Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Intellectual Property Socialism

SAP shows its true (capitalist) colors. Open source is a non-distributed model of development much akin to anarchism, which is subset of socialism. Read on:
'Intellectual property socialism is the worst that can happen to any IP-based society,' says an SAP executive

A senior executive at SAP has criticised the open source development methodology by claiming that it does not promote innovation, according to reports.

Shai Agassi, president of the product and technology group at SAP, said in a speech at a club in California that Linux is not innovative, according to an article on technology news site VNUNet this week.

"We all talk about how great Linux is," Agassi reportedly said. "But if you look at the most innovative desktop today, Microsoft's Vista is not copying Linux, it is copying Apple."

SAP will not make its software open source as it would no longer have an incentive to innovate, Agassi said.

"Intellectual property [IP] socialism is the worst that can happen to any IP-based society," he said. "And we are an IP-based society. If there is no way to protect IP, there is no reason to invest in IP."

I am currently reading a book on Enterprise Services Architecture written by SAP guys. It is very good. However, I find it very amusing that they have tried to trademark EA and SOA concepts with silly sloganeering like the Netweaver "platform." Clearly SAP in traditional capitalist fashion thinks it is fine to steal other peoples ideas and use IP law to claim them as their own. So what we see SAP doing here is executing Primitive Accumulation (or perhaps more precisely, IP-rimitive Accumulation).

As Marx explains in Capital Vol I:

This primitive accumulation plays in Political Economy about the same part as original sin in theology. Adam bit the apple, and thereupon sin fell on the human race. Its origin is supposed to be explained when it is told as an anecdote of the past. In times long gone-by there were two sorts of people; one, the diligent, intelligent, and, above all, frugal elite; the other, lazy rascals, spending their substance, and more, in riotous living. The legend of theological original sin tells us certainly how man came to be condemned to eat his bread in the sweat of his brow; but the history of economic original sin reveals to us that there are people to whom this is by no means essential. Never mind! Thus it came to pass that the former sort accumulated wealth, and the latter sort had at last nothing to sell except their own skins. And from this original sin dates the poverty of the great majority that, despite all its labour, has up to now nothing to sell but itself, and the wealth of the few that increases constantly although they have long ceased to work. Such insipid childishness is every day preached to us in the defence of property. M. Thiers, e.g., had the assurance to repeat it with all the solemnity of a statesman to the French people, once so spirituel. But as soon as the question of property crops up, it becomes a sacred duty to proclaim the intellectual food of the infant as the one thing fit for all ages and for all stages of development. In actual history it is notorious that conquest, enslavement, robbery, murder, briefly force, play the great part. In the tender annals of Political Economy, the idyllic reigns from time immemorial. Right and "labour" were from all time the sole means of enrichment, the present year of course always excepted. As a matter of fact, the methods of primitive accumulation are anything but idyllic.

In themselves money and commodities are no more capital than are the means of production and of subsistence. They want transforming into capital. But this transformation itself can only take place under certain circumstances that centre in this, viz., that two very different kinds of commodity-possessors must come face to face and into contact; on the one hand, the owners of money, means of production, means of subsistence, who are eager to increase the sum of values they possess, by buying other people’s labour-power; on the other hand, free labourers, the sellers of their own labour-power, and therefore the sellers of labour. Free labourers, in the double sense that neither they themselves form part and parcel of the means of production, as in the case of slaves, bondsmen, &c., nor do the means of production belong to them, as in the case of peasant-proprietors; they are, therefore, free from, unencumbered by, any means of production of their own. With this polarization of the market for commodities, the fundamental conditions of capitalist production are given. The capitalist system pre-supposes the complete separation of the labourers from all property in the means by which they can realize their labour. As soon as capitalist production is once on its own legs, it not only maintains this separation, but reproduces it on a continually extending scale. The process, therefore, that clears the way for the capitalist system, can be none other than the process which takes away from the labourer the possession of his means of production; a process that transforms, on the one hand, the social means of subsistence and of production into capital, on the other, the immediate producers into wage-labourers. The so-called primitive accumulation, therefore, is nothing else than the historical process of divorcing the producer from the means of production. It appears as primitive, because it forms the pre-historic stage of capital and of the mode of production corresponding with it.

So we see what SAP is doing. SAP wishes to transform public domain work done on EA and SOA (social production) into intellectual property or IP (capital which SAP owns). It is primitive in this context because you see above how violently SAP is behaving. Also they are not paying for this social production, they are stealing it. Seeing that it exists in the "commons" they first must destroy the legitimacy of "open source" by attacking its very nature. In this way they can transform the work into IP and get around having to honor the guardians of social production, such as GNU licenses and Creative Commons licenses.

Only by removing these safeguards can SAP "legally" lay claim to these products of social production and thereby capitalize them for their own profit.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Boycott for Peace

I stumbled across this today and thought it was so great I had to repost it. The source site is the Vermont Boycott For Peace.


Since we launched the statewide boycott campaign, many people have e-mailed the Vermont Boycott for Peace seeking alternatives to the companies targeted for boycott by the international community. We have compiled the following list of businesses in Vermont and beyond that provide similar, and in some cases equivalent, services and products. Please check back periodically to look for additions to the list. To recommend a company or local business as an alternative to a boycott target, please e-mail us at

Note: Those companies followed by an asterisk (*) were reviewed by Co-op America’s screening team for a variety of social and environmental criteria. In addition to applying their own standards, Co-op America drew information from many Vermont-based and national organizations, including:

Organic Trade Association (
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (
Sustainable Energy Resource Group (
Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (


Boycott all products produced by Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Instead, buy your soft drinks from one of two Vermont micro\ producers of GREAT soft drink products!

WaNu (pronounced "way-new") all-natural sodas have NO preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup, and no yeast. They use only the highest quality all-natural ingredients in their lite sodas, sports drinks, and "tritionals." WaNu beverages are made with roughly half the sugar of the average soda, but they have all the flavor, and they make some terrific-tasting varieties of the old favorites like birch beer and cream soda! Best yet -- you can buy online and get WaNu beverages delivered to your door from their online store. Click here to find out more.

WaNu Beverages
Vemront Vase Waters LLC
49 Commerce Drive
South Burlington, VT 0540

phone: (802) 863-8656

Try also the new line of Vermont microsodas produced by Pop Soda. The new company, based in Moretown, VT, has created a yummy line of all-natural, handcrafted soft drinks. Click here to find out more about Pop Soda.


Boycott the Working Assets credit card owned by MBNA

Instead, consider a Scholastic Plastic Visa from Albina Community Bank*

Albina Community Bank -- a mission-based, minority-owned, federally certified community development financial institution -- issues the Scholastic Plastic Visa credit card from which the bank donates a percentage of all purchases either to the Portland Schools Foundation or (at the cardholder’s request) to five Portland, OR, high schools to reduce the cost of after-school activities. Click here to read about the Scholastic Plastic Visa™ card. Member FDIC. Equal housing lender.

Albina Community Bank
2002 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Portland, Oregon 97212-3722

phone: (503 288-7280
fax: (503) 282-4681

Consider supporting the Alternatives Federal Credit Union*

The Alternatives Federal Credit Union is a nonprofit community development financial institution that reinvests money in the community through innovative programs. Savings, free checking, share certificates, IRAs, and Visa credit cards available. Investors earn market rates on insured deposits. Savings federally insured to $100,000 by NCUA. Click here for more information on the Alternatives Federal Credit Union. Equal housing lender.

Alternatives Federal Credit Union
125 North Fulton St.
Ithaca, New York 14850-3301

phone: (877) 273-2328
fax: (607) 277-6391


Boycott ExxonMobil and Chevron Texaco

Buy Citgo

The overarching, long-term goal to which the Vermont Boycott for Peace is dedicated involves reducing our vast addiction to fossil fuels in favor of renewable sources of energy. In the short term, however, we boycott Exxon Mobil and Chevron Texaco in favor of Citgo gas, since Citgo does not import from the Middle East (rir: and is not owned by a gang of plutocrats).

Of the top oil producing countries in the world, only Venezuela is a democracy with a president, Hugo Chavez, who was elected on a platform of using his nation's oil revenue to benefit the poor.

Citgo is a U.S. refining and marketing firm that is a *wholly owned* subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned oil company. When you buy your gas at Citgo, you are contributing to billions of dollars that Venezuela's democratic government is using to provide health care, literacy and education, and subsidized food for the majority of Venezuelans.


Boycott Kinkos (owned by FedEx) and UPS Stores

Buy from Conservatree*

Conservatree was first established as a paper distribution company in 1976 and today is also a nonprofit organization dedicated to converting paper markets to environmental papers. Click here to visit their website for an extensive choice of environmentally friendly papers in small quantities or large.

100 Second Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 721-4230
fax: (509) 756-6987

Buy from Office Quarters* in St. Albans

Office Quarters provides a comprehensive stock of office supplies, including binders and business cases; calendars and planners; desk accessories; writing instruments; printers and accessories; art, drafting, and school supplies; and much more.

387 Lake Road
St. Albans, VT 05478
(802) 660-3013


Boycott AT&T

Sign up with Working Assets

While the Working Assets credit card is a service we ask you to boycott because it is owned by MBNA, we do encourage people to look into Working Assets as a phone service provider, since a portion of the dollars you spend every month goes toward charitable causes. Click here to visit the Working Assets website.


Peace & Justice Store: Burlington, VT

This unique, socially responsible, not-for-profit retail store is part of the Peace & Justice Center on Church Street in Burlington. The mission of the Peace & Justice Store is to promote social change through education and to provide alternative, meaningful products and educational materials that foster cooperation, equality, and a sustainable society. Click here for more information about the store and its fair trade policy, or directions.

The Union Mall: Sweatshop-free shopping

When you vote with a dollar, it always get counted! Click here to visit the Union Mall, designed to make it easy for consumers to help empower workers around the world. The site has gathered every retailer they could find that sources exclusively from union shops or worker-owned cooperatives in an attempt to change the global garment industry by creating successful alternatives to the sweatshop suppliers of retail clothing.

Co-op America’s Green Pages online

Click here to learn more about the largest directory of qualified green businesses available online! Search for more than 25,000 products and services from 2,000 green companies.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Nerds Still On Strike!

The NYU strike is still on. Specter of Marx, from Nerds On Strike! ( posted the following response to Sexton's media-savvy torpedo aimed at sinking the unionization effort.
After considerable mulling, here is my intial response to President Sexton's most recent dictum (and I use the word "dictum" since this is not in truth a simple "letter" or "correspondence," as there is no comparable avenue for its intended audience to respond, comment, or engage in dialogue). Point/counterpoint style:

1) “We recognize that for some of you there is an unfortunate disparity between the ideal and the reality.”

Agreed, and these admitted disparities are exactly why GAs need union representation in our collective dealings with the university.

2) “Moving closer to this ideal, however, will be difficult without restoring an atmosphere of mutual respect and good faith within the University community.”

Strike or no strike, mutual respect and good faith between NYU and its GAs have been irreparably damaged, as has the larger sense of community at NYU. This is predominantly the fault of university administrators who have attempted to intimidate GAs with threatening and condescending memos, and who have unilaterally refused to acknowledge GAs’ democratic wishes and bargain in good faith. As President Sexton himself notes, “…the burden is on the University to create an environment of trust as we aim to achieve the ideal.” Clearly, NYU has not only failed to cultivate such a milieu in the past, but has failed to assume its "burden" altogether by blaming GAs for the strike and vilifying them as selfish and irresponsible.

3) “While we must await the Working Group’s proposals [regarding grievance procedures sans third-party arbitration], we are open to any suggestions they may have regarding how members from the academy outside the University might play a role in this process.”

I have a suggestion: allow GAs to have union representation. I would imagine that such is not a legitimate suggestion given the administration’s refusal to hear GAs’ voices over the past year, which leads me to conclude that the university’s “openness” is disingenuous. Moreover, my peers and I would be fools to sign onto a program whose details were of the “we’ll just have to wait and see” variety. As the cliché goes, the devil is in the details. This is why we are asking NYU to sit down at the bargaining table and negotiate a new union contract with us in good faith.

4) “Because graduate assistants are also our students, those on strike have continued to receive their stipends, they have continued to receive free tuition, and they have continued to receive free health insurance.”

This statement is a blatant sleight of hand, to which I take great personal and political umbrage. I have been an employee of the university for the past 2+ years, and have worked diligently as a TA for over 4 and a half semesters. My benefits, including my compensation, have not and will never be “free,” as I have given the university my labor in return. Once again, President Sexton demonstrates exactly why GAs need a union: to legitimize and defend our rights as workers in our dealings with the university.

5) “While I do not condone what has been done by those who have been striking, their actions have caused us to take a hard and unflinching look at ourselves and our practices, and these self- examinations will lead to significant, enduring improvements.”

If this is indeed true, then the strike has not only had a large, lasting, and positive effect on NYU (despite the administration’s adamant claims otherwise), but that this is testament to the power and necessity of GSOC. President Sexton claims that our “points have been made and heard,” but I would argue that they haven’t at all in light of recent events, this correspondence as written proof. “Such disruption must not continue,” Sexton states, and this we can all agree on. No, this strike should not and must not continue, President Sexton; that is why you need to assume your rightful “burden” to maintain a peaceable and productive atmosphere on campus and NEGOTIATE NOW.

SEIU Houston Janitor Victory

The SEIU organizing drive among janitors in Houston is a success! What's interesting about the victory--other than the fact that it brings in 5,000 new members in the hard-to-organize South--is the way the victory was pulled off.

Check out these two paragraphs:

The service employees, which led a breakaway of four unions from the A.F.L.-C.I.O. last summer, has used several unusual tactics in Houston, among them lining up the support of religious leaders, pension funds and the city's mayor, Bill White, a Democrat. Making the effort even more unusual has been the union's success in a state that has long been hostile to labor.

"It's the largest unionization campaign in the South in years," said Julius Getman, a labor law professor at the University of Texas. "Other unions will say, 'Yes, it can be done here.' "


Starbucks Union

Again, thanks to Sean at
New York, NY - 25 Starbucks baristas and supporters wearing union pins and hats surrounded the store manager at the Union Square location in Manhattan tonight to announce their membership in the IWW Starbucks Workers Union ( The workers, joined by union baristas from two other New York Starbucks stores, demanded a guaranteed minimum of 30 hours of work per week and an end to Starbucks' unlawful anti-union campaign. The Union will assail Starbucks with a wide array of actions until the demands are met.

One of the workers, 23 year-old Tomer Malchi, served the store manager with a document detailing the demands and several other workers directed comments at the boss to be relayed to more senior management. Suley Ayala, a mother of four who has worked at Starbucks for three years, was one of the workers who spoke. She explained after the event: "it should go without saying that we can't live on ten, eleven, or twelve hours of work some weeks. The 30 hour guarantee is absolutely necessary to make ends meet and Starbucks knows it."

The workers were motivated to organize in part because of Starbucks' status as one of the few companies in the world with no full-time employment for non-managerial employees. An initiative of Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz, the part-time scheme forces workers to contend with a constantly fluctuating number of work hours, and therefore, constantly fluctuating income. For example, a Starbucks barista could receive 35 hours of work one week, 18 hours the week after, and as low as single-digits in the following week. The world's largest coffee chain sacrifices employees' financial security in the name of cost-control and "flexibility." This comes from a company whose mission statements talks of, "provid[ing] a great work environment."

Starbucks barista Mike Velasquez spoke of the personal reasons underlying his decision to join the Starbucks Workers Union. "My daughter is my first priority period," he said. Anything that comes in the way of that is going to have a problem. Starbucks falls into that category."

Myth v. Reality

Given the reality of working at Starbucks, the company's creation of a socially responsible image is testament to its public relations prowess. The company boasts of providing health care eligibility even for its part-time workers (never mentioning that all of its retail hourly workers are part-time). The fact is that an employee must work 240 hours each quarter to become eligible for health insurance. Because of the lack of guaranteed hours, meeting the quarterly hour requirement is far from assured. For workers who do qualify there are still the premiums, co-pays, and deductibles, and these are costs extremely difficult to manage for employees making six, seven, or eight dollars an hour. Incredibly, Starbucks, the self-proclaimed leader on the issue of employee health care, will not release the number of retail hourly workers that actually receive company health benefits. Even Wal-Mart releases that number. In fact, the recently leaked memo from Wal-Mart that advocated increasing part-time employment to cut health insurance costs is ancient history at Starbucks. Howard Schultz made that move years ago- but he degraded all jobs to part-time.

The workers demanded respect for the right to organize in the face of a relentless anti-union campaign launched by the company in 2004 after the formation of the Starbucks Workers Union. The company has already been hit with a complaint from the National Labor Relations Board for threats, bribes, and surveillance in their attempt to defeat the union.

"I am so pleased to welcome the Union Square East baristas to the Starbucks Workers Union," said Pete Montalbano, a union barista at an East Village Starbucks and himself a recipient of anti-union discrimination. "Given the widespread discontent at the company, it comes as no surprise that more and more workers are making the decision to go union."

Starbucks, known for inundating neighborhoods with its stores, is an extremely profitable company. On November 17, the company announced that quarterly earnings had jumped 21% to $124 million. Chairman Howard Schultz who also owns the Seattle Supersonics is doing well too with an estimated net worth of $700 million.

The IWW's unique solidarity union structure allows any Starbucks worker to join at anytime and begin the fight for a better life at work. Since its founding, the Starbucks Workers Union has pressured the company into a .50 cent an hour wage increase, an unprecedented holiday bonus, and steps toward alleviating the rampant repetitive strain injuries among baristas.

"Companies like Starbucks, Borders, Wal-Mart, the Gap, and McDonald's have gotten a free pass from the labor movement for far too long. Retail workers at some of the world's most profitable companies deserve better than a poverty existence for our hard work," remarked Daniel Gross, an IWW member and Starbucks barista. "The only solution is a fighting union."

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Nausea

I ran across the site last night while doing some research on war atrocities, specifically the Fallujah massacre. Nausea is a not-for-profit effort to document war crimes and crimes against humanity on the web. The pictures, videos and documentation is shocking. Particularly saddening (ok, sickening) to me is the documentation in the China section, especially the pre-Communist era photos. Say what you want about Mao, at least he outlawed beheadings. Not that Tiananmen is much more encouraging. Also, the pictures of the recent massacre of Muslims by Hindus in India (2,000 murdered) is unbelievable. How people can act this way to each other is beyond my comprehension.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Talking Chavez Doll

Yippie! I know what I want for Christmas!

CARACAS, Venezuela - Shoppers at Venezuela's biggest mall are snapping up talking dolls of President Hugo Chavez and a merchant says they've become popular among supporters and foes alike.

The doll sports the Venezuelan leader's signature red military beret and at the pull of a cord repeats a revolutionary slogan: "It's your dream, it's your hope, and it's your job to be free and equal."


Thursday, November 17, 2005

U.S. forces used chemical weapons in Fallujah

Sean at ToTheBarricades brings us this news. This is precisely the sort of evil that is a direct outcome of imperialism, the most advanced stage of capitalism. What can be said for a form of social organization that not only allows these things to happen, but promotes them? We are all responsible for this. Guilt will not help. Only international solidarity and an end to racist nationalism will end the attrocities of imperialism.
U.S. forces used chemical weapons in Fallujah. This was reported by unembedded journalists like Dahr Jamail long ago. It was circled on the internet, but not widely enough. It is now a big story in the global media, because a filmmaker went ahead and did their work for them. But, you guessed it, is not being discussed in the United States. They could have dropped an H-Bomb on Fallujah and it wouldn't make it past the blogosphere at this point. Maybe this story will make it somewhere off the front page in the New York Times, but it would surprise me if it got any further.


If you haven't seen the film, Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre, which is getting a lot of attention in countries with a free press, watch it here.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Socialism on Amazon

A creative way to hack the system, one which I think more progressive groups should be thinking of by the way, is being used by the "World Socialist Party of the U.S.". Try searching for socialism on and you will see keyword adds come up for these guys. Very nice!

It is important to note that a lot of right wing organizations have been doing keyword buys. This is a great example of progressive guerilla agitprop being used effectively. And no, not guerilla marketing either; marketing is for products and it is a capitalist concient to transform every damn thing into a commodity. Society is not just another capitalist commodity, quite the opposite, capitalism is a virus on society.

Anyhow, it would be interesting to see what comrades find when they do keyword searches on the major search engines - try "socialism" or "labor" for instance, and see what Google AdWords or Overture results you get. If you are so inclined, leave me a comment with the results.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Nerds On Strike!

As many folks know, the grad students at NYU are on strike because the administration of NYU, taking queue from the reactionary anti-labor policies of the Bush Administration, feels that they do not have to recognize nor negotiate with the union.

So, even after 4 years of contract negotiations, NYU is not recognizing the union and their president wants to "kill" the union. (shades of the horrible tactics being used against the UAW at Delphi).

Check out the NYU Grad Student strike blog:

NYU faculty have their own blog here:

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Get Rid of These Capitalist Ways

"I believe we need to get rid of these capitalist ways," said Steven Honickel, 14.
High school students in Parsippany, New Jersy (USA) voiced their opinions on who should be the next governor of New Jersey, and selected Socialist candidate Tino Rozzo.
PARSIPPANY-- The winner of Parsippany High School's student poll for governor wasn't Republican Doug Forrester or Democrat Jon Corzine.

Socialist Party candidate Tino Rozzo, at 21.6 percent, narrowly edged Corzine and three other contenders in a survey of 270 freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors last week.

Rozzo, whose platform includes a $12-per-hour minimum wage and a "socialized healthcare system under workers and community control," would seem an unlikely favorite at a high school in relatively wealthy, Republican-dominated Morris County.

Still, he had some proud backers among students attending today's 1 p.m. debate in the high school's auditorium, with students standing in for five of the candidates running for governor.

[More...] (copyright

There is a growing notion among all people in all nations, regardless of the constant anti-socialist propoganda, that capitalism is failing - has failed.

How is it, that people are coming out and expressing this? With constant oppression of the views of socialism, especially in the capital of Capital, the USA, how is it that high school students have an awareness that there is something fundamentally wrong with capitalism?

Personally I think that it is because the science of socialism reflects a deeper truth about human nature and the need for cooperation and desire for social good. Whether based on a strictly Marxist humanism, or the finer points of Christian teaching the result is the same and speaks to our hearts.

The dog-eat-dog world of capitalism is a failure for mankind and the only way out is democratic socialism.

(This article is cross-posted at the Uncapitalist Journal)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Eyewitness Accounts from France

"What is intolerable in a civilized society is not the revolt of those whose children, brothers and friends are hunted down and killed. What is intolerable is the arrogance of the authorities, of irresponsible police, of the State which is waging war against the poor."
Again, thanks to Sean at, eyewitness accounts from the rebellion in France here...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Chavez Restyles Venezuela With '21st-Century Socialism'

"I'm not afraid of socialism and never have been," said Rivas Silvino, who works in a diaper factory run by workers and managers under a state co-management plan. "The world is afraid. I say, don't be afraid."
From an article by Juan Forero:
CARACAS, Venezuela - Firmly in power and his revolution now in overdrive, President Hugo Chavez is moving fast to transform Venezuela's economy by bucking free-market planning with what he calls 21st-century socialism: founding state companies, seizing abandoned private factories and establishing thousands of cooperatives and worker-run businesses.


Many of the president's grandest plans are put into practice at the year-old Ministry for the Popular Economy. Planners there have already created 6,840 cooperatives that employ 210,000 people nationwide, many producing for the state.


The new measures - which include the seizure of factories, mines and fields the government says are unproductive - are playing well domestically. Mr. Chavez has an approval rating topping 70 percent.

After 200 years of exploitation under colonialism and capitalism, Venezuela is moving in a new direction. Bravo to Chavez and the Bolivarans for striking out in a new direction and leading the way towards global emancipation.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Sean, at has such an excellent post on the upcoming NYU grad student strike, that I had to crosspost it (below). A call to action - contact President Sexton and demand that the NYU administration meet the demands of the union: or (212) 998-2345.

NYU Grad Students, through GSOC/Local 2110 UAW, have authorized a strike this morning which will result in a complete stoppage of work by graduate students in response to the administration's refusal to renew their contract, which expired on August 31, 2005 (the National Labor Relations Board, composed largely of apointees from a reactionary Bush administration, determined, contrary to a 2000 ruling, that universities do not have to negotiate with graduate student unions). A contract "offered" to the union by the administration in August was "little more than a public relations stunt" which acquiesced to none of the principal demands in an acceptable fashion.

The previous contract - the first given to graduate students at a private university - granted graduate students higher wages (a 40% increase), health benefits, childcare support, procedures for grievance resolution, workplace democracy, and generally improved working conditions; not, as the administration claims, to attempt to dictate academic policy or engage in other nefarious activity. The contract benefitted not only students but the entire university as students from across the country went to NYU thanks to the improved conditions obtained via the union. So, NYU's decision will ultimately hinder its struggle to compete with ivy league universities, as well.

The administration has been responding to pressure with bad faith and boldfaced lies. A recent email sent to undergraduates (which received an obscenity laden reply from myself) portrayed the union as "disruptive" troublemakers, controlled by mysterious and ill-meaning "auto workers" interfering with education, and its grievances as unwarranted petty complaints (with Sexton going as far as to say that grad students make over $50,000 a year! The actual average is around $19,000, which is roughly at the poverty line - it was much less before the contract). An excerpt:

In our opinion, the Auto Workers union is embarking on a regrettable and unfortunate course: regrettable because it fails to respect the significance of your efforts to pursue your education, and unfortunate because such an action will not result in recognition of the UAW to represent our graduate assistants. We understand that the possibility of a job action is the last thing you need at this point in the school year. We want to reassure you that the University will maintain your academic progress.

A rally, with over a thousand attending washeld on August 31st, the day the contract expired, but was met not with dialogue but with a violent state crackdown, leading to dozens of arrests. "Open meetings" with President Sexton have seen him crassly refuse to discuss union issues, claiming that "the University's decision is final." The most recent such meeting, with a strike imminent, saw him in nothing less than rage.

The graduate students and their union have the overwhelming support of undergraduate students, faculty, and the rest of the NYU community. The administration must now show what its priorities are through its response to the strike.

Below is the e-mail sent out to all GSOC members today:

Attention GSOC members:

We have voted by an 85% majority to authorize a strike. The strike will
begin on Wednesday, November 9th.

The GSOC Organizing Committee is calling for:
· All members of GSOC/UAW Local 2110 who are working this fall as TAs, RAsand GAs to withhold our labor, starting Wednesday, November 9 until the NYU administration negotiates a second contract with us. Being on strike means not teaching, grading, advising, performing GA or RA work or any other task which is part of our TA/RA/GA responsibilities.

· All GSOC members, whether working this fall or not, to join our picket line and refuse to do the work of striking colleagues.

Picket shifts and strike logistics will be announced shortly. We will be in contact regularly, and every GSOC member should stay informed via the “strike center” on our website: It is important that all members maintain updated contact info so that we can reach everyone quickly when necessary.

Our resounding strike vote is the culmination of months of organizing, and a demonstration of our membership’s resolve to win a fair second contract. NYU’s recent anti-union emails show that they are on the defensive and feeling the pressure of our campaign. Despite the administration’s anti-union spin, our support from the NYU community is growing daily:

· Over 200 full-time and adjunct faculty have already requested to move their classes off campus to honor our picket line.

· Over a dozen departments as well as the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and
the Tisch School of the Arts have passed resolutions in support of GSOC.

· Over 250 faculty have signed a statement of neutrality, pledging to respect the right of GSOC members to strike without facing intimidation or retaliation.

· Hundreds of undergraduates have pledged support. Under the leadership of GUS (Grad/Undergrad Solidarity), undergrads are urging their professors to move classes off campus and encouraging their parents to demand that NYU recognize our union.

· The Washington Square News has repeatedly published editorials, articles and commentaries supporting our union and calling on the administration to negotiate.

· Members from other shops in Local 2110 and several members of the grad union at Yale have come to work on our strike. We have the full support of the UAW, and union solidarity will make our strike stronger.

The stronger our strike is, the more effective it will be. We urge all GSOC members to volunteer time this week and this coming weekend to help prepare for the strike. There are dozens of ways in which you can help, including making signs, helping to re-locate classes, phone banking, etc. Reply to this email or call the GSOC office at 212.387.0220 to find out what you can do to help win rights, respect and union recognition.

In solidarity,
The GSOC Organizing Committee

Voice your support! Contact President Sexton and demand that the NYU administration meet the demands of the union: or (212) 998-2345.