Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
After a long day on the production line, Natasha Cohen ‘18* expressed her frustration with the system. “I work for 16 hours without a break, my fingers are bleeding from all the typing and my feet hurt every day from the brutal march from Alice Paul to the Science Center and back. I can’t take this anymore – we need some sort of change.” If one walks around Swarthmore College, one can hear similar sentiments – at least, from those who are courageous enough to speak out.
“I am sick of the College using me for profit. I labor endlessly on my CS21 labs, only to see Swarthmore make millions from the game of tic-tac-toe that *I* programmed,” declared John Travis ‘19*, wearing his trademark Che Guevara t-shirt as we spoke at Hobbs. “This is only my first year, but if one thing is clear to me, it’s that I can’t do this for three more years. Sure, I enjoy the free donuts that SGO gives me once a week, but those are just bribes from acolytes of the college-industrial complex in order to suppress the masses.”
Travis told me that the student body has finally begun to realize that the housing and daily rations Swarthmore provides is, in reality, a tool used to further subjugate us into believing that Swarthmore is a place of enjoyment and self-development rather than a cruel and manipulative institution that coldly profits off our English papers, our lab reports, and our athletic successes on the football field.
While John and Natasha’s experiences of oppression at the hands of Valerie Smith and Swarthmore College are obviously not felt by them alone, these two have resolved to finally do something about it. They have formed a secret society which seeks to disrupt the machine subtly, but if effective will have wide-ranging effects.
“Our aim is to infiltrate the highest levels of the administration – first through student government, then through academic and social committees, and finally by influencing administrators themselves – to create chaos and ultimately topple the machine altogether,” said Travis. “Although we can’t reveal the specifics, we have a wide-ranging network of independently operating groups acting under our command to expose the hypocrisy of the neoliberal capitalist agenda.”
My sources within the organization tell me that they may soon attempt a coup to oust Vice President for Finance and Administration, Greg Brown, and replace him with someone more “sympathetic to the goals of our revolution – to allow us to bring about true equality and justice. And although we oppose the structural violence of the administration against our bodies and souls, if it comes to it, we will respond to violence with violence.” I further heard (although I cannot confirm) that mock executions are being planned for Board Members Samuel Hayes III, Rhonda Cohen, and Harold “Koof” Kalkstein before they are sent to forced labor camps to be re-educated regarding their fossil fuel investments.
The administration could not be reached for comment on the record, but sources suggested privately to me that the administration plans a “forceful” response with respect to any dissenting students in order to maintain obedience.
*All names have been changed to protect the identities of the workers, who fear political retribution from the administration