Strike Fever

A union sympathizer turned strike veteran walks the picket line.

“This building vs. these people.”

It was a message that stood out from the litany of signs and slogans that proliferated on the picket line. The words were scrawled on a large, double-sided cardboard arrow. One end pointed up at The New School’s University Center and its shingled, muntz-metal facade. The other pointed down to the stretch of sidewalk upon which dozens of part-time professors—unionized under the local 7902 chapter of the UAW (yes, the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America)—alongside full-time faculty, staff, and student allies trod back and forth for several chilly weeks last winter. Architectural antagonism felt like a decent proxy for a situation that would become the longest adjunct faculty strike in US history. My fellow picketers and I had been steadfastly avoiding setting foot inside the building, whose polygonal windows, emblazoned with course titles like “Artists as Activists” and “Inequality and Varieties of Capitalism,” announced the university’s social justice bona fides to the busy entrance at Thirteenth…

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