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Santa Cruz Indymedia | Education & Student Activism

Tue Sep 29 2009 An Interview on the Occupation of the Graduate Student Commons at UCSC
"Occupy and Escalate": Inside the Barricades at UC Santa Cruz During the massive 10-campus walkout on September 24th, several dozen students and workers occupied the Graduate Student Commons at the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC), issuing statements acknowledging their intention to escalate the conflict: "Occupation is a tactic for escalating struggles," they note at their website, "We must face the fact that the time for pointless negotiations is over."

Their supporters aim to initiate some thought about the role of higher education in the economy. "A university diploma is now worth no more than a share in General Motors," observes the author of the Communique From an Absent Future:

We work and we borrow in order to work and to borrow. And the jobs we work toward are the jobs we already have. Close to three quarters of students work while in school, many full-time; for most, the level of employment we obtain while students is the same that awaits after graduation. Meanwhile, what we acquire isn’t education; it’s debt. We work to make money we have already spent, and our future labor has already been sold on the worst market around. …Even leisure is a form of job training. The idiot crew of the frat houses drink themselves into a stupor with all the dedication of lawyers working late at the office. Kids who smoked weed and cut class in high school now pop Adderall and get to work. We power the diploma factory on the treadmills in the gym.

Noting that public employees, the homeless and the unemployed have been demonstrating across the state, supporters argue that "all of our futures are linked" and the struggle over higher education is "one among many, [so] our movement will have to join with these others, breaching the walls of the university compounds and spilling into the streets." Read more

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