Time to get the ball rolling….
We live in a civil war, fought on numerous social terrains. The opposing forces are well supplied with weapons from the establishment and their grounding hegemony. While we are skeptical of naming a core actor, in our own location this hegemony is built around West Virginia University and the spectacle it maintains.
While WVU promotes its #RespectfulMountaineer campaign as a patronizing reaction to the police-instigated Baylor Riots of 2014, it turns a blind eye to the systemic rape of women on campus . The Greek system, as on many other campuses, is allowed to run a campaign of social terror on women, queers, and anyone else not interested in their creepy bourgeois rituals and violent masculinity. Our current living situation is abysmal. Rents are skyrocketing and absentee landlords let houses fall into complete disrepair. The university flows public money into private hands and raises tuition for poor appalachian students every year. So what are we to do? Ask them for better policies, run for student government, or maybe even write up a petition?
We reject this completely.
We do not expect anything of the institution that we combat. This is not some idealized “conversation” occurring in a neutral space, a debate in an old french salon between two good citizens. We understand the immense powers of WVU and refuse to engage in a rigged conversation because of our own poor experiences and the well-documented experiences of others in this struggle.
No conversation on rape will end rape on campus. No conversation on gentrification will end the trend of rising rents. No conversation on police brutality will end police brutality. The only way forward is pointing out the perpetrators and destroying the apparatuses that allow for this to occur.
Who are these perpetrators? Landlords, frat bros, college administrators, cops, gentrifying entrepreneurs and the whole rotten lot. We know the buildings and spaces these people occupy. We know the property they own and the institutions they maintain. So we propose, what if it is time to go on attack?
Yet, to go on the offensive, to establish a forward stance, we have to make contact with others who also recognize their enemies. Abolition is on the table across our milieu; it applies as much to prisons as it does to the grand university. So many of us have been scarred by the institution of the university, it is paramount for us to organize this attack while proposing new forms, experiments, and alternatives. To this end, we are calling for a convergence of interested parties in April 2017 so we can discuss the next steps for people invested in ending the institution itself.
So we have to ask “which side are you on?”