The public university is not our enemy. It is not a monolithic beast to be simply countered, but a complex assemblage, intersecting vectors of thinking and money, invested capital and seething discontent, workers and the disappearing prospects of work, of reactionary forms and vast potential. And it is reeling, deeply in crisis. To speak of killing it is like speaking of rope in the cell of a prisoner to be hanged the following morning. Such an outcome waits around the corner, in years to come, not at our hands but beneath the weight and hunger of global capitalism in its current desperation.
This must be countered. The notion and promise of what public education can and should be must be protected at all costs. For whatever its failures, the public university itself remains a critical space for beginning to counter those economic processes and social models that far exceed the scope and reach of this campus, of any network of campuses. We remain committed to truly public education, to wider discourse, to rigorous analyses, to theories of action, as both means and end. These things can be and must be weapons to be shared and learned, tools to pry open frozen forms of uncritical thought and sad resignation. Machines for amplification and networks for mass communication.
If we are to speak of opening the university wider, of taking its spaces in order to make it a common zone (at once seeming paradox and concrete tactic), a zone of contention and resistance, we have to start with understanding it as a site, not as object, of antagonism. We have to grasp where it is already open and where its many blockades to access stand heavy. How to use those blockages against their ends, to expose them and use them for better, sharper purposes. How to see these openings and find emerging allies who also know that this situation must become the emergency that we already know it to be. No false enemies in a time of real enemies.
The university is not our enemy. It is a visible staging ground on which a battle is to be fought.