Feb

25

Bwoglines: Competition Edition

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These goats are competitive.

Thanks to the Common App switch, Columbia may be the second most selective Ivy this year, after only Harvard. This has purportedly scared Harvard and Princeton into reinstating their early admissions plans. (Daily Beast, Harvard Crimson, Daily Princetonian)

Columbia students, representing the Student Global AIDS campaign,  plan to protest House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s speech at Harvard.  (WaPo)

A centrist Democratic president just announced that he’ll give the commencement address at a prominent university in New York City. Sorry POTUS project, it’s just Clinton and NYU. Also, Emma Watson is reportedly considering transferring to a prominent university in New—yeah, it’s NYU again! (NYULocal)

Construction is underway at 101st and Amsterdam, the new home of Warique Peruvian Kitchen, a restaurant specializing in Peruvian food. No sign of a menu, but traditional Peruvian dishes include “aji de gallina (a milky, spicy chicken stew), ceviche, and papa rellena (stuffed potatoes).”  How will this affect Flor de Mayo? (The College Critic)

The continuing and brutal violence in Libya has been on everyone’s mind. One Columbia student spoke with NBC News about the terrifying experiences of his friends and family in Libya. (NYT, NBC)

Caprine competition from Wikimedia Commons.

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11 Comments

  1. Irresponsible

    Protesting funding cuts which could lead to millions of preventable deaths around the world is simply not the same as heckling a military veteran who is also a fellow student, and disrespecting his service to the country. Unclear what the bwog was thinking with this post.

    • what's the difference?  

      So I guess those wars we're fighting in the middle east don't kill anyone? Of course it's important to fund AIDS relief for the poor, but isn't it just as important to make sure that we don't just roll over and let the military do whatever it wants? Whether or not you agree with both, the opponents of ROTC and the opponents of cutting AIDS funding heckled the speakers for the same reason: they were fighting against government policies that they knew were problematic. Hell, you could even throw in the Democratic senators in Wisconsin who fled to Illinois. They're all practicing civil disobedience because they don't think they can just go along with the system anymore. The false distinction you're making is based solely on your personal views that some causes matter and others don't. You're entitled to your opinion, but you can't universalize it!

  2. Anonymous

    Wait, hang on, the protest at the Cantor speech at Harvard was to restore funding for life-saving global health/HIV-AIDS/TB/malaria programs in the developing world. How is that comparable to what happened at the ROTC hearing last week?

  3. Heckling is radical tactic

    Heckling Maschek was not an outlier in that heckling is a basic tactic in the radical playbook.

    From Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals:

    Rule 1: Power is not only what you have, but what an opponent thinks you have. If your organization is small, hide your numbers in the dark and raise a din that will make everyone think you have many more people than you do.

    Rule 2: Never go outside the experience of your people.
    The result is confusion, fear, and retreat.

    Rule 3: Whenever possible, go outside the experience of an opponent. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.

    Rule 4: Make opponents live up to their own book of rules. “You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.”

    Rule 5: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It’s hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.

    Rule 6: A good tactic is one your people enjoy. “If your people aren’t having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic.”

    Rule 7: A tactic that drags on for too long becomes a drag. Commitment may become ritualistic as people turn to other issues.

    Rule 8: Keep the pressure on. Use different tactics and actions and use all events of the period for your purpose. “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this that will cause the opposition to react to your advantage.”

    Rule 9: The threat is more terrifying than the thing itself. When Alinsky leaked word that large numbers of poor people were going to tie up the washrooms of O’Hare Airport, Chicago city authorities quickly agreed to act on a longstanding commitment to a ghetto organization. They imagined the mayhem as thousands of passengers poured off airplanes to discover every washroom occupied. Then they imagined the international embarrassment and the damage to the city’s reputation.

    Rule 10: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. Avoid being trapped by an opponent or an interviewer who says, “Okay, what would you do?”

    Rule 11: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it. Don’t try to attack abstract corporations or bureaucracies. Identify a responsible individual. Ignore attempts to shift or spread the blame.

    According to Alinsky, the main job of the organizer is to bait an opponent into reacting. “The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength.”

  4. Lily

    The comparison between students protesting for global AIDS funding and disrespecting a war veteran is extremely inaccurate and insulting. The students who protested Eric Cantor were trying to convince the Congressman of the need for America to value the lives of those all around the world and to support these values through a sustained commitment to global health funding. The students who heckled Mr. Maschek last week were severely out of line and were severely out of line and disrespectful to a national hero who was himself trying to uphold American values. In addition, while the students at the ROTC event made personal attacks against the speaker in a very rude manner, the students at the Cantor event were not nearly as malicious or disruptive. This comparison is unfair and reflects poorly on our ability as students to distinguish important causes that will lead to millions of lives being saved from worthless and disrespectful disruptions that lead nowhere.

    • Claire  (Bwog Staff)

      We drew a simple and cursory connection between students reacting negatively to a speaker. Our news roundup does not pretend to be in-depth analysis, just a collection of links pertaining to the Columbia. We apologize for anything that might have been construed as offensive and have updated the post to reflect your legitimate concerns. Further inquiries can be sent to [email protected]

  5. Gregg Gonsalves

    I think it's important for Columbia students to have some perspective on what happened last night in Cambridge.
    The US House of Representatives has slashed billions, yes, billions in dollars for global health, and in fact, a host of other critical non-health-related programs (including Pell grants for students!).
    Appeals to the Republican leadership have fallen on deaf ears and if the Senate even partially consents to these cuts, there will be real costs in human lives. The American Foundation for AIDS Research has estimated over a million lives are at stake if these cuts go through.
    I am not sure what event the blogger above is referring to, but last night's event was a critical piece of political work.
    I've worked in AIDS public policy for 20 years in New York City and in South Africa--many of the policy advances we've made were made possible by the kind of direct action that happened last night. The polite approach works--I've done my share of policy reports, Congressional visits, letters to editors and the like--but sometimes the situation calls for something more.
    This isn't just the case for AIDS activists--most successful social movements have had an inside and outside strategy, pairing policy work with direct action, civil disobedience, etc.
    So, please don't cast aspersions on your fellow Columbia students who actually took the time to drive up to Harvard yesterday--they made a sacrifice of their time to do something quite courageous: tell one of the most powerful people in the Republican Party that his policies are endangering human lives.
    I've lived with AIDS for over 15 years-your peers at Columbia have inspired me. I am now a student at Yale and see too many students here simply worried about their careers, their next credential, their resumes to ever consider speaking up for those less fortunate than they are, particularly if it involves some risk to their own advancement or ambitions.
    So frankly, we need more students like those who drove up and back to Cambridge last night: a new generation of students who are willing to speak up when they see something wrong, to challenge the ascendancy of the Republican Party, which seeks to roll back social and economic policy to some pre-New Deal era in which the poor and the vulnerable fend for themselves, while deregulation and tax policy enrich those who already are enormously wealthy.
    Gregg Gonsalves
    New Haven, CT

  6. Jennifer Flynn

    I was a Columbia University Center for the Study of Human Rights Advocates Training Fellow in 2002. I was chosen for my years of AIDS activism and community organizing. I was brought on campus to both inform students of real world advocacy and to learn from the brilliant students about global health and politics in a way that you can't get when you are living with work day in and day out.

    It is the job of young people to stand up for what is right. It is the duty of students to take what they learn, use the resource of their college campuses and access to influential decision makers.

    I would like to respond to the person who quoted Alinsky above. Heckling someone in power is what Alinsky was talking about. Someone who could give you what you want. Heckling a veteran, not an elected official, would be considered a total waste of time by Alinsky. He would rail against it, not for being offensive, but for taking the valuable time of activists away from confronting the actual people who are making policies.

    However, heckling is not what happened in Boston. Eric Cantor, a very powerful congressmember, and architect of some budget cuts that will literally translate into the death of over 1 million people in Africa, was asked several real questions. There were organized peaceful demonstrations outside.

    Rep. Cantor has repeatedly promoted the rights of people to confront their elected officials and voice their opinions in ways that will get media attention and will expose the detrimental sides of bad public policies. It appears that Rep. Cantor understands Alinsky more than you.

    I am so proud to know some of the Columbia SGAC members and I am certain that if they continue to speak out for justice they will find that more and more of their fellow students start to agree with them.

  7. Anonymous

    I'm just here for the goats.

  8. Katrina

    If anyone cares about what really went on yesterday, they should watch this video of the Eric Cantor event. This is speaking truth to power, folks, not simple heckling: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VXTvtZ8d2Y. So now you want to join Columbia's SGAC? They meet weekly on Wednesdays at 8 in Earl Hall and they are doing some really awesome things.

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