Students Occupy University of California, LA and SC.

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renegado's picture
renegado
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Nov 19 2009 19:54
Students Occupy University of California, LA and SC.

(Repost from: http://occupyca.wordpress.com/2009/11/19/ucla-is-occupied/)
UCLA is OCCUPIED
By k7cycas

Along with UC Santa Cruz, UCLA is occupied (as of 8am Thursday)

Here is their communique:
COMMUNIQUE FROM THE UCLA OCCUPATION
On 19 November at approximately 12:30 students occupied Campbell Hall at UCLA. The time has come for us to make a statement and issue our demands. In response to this injunction we say: we will ask nothing. We will demand nothing. We will take, we will occupy. We have to learn not to tip toe through a space which ought by right to belong to everyone.

We are under no illusions. The UC Regents will vote the budget cuts and raise student fees. The profoundly undemocratic nature of their decision making process, and their indifference to the plight of those who struggle to afford an education or keep their jobs, can come as no surprise.

We know the crisis is systemic – and that it reaches beyond the Regents, beyond the criminal budget cuts in Sacremento, beyond the economic crisis, to the very foundations of our society. But we also know that the enormity of the problem is just as often an excuse for doing nothing.

We choose to fight back, to resist, where we find ourselves, the place where we live and work, our university.

We therefore ask that those who share in our struggle lend us not only their sympathy but their active support. For those students who work two or three jobs while going to school, to those parents for whom the violation of the UC charter means the prospect of affordable education remains out of reach, to laid off teachers, lecturers, to students turned away, to workers who’ve seen the value of their diplomas evaporate in an economy that ‘grows’ without producing jobs – to all these people and more besides, we say that our struggle is your struggle, that an alternative is possible if you have the courage to seize it.

We are determined that the struggle should spread. That is the condition in which the realization of our demands becomes possible.

To our peaceful demonstration, to our occupation of our own university, we know the Univeristy will respond with the full force of the police at its command. We hear the helicoptors circle above us. We intend to learn and to teach through our occupation, humbly but with determination. We are not afraid. We are not going anywhere.

For more info:
http://occupyca.wordpress.com/
http://likelostchildren.blogspot.com/
http://anticapitalprojects.wordpress.com/

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Schwarz
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Nov 19 2009 20:07

Cal Berkeley continues to have trouble occupying. Not because of cops or lack of will but apparently because of 'student leaders':

Quote:
-berkeley yesterday was pretty ridiculous. the occupation attempt
happened in the evening but was a total bust. the rally and march was
very big, went through town, by a high school where students were
trying to escape but administrators had already locked the building
down, into the city college main building and up through all the
floors and rooms, at one point all four floors were full of people
chanting 'occupy everything' and when we left the whole building was
covered in graffiti saying 'strike' and 'occupy.' later there were
very exciting confrontational moments where the crowd tried to enter
the administrators' building, but the student organizers quickly
intervened to actually give a second layer to the other cops' already
existing line and shame everyone who found themselves having far more
fun attacking a door than they ever did walking in a protest circle.
it was pretty wild, and there were a lot of fights with these
organizer people. this is how doug ended up getting arrested, by
these fucking asses. after the confrontation happened, the organizers
tried to calm everyone down by making them sit on the grass and offer
proposals for what to do next (next meaning tomorrow, seemingly).
doug went up at some point and gave this incredible, early 20th
century anarchist-style rousing, sweating speech in the center of this
disgusting scene, something to the effect of 'i'm too poor to go to
berkeley, i'm working class, we need to do what poor people have
always done to the assholes who fuck us every single day, that is we
need to make rich people afraid!' and then a few people ran over with
him to the building and tried to enter it. anyway anyway, once the
stupid rally had ended and we were all walking away, we saw this
disgusting student organizer guy with whom i had already fought many
times as well (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/11/19/18629226.php),
talking to the cops and pointing at doug. so they start following us
and pointing at us, saying that's the guy, so we split up and then
next thing we knew they had grabbed him. so now doug is in jail and
they've charged him with felony inciting a riot and felony (i think??)
possession of a weapon (some little knife). he'll be arraigned at 2
today, so we'll be there to get him. it sounds like he's actually
pretty worried.
Samotnaf
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Nov 20 2009 18:58

For what it's worth (effectively not much better than nothing ) I offer my solidarity with Doug and those wishing to push this further. I hope this develops into something more. What's the response been to this by students in other parts of the States? Has there been any dialogue with the high school students? Are there any attempts to connect to people other than students?

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OliverTwister
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Nov 20 2009 21:32

UC Davis administration building was occupied yesterday and broken up with 52 arrests. It may be occupied again. Luckily there are no well-established groups to keep things 'responsible' here.

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Schwarz
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Nov 20 2009 22:08
Quote:
What's the response been to this by students in other parts of the States?

This is the latest of a series of occupations in the US. We had a solidarity rally in NYC last night. UC students and workers are getting tons of solidarity messages from all over the country. There have been talks of solidarity occupations to happen elsewhere, especially Chicago.

Quote:
Has there been any dialogue with the high school students?

I forget which university it was (UCLA maybe) but they brought a rally to a local high school and the students tried to get out of the building to join the rally, but the administration locked the doors and windows before they could.

Quote:
Are there any attempts to connect to people other than students?

This entire mobilization is predicated on an alliance between university students (facing a 32% fee increase), professors (already received 8% pay cuts and furloughs) and maintenance/janitorial workers (and their unions) who face 1900 layoffs. Together they called a 3-day strike and walkout.

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Schwarz
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Nov 20 2009 22:23

Strike poster.

Samotnaf
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Nov 20 2009 22:24

Thanks for the info

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Tarwater
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Nov 22 2009 22:51

"Demonstration at UC Santa Cruz ends peacefully"

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091122/ap_on_re_us/us_california_university_fees

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jaocheu
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Nov 25 2009 15:48

Student occupation, we had one when I was at Uni, totally ridiculus, I opposed it.

A strike is when people withdraw their labour causing financial damage to the company they work for, a student occupation is when students who have already paid their fees give the staff of the Uni a few weeks paid holiday.

At my Uni I said this at the pre-occupation meeting and said a genuine act of defiance would be to hold a fee payment boycott instead, then it would be like a real strike, we would have leverage, the lefties in the union nearly choked just before they bottled it.

Samotnaf
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Nov 25 2009 16:40
Quote:
a student occupation is when students who have already paid their fees give the staff of the Uni a few weeks paid holiday.

Not always - students can, and often have, opened up the occupied buildings to outsiders and used them as centres of open discussion or bases to carry out other actions in the surrounding areas. Don't know how often this is the case in the States - but it's certainly been the case in France and Greece, and elsewhere.

Yorkie Bar
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Nov 25 2009 17:37
jaocheu wrote:
a student occupation is when students who have already paid their fees give the staff of the Uni a few weeks paid holiday.

Sounds pretty good from where I'm standing. Nowt wrong with paid holiday.

~J.

Jason Cortez
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Nov 25 2009 17:50

Student occupations clearly disrupt the smooth functioning of the university and challenges who's in control. I agree that a payment boycott might be more effective (don't know enough of how it works over there to be sure) but I think this is a big leap to make, out of nowhere so to speak. I think it would be far likely to occur during/after an occupation, as people would have had the experience of solidarity and would now have the confidence that they would not be making a futile gesture. Still I guess you could be all ultra-left about it and go round denoucing others for not being as revolutionary as you groucho

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OliverTwister
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Nov 25 2009 17:51

These are pretty much some of the first occupations in the states - certainly the first occupation movement at several universities at once, and about something bigger than just the university (i.e. the state using the crisis to force through cuts on everything). Also, so far, all of the occupations have been surrounded by police* and none have even lasted a day, making it really difficult to turn them into a forum for people from outside the university. The occupations have seen some really great discussion from those inside, though.

There was a mass meeting in Davis on Monday and several people had shown up from other universities, particularly from the CSU system, to discuss linking up our struggles. Also in Berkeley last week they did march through the community college and tried to march through the high school, but the students had been locked in their rooms to prevent them from leaving...

*A building was occupied in Davis last night with ~200 people, but I think that with the holidays starting today a lot of us felt that there was nobody else coming, so we negotiated as an assembly with the administration for amnesty for last week's arrestees. Perhaps problematic, but given the context I don't think we could have turned it into a continuous occupation, and the negotiating was done as an assembly, which might be the most important thing. The amazing thing is that this is on a campus without a left, so everything so far has been completely spontaneous and unexpected.

ETA: I mean these are the first occupations for our generation, of course.

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Nov 26 2009 05:16

Commodification of Education & Its Discontents: California Style

Police attacking Wheeler Hall occupation supporters, UC Berkeley (20 Nov '09)

Here are some links and some brief analysis of my own:

[Also, some of the UC Santa Cruz building occupations lasted nearly a week]

This past Friday, 20 November 2009, 40 students and supporters at the University of California at Berkeley occupied a building on campus to oppose the 32% increase in tuition (pushing them over $10,000 year for a public "land grant" university whose charter says that it is to provide a "free education" to California residents) that the UC Regents had just approved for all 10 campuses in the system. Nearly 2,000 supporters surrounded the building, at times scuffling with the riot police over control of access to the building, under conditions of occasional drenching downpours. After 11 hours, a compromise was reached and the riot cops allowed the occupiers to leave the building after only being cited with misdemeanor trespassing charges (see links below for detailed accounts).

Public higher education in California is a 3-tier system, with the next level under the elite UC research universities being the 23 campuses of the California State University System (formerly teachers' colleges) and beneath them the 110 campuses of the California Community College System, which are basically 2-year colleges. All 3 systems are facing drastic cuts in classes, furloughs and mass layoffs for faculty and support staff, and drastic increases in tuition. The following are accounts and analysis of how these are direct attacks on working class living conditions in California.

* This account by Bob Meister, professor at UC Santa Cruz and President of UC Faculty Associations details how the UC System is using revenue streams from student tuition as collateral to maintain its bond ratings to finance capital building projects, almost none of which is earmarked for classroom instruction. One only has to visit a UC campus to notice the large number of construction sites at each one, giving the appearance of a "building boom" -- in stark contrast to the rhetoric of "crisis" used to justify raising student fees. One part of the ideological propaganda campaign by UC System President Mark Yudoff is demonizing taxpayers, rooted in Reganite ideas of privatization from the 1960s which California voters confirmed with roll-backs on property taxes with Proposition 13 in 1978 -- pushed with racist myths of suburbanites subsidizing welfare cheats in the ghetto. Here's Meister's excellent analysis of the UC budget:

o http://www.cucfa.org/news/2009_oct11.php

* Here's an account of UC President Mark Yudoff making an ass of himself in a New York Times Magazine interview on September 25, 2009 -- the day after 5,000 students and workers led a walkout at UC Berkeley and students occupied buildings at UC Santa Cruz. He excuses away the fact that his salary had been $828,000 a year -- double that of President Obama. Here's the link:

o http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/27/magazine/27fob-q4-t.html?_r=1

* An interesting account of last week's events, with lots of excellent video footage, on Amy Goodman's Democracy Now! show today, although in my opinion is obsesses too much on the police brutality. In the mass of occupation supporters on Friday, some young liberal-minded students railed on and on about the brutality of the police, chanting things like: "We're being non-violent, how about you?" I got lots of laughs from the young radicals in the crowd when I sarcastically countered that by yelling "Come on, enough with the moral platitudes, they're only doing their jobs."

o http://www.democracynow.org/2009/11/24/as_uc_berkeley_investigates_police_brutality

* Here's a pretty good account of the situation in California on CounterPunch by a young Berkeley graduate student militant (chock full of links to lots more interesting accounts and analysis):

o http://www.counterpunch.org/maher11242009.html

* And another analysis of the potential of a movement coming from all this agitation by some 20something marxian comrades, mostly working class Latina/os, from San Francisco State University:

o http://advancethestruggle.wordpress.com/2009/11/24/occupations-spread-across-california/

And my personal sectarian scorecard:

The groups acting as brakes on the possibilities of this truly becoming a movement of the working class in California are a Popular Front of the following Trot groups (in collusion with unapologetic reformist liberals, many of whom are in student government), mostly centered on Bay Area campuses:

1. International Socialist Organization (largely discredited, but arrogantly persistent; former sister organization of the British SWP)
2. Socialist Organizer (Trots who broke away from Socialist Action and are extreme opportunists)
3. Speak Out (Lambertists and next to ISO, the lamest; the Bay Area group is based on secretive cells)
4. La Voz de los Trabajadores (opportunist Brazil-based Trot group)

These groups literally come out of the Old Left, as though the 1960s and the New Left (for better or worse) never happened. They are adamantly against occupations and strike actions, urging caution until a "mass mobilization can be built for" on the assigned date: March 4, 2010. And what do they call for on March 4th? The ISO wants a 10-person steering committee to decide. Socialist Organizer, who's older guru sits on the San Francisco Labor Council, wants a cautious, legally-sanctioned 1-day strike. Speak Out is merely proposing a march on Sacramento (the state capital). La Voz, after vociferously opposing Friday's occupation in a general assembly on Thursday night, planted themselves on the speakers' podium on Friday night and declared the occupation's victory. La Voz seems to be surfing popular opinion to inform whatever opportunist turn they might take.

Groups that have played the most positive role -- because they have open positions, operate transparently, and advocate militancy and direct action in the here-and-now -- are the ultra-lefts and anarchists who spearheaded Friday's occupation and the continuous building occupations at UC Santa Cruz. Here are some links to some of them:

o http://occupyca.wordpress.com/

o http://likelostchildren.blogspot.com/

o http://researchanddestroy.wordpress.com/

The San Francisco State students, who are mostly working class youth of color, are also carrying on the historical tradition of the SF State "Shut It Down" 5-month strike of October '68 -- April '69, which was bolstered by picket lines of faculty in solidarity 6-weeks into the student strike. The SF State kids are calling for an indefinite general strike on March 4 and are also trying to agitate for all public sector workers to go out on too. They are also trying to coordinate with community college students at City College San Francisco and at the Bay Area suburban Diablo Valley College.

Here's the link to the young radicals in the SF State group Student Unity and Power (SUP):

o http://studentunitypower.wordpress.com/

All this could really get interesting, so stayed tuned...

All Power to the Occupations!,

Hieronymous

Jason Cortez
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Nov 25 2009 19:25

Thanks to everyone who has posted, but especially Hieronymous and Renegado. Very informative.

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jaocheu
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Nov 25 2009 19:33
Jason Cortez wrote:
Student occupations clearly disrupt the smooth functioning of the university and challenges who's in control. I agree that a payment boycott might be more effective (don't know enough of how it works over there to be sure) but I think this is a big leap to make, out of nowhere so to speak. I think it would be far likely to occur during/after an occupation, as people would have had the experience of solidarity and would now have the confidence that they would not be making a futile gesture. Still I guess you could be all ultra-left about it and go round denoucing others for not being as revolutionary as you groucho

I would dispute that. If you've ever been in one of them, I've been in two, it's quite clear who's still in control. At one of our occupations the students decided to open the libarary to start loaning again, the student union running the occupation said hang on we have to ask the permission from the governers, who denied it and said if you do we will call the police and have you arrested for stealing. So much for taking control.

As for giving people experience of solidarity isn't that loony lefty euphamism for a totally futile protest.

Yorkie Bar
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Nov 25 2009 19:46
Quote:
I would dispute that. If you've ever been in one of them, I've been in two, it's quite clear who's still in control. At one of our occupations the students decided to open the libarary to start loaning again, the student union running the occupation said hang on we have to ask the permission from the governers, who denied it and said if you do we will call the police and have you arrested for stealing. So much for taking control.

Jesus fuck that's hilarious.

~J.