Back to School
A special Villager supplement
From Anarchist to Zapatista: A school for lefties
By Lincoln Anderson
A bit shaky on your Wobblies? Out of synch with Syndicalism? Maybe its time for a refresher course at The New SPACE, otherwise known as The New School for Pluralistic Anti-Capitalist Education. Yes, theres a new New School in town, but its not connected to the venerable university of the same name in Greenwich Village.
The New SPACE is the product of a group of leftists who were taking a course at the Brecht Forum at the Westbeth artists complex who realized they could do it better.
It was pretty clear that in New York City, the Brecht Forums it, said Ted Weiss, 32, a member of The New SPACEs founding collective. We were all in a class reading Capital, Volume I. We went out to dinner after class one night and just decided we should do it.
Capital, Volume I is like the philosophers stone, the ur text and theyre only interested in their reading of it, Weiss said of Brecht Forum. As he spoke last Saturday, he sat in May Day Bookstore off the Theater for the New Citys lobby on First Ave. where he works. On the shelves were books about Joe Hill and the Spanish anarchists, as well as bags of Free Trade Zapatista Co-op coffee and coffee flower honey.
I hear it packs a kick, he said of the honey.
They came up with the name New SPACE first and then tried to fill in the words of the acronym. Weiss said New School University has sued The New SPACE for use of New School in their full name. Theyre not sure how theyre going to respond.
The New SPACE, as its pamphlet states, is dedicated to developing and advancing ideas for liberatory social change.
After offering five courses last spring, theyve scaled back to three this term, feeling they overreached the first time. The classes, in six or 12 sessions, are held at the Clemente Soto Velez cultural center on Suffolk St.
This terms offerings, starting Oct. 4 and 5, include a reading of philosopher Hegels Phenomenology of Spirit, an analysis of banking systems and reading John Holloways Change the World Without Power.
Among four talks being offered are Bill Weinberg on The Politics of the Anti-War Movement on Sept. 21 and Eric Laursen on The Peoples Pension: The Anarchist Origins of Social Security and Todays Battle Over Its Future on Nov. 16.
Tuition is on a sliding scale from $75 up to $180 for the 12-sesson classes. Suggested donation for the talks is $7-$10.
They had tried to get space at the Times Up! storefront headquarters on E. Houston St., but it was a little too funky for them.
Were working-class people. We want a space where everyone feels comfortable, Weiss said, not just bohemians.
Since 9/11, its been hard being a leftist, Weiss said. Theyve felt marginalized.
Personally more into theory, he admits that most young leftists today ascribe to some form of anarchism.
The anarchism thing its both extraordinary and filled with contradictions, he said. Post-Seattle there was just a spark. Anarchists are really socialists but dont want to admit it.
For information, visit http://new-space.mahost.org or call 1-800-377-6183.