Two communiques about a Fall 2009 occupation at UCLA.
On 19 November at approximately 12:30 AM 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 ask nothing. We 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 University will respond with the full force of the police at its command. We hear the helicopters 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.
Post-Occupation: The Final Hour
A certain small group of students is doing what it can to slander the occupation that occurred at Campbell Hall. CYNTHIA, a junior politician careerist bent on control, has helped to spread rumors that the occupation was carried out by mostly “older white males.” This rumor is absolutely without truth – the occupation was in fact planned and carried out by more minority students than whites — but is that important anyway?
The building was liberated and barricaded to keep the police and administration out while opening the space for student and youth autonomy. The building remained porous and was in fact, for the first time ever, under complete autonomous student discretion. Prior to the final meeting which destroyed the occupation, a rush of students had come in to the building creating an incredible energy of activity, excitement and anticipation. Friends were made, the building re-decorated, and the bathrooms were declared gender-neutral: while there was a general feeling of defeat on the outside from the day’s protest, inside Carter-Huggins Hall there was a revolution.
A meeting was called to discuss the occupation and was held in the building’s stairwell. It was derailed by student leader saboteurs who were threatened by the autonomy granted to students by the liberated space. It was and remains a concern that the building chosen for occupation provides services to minority students (whom the saboteurs condescendingly view as societal handicaps). Well, this concern is actually quite ridiculous – the space was opened to all students and youth regardless of their status as UCLA customers, and for 24-hours too, without the old hourly limitations of the building under university control. It is important to check race, class and privilege, we don’t deny this, but this is not what went on – the meeting devolved into mere race-baiting in an attempt by the saboteurs to take power of the occupied building. And they succeeded.
The student government leader, CYNTHIA, left the meeting 1/2 way through after using all of her time inside to change the positive horizontality of the building in to a hostile-bureaucracy. On her way out of the building CYNTHIA desecrated the legacy of Bunchy Carter and John Huggins by tearing down for the second time the banner declaring the hall Carter-Huggins Hall. After she tore down the banner, it was brought to our attention that she and her cronies had earlier sabotaged an attempt at direct action by a separate autonomous student group. The group had planned for months to storm the regents meeting at Covel Commons. CYNTHIA and her gang of movement-police linked arms in DEFENSE of the regents meeting, taking a load off the police, and thwarted the student group from rushing in to Covel.
These so-called student leaders swear they know the correct and objective form of protest. There is no respect for a multiplicity of tactics. By the time of time of the meeting, power had already been taken away from the university without asking permission from administrators or student leaders (are these even different categories?) and was redistributed horizontally. Unfortunately this freedom brings about the possibility of usurpation by those used to power, used to hanging above everyone from their ivory tower. These people thrive on the status quo, its their realm, and they always want to drag back those who escape.
There are CYNTHIA’s everywhere who make up and direct the movement-police to be encountered at any site of struggle. Occupation takes power and immediately destroys its concentrated form. Beware of bureaucrats, occupy everything!
Taken from Occupy UCLA