The New School Radical Student Union

is a union of radical students at the New School University in New York City. We are interested in communicating with other students committed to building a democratic and just society. We are a member organization of United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) and the Student Environmental Action Coalition. Please click here to read our Points of Unity.

Points Of Unity

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Below are the Radical Student Union's points of unity. There are a number of theorists and organizations* that inspired this document and we are grateful for their contributions to its development.

1. Our goal is to build a movement for social revolution. By social revolution, we mean a fundamental transformation in the defining values and institutions of the various spheres of social life (kinship, community, economy, polity, international relations).

2. We live in a patriarchal society. By patriarchy, we mean a system of male supremacy encompassing the whole set of unequal man-woman relationships that are found in the family, the workplace, the state, and the dominant religious and cultural institutions of all contemporary societies.

3. We reject patriarchy and seek to build feminist kinship relations to free people from oppressive and narrowly defined roles that have been socially imposed, to abolish the sexual division of labor, and to end the sexist and heterosexist demarcation of individuals according to gender and sexuality. Society must be respectful of an individual’s nature, inclinations, and choices and all people must be provided with the means to pursue the lives they want regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, or age.

4. A feminist society would provide the means for the flourishing of traditional couples, single parents, lesbian and gay parents; communal parenting; and multiple parenting arrangements. The task of raising children must be elevated in status, highly personalized interaction between children and adults should be encouraged, and responsibilities for these interactions must be distributed equitably throughout society without segregating tasks by gender.

5. Central to the creation of a feminist society is reproductive freedom – the freedom to have children without fear of sterilization or economic deprivation, and the freedom not to have children through unhindered access to birth control and abortion.

6. We live in a white supremacist society. By white supremacy, we mean the domination of oppressed peoples (Blacks, Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, Latinos, Asians, Arabs, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans) based on their national or ethnic origin by a white power structure in which whites are given material, social, and psychological privileges.

7. The racial distinctions created by white supremacy are not actual biological divisions within humanity but are social constructions created to divide humanity and maintain the totality of oppressive social relations.

8. We reject white supremacy and seek to construct a new historical legacy based on positive inter-community relations by providing oppressed communities with the means to assure the preservation of their diverse cultural traditions and to allow for their continual development. All material and psychological privileges that are currently granted to a section of the population at the expense of the dignity and standards of living for oppressed communities, as well as the division of communities into subservient positions according to culture, ethnicity, nationality, and religion, must come to an end.

9. We live in a capitalist society. By capitalism, we mean an economic system characterized by the private ownership of the means of production (the means by which we produce the goods and services that society depends on), market allocation, and a corporate division of labor. The system of private ownership results in class stratification between those who own productive property and those who do not (who must sell their labor power in return for wages). The corporate division of labor creates a class division between workers who monopolize empowering work and decision-making power, and workers who perform primarily rote and labor-intensive work and have little control of the decisions that affect their lives. Markets misprice goods, misallocate resources, and foster anti-social competitiveness and individualism among both producers and consumers. Capitalism results in the oppression and exploitation of the vast majority of the global population, forcing them into a life of poverty and destitution for the heinous and unceasing lust for profits. It destroys our natural environment and places the interests of profit above the survival of humanity and the planet as a whole.

10. We reject the capitalist economic system and seek to replace it with a classless economic system defined by the social ownership of the means of production, a balanced division of labor in which workers perform a mix of manual and conceptual labor, a system of decentralized economic planning, and environmental sustainability.

11. We live under an authoritarian and bureaucratic state. By authoritarian and bureaucratic state, we mean a system of government that operates above and alienated from the people, using its monopoly on coercive force (police, military, courts, prisons) to defend property, profit, and power for the few at the expense of the many. Above all else, this state places its own survival above that of the interests of civilization and the planet.

12. We reject the authoritarian and bureaucratic state and seek to replace it with a participatory democracy, a polity where every individual directly shares in making the decisions that determine the quality and direction of both the individual’s life and that of their community. This polity should function according to the norm of self-management, where individuals have decision-making power in proportion to the degree they are affected by the decision.

13. We live under a system of imperialism. By imperialism, we mean the policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation, especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas. Broadly, imperialism means the extension or imposition of a nation’s power, authority, or influence.

14. Imperialism in the current period is characterized by a polarization of wealth and power between a few rich controlling “centers” (the United States, Western Europe, and Japan) and the impoverished “periphery” of the Global South (the Third World). The wealth in one pole is directly connected with the abject poverty and misery of the other; the human and natural resources of the Global South have been ruthlessly exploited to build up the developed economies. Imperialism speaks most directly to the oppression of three-quarters of humankind.

15. We reject imperialism and support the right of nations to self-determination. We believe that people everywhere should have control over their government, natural resources, economic system, and culture. National liberation struggles in the Global South are fought to remove oppressed peoples from the shackles of imperialism – such struggles have historically been, and will continue to be, crucial to the defeat of the imperialist system.

*In particular, we'd like to thank Samir Amin, Bell Hooks, Lydia Sargent, Chris Spannos, Michael Albert, Robin Hahnel, Noam Chomsky, and the Fire By Night Organizing Committee for their theoretical contributions.