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Archive for the ‘SLAM founders’ 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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—> —>  Click here: Mumia_Youth_Rising_2000 to get a closer look at this striking piece of movement literature produced by SLAM! members along with high school student activist interns for a massive hip-hop concert at Hunter College in June 2000. The magazine features an interview with organizer Rachèl LaForest, a poem by Suheir Hammad, an article by Mumia Abu-Jamal, articles by the high school students, and more!

Click on the bold, red text above to see the entire, full-size pdf!

YRfreeYRcoverSuheirPoem

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R2K+10 honors the 10th anniversary of the direct action mobilization against the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia in the year 2000.

Please enjoy these audio interviews with 6 former SLAM members who participated in R2K! Here is a short segment with wisdom from everyone:

Kai, Nermeen, Sandra, Anna, Mariano, and Kazembe talk about R2K

Below are the bios of each person and a list of audio segments with descriptions. All interviews were conducted and edited by Suzy Subways.

Kazembe is a writer and cultural organizer from the Bronx, NY, who works at the Brecht Forum. Click on the links below to listen to these audio segments:

SLAM’s direct action experience on access to CUNY, police brutality, and political prisoners

Kazembe on R2K’s historical moment

Kazembe on the raid of the Puppet Warehouse

Kazembe’s arrest and jail experience

Kazembe on the lessons of R2K

Complete interview with Kazembe

Nermeen was a SLAM member for 5 years. She is a mother and works with senior community members in Queens. Click on the links below to listen to these audio segments:

Nermeen on how the puppets worked with the lockdowns

Nermeen on supporting comrades in jail

Nermeen on flying squads vs. civil disobedience

Nermeen on the tactical successes of R2K

Nermeen on how mentoring worked in SLAM

Complete interview with Nermeen

Kai works with Critical Resistance and has been doing organizing around the prison industrial complex (PIC), which is inclusive of police violence, prisons, jails, courts, surveillance, and political prisoners, since 1978. She also merges visual art and organizing in an effort to reach the imagination and to help spark liberation, whether that’s imagining PIC abolition or being in the year 2078 with multiple genitalia. Click on the links below to listen to these audio segments: (more…)

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For more information, visit the Fire Collective:

http://www.thefirecollective.org/Events/the-nature-of-this-flower-is-to-bloom-slam-and-learning-from-a-revolutionary-student-movement.html

How do we build a revolutionary student movement, and what can we learn from previous attempts? Kazembe Balagun and and Lenina Nadal will be speaking on learning from their experiences with the Student Liberation Action Movement (SLAM).  April 8th @ 7:30PM, in the Atlantic Room (in the UC Underground).

Download PDF

The movement fought against budget cuts, sent solidarity brigades to Palestine and Chiapas, and created a space for the exchange of radical ideas. SLAM mobilized tens of thousands of students and was led mainly by women of all different nationalities. We need a summation that looks at both the positive and negative of this movement as we chart our own uncharted course.

Hosted by the Radical Study Group at the University of Houston.


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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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A Culture of Resistance

Lessons Learned from the Student Liberation Action Movement (SLAM)

By Suzy Subways

This interview with 5 women of color from SLAM appeared in the radical journal Upping the Anti, issue #8.

In March 1995, 20,000 students from City University of New York (CUNY) were attacked by police after surrounding city hall to protest a draconian tuition increase. This protest, organized by the CUNY Coalition Against the Cuts, marked an upsurge in student movement activity that continued into 1996, when the group transformed into the Student Liberation Action Movement (SLAM), a multiracial radical organization. Before disbanding in 2004, SLAM established chapters at CUNY colleges in all five boroughs of the city. This roundtable focuses on the chapter at Hunter College in Manhattan and explores SLAM’s legacy of building a left culture in New York City and across the country. (more…)

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Click here to download the paper.

The Struggle for CUNY: A History Of The CUNY Student Movement, 1969 – 1999

By Christopher Gunderson

Contents

1 Introduction

5 A Brief History Of Cuny

7 Cuny Student Activism Before 1969

9 The Global Context

12 The Open Admissions Strike

22 The Effects Of Open Admissions

24 Struggles In The 70S

30 The New York City “Fiscal Crisis”

38 The Fight For Hostos

42 Tuition Imposed

45 Cuny Student Activism In The 1980S

46 The 1989 Student Strike

52 The 1991 Student Strike

58 After The Strikes

60 The 1995 Struggle

66 Student Government

66 The Attack On Remediation

67 Conclusions

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SLAM protest 1998

SLAM protest 1998

In this 1998 photo, you can see SLAM’s famous demonic Giuliani head puppet. We frequently got phone calls from groups all over the city to borrow it for protests. You can also see SLAM founding member Sandra Barros at right, in the maroon jacket with yellow armbands. Is Jed the person she’s talking to? Is that Ramiro in the front middle?

Below is the caption written in 1998, before the Open Admissions struggle was lost. It was copied from SLAM’s original website at http://www.geocities.com/slamcuny/ All geocities websites will be taken down at the end of October 2009, so we are transferring the content here as it was originally presented:

Protest on March 23, 1998 at CUNY Board of Trustees meeting. We demanded that they not vote to end remediation and open admissions– they tried to vote and lost! There were about 200 students at the protest.

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Defend Open Admissions and Remedial Education at CUNY!

Click here to see the 10 DEMANDS of the CUNY Coalition for Open Admissions. SLAM is one of the groups in the coalition…Join SLAM to get involved. CCNY SLAM!, 138th Street & Convent Ave, Harlem, NY 10031


Now Available:

8-page newspaper broadsheet

“The Struggle at CUNY: Open Admissions & Civil Rights”

Mayor Giuliani & some on the Board of Trustees are calling for an end to CUNY’s policy of Open Admissions — which allows all NYC high school graduates a chance at college. CCNY SLAM has put out this timely and excellent newspaper that details the struggle around open admissions, the community colleges, workfare on campus, and the student movement at CUNY. This pamphlet argues that the attacks on CUNY are part of the larger attack on communities of color and on economic democracy. It also includes a cool 2-color poster you can put up all over campus!

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What is SLAM!?

SLAM is the Student Liberation Action Movement. We are based at the City University of New York (CUNY) and other schools in New York.  SLAM! is a student-based group that has mainly organized against budget cuts and for open admissions at CUNY.  Our main campaign for Spring 1998 is to defend and expand open admissions and access to education. SLAM! has also organized around welfare, police brutality, housing, political prisoners, imperialism, and just about any other injustice you can name.  There are SLAM! chapters at some schools, and there are groups with other names, as well as individuals, who are affiliated with SLAM!  We want to be part of rebuilding a student movement that is independent of politicians and political parties; that is democratic; that is organized; that is  campus-based, and that is radical.  SLAM! is all that and much more.  Get in touch for more info or to get involved…

CCNY Student Liberation Action Movement (SLAM)
City College
138th St. & Convent Ave
New York, NY 10031
212-650-8179

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