$87.00 donated in past month
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: International | Santa Cruz Indymedia | U.S. | Education & Student Activism
Statements of Solidarity with the Occupation at UCSC
"Letters or statements of support and solidarity are of course nice, but our aim is to expand this thing. So, most helpful: occupy a building!"
Statements from solidarity from:
Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (South Africa)
The New School (New York City)
Student Power Action Mob (University of Maryland)
ZACF Statement in solidarity with students at Santa Cruz
Workers and poor all over the world are being asked to pay for the current economic crisis, brought about by capitalist stock brokers, while the big corporations get bailed out.
We have seen millions of retrenchments worldwide. In South Africa over 300 000 jobs were lost in the first 6 months of this year alone.
But all over the world the poor are fighting back. We have seen an increase in service delivery and other protests in South Africa as well as student protests against fee increases in recent weeks.
We are delighted to hear that students at the University of California, Santa Cruz are taking direct action by occupying their university at the same time as our comrades take to the streets in Pittsburgh to protest the G20. We urge occupying students in Santa Cruz, as well as struggling students everywhere to forge links with the workers on their campuses and to support their struggles.
Here, there and everywhere we have to fight for free education!
Here, there and everywhere workers and poor have to resist and occupy!
We stand in full solidarity with workers and students worldwide in their struggle against the impoverishment of the masses for the enrichment of the few!
Let us reclaim what we built ourselves! Let us lock out the bosses of our workplaces and the managers of our universities and run them collectively, for the benefit of all and not the profits of the few!
Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front
New School Solidarity Statement with UC Santa Cruz
September 25, 2009
To the occupiers of UCSC,
We fellow workers and students from New York City stand in solidarity with those
at UC Santa Cruz who have occupied their university against
the cuts and austerity measures forced on them by capital and its bureaucrats.
Public services are some of the first gains to be rescinded when capital
desperately thrashes out in an effort to valorize itself.
As workers have been crowded out of their jobs, and as the
failure of various financial machinations to alleviate this
crisis has become clear, more have been heading back to school. They have
been burying their heads under even more debt with the hope of riding out the
job scarcity and making themselves more attractive to employers.
As California’s universities reduce their enrollment by tens of thousands and
simultaneously increase student fees and tuition, they are giving us a
clear message: there is no escape from this turbulence.
So lets meet it head on.
We are workers and students. Both labels, while signaling different
functions under capitalism, infer social roles predicated on material
dispossession and a poverty of meaningful creative existence. These
are the conditions we seek to transcend through organization and
revolutionary praxis. These are the roles we seek to abolish.
Lately, those with a proprietary investment in the prevailing
political, economic and social order have labeled us with countless
specious and unflattering sobriquets: terrorists, intruders,
criminals, fanatics, undemocratic vanguardists — even fascists.
You should expect the same.
That the rhetoric has risen to such vacuous and vitriolic heights only
reveals the imminent threat that self-organization and autonomous
action pose to the status quo.
Each of us began as atomized subjects careening off each other in
chaotic trajectories. This generalized separation is the direct
product of the destructive, competitive imperatives of capital imposed
upon every human life.
As individuals we learn, work, sleep, drink, debate, fight and
struggle. However, when we abolish the separation that permeates our
lives we become the human embodiment of that oft-trampled watchword,
solidarity, made shockingly concrete. It is only collectively that
our voices attain transformative potential. It is only as a singular,
united mass of human potential that we can take control over our lives.
In an epoch when all human life has been subsumed by capital we cannot spirit ourselves
away or live in self-imposed isolation. Our arena of struggle is the
battlefield of everyday life.
This is how we learn. This is how we fight.
Capital appears both material and immaterial; a durable ware and a
ghostly chimera. Capital in its commodity-form is a social relation
reified; it is abstract exploitation disguised in concrete form. In
the acephalous netherworld of capital there is no spatial core, no
actor in the part of Lear, no time outside of commensurable,
Let us be clear: we cannot bomb a social relation; nor can we burn
down a mirage. Without a revolt an order of magnitude greater than
Watts, Paris or Iran isolated insurrection cannot illuminate, nor can
At this very moment there remains for us, however, a
revolutionary immanence splayed across a million arenas and a thousand
moments of each living day. By occupying space and transforming its
use-value we not only arrest the temporal circuit of capital, we
transform ourselves and the actuality of our social relations. We magnify the
increasing historical potentiality of libertarian communism
immanent within capitalism.
Accumulation of capital is only possible through the movement of
commodities through space and time. In order to produce and realize
value, some portion of capital must be embedded in the built
environment to facilitate the ever-increasing velocity necessary for
expanded reproduction. Indeed, within this process capital constantly “annihilates space
Historically, one of the great powers of capital is its ability to
radically alter entire landscapes by organized exploitation of living
and dead labor. But this is also its greatest weakness, for when
capital fixes itself – embeds itself – it is motionless in space and
static in time. No longer an apparition, it is apprehendable and
Space produced by capital is alien to us, but represents the concrete agglomeration of
millions of moments of socially necessary labor time. Its true
potential is only immanent: capitalist space can only be valuable to
humanity insofar as it facilitates the negation of capital; insofar as
it becomes the venue for abolishing value as the mediation between the
production and distribution of use-values.
Until the overthrow of capitalism and the rise of worker and community
councils to democratically organize space, space-for-humanity can only
be achieved through the transcendence of capital-space through
organization and generalized occupation.
There are many ways to appropriate space. The sit-in is a tactic that
has been well applied in past struggles. There are still situations
where it is worthwhile as a defensive tactic. However, it must be
stated that there is a fundamental difference between the defensive
sit-in and the offensive occupation. The sit-in entails blocking the
normal functions of space in order to gain recognition for a political
cause. Occupation, on the other hand, requires no recognition from
power. Occupation-for-itself is power: the power to transform the
narrow instrumentality of capitalist space; the power to abolish
exchange-value and monopoly rent; the power to farm fallow land or
utilize foreclosed houses; the power to open up space to those who
have none; the power to abolish exploitation; to form workers’
councils; to socialize production.
Occupation is the power of ordinary women and men to organize their
lives on their own terms.
However, just like insurrection, occupation can not succeed in
isolation. Nor can occupiers be content with a single street, squat,
block, college building, factory or borough.
When the wave of occupations begin, from
Greece to New York to Santa Cruz to Johannesburg to Beijing, those within space-made-free will
craft out of the cruel detritus of capital many mighty fortresses of
negation and affirmation. The crest will grow to a tide as workers,
students and communities create those novel conditions across space
and time that will be both the content and the form of universal
struggle. This tide will swell to a torrent and wipe away the stained
fabric of spectacle, alienation and dispossession.
So let us here and now inaugurate another step towards the birth of
generalized freedom from capital and constraint. Let us here and now
militate, propagandize, organize and occupy again and again and again!
In the glorious swoon of our myriad actions, let our bodies and minds
once more be the instruments that manipulate nature; as opposed to our
bodies and minds being objects mediated through machines. Let us take
control over our lives and our reality. We will occupy absolutely
everything, and finally, when we are completely draped in the fabric
of everything we know, this world will warp and reconfigure itself
with every move we make; space and time will obediently contort to the
instant of our gestures, a metabolism with nature that supersedes even
that which capitalism enabled; a metabolism that can only be shaped by
our communal will and can only be measured by the speed of our
This is the form and content of our struggle. This is the marriage of
theory and praxis. This is a social war with no relent and a means
with no end.
For those with no stake in the prevailing order – the working class,
the homeless, the dispossessed, the students, the farmers – this moment is the
next note to the crescendo of a song. Together, we are reaching out to others
in struggle to build a massive collectivity that will strike in
concert. This is the symphony in which every woman and man is a
We fight for ourselves, our families, our friends. This fight is
connected to our workplaces, communities and spaces.
We also fight for the past – our ancestors – those who have pulled the same levers as
we, who have spent their lives as empty as we. We fight for
redemption, not just of us-now but the redemption of all the dead. The
dead who spent their time in different prisons. The dead who fought
in daily wars untold and unmemorialized. The dead who were sucked dry
and stand before us everyday as constant capital. The dead who call
us now to revive their struggle and start anew.
Only that historian will have the gift of fanning the spark of hope in
the past who is firmly convinced that even the dead will not be safe
from the enemy if he wins.
Workers and students, in this generalized crisis of capitalism, we
will constantly search for the fractures in the system and attack them
with all of our might. Now is the time to use all of our weapons: the
strike, the rally, the propaganda, the fires, all the diverse and
joyful expressions of our reason and our rage.
Above all, we must occupy the fractures, occupy the space between and
inside institutions, overturn markets, agitate in communities, and
arrest all the circuits of capital. We must, in essence, occupy space
We must act not just to stop the functions of the system,
nor to merely displace the detritus of this rotting world, but to
simultaneously destroy and create: to allow the birth of a new world
so pregnant within the womb of the old.
In lives so totally subsumed by the logic of capital, revolution can
only possibly mean a total rupture from the past. Let us not view
this as simply the most recent of world crises of capital, but the
Take over the campus. Take over the city. END CAPITAL.
New School Schwarz und Rot,
Antithesis Collective (NEFAC)
24 September 2009
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
College Park Students for a Democratic Society
Students for Sensible Drug Policy
Terps for Choice
Students for Justice in Palestine
It is inspiring to see our comrades in struggle taking direct action for change that is desperately needed in the world. The united States is the richest country in the world, yet our youth are not encouraged to educate themselves in our universities. The concentration of wealth benefits the capitalist class, while putting workers and students second. In fact students aren’t even 2nd priority under capitalism, they are simply not a priority at all.
This generation of college students will not stand for the degradation of education. Working class students depend on a college education just to pay off their loan and earn a living wage. If our youth are expected to live the American Dream, then higher education should be a RIGHT, not a privilege for the wealthy.
Students must take action now, as our education rights are under attack. Our country have bailed out the banks with billions of dollars of our money, it is high time that education become a priority, and we bail out our students, and our very future.
Congratulations to our comrades in California who are struggling against some of the worst conditions in the United States. A student movement to fight education cuts is springing up across the country, we have seen the effects of capitalism in our schools, we have seen 8 wears of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we are now seeing the budget cuts to our own future because of it.
The cutback resistance movement is rapidly becoming a powerful force at universities across the country, thank you California for inspiring direct action in this important struggle. – SDS Milwaukee (sdsmke.com)
Friday, September 25, 2009
We stand beside the students of the UC Santa Cruz occupation. Here at San Francisco State we can attest to the futility of a strategy grounded around petitioning Sacramento and begging for benevolence from politicians who, at best, could care less about the havoc they are wreaking and at worst, see these cuts as necessary structural adjustments that should have been made a long time ago.
Over the years we have seen dramatic fee increases and layoffs. Alongside this, we’ve watched massive “fax-ins” to the governator, letter-writing campaigns and bus rides to Sacramento. The result? The dismantling of our campus has quickened, and the students to whom the aforementioned strategies have been touted as “the answer” stand confused by politicians inability to “understand” the damage their cuts are inflicting. We applaud the students of UC Santa Cruz not just for taking back what is rightfully theirs, but for issuing a call that stands in stark contrast to these strategies.
Indeed, the time for appealing to politicians is over. We look around and recognize the power we must appeal to is all around us. It exists in the students we sit next to in class, struggling under the weight of student loans and minimum wage jobs. It exists in the tired and frustrated faces of our teachers working far too much, for far too little pay, and little to no job security. It exists in the workers at our campuses, the custodial staff, the clerical workers, and food servers. It exists in the working-class communities that surround our school, who’ve toiled and struggled grasping for an American dream rooted in the illusion that education is an equalizing force–that our public education system offers everyone the opportunity of upward mobility–if they want it badly enough.
Our power lies in our understanding that as this economic crisis deepens, that illusion is being increasingly exposed as the sham that is and always has been. Education in this country has always been, for the most part, stratified along class and racial lines. It has always readied people to take their places in our hierarchical capitalist society.
The areas of exception– the spaces and departments, the teachers and classes, which have not functioned to serve this purpose, owe their presence to struggle. We at San Francisco State know this well. We are approaching the 41st anniversary of the 1968 San Francisco State Student Strike, the longest student strike in U.S. history. This strike, lead by the Black Student Union and the Third World Liberation Front, won San Francisco State our college of Ethnic Studies, the first of its kind.
We returned to school this Fall to find that our Ethnic Studies Resource Center had been closed, and that the Ethnic Studies budget had been cut in half. The gains of students who heroically occupied our administration building, launched militant strikes and faced skull-cracking riot police are under attack. People around us hold up our righteous 1968 legacy, while simultaneously advocating liberal approaches that in some instances would amount to our complicity if we were to accept the heinous terms of this debate. We refuse these terms and point to UC Santa Cruz, Chicago Windows and Doors, New School, NYU, the uprisings and occupations that occurred across Europe recently, as well as the heroic struggles in Oaxaca. Santa Cruz, NYU and New School, the burgeoning occupation movement across the U.S. are refusals of the idea popularly propagated that the days of militant, radical resistance and struggle are long gone, antiquated notions that should be celebrated and looked at with romantic nostalgia.
No, we see UC Santa Cruz as the continuation of the struggle that was waged in 1968 at SFSU, as well as a continuation of every struggle throughout history where students have played a role in inspiring the imagination of general society– students who did not ask how can we get a better deal as students, but instead dared to wage struggle and demand a different world altogether.
We stand in solidarity with the students of UC Santa Cruz who have not waited for the approval of student government and student organizations who may mean well but whose strategy of petitioning and letter writing must be refuted as strongly as the logic that underlies it, the idea that all we are fighting for is more accessible public education. No, we are done with the atomistic, individualistic, single-issue ideas of struggle that refuse to see the bigger picture. This is not just about education. These cuts are an attack on the entire working class as a whole, across California. We stand with the students of UC Santa Cruz who refuse to barter within the twisted logic of the current debate, where sectors are compelled to compete amongst each other over diminishing scraps while multi-million dollar corporations who profit from our work are given tax breaks.
We need a militant, radical resistance movement on an unprecedented scale unified across the UC’s, California State Universities and City colleges. We must become a movement that does not just focus on student issues, but a movement that sees our struggle intricately linked to that of the working class. To talk about the economic crisis and only organize around student issues, would be shameful at a time of massive foreclosures and unemployment. How can we organize around solely education cuts when the government is cutting HIV/AIDS medicine funding, life-saving health and social services for the sick and elderly, pre-natal care programs, domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, school lunches, and breakfast programs, and the rest of it?
We must resist the temptation to see ourselves as students fighting for solely student issues. We must begin seeing ourselves as part of a larger struggle against this dehumanizing capitalist system that attacks us all. Thank you, UC Santa Cruz students for throwing down the gauntlet. We hear your call for escalation, and echo it. Students across California, will we stand by, constrained by the politics of the possible, while we watch the gains of 40 years of popular struggle are reversed and destroyed?
We stand in solidarity with the students of UC Santa Cruz. To students everywhere we declare: WE NEED YOUR HELP. Reach out to us! Help us reach out to you! Lets continue this, let’s generalize, and let’s escalate! Let’s move forward toward multiple occupations held simultaneously, california-wide coordinated student strikes, shutdowns and pickets. Lets get to the point where we are having these actions so often we can do them spontaneously, repeatedly, and gain momentum as we go along! We can do it, but we need each other. Get at us! Lets go!
In hyphee solidarity,
Student Unity & Power
San Francisco State University
from Santa Cruz to NYC we want fucking everything
Declaration of Student Solidarity
Students, Youth, Workers, People of Color, and all Oppressed Peoples are being forced to absorb the crisis of Wall Street. We are being attacked and Wall Street and Washington are trying to make us pay for their crisis. Their plan is to cut our public programs, attack our social support systems, attack our families with mass layoffs, and expand the war on workers and the poor. The conditions that Students and Youth are faced with are just the beginning of what we will experience as we enter the world as workers. In this common interest, Connecticut Students Against the War issues the following statement:
Students and Youth all over the world face tuition increases, firings of staff workers, adjunct, and non-tenured faculty, cuts to programs and classes, expansion of class sizes in college and the public school system, cuts in essential programs, a general decrease in opportunities for employment, the Economic Draft and growing military influence in Youth Programs and schools.
In Connecticut, our public schools are facing drastic cuts threatening the jobs of an estimated 1500 teachers and paraprofessionals, threats to unions contracts, the closure of several extracurricular programs, and the halt in school purchases of needed supplies. This threatens the jobs of these workers and the quality of each student’s education as class sizes grow, work hours increase, supplies drop, and as the crisis deepens.
At the same time that we receive no relief from our debts, while the government bails out the institutes who are responsible for the crisis, while it continues to fund illegal wars and occupations around the world. We have become victims of a crisis that we could not prevent and over which we have no control to reverse.
We as Connecticut Students Against the War declare opposition to tuition increases, staff reductions, forced work increases, abandonment of children and students, attacks on union contracts, cuts to academic programs and classes, and any present or future disciplinary measures by administrations against students struggling for justice.
We call for the canceling of all student debt, an expansion of the education system, an expansion of employment opportunities for youth and workers to include truly green jobs, an expansion of government aid to all who seek education, and a reduction of tuition costs to increase access and affordability to higher education. We call for students in the public education system and at the college level to unite with their communities to resist all cuts and to demand an end to the war on workers and the poor to make us pay for the crimes of high finance.
We declare support for and stand in solidarity with struggles against cuts in education and social support systems.
We declare our support and stand in solidarity with UC Students who are standing up against the regressive policies of the university and the state of California.
We Closed Down those Banks, Baby, in solidarity with our comrades in Pittsburgh
On Friday, September 25, the ATMs and doors of three banks in New Orleans' French Quarter were sealed shut by the New Orleans Political Fashion Police. Fuck banks. So ugly.
These actions were in solidarity with the occupiers at UC Santa Cruz and our comrades in Pittsburgh. We also did this for New Orleans, in the initial phase of our project to expel capital from our beautiful home.
This ain't no fall trend. Increasingly, righteously bad behavior becomes a part of our everyday routine. Thinking, talking, making - these things are insufficient in a society that co-opts any and everything except that which attacks directly.
There is no reason to be scared. You, too, can fight.
Dressed to kill,
The New Orleans Political Fashion Police
Students rise up, revolt, and reclaim their school. Together with workers and faculty, they walk out of class and don’t beg, don’t ask, but demand in unequivocal terms that the State give back their university. The call resonates on every campus. There are people in every classroom waiting to hear such a call, whenever and from wherever it may come. Today it was from California, soon it may emerge from others’ lips, with other words perhaps, but in similar spirits, with similar rage.
This is our hope. This is how, we believe, things should be. The university is ours, each campus, each building, by right belongs to those who work in them, who teach in them, and to us who study and live in them. Education is ours, by right. It is not to be doled out and denied according to legislators’ and administrators’ whims. It is not to be suspended at the rhythm of capitalism’s failure. Education is not, and should never be, a privilege.
But as you are showing, students refuse to be controlled. We refuse to be complacent consumers and victims of a “market” pitted perpetually against us. We refuse to have a line drawn before us- of gender, class, race, sexuality, or any other form of privilege, of unpayable tuition hikes, of asphyxiating budget cuts. Petitions, protests, walk outs, negotiations, and occupations are only the beginning of a fight that will, by whatever means necessary, be decided on the part of the students.
UC Santa Cruz and every school in the University of California system is your school. Each and every school, public or private, is our school. The workers’, the students’, and the faculty’s. Occupations are not theatrical stunts for media attention, or powerless angry outbursts by activists, or even simple and routine “protests.” They are fundamentally, radically, reminders to ourselves and to all students who are seeing their universities under attack: there is another way. Another university and another world are possible and necessary.
Occupations and protests, all student movements are the forceful eruption of a crisis. The crisis we feel daily. The crisis millions face at work, in class, on the streets, at the dinner table. The incompatibility of our needs and desires on one hand, and the present condition, imposed upon us from above, on the other, is catastrophic. And so we revolt.
The present occupation, and the wave of student protest that is arising is an answer to the question forced by this crisis, the question we have been asking ourselves for a while now: “WHOSE SCHOOL?” Thanks, UC Santa Cruz and all UC students in resistance, for giving us such a fucking good, loud answer.
From the east coast to the west in love and solidarity,
A Collection of Radical Students at Columbia University
Students for a Democratic Society, International Socialist Organization, Student Coalition on Expansion and Gentrification, LUCHA Columbia, Students Against Imperialism, Columbia Coalition Against the War
New York City, September 25, 2009
Dear colleagues in California,
we, students and citizens gathered on the 46th Plenum held on September 22nd have voted unanimous support and solidarity with organised students of the University of California in your fight against budget cuts.
After listening about your problems with shortage of teachers, canceled classes and forcing to early graduation we have seen how things might develop here in the future if we don’t continue our fight. Your example is just a piece in the global situation of student rebellions against neoliberal politics we are starting to comprehend and your power to fight the situation serves as an added motivation.
We share a common concern regarding the way politics have let go of the control in the sectors where commercialization and market interests can hurt people the most. We started our fight in the education but, same as you, recognise this to be just a piece of the larger problem. Our goals are the same and our methods similar. Our last action was a five week long occupation of the Faculty of humanities here in Zagreb and we wholeheartedly recommend the method of organising it, direct democracy.
The support of your teachers and public workers who see this as their fight, too, can serve ours as a good example. We can see a revolutionary power in you and hope that you see it too. The problem is not to be solved in one day but in a continuous fight and we hope that you will soldier on.
Hoping to hear about you joining us in the Global Week of action this November, we send you our solidarity.
Independent student initiative for the right to free education
DC Students for a Democratic Society stands in solidarity with the Occupation of UC Santa Cruz. The Student movement in the US is growing stronger and stronger, its the actions of campuses like Santa Cruz, U of Rochester, NYU, and New School that inspire students across the country and the world. We are indebted to you for all that you are currently doing, not only for students and workers in California, but for students and workers across the country. We look forward to your victory, and we look forward to linking student struggles across the country with each other, and linking our struggle as students to the struggles of all people in motion for justice.
Make Santa Cruz Total Destroy
DC Students for a Democratic Society
To the UC Santa Cruz students:
We at the Rouge Forum applaud, admire, and support your efforts to help form a unified movement with the people of California.
The Rouge Forum is a group of 4500 educators, students, and parents seeking a democratic society. We are concerned with questions like: How can we teach against racism, nationalism and sexism in an increasingly authoritarian and undemocratic society? How can we gain enough real power to keep our ideals AND teach? Whose interests do schools serve in a society that is ever more unequal? We want to learn about equality, democracy and social justice as we simultaneously struggle to bring those into practice. (http://www.rougeforum.org/, http://www.therougeforum.blogspot.com/, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rouge_Forum).
In the German Ideology, Marx submits, “The class which has the means of material production at its disposal has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas.”
The connection and simultaneous control of this material and mental production comes into ever-sharper relief anytime we are confronted by our corporate media. The level of discourse is less than satisfying. And, frankly, frightening. Pick the issue: health care, immigration, worker's rights, war, education. While all of the issues are truly critical, the last is particularly problematic since control of schools is a final domino to fall in the imperial quest to completely (re)fashion our reality. Remove critical thinking, make children compete against each other for perceived scarce resources (standardized tests), use the results to reify hierarchies based on social constructions like race and gender and class status, make teachers compete against one another for perceived scarce resources (merit pay), boil dissent down to participation in (mostly) corrupt unions, excuse and/or cover-up the school to military and prison pipelines, monitor and make impotent our schools of education through if-it-wasn't-so-sinister-it-would-be-comical accrediting bodies like NCATE, and regulate truth. This has been the agenda. And, it has already buried itself deep into our educational psyche.
Your willingness to continue to confront this reality beyond the one day UC walkout on September 24 is an illustration of both a more deepened consciousness and the work we will all have to do to protect public education toward the creation of a more whole and healthy society.
To occupiers of UCSC and participants in the walk-outs and other actions in the UC schools:
We at the University of Washington stand in solidarity with you. We are custodians, tradesfolks, graduate students, unemployed youth, undergrads, recent graduates, staff; we are women, people of color, immigrants, persons with disabilities, and queer folks.
As we work to build a strong movement against abuse and retaliation to working folks here at the UW, we draw enormous strength from your actions. At UW, we who have been affected by targeted abuses which have been legitimized by by budget cuts and we upon whose backs the rich are getting richer in this time of economic “crisis”, are fighting back with a vengeance. We know we are getting to something because we have been targeted by the administration, who have used Police to target activists, workers, and journalists in order to attempt to silence us as they continue to cover up racist and patriarchal attacks. We will not be silenced; we will only raise our voices.
Your actions have shown that must stand up to a system that uses crisis to push forward oppression; that must unite for common goals across job descriptions and divisions the University enforces us to keep us docile; that we must refuse to participate in the oppression of the state and of the University.
We support you as you fight, and stand with you in your actions.
University of Washington
d.insurg [at] gmail.com
The Goldsmiths branch of University College Union (UCU) in London, UK wishes to express our support for staff and students who have walked out to protest the cuts, tuition fee hikes and denigration of workng and learning conditions at the University of California, as well as those at the University of California Santa Cruz who are occupying one of the buildings on campus.
The issues you are dealing with in California (massive cutbacks to education and public services, the marketisation of education, the destruction of access to education for all but the most privileged)are global issues, as we are also experiencing them on this side of the Atlantic.
The fact that you have taken such a bold stand is inspiring, and also will hopefully encourage others to both take action, and also to ask some very urgent questions about what we want education to be.
Solidarity, all the best and good luck
Goldsmiths University College Union
Banana Slug Love
We, students of the City University of New York (CUNY), share the struggle with the students of UC Santa Cruz and the wider California State edufactory. In New York State just as in California, politicians (state) and business (capital) have seized the crisis for their own advantage. Among the host of vicious attacks on the poor and oppressed that have been caused by this crisis, the neoliberalization of the university has been extended and deepened through defunding our education and reverting our schools to places that are only accessible to the wealthy and privileged.
At CUNY, we have a long history of struggle. In 1969, Black and Puerto Rican students, joined by Asian and white students, lead an occupation of City College (the flagship college within CUNY). The occupation forced open the doors of privilege and won Open Admissions for all of CUNY, extending access to a tuition-free university, and established ethnic studies programs at every school. This occupation ushered in a momentous shift in the race and class composition of CUNY’s student body and radically transformed CUNY into an institution enrolling students predominantly from communities of color and the working class. These changes embodied the struggle against the Keynesian University: rather than solely focusing on the training of future wage-workers, the university also became a space for self-determination and community-development for those most subjugated by oppressive power structures.
These gains have been under attack ever since. In New York, the fiscal crisis of 1975 was manufactured as a way to restore capitalist class power (the rate of profit, the imposition of forced work, the logic of the commodity-form) and one of the first targets was CUNY, where in 1975 tuition was charged for the first time in the history of the institution (something which must be understood as connected to the movements of 6 years prior).
Today, in the aftermath of this global financial crisis, capital (and the state) is again attempting to force us to pay for their crisis of control, their falling rates of profit and the evaporation of their stock portfolios (a black hole of fictitious capital). At CUNY we face continued city and state defunding, tuition increases, closed tenure-track searches, cancelled classes, and adjunct lay-offs.
Our response to the current crisis: OCCUPY NOW! Occupation not only forced open the doors of CUNY to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, but it saved the spaces that students of color fought for through decades of struggle, including schools such as Hostos, Medgar Evers, and York, which the City threatened to close during the 1970s fiscal crisis. Occupation also successfully prevented or reduced tuition increases in the 1980s and 1990s. And today, students at universities throughout the world chant, “The University Will Not Pay For Your Crisis.” Struggles and occupations circulate from Santa Cruz to New York, France to South Africa, Italy to Finland, Croatia to England, South Korea to Greece.
We do not wish to save the existing social contract; rather we fight for an explosion of the current conditions. We seek to liberate (or destroy!) the university-space in order to affirm our collective responsibility we have to one another, across all identities, to destroy the systems which pull us apart that oppress some in favor of others.
Occupation is an intervention, with the explicit intention of rupturing the existing flows of power in order to upend social relations, restructure them, and transform the spaces we occupy into a world that we desire.
Occupation recognizes we are the antagonism, we have the momentum, we can refuse, we can fight. And we are strong. And they will come to know that as we come to know it.
We dance in solidarity with our Santa Cruz comrades and return to the demand to claim these university-spaces as our own, as everybody’s, as social space.
We shall dance on the grave of the neoliberal university.
Students of the City University of New York
Today, Sept. 26 the Defend our Education group held a planning meeting with over a hundred educators, students, and staff representing UCs, CSUs, Community Colleges, and K-12. The occupation statement from Santa Cruz was read in part to the assembly. The Assembly voted overwhelmingly to endorse the Santa Cruz occupation.(all in favor except for 2 abstentions)
“Defend Our Education” was a meeting held at San Francisco State University. The meeting was called to organize CSU, UCs, K-12 and Community Colleges against the cuts in education. At the meeting, a number of actions were proposed and endorsed. The Santa Cruz occupation was the major ongoing action that was endorsed by the group. Another outcome of the meeting was to participate and prepare for a massive turnout for the upcoming Oct. 26 conference at UC Berkeley, during which plans will be made for major concerted collective action to fight the dismantling of public education.
In the face of crisis as usual, individuals have come together not to protest. Not to ask for things from those who buy and sell our lives as abstracts. But to take what is ours. Capital has dictated our every interaction through alienation and competition for too long. Now with the cracks of capitalism ever salient, it is our time to rise with hammers in hand, smash the prison it has created and move together in action to create the future. There will be those who defend their privilege. We must make them fear the neck tie around their necks, for it is the noose of their destruction. There will be those who criticize action while sitting in a Starbucks blogging about “change” through voting. They will never be moved until the bricks come through the window shattering their world of lies.
It is inspiring to know that from the UK to New York City, from Denmark to California the people have had enough. We stand in solidarity with the UCSC occupiers and all those who rise up against the oppressive reality that is capitalism. When we want something we will take it… take it back from those who took it from us. We will destroy anything in our path to liberation, even ourselves. Kill the policeperson in your head and stand to fight. We will not be silent! We will not be passive! We will take action! The time has come for us to occupy our lives, occupy our schools, occupy our factories, OCCUPY EVERYTHING! The occupations in New York were not the sparks that ignited this fire, but the stoking of the flames that are burning capitalism in the here and now that is our history. Where there is fire… WE WILL CARRY GASOLINE! Burning today to build tomorrow.
From the Belly of the beast,
I read the translation through the athens.indymedia.org site where it was also copied.
Just about anything you are willing to take over and occupy you will find moral support at least here. After what happened here last December the general community of radical left and anarchist movement has been under the gun of vicious attacks by the now united racist right and police.
Little that they know is that their actions is what feeds into a more potent movement.
In Greece for a long time there has been a university asylum, meaning outside forces have no right to enter a campus and activists can stay safe but surrounded on a campus. Since last year this has become a political issue where even the parliamentary left has been maintaining a distance while conservatives try to abolish this institution.
You do have support here but what you are trying to achieve is what has been a fundamental human right here for decades, even through a 7 year military regime 67-74 it held. It is about time you decided to throw armed cops out of a campus. Public land should be governed by the public not the oligarchy of fascists.
As a bus driver on the UCSC campus, I fully support this action. After watching the despicable “work” of Tom Vanni, Larry Pageler and Alisson Johnson attempt to destroy the campus transportation over the last year and a half, I am convinced that Blumencrawl is in deep with these corporate stooges. The only way to impress upon these cowards to show some integrity and grit is to show them that the majority of students and workers will have their voices heard. Bloomy’s voice box, Jim Burns, will tell you it’s for the survival of the UC system in an attempt to strike fear in voters minds. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, UC has billions in assets and this is the rainy day it was meant for. The kickbacks/influence peddlers have, for too long, been a parasitic influence on UCSC decisions. The city gets millions in revenue through a badly orchestrated contract with Metro where they double dip on student passenger fees and agreements between the city and the college are blatantly incestuous with UCSC keeping any stores, movie theaters, restaurants off campus in order to get the students into town to spend their money. They force freshman to be on a meal plan that is frequently unavailable. They have forced this situation through their blind ambitious greed and lies. If students hadn’t occupied McHenry Library in 1984, Nelson Mandela would still be in jail or dead. We forced UC to divest from South Africa helping to bring down Botha’s evil regime. Stand up and be counted. Stand with these students in solidarity. Stand up for the best public university in the world and support your friends, your peers, your courageous fellow students. You can be assured that myself and my fellow drivers here in Slugland are with you. Come on my bus and hand out flyers or just converse and get this conversation going. It is necessary. In Solidarity, Ken Keegan
Letter of solidarity from the University of Minnesota:
The occupation of UCSC is inspirational for all student-workers struggling for revolutionary change. Your occupation stands as a call for all of us to take the means of educational production into our own hands. Building constructively on the refusal expressed in the UC system-wide walkout, your occupation symbolizes, and at least temporarily enacts, the dream that another university is possible.
Like UCSC, the State of Minnesota and its University’s administration have and will continue to use the financial crisis for their own ends. They will continue to raise tuition, to increase fees, to cut the pay of the lowest-paid workers, to commodify higher education, and to reduce the experiences within it to a function of profitability.
But. ‘The public’ does not equal ‘the state’. The quality of educational experience is not measurable in dollars. Nor is it legitimated by corporate and military investment into our practices of research, teaching, and learning.
Your occupation stands against the university administrators’ bad-faith assumption that we need their expertise for governing our educational work and lives; it speaks to the intense impulse of refusal in all of us who desire to learn rather than submit to the capitalist rat race; it embodies a rejection of the neoliberal university and a replacement of it with a more beautiful and joyous one, where our educational energies will not be recuperated for profits or sacrificed in the name of a financial crisis. Instead, your occupation exemplifies an alternative: the creation of self-organizing modes of living, working, and learning. And while Yudof (former president of our own institution) says he’d prefer to see you in prison, you turn his prison of a university into a space for dance parties and radical democracy.
We respond to your call: spread the occupations and build affective relationships between our struggles; connect with those who are already creating self-governing commons within, across, and outside universities; break down and re-imagine the boundaries of universities to fit better with the lives we imagine in our revolutionary dreams; expand, intensify, and circulate our insurgent struggles until we take over the entirety of existing universities and make them our own in common.
Just as state and university administrators will continue to insist that this crisis is our crisis, we will continue to turn our backs to them while we reclaim, transform, and creatively destroy the spaces of higher learning, constituting new communities around educational projects that directly meet our needs and desires, without the mediation of bureaucracies or markets. In short, we too will not stop until we occupy everything,
The Committee on Revolutionizing the AcaDemy (ComRAD)
The University of Minnesota
While no amount of words and jargon can express the same level of solidarity as going on the offensive in our own university, we want to express our excitement at the continued occupation up North in Santa Cruz. The logic of occupation is a brilliant one, serving as both beginning and end, ends and means, tactic and goal.
In Irvine, the humanistic septic tank of California, we are similarly confronted with a society we want no part in. The University is our easiest escape route, but a lazy one; we suffer through this insufferable prison under the premise that a better world awaits us. But this better world we so eagerly anticipate is really the better world of revolution—the better world found in occupation. We daily go to class, to the dining hall, to work without knowing our neighbors, our comrades, ourselves. But in the walkout on Thursday, we found each other in the commons. Again, this was not so much an ends as a means.
There are no more easy answers, no more easy solutions. But our conditions have become so intolerable in this crisis of Capitalism that we are compelled to act. Whether our occupation—and there will be one!—lasts 5 minutes or 5 months, whenever it is, we are beginning to take back what is ours, what has always been ours. In this impoverished university, we are no longer content with reforms or even restoration. When we realize that Foucault, Adorno, Fanon, or even Marx are absent from our classes; that ideas rooted in critical theory, postmodernism, feminism, and labor history are forced out of our faculties; that we need to read these texts on our own—we similarly realize that we no longer need the university, the university instead needs us. We want this machine to just die already, we are tired of being processed and spat out, drugged and hypnotized, into Capitalist culture. We have no more demands nor any interest in negotiations, we want everything and we want nothing.
As your occupation continues, deepens, and expands, we wish you our deepest regards in the struggle. You’ll hear more from SoCal soon, we promise!
From deep behind enemy lines,
Radical Student Union at UCI
"Some radical kids in Chicago hung a banner on UIC’s campus as a small sign of solidarity to the kids at UCSC, and an even smaller sign of things to come. We don’t demand a thing, we will have it all."
Solidarity with UCSC students and workers from the International Socialist Organisation of Aotearoa/New Zealand. The financial crisis has starkly underlined the international dimension of the fight for a just society. Students here have faced year-on-year fee rises for more than two decades, as well as rising rent and food bills. While the early 1990s saw the occupation of university and polytechnic administration blocks throughout this country, at present, depoliticisation, punctuated by drunken riots, rules. As in 1968, Californian students are once again in the vanguard of the struggle for a better world. We’ll do our best to bring your occupation home.
Kia kaha, kia toa, kia manawanui
International Socialist Organisation, Aotearoa NZ
We at Brandeis University stand in solidarity with the students, faculty, and staff of the University of California as they take sorely-needed action against a corrupt, anti-democratic regime. The actions of the UC governing board indicate that their concern is to auction off the public education system for private profit. Resistance is thus necessary, proper, and morally imperative. We must protect one of the few successful public higher education programs in the United States.
While Brandeis is not in the same dire straits as UCSC, there are some parallels which should concern us all. Under the cover of the economic crisis, our university administration and Board of Trustees (which includes no voting student, staff, or faculty members) has increased tuition, threatened several departments, and expanded enrollment to the point of overcrowding. While steadfastly claiming to champion the liberal arts, they have sought to shutter our prized art museum. They have added a pathetic Business major, with hopes of attracting a conservative clientele to be complacent students and wealthy alumni. An unwritten administrative policy of “delay and obscure” ensures that critical announcements and news trickles down to us through rumor and press release, confusing an already disempowered campus.
Considering our weak and divided state, the actions of the University of California community give us the assurance that action is still possible. We cheer you on as you end the occupation of the university by corporate interests and posturing politicians and bring about the occupation of the university by the people. Unified action to overthrow oppressive power structures must no longer be the exception, but our everyday struggle.
Out of the classrooms, into the streets!
Mad love and solidarity,
Brandeis Students for a Democratic Society
HSU Statement of Solidarity
We the students of HSU stand in solidarity with the students at UCLA, UCSC, SFSU, CSUF, UC Berkeley, NYU and New School who have organized and taken actions in protest of the budget cuts. Compelled by our own collective consciousness, We have come together to take direct action against injustice, inequality and rampant racism, sexism, classism and all other forms of discrimination. We will not wait for approval. We do not ask to be legitimized by the same authority that has long governed what and how we learn, where and how we work, and thus, who and how we are. We do not seek outside representation. We demand the right to stand up, speak out, and be heard. The needs we express are ones which all people deserve. However, we will not yield, we will not kneel, and we will not beg.
This so-called economic crisis is in fact a form of mass theft. How is it that we could have so much taken away while the government funds two illegitimate wars that the American people do not want, and rewards corporate mismanagement of money (bloated CEO salaries) with bailouts? It would only take 15% of the military spending budget to fund free education kindergarten through graduate school for every American! In the midst of unemployment, foreclosures, and cuts to social services we are witnessing the largest transfer of wealth to a ruling elite in human history. The vampirism of capitalism has sustained this plutocracy at the expense of the working class. We refuse to limit our organizing to student issues, when we know that it is the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy as a whole that we must struggle against if we are to see any real, lasting change.
We demand transparency in the allocation of taxpayer money. We demand a reprioritization of the budget from incarceration to education. We demand that social services come first, before extravagant payouts to representatives who misrepresent our interests. We demand the right to self-governance and self-determination. We say HELL NO to the furloughs! HELL NO to faculty being underpaid for priceless work! HELL NO to the dwindling of campus resources! We say HELL NO to the wars! HELL NO to the criminalization of people of color and the poor! Hell no to the oppression of LGBTQI!
We know that another world is possible, because we’ve seen what amazing feats a determined community can accomplish. We salute the heroic rebels of Greece, Oaxaca, Chiapas, across the CSUs and UCs, NYU, New School, and all who participated in the student strikes and occupations across America during the Vietnam War – including here at HSU in 1970.
With the realization that we are not alone in our struggle, we are humbled. We call on everyone to unite, to strike, and to take the power back.
Pissed Off Student Collective of HSU
For almost 10 years now, I’ve been connected to either NYU or UCSC, as both grad student and teacher. A big chunk of this time was spent on picket lines demanding just conditions for campus workers– newly jeopardized with each new shady contract negotiation– while simultaneously trying to democratize and radicalize our own UAW local; or at planning meetings to intervene in military recruitment efforts at campus job fairs, challenge the UC system’s longterm contract to run the US nuclear weapons program, demand justice for immigrants, and protest the military occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza and the West Bank.
(Let me just digress to say that’s one thing I find disturbing about the rhetoric of occupation: to me that word conjures up the image of military invasions and settler colonists. I’d rather reclaim, liberate, transform. Anyway…)
So I take pleasure in the news of the escalation of resistance to a perpetual crisis, resistance that’s been building irreversibly at UCSC for as long as I can remember. Having also witnessed reclamations of space at NYU and New School, I feel lucky to be in a position to appreciate the viral spread of a radical tactic, and the approach of a collective– continent-wide!– moment when enough is finally enough. Good riddance to silent helplessness and frustration.
The other side of this in-between-ness is that I’m no longer a grad student; I’m faculty, and as such I haven’t quite figured out what my role in this struggle will look like for the next bit. As for many new and untenured teachers, the academic future is uncertain. That’s what I expected, and it’s not my main concern. I DO know I want to continue to be out in the streets and in action. I do know I want to be part of relations and processes of education that are NOT geared to the accumulation of capital, NOT feeding an imperial war machine, NOT sacrificing equity, accessibility, quality to the institution’s profit and the state’s skewed priorities, NOT reproducing an unequal and alienating society; but that work to reduce rather than reinforce hierarchy, to liberate rather than stunt creative potential, to apply critical thinking to the real (not theoretical) destruction of systems of oppression, to expand interactive autonomy, to challenge power, to fight for sustainable justice.
In solidarity and hope,
Institute for Anarchist Studies, Historians Against War, NYU Interdisciplinary Humanities & Social Thought