Oberlin College Disorientation 2014: Smashing Liberalism


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Oberlin College Disorientation 2014: Smashing Liberalism




Oberlin, Ohio

extracted text


Liberation is not a game. It is not something you fight for in college after you
have read some bell hooks, Marx, or Fanon. Liberation is a duty.
As students it is our job to seek complex truths, to be critical, to transform
the world—not to just study it. This zine is a call to consciousness. It is a
call to organize, to study, and to understand how institutions of “higher
learning” teach us to perpetuate our own oppression and the oppression
of others. It is an act of ideological warfare, however limited in scope and
content, against the system that obscures its inherent violence with words
like “liberty,” “diversity,” and “equality.”
But these aren’t just words—they’re representative of a liberal ideology
that refuses to challenge the relations of exploitation central to capitalism’s
core, that will be happy to engage in reforms as long as they don’t call the
interests of the ruling class into question, and that—personified by our own
school president—tells us that we can change the world, as long as we don’t
get too angry or act in a way that challenges the actual structure in which
we exist. Year after year during orientation, first-years are indoctrinated
with the school’s false legacy of progressivism and convinced that they are
buying into something worthwhile by committing to spend up to hundreds
of thousands of dollars and their next four years of life at this institution. We
refuse to submissively swallow the palatable yet corrosive liberalism that is
forced down the throats of incoming student-consumers and their family
members throughout this week.
One of the central themes this zine explores is the academic-industrial complex. Broadly, we understand the academic-industrial complex as a process
encompassing three major elements:
• Corporatization of the university
The university has become prime real estate for corporations to gain
contracts and peddle goods to a perpetually self-renewing market of
student-consumers. Often, members of universities’ boards of trustees
hold positions at the same corporations in which the school is invested,
including the private prison, military, and oil industries. Students are
customers, administrators and board members are CEOs. The university
itself has become a corporation, cutting costs wherever possible while
pursuing an increasingly wealthy class of students. Those in positions
of administrative power are removed from and unaccountable to the
actual needs of students, faculty, and staff.
• Further stratification of social classes


The university contributes to rising inequality, facilitating the upward
mobility of a small select population at the expense of those outside
the ivory tower. College graduates partake in gentrification and the
forced removal of inhabitants of lower-income neighborhoods. Research is not geared towards aiding populations deemed disposable
under the social-economic doctrine of neoliberalism (and when it
does it often smacks of paternalism and hypocrisy), but towards the
continued domination of those in power. Resources are hoarded by
universities, while the towns they occupy are as a threat to the safety of
its students, as evidenced by heavy policing, racial profiling, and unfair
double standards.
• Cultivation of liberal, capitalist rationality at the expense of structural
analysis and social welfare
Students are encouraged to focus only on their own personal development while ignoring political, social, and economic struggles. Employability, professionalism, and indifference to human suffering take
precedent over political consciousness. Everything is commodified—if
exploitation and domination are the foundation on which our own
self-interests and privileged trajectory rest, then so be it.
As you read through this zine, we hope the connections between the various pieces included will make themselves clear. While each piece deals with
a specific theme—gentrification, liberal Zionism, administrative structure,
and so on—they all relate to the academic-industrial complex. It is imperative that we develop a fuller understanding of these multiple facets that
constitute Oberlin College and its position within the US nation-state.
We write to you as a broad coalition of students from various backgrounds
and identities, all committed to anti-capitalist struggle and revolutionary
transformation. While we take a militant stance against the core values of
the institution in which we all find ourselves, we also recognize our own
complicity within this system—none of us is infallible, none of us is free of
reproducing oppression, either interpersonally or structurally. Yet our own
failures and limitations even further necessitate the writing of this zine, and,
more importantly, the call to action it embodies. We write to you not as
know-it-alls, holier-than-thous, or reactionaries, but as peers inviting you to
join in resisting that which so often goes unchallenged.

capitalism: what is it?
notes from a rscc comrade
dissecting cox
sexualized violence in the aic
the oberlin gentry
liberal zionism, militarism, neoliberal oberlin 25


M: W
While we’re at it, it might be helpful to develop a working understanding of
capitalism so we can actually explain what we’re up against and why we need to
struggle against it. As you read on in this zine, the relations between capitalism
and the academic-industrial complex should become more explicit. In the meantime, here’s a quick and dirty definition1:
For our purposes here, capitalism is an economic system upheld by three central
1. Wage Labor: working for a wage (i.e. money, the representation of social
2. Private Ownership of the Means of Production: juridical individuals own
property (factories, machinery, offices, etc.) in which commodities are
3. Production for exchange and profit
Only a tiny group of individuals (the bourgeoisie) owns the means of production.
Because of this, most people (generally, the proletariat) must sell their ability to
work (“labor-power” in Marxist language) in return for a wage deemed reasonable by the employer.
In order for capitalism to continue, money needs to generate more of itself (this
can be referred to as capital). For example, when a corporation uses its profits to
open new branches, capital is being invested to create even more of itself (we can
understand this as capital accumulation). It is easier for the bourgeoisie to accumulate capital when the smallest amount can be invested for maximum profit.
Thus, many companies will cut costs by, for example, not observing environmental protections or paying paltry wages.
In order for capital to continue to reproduce itself, more and more things need to
be able to be sold for money (to have an exchange value). As everything becomes
commodified, it becomes necessary to sell something of ours in order to buy what
we need to survive (again, we must sell our labor-power).
Now, if we are selling our ability to work, and if capital needs to reproduce itself
in order for capitalism as a system to function, then it logically follows that there
needs to be a difference between the wages we are paid (which are deemed by
employers sufficient to keep us alive and able to continue working…if not, this
relationship becomes one of super-exploitation) and the value we produce (value
can be thought of here as the amount of labor necessary to produce a marketable commodity). This difference can be called surplus-value. This is important
because it means that under capitalism people are exploited—surplus-value is
extracted from them by employers. In order for capitalism to function, workers
While racism, heterosexism, and myriad other forms of identity-based oppression are both central to and
exacerbated by capitalism, we are deliberately focusing on the process through which capital is reproduced
in order to more fully understand the economic engine of capitalism. This is not to undermine the gravity
of identity-based oppression, nor the way capitalism feeds off of it; by shifting our attention to the class
struggle and how capital accumulation works, we aim to provide an introduction to the basis of capitalism
as an economic system.



must only be paid a fraction of the value they
produce. This dynamic operates consistently in
both public and private sectors of the economy. The surplus-value extracted from workers
is then reinvested by the exploiter (which
can take the form of either a private boss or
the state as a whole) in order to make more
The accumulation of capital also relies on
unwaged work, such as housework or biological reproduction (an thus, the reproduction
of the labor force). Often this kind of labor is
executed by women (here we could begin to
develop the notion of capitalist patriarchy).
When unwaged work such as housework is
conceived of as a natural part of womanhood,
for example, then capital is benefitting from free labor. It should be clear at this
point that labor is distributed according to the needs of capital in racist and sexist
ways (this may be understood as the social division of labor).
In addition, capital requires competition in order to reproduce itself. If employers
ignored the needs of capital, then they would lose money because their rivals
would outpace them. So although we should frame class struggle as the antagonistic relationship between classes and thus realize the need for the proletariat
to take power if we want to see actual structural transformation, we also must
realize that capital has a life of its own—its need for perpetual self-reinvestment
is what ultimately controls the system of capitalism. However, the pressure that
bosses must face (competition) is ultimately the worst for the worker because the
boss is not exploited and continues to control the means of production. At any
rate, the bourgeoisie must act in its own self-interest because if it were not to do
so it would sacrifice its ability to accumulate more capital.
Because of the fact that if businesses could actually do anything they wanted
in the service of capital, then monopolies would develop and eventually petrify
competition, the state must intervene on behalf of capital. The main role of the
state is to maintain the capitalist system of exploitation, and thus the domination
of one class over the others. In doing so, the state itself maintains regulatory
power over institutions, as well as a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence
(i.e. the police and repressive apparatuses), the law and legal apparatus, and
the ability to tax and redistribute incomes (often upwards into the hands of the
wealthy). Because it is an inherently territorial entity, the state also has the power
to confer citizenship under the law. In so doing, it creates a population that may
be exposed to incredible levels of exploitation (think of undocumented migrants
It is the continued, inherent exploitation at the hand of the state that necessitates
revolution. Though capitalism is regularly presented as a natural, liberal system
of democracy (…for the bourgeoisie), it owes its implementation everywhere to
catastrophic and often genocidal violence. But this is not what we are taught. As
you move on to “Notes from an RSCC Comrade,” we hope you will begin to see
how capitalism reproduces itself both through repression and ideology. It is not
just through repressive exploitation that capitalism is maintained, but through the
very ideology of the state and the ruling class.


In a capitalist system, the majority of the people are of the working
class, which is exploited by a minority capitalist class that accumulates
vast wealth and power on the backs of working people. The job of the
state (the government, police, army, courts etc.) is to make sure that the
conditions of exploitation continue day after day, as exploitation of the
working class by the ruling class is the main contradiction driving the
system along. However if the majority are exploited by the minority, why
is there not a revolution of the working class?
The task of the state is to protect the property of the ruling class, and it
does this in two ways:
A. The Repressive State Apparatuses: these are the instruments
by which the state exercises a monopoly on force, such as the
police and the courts. It is the repressive state apparatus that
breaks strikes, pepper sprays protesters, stops and frisks people
and throws the poor into prisons.
B. The Ideological State Apparatuses: these are the instruments
through which ruling class ideology is reproduced, disarming the
masses by making oppression and exploitation seem like normal facts of life. Contradictions such as gentrification become
masked by ‘diversity’, exploitation in the workplace becomes
masked by ‘the owner is working hard to make a profit’, imperialist wars become wars to protect ‘freedom and democracy’,
racist policing becomes about protecting ‘law and order’. The
ideological state apparatuses are both public and private, such
as the family, schools, legal institutions, television, literature and
When we are young, we are still learning about the world we live in
and how to interact with it. Most of this time is spent with our families
and in school. In a capitalist system, the family and the school are the
two main ideological state apparatuses (ISA’s). They are where we learn
gender roles, social norms, discipline, learn history from the perspective
of the oppressors- where ruling class ideology is taught to us.
The educational ISA is of particular importance to us as student orga-


nizers. It is where class struggle happens at the level of ideology. The
children of the proletariat and oppressed people are taught to be blind
to the conditions of our existence, and the children of the ruling class
are prepared to take charge of the imperialist system. This is where revolutionary students must insert ourselves, by waging war on the ideas
of the ruling class with the ideology of the oppressed and exploited
Oberlin’s job is not to create people who care about community. Who
seek to uproot power systems and plant the seeds that communities
The ideological struggle can take on many forms. It can look like arguing
against reactionary ideas in classrooms, writing articles with revolutionary ideas for school newspapers, holding events with revolutionary
themes, having protests on campus, fighting for ethnic and gender studies courses, etc. Ideology is an objective material force in society, and
therefore we must respond to an ideology of oppression and exploitation by organizing ourselves into a material force of liberation.
Not only do schools reproduce ideology, but they also reproduce social
classes. For example, schools such as CUNY prepare students for occupations such as managers and nurses, whereas Ivy League schools prepare
the future ruling class. However, capitalism does not need everybody
in society to be prepared with skills for labor; it needs people to do the
hard and dirty jobs, too.
That is why secondary schools in poor, working class communities are so
underfunded and under resourced; this makes it easier for proletarian
youth who were not prepared for college to end up on the streets with
low wage jobs, while some are able to make it into community colleges
or senior colleges. Most often these youth are of oppressed nationalities
whom the police prey on.
It is not only the secondary schools that are part of the process of
exclusion but also higher education. Through admissions standards and
testing policies as well as the rising cost of education, the universities
also practice a structural exclusion of proletarians and oppressed nationalities.
This is why we not only call for open admissions, but also the transformation of the content of education. In this way, we turn the universities
into factories that produce young revolutionaries who will go on to take
up the struggles of the people.



An introduction to Oberlin’s administrative staff.
Hey! You’re probably coming to Oberlin College with the impression that it has “longstanding commitments to access, diversity, & inclusion...the ideal laboratory in which to
study and design the world we want,”1 and that “Oberlin has long been associated with
progressive causes.”2 Perhaps the student-to-faculty ratio was appealing—how accessible!
Even more impressive—Koffee with Krislov, where students can “enjoy free coffee and
cookies while rubbing shoulders with Oberlin’s prez.” But who is Marv? Why is he running
our oh-so-progressive college, and how did he get to the top? And what about the rest of
the shadowy powers that be?
If you haven’t already, check out the intro to brush up on our loose definition of the academic industrial complex. Great, now you know that Oberlin College, just like every other
private higher education institution, operates in a similar fashion to that of a corporation.
Yes, Oberlin is technically categorized as a not-for-profit, private body, but the language
and tactics used in the governing of the institution largely mirror those of for-profit businesses. How does the administration uphold this model?
Marvin Krislov (born August 24, 1960 in Lexington, Kentucky)
is Oberlin College’s 14th president and has been in office
since 2007. Before coming to Oberlin, he graduated from Yale
with a degree in political science, attended Oxford University
for his master’s degree in modern history as a Rhodes scholar, then attended Yale Law School. He eventually went on to
serve as vice president at the University of Michigan. As the
University of Michigan’s general counsel—and here’s the neato facto that you’ve probably already heard because it’s a neato facto that the school wants you to know—Krislov
devised the legal strategy to defend Michigan’s affirmative action policies in front of the
Supreme Court. Much progressive.
As president of our school and as chief executive of Oberlin the corporation, his job is to
keep the college’s sources of income—primarily the Board of Trustees, parents of students,
alumni, and the public—happy. He is concerned with making sure the cash flow is flowing.
His job is not about day-to-day policies and decisions or political statements.
Straight from the college’s webpage on the Office of the President:
“The president reports to the Board of Trustees, of which he or she is an ex officio member. The president’s senior staff, made up of deans, vice presidents, and special assistants,
manage specific branches of the college, so that the president is able to focus on broader
issues concerning the college.”4
Read: Marv reports to the Board of Trustees. Board of Trustees = $$$. The Board of Trustees keep the school financially afloat, so Marv has to comply with their desires for the sake
Overview: Office of the President, http://new.oberlin.edu/office/president/index.dot


of longevity.
Senior Staff
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid - Debra Chermonte
Prospective students = $$$—“preserve the quality and diversity of the
student body while also facilitating modest but essential increases in
net tuition revenue per student” (Oberlin Strategic Plan, 2005)5
1999, The Oberlin Review: Chermonte said that when borderline cases
come up, she might bring up the applicants’ ability to pay. “There is
somewhat of an emphasis on ability to pay when it comes to marginally
qualified students”6
Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences - Tim Elgren
“Chief academic officer of Oberlin College, responsible for all faculty and
curricular matters”
In charge of curriculum, educational policy, faculty hiring/promotion/
Oversees the Allen Memorial Art Museum

Dean of the Conservatory - Andrea Kalyn
Manages all aspects of the Conservatory—oversees long-term development, including academic and artist programs, facilities, development, and outreach programs
Note that Dean Andrea Kalyn is white—not an anomaly in the
senior staff, but important to note as she was appointed as Dean
in February 2014, one year after the March 4 events. (The phrase
“March 4th events” will be used by students at Oberlin to refer to
a months-long string of racist, anti-Semitic, and otherwise violent
hate speech during Spring 2013 by a couple of white male students that were indicative
of not only that interpersonal bigotry still exist but also that the college thrives under a
number of structural oppressions. On March 4th, after hours of negotiating between
primarily students of color and the administration, classes were cancelled to hold a “Day of
Solidarity” during which students and administrators alike celebrated themselves for being
“great allies” to those most affected by these hate incidents while ignoring their demands
to make bigger changes that would be more likely to drastically change student life.)
• Former dean David Stull liked to cite the $24 million Kohl Building, opened in 2010,
as progress and inclusion within the Conservatory
• Dean Kalyn may have had nine previous years working at Oberlin, but will she
listen to students’ demands to address the conservatory’s incredibly eurocentric
curricula and the fact that there are almost no black and brown professors?
Dean of Students - Eric Estes
Oversees most divisions relating to “student life,” from Concert Sound
to the Counseling Center, the ID Card Office to the Edmonia Lewis
Center for Women and Transgender People (ELC), the Multicultural
Resource Center (MRC) to Safety and Security (S&S), and everything
Estes came to Oberlin in 2004 as the associate dean and director of the
A Strategic Plan for Oberlin College, 2005 http://www.oberlin.edu/strategicplan/pdfs/strategicplan.pdf
“Need-sensitivity brings changes to college, Con” http://www.oberlin.edu/stupub/ocreview/archives/1999.04.30/news/changes.html


MRC; he’s a nice guy with a nice house—attuned to student concerns and opinions, but
will always answer to Marvin at the end of the day
Dean of Studies and Vice President for Strategic Initiatives - Kathryn
Dean of Studies: Coordinates academic advising in the College of Arts
and Sciences, advises students, and helps faculty members with advising and academic policy concerns
Vice President for Strategic Initiatives: heads much of the planning
process for planning the Strategic Plan (one of the institution’s most
important pieces of policy that lays the ground for balancing the
institution’s livelihood as a capitalist, corporate enterprise [“financial
sustainability”] with its commitment to “ensure academic, artistic, and musical excellence”
Vice President for Communications - Ben Jones
Responsible for branding the college and public relations, controls
college-mediated communication within campus. In short, makes the
College look good.
Jones is a “nationally recognized expert on social media and online
community-building” and created a “communications strategy focused
on authenticity and transparency across all media”
He is also on the Core Planning Committee of The Oberlin Project, a
greenwashing economic development plan that many feel has lacked
community input and may lead to gentrification
Vice President for Development & Alumni Affairs - Bill Barlow
Responsible for fundraising and keeping alumni happy—the eternal
question: how can the College milk the most money out of students
long after they’ve graduated who have already paid their debt in attending the College in the first place?
Vice President for Finance and Administration - Michael L. Frandsen
Controls the money—is concerned with how to keep the College afloat
with both short- and long-term planning, in charge of endowment,
decides what is worthy of investment
Michael L. Frandsen is the new VP (replacing Ron Watts) who began his
responsibilities July 1, 2014. He has had a career in corporate finance
and holds a PhD in strategic management7
General Counsel and Secretary - Sandhya Subramanian
The primary duty is to protect Oberlin College from legal claims made
by students and community members and to advise the trustees and
President’s Office about legal issues
Special Assistant for Community and Government Relations - Sandra
“Identifies strategic funding opportunities, important community issues,
trends and joint ventures for the College, and enhances the College’s local,
regional, and national outreach.” aka money + imperialism
Hodge is also the founding CEO of Hodge Enterprises Inc., which provides
Fortune 500, small and medium businesses with training, consulting, and



organizational interventions
Assistant to the President - Jennifer Bradfield
Literally an assistant—provides “support and guidance…briefs the
president on upcoming conversations…and heads special projects as the
president sees fit.”8

Within a capitalist society every institution must act as a corporation
and to be a capitalist corporation, the college must have lots of money. (Money = prestige.
Whichever university has the most money will undoubtedly be the best, and thus, have
the capacity to be even better!) So then, the question is “Where does this money come
from?” Larger universities, research9, athletics, large grants, investments… For us, it comes
down to student tuition. We make a little bit of money from all the things that larger
universities generate income from (except athletics), but the college is largely dependent
on student tuition and alumni donations to reproduce itself (and keep fueling its corporate
machineeeeeeee)! Given these conditions, what does this say about the (huge) influence
of money on our community (in the classroom, office, cafeteria, dorm room, etc.)?
The College attempts to have its DiVeRsiTy pie and eat our money, too.
As has already been pointed out, the college acts and even names itself as a “Corporation,” and President Krislov is its “chief executive officer.” Just like every business, it needs
to think about short- and long-term planning. While there are some administrators whose
jobs can be specifically matched to jobs held by hot shots on Wall Street, every member
of the senior staff has something written in their job description that acts to ensure the
longevity of the college: most prominently, its financial stability. None of this should be a
surprise, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that in the 2005 Strategic Plan for Oberlin College,
a plan unanimously adopted by the Board of Trustees, it is written that, “to enhance the
quality and value of the education it provides its students, Oberlin must attain financial
sustainability. To remain a great institution of American higher education, Oberlin must enhance each of its revenue streams. Currently its most critical financial priority must be to
realize more net tuition revenue per student and to do so in ways that honor Oberlin’s
long traditions of racial and socioeconomic diversity.”
As Rhoades and Slaughter cite in “Academic Capitalism in the New Economy: Challenges
and Choices”:
[The] commercialization of the curriculum is moving institutions away from a
commitment to providing access to underserved low-income and minority students and toward an investment in providing convenient accessibility and continuing education to student populations that are not only more advantaged but
are already being served in our higher education system. In short, the emphasis
is on students who cost less to serve and who can afford to pay more, at the
expense of less privileged and historically underserved student populations.10
Institutions across the nation are strategically recruiting middle-upper class students
of color in order to simultaneously up their liberal diversity rep and their revenue. It
makes sense that this is a national trend because we’re all navigating the same capitalist,
corporate nation (remember?!). For this reason, it should also make sense that Oberlin’s
recruiting and branding scheme is not revolutionary in any way and does not increase
(education) access to folks from “racially and socioeconomically diverse backgrounds” to
any significant degree. Anything that feeds the system in this way can never dismantle
it. If Oberlin really truly wanted to “shatter convention” and “[insert Oberlin as a beacon
of liberal social justice quote],” then it would prioritize the ethics it advertises over the
always-economically-profitable moves our administrators make for us (see Notes from a
RSCC Comrade, pg 6).
“How Oberlin Works” http://how.oberlin.edu/glossary/detail/2
Academic Capitalism, Rhoades and Slaughter
Ibid., 47–48


Corporate long-term planning and enduring traditions, indeed.
You’ve probably heard that Oberlin “regularly admitted African American students beginning in 1835,”11 making it “the first American institution of higher learning to regularly
admit female and black students in addition to white males.”12 This 1835 decision “came
about through a combination of financial need, chance opportunity, and the colonists’
religious sense of obligation.”13 Yes, being one of the first institutions of higher learning to
regularly admit black students surely indicated progress towards racial equality in 1835.
Nevertheless, it must be noted that even then, when the foundations of Oberlin College
were being laid, students of color were seen as a source of income. The notion of seeing
students as revenue is driven in when considered that:
Granting free colored students (a term used in the mid-nineteenth century) access
to an education did not mean actively recruiting black students, let alone black
faculty, but it did imagine a pluralistic society in which distinct groups could exist
in harmony. Neither then nor in the decades that followed did Oberlin College
attempt to add to the curriculum courses to meet the special interests of minority
In other words, Oberlin College did not cultivate an environment that was intentionally of
benefit to students of color, but because these students broadened the college’s financial
source, they were admitted to the institution. This is still true today—no matter how
diverse Oberlin pegs itself to be, it is still a white institution driven by corporate interests.
The college creates a student body where white students hugely outnumber students of
color, and instead of seeing how this practice creates a hostile environment for minority
population(s), it is supposed to lead to an idealistic, harmonious “pluralistic society.”
Students of color exist in small numbers, but the resources for these students—faculty of
color, for example—are disproportionately smaller when compared to the majority demographic on campus. And what does it mean that in 1835,
black students represented only 3 to 5 percent of the student population, and a
good many of them were born free (some of them were second or third-generation freemen) and came from a middle-class, urban background. Many of the
students in this group were fair-skinned, although the record does not indicate
that Oberlin preferred mulattoes over darker-skinned individuals.15
Black students may have been regularly admitted, but what did it take for these black
students to be considered in the first place? These practices established in 1835 still persist
today—Oberlin touts itself as a diverse and progressive institution, but this diversity and
progressiveness is conditional on financial benefits.
How does this history affect YOU?
Today, Oberlin draws upon this history to brand the college as a beacon of diversity. It relies
on programs like the Multicultural Visit Program (MVP, or now named “Access Oberlin”),
which is geared towards “first-generation, low-income, or multicultural students,”16 to
serve as proof of the school’s values. The promotional materials emphasize Oberlin’s dedication to diversity and social justice, its reputation as a super liberal institution (see: every
college ranking list), which allures prospective students by painting a utopic of Oberlin.
We’re going to change the world, one student at a time. But in order to change the world,
students need to have institutional support. How are the college’s resources actually
What does it mean that the Multicultural Resource Center (the MRC, check it out!) is still
smaller than WOBC, the college and community radio station, even after its renovation?
What does it mean that this campus is so hostile that there is a need for students to carve
out even their own dining space (Third World Co-op)? What does it mean that on the
college’s webpage for Diversity and Social Justice, Oberlin Shansi is listed as a resource—an
Baumann, Roland M. Constructing Black Education at Oberlin College: A Documentary History.
(Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2010), 15.
Ibid., 18.
Baumann, 19.


organization with a colonial
history (the Memorial Arch
on campus commemorates
thirteen white missionaries
who died on a Shansi trip
to China during the Boxer
Rebellion) whose “goal is
to promote understanding and communication
between Asians and
Americans,” which often
ignores Asian Americans
and selects white students
for its programs so they
can feel “othered” for the
first time? What does it
mean that so many more
students of color intend to
major in a STEM field then
actually end up graduating
with that degree (hint: it’s
not because these students
are incapable, it’s because
the college lacks resources
to support these students,
who are often not coming
to this institution with
the same preparation as
others)? What does it mean
that Latinx students don’t
feel that La Casa Hispánica
is a space for them? What
does it mean that first-years who didn’t apply are always placed in program houses like
Afrikan Heritage House and Third World House—dorms that should be safe spaces? What
does it mean that there is a north vs. south campus divide? What does it mean that the
administration can cancel classes on March 4, 2013 and the Office of Communications17
labels it as a “Day of Solidarity,” when it took hours of debate at 3am before conceding to
students’ (with support from Africana Studies Department, the MRC, and the Office of the
Ombudsperson) demands to suspend class?18
While administrators (and trustees) will often claim that they, personally, did not make
these decisions or do not have the power to undo them, that is a lie. Every single member
of the administration has a large enough voice that their opinions would be taken seriously
if they had the courage to speak out in favor of dismantling the branches of capitalism that
line every branch of this institution. The examples cited are just a handful of the ways the
administration’s decisions (or lack thereof) have disenfranchised the collaborators of this
zine. With time, you will surely experience your own personal examples. With this in mind,
we encourage you to hold both yourself and the administration (whose salaries we are
in-debting ourselves for) accountable. When you feel the slap of institution’s oppressive
hand, don’t ignore it—for the sake of yourself and the students who are sure to follow in
your footsteps. Instead, acknowledge it and think about the people who have successfully
climbed the corporate ladder to sit comfortably at the top of the institution and who profit
off of the school’s liberal, capitalist, corporate structure and who have the power and responsibility to dismantle it if they truly want to serve the students (aka the administration).
Media coverage of the March 4 events usually included a quotation from “Oberlin spokesperson”
Scott Wargo, whose bio on Oberlin’s website says he is “a master of packaging stories correctly.”
For a complete timeline of March 4 events, visit http://obiemicroaggressions.tumblr.com/
post/44694466981/to-the-oberlin-community (google “obiemicroaggressions timeline”)


Sexualized Violence in the Academic
Industrial Complex
Trigger Warning (because all survivors of trauma and abuse deserve to have choice given
back to them, and to exercise all possible authority over when they will be exposed to
something that might cause them to relive their trauma in some way): Contains discussion
of rape and assault, rape culture, and the mishandling of cases by college administrations.
A particularly graphic depiction is prefaced by a brief warning within the article.

“Atrocities, however, refuse to be buried. Equally as powerful as
the desire to deny atrocities is the conviction that denial does not
work. Folk wisdom is filled with ghosts who refuse to rest in their
graves until their stories are told. Murder will out. Remembering
and telling the truth about terrible events are prerequisites both
for the restoration of the social order and for the healing of individual victims.”
- Judith Herman
Treatment versus prevention is a common dichotomy used in addressing public health issues and understanding the cost-effectiveness of a given approach.
Firstly, it is useful in dividing populations: the affected and the unaffected, the
diseased and the healthy. Additionally, it is important in perceiving what solutions
are worthwhile. Should we pour funds and resources into finding a cure for a
disease that is very easily preventable but very fatal? And vice versa: should we
focus efforts on preventing an illness that is largely unpredictable when we could
instead allocate resources toward finding a cure or viable treatment? At heart, it
is an issue of cost-effectiveness.
However, with strongly infectious diseases, treatment often equals prevention
and vice versa; one cannot be fully had without the other. Getting tested and
treated for various sexually transmitted illnesses (STIs) is crucial in preventing the
transmission of those illnesses to intimate partners. However, within our cultural
climate of bodily shame and poor sexual education, we aren’t very good at the
treatment part. In even the most liberal of sex ed. curricula, teens merely learn to
use condoms and other barrier methods in preventing STIs, and maybe if they’re
lucky, are encouraged to get tested and address recognizable symptoms. Only
if they’re lucky though, because with simply getting tested comes the very real
possibility of belonging to a new sub-population: the affected, the diseased, and
in the context of our stigmatic culture, the dirty, the shameful, and the irresponsible. In high school health class, this population is only addressed when showing
fear-tactic-y slides of the most severe individual cases of STIs ever (Bet you never
learned that the vast majority of gonorrhea and chlamydia cases can be cured
with a simple dose of antibiotics before they disappear like a bad ear infection).
The photographic subjects themselves are disembodied under a close-up genital
shot, their humanity irrelevant and their reality a relic.
We currently fail to place an equal emphasis on treatment and prevention of STIs
because, as a society, we are afraid of and would rather not acknowledge the former of the dichotomy and it’s associated subpopulation. Something similar happens when we attempt to address sexualized violence. No one would ever really
use the word treatment to discuss the systemic problem of sexualized violence
in this country today because it wouldn’t make sense. When we talk about this
widespread violence, we talk about prevention. How can we prevent people from
doing this? (or if you’re a rape apologist, “how can women prevent themselves
from getting raped?”), how can we end this culture that equates sexual prowess
with masculinity, that objectifies women to the point that violence against them
is merely “natural” and “unavoidable”? If one were to say “How can we treat


rape?” or “We need to find a treatment for sexualized violence,” it would certainly make no sense. One might respond, “Do you mean ‘how can we stop rape?’”
or “How can we prevent it?” In this context, the dichotomy does not exist. It does
not exist because once someone has become a victim or a survivor they are no
longer part of the strategic conversation. They have become a psychological case,
another lost cause of a perceivedly unsolvable problem.
In truth, however, the treatment vs. prevention model as applied to sexualized violence did exist at one point. It has existed behind closed doors and on top floors,
where it became clear that treating and healing survivors as a part of preventing
sexualized violence is not cost-effective enough for the purposes of those who are
given the authority to handle the issues within their schools, their communities,
and their corporations. It is much cheaper for these institutions to simply silence
survivors when possible, and to provide them with settlements when not, than it
is to actually structurally combat the endemic culture and prevalence of sexualized violence today. This is not a conspiracy, this is just the exploitation of people’s
safety and rights in the name of profit; it’s simply a side effect of capitalism1.
In understanding the very real connection between sexualized violence and
the exploitation of individual safety in the name of financial concerns, consider the way that it has been addressed in prisons, one of the many institutions
with incessantly high rates of rape and assault. The Prison Rape Elimination Act
(PREA) was passed in 2003 with a goal of making information about prison sexual
violence more comprehensive and public in order to better address the issue.2 In
2012, under PREA, the Obama Administration performed a cost-benefit analysis3
of rape in prisons, with the goal of placing a monetary value on ending prison
rape, and to compare the financial cost of protecting incarcerated people from
sexual violence versus the safety cost of not doing so. Essentially, they sought to
decide “whether or not to protect citizens from rape... based on how much it
To decide whether or not to protect citizens from rape based on how much it
Title IX and The Institutionalization of Violence
“I’ve never felt more shoved under the rug in my life… I don’t know. Has
anything ever happened to you that was just so bad that you felt like you
became a shell of a human being?” - a college rape survivor on attempting to report the attack to Columbia University administrators5
Before we continue, there needs to be a brief discussion of some terms essential to this topic. Assuming you use the internet, you have probably heard of a
persistent little thing called rape culture. Just so we’re on the same page, rape
culture is, in short, a set of discourses and practices (including media, laws,
personal beliefs, etc) that serve to normalize sexual violence, especially that
towards women, to the point that it is perceived as inevitable. E.g. something
that can be prevented sometimes, but is ultimately “just the way things are.” Every symptom and facet of rape culture, from victim-blaming, to rape-apologism,
to the insidious little rape joke, points back toward this detached cultural understanding of sexualized violence. No one is exempt from rape culture either, just
like no one is exempt from misogyny, racism, classism or any type of oppression.
You are a victim of it, a perpetrator of it, or a complicit bystander (which is really
not much different from being a perpetrator). And just to be clear, a perpetrator
Angela Davis, “Rape, Racism and the Capitalist Setting,” 1978
www.PREAResourceCenter.org, 2014
Prison Rape Elimination Act: Regulatory Assessment, www.OJP.gov, 2012
“Campus Rape and the Rise of the Academic Industrial Complex,” www.Truth-Out.org, 2014
“The Fight Against Sexual Assaults Holds Colleges To Account,” www.NYTimes.com, 2014


of rape culture is not the same as a perpetrator of rape.
While such a brief summary is in no way comprehensive of the full effects and
symptoms of rape culture, and we could indeed fill every page of this zine discussing just that, we won’t. The understanding of rape culture is merely a prerequisite
to what I am truly here to discuss: not rape culture itself, but the everyday burden-bearers of it, whom institutions, especially those of higher learning, constantly seek to disenfranchise.
Why the treatment, the healing, and the survival of survivors is not the center of
our discussion on ending sexualized violence should be a mystery to us. As notable writer and theorist on trauma and anti-oppression, Aurora Levins Morales has
explained6, in order for a community, no matter how large or small, to truly heal
and rebuild from any number of violences and atrocities, that community must
collectively relearn, retell, honor, and mourn the stories of the abused. And in
turn, as psychological Trauma Theory7 states, for any individual survivor to heal,
they must be fully received and acknowledged by their community. A process of
“recognition and restitution...necessary to rebuild the survivor’s sense of order
and justice,” as stated by psychologist and trauma specialist Judith Herman, in her
book Trauma and Recovery. In this way, the treatment equals the prevention, and
vice versa.
To illuminate the reasons for this detachment and neglect, we need look no
further than the arena of sexualized violence with which our efforts are most concerned (and rightly so): college campuses. To say it in the way no one wants to:
going to college is now a risk factor for being raped or assaulted. In 1998, the CDC
concluded8 that 1 in 6 women has been the victim of attempted or completed
rape or assault. In 2010, a similar study9 conducted by the CDC declared the ratio
to be 1 in 5. And yet...
1 in 4 college women will experience sexual assault or rape during her or their
academic career, as found in 1987, 2000, and 2006.10
Violence is propelled not only through the belief that it is “normal” but that you
can easily get away with it. Only 3% of rapists ever spend a day in jail11- a fact
that is not only indicative of rape culture, but of the true function of our criminal
justice system: to punitively and conveniently disempower people of color, not
to bring justice to victimized women and trans folks. In short, our police and our
courts of law were not built to combat violences that are the result of patriarchy, especially when those violences are often perpetrated by the same people
intended to be kept in power12. So combine that with the setting of college,
where violence is called “misconduct” (see Oberlin’s “Sexual Misconduct Policy,”
formerly known as the “Sexual Offense Policy”) and policies tend to punish laptop
thieves13 or Tour de Franzia participants14 more harshly anyway, and perpetrators
seem to have found their safe haven.
College administrators (with exceptions, of course) have made it repeatedly clear
(as it has become most newsworthy in the past year or so) that they could not
give even a single fuck about survivors. Unless of course, they can’t get them to
shut up about their abuse from both their perpetrator and the college itself, in
Levins Morales, Medicine Stories, 1998
Herman, Trauma & Recovery, 1992
Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence against Women Survey, 1998
The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report
One in Four USA: Sexual Assault Statistics, www.oneinfourusa.org
“97 of Every 100 Rapists Receive No Punishment, RAINN Analysis Shows,” www.RAINN.org, 2009
More than 50% of Rapists are White (“Meet the Offenders”), www.RAINN.org, 2009
“Amherst College Refuses to Release Sexual Assault Data,” www.ACVoice.com, 2014
“Wesleyan’s Tour de Franzia Meltdown Reaches Ridiculous New Levels,” www.Jezebel.com, 2014


which case it becomes a
serious PR issue.
As of August 13th, 76
colleges and universities
are under federal investigation15 by the US Department of Education for their
mishandling of sexualized
violence cases on campus.
Such investigations are the
result of Title IX complaints
filed by both individuals and
student groups on the basis
of unjust case handlings and
generally hostile environments toward survivors.
Title IX is a law passed in
1972 that prohibits “sex
discrimination” in any
A college Dean’s advice to a campus assault survivor. Photo by
educational program that
Jisoo Lee, www.activism.thenation.com
receives federal funding. It
covers such areas as Athletics, support for pregnant and parenting students, standardized testing, and of course, sexualized violence. According to the organization
Know Your IX17, the law requires that
1) Schools must have an established procedure for handling complaints of sex discrimination,
sexual harassment or sexual violence.
2) Schools must take immediate action to ensure a complainant-victim can continue his/her/
their education free of ongoing sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual violence.
3) Schools may not retaliate against someone filing a complaint and must keep a complainant-victim safe from other retaliatory harassment or behavior.
4) Schools can issue a no contact directive under Title IX to prevent the accused student from
approaching or interacting with you.
5) In cases of sexual violence, schools are prohibited from encouraging or allowing mediation
(rather than a formal hearing) of the complaint.
6) Schools cannot discourage you from continuing your education as a result of experiencing
any sexualized violence.

Basically every single one of these mandates within the law have been violated
repeatedly by numerous schools across the country. In just a few of the most
recent headlines:
A survey of 236 colleges and universities conducted by Sen. Clair McCaskill (D-Mo.) reveals
that that over 40 percent had not conducted a single investigation of sexual assault in the
last five years (Huffington Post, July 9),18 and Amherst College is refusing to release any
campus sexual assault data since 2012 when students made the realization that the school
has punished cases of laptop theft more severely than assault (AC Voice, August 13)19
Administrators at Pace University forced the victim of a sexual assault into an investigation, found the alleged perpetrator not responsible without giving any explanation in their
verdict, and then attempted to require both students to attend a program on alcohol and
“76 Colleges are Now Under Investigation for How They Handled Sexual Assault Cases,” Huffington Post, 2014
“Title IX: The Basics,” www.KnowYourIX.org
“National Survey Finds Many Colleges Still Failing Facing Sexual Assault,” www.huffingtonpost.
com, 2014
“Amherst College Refuses to Release Sexual Assault Data,” www.ACVoice.com, 2014


date rape (Huffington Post, August 18).20
Meanwhile, a student at Temple University has filed a Report with the Dept.
of Education charging the school with
fostering a hostile environment, failure
to provide accommodations, discrimination against transgender individuals and
not informing her of her own rights as a
student, among other Title IX violations
(Temple News, August 16)21.

These are literally just a handful of
the more than 50 news articles released in the past few months shedding light on more and more schools’
dirty laundry. And many schools
A student group at Columbia University called no red have done their part in assessing the
tape, staged silent protests by placing red tape in various damage—to their endowment, that
places across campus to symbolize the administrative
“red tape” that has silenced and neglected survivors on is. Letters to parents, alumni, and
major corporate funders are all part
campus. (Cami Quarta/Bwog.com)
of the procedure. But little can be
done to combat a very brilliant and thorough exposè, such as the one22 targeting
Hobart and William Smith Colleges, printed in the New York Times on July 12th.
As a warning, the following account is more graphic in its detail of the violence
than I have been in this article so far.
This past year, a student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York was
gang raped by members of the football team in her first two weeks at the school.
A friend reported to have found her being assaulted against a pool table with 6
or 7 other people watching and taking pictures and video. A sexual-assault nurse
provided a recorded assessment of “blunt force trauma within the last 24 hours
indicating ‘intercourse with either multiple partners, multiple times or that the
intercourse was very forceful.’” The players denied not only raping her, but having
had “sex” with her in the first place. Even so, tests later found sperm or semen in
her vagina, in her rectum and on her underwear. In just 12 days, the college investigated the report and cleared the players of all charges. The student received no
protection or support from the college while she faced constant threats and harassment for accusing members of the revered football team immediately following the investigation. The college has since sent a letter to the college community,
including alumni and notable donors declaring their policies and procedures to
“reflect our commitment to creating and maintaining an academic environment
that is free from sexual harassment and misconduct.”
No Justice for Survivors in the Academic-Industrial Complex
“It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator. All the perpetrator asks
is that the bystander do nothing. He appeals to the universal desire to see, hear,
and speak no evil. The victim, on the contrary, asks the bystander to share the
burden of the pain. The victim demands action, engagement, and remembering.
. . . In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. Secrecy and silence are the perpetrator’s first line of defense. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility
of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure that no
one listens. To this end, he marshals an impressive array of arguments, from the
most blatant denial to the most sophisticated and elegant rationalization. After
every atrocity one can expect to hear the same predictable apologies: it never
happened; the victim lies; the victim exaggerates; the victim brought it upon
“What Happened When a Student Told Her Campus Health Center She Was Sexually Assaulted,”
www.huffingtonpost.com, 2014
“Former Temple Student Files Sexual Discrimination Complaint,” www.Temple-News.com, 2014
“Reporting Rape and Wishing She Hadn’t,” www.NYTimes.com, 2014


herself; and in any case it is time to forget the past and move on. The more powerful the perpetrator, the greater his prerogative to name and define reality,
and the more completely his arguments prevail.”

- Judith Herman, Trauma and Recovery23

So now we find ourselves in the midst of a “national crisis” on sexual violence,
both on and off campus. Let us return to the paradigm of treatment vs. prevention, the one that is most notably used to assess the cost-effectiveness of solutions to public health problems, and one that would probably be seen as distasteful at best if applied to an issue like sexualized violence. And yet, this is exactly
what colleges have done, mostly because they’re not really the public beacons of
knowledge that we have so often considered them. Since the late 90s and early
00s, there has been an ever increasing push for deregulation of colleges, especially at the management/administrative level.24 While this has occurred with the
belief of making college more accessible and affordable,25 quite the opposite has
unfolded. College presidents and senior administrators behave like CEOs, joining
positions on the executive boards of major corporations, and colleges themselves behave like corporations26, investing in and receiving funding from large
companies and wealthy alumni who are often associated with said corporations.
Corporations ultimately have rising control over campus policies, administrative
functions and school image; and thus, colleges are institutions of profit within a
capitalist economy. Now, I know you may have already gotten that this is a major
theme of the zine you are holding, but just let that sink in for a second, in the
context of campus sexualized violence.
Colleges are institutions of profit within a capitalist economy.
And colleges are the institutions responsible for and authorized to serve justice
for these crimes. Not the police, not a highly trained non-profit third party organization—colleges. Sure, you can report to the police. But besides the fact that
students are vastly more likely to report to the college (an institution they assume
will support them and function in their best interest), remember that only 3%
of rapists ever spend a day in jail27, and furthermore, consider the nature of our
justice system itself. Herman explains, If one set out by design to devise a system
for provoking intrusive post-traumatic symptoms, one could not do better than a
court of law.”28
Additionally, it is worth noting that rape is a huge expense to institutions, carrying
the highest annual victim cost of any crime.29 So with capitalist institutions in
charge of bringing so many of these cases to justice, the solution becomes to
actually just avoid justice altogether and settle. It is much much cheaper for
colleges to settle these charges on campus, and even lawsuits, than it is to structurally combat the issue of violence within their community. And even more
importantly, this allows colleges to continue to pretend that sexualized violence
is not a problem for them, by throwing some money at each little unfortunate
rape charge as they arise. This is a much better capitalist option than investing
massively in structural change, and in turn admitting to their many corporate and
individual investors that they have a violence problem.
As Lauren Chief Elk, founder of Save Wįyąbi, an advocacy group addressing violence toward Native American women explains, “College administrations already
scramble to give corporate donors the impression their campuses are safe and
free of rape to maintain their schools’ reputation. Corporate money—and the

Herman, Trauma & Recovery, 1992
“Campus Rape and the Rise of the Academic Industrial Complex,” www.Truth-Out.org, 2014
“Deregulation & Higher Education,” www.PolicyMattersOhio.org, 2012
“The Corporatization of Higher Education,” www.DissentMagazine.org, 2014
“97 of Every 100 Rapists Receive No Punishment, RAINN Analysis Shows,” www.RAINN.org, 2009
Herman, Trauma & Recovery, 1992
Krebs et. al & Department of Justice, “Campus Sexual Assault Study,” 2007


reputation of the corporation—makes the requirement to appear flawless even
more imperative. In the context of sexual assault, victims become the problem,
and so to make the issue of sexual assault disappear, victims are the ones who are
made to disappear.”30
So now, we return to our question: Why aren’t survivors, as well as the healing
and uplifting of survivors, the center of our discussion on ending sexualized
violence? Hopefully by now, this is more clear. Levins Morales has also addressed
this question, but beyond the scope of sexualized violence alone, and into the
vast and intersecting view of all abuses that result from larger systems of inequality and oppression.
“When individual people are abused, the events themselves become a story
of our worthlessness, of our deserving no better. We must struggle to recreate
the shattered knowledge of our humanity. It is in retelling stories of victimization, recasting our roles from subhuman scapegoats to beings full of dignity
and courage, that this becomes possible… The struggle we engage in is over
whose story will triumph, the rapist’s story or the raped woman’s, the child
abuser’s or the child’s, the stories of bigoted police officers or those of families
of color whose children are being murdered. The stories of perpetrators are
full of lies and justifications, full of that same projection that holds the abused
responsible for her abuse. The stories of the abused are full of dangerous,
subversive revelations that undermine the whole fabric of inequality.”31

Within the framework of capitalism, victims of abuse are better if they remain that
way: as victims, not survivors. In college, for example, their likelihood of graduating
with better than a 2.0 GPA is quite low32, not to mention graduating at all, not to
mention getting a sustainable job, not to mention functioning on a daily basis. It
is better this way, because survivors who have healed and restored their strength
and sense of humanity are dangerous, their insight sharp, and their hearts full and
And yet, treatment is prevention. When communities give survivors the freedom
and ability to know and tell their stories, they in turn become enlightened to their
own history as a community. They collectively face and grapple with the atrocities
and abuses of their past and present, and only once doing so can they become
equipped to heal as a whole and put an end to the violence. A community that
does not tolerate rape and assault is one that first and foremost listens to, believes
in, and advocates for those who have been hurt. When and only when this effort
has been made can a community truly prevent sexualized violence.
Of course, it is imperative to understand that one cannot address only one type
of violence while ignoring all others. Sexualized violence is inextricably linked to
racism, classism, colonialism, ableism, transphobia, homophobia, and transmisogyny among other abuses in the name of capitalism. And like the killing of black
and brown folks by police, the incarceration of poor people of color, and the displacement of families so that young white people can move to a ‘hip place with
good Mexican food,’ acts of sexualized violence are not isolated incidents. They
are symptoms of our own oppression, and in the context of campus rape, they are
symptoms of an already persistent rape culture combined with a privatized and
profitable institution parading as a socially conscious arbiter of knowledge.
“Individual abuse and collective oppression are not different things, or even
different orders of magnitude. They are different views of the same creature,
varying only in how we accommodate to them… Abuse is the local eruption of
systemic oppression, and oppression is the accumulation of millions of small systematic abuses.”

-Aurora Levins Morales

“Campus Rape and the Rise of the Academic Industrial Complex,” www.Truth-Out.org, 2014
Levins Morales, Medicine Stories, 1998
“After Sexual Assaults, Survivor’s GPAs plummet; This is a bigger problem that you think,” www.
WashingtonPost.com, 2014


How Oberlin breeds our nation’s next
If you’ve ever lived in a large U.S. city or talked to an Oberlin student
about their plans for after college, chances are you’ve heard about
gentrification, even if not by name. All too often young people buy into
the narrative of false independence that underlies the hipster (or young,
appropriative, stylish, apathetic, ironic people) post-college lifestyle. This
narrative fosters an entitlement to land and resources, which manifests
in the form of displacement and erasure of residents who occupied a
given neighborhood before the influx of hipsters.
Gentrification is the process by which middle or upper-class people,
often white, move into areas where working class, usually brown and
black people already live. In order to capitalize off of this new market
and to accommodate the ‘refined’ tastes of the middle class, developers
and entrepreneurs start up organic grocery stores and cupcake shops
in the given neighborhood, in addition to luxury condos to house even
more gentrifier-consumers. The land, now sprinkled with nice things,
accrues more value that it didn’t have before the invasion of the gentry,
and thus, the ones who own the land—which, sadly, is almost never the
impoverished brown residents—are the ones who benefit. The grocery
stores that the less fortunate original residents so urgently needed in
their communities have now sprung up in order to keep fresh produce
further out of their hands. As the previously cheap rent prices skyrocket,
many small, family-owned businesses cease to exist and the neighborhood’s residents—faced with foreclosure, job loss, police violence, and
other forms of communal disenfranchisement—are forced to move
away to a new location, which is often an underserved suburb.
Liberal politicians and gentrifier apologists like to talk about gentrification as a renewal process, in which white trustfund hipsters save
the day everyday by, for instance, prompting the construction of shiny
new artist studios so they can erase the artists that already existed in
the hood before they got there. Because of the erasure of the previous
inhabitants that the culture of gentrification is grounded in, much of the
discourse about gentrification in the media is posed as a positive dis-


play of economic growth and cultural fruition at the hands of the white
gentrifiers. By extension, the gentrifiers become heroic testaments of
generation y altruism and are then applauded and even glorified by the
older generation of class-privileged people for roughing it out in a less
than ideal backdrop for their glamorous young adult years in the name
of economic independence.

The impression that college alumni are making real sacrifices after
graduation so that they can support themselves financially by living in
low-income neighborhoods—which by design often lack basic resources
such as grocery stores and community centers—is unrealistic. Wherever
white and/or upper-class people live, private and governmental bodies
will rise to meet their needs, which means that if there isn’t a grocery
store in a gentrifying area, it’s because not enough deserving people
(read: white, class-privileged, college educated, etc.) are occupying the
land yet.
With the entitlement to space comes the subconscious expectation
of protection from the problems that afflict the underclass. It’s quite
common for the gentry to complain about the violence or crime rate of
a neighborhood once they move in. Given their status, law enforcement,
especially the local police, are more than likely to respond to their concerns with the utmost urgency. This results in even more brutality and
surveillance of the low-income people of color who are actually the ones
who face the ugly realities that gentrifiers are quick to identify as threats
to their own lives.
The neighborhood of Echo Park in Los Angeles serves as a tragic example
of how the racist white newcomers in a predominantly Latinx neighborhood succeeded in expediting the process of displacement by appealing
to the local government. The 2013 call for a permanent gang injunction
in Echo Park by primarily white people who had moved to the neighborhood within the last 15 years was based on the myth that local gang
violence put everyone who lived within the neighborhood in danger.
Despite the fact that the rate of gang violence between Echo Park’s


“most violent” gangs was at the lowest since the 1950s, the truth is that
white people are already extremely safe in low-income neighborhoods
where gang violence exists and their safety was never threatened in the
first place because of their whiteness. It’s common knowledge to residents of neighborhoods like Echo Park that the police are no friend to
black and brown youth. LAPD in particular (not to mention other paramilitary forces such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and the
U.S. police apparatus in general exist to protect the white and wealthy.
Regardless, the people of Echo Park, who knew that the gang injunction was definitely not the solution their community needed but rather
another excuse for state-sanctioned abuse and criminalization, were not
successful in stopping it from happening. After several court hearings,
the injunction was put into place. The gang injunction not only increased
police presence in Echo Park and suspended the rights of those who
were accused of gang activity, but also currently serves as a tool to kick
out many of the last remaining Latinx families from the neighborhood.
The bottom line is: Gentrifiers can live in these neighborhoods without
having to worry about not having access to basic resources and without
the risk of being exposed to police violence due to their perceived importance. Their position as privileged, voyeuristic settlers in low-income
urban areas means that their presence is automatically valued more
than the depressed communities that struggle to survive on the same
turf. The problems that plagued the community before gentrification—
poverty, violence, lack of city services—did not go away, but rather
followed the community to a new area.
In Oberlin, the (lack of) relationship between college students and
residents of the town permits similar dynamics that are present in the
gentrification of urban spaces. The notorious No Trespass List is a file
managed by Oberlin College Safety and Security that exists to keep
certain people who supposedly pose a threat to the safety of college
students away from campus. Rather than effectively addressing interpersonal violence, the No Trespass List upholds double standards and utilizes racial profiling to establish a false notion of safety within the college,
while shifting the blame for this violence to the town.
Masking displacement as a renewal process is near and not so dear to
Oberlin. Another concern is the Oberlin Project and the Green Arts District—an economic and community development project that many feel


has lacked open community input and may lead to gentrification—exacerbating many of the same root problems.
Oberlin alumni from a number of backgrounds are key players in the
process of gentrifying some of the neighborhoods that other students
call home. People who are college-educated, regardless of race/ethnicity
or class, still have an advantage in certain job markets and therefore can
also gentrify if they choose to move to another neighborhood to which
they do not have any personal ties. I’ve seen my classmates move from
their parents’ homes in glitzy, white areas of Los Angeles to neighborhoods right next to mine that only a few years ago, were very similar to
my own, which is working class and Latinx. An area’s vulnerability to an
influx of hipsters is correlated to its proximity to other hipster neighborhoods, as we have seen in several major cities in the U.S., so my stake in
the anti-gentrification movement is huge.
The common defensive response
to anti-gentrification arguments
often come in the form of “But
where else am I supposed to
live?!?!” What is key to understand here is that I’m not blaming
only the gentrifier for the violence of displacement. Gentrification is structurally ingrained in
urban spaces, but it’s important
to recognize that gentrifiers do
have the advantage of making a
number of choices—some of those choices might include the choice to
move out of one’s parents’ home with parents’ support, the choice to
move back in with one’s parents and not pay any rent, and/or the choice
to borrow money from parents to live in wealthier urban neighborhoods
or suburbs where the chance of displacement is less.
The choices young Oberlin grads make, even if they are a self-proclaimed “radical” person of color or come from a low-income background, impact the livelihood of people in poor neighborhoods. However, while it’s important to ask Oberlin students to consider their agency
in the process of gentrification, it’s also not enough to only target the
actions of individual people. The practice of gaining control over land
is central to capitalism, especially in the settler-colonialist USofA, so
regardless of our choices, the problem of displacement will continue to
persist until capitalism is destroyed.


Dear First-Year Students,
Though at this point you have likely been inundated with romantic lines about
Oberlin’s “progressive” history, it is unlikely that you will have had much exposure
to the college’s less glamorous track record with regard to its maltreatment of its
workers, its heavy policing of and unwillingness to share resources with the town,
and its longtime apathy and dismissal of its complicity in the Israeli occupation.
Complicity in human rights abuses both domestic and abroad is hardly exclusive
to Oberlin—such is the role of the university under neoliberal global capitalism,
in which institutions of higher learning become increasingly self-serving private
businesses operating in the service of their own financial interests. In this political-economic landscape, issues of moral and ethical obligations are posited as
a cumbersome folly to fiscal responsibility. We frequently hear fellow students,
Board of Trustees members, and administrators claim that they are critical of
Israel, yet they refer to demands for divestment from corporations profiting
from the Israeli occupation as a “divisive” and financially untenable issue that
soils our campus climate. We hear that the history of Palestine/Israel is so complicated that no one could hope to understand it, and so we should really just stay
out of it altogether. Rarely, however, do we witness a serious engagement with an
issue that is difficult to talk about, but is not in fact as incomprehensible as Israel’s
apologists make it out to be. As scholar-activist Henry Giroux explains, the neoliberal educational model in the United States “has abandoned the social contract
and any viable notion of long-term investments in social goods. It is indifferent
to human fragility and suffering, and remakes everything into commodified
objects or reified financial transactions… Students are now taught to ignore
human suffering and to focus mainly on their own self-interests and by doing
so they are being educated to exist in a political and moral vacuum.”1 This is the
reality we inhabit at Oberlin, an institution that has consistently marketed itself
for “doing the right thing” even when this meant making unpopular or controversial decisions. In what follows we hope to provide a brief, albeit incomplete,
overview of three central points:
1. First, we will expose the myth that one can simultaneously be truly committed to radical social transformation while also being a self-proclaimed liberal
2. We will then discuss the immense military collusion between Israel and the
United States, and show that in addition to a shared military-industrial complex, Israel is also complicit in the United States’ prison-industrial complex
and mass surveillance of black and brown people.
3. Finally, we will assert the importance of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and debunk classically liberal conceptions of academic freedom that Oberlin has used to maintain its unspoken commitment to
Israeli apartheid.


Identifying Liberal Zionism:
Though Zionism should and must be critiqued in its own right, we have
elected to center this contribution on liberal Zionism because we believe it is
especially inhibitive and ultimately destructive to fomenting critical consciousness
with regard to Palestine/Israel. It is also pervasive at Oberlin. Whereas we broadly
understand Zionism as a “settler colonial political movement that seeks to ethnically cleanse historical Palestine of the indigenous population and populate it
as a Jewish only state,”2 perhaps we would be best to understand liberal Zionism
less as an ideology in its own right, and more as a discourse that attempts to
justify Israel’s actions through the simultaneous promotion of ostensibly liberal
social values. It adds up to a defense of the existence of the Israeli state and the
occupation, coded through a rhetoric of universality. While most liberal Zionists
may genuinely believe that human rights, anti-racism, democracy, and equality
are reconcilable with settler colonialism, the effect is to neutralize debate on
the occupation. Rather than centering the struggle of colonized and occupied
Palestinians by “challenging Israel’s unjust and illegal policies and practices, ‘liberal’ Zionists end up defining the limitations to how Israel is challenged, if not
themselves implementing policies that maintain the consistent repression of the
Palestinian people.”3 Within these constricted parameters of critique, challenges
to Zionism, the military-industrial complex, and Israel’s right to exist as a ethnocentric Jewish state may be lazily dismissed as anti-Semitism, obfuscating the
reality of the occupation.
Liberal Zionists often claim that they are critical of Israel while simultaneously
supporting its right to exist as an ethnocentric state, one which has the right to
“defend” itself from racialized “terrorist” organizations like Hamas (democratically elected to head Gaza in 2006) through bombing innocent civilians. Even if
we accept for the sake of argument the fallacy that an occupying colonial power
has the right to self-defense and that the colonized population does not have the
right to self-determination, assertions such as these are still inherently contradictory. As Columbia University professor and acclaimed Palestinian intellectual
Joseph Massad writes, “The logic goes as follows: Israel has the right to occupy
Palestinian land, lay siege to Palestinian populations in Bantustans surrounded
by an apartheid wall, starve the population, cut them off from fuel and electricity, uproot their trees and crops, and launch periodic raids and targeted
assassinations against them and their elected leadership, and if this population
resists these massive Israeli attacks against their lives and the fabric of their
society and Israel responds by slaughtering them en masse, Israel would simply
be ‘defending’ itself as it must and should.”4 All of this in the name of Israel’s
right to exist as a Jewish state, one in which the Jewish citizenry must constitute
the majority, even if this means apartheid policies in Israel, occupation in Gaza,
the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, and the occasional full-blown massacre.
Liberal Zionists may occasionally voice distress over this kind of systematic abuse,
yet when it comes to acting on it they will resort to dishonest apologist rhetoric.
Though the very act of Palestinian reproduction is posited as a “demographic
threat” to Israel’s so-called exclusively Jewish character (though nowhere is this
recognized in international law [citation]), Israel promotes itself—and is in turn
promoted by the United States—as a true beacon of equality.


Liberal Zionism and the Military-Industrial Complex:
Oberlin College is complicit in liberal Zionism. On its own website, the college
writes, “Today, Oberlin’s faculty, staff, and student body reflect the college’s early
dedication to diversity and social justice.”5 Yet its investments in corporations
profiting from the occupation—specifically, G4S, SodaStream, Hewlitt-Packard,
Veolia, Elbit Systems, and Caterpillar—mean that any claims of solidarity with
Palestinians are little more than lip service. What does it mean when claims to
social justice are built on the rubble of Gaza? Corporations such as Elbit Systems
and G4S are heavily subsidized by the United States. Elbit Systems, for example,
was just awarded a massive contract by the Obama administration to continue the process of further militarizing the Mexico-US border wall, while G4S, a
company known for its abuse of Palestinian prisoners, is a top security supplier
of video surveillance and security officers at colleges and universities around
the country.6 Caterpillar, the corporation that systematically bulldozes innocent
Palestinians’ homes in the occupied territories, can be seen all around campus
as gentrification schemes like the Oberlin Project will continue to drive out town
residents in the name of eco-friendly public relations. This is not “Pro-Israel,
Pro-Peace,” as organizations such as J-Street U would have it; it is imperialism by
proxy. The longer Oberlin remains invested in these corporations, the longer it
remains invested in neoliberal global capitalism and US imperialism, and the
longer our academic education will be funded by the occupation.
To better understand the links between Oberlin and US imperialism vis-à-vis
Israel, let’s turn to the military collusion between Israel and the United States.
Those who criticize of divestment often posit the flawed argument that Israel is
being “unfairly singled out” for its human rights abuses. Yet Israel receives more
money for its military operations from the United States than any other country
(in this sense one could argue that it is actually the United States, that is singling out Israel). As the Huffington Post’s Chase Madar writes, “Over the past 60
years…Israel has absorbed close to a quarter-trillion dollars in [military] aid. Last
year alone, Washington sent some $3.1 billion in military aid, supplemented
by allocations for collaborative military research and joint training exercises…
Overall, the United States covers nearly one quarter of Israel’s defense budget.”7
With this massive influx of U.S. weaponry, “Israel is violating more UN resolutions than any other country in the history of the UN, including Iraq & Iran—put
together.” As “other countries are routinely punished for their transgressions, the
question is not whether Israel should be singled out, but whether it should be
held to the same standard as other countries.”8 
In addition to its willful violations of human rights and its military collusion
with the U.S., Israel is an active enabler of the United States’ prison-industrial
complex and the practices of racial profiling and policing that disproportionately funnel people of color into it. For years Israeli authorities have trained
police forces from nearly every major city in the United States, schooling them
in surveillance and combat techniques. Especially since September 11, 2001,
Israel has found a staunch supporter in the United States, who refers to Israel for
“counter terrorism” technologies that further marginalize people of color in the
United States, especially Arabs and Muslims. As journalist Max Blumenthal notes,
“through its Law Enforcement Education Program, JINSA [Jewish Institute for
National Security Affairs] claims to have arranged Israeli-led training sessions for
over 9000 American law enforcement officials at the federal, state and municipal


level.”9 In this sense we can begin to speak of the “Israelification” of security and
policing within the United States, as a manifestation of the symbiotic relationship
between the ways both countries exercise and collaborate in their executions of
state violence.
“Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace” movements will not put an end to this kind of collusion; it will only strengthen it. Amidst the U.S.’s continued support for Israel’s
assault on Gaza in the name of self-defense, is evident that only a mass-based
grassroots movement will be able to challenge these systems. In this sense, Oberlin can play a significant role.
Oberlin’s Role in Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS):
In 2005, hundreds of organizations comprising Palestinian civil society (an
amalgam of hundreds of trade unions, youth organizations, grassroots groups,
women’s groups, religious and tribal associations, educational institutes and
NGOs) called on the global community to participate in a grassroots-led boycott,
divestment, and sanctions movement against Israel until it complies with international law. The BDS movement comprises of three central demands:
1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights
of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of
Israel to full equality.
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian
refugees to return to their homes
and properties as stipulated in UN
resolution 194.10
In the words of the BDS movement,
divestment “calls for the withdrawal
of stocks and funds from corporations
complicit in the violation of international law and Palestinian rights and
ensures that investment portfolios and
public funds are not used to finance or
purchase products and services from such companies. These campaigns can take
advantage of voluntary and mandatory corporate responsibility mechanisms.”11
In 1987 Oberlin agreed to divest its funds from Apartheid South Africa after years
of student protest and reluctance on behalf of the administration and Board of
Trustees. As Palestinians in Israel are systematically denied equal rights, while
those in the occupied territories are being bombard with Israeli missiles as this
piece is being written, it is of utmost importance that we recognize this historical
precedent and continue to demand action.  In this sense, the BDS movement—
and divestment more specifically—provides the only effective outlet for Oberlin
as an institution to stand in solidarity with Palestine.
Rather than calling for a one- or two-state solution, the BDS movement
works within a human rights-based framework. As Israel continues to violate
the Fourth Geneva Convention, the official opinion of the International Court of
Justice, and United Nations Resolution 194, and whereas the six corporations
discussed above are guilty of committing human rights abuses as documented by


organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Al-Haq, Addameer, B’tselem, Adalah,
Badil, and Amnesty International,12 divestment in solidarity with the call of the
Palestinian people is crucial. And the time to do so is now.
Resistance to Divestment in the Name of Academic Freedom?
Oberlin’s administration and Board of Trustees have been resistant to endorsing the BDS resolution proposed by the Student Senate in spring of 2013.
Perhaps more importantly, these bodies have expressed disdain towards the BDS
movement more generally, claiming that moves such as the American Studies
Association’s 2013 decision to enact an academic boycott of Israel limits academic
freedom. In a letter published online in response to the decision, Oberlin’s president Marvin Krislov wrote, “Even when academic freedom is imperfectly realized
it must be protected for it is a fundamental condition that enables students,
teachers, researchers and scholars to pursue ideas and inquiries beyond the
confines of academic departments or disciplines, politics, national boundaries or
social structures.”13
Krislov’s response requires us to problematize our relationship to academic freedom. In
essence, this is an inherently flawed conception
of academic freedom because it is can easily
be manipulated by those in positions of power
whose sociopolitical interests are not served
by transnational solidarity movements and
boycotts. It is a definition that proffers equality,
yet it is also ahistorical as it fails to take into
account how not everyone has equal access to
freedom of inquiry or expression, despite what
we might want to believe. In this sense, calls
for “open dialogue” and “academic freedom”
reinforce and reproduce the status quo rather than challenge it. There is no
reason to believe that Krislov’s logic would extend beyond academic freedom
to basic human rights, given the administration’s and board of trustees’ dismissive attitudes towards calls for even the most modest calls for divestment from
corporations that profit from the occupation. Meanwhile, schools in Gaza are
decimated after the most recent slate of genocidal Israeli bombings in Operation
Protective Edge.14 Why do we not express outrage at the continued repression of
Palestinian freedom?
Given the reality of Krislov’s conception of equality and universality, and
keeping in mind the occupation’s profitability to Oberlin College, it is here that
we must cease to see the academy as an idealized democratic space dedicated
to building individuals concerned with social justice, but rather as an instrument
through which ruling class capitalist imperialist ideology is reproduced. Instead of
clinging to the imagined inherent equality of academic institutions, we should
be grappling with the political realities of the Israeli occupation. We must be
constantly linking the struggle for academic freedom with the opposition to
repressive state violence and ideological surveillance. We need to think about
how freedom is being denied. The conflation of principles of absolute equality
with the material reality of the occupation exists not solely in regard to abstract
notions of academic freedom, but freedom in general. Though neither Marvin


Krislov nor the Board of Trustees has issued an official statement regarding the
BDS movement, the idea that even when freedom is imperfectly realized we need
to stick to our liberal conception of equality in which everyone must be treated
the same does not bode well.
Even at Oberlin we can already see how these ideas are implemented to stunt
student organizing. Students who expose institutional racism at Oberlin are often
accused of ‘fascism,’ distribution of radical literature is often disallowed, and demands for structural transformation on campus go unheard. How is this academic
freedom, an unfettered flow of ideas? Despite this, Oberlin maintains its clasp on
its social justice public relations efforts, claiming in its mission statement to “offer
dialogues on topical political and societal issues; events that honor culture and
language...and classes on such subjects as peace and conflict, gender, feminist,
and sexuality studies, colonialism, and much more.”15 But it is not just enough to
offer classes on colonialism—we need to critically examine how our education is
being funded by colonialism through Oberlin’s investment in the occupation. If we
are to continue to struggle in solidarity for a free Palestine, we must continue to
demand divestment, to see the connections between the oppression of Palestinians and the struggles of all oppressed peoples, and to combat the dominant
liberal ideology central to this institution.
Henry Giroux, “Neoliberalism, Democracy, and the University as a Public Sphere,” Truth-Out, April
22, 2014, http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/23156-henry-a-giroux-neoliberalism-democracy-and-the-university-as-a-public-sphere).
Nadine Naber, Eman Desouky, and Linda Baroudi, “The Forgotten ‘-ism’: An Arab-American Women’s
Perspective on Zionism, Racism, and Sexism,” in Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology, ed. INCITE!
Women of Color Against Violence (Cambridge: South End Press, 2006), 99.
Mich Levy, “The Trojan Horse of Liberal Zionism,” Mondoweiss, July 16, 2014, http://mondoweiss.
Joseph Massad, “Israel’s Right to Defend Itself,” The Electronic Intifada, January 19, 2009, http://electronicintifada.net/content/israels-right-defend-itself/8004.
Oberlin College, “Mission,” http://new.oberlin.edu/about/mission.dot.
Hannah K. Gold, “5 Links Between Higher Education and the Prison Industry,” Rolling Stone, June 18,
2014, http://m.rollingstone.com/politics/news/5-links-between-higher-education-and-the-prison-industry-20140618.
Chase Madar, “Washington’s Military Aid to Israel: Fake Peace Process, Real War Process,” Huffington
Post, February 10, 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chase-madar/israel-military-aid_b_4759159.
End the Occupation, “Frequently Asked Questions About Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions,” http://
Max Blumenthal, “From Occupation to ‘Occupy’: The Israelification of American Domestic Security,”
Al-Akhbar, December 2, 2011, http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/occupation-%E2%80%9Coccupy%E2%80%9D-israelification-american-domestic-security.
BDS Movement, “Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS,” July 9, 2005, http://www.bdsmovement.net/
BDS Movement, “Divestment,” http://www.bdsmovement.net/activecamps/divestment.
Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine, “Oberlin Divests: 2013 Resolution,” Spring 2013, http://www.
Marvin Krislov, “Statement on Academic Boycotts,” January 6, 2014, http://news.oberlin.edu/articles/statement-academic-boycotts/.
Peter Beaumont, “Israeli Strike on Gaza School Kills 15 and Leaves 200 Wounded,” July 24, 2014,
Oberlin College, “Diversity and Social Justice,”



Obviously this zine is packed with a ton of information—
probably too much to fully process all at once. And of
course there’s also lots of crucial analysis and issues that
we weren’t able to touch on here: we wish we could
have better situated the academic-industrial complex
within the context of neoliberalism, given more personal
accounts of our experiences at Oberlin, and provided
more of the history behind March 4, 2013, to name only
a few. But hopefully you will use this zine as a resource
and a reference in order to better understand some
aspects that often go unnoticed and unchallenged in
the liberal whirlwind of college. If you’ve made it this
far and are feeling inspired, overwhelmed, or any range
of emotions, know that there is a community struggling
for radical social transformation that would love to
work with you. Come join us in educating, agitating,
and organizing to smash liberalism. We look forward to
meeting you.



Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Davis
Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, & Opposition in Globalizing California by Ruth Wilson Gilmore
Live From Death Row by Mumia Abu-Jamal
Blood in My Eye by George Jackson
Normal Life by Dean Spade
Visions of Abolition (2012) - film
The Last Graduation (1997) - film
Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur
The Battle for Justice in Palestine by Ali Abunimah
5 Broken Cameras (2012) - film
The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappe

The Flatbush Rebellion - zine <http://eastcoastrenegades.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/
elbarriotours.tumblr.com (film & blog; resources on gentrification in NYC’s El Barrio)
“The peril of hipster economics,” by Sarah Kendzior on Aljazeera.com
“Gentrification’s Racial Arbitrage,” by Peter Frase on Jacobinmag.com
“Gentrification’s insidious violence: The truth about American cities,” by Daniel José Older on
Social Death: Racialized Rightlessness and the Criminalization of the Unprotected by Lisa
The Possessive Investment in Whiteness by George Lipsitz
Bros Fall Back - zine <http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7e/Destroy_the_
Conquest: Sexual Violence & American Indian Genocide by Andrea Smith
The Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology by INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body, and Primitive Accumulation by Silvia Federici
Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins
Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldúa
The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein
A Brief History of Neoliberalism by David Harvey
“Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses,” by Louis Althusser
Selected Works by Mao Zedong
All About Love: New Visions, bell hooks
The State and Revolution by Vladimir Ilich Lenin
Seventeen Contradictions and the End
of Capitalism by David Harvey
Medicine Stories by Aurora Levins Morales
The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon
Black Skin White Masks by Frantz Fanon
Our Sister Killjoy by Ama Ata Aidoo

direct questions to

Item sets