Dear Hunter Faculty,
This letter is from a number of adjunct faculty in a variety of disciplines at Hunter, who are involved in an independent group called Adjuncts for Liberation (A4L).
It is clear that as CUNY employees, all of us are facing the effects of the current economic crisis. This situation is particularly acute for adjuncts: we go semester by semester (and often paycheck to paycheck), unsure if we will be reappointed, and our healthcare (for those of us lucky to have it) hanging constantly in the balance.
In addition to our precariousness as workers, our classes are bigger, we are forced to teach fewer classes of our own design and more large lectures (when we’re lucky enough to get classes at all), and have less time to work with our students. Many of us work at least one other job, and many of us more than that.
With all of this in mind, A4L is thinking about May 1st, an historic day of labor and political action in the United States and all over the world. A variety of groups, including Occupy Wall Street and Strike Everywhere (a regular general assembly made up of mostly precarious workers), has called for a “General Strike.” However, the meaning of a general strike in a society with such dispersion of labor, and such a high level of precarity is up for debate. We see this day as one of many in the fight against our exploitation, that of our students, and that of other workers. We have been working without a new contract for over a year, and it is clear the only way we can change our situation is to work collectively.
Obviously, a general strike requires that a large proportion of the workforce take part. In this day of broken unions, broken union laws, deunionization, and precaritization, the term needs to take on new meaning--we hope this meaning is the recognition of the need to organize together, along with the experience of resistance.. With that in mind, WE INVITE YOU, dear Hunter professor or instructor, to join in the strike with the goal of organizing collectively in the near future. We know that you are aligned with many of the values represented by the General Strike, but that striking has become a difficult act, especially when framed as something that individual people do. In order to support you in acting in solidarity, we suggest below a number of ways and in which you may take action on May day. The idea is to give you the tools you need to support the strike in a way that you are able, although none of the official activities have been planned by A4L.. In the future, we hope to be able to organize for an actual SOCIAL strike, where instead of taking action as individuals we act together.
1) SIGN THE CUNY FACULTY STATEMENT OF SUPPORT FOR MAY 1st: (https://sites.google.com/site/occupycunywiki/resources/faculty-support-letter)
2) CANCEL CLASS AND TELL YOUR STUDENTS IT IS BECAUSE OF THE GENERAL STRIKE AND ENCOURAGE STUDENTS TO GO TO BRYANT PARK, WHERE THERE WILL BE A POP-UP OCCUPATION 8AM-2PM, OR TO MADISON SQUARE PARK, WHERE THERE WILL BE A FREE UNIVERSITY FROM 10AM-3PM*.
3) ASSIGN YOUR STUDENTS A VISIT TO THE FREE UNIVERSITY AT MADISON SQUARE PARK OR TEACH YOUR CLASS THERE THAT DAY.
(sign up here: http://maydaynyc.org/freeuniversity).
4)JOIN THE MARCHES WITH YOUR STUDENTS:
Student Convergence at Madison Square Park @3pm
March to Union Square @ 4pm
March to Wall St @ 5:30pm
5) HOLD CLASS OUTSIDE OF YOUR CLASSROOM, PREFERABLY OUTSIDE THE HUNTER BUILDINGS, SAY, AT CENTRAL PARK.
6) HOLD CLASS IN ITS USUAL LOCATION, BUT CONDUCT A TEACH-IN ON TOPICS RELATED TO THE GENERAL STRIKE THAT DAY (We are happy to [provide teach-in materials. (Contact us here: firstname.lastname@example.org or go here: adjunctsforliberation.blogspot.com).
7) COMBINE YOUR CLASS WITH THOSE OF OTHERS FOR A JOINT TEACH-IN, IN A CLASSROOM OR IN A PUBLIC SPACE WITHIN HUNTER(WE ARE HAPPY TO JOIN YOU IF YOU LET US KNOW).
For the strike to be taken seriously, we are counting on YOUR SOLIDARITY!
*For more information, visit http://maydaynyc.org
Adjuncts for Liberation