If you noticed a hubbub in front of Lerner at 11:00 AM this morning, it wasn’t another protest–just the aftershocks. The People on the Stage netted what appeared to be most of the local media outlets–plus bystanders–in a press conference to get out their message about what happened on October 4th. Bwog couldn’t help but notice a book next to the podium: Marxist Theories of Imperialism: a Critical Study.
First up is Chicano Caucus political chair Karina Garcia, who reads a statement claiming that the adminstration is treating “racist, fascist, armed, vigilante” Minutemen as victims. Apparently, Prezbo has received over 3,000 letters of support for the protestors in the past 36 hours…and Bwog was feeling sorry for itself.
Then comes Martin Lopez, C ’09, whom you can recognize from the six black and white still photographs in which he’s getting kicked by a Minuteman. Before that, he says he was kicked by Chris Kulawik himself, although he can’t be sure. “I demand that Columbia University not take any reprisals against the students who took the stage,” Lopez said. Good news, Martin: according to a source in Public Safety, they’re not planning on taking any disciplinary action, although the deans may still do so. But at least you’ve got the fuzz off your back.
Then comes a woman from National Lawyers Guild, who harkens back to the good old days of the 60s, when 30 students were suspended in a protest over Columbia’s affiliation with a weapons think tank. The protesters, then, are “continuing their legacy of protest against societal injustice.” Power to the people!
Then comes Monique Dols, head of the Columbia chapter of the International Socialist Organization, who will match Kulawik’s record by appearing on Fox News tonight (O’Reilly) for the THIRD time.
Next a lady from Washington Heights brings it all back home with a reference to that other issue, Manhattanville. “We’re not only exploited in our countries, we also find exploitation here,” she says. “They seem to forget that Columbia is in the midst of Harlem, which is a disgrace, a disrespect, and we will not stand by it.” She’s a practitioner of “radical compassion” and “subversive love.” Hey…can we get some of that?
Last up is Adhemir Romero, president of the Chicano Caucus, who tippytoes around the issue by dissociating the group from the inside protest while defending the principle. “We were exercising our right to free speech,” he said.
Then came questions, answered by Karina and Monique. A Sparticist tries to offer statement as question, the New York Sun challenges the violence, the press gets angry at the students’ opacity, and the event becomes a circus.
This Wednesday, during the Republicans’ event with ex-PLO terrorist Walid Shoebat, they’re holding an “open session/presentation” on the Minutemen at Broadway Presbyterian. Does that mean you’ll be protesting the Minutemen?
“We’ll be having that presentation,” says Karina.
You’re not answering the question? “I think that question answer itself,” says Karina .
The event finishes up with a heated squabble between two white Columbia students and the protestors. Then another student joins in, this one wearing a kippah. One protester, obviously not a student, asks: “Are you for free speech for Joseph Massad?”
Bwog went on its merry way, glad for a sunny day to lighten the mood.