents who might now be separated. Hercules Reid of the USS gave a lovely speech, and Barbara [Bowen, PSC President] an impassioned one. Our own Matt Schoengood [Vice President of Student Affairs] read a statement from GC administration. The NYC Deputy Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs also spoke and reiterated the various ways in which the City would stand against Federal immigration activities. The press asked Adams for his opinion of the NYS Senate bill that would require colleges to compile lists of foreign students, and he shot that down with “Bad idea! We don’t make lists.”

 

Did you go to the event for today and have a report from the rally? Let us know! Also, please be on the lookout for more events in support of Saira in the coming days.

Material Re: Sanctuary Campuses and Legal Resources For Students

FYI for members! More conversation on this to be had at today’s chapter meeting.

 

Sample Syllabus Language

“As an educator, I fully support the rights of undocumented students to an education and to live free from the fear of deportation. If you have any concerns in that regard, feel free to discuss them with me, and I will respect your wishes concerning confidentiality.

 

[And final sentence options:]

A) Furthermore, I am committed to resisting any and all attacks on immigrants, including threats of deportation, and will urge CUNY to serve as a sanctuary.

B) Furthermore, I am committed to making CUNY a sanctuary campus for undocumented immigrants, not just in word but in deed – through the campus community refusing to allow ICE to enter our campus and refusing to cooperate with and struggling to prevent any government attempts to ascertain the immigration status of members of our community or to detain or deport undocumented immigrants.”

 

Oh Crap! What Now? Survival Guide

This website provides a list of legal (and other) resources for individuals who may experience legal issues related to their immigration status. The majority of resources are non-country specific, but in NYC the ones listed tend to cater more to Spanish-speaking communities. www.theworldisaterribleplace.com/ohcrap/the-legal-system-and-you/immigration-issues-and-documents

 

CUNY CLEAR is a project of the CUNY Law School, and provides legal resources for individuals who are Muslim, Arab, or South Asian. www.cunyclear.org

 

Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM) is a community-based organization in Queens. They do more community organizing than legal advice, but you should know about their work. www.drumnyc.org

 

Resources for Immigrant Students at CUNY

CUNY Citizenship Now! is a free and confidential legal assistance program that is available to the CUNY community. Immigrant students who have not yet consulted with a CUNY Citizenship Now! attorney are advised to do so ASAP. A list of sites and contact information is included below; more information along with a full list of services provided can be found on the web site: http://www.cuny.edu/citizenshipnow

 

CUNY Citizenship Now! Campus-Based Immigration Centers

Hostos Community College Immigration Center

427 Walton Ave., T-501, Bronx, NY 10451

Tel. 718-518-4395

Languages spoken: English and Spanish

Hours: 9:00 a.m.to 4:30 p.m. (Monday to Friday); Closed for lunch from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

By Appointment Only

 

Medgar Evers College Immigration Center

1150 Carroll St., Room 226, Brooklyn, NY 11225

Tel: 718-270-6292

Languages spoken: English, Spanish and Polish

Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Monday to Friday); Closed for lunch from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

 

City College Immigration Center

160 Convent Ave., North Academic Center, Rm. 1-206, New York, NY 10031

Tel. 212-650-6620

Languages spoken: English, Spanish, Italian and Haitian Creole

Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Monday to Friday); Closed for lunch from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

By Appointment Only

 

CUNY Xpress Immigration Center (New Location)

5030 Broadway, Suite 615 (between 213th and 214th Streets), New York, NY 10034

Tel. 646-664-9350

Languages spoken: English and Spanish

Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Monday to Friday)

 

Flushing Immigration Center

39-07 Prince St., Suite 2B, Flushing, NY 11354

Tel. 718-640-9223

Languages spoken: English, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese

Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Monday to Friday)

Closed for lunch from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

 

York College Immigration Center

Welcome Center Atrium, 94-20 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., Jamaica, NY 11451

Tel. 718-262-2983

Languages spoken: English and Spanish

Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Monday to Friday), Closed for lunch from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

By Appointment Only

 

CUNY CLEAR advice at a glance.

January 30th Chapter Meeting

GC CHAPT MEETING 130

See you on the 30th!

Check out our calendar or Facebook events.

Job Posting: GC Chapter Part-Time Organizer

Donald Trump’s election will have dire effects across almost all issue areas in the United States and beyond. Public sector unions are not immune from this—quite the opposite. We expect to lose “agency fee,” in 18 months, under a Trump Supreme Court. This will allow “free riders” and presents a crisis of funding to the entire public sector labor movement.

It is in this context that the PSC GC chapter is hiring a part-time organizer to strengthen the chapter. We expect approximately one full day of work per week, and the position will be compensated at $893.25 per month. The primary work of the position will be to build a steward structure in the chapter in coordination with the Internal Organizing Committee, ultimately at a ratio of approximately one activist for every 10 members. We seek to recruit and develop leaders of color in these steward positions wherever possible. In addition, the position will help to convert agency fee payers to members, and to build the public presence of the PSC at the Graduate Center.

Please submit a brief statement of interest in the position (one page or less), as well as a CV highlighting your CUNY employment, and any organizing experience you have, in the labor movement or elsewhere. These documents should be sent to Deirdre Brill. Applicants should be a GC PSC chapter member and active CUNY employee.

Work of the position:

  1. Build and manage steward structure in coordination with the Chapter Internal Organizing Committee
  2. Attend or organize two department meetings per month
  3. One-on-one “conversations” via phone and email – 15 per month
  4. Lead new member orientation – one per year
  5. Organize a PSC chapter GC lobby presence – one per month

Colin P. Ashley: A Statement

Colin P. Ashley is a Graduate Center student in Sociology. Below is his statement in response to the brutal attack this past weekend on Colin and a group of other activists by pro-Trump goons. It is republished with Colin’s permission.

************************************************************************

I am in good spirits. I am not detoured. I am Black, Queer and yes still fabulous! Next time I will be better equipped to whoop some fascist ass.

ON WHAT HAPPENED

Saturday was an amazing day for racial justice organizing and activism. I started the day by attending the Forward Union (FU) fair tabling for PPA. The FU event was a space that allowed artists, grassroots activists and organizers, and community organizations to meet and share what they were working on around issues of justice and equality. While there, I was invited to speak on a ‘Why we say Fuck the Police! panel’ with family from NYC Shut It Down. The panel was extremely powerful, the message well received. Despite the snow the event was well attended and quite impactful. It ended with a dance party, drag queens and a queer performance piece. I danced. I then went and joined other friends at the Decolonize This Place closing night event (many of whom were at FU and left earlier). Decolonize is a space where social justice movement folks, artists, thinkers gathered to commune, organize, celebrate, and work towards decentering whiteness. The place was packed, filled with people of color, queers, friends, family. I danced.

As the night started to wind down a large group of us stood outside chanting various movement chants—solidifying bonds and our commitment to continue forward in our fights for racial justice. A smaller group of us moved down the street heading off to grab food and continued chanting. Four men quickly approached us shouting “Trump, Trump, Trump” with one of them flashing his blue lives matter bracelet at us. We in response continued chanting, switching up our chant to the fuck trump protest song: “Ole, Ole Ole Ole…Fuck Trump, Fuck Trump.” One of the guys, RacistHomophobeDudeBroMcFuckFace pointed at me and shouted, “He’s a fucking faggot.” and I screamed back, “Yeah, I’m a fucking faggot so the fuck what!” and continued on my way crossing the street.

This moment is important…really important…because I know this guy. Guys like this have called me faggot before. Guys like this who are insanely insecure and threatened by any and all difference. He expected my shame. He expected me to be demure and weakened by his homophobic slur. His toxic masculinity is fueled by this expectation. It was a desire for power and I did not comply with this expectation. This moment is also important because it is not new. I’m a black queer man. I’ve been called faggot and been threatened before. I have known all types of violence like this. While the election of Trump may have emboldened these types they’ve always been there: threatening anything and everyone that they perceive as different. Their sense of self depends on this. I know this guy and we all must know him. Authoritarian and fascists ideas resonate with him. He knows offense and seeks power through his fists. He is probably more willing to kill for his ideas than we are.

When I turned back around, dudebro (6’2”, 220lbs) was yelling at Connor, a friend and fellow queer activist. A few folks were trying to separate them. As I approached, dudebro sucker punched Connor in the face. I stepped in to defend Connor and the brawl took off. My instinct was to grapple. This instinct failed me. I did everything in my power to bring the dude to the ground. While doing so he wailed continuously on my face. Once on the ground, he managed to get on top of me and continued wailing. I landed some body punches but couldn’t sweep him. Several friends tried to peel him off me but his friends were attacking them and preventing them from offering aide. My perspective from this point was limited. It was a perspective from the ground. They ended up taking off and I was rushed inside to get needed care. I was later told that the group of guys ran to the cops and used the cops as a shield from those of us who ran after them. I was told the cops let them go and told our people to go inside. I wish I knew more of the details around this but this does not surprise me. The police are not here to protect us. I certainly don’t remember the cops breaking anything up but again, perspective: ground

ON CIRCULATING TRAUMA

I get that these stories need to be told. Believe me I do. My face, my name, my stories have circulated rapidly through social media before, but we as organizers and activists must do better. The story that first circulated on FB and Twitter did not go through my community first. I understand that this is a communal story, but I personally felt distant from what was happening on FB and Twitter. I just felt disembodied. (Probably due to the head injury!– buh buh buh) I guess this is part and parcel to the nature of social media. But I was missing. Some of my politics were missing. So I want to share this to feel a bit more bodied. I worry that the 24 hour news cycle has taught us that we have to push out information rapidly. We don’t. We have to first center the survivors of violence, their needs, story, and politics–especially the most marginalized amongst us.

The day after the attack, I found myself constantly juggling texts, fb posts, signal threads, twitter feeds, emails, and calls. It was a lot. But I tried to dive in, frozen popsicle over my eye (I’ve since moved on to a real ice pack) and did my best. These conversations were fundamentally important. Organizers were figuring out how to respond and take action, the press (more on them later) wanted details, and most importantly my whole community wanted to make sure that I was ok. I am still slowly responding to this outpouring of love.

I did not cry after the attack. I cried because of the immense support I received. It was awe-inspiring. This is why I believe that we will win. We just need to continue to grow more organized and strategic. I have worked to cull deplorables from my social media network. Others have not. I was immediately targeted online by Pepe-meme wielding deplorables. I am not upset at anyone or asking that anything be taken down. This story should be told. These are just some ideas on how we can better protect ourselves going forward.

ON THE PRESS

The press moves fast. We must remember they want a story. In these cases the story is about the act of the harm, not necessarily the people who were harmed. Let’s slow the press down. Especially the press that is friendly to social movements. Our stories are important. Our politics are important. I point to this because the story being told over and over is too focused on Trump. Yes, since he was elected, hate crimes have gone up, but we must continue to stress that this shit is a continuation of this country’s racist, sexist, homophobic history. This shit is instilled in our very structures and institutions. A bunch of fagotts being beat up by some hateful racist homophobic pigs isn’t new. Our enemies are bigger than this group of assholes. We have to dismantle entire structures. We have to live in alternative ways. We have so much work to do.

ON NEEDING SELF DEFENSE

Yep! Check! Wish I knew some sweeps and I need to get my jab on point. But, to be clear…many of us are working tirelessly on trying to organize these classes and much much more. What we need is you. We need more people joining us, organizing with us, volunteering their skills. Many folks organizing around racial justice are exhausted and burnt out. We have already lost too many of our strongest organizers because of this. Since the election we have many new faces in our organizations. People are growing fast politically, but those of us who have been in this for a while now are still being told love and peace when we say militancy, strategy, and resistance. We are not anti-love. Love just isn’t a political strategy. These sentiments must be channeled into forms of resistance and this resistance must be both strategic and militant. We need all hands on deck.

Many people are too invested in non-profit organizations. The work that many of them do is important but their role is by nature limited. Many people still hold to a faith in the Democratic party and their elected officials. They have failed us time and time again. Malcolm X’s speech about the fox and the wolf rings loudly in this moment. Others still cling to the idea that racial capitalism can be reformed. This is the biggest lie. We must let it go.

Come. Join us in the grassroots organizations working on these very issues. We are not paid. We do this work out of love and survival. We need you. If you have ever said on social media that we need to take self defense classes and are not part of an organization or community group: join one. Help us organize these classes. If you can teach self defense: volunteer. Here are NYC groups that you can plug into:

People’s Power Assemblies (PPA)
NYC Shut It Down
Millions March
Why Accountability
ICE-Free NYC.

PPA has just formed several borough based community defense committees… two in Brooklyn and one in queens have grown the fastest so far.

There are many ways to plug in and offer support…just jump in.

LASTLY

This was a hate crime…but the whole damn country is a hate crime on top of a hate crime on top of a bunch of hate crimes. Assholes like the ones that attacked us need to be stopped but the whole damn country needs to be transformed. Racial capitalism must be destroyed and I am still dedicated to working toward its destruction. Again, I am not detoured. I have lost loved ones to police brutality. I have lost loved ones to homophobia and transphobia. I have seen friends attacked by the police. I have seen a friend nearly lose her arm because of the militarized police at Standing Rock. This moment isn’t about our current political reality. Our political system was designed to uphold racial capitalism and to condense power and wealth into the hands of fewer and fewer people. Trump is a continuation of this, not its exception. This system is clearly collapsing under its own contradictions. We must help that collapse along while building alternative ways to exist. We must take seriously the racial justice movements that have worked towards the destruction of racism, hetero-patriarchy, and capitalism. The moment is upon us.

Black Lives Matter

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