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Indybay Feature

UC Santa Cruz Students OCCUPY!

by calmlikeabomb
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On September 24th, students at UC Santa Cruz began the occupation of the Graduate Student Commons as part of a day of action at all UCs across the state. The building is located in a central location on campus, across from the Bay Tree Bookstore. Occupiers are calling for another day of walkouts on Friday.

michael jackson's thriller is bumping in the bay tree plaza right now.

more information to be posted as the occupation settles in.
§Occupy California
by Occupy California
September 24, 2009

We are occupying this building at the University of California, Santa Cruz, because the current situation has become untenable. Across the state, people are losing their jobs and getting evicted, while social services are slashed. California’s leaders from state officials to university presidents have demonstrated how they will deal with this crisis: everything and everyone is subordinated to the budget. They insulate themselves from the consequences of their own fiscal mismanagement, while those who can least afford it are left shouldering the burden. Every solution on offer only accelerates the decay of the State of California. It remains for the people to seize what is theirs.

The current attack on public education – under the guise of a fiscal emergency – is merely the culmination of a long-term trend. California’s regressive tax structure has undermined the 1960 Master Plan for free education. In this climate, the quality of K-12 education and the performance of its students have declined by every metric. Due to cuts to classes in Community Colleges, over 50,000 California youth have been turned away from the doors of higher education. California State University will reduce its enrollment by 40,000 students system wide for 2010-2011. We stand in solidarity with students across the state because the same things are happening to us. At the University of California, the administration will raise student fees to an unprecedented $10,300, a 32 percent increase in one year. Graduate students and lecturers return from summer vacation to find that their jobs have been cut; faculty and staff are forced to take furloughs. Entire departments are being gutted. Classes for undergraduates and graduates are harder to get into while students pay more. The university is being run like a corporation.

Let’s be frank: the promise of a financially secure life at the end of a university education is fast becoming an illusion. The jobs we are working toward will be no better than the jobs we already have to pay our way through school. Close to three-quarters of students work, many full-time. Even with these jobs, student loan volume rose 800 percent from 1977 to 2003. There is a direct connection between these deteriorating conditions and those impacting workers and families throughout California. Two million people are now unemployed across the state. 1.5 million more are underemployed out of a workforce of twenty million. As formerly secure, middle-class workers lose their homes to foreclosure, Depression-era shantytowns are cropping up across the state. The crisis is severe and widespread, yet the proposed solutions – the governor and state assembly organizing a bake sale to close the budget gap – are completely absurd.

We must face the fact that the time for pointless negotiations is over. Appeals to the UC administration and Sacramento are futile; instead, we appeal to each other, to the people with whom we are struggling, and not to those whom we struggle against. A single day of action at the university is not enough because we cannot afford to return to business as usual. We seek to form a unified movement with the people of California. Time and again, factional demands are turned against us by our leaders and used to divide social workers against teachers, nurses against students, librarians against park rangers, in a competition for resources they tell us are increasingly scarce. This crisis is general, and the revolt must be generalized. Escalation is absolutely necessary. We have no other option.

Occupation is a tactic for escalating struggles, a tactic recently used at the Chicago Windows and Doors factory and at the New School in New York City. It can happen throughout California too. As undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and staff, we call on everyone at the UC to support this occupation by continuing the walkouts and strikes into tomorrow, the next day, and for the indefinite future. We call on the people of California to occupy and escalate.

Press Contact: (eight-three-one) 332.8916
§live from the autonomous zone
by repost
"what goes on between bodies in an occupation is more interesting than the occupation itself."
-how is it to be done?

i arrived on ucsc campus sweaty and tired after biking 20 miles to *my* school and back, feeling barely able to stand. the protest march arriving at bay tree plaza was not too inspiring; when the 100 or so people sat down in the street to discuss "what do we want?" all some people could think to do was shout slogans. the protest-form reached its absurd terminus in a group cheerleading session.

and then the occupation began. a sound system blared as about 20 bodies, wearing swine flu masks to both symbolize and defend against our modern sickness, barricaded themselves inside the graduate student commons, unfurled banners and began reading their beautifully-written communique, occupy california!, from the balcony overlooking the plaza. a few cops wandered through the dance party below, looking confused. and then it was time to begin barring the entrances we outside were asked to help with. the vague questions, the politics, the feuds great and petty disappeared as in the realm of tactics, friends, estranged acquaintances and perfect strangers together encountered the concrete possibilities: how to move this dumpster? where do we find more big rocks? how to best attach this section of fence to the building? trash vessels, quarry debris and other useless materials found new purposes in the architecture of barricades. the fatigue in my muscles was no longer important; it was go time. i had no idea when i put my t-shirt on in the morning that i would be wearing it over my face later in the day. thanks for that, comrades.

i won't be here long but it was too much for me to not make an appearance. there is a meeting going on now, reports coming in from actions in berkeley (occupiers sold out by liberal activists) and pittsburgh. the sound system still thumping below into the electric-lit night. the building, it turns out, legally belongs to the graduate student association, NOT the uc, who - it's said - won't be sending police without the gsa's say so. so far, so good. there is talk of more occupations. "escalation is absolutely necessary" said the communique. fuck. yeah.

a general assembly has been called for 10am tomorrow. see you there?

an overturned dumpster in this plaza is a more beautiful sight than 100 protest signs.

this is not about making demands.
the goal of every occupation is to grow, multiply and become irreversible.
block everything,
occupy everything,
strike without end,
toward collective action against all institutional frameworks.
towards social war,
against this world.

banners hanging from the balcony outside:

indybay: ucsc students occupy!

guardian-uk: university of california campuses erupt in protest

some comrades at uc merced put out a pamphlet called "communique from an absent future: terminus of student life". it doesnt seem to be online yet, and i havent read the whole thing but it looks like a west coast cousin of the new school in exile's writings.
§The Beachhead
by Occupy California
September 25, 2009

We in here are undergraduates, graduate students, teachers, workers, and unemployed. We are not leaving.

People ask what we want. WE WANT EVERYTHING. We want the university, this bankrupt institution of a bankrupt society, to grind to a fucking halt. One occupation is not enough.

We need to clear up a little misunderstanding. We are not the general assembly. We will not get what we want through endless discussion, but by taking action. TAKE ACTION.

Listen: we are getting fucked by this crisis. The crisis is not an ‘unlucky’ turn of events. It is the culmination of a long-term trend. Things are not going to simply ‘get better’, and anyway they were never enough.

But know this: the administration is just a cog in the machine; they aren’t going to help us. We’d do best to ignore them just as they are ignoring us.

The administration hopes that we’ll blow off steam. That we’ll go back to ‘business as usual’. WE CAN’T GO BACK.

No one will give us what we want, we have to TAKE IT.

We took this space, not because it is a graduate space, but because it was there for the taking. Have a look around. Other spaces are there for the taking, throughout the campus, the city, and beyond.

This is not about those of us inside this building. This is about what all of us do from here. We’ve show that this can be done. It must be done, again and again and again.

We will not tell you what to do. People in the crowd are already planning actions. Get involved. We will stand in solidarity with you as you stand with us!
§UCSC Occupation
by Occupy California
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§ITALIAN: We are the Crisis: Occupy California!
by italian students free network
Non è altro che l`inizio! È da Venerdì scorso che decine di studenti e lavoratori della UC di Santa Cruz stanno occupando alcuni locali del proprio campus per protestare contro i tagli ai finanziamenti pubblici e salari, insieme ai vertiginosi aumenti delle tasse universitarie. ‘Non abbiamo altra scelta che occupare, perché la situazione è diventata insostenibile’. Queste sono le prime parole con cui studenti e ricercatori annunciano l`occupazione dell’università di Santa Cruz in California (

Qualche mese fa, parlando del sistema universitario americano, un giornalista del famoso Chronical HE si chiedeva quando la bolla della educazione sarebbe scoppiata. Una domanda retorica se si pensa che nella sola California i pesanti tagli hanno ridotto di quasi 40.000 studenti il numero degli iscritti per l`anno accademico 2010/2011 con un aumento delle tasse fino a 10.300 dollari in più, vale a dire un aumento annuo del 32% (sic!). A questo dobbiamo aggiungere che il debito studentesco è aumentato dell`800% dal 1977 al 2003 solo negli Stati Uniti e quasi i due terzi degli studenti sono di fatto lavoratori a tempo pieno.

Alle cinque del pomeriggio di giovedì scorso, decine di studenti e lavoratori dell`università si sono incontrati al secondo piano della UC Santa Cruz. Bloccate le porte con banchi e mobili vari, la scritta ‘Occupiamo tutto!’ è comparsa sulle pareti del campus.

La solidarietà a questa occupazione e alle loro rivendicazioni è arrivata in un solo giorno fin dalle università di Washington e dagli studenti della NYU, ovvero dall`altra parte degli States.

Gli occupanti domandano al rettore ed ai suoi organi accademici di bloccare i tagli al personale e ai salari, così come l`aumento delle tasse studentesche per coprire un buco di bilancio di 813 milioni di dollari dovuto alla mancanza di fondi pubblici.

Un aumento delle tasse e allo stesso tempo un drastico taglio alle risorse condanna inevitabilmente gli studenti a pagare sempre di più per un servizio sempre più dequalificato. Ricetta, questa, in via di sperimentazione anche negli atenei europei ed italiani in particolare.

Docenti costretti a prendersi un anno di aspettativa, interi dipartimenti dimezzati, aumenti delle tasse universitarie: non è soltanto la crisi del pubblico quella che abbiamo di fronte con la quasi bancarotta della UC, ma di un particolare modello di università, ovvero di quel virtuoso legame che ha reso possibile, per intenderci, esperienze produttive come la Silicon Valley, altrimenti impensabili senza la spina dorsale delle università californiane.

Richiamandosi direttamente alle occupazioni di fabbrica della Chicago Republic Windows and Doors da parte degli operai, dopo che la Bank of America aveva cancellato il finanziamento alla compagnia nel 2008, questa nuova occupazione ad oltranza ci insegna di come sempre più anche lo stesso mondo dei servizi sia legato a doppio filo alla stessa speculazione finanziaria.

Tutt’altro che passata, la crisi sta facendo sentire fino in fondo la sua morsa: dopo aver messo in ginocchio uno stato come la California e la città di Chicago, sta pesantemente investendo le stesse istituzioni universitarie statunitensi sia pubbliche che private.

Dopo le note rassicuranti dei governi seduti al G20 di Pittsburgh e della banca centrale (Fed in testa) che candidamente hanno affermato come il peggio sia ormai passato, gli fa eco oggi il rumoroso slogan degli occupanti della baia di S. Francisco: ‘We are the crisis!’. Noi siamo la crisi!

Paolo Do
Be realistic, demand the impossible

Ακολουθεί η μετεφρασμένη[από το] ανακοίνωση των καταληψιών του Πανεπιστημίου της Καλιφόρνια, όπως βγήκε στο

Καταλαμβάνουμε το κτήριο του Πανεπιστημίου της California, Santa Cruz, διότι η σημερινή κατάσταση έχει γίνει αφόρητη. Σε όλη την πολιτεία οι άνθρωποι χάνουν τις δουλειές τους και τους κάνουν έξωση ενώ οι κοινωνικές υπηρεσίες έχουν περικοπεί. Οι ηγέτες της California, απο κρατικούς αξιωματούχους εως πρόεδροι πανεπιστημίων έχουν αποδείξει πώς θα αντιμετωπίσουν αυτή την κρίση: τα πάντα και όλοι εξαρτώνται απο τον προυπολογισμό. Οι ίδιοι έχουν προφυλάξει τους εαυτούς τους απο τις συνέπειες της δικής τους κακής δημοσιονομικής διαχείρισης, ενώ όσοι μπορούν στο ελάχιστο να αντέξουν οικονομικά [ελεύθερη μετάφραση: οι οικονομικά ασθενεστεροι] έχουν αφεθεί να επωμιστούν το βάρος. Κάθε λύση που προσφέρουν μόνο επιταχύνει την αποσύνθεση της πολιτείας της California. Παραμένει ζητούμενο για τον λαό να καταλάβει τι είναι δικό του.

Η σημερινή επίθεση στη δημόσια εκπαίδευση –υπό το πρόσχημα της έκτακτης φορολογικής ανάγκης- είναι απλώς η κατάληξη μιας μακροπρόθεσμης τάσης. Η οπισθοδρομική φορολογική διάρθρωση της California έχει υπονομεύσει το ρυθμιστικό σχέδιο του 1960 για την δωρεάν παιδεία. Σε αυτό το κλίμα η ποιότητα της Κ-12 εκπαίδευσης [αντίστοιχη της τριτοβάθμιας εκπαίδευσης στην Ελλάδα] και οι επιδόσεις των μαθητών έχουν μειωθεί σύμφωνα με κάθε μέτρηση. Λόγω των περικοπών στα κοινοτικά κολλέγια, πάνω απο 50.000 νέοι στην California έχουν αποκλειστεί απο τις πότρες της 3βάθμιας εκπαίδευσης. Το California State University θα μειώσει τις εγγραφές του σε 40.000 φοιτητές για το έτος 2010 – 2011. Είμαστε αλληλέγγυοι με τους μαθητές σε όλη την πολιτεία, διότι τα ίδια πράγματα που συμβαίνουν σε αυτούς συμβαίνουν και σε εμάς. Στο πανεπιστήμιο της California, η διοίκηση θα αυξήσει τα δίδακτρα με μια ανευ προηγουμένου αύξηση 10.300 δολλαρίων, 32% αύξηση σε ένα έτος. Μεταπτυχιακοί φοιτητές και καθηγητές που επιστρέφουν απο τις διακοπές του καλοκαιριού για να βρούν τις θέσεις εργασίας τους, έχουν κοπεί. Σχολές και προσωπικό είναι υποχρεωμένοι να λαμβάνουν υποχρεωτική αποχή απο την εργασία. Ολόκληρες υπηρεσίες έχουν διαλυθεί. Μαθήματα σε φοιτητές και πτυχιούχους είναι πιο δύσκολο να μπούν καθώς οι φοιτητές πληρώνουν περισσότερα. Το πανεπιστήμιο τρέχει [ελεύθερη μετάφραση: λειτουργεί] σαν μια εταιρεία.

Ας είμαστε ειλικρινεις: η υπόσχεση μιας οικονομικά ασφαλούς ζωής στο τέλος της πανεπιστημιακής

εκπαίδευσης, γίνεται γρήγορα μια ψευδαίσθηση. Οι θέσεις εργασίας στις οποίες κατευθυνόμαστε να εργαστούμε δεν θα είναι καλύτερες απο τιε θέσεις εργασίας που έχουμε ήδη για να πληρώσουμε την πορεία μας μέσα στο σχολείο [ελεύθερη μετάφραση: για να πληρώσουμε τις σπουδές μας]. Κοντά στα ¾ των φοιτητών δουλεύουν σε εργασίες πλήρους απασχόλησης. Ακόμα και με αυτές τις θέσεις εργασίας ο όγκος των φοιτητικών δανείων αυξήθηκε κατά 800% απο το 1977 έως το 2003. υπάρχει άμμεση σύνδεση μεταξύ αυτών και της επιδείνωσης των συνθηκών εκείνων που επηρεάζουν τους εργαζόμενους και τις οικογένειές του σε όλη την California. 2.000.000 άνθωποι είναι άνεργοι σε όλοι τη πολιτεία. 1.500.000 είναι υποαπασχολούμενοι ανάμεσα σε ένα εργατικό δυναμικό των 20.000.000. καθώς οι πρώην ασφαλείς, μεσαίας τάξης εργαζόμενοι χάνουν τα σπίτια τους απο εξώσεις, καταθλιπτικές παραγκουπόλεις φυτρώνουν σε ολόκληρη την πολιτεία. Η κρίση είναι σοβαρή και διαδεδομένη, όμως οι προτεινόμενες λύσεις – ο κυβερνήτης και η πολιτεία οργανώνουν πώληση [πωλήσεις] για να κλείσει το χάσμα του προυπολογισμού- είναι εντελώς παράλογες.

Πρέπει να αντιμετωπίσουμε το γεγονός οτι ο χρόνος για άσκοπες διαπραγματεύσεις έχει τελειώσει. Οι εκκλήσεις προς τη διοίκηση του UC Sacramento είναι μάταιες. Αντ’ αυτού κάνουμε έκκληση σε όλους τους ανθρώπους με τους οποίους αγωνιζόμαστε μαζί και όχι σε αυτούς που αγωνίζονται εναντίον μας. Μια μόνο ημέρα στο πανεπιστήμιο δεν είναι αρκετή, διότι δεν έχουμε την πολυτέλεια να επιστρέψουμε στη δουλειά ως συνήθως. Επιδιώκουμε να σχηματίσουμε μια ενιαία κίνηση με το λαό της California. Ξανά και ξανά, οι λειτουργικές απαιτήσεις στράφηκαν εναντίον μας απο τους ηγέτες μας και χρησιμοποιούνται για να διαιρέσουν τους κοινωνικούς λειτουργούς εναντίον των εκπαιδευτικών, τους νοσοκόμους απο τους φοιτητές, τους βιβλιοθηκονόμους απο τους φύλακες των πάρκων, σε έναν ανταγωνισμό για τους πόρους, που μας λένε είναι όλο και πιο σπάνιοι. Αυτή η κρίση είναι γενική και η εξέγερση πρέπει να γενικευτεί. Η κλιμάκωση είναι απολύτως απαραίτητη. Δεν έχουμε άλλη επιλογή.

Η κατάληψη είναι μια τακτική για την κλιμάκωση των αγώνων, μια τακτική που χρησιμοποιήθηκε πρόσφατα στο εργοστάσιο Windows and Doors του Chicago και στο New School της Νέας Υόρκης. Μπορεί να συμβεί σε όλη την California επίσης. Σαν προπτυχιακοί, μεταπτυχιακοί φοιτητές, μέλη ΔΕΠ και προσωπικό, καλούμε όλους στο πανεπιστήμιο της California να υποστηρίξουν αυτή την κατάληψη συνεχίζοντας τις δράσεις και τις απεργίες αύριο, την επόμενη μέρα και επ’ αόριστον. Καλούμε τον λαό της California να κάνει καταλήψεις και να κλιμακώσει.
§We Have Ended the Occupation
by Occupy California
We left this occupied space in order to escalate. This is only the beginning of a year-long and multi-year effort to stop and reverse the damage being done to public education in California.

Many students and workers are learning from our action how to escalate their own resistance against leaders who are failing to protect our education system. We hope this occupation and our future actions will also help catalyze people throughout the state of CA to fight back against the budget attacks on their communities. All universities are being run like corporations, and the situation has become unacceptable. Now is the time for students across the nation to fight back. We have received statements of solidarity from around California, the United States, and the world. This is a struggle situated here, on our California campuses, but it is directed far beyond.

We leave not to retreat but to plan further modes of escalation. We leave knowing that countless others out there are planning, gathering support, innovating, and strategizing. This is the end of this particular action, but it is only the beginning of more actions everywhere, again and again, as long as it takes.

We’ll see you in the very near future.

In solidarity,

Add Your Comments

Comments (Hide Comments)
by Chango
Occupy the commons, why not shut the whole shit down. Depressing.
by Occupy California
By email:

We at the University of Maryland stand with the students, faculty and staff throughout the University of California system who are rising up against corporatization and budget austerity. From the well-organized walkouts to the courageous occupations, you serve as an example to those of us across the nation who face similar conditions. At the University of Maryland, we have faced round after round of cuts and furloughs, and a tuition hike isn’t far off. Without action, Maryland seems to be headed the same place as California.

Our University also has administrators who are more interested in construction projects than maintaining a quality accessible education for students or a just workplace for staff and faculty. Until shared governance becomes more than just an empty phrase, we won’t be able to get our schools’ priorities straight. We’ve all been following your work closely and we turn to you for inspiration in our own struggles. Unity between students, faculty and staff is an essential part of any meaningful large-scale action, and you’ve kicked ass at it. We look forward to helping to build the burgeoning national student movement to which you’ve given voice. Keep up the good work, and we’ll see you in the streets.

Love and Rage,

Student Power Action Mob

(which is)
College Park Students for a Democratic Society
Students for Sensible Drug Policy
Terps for Choice
Feminism without Boarders
Community Roots
Students for Justice in Palestine
by Richard Martin Oxman (tosca.2010 [at]
I want to move in solidarity with Occupy California as per our plan to "take over" the State of California (TOSCA), For what it's worth, Howard Zinn, Michael Parenti, Bill Blum, Gustavo Esteva (Mexico), Henry Giroux (Canada), Devinder Sharma (India), Afshin Rattansi (Iran), Jennifer Loewenstein (Palestine), Marie Trigona (Argentina) and many other worldwide high profile figures have given us their imprimaturs. We want grassroots California people to put themselves in a position of not being subjected to be EJECTED. In a position to DEMAND, and in a position to help the public to self-educate about many issues 'cross the board, including affordable, decent education. Please contact me at 831-688-8038 in Aptos at any hour. Or at TOSCA.2010[ATATATATATAT] A short list of our "supporters" is at Blessings in solidarity, Richard
by Occupy California
We’re still inside and we’re still strong! The next day will unfold as follows:

10 o’clock: Rally at Quarry Plaza, with rousing speeches from inside and outside.

12 o’clock: Another Rally! Bring more friends!

7 o’clock (that night): The illest dance party UCSC has ever seen! At Quarry Plaza, once again.
by Reality
Occupying the Graduate Student Commons isn't really much of a statement, think about it for a moment. Just saying...
by posi posey
Stop fuckin' hating!

you and "chango"

What are you occupying? Go help, if you're nearby, or take action in solidarity.

OR snipe from the internet like the embittered, disempowered nobodies you feel yourselves to be...
by Yana
We’re still inside and we’re still strong! The next day will unfold as follows:

10 o’clock: Rally at Quarry Plaza, with rousing speeches from inside and outside.


12 o’clock: Another Rally! Bring more friends!


7 o’clock (that night): The illest dance party UCSC has ever seen! At Quarry Plaza, once again.

by graduatestudents
Do you people realize that GSC is ALREADY student space? Only students work there. It's where Grad Student meetings are held. There is only one non-student, and that is a staff member who will probably get fired now, thanks to you.

It makes no sense. This does nothing to the campus operations. Administration is only too happy laughing at you that you left all their buildings alone and took over a completely student run space hurting only other students.
by grad
Congratulations on making sure that grad students oppose your action. Who leads these things? I'm guessing its the same brain trust that put together that oh so successful treesit or tent University. I support a police crackdown of this juvenile and unorganized mess.
by Um...
...Shouldn't students be doing things that might make tax payers want to support higher education, rather than make tax payers not want to support higher education?.. Just a thought...
by Berkeley organizer
Whoever called those opposing the Berkeley occupation "liberals" is clearly just as narcissistic an adventurist as those currently occupying the Commons at SC. Occupation is a tactic, a means, not an end in itself. This mindless putschism might make you feel good but has no place in any effective struggle against global capital. Foisting a banner reading "End Capital" (in general?!) over the balcony of an already left-leaning campus's student commons: what does this accomplish aside from making yourself feel good? What did the spontaneists at NYU accomplish? Nothing! Your comrades at Berkeley stand with you in your struggle against surplus extraction, but we are absolutely dismayed at the naïve spontaneism your tactics exemplify. Shut down multiple buildings on multiple campuses during the week. Honestly, what does Yudof care if the commons is off limits temporarily on your campus? Organize toward an end. This "fuck demands" anarchoid horseshit makes a mockery of focused struggle. Down with voluntaristic tactics! Down with narcissism! Defend public education against privatization!
by Down with you
Down with the lazy Berkely cohort that didn't do it's share and take over one of its facilities. Take your own advice, get activated!.....instead of sitting on the sidelines critiquing and whining.
by Willis
They demand lower fees yet they vandalize the school. Hello people MY TUITION MONEY PAYS TO CLEAN UP AFTER THESE PROTESTERS. if they wanted to lower fees, then they shouldn't be putting graffiti on the wall and trashing up the place. Hypocrisy at its finest.
by out of uc merced


Like the society to which it has played the faithful servant, the university is bankrupt.  This bankruptcy is not only financial.  It is the index of a more fundamental insolvency, one both political and economic, which has been a long time in the making.  No one knows what the university is for anymore.  We feel this intuitively.  Gone is the old project of creating a cultured and educated citizenry; gone, too, the special advantage the degree-holder once held on the job market.  These are now fantasies, spectral residues that cling to the poorly maintained halls.

Incongruous architecture, the ghosts of vanished ideals, the vista of a dead future: these are the remains of the university.  Among these remains, most of us are little more than a collection of querulous habits and duties.  We go through the motions of our tests and assignments with a kind of thoughtless and immutable obedience propped up by subvocalized resentments.  Nothing is interesting, nothing can make itself felt.  The world-historical with its pageant of catastrophe is no more real than the windows in which it appears.

For those whose adolescence was poisoned by the nationalist hysteria following September 11th, public speech is nothing but a series of lies and public space a place where things might explode (though they never do).  Afflicted by the vague desire for something to happen—without ever imagining we could make it happen ourselves—we were rescued by the bland homogeneity of the internet, finding refuge among friends we never see, whose entire existence is a series of exclamations and silly pictures, whose only discourse is the gossip of commodities.  Safety, then, and comfort have been our watchwords.  We slide through the flesh world without being touched or moved.  We shepherd our emptiness from place to place.

But we can be grateful for our destitution: demystification is now a condition, not a project.  University life finally appears as just what it has always been: a machine for producing compliant producers and consumers.  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.  We run tirelessly in elliptical circles.

It makes little sense, then, to think of the university as an ivory tower in Arcadia, as either idyllic or idle.  “Work hard, play hard” has been the over-eager motto of a generation in training for…what?—drawing hearts in cappuccino foam or plugging names and numbers into databases. The gleaming techno-future of American capitalism was long ago packed up and sold to China for a few more years of borrowed junk.  A university diploma is now worth no more than a share in General Motors.

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.  Average student loan debt rose 20 percent in the first five years of the twenty-first century—80-100 percent for students of color.  Student loan volume—a figure inversely proportional to state funding for education—rose by nearly 800 percent from 1977 to 2003.  What our borrowed tuition buys is the privilege of making monthly payments for the rest of our lives.  What we learn is the choreography of credit: you can’t walk to class without being offered another piece of plastic charging 20 percent interest.  Yesterday’s finance majors buy their summer homes with the bleak futures of today’s humanities majors.

This is the prospect for which we have been preparing since grade-school.  Those of us who came here to have our privilege notarized surrendered our youth to a barrage of tutors, a battery of psychological tests, obligatory public service ops—the cynical compilation of half-truths toward a well-rounded application profile.  No wonder we set about destroying ourselves the second we escape the cattle prod of parental admonition.  On the other hand, those of us who came here to transcend the economic and social disadvantages of our families know that for every one of us who “makes it,” ten more take our place—that the logic here is zero-sum.  And anyway, socioeconomic status remains the best predictor of student achievement.  Those of us the demographics call “immigrants,” “minorities,” and “people of color” have been told to believe in the aristocracy of merit.  But we know we are hated not despite our achievements, but precisely because of them.  And we know that the circuits through which we might free ourselves from the violence of our origins only reproduce the misery of the past in the present for others, elsewhere.

If the university teaches us primarily how to be in debt, how to waste our labor power, how to fall prey to petty anxieties, it thereby teaches us how to be consumers.  Education is a commodity like everything else that we want without caring for.  It is a thing, and it makes its purchasers into things.  One’s future position in the system, one’s relation to others, is purchased first with money and then with the demonstration of obedience.  First we pay, then we “work hard.”  And there is the split: one is both the commander and the commanded, consumer and consumed.  It is the system itself which one obeys, the cold buildings that enforce subservience.  Those who teach are treated with all the respect of an automated messaging system.  Only the logic of customer satisfaction obtains here:  was the course easy?  Was the teacher hot?  Could any stupid asshole get an A?  What’s the point of acquiring knowledge when it can be called up with a few keystokes?  Who needs memory when we have the internet?  A training in thought?  You can’t be serious.  A moral preparation?  There are anti-depressants for that.

Meanwhile the graduate students, supposedly the most politically enlightened among us, are also the most obedient.  The “vocation” for which they labor is nothing other than a fantasy of falling off the grid, or out of the labor market.  Every grad student is a would be Robinson Crusoe, dreaming of an island economy subtracted from the exigencies of the market.  But this fantasy is itself sustained through an unremitting submission to the market.  There is no longer the least felt contradiction in teaching a totalizing critique of capitalism by day and polishing one’s job talk by night.  That our pleasure is our labor only makes our symptoms more manageable.  Aesthetics and politics collapse courtesy of the substitution of ideology for history: booze and beaux arts and another seminar on the question of being, the steady blur of typeface, each pixel paid for by somebody somewhere, some not-me, not-here, where all that appears is good and all goods appear attainable by credit.

Graduate school is simply the faded remnant of a feudal system adapted to the logic of capitalism—from the commanding heights of the star professors to the serried ranks of teaching assistants and adjuncts paid mostly in bad faith.  A kind of monasticism predominates here, with all the Gothic rituals of a Benedictine abbey, and all the strange theological claims for the nobility of this work, its essential altruism.  The underlings are only too happy to play apprentice to the masters, unable to do the math indicating that nine-tenths of us will teach 4 courses every semester to pad the paychecks of the one-tenth who sustain the fiction that we can all be the one.  Of course I will be the star, I will get the tenure-track job in a large city and move into a newly gentrified neighborhood.

We end up interpreting Marx’s 11th thesis on Feuerbach: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.”  At best, we learn the phoenix-like skill of coming to the very limits of critique and perishing there, only to begin again at the seemingly ineradicable root.  We admire the first part of this performance: it lights our way.  But we want the tools to break through that point of suicidal thought, its hinge in practice.

The same people who practice “critique” are also the most susceptible to cynicism.  But if cynicism is simply the inverted form of enthusiasm, then beneath every frustrated leftist academic is a latent radical.  The shoulder shrug, the dulled face, the squirm of embarrassment when discussing the fact that the US murdered a million Iraqis between 2003 and 2006, that every last dime squeezed from America’s poorest citizens is fed to the banking industry, that the seas will rise, billions will die and there’s nothing we can do about it—this discomfited posture comes from feeling oneself pulled between the is and the ought of current left thought.  One feels that there is no alternative, and yet, on the other hand, that another world is possible.

We will not be so petulant.  The synthesis of these positions is right in front of us: another world is not possible; it is necessary.  The ought and the is are one.  The collapse of the global economy is here and now.


The university has no history of its own; its history is the history of capital.  Its essential function is the reproduction of the relationship between capital and labor. Though not a proper corporation that can be bought and sold, that pays revenue to its investors, the public university nonetheless carries out this function as efficiently as possible by approximating ever more closely the corporate form of its bedfellows.  What we are witnessing now is the endgame of this process, whereby the façade of the educational institution gives way altogether to corporate streamlining.

Even in the golden age of capitalism that followed after World War II and lasted until the late 1960s, the liberal university was already subordinated to capital.  At the apex of public funding for higher education, in the 1950s, the university was already being redesigned to produce technocrats with the skill-sets necessary to defeat “communism” and sustain US hegemony.  Its role during the Cold War was to legitimate liberal democracy and to reproduce an imaginary society of free and equal citizens—precisely because no one was free and no one was equal.

But if this ideological function of the public university was at least well-funded after the Second World War, that situation changed irreversibly in the 1960s, and no amount of social-democratic heel-clicking will bring back the dead world of the post-war boom.   Between 1965 and 1980 profit rates began to fall, first in the US, then in the rest of the industrializing world.  Capitalism, it turned out, could not sustain the good life it made possible.  For capital, abundance appears as overproduction, freedom from work as unemployment.  Beginning in the 1970s, capitalism entered into a terminal downturn in which permanent work was casualized and working-class wages stagnated, while those at the top were temporarily rewarded for their obscure financial necromancy, which has itself proved unsustainable.

For public education, the long downturn meant the decline of tax revenues due to both declining rates of economic growth and the prioritization of tax-breaks for beleaguered corporations.  The raiding of the public purse struck California and the rest of the nation in the 1970s.  It has continued to strike with each downward declension of the business cycle.  Though it is not directly beholden to the market, the university and its corollaries are subject to the same cost-cutting logic as other industries: declining tax revenues have made inevitable the casualization of work.  Retiring professors make way not for tenure-track jobs but for precariously employed teaching assistants, adjuncts, and lecturers who do the same work for much less pay.  Tuition increases compensate for cuts while the jobs students pay to be trained for evaporate.

In the midst of the current crisis, which will be long and protracted, many on the left want to return to the golden age of public education.  They naïvely imagine that the crisis of the present is an opportunity to demand the return of the past.  But social programs that depended upon high profit rates and vigorous economic growth are gone.  We cannot be tempted to make futile grabs at the irretrievable while ignoring the obvious fact that there can be no autonomous “public university” in a capitalist society.   The university is subject to the real crisis of capitalism, and capital does not require liberal education programs. The function of the university has always been to reproduce the working class by training future workers according to the changing needs of capital. The crisis of the university today is the crisis of the reproduction of the working class, the crisis of a period in which capital no longer needs us as workers. We cannot free the university from the exigencies of the market by calling for the return of the public education system.  We live out the terminus of the very market logic upon which that system was founded.  The only autonomy we can hope to attain exists beyond capitalism.

What this means for our struggle is that we can’t go backward.  The old student struggles are the relics of a vanished world.  In the 1960s, as the post-war boom was just beginning to unravel, radicals within the confines of the university understood that another world was possible.  Fed up with technocratic management, wanting to break the chains of a conformist society, and rejecting alienated work as unnecessary in an age of abundance, students tried to align themselves with radical sections of the working class.  But their mode of radicalization, too tenuously connected to the economic logic of capitalism, prevented that alignment from taking hold.  Because their resistance to the Vietnam war focalized critique upon capitalism as a colonial war-machine, but insufficiently upon its exploitation of domestic labor, students were easily split off from a working class facing different problems.  In the twilight era of the post-war boom, the university was not subsumed by capital to the degree that it is now, and students were not as intensively proletarianized by debt and a devastated labor market.

That is why our struggle is fundamentally different. The poverty of student life has become terminal: there is no promised exit. If the economic crisis of the 1970s emerged to break the back of the political crisis of the 1960s, the fact that today the economic crisis precedes the coming political uprising means we may finally supersede the cooptation and neutralization of those past struggles.  There will be no return to normal.


We seek to push the university struggle to its limits.
Though we denounce the privatization of the university and its authoritarian system of governance, we do not seek structural reforms.  We demand not a free university but a free society.  A free university in the midst of a capitalist society is like a reading room in a prison; it serves only as a distraction from the misery of daily life. Instead we seek to channel the anger of the dispossessed students and workers into a declaration of war.

We must begin by preventing the university from functioning.  We must interrupt the normal flow of bodies and things and bring work and class to a halt.  We will blockade, occupy, and take what’s ours.  Rather than viewing such disruptions as obstacles to dialogue and mutual understanding, we see them as what we have to say, as how we are to be understood.  This is the only meaningful position to take when crises lay bare the opposing interests at the foundation of society.  Calls for unity are fundamentally empty. There is no common ground between those who uphold the status quo and those who seek to destroy it.

The university struggle is one among many, one sector where a new cycle of refusal and insurrection has begun – in workplaces, neighborhoods, and slums.  All of our futures are linked, and so our movement will have to join with these others, breeching the walls of the university compounds and spilling into the streets.  In recent weeks Bay Area public school teachers, BART employees, and unemployed have threatened demonstrations and strikes.  Each of these movements responds to a different facet of capitalism’s reinvigorated attack on the working class in a moment of crisis.  Viewed separately, each appears small, near-sighted, without hope of success.  Taken together, however, they suggest the possibility of widespread refusal and resistance.  Our task is to make plain the common conditions that, like a hidden water table, feed each struggle.

We have seen this kind of upsurge in the recent past, a rebellion that starts in the classrooms and radiates outward to encompass the whole of society. Just two years ago the anti-CPE movement in France, combating a new law that enabled employers to fire young workers without cause, brought huge numbers into the streets.  High school and university students, teachers, parents, rank and file union members, and unemployed youth from the banlieues found themselves together on the same side of the barricades.  (This solidarity was often fragile, however.  The riots of immigrant youth in the suburbs and university students in the city centers never merged, and at times tensions flared between the two groups.)  French students saw through the illusion of the university as a place of refuge and enlightenment and acknowledged that they were merely being trained to work.  They took to the streets as workers, protesting their precarious futures.  Their position tore down the partitions between the schools and the workplaces and immediately elicited the support of many wage workers and unemployed people in a mass gesture of proletarian refusal.

As the movement developed it manifested a growing tension between revolution and reform.  Its form was more radical than its content.  While the rhetoric of the student leaders focused merely on a return to the status quo, the actions of the youth – the riots, the cars overturned and set on fire, the blockades of roads and railways, and the waves of occupations that shut down high schools and universities – announced the extent of the new generation’s disillusionment and rage.  Despite all of this, however, the movement quickly disintegrated when the CPE law was eventually dropped.  While the most radical segment of the movement sought to expand the rebellion into a general revolt against capitalism, they could not secure significant support and the demonstrations, occupations, and blockades dwindled and soon died.  Ultimately the movement was unable to transcend the limitations of reformism.

The Greek uprising of December 2008 broke through many of these limitations and marked the beginning of a new cycle of class struggle.  Initiated by students in response to the murder of an Athens youth by police, the uprising consisted of weeks of rioting, looting, and occupations of universities, union offices, and television stations.  Entire financial and shopping districts burned, and what the movement lacked in numbers it made up in its geographical breadth, spreading from city to city to encompass the whole of Greece.  As in France it was an uprising of youth, for whom the economic crisis represented a total negation of the future.  Students, precarious workers, and immigrants were the protagonists, and they were able to achieve a level of unity that far surpassed the fragile solidarities of the anti-CPE movement.

Just as significantly, they made almost no demands.  While of course some demonstrators sought to reform the police system or to critique specific government policies, in general they asked for nothing at all from the government, the university, the workplaces, or the police.   Not because they considered this a better strategy, but because they wanted nothing that any of these institutions could offer.   Here content aligned with form; whereas the optimistic slogans that appeared everywhere in French demonstrations jarred with the images of burning cars and broken glass, in Greece the rioting was the obvious means to begin to enact the destruction of an entire political and economic system.

Ultimately the dynamics that created the uprising also established its limit.  It was made possible by the existence of a sizeable radical infrastructure in urban areas, in particular the Exarchia neighborhood in Athens.  The squats, bars, cafes, and social centers, frequented by students and immigrant youth, created the milieu out of which the uprising emerged.  However, this milieu was alien to most middle-aged wage workers, who did not see the struggle as their own.  Though many expressed solidarity with the rioting youth, they perceived it as a movement of entrants – that is, of that portion of the proletariat that sought entrance to the labor market but was not formally employed in full-time jobs.  The uprising, strong in the schools and the immigrant suburbs, did not spread to the workplaces.

Our task in the current struggle will be to make clear the contradiction between form and content and to create the conditions for the transcendence of reformist demands and the implementation of a truly communist content.  As the unions and student and faculty groups push their various “issues,” we must increase the tension until it is clear that we want something else entirely.  We must constantly expose the incoherence of demands for democratization and transparency.  What good is it to have the right to see how intolerable things are, or to elect those who will screw us over?  We must leave behind the culture of student activism, with its moralistic mantras of non-violence and its fixation on single-issue causes.  The only success with which we can be content is the abolition of the capitalist mode of production and the certain immiseration and death which it promises for the 21st century.  All of our actions must push us towards communization; that is, the reorganization of society according to a logic of free giving and receiving, and the immediate abolition of the wage, the value-form, compulsory labor, and exchange.

Occupation will be a critical tactic in our struggle, but we must resist the tendency to use it in a reformist way.  The different strategic uses of occupation became clear this past January when students occupied a building at the New School in New York.  A group of friends, mostly graduate students, decided to take over the Student Center and claim it as a liberated space for students and the public.  Soon others joined in, but many of them preferred to use the action as leverage to win reforms, in particular to oust the school’s president.  These differences came to a head as the occupation unfolded.  While the student reformers were focused on leaving the building with a tangible concession from the administration, others shunned demands entirely.  They saw the point of occupation as the creation of a momentary opening in capitalist time and space, a rearrangement that sketched the contours of a new society.  We side with this anti-reformist position.  While we know these free zones will be partial and transitory, the tensions they expose between the real and the possible can push the struggle in a more radical direction.

We intend to employ this tactic until it becomes generalized.  In 2001 the first Argentine piqueteros suggested the form the people’s struggle there should take: road blockades which brought to a halt the circulation of goods from place to place.  Within months this tactic spread across the country without any formal coordination between groups.  In the same way repetition can establish occupation as an instinctive and immediate method of revolt taken up both inside and outside the university.  We have seen a new wave of takeovers in the U.S. over the last year, both at universities and workplaces: New School and NYU, as well as the workers at Republic Windows Factory in Chicago, who fought the closure of their factory by taking it over.  Now it is our turn.

To accomplish our goals we cannot rely on those groups which position themselves as our representatives.  We are willing to work with unions and student associations when we find it useful, but we do not recognize their authority.  We must act on our own behalf directly, without mediation.  We must break with any groups that seek to limit the struggle by telling us to go back to work or class, to negotiate, to reconcile.  This was also the case in France.  The original calls for protest were made by the national high school and university student associations and by some of the trade unions.  Eventually, as the representative groups urged calm, others forged ahead.  And in Greece the unions revealed their counter-revolutionary character by cancelling strikes and calling for restraint.

As an alternative to being herded by representatives, we call on students and workers to organize themselves across trade lines. We urge undergraduates, teaching assistants, lecturers, faculty, service workers, and staff to begin meeting together to discuss their situation.  The more we begin talking to one another and finding our common interests, the more difficult it becomes for the administration to pit us against each other in a hopeless competition for dwindling resources. The recent struggles at NYU and the New School suffered from the absence of these deep bonds, and if there is a lesson to be learned from them it is that we must build dense networks of solidarity based upon the recognition of a shared enemy.  These networks not only make us resistant to recuperation and neutralization, but also allow us to establish new kinds of collective bonds.  These bonds are the real basis of our struggle.

We’ll see you at the barricades.

Research and Destroy

by a sluggish grad
I was hoping for escalation, but all I got was a lousy dance party.
by UC insider (PRmonkey [at]
You know, the whole occupation of the graduate student commons by anonymous masked 'students' is probably an engineered PR stunt run by the University in order to discredit the legitimate protest against University policy by students and staff and members of the local community. The real issues, which the 'occupiers' pointedly avoid discussing, are as follows:

1) Corporatization and privatization of the university, leading to scientific dishonesty and corporate Lysenkoism (look it up).

2) Union-busting and subpar wages for all university employees, with the exception of administrators, who get far more than they rightfully deserve (think bonuses for corrupt bailed-out bankers).

3) Indifference to the quality of undergraduate education, and not just in 'liberal' areas like journalism and languages - the neglect can also bee seen in the decrepit physics and chemistry labs for undergraduate science majors, which date back to the 1970s and are hopelessly out of date.

4) Rigged student loan deals that may be directed to UC Regent-linked bakning interests, leading to higher debt for graduating students - an issue that the state attorney general has refused to investigate, unlike in New York state.

Instead of discussing such issues, the frauds who took over the graduate student commons have been putting out drivel like this:

"Graduate school is simply the faded remnant of a feudal system... We end up interpreting Marx's 11th thesis... beneathe every frustated leftist academic is a latent radical... We must begin by preventing the university from functioning... blah blah blah"

It's a Communist manifesto, in fact, almost identical to material produced during the Cold War by Soviet propagandists - and here it is, the central theme of the strategic deception operation being run by the university with the aid of a bunch of masked wankers, who are doing all they can to draw attention away from the real issue.

Slimy, isn't it? That's this administration for you - as slimy as they come. Kliger and Blumenthal and the UC Regents need to be forced out and replaced with people who put basic research and public education ahead of corporate greed.
The reformism of the last poster and the organization fetishism of the Berkeley Maoist are equally boring to everyone involved, including those in power. Go all the way, raise hell, make a mess and maybe they'll throw you the bones that you demand so hungrily as if they were real nourishment. Or, sit and wait for your earnestness to somehow turn the tide of a global crisis.

Occupy everything right now!
by oehlb
Actually even if the occupation is not a UC ploy to discredit the legitimate concerns of the faculty staff and students, it is having that exact effect. If you look at pictures of the actual picketers from the strike, they look like actual workers. They look like people with Jobs in Jeopardy and they are the faces of the UC cuts being made. Theirs is the struggle that is being undermined, delegitimized, and made to look juvenile by the occupation of a strategically counterproductive building. If it is a UC ploy then the administrators are far more mischievous than I thought.
by basic
They are sneaky and dishonest and greedy, there's no doubt about it. It's clearly a UC ploy, it has all the classic signatures of a PR operation - and now they're sticking "destroy" posters up everywhere. There are plenty of right-wing nutcases in santa cruz - they just dress up in anarchist's clothing and do everything they can to disrupt legitimate public movements aimed at government and academic and media reform - and they get paid by the local crooks (the top UC Administration) in order to do it.

You know, our UC administration facility is called Clark Kerr Hall... he was the chancellor of UC Berkeley for a while and he said this about corporatization of the university:

"The problem arises not just because we live in a highly competitive information-based economy, which has encouraged companies to want to get inside academia, but because they are, after all, being INVITED in."

For the details, see author Jennifer Washburn in University Inc.: The Corporate Corruption of Higher Education:

"Clark Kerr was particularly worried that a "money-seeking group on the inside" and a "for-profit group on the outside" could collude to undermine the university's mission. "The university ought to remain a neutral agency devoted to the public welfare, not private welfare."

That's the real deal - and the so-called "occupation" is just a UC Regent-sponsored stunt to draw attention away from all that.
by ploy
Maybe the occupation is actually being done to draw attention TO all that.

Somehow a few old quotes from some wise old bureaucrat don't quite DRAW YOUR ATTENTION like a FUCKING OCCUPATION, do they?

Somehow a few pictures of some "real working-class folk" DON'T DRAW YOUR ATTENTION LIKE WHEN I GET IN YOUR SHIT AND WON'T LEAVE.

Got it?

Now go out and DO SOMETHING THAT ACTUALLY DRAWS ATTENTION and maybe we'll get some results.

When the students in Chile decided to TO PUT AN END to the privatization of their education system, they literally occupied almost every high school in the country. Guess what? They got results.
by Nishan
students in Chile got results? maybe. but you DIDN'T. Perhaps because you are not that smart.
All you done so far was throw a frat party and deluded yourself into thinking it was "transforming"!
by .
You're assuming it's over and done with.
History is still happening right in front of your eyes.
It ain't over baby. it's just begun.

Come on out and help us do like Chile.
by occupy
40 students sit-in at CSU Fullerton to protest budget cuts!

Close to 40 students ’sat in’ Pollak Library the night of Sept. 29 demanding to speak with an administrator or university official that could answer questions regarding how budget cuts were implemented and who decided which departments would cut how much.
by GetReal
You actually think that UC would waste their time 'staging' the occupation? That is so pathetic. You must all be so bored. And it looks like the occupation is over. At least they cleaned up afterthemselves.
by GetReal
You guys should really read some more history on how to stage protests. Your rallies have no student support (oh, other than your drinking parties). You clearly cannot stand up for your causes...where are your signs? Your information? You object to police presence and to be seen but isn't that what protestors want? You are all a spineless group of wanna be thugs acting all indignant. Get Real.
by Boring
Blah, blah, blah. Do you have anything to propose other than your chest beating? How are you going to reverse things? Do you have a plan? Or do you just intend to trash more places and cost your fellow students more money to fix your damage? What is your real grievance? It's so hard to tell with all of your "Gimme, Gimme" language.
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