Saturday, June 23, 2007

Community Rallies Against Columbia

With the certification of the Columbia expansion plan accomplished, the next battle venue will be at the local community board. It will be at CB#9 where the university can expect a fierce opposition from a community that, feeling disenfranchised from the start, is furious over the summer certification of the Columbia land use plan.

Some of this emotion can be evinced in the recent article in Indymedia that highlights the community's sense that it is being railroaded. Reporting on the recent protest in front of City Planning, the paper cites community protester Tom Klappner; "We'll just stand here until you arrest us." The larger group began chanting, "127th Street-Not for sale. 128th Street-Not for sale."

All of the vitriol stems from the arrogance of a supposedly progressive institution using their political muscle to bogart legitimate community interests. The summer certification simply underscored what the community knew all along: Columbia's self-interest is the ultimate bottom line; and the concern that its professoriat shows for the less fortunate is purely a cover for the less savory reality that it serves to hide.

This is the kind of blatant hypocrisy that an English author once referred to when he called such progressive thinkers "herbivores."
In short, for the herbivores, or gentle ruminants, who look out from the lush pastures which are there natural station in life with eyes full of sorrow for less fortunate creatures, guiltily conscious of their advantages, though not usually ceasing to eat the grass.