Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Statement of UC Santa Cruz Occupation

I found this on the Econospeak blog:

"Let’s be frank: the promise of a financially secure life at the end of a university education is fast becoming an illusion. The jobs we are working toward will be no better than the jobs we already have to pay our way through school. Close to three-quarters of students work, many full-time. Even with these jobs, student loan volume rose 800 percent from 1977 to 2003. There is a direct connection between these deteriorating conditions and those impacting workers and families throughout California. Two million people are now unemployed across the state. 1.5 million more are underemployed out of a workforce of twenty million. As formerly secure, middle-class workers lose their homes to foreclosure, Depression-era shantytowns are cropping up across the state. The crisis is severe and widespread, yet the proposed solutions – the governor and state assembly organizing a bake sale to close the budget gap – are completely absurd.

"We must face the fact that the time for pointless negotiations is over. Appeals to the UC administration and Sacramento are futile; instead, we appeal to each other, to the people with whom we are struggling, and not to those whom we struggle against. A single day of action at the university is not enough because we cannot afford to return to business as usual. We seek to form a unified movement with the people of California. Time and again, factional demands are turned against us by our leaders and used to divide social workers against teachers, nurses against students, librarians against park rangers, in a competition for resources they tell us are increasingly scarce. This crisis is general, and the revolt must be generalized. Escalation is absolutely necessary. We have no other option.

"Occupation is a tactic for escalating struggles, a tactic recently used at the Chicago Windows and Doors factory and at the New School in New York City. It can happen throughout California too. As undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and staff, we call on everyone at the UC to support this occupation by continuing the walkouts and strikes into tomorrow, the next day, and for the indefinite future. We call on the people of California to occupy and escalate."

I have been thinking about the Teabag demonstrations and Glenn Beck. The Teabaggers remind me of the Klan demonstrations in the 1920s, and Beck reminds me of Father Coughlin in the 1930s. In both cases, the people demonstrating or listening were facing hard times. The 1920s were not good for farmers and workers. They were scared and angry. But they picked -- or were guided to -- the wrong targets, not the dominant financial and political institutions, which had failed them, but other ordinary people.

I suppose I could say the progressives on the Internet and TV comedians such as Stephen Colbert are a counter-balance to Glenn Beck.

But where, I have been wondering, are the counter-balancing demonstrations: the modern equivalent of the sitdown strikes in Michigan in the 1930s?

Maybe in Santa Cruz.


Blogger Karen B. said...

Thank you for this. I haven't been paying much attention for a couple of weeks and had missed the story completely.

It's kinda heartwarming to me: people fighting back against cutbacks and realizing that the problem is bigger than they are. There's hope for us yet.

11:11 AM  

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