By Aislinn Keely
Several Fordham graduate students organized a non-Fordham affiliated New York City Solidarity Rally for the General Strike last Friday. Andrew Thornebrooke, Meghan Kase and Cathal Pratt, GSAS, organized the event in an attempt to show solidarity with the other national strikes across the country, according to the organizers.
There were two goals for the strike, according to Thornebrooke. First, they want representatives to reaffirm their oath of office. Second, they want to actively combat any action or language taken by the new administration that they consider unconstitutional.
“On a personal level, I’m largely hoping that today’s rally can be used to build a large organizational network of workers across the country so that we can carry out bigger and larger strikes continuously with increasing frequency,” said Thornebrooke.
The group did not have a permit to march, so it largely remained in Washington Square Park’s southeast corner.
The event advertised three speakers, but only Thornebrooke and those who wished to speak when he opened up the forum gave speeches at the event.
Thornebrooke held a red flag to distinguish himself and the other moderators from the crowd. The flag signified solidarity with working strikes and working class movements, according to Thornebrooke.
“Specifically, I’m trying to highlight the 1968 strikes in France and abroad in Europe, which working people really came out,” Thornebrooke said. “Student workers united with factory workers and rose up and really created meaningful change.”
Kase sees academia as an important petri dish for resistance and organizing.
“I think it’s really important within our academic community to rally together and use the resources that we have as academics to help facilitate resistance and organizing collaboration with the disparate causes that everyone is supporting,” said Kase.
Richard David Robinson, who identified himself as a concerned citizen, said that “this is only the beginning of a series of general strikes.”
On Monday, Thornebrooke announced the creation of the Workers’ Organizational Network (WON) via Facebook in response to the feedback received at Friday’s rally.
“WON seeks to coordinate targeted striking actions and movements of economic non-cooperation between working individuals and groups. We exist not to gather in simple protest, but to connect members of the community in pursuing meaningful action together against the neoliberal basis of repression in the United States and abroad,” Thornebrooke wrote in his Facebook announcement.