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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Santa Cruz Indymedia | Anti-War | Education & Student Activism | Labor & Workers
UCSC Rallies for 'Wages Not War!'
On Thursday, February 15, hundreds of students and workers at UC Santa Cruz joined more than two dozen schools across the nation in taking action against war. Locally, this meant calling for a reprioritization of resources to focus on the needs of low-paid service workers rather than on weapons development and war. Poverty-struck workers in the UC system have been promised and allocated money by both the CA state legislature and the UC system itself, yet UC President Robert Dynes has refused to release this money as a way of forcing worker concessions on pensions and other benefits. Meanwhile, Dynes and the UC Regents have not hesitated to bloat their own salaries and push for continued UC management of the nuclear weapons labs at Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore.
On the same day, hundreds rallied while 60 students and workers from all over the UC system joined AFSCME 3299 in being arrested in an act of civil disobedience outside the UC Office of the President (UCOP) in Oakland. With increased pressure, workers hope to force Dynes to release the money their families need to survive.
For more details on the February 15 antiwar actions, including UC Santa Barbara's 1500-strong student strike that shut down Highway 217 for two hours, see http://february15.wordpress.com
A few weeks ago, the Student Union Assembly, the 'official' student government of UC Santa Cruz unanimously passed a resolution demanding wage parity for low-paid UC workers. See: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/02/21/18366830.php
Flyers for UCSC's Feb15 action, organized by the Student and Worker Coalition for Justice (SWCJ) and Students Against War (SAW) can be seen here:
After a short rally at the Baytree Plaza, the crowd marched towards the Chancellor's office to deliver their message.
Kerr Hall is where the office of the Chancellor is located.
Two lone police officers (others were on-call and out of sight) stand in front of the doors to Kerr Hall as roughly 250 protesters arrive. It looks like one is reaching for his baton while the other is reaching for his pepper-spray. Two members of UCSC Labor Relations (people who spy on workers at rallies to see if they can get them in trouble) were also present.
On October 18, 2006 UC police pepper-sprayed students protesting the UC Regents on campus. Not only did this occur without warning, but it was the first use of pepper-spray at a protest in UCSC's history. The Chancellor's office expressed no concern.
"Where's the Love" is the theme of the annual labor protests that occur at UCSC around Valentine's Day. Here, a custodian and AFSCME member speaks out.
Kerr Hall has a fancy lock-down procedure due to the frequency of protests and the constant threat of the Chancellor's office being occupied. I suppose going down and listening to the protesters is a little too much to ask, eh?
An organizer with the Student and Worker Coalition for Justice (SWCJ) MCed the day's events.
There were numerous speakers, many of which reminded the crowd of the interconnectedness of the war(s) abroad and the war(s) at home.
One of our favorite chants: War is up (we all jump up), Wages are down (we all squat down), It's time to turn it all around! (jump around in a circle).
The original version, used by the group Save Our Languages to ensure continued funding for the language program: Tuition is up, classes are down, it's time to turn it all around!
Illustrating the connectedness of student protests around the country on February 15, the crowd at UCSC got the chance to hear from one of the UC Santa Barbara organizers over cell phone. Everyone cheered when they heard that more than 1,000 UCSB students had shut down their campus!
Speakers also mentioned the student strike at Columbia University and the more than two dozen protests happening elsewhere - 5 of which took place in the UC system: UCSC, UCSB, UC Berkeley, UC Davis and UCLA
Much-loved custodians and members of AFSCME 3299 receive a round of applause from their student friends.