Student struggles are beginning across the country. There is no doubt that many of the issues which faced the 1960s generation of student militants will have to be dealt with in the current round of student struggles. For starters the university is till embedded in U.S. imperialism and capitalism. The university is still a major agent of gentrification.
Attached is an excerpt from Harlem Vs Columbia University: Black Student Power in the late 1960s by Stefan Bradley called, “Gym Crow Must Go!”.
For a little more information and some pictures check out this link: http://www.columbia.edu/acis/history/1968/#links
Here are some questions/comments I have to start the discussion off:
1. How might Black only groups be viable on campus but run into more problems in the workplace? I am thinking of the League of Revolutionary Black Worker’s in this light.
2. Is race only articulated through Black only organizations? Can white-supremacy still be fought in a multi-racial organization? Can a positive vision of Black affirmation and pride have a key place in a multi-racial organization?
3. How do folks feel about this sentence, “As members of the black intelligentsia and the working class, they were able to manifest power by using the threat of violence to invoke fear and reconsideration by a powerful white institution.”
4. What does this sentence mean? “If Black Power were to ever be fully achieved in this country, at least politically, it would take an alliance of what sociologist E. Franklin Frazier called the “blackbourgeoisie”and the “blackproletariat.”” What historical evidence is there of such an alliance?
5. I do not understand H Rap Brown’s claim that the Black community is taking over on p. 172. If the Black community is taking over, how come it is only half-dozen folks removing the white jocks. Perhaps someone else who knows more about this event can fill in the details. Did the author forget to mention that there was an actual physical community behind Brown’s statement?
6. The occupation of Hamilton put the University President in a precise problem, “”The fact that a group of black students were in sole occupancy of one of our buildings did complicate the matter.”99The possibility of a “race riot,” like the one that had occurred in Harlem just weeks before, was probably frightening to him and the rest of the school officials. The president as well as the SAS protesters understood that when both the white and black protesters were occupying the building, it was an issue of “student protest.” However, when SAS asked the white students to leave to occupy Low Library, the issue was no longer simply a student building takeover, but a black student and community protest.”
7. What does occupying a building accomplish? How does it cause a crisis for the university politically and economically? In the Columbia link I provided above, the writer mentions that most students boycotted classes. Is that a possible strategy today?
8. What were the immediate victories and yet at the same time how was Columbia able to recover?