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Archive for May, 2014

Welcome and enjoy!

This blog is a work in progress, leading to an archive of oral history interviews and some edited projects, including a book. In 2006, former SLAM! members organizing for our 10th anniversary talked about our desire to document our own history. We decided on a collaborative oral history project as a way for each of us to tell our own story and for a broader story of SLAM! to emerge from the whole. Below is what we have so far…

We want to share some of our interview audio with current student activists and radicals everywhere in the hope that you’ll find wisdom here to enrich your work. We’ll be posting edited segments from the interviews, which are being done in a totally random order. This material is posted under a Creative Commons license. We encourage activist websites to share all of our content and links, but researchers must ask permission if you’d like to publish the material (these highlights will be going into our edited final projects). Thanks!

**The photo at the top of every page of this blog was taken by Ersellia Ferron for the Spheric, Hunter College’s semi-underground newspaper. Vol X #1, Spring 1995

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This material is posted under a Creative Commons license. Please feel free to share these links, but please ask permission if you’d like to publish the material (highlights from the SLAM! Herstory interviews will probably be going into the book). Thanks!

Irini Neofotistos, interviewed 9/20/12 by Suzy Subways

Irini Neofotistos participated in SLAM! from 1996 to 2001, managing the student government office, editing the Envoy newspaper, coordinating direct action protests in the streets as a member of tactical teams elected by the group for various actions, and lending her logistics brain to the day-to-day functioning of the organization. She is a mother of two and lives in Astoria, Queens, where she grew up.

Repression of the Left in Greece: Neofotistos’ father’s experience

Neofotistos tells her father’s story of being a leftist in Greece, then being drafted by the military junta and put in the propaganda wing, then spending time in military prison. 1 minute, 49 seconds.

 

SLAM!’s role in NYC’s web of resistance

SLAM! as a multi-issue organization guided by “the personal is political,” fighting for students who came into student government with grievances related to everything from housing to transit fares to police brutality. How SLAM! fought for access to higher education and also helped to build a web of support among groups mobilizing against related injustices around the city. 4 minutes, 12 seconds.

 

SLAM!’s priorities: infrastructure vs protest

Neofotistos discusses the challenges of building and maintaining the infrastructure of student government and SLAM! as an organization vs. in-the-moment work to plan rallies. Was protest planning and outreach valued more? How did this relate to a gendered division of labor? 5 minutes, 8 seconds.

 

Austerity for education meant investment in repression and prison

Budget cuts and tuition hikes made public college less accessible to working-class students, while CUNY brought in more security to deal with the protests. This mirrored national trends of taking money out of education and increasing spending on imprisonment. 2 minutes, 29 seconds.

 

Student government tactics with administration: reform or disruption?

Neofotistos discusses the tensions between being in a position to make reform changes from within the college bureaucracy and building a mass movement. What are potential ways to disrupt rather than give those in power more legitimacy? 2 minutes, 37 seconds.

 

 

Protest security, protecting demonstrators from police

Protest security: re-con, security trainings, and the role of security in un-arrest, moving a crowd securely, protecting protesters from the police. 3 minutes, 25 seconds.

 

Changes in police tactics raise a challege

Neofotistos discusses the challenges of being an organizer of the large antiwar rally in NYC on Feb. 15, 2003, when police tactics had changed. Seeing people penned up was disturbing and meant the movement could no longer be transparent about the level of risk people were taking by going to a protest. 4 minutes, 38 seconds.

 

 

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