As the new year opens, the Carol Lang case remains in arbitration. Lang, a City College worker, was arrested along with three students for participating in a non-violent protest against military recruiters at a “career fair” in March 2005. The vindictive College administration, which receives millions of dollars in Pentagon grants, suspended the students from classes and docked Lang, who has been at CCNY for thirty years, from her job without pay for almost a month. (See CCNY Cracks Down on Anti-Military Protesters in Proletarian Revolution No. 75.)
The “CCNY Four” were supported from the start by the City Defense Campaign, a coalition of students, workers and faculty members on campus. Resolutions of support came from the faculty union of the City University, of which CCNY is a branch, and from the CCNY Faculty Senate. The Campaign held public protest demonstrations and a teach-in on the issues of free speech, military recruitment and the war in Iraq. It also collected over a thousand signatures on campus and off demanding that all the charges be dropped. It also collected over a thousand dollars to help pay for defense expenses and compensate Lang for her lost wages.
As a result of the active defense effort, the criminal charges were dropped against all four, and the three students were reinstated. But at Lang’s administrative hearing in June, she was threatened with an additional five week’s suspension without pay, pending arbitration of her case.
In the Fall 2005 semester, the defense campaign for Lang continued, with a rally on October 27 and a teach-in on November 17. The teach-in was held jointly with supporters of Miguel Malo and Geoffrey Blank, who are also under attack for expressing their political views.
At the first arbitration hearing on November 29, about 20 supporters gathered at the site of the American Arbitration Association. The hearing did not get far, since CUNY’s lawyers managed to confuse their own witness and the arbiter with their questions. The hearing continued on January 4, 2006, and again CUNY came off poorly: their lawyers were disorganized and their security-guard witnesses contradicted their written statements of last year. One guard, asked whether or not he stood by his written report, answered “Well, mostly.”
We do not have any confidence in the justice of bourgeois courts or arbitration procedures, which are set up to defend the authorities. In this case, as in so many, the cops commit blatant lies, and pro-defense witnesses are intimidated from coming forward. But CUNY’s case is so weak, and the prosecutors and witnesses are tripping over themselves so much, that Lang feels she has a decent chance to win.
One thing for sure is that it is necessary to keep up the pressure against the Administration by building the campaign to defend Lang as a worker and an opponent of military recruitment on campus. Those interested in joining the defense campaign can write to email@example.com or to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 212-330-9017. Statements of support and contributions for Carol’s defense can be sent to the City Defense Fund, 809 W. 181st St. #182, New York, NY 10033.