California strike attempts on 4 March & subsequent struggles

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Hieronymous's picture
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Feb 23 2010 17:42
OliverTwister wrote:
Good thread so far.

Please keep us abreast of organizing and actions now and proposed for March 4th on your campus -- and beyond in the region. Have you made contact with people organizing in the Central Valley at places like CSU Stanislaus? UC Merced? Or high schools or colleges in or around Sacramento? Or anything further south, like in Fresno?

OliverTwister wrote:
Hieronymous I like the thrust of the points of unity that y'all developed and I'm going to distribute them at a planning meeting tonight in Davis.

Thanks. Let us know what others think. Also, check out how that and other pieces were put into a newsletter called Gathering Tempest available here:

http://gatheringtempest.blogspot.com/

In this issue the articles are written and edited by students at a peninsula community college, and grad student and part-time teacher from San Francisco, teachers at community colleges in San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa, and Alameda Counties (2 work in 2 counties each -- frequent flier teachers!), a counselor at CSU East Bay, and a laid-off high school teacher from Oakland.

So Sheldon, Oliver, and others please submit anything you write for the next issue.

OliverTwister wrote:
I'm curious though, why did you all not mention the sabotaging role that the unions will play if the struggle expands? Was this a tactical consideration or something else?

This section meant to deal with how to organize around it, although only indirectly:

Hieronymous wrote:
Control and maintenance of the action should remain in the hands of the strikers and occupiers themselves[...]

But volumes could be written about the current struggles against the treachery of the trade unions and their bureaucrats in both the San Francisco and Alameda County (includes Berkeley, Oakland and others) Labor Councils. The same is going on in Los Angeles. It's too thorny and couldn't be written in any concise way. Suffice it to say that everything needs come from the self-activity of the rank-and-file.

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Feb 23 2010 09:42

Just found this tonight from a blog I check pretty often

Quote:
How To Not Capitulate to Union Bureaucracies: March 4th and the AFSCME 444 Resolution

On October 24, 2009, 800 students and workers met to decide how to work together against the budget cuts. It was decided that March 4 would be a day of strikes and a day of action. This formulation of “strike and day of action” was incredibly ambiguous and has had consequences for the movement, mainly coming in the form of most unions passing watered-down resolutions that

say nothing of a strike but abstractly support March 4 as some type of day of action. Concretly this has led to unions to tell their members that March 4 will be like any other day of work except there will be an after work rally at 5pm in downtown SF. A movement of workers pushing for strikes in unified way could be the real beggining of a resistance that produces confidence and concsioussness against these attacks, but this has not materialized for several reasons.

Fundamentally there is a lack of worker militants in major workplaces who have the type of influence needed to push for strikes. The result is that the various left-organizations have been trying to work around this problem by acting as substitutes for absent worker militants. This lack of worker militants, combined with a hesitancy on the part of leftists to push for militant methods of struggle in fear of being marginalized, has not done much to change the composition of left politics in California . . . With that said there is one seriously notable exception, and that is the AFSCME 444 resolution.

The resolution clearly states that the union should push for, contribute resources to, and participate in a strike. If the militant left was stronger, we could have thousands of copies out in the hands of union members and may have already pushed for several locals to endorse the resolution.

Unfortunately, many of the left organizations that claim to be for a strike have been unwilling to propose such a resolution to their respective unions due to a fatalistic logic that such unions will automatically reject the resolution, so trying to pass it will only create political isolation. Such logic misses the point. Proposing a strike to the unions will open up the discussion of the merits and importance of strikes as methods of struggle to the ranks and expose the political nature of the leadership of such unions who will reject the resolution.

As of now, only East Bay Carpenters local 713 and Oakland chapter of Association of Raza Educators (ARE) have endorsed such resolutions (Oakland go!) with many other unions endorsing a watered-down resolution that ignores the call for a strike.

The left should give the worthy credit to the militants in Labors Militant Voice for creating and pushing the resolution amongst AFSCME and the Carpenters Union. Other groups who call for strikes but dont really push them should begin to think critically about their own contradictions. Political clarity in labor struggles is central as bureaucracies, whether they be unions or the state, will coopt ambigious and contradictory political messages. We should give credit to AFSCME 444 resolutions for shining light on our path of struggle and not falling in this trap.

http://advancethestruggle.wordpress.com/2010/02/17/how-to-not-capitulate-to-union-bureaucracies-march-4th-and-the-afscme-444-resolution/

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Feb 23 2010 19:05

Oliver, so are you directly involved in this stuff?

If you could keep us updated that would be great. Also, if we could get some other people involved in the struggles posting on here, like all the ones around those websites like occupy California, etc we could build up some really great coverage for people internationally to be able to follow, and maybe facilitate decent discussion between people... something like our coverage of theGreece unrest, or SsangYong, or the CPE movement etc.

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Feb 23 2010 19:26

Steven, yeah I'm involved. That's a good idea - one I hadn't thought about. I'll think about how I'd like to do that over the next few days.

This is something I wrote in Davis that was picked up by a group in Berkeley:

“To Fan the Flames of Discontent”:
Some Thoughts and Reflections on the Occupation of Mrak Hall at Davis

1. The most significant element of what happened was not that we got a higher “score” on the arrest count than the students at Berkeley or UCLA. What is really important is that the Mrak Hall occupation happened without any official organizers, that it was a common project initiated by all of us in accord with our own political intuition, and that by turning Mrak Hall into a forum for real communication, we overcame the separation that this society creates.

2. We were able to carry out such an unexpected and amazing common activity precisely because we are in the “cow-town” of Davis, because we do not have the established student Left of Berkeley, LA, or Santa Cruz. We do not have the “responsible” Left who would attempt to organize us in advance towards responsibly ineffective activities, and we do not have the more rhetorically radical Left who would also attempt to choose our activities—and the meanings of those activities—for us in advance.

3. The strength of our arrests and our solidarity comes from our collective refusal to accept the police ultimatum of having everybody who wanted to avoid arrest leave at 5 pm, rather than complying with the order and leaving a small group to be arrested as a statement. By ignoring the threat of the police, we refused to have our action turn into a disempowering and ultimately ineffective action, and we refused to be divided into active participants and passive spectators.

4. One of our biggest missed opportunities was to not collectively open the doors to Mrak Hall and let in the students outside before the police received massive reinforcements. Since we were all arrested anyways, we had nothing to lose by attempting to open the doors and allow in anybody who wanted to. Logistically, a dozen cops trying to keep a group of two hundred or more separated would not have been able to stop or arrest any of us. This would have had two benefits: it would have turned the occupation into a common project of an even larger group of participants acting according to their own initiative and will; and if enough people had joined us in solidarity, it would have made it logistically impossible for the police to actually arrest us—they would have either been forced to let us keep Mrak Hall, or to physically attack us and expose the open brutality that the State will resort to in order to continue fetishizing the dictates of the economy, dictates which are opposed to the needs of human beings.

5. Our strength and our solidarity came from our resolve that, whatever the police threatened us with, we did not leave the building, which we had rightfully asserted belonged to us. We lost much of that strength when we stopped linking arms, when we began voluntarily accepting the arrests. Our weakness was amplified by our lack of unity in the jail—we were disarmed by the promise of a quick release if we were “courteous.” However, only a few were released quickly, with the rest of us held overnight and given a bologna sandwich and an apple each. We alternated between being held in cold concrete cells and a lobby of sorts, complete with chairs and a TV, but with the guards working behind us and constantly threatening to return us to the cells if we tried to communicate with one another. We should have refused the “reward” of the TV room that allowed them to further break our unity and communication. We should have all claimed to be vegetarians in solidarity with those who were. In the same spirit, we should have maintained unity against their attempts to separate us by our perceived genders, and we should have been prepared to claim that we were all transgender or queer in solidarity with those among us. The perceived women were much more challenging and did not allow the guards to keep them silent, while the perceived men, including myself, were unfortunately too tired or demoralized to resist this enforced silence. Even divided in separate cells, the prisoners in the men’s cell should have been loud and unruly in solidarity with those in the women’s cell. 52 of us could have shaken the walls of the Yolo Sheriff's Detention Center if we had had the resolve to keep chanting, singing, or even just talking.

6. By taking action, we implicitly rejected the dominant ideology, according to which the capitalist economy is the natural state of humanity and the crisis is merely a natural disaster which we have no choice but to try and survive until it passes. The vampiric logic of the economy is not natural, it is social and must be struggled against and overcome socially. We are being attacked by, and struggling against, the same economic dictates as the students in Austria, Croatia, and France and the workers in Egypt, China, Vietnam, and the USA. Like them, we can only succeed if we continue to prioritize our human needs rather than helping those who dominate us solve their economic problems.We should recognize the significance of this for our future activity: we are struggling against the same economy that has angered and mobilized students in Austria, Croatia, and France, and the workers in Egypt, China,Vietnam, and the USA.

_____________________________

This text was distributed as a leaflet during a meeting of the Mrak 52 two days after the arrest, with the goal of continuing discussion and reflection. Another 150 copies were distributed during a general assembly the next day. Though most of it can be read by anyone, the section on the dehumanizing and isolating techniques of the jail was especially written with the arrestees in mind.

ETA: Apparently quote isn't working.

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Feb 23 2010 19:26

hi Oliver, cheers for that.

Setting up an archive for all the content would be easy enough. Basically we just need a name for the tag - occupied California or something like that perhaps? Then we can tag all the content we have already, which is a fair bit, and any future submissions can be tagged with that as well. For example, the text of your leaflet and the one by Hieronymus could be added as separate library entries. And ideally any of the other groups involved can post a copy of each of their texts to here as they write them.

This would ensure that everything stays online permanently even after you have all graduated etc

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Feb 24 2010 08:08

hi californians and steven,

there has been a lot of organizing done here in nyc and around the state. despite the fact that the crisis hasn't hit here yet like it has cali, there is a good chance things are going to pop off here real soon.

given libcom anonymity, i'm not sure if i've met oliver, hieronymous or dead end, or if they are friends of some of my comrades over here on the east coast. i know at least a couple of my people know steven. regardless, we'll try and keep everyone informed of shit going on in the ny area.

also, you can check out:

http://reoccupied.wordpress.com or http://takethecity.wordpress.com

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Feb 25 2010 00:44

I would love to write something for the next edition Hieronymous, I'll be sure to send you something soon.

This occurred today: http://occupyca.wordpress.com/2010/02/24/uci-sit-in/

A more conservative account, http://www.ocregister.com/news/uci-236052-workers-arrested.html

EDIT: I think much of the student activism on UC campuses is almost framed as a power play between the unions and the admin--with students serving the role of warm bodies in this conflict. Not all elements of the student movement fall into this trap, but this obsession with "coalition building" seems to me to lead to pairing with some rather odd bedfellows.

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Feb 25 2010 01:57

Agreed. I think the Mute article was a decent intro, especially for kids who are just now venturing into the wild world of Camatte, Dauve, TC and Tiqqun.

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Feb 25 2010 10:52

They are starting early....

UCI Sit-in turns into Lockdown
http://occupyca.wordpress.com/2010/02/24/uci-sit-in/

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Feb 26 2010 10:06

More:

http://www.dailycal.org/article/108452/protesters_occupy_durant_hall_march_on_telegraph_a

http://occupyca.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/ucb-occupied/

Building up.

scottydont
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Feb 26 2010 12:40

Updates:

Brief occupation (several hours) at UC Berkeley tonight, mostly as a form of agitation for the strike on March Fourth. A building under construction (one of the controversial, "capital projects") at Berkeley was taken, barricaded, and used as a party venue. A few hundred students were actively involved at the high point, it was pretty much allowed to happen by the administration/UCPD. The largest portion of the crowd seemed to be politicized UC students mixed with random passerbys and a good chunk of anarchist milieu types.

It escalated into a small riot after the decision was made to abandon the occupied building and the crowd moved out onto the main shopping street of Berkeley. Tail end of the riot is probably still happening right now...Personally I have some mixed feelings about the affair, but I'll update more after work tomorrow

On another note, purely as an anecdote which may or may not be informative:

My housemate who is agitating at Laney College (community college in Oakland that is heavily working class) says that responses in his classes are overwhelming positive towards the strike on the 4th, and in particular are supportive of a strike rather than the after-work rally/day of action the union bureaucracy is pushing. His assessment is that the students there are, somewhat unsurprisingly, miles ahead of both union bureaucrats and the leftist organizations. I will try to get him to post here soon.

All power to the general strike!

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Feb 26 2010 17:42

cheers for the update!

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Feb 26 2010 23:56

http://occupyca.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/ucsd-sit-inoccupation/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/26/berkeley-riot-fire-destru_n_477877.html

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/feb/26/noose-protest-ucsd/

Things seem to be escalating.

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Feb 27 2010 02:24

Interesting - UCI and UCSD were both fairly quiet last time around, and it's still almost a week until March 4.

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Feb 27 2010 06:36

I think next week is going to be pretty intense, if the past few days have been any indication. Four occupations/sit-ins and a street riot in 3 days--UC Admin seems to be losing control. The head of the UCI Poli Sci department recently said, in the context of the 11 students arrested for protesting the Israeli ambassador, "UCI is not a state of anarchy." I hope someone puts that on a banner!

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Feb 27 2010 10:10

I used to have nothing but contempt for college professors until the e-mail below was forwarded to me, showing that some academic workers have backbone -- and hopefully will even develop class consciousness:

Quote:
---------------------------- Original Message -----------------------
Subject: Classes/TA sections canceled today
From: "xxxx xxxxx" <xxxxx@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, February 26, 2010 6:55 am
To: "ucsd-faculty-coalition@googlegroups.com"

Dear colleagues:

I have just canceled my lecture for today and invited my TA to cancel her TA section. I also cc'd the Dean of the Social Sciences to apprise him of my decision.

I have also circulated to that class (a large intro to Sociology class) my letter to you in which I called for a strike and disruptive demonstrations on campus. I have nothing to conceal from them and from the administration. THIS IS WHAT TENURE IS FOR: it provides us with the protections we need to act morally and appropriately when the time calls for it. We have always been professional. Now let's add boldness to it.

I call on all tenured faculty to do the same: cancel your lectures, join us on Library Walk and let us march across campus. Let them arrest us: the whole world is watching.

So bring home-made placards. I am searching for markers right now to make my own,

Xxxx
[bold added -- Hieronymous]

This is related to the repeated racist provocations of at least 3 nooses hung randomly around the UC San Diego campus to threaten Black students.

This is getting more and more interesting. A faculty-student strike already starting. The Trotskyites must be having heart attacks at this adventurism, thinking "how dare they strike, and do it before March 4th."

Down with Racism -- All Power to the UCSD Strike!

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Feb 27 2010 09:23

That's quite a powerful email and I hope more principled professors will start standing up for justice. It seems to me that the veneer of control is starting to crumble in light of the intensified crisis.

scottydont
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Mar 1 2010 02:12

The most recent output from Occupy CA, and imo a really excellently done piece. I don't have the time to upload to the library right now, but I encourage someone to.

http://occupyca.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/march-4-the-regents-or-how-and-why-a-movement-gets-co-opted/

scottydont
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Mar 2 2010 01:45

Breaking today: One blockade(?) and one sit-in in response to the noose incident. Details still kind of unclear.
http://occupyca.wordpress.com/2010/03/01/uc-berkeley-sather-gate-march-1/
http://occupyca.wordpress.com/2010/03/01/sit-in-outside-ucop-in-sacramento/

The mood on campuses seems quite militant right now. The perspective of those I have talked to at UC is that such an incident would normally lead to polite community forums etc... not occupations and certainly not statewide solidarity actions. Although I can't speak to the UCs in particular, that is confirmed by my past experiences in other large public unis in the US.

(Just as a question: Do people want news updates with links on this thread, or is it starting to be spam? I know it is in organize, not news, so...)

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Mar 2 2010 09:54

This noose thing is really bizarre to me. Maybe I'm just missing the context, but this shit happening so close to the 4th seems suspicious.

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Mar 2 2010 11:34

news updates with links is great, don't worry

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Mar 2 2010 21:34

Check this out:

http://markyudof.com/

scottydont
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Mar 3 2010 03:56

The "pregame communique" from Occupy California:

http://occupyca.wordpress.com/2010/03/02/berkeley-pre-game-communique-thats-not-the-sky-thats-the-ceiling/

Riot porn+epic narration is usually not a formula that impresses me, and I had pretty mixed feelings about the "riot" at the end of Thursday night, but I gotta say the kids really have pretty solid politics to back it all up

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Mar 3 2010 19:12

CSU Fullerton Occupied

Quote:
FULLERTON, California – As of 3AM, CSU Fullerton’s 8-story Humanities building has been barricaded from the inside by some fairly heavy materials. Their communique below.

updates:

6:22am: Cops have raided the occupation. Four have been detained while the rest of the occupiers remain held up and negotiating with the police.

6:51am: Police have released the four detained, the rest of the 15-18 people inside are now being talked to, but will also probably be released on the spot. A full update will be posted later.

7:35am: Correction to previous update: The barricades were secure, but service ladders inside the building extend to tunnels below the building and had not been secured. The police entered through there, detaining four of the occupiers almost immediately. The rest of the occupiers scattered elsewhere in the building. All were eventually cited and released. The barricades that had been placed were indeed dumpsters chained to the doors from the inside, some stacked on each other.
Why Occupy? And Why the Humanities Building?

First and foremost, it is important for us to express our unease with the term “occupation.” The term’s historical indebtedness to militarization/colonial exploitation is difficult to disassociate. We use the term merely as a means of putting ourselves in direct solidarity with the “occupations” that have been occurring the world over from universities to factories to foreclosed homes; from Asia to Europe to Africa to central and south America and, now, here in the United States. They are happening and they are growing. The term that is perhaps more appropriate, and which still expresses the spirit of these movements, is “reclamation.”

Now to the question: why reclaim? Well, none other than CSUF’s own strategic planner Michael Parker, as well the university’s administration, has put out the call. In a document that was released as “pre-event reading” for the President’s Planning Retreat held on January 20th, 2010 Parker wrote the following:

If degrees obviously lead to jobs in fields like healthcare, public administration and pre-legal training, science and engineering, research support, communications, business, pre-medical and dental training that can be seen as crucial to society, then we make our case. More esoteric offerings such as literature, philosophy, fine arts, and so forth will only be justified in the minds of the public as they are clearly related to practical concerns. The fact that these are traditional parts of comprehensive universities is no longer a strong enough argument to the public. (p. 5)

Parker’s argument is that, given the current social mandate (i.e. the demand for high level job preparation in areas like public administration, business and communications), the Schools of Humanities and Arts, along with their subsequent disciplines, are “socially irrelevant.”

However, the term “social mandate” is duplicitous as it, in reality, refers to no social body whatsoever. Instead, it refers to various components of the global economy. As Parker writes: “…international corporations, the European economic Union, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and other international trade groups have become an organizing principle for society and are once again reshaping the nature of universities.” (p. 10) Thus, it seems clear to us that the Schools of Humanities and Arts are not “socially” irrelevant but, instead, “economically” irrelevant and, even, politically dangerous to the established economic order that has become an “organizing principle for society.”

Throughout the Presidents Planning Retreat document, as well as another document by Parker entitled “Strategic Planning Activities 10-08 to 09-09”, students, faculty and staff are consistently referred to as “human capital”, “producers”, “consumers” as well as short- and long-term “payoffs” meant for “repurposing” and “downsizing”. It is in the Schools of Humanities and Arts that we learn both the facts and expressions of various forms of social resistance to the commodification of everything – even the commodification of our lives. And it is precisely these programs (Afro-Ethnic Studies, Chicana and Chicano Studies, Asian American Studies, Women’s Studies, Modern Languages, Classical Guitar, and so many more) that show us a world beyond mere commodities and engage critically with the established order of the global economy, that Parker designates as “merely desirable” and “non-essential.” WE are not surprised because WE are dangerous.

And this is precisely why we are reclaiming the Humanities building: because we do not trust an administration that seeks to marginalize alternative narratives to the University of Phoenix business model (p. 10); because we cannot acquiesce to a university administration that called the 2007 CSUF on-campus noose-hangings merely an “offensive act” and not a hate crime; because we refuse to allow the absence of any disruption to a university system that seeks to expel Muslim students at UC Irvine for protesting a pro-Zionist speaker while a woman who hangs a noose at UC San Diego faces mere suspension; because it is absolutely impossible to offer our complicity towards the systematic downsizing of staff and adjunct faculty; and, finally, because we offer our solidarity to the Tongva Indians who, for 18 years, have been fighting developers to preserve the Puvunga, a burial ground on the western edge of campus of CSU Long Beach.

As our project may be to open the school of Humanities to the communities beyond the university context, those outside might ask: why the barricades? The school of Humanities cannot be a truly autonomous space until we have built the community to defend it, to ensure a space devoid of police, university and state violence and repression. As Michael Parker and the university administration have put the call out to reclaim spaces, we put the call out to those communities that wish to oppose systematic and conventional racism, classism and sexism

Banner drop/hanging at UC Riverside

Also...March 4th isn't just California, it's a nationwide thing, although the most active stuff is out in Cali. Ironically the university town I live in has absoultely nothing going on, but the industrial shithole city i used to live in 25 miles away has a protest (organized by some small Trot group).

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Mar 3 2010 20:20
Hieronymous wrote:
Check this out:

http://markyudof.com/

When I first read this I thought, "Crap, we'd better not fall for this trick! Just because some random bureaucrat resigns doesn't mean anything substantially chang... oh..." Then I laughed, pretty convincing layout.

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Mar 4 2010 05:19
Steven. wrote:
hi Oliver, cheers for that.

Setting up an archive for all the content would be easy enough. Basically we just need a name for the tag - occupied California or something like that perhaps? Then we can tag all the content we have already, which is a fair bit, and any future submissions can be tagged with that as well. For example, the text of your leaflet and the one by Hieronymus could be added as separate library entries. And ideally any of the other groups involved can post a copy of each of their texts to here as they write them.

This would ensure that everything stays online permanently even after you have all graduated etc

Ok I've started on this - some new entries created with an 'Occupied California' tag, and I edited one entry to add this (though it's awaiting moderation). I'll try to keep up on this as things progress tomorrow and afterwards.

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Mar 4 2010 06:52
Quote:
First and foremost, it is important for us to express our unease with the term “occupation.” The term’s historical indebtedness to militarization/colonial exploitation is difficult to disassociate.

Also, mustn't forget the association of the word "strike" with domestic violence against wombyn

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Mar 4 2010 09:37

The thing about making the tag "Occupy California"...well, it's not just in Cali. Evergreen State in Oregon was occupied a couple weeks ago and today, I'm assuming there will be actions all over.

RC
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Mar 4 2010 15:38

A dissenting view on the March 4 Strike and Day of Action to Defend Public Education:

What’s there to defend in public education?

The state is certainly imposing financial hardships and worsening conditions on students, teachers and staff. But that fact alone doesn't make public education worth defending. Instead, it’s worth taking the current cuts in education as evidence about the kind of society that public education serves.

So far, California – and the rest of the US, just like other countries – seems content with the amount of knowledge its schools dispense. After all, the school system reliably prepares a small intellectual elite and a majority barely able to read and write for their respective social roles: the latter as cheap labor for economic interests that are certainly not their own, and the former to ensure that other people’s labor is made use of in an uninterrupted and ever more effective way. Today’s rebellious academics do not question this hierarchy of jobs and wages. In their view, that is not a class society, but a rational division of labor. For today’s enlightened student body, the only issue worth addressing is the fate of the elite, to which they are sure they belong. Unfortunately, the state is demanding that they pay a higher price. So the upcoming generation of better-off citizens screams foul play: “How unfair that we are in danger of ending up like the rest!”

Their leaflets and slogans show their true concern: “public education” – that is, their own education. They claim that every dollar spent on that is a dollar well spent. That’s why they ask: “If there’s money for wars, bank bailouts, and prisons, why is there no money for public education?” (National Call for March 4 Strike and Day of Action To Defend Public Education). If “education” has to suffer as a result of these state necessities, then they are certain that the government must have mismanaged things. After all, if there is money for other state necessities, then shouldn't there be money for those will run the wars, banks and prisons in the future?! From what point of view do they suggest that money would be better spent on education instead of killing, speculating or imprisoning others? From the state’s point of view, which does all these things? Is that supposed to be a critique of what the state spends its money on? Isn’t it cruel and cynical to oppose wars not because human beings are killed for national interests, but because it is a waste of money?

The students would certainly say no, but still, they should recognize the fact that the state hasn’t “neglected” education. On the contrary, it has made explicit cuts in education, in order to get the same outcome cheaper. And it does so to spend money on speculators and wars. It finds the demands of speculators more important and supports their enrichment because that is a systemic necessity of “our” economy, regardless of the hardships that entails for most people. And pretty much the same logic applies to wars: the state finds its armed forces more important than financing education or the victims of this system. Why? Because the money spent on education, just like any money spent on people’s livelihoods, is a cost burden about which the state is always very critical. And at the moment, politicians consider money spent on banks and wars as vital investments in the future and cuts in public education as an important budgetary measure to secure the value of money. If that is the case, then instead of suggesting an alternative allocation of state funds, one should take the state's priorities as a revelation about what wealth and education are there for in this society. Not for the benefit of the people, in any case.

A last question: shouldn’t it strike the protest movement as odd that it receives so much applause and understanding for its demands from politicians? Even if they express regret over the latest consequences of the market economy – poverty in education, health care, the housing situation, the loss of income, etc. – you shouldn’t overlook the fact that all the problems they work to solve for us citizens wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the economic interests that dominate their society.

For anyone seeking criticism of education in the democratic state, we recommend texts that can be found at:

Ruthless Criticism

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Hieronymous's picture
Hieronymous
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Mar 7 2010 07:34
RC wrote:
So far, California – and the rest of the US, just like other countries – seems content with the amount of knowledge its schools dispense.

Written from Germany, we could understand why you would see it in such a limited way and have written this, but this is a class issue. The focus of those in the Bay Area has always been all public sector workers, but also trying to extend the struggle to the private sector because it affects everyone in the class.

2 days ago the mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, sent a letter to every city employee (except those in the Department of Public Heath) telling them that tomorrow (March 5, 2010) they will receive pink slips informing them they are laid off. They will then be able to reapply for their jobs, but as part-time workers with a maximum of 37.5 hours of work. From the beginning, our fliers and leaflets have always encouraged them to join our strike.

Last week, Muni, the city's transit agency, after demonizing the drivers and operators of the agency's vehicles in the media for months, alleging that they were "greedy" for having such lucrative benefits and pensions, ordered service cuts to take affect on May 1, 2010 that will reduce service on all lines by 10%. Which will mean many layoffs and a speed-up for those who continue to be employed. San Francisco is the 2nd (after New York) most public transit-dependent city in the U.S. The transit union has twice voted down a concessionary contract and this past Monday (March 1st) they had a militant demo to defend their working conditions and pledging to fight back, at times even putting their struggle in class terms. Many of us participated. And many transit workers will join us today.

So this is class war, affecting the entire working class of California -- but with international ramifications. The struggle is being seen by many participants as not unlike the recent strikes in Greece against EU-imposed austerity to bring the public deficit below the EU standard of 3% from it's current level over 12%.

That's why in San Francisco we've called for a general strike of all public sector workers, hoping that private sectors workers will see it in their class interest to come out and support it in solidarity.