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Archive for the ‘audio’ Category

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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This oral history project is a work in progress, and we’re learning as we go. We want to share our interview recordings with current student activists and radicals everywhere in the hope that they’ll find wisdom here to enrich their 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. Please feel free to share these links, but please ask permission if you’d like to publish the material (these highlights will probably be going into the book). Thanks!

 Brad Sigal, interviewed 9/8/12 by Suzy Subways

Brad Sigal was in SLAM! from 1996 until 2000, when he left New York. Sigal was part of citywide SLAM! and tried to start a chapter at John Jay College. He transferred to City College of New York (CCNY), where he worked on campaigns to keep admissions open and the college serving the Harlem and Washington Heights communities, as well as catalyzing radical student activism via the Messenger newspaper and graduate student government. He lives in Minnesota, where he is active in rank-and-file union work, the immigrants’ rights movement and socialist politics.

Repression at John Jay College

Sigal tells the story of how the administration at John Jay College, CUNY, tried to talk him out of registering SLAM! as a club there in 1996, because “There’s anarchists and communists in it, and it’s a really bad group of people.” 1 minute, 15 seconds.


 

The Pre-University Program at the Morales/Shakur Center at CCNY

The Pre-University Program, run by the Dominican Youth Union out of the Guillermo Morales/Assata Shakur Community and Student Center at CCNY, brought hundreds of high school students from Harlem and Washington Heights to the campus each weekend for events and academic support. 1 minute, 37 seconds.


 

How CCNY students defeated the CUNY Card and built solidarity with the community

Sigal explains how important it was to CCNY activists in the 90s to keep the campus open and accessible to the surrounding neighborhoods. Students defeated the CUNY Card initiative at CCNY, opposed arming campus security with guns, and walked picket lines with workers at Harlem Hospital. 2 minutes, 30 seconds.


 

CCNY administration shuts down the Messenger and grad student government

CCNY President Yolanda Moses shuts down the Messenger newspaper and the graduate student government after activists win the elections. 3 minutes, 57 seconds.


 

How activists found out about the surveillance camera aimed at the door of their center

A CCNY janitor tells student activists that the smoke detector outside the Morales-Shakur Center is actually a hidden surveillance camera, aimed right at the door. 2 minutes, 22 seconds.


 

The Little Red Study Group

Sigal tells the story of the Little Red Study Group, which he helped to form with other SLAM! members hoping it could lead to a revolutionary organization for the core founders of SLAM!, who were moving on after graduation. 7 minutes, 47 seconds.

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photo by Jed

photo by Jed

On June 5th in Philadelphia, Slamistas Kazembe Balagun, Lenina Nadal, Jed Brandt, John Kim, and Sasa Ynoa spoke about SLAM’s innovative approach to organizing and why we were fighting for free university education. This was a combined event called “How do we build radical movements?” with Dan Berger, who (along with Chris Dixon) interviewed people in four revolutionary study groups – Another Politics is Possible (NY), the Activist Study Circles (SF), the LA Crew, and the New York Study Group – talking about leadership, organization, and politics. Their article and an interview by Suzy Subways with 5 women of color from SLAM appeared in the radical journal Upping the Anti, issue #8.

Click on the following links to hear the audio:

Dan Berger

Kazembe Balagun

Q&A with Kazembe, Lenina, Jed, John Kim and Suzy

Q&A continued, with Sasa too

Q&A continued

Due to battery-related challenges, the audio recorder ran out before
the end of the event. Video will be coming soon!

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These audio recordings (click on the links below) are from a panel at the CUNY Social Forum, held at City College October 17 to 19, 2008. The panel was an informally organized discussion by some former SLAM members and SLAM fam, along with activists attending the workshop.

How this panel came to be – John Kim (1 minute, 53 seconds)

Suzy Subways, journalist and AIDS activist in Philadelphia, was in Brooklyn College SLAM, worked with High School Organizing Program (5 minutes, 22 seconds): “Women of color in SLAM taught me how to organize”

Orlando Green, National Hip-Hop Political Convention, Blacks Against War, SLAM alum, City College alum, organizer at Baruch College in the 90s (10 minutes, 33 seconds): SLAM’s roots in the Black community and radical people of color organizing

John Kim, SLAM member back in the day, initiated this workshop (5 minutes, 56 seconds): “We knew we needed to build organizational power”

Daniel Tasripin, Hunter College Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Hunter SLAM member 2001-2004 (13 minutes, 34 seconds): “The message came down from 80th Street to Hunter’s president – ‘Enough of these radicals in student government!'”

Hank Williams, in Africana Studies at CUNY grad center, organizing for Black studies doctorate, was in 2nd generation of SLAM at City College (13 minutes, 5 seconds): “SLAM was a movement engine to support larger struggles around the city”

Terry Marshall, Hip-Hop Media Lab, Hip-Hop Sustains, was in Students Organizing for Unity and Liberation (SOUL) at Roxbury Community College in Boston in the 90s (11 minutes, 9 seconds): “We just had this indignation, like ‘They don’t even respect us as human beings…. Fuck that, we’re going to take this building!'”

Questions & Answers

What is the potential for CUNY students to organize high school students?

What was day-to-day SLAM organizing like? And how did it play out with Leninists, anarchists, nationalists working together?

With a high turnover rate among students, how do you bring people in who are interested first thing in September?

Could you adopt a high school, teach the truth, and bring those students into CUNY? The mayor controls the schools, but cats don’t educate mice, they eat them. Also, while we oppose the system, how can we use an above-ground strategy to undermine the 2-party electoral system?

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To listen to these sound files, recorded Oct. 17, 2008, in Harlem at the CUNY Social Forum, click on the links below:

Maria Arettines (moderator), a CUNY Social Forum organizer and Hunter College student: “What are our desires?” (5 minutes, 23 seconds)

Hank Williams, veteran of the Student Liberation Action Movement (SLAM!) and organizer with the Africana Studies Group at the CUNY Graduate Center: The CUNY movement, women of color feminism, and our vision of the university in the aftermath of losing Open Admissions (12 minutes, 31 seconds)

Vanessa James, Parents in Action for Leadership and Human Rights: Fighting Children’s Services for the human right to keep our children from being taken away (10 minutes, 58 seconds)

Mark Torres, former City College student activist, member of the Hostos Educators’ Association: Building organizational power – “Educate, agitate, organize!” (11 minutes, 33 seconds)

Dr. Leonard Jeffries, department of political science, City College; former chair of Black Studies Department: From shattered consciousness and fractured identities to a blueprint for people’s power (21 minutes, 36 seconds)

Luz Schreiber, co-founder of Hunter Parent Union, former member of SLAM and founding member of Ollin Imagination: Dreaming revolution, imagining collective solutions (9 minutes, 40 seconds)

Q&A – Movement elders and students speak and ask questions (41 minutes, 18 seconds)

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