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Indybay Feature

Budget Cut Protests Spread Across Ca

by Todd C
Article covering state-wide campus protests and strikes

Struggle heats up in California

Todd Chretien reports on protests at UCLA and campuses across the University of California system during three days of strikes and actions by students and staff.

November 20, 2009

NEARLY 2,000 students from University of California campuses--including Berkeley, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Riverside, Irvine and San Diego--converged on UCLA's campus November 19 to confront the UC Board of Regents as it voted to increase tuition by 32 percent next school year.

Several hundred students surrounded the Regents' meeting, chanting, "UC Regents, I see racists!" and "Lay off Yudof," referring to UC President Mark Yudof. Workers and students disrupted the meeting, and 14 people were arrested, as large numbers of police lined up to defend the Regents.

California Highway Patrol officers were even brought on campus for crowd control. Three Black students were reportedly Tasered in altercations with campus police.

After the Regents voted for the fee hike, students held a die-in, blocking the busy intersection of Wilshire and Westwood for several minutes. But protests began earlier in the day, even before the sun came up, when around 30 students occupied Campbell Hall with a banner reading, "In solidarity with university occupations everywhere."

The action came in the middle of a three-day system-wide protest, anchored around a strike by members of the University Professional and Technical Employees union at UCLA and UC Berkeley, which was supported by Coalition of University Employees union members and others.

On Wednesday, around 500 students, faculty and staff blockaded the main entrances to UC Santa Cruz, and more than 150 students occupied Kresge Town Hall in solidarity with the actions in LA. On Thursday, over 250 occupied the Clark Kerr administration building.

At UC Berkeley, two busloads of students from the UC Davis campus joined over 2,000 Berkeley students, staff and faculty at a rally and march to send off a bus caravan to join the protests at UCLA. Later in the day, some 200 students occupied a building at UC Davis, and police were threatening mass arrests late Thursday night.

At Berkeley, in an ominous development, police have charged a student for "incitement to riot," which could be a felony charge--and they moved aggressively to break up an attempted occupation of the Engineering Library. Police also threatened students with arrest if they erected a tent city in historic Sproul Plaza, the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement during the 1960s.

The police even shut down a planned teach-in in the Bear's Lair, a campus café--on the grounds that the students were not authorized to use the cafeteria for the purposes of an educational event.

In response, students on the strike planning committee have issued an emergency call for a rally and march to the UC police department on Friday to oppose police intimidation.

Action also spread beyond the UCs, as around 100 students at San Francisco State University occupied the administration building for the afternoon, disrupting campus business. Nearby, over 500 students at City College of San Francisco marched through the campus before confronting the vice chancellor to demand that the administration support the call for a March 4 statewide strike to defend public education.

The Regents' vote is certainly a defeat for the movement to defend public education. But the statewide response shows that the movement is growing--and points to a large mobilization for the March 4 statewide strike and day of action to defend public education.

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What you can do
Many of the week's activities are listed on the UC Solidarity [2] Web site. Students, staff, faculty and instructors in the UC system can sign a petition [3] showing their support for the strike.

For more on the October 24 organizing conference at UC Berkeley and the call for a March 4 strike and day of action for UC campuses, the California State University system, community colleges, and pre-K through 12th grade public education, see the California Campaign to Save Public Education [4] Web site.

John Osmond contributed to this article.
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Add Your Comments

Comments (Hide Comments)
by Avenge Kronstadt
Sadly, the ISO plays an extremely negative role in such struggles. Their hierarchical vanguardism is an hindrance rather than an inspiration to people's instinctive fighting spirit. In reality, they represent a bureaucratic approach, filling a historical role as liberal-opportunists. (so Todd, we're saying you're out of the Social-Democratic tradition of defending capitalism, so save your "red-baiting McCarthyite" comments for someone else)

At SF State, they opposed strikes, occupations and other acts of militancy, proposing instead a "10-person steering committee" that they could use Robert's Rules to dominate and control.

Check out "ISO Nuts: One Stop Activism and the Gentrification of the Left":

Avoid them whenever possible.

Ken "Avenge Kronstadt" Munoz
by An actual campus occupant
Am I the only one sick of seeing these disingenuous articles by authoritarian leftist groups attempting to co-opt and take credit for our actions?
I agree the ISO and similar organizations have been nothing but a hindrance to us.
Fuck this article and your attempts to steal our hard work and true sense of community from us.
by Todd C
Well, ISO members who are participating in and supporting occupations up and down the state will be surprised to learn they are "opposing" militant action like strikes and occupations. Let's try to keep our eyes on the prize, stopping the budget cuts, re-instating laid-off workers and stopping the corporatization of our public schools. If publishing an article in SW trying to publicize the wonderful actions taking place in Cali is a crime, then I'm guilty as charged.

In Solidarity,
by Stormy Petrel
Wrong again, Chairman Todd.

At SF State, right before the October 24th conference at UC Berkeley, the ISO cadre were scoffing at groups like SUP who were calling for an indefinite general strike. Showing their true bureaucratic colors, the ISO operatives were following marching orders from the Central Committee and countering with a proposal for a "10-person steering committee." That's lightyears from "supporting...strikes and occupations."

The ISO's opportunism is straight out of Kautsky's Social-Democrat gradualist-reformist playbook, only made modern with strict adherence to Robert's Rules -- a.k.a. parliamentary manipulations.

In Solidarity with the Previous Poster who wrote: "Fuck your elitist vanguard"!,

by Anti-Leftoid
I agree with the above critics of the ISO. "Support" for strikes does not include NOT voting for them in general assemblies when you have a chance to. "Support" for a strike does not mean instead voting for new forms of bureaucracy or useless marches and rallies. "Support" for a strike does not mean coming to a mass meeting representing only your organization's goals, with no respect to the mass meeting you attended where the vast majority voted for A SUSTAINED STRIKE. ISO talks a lot of rehearsed leftoid crap but their money ain't where their mouth is. Their days are numbered and the movement will be better off without them.
by Foucauldian Plateaus
ISO actions send a clear message that they have zero respect for the capabilities of the working class. I'm really starting to think that it's not just a matter of them having vestiges of Leninist vanguardism. Their behavior is more "up to date" in that it veers into post modernism. They are pomos in that their actions, manipulating meetings, blatantly lying to people they work with, stacking votes, ignoring input from non ISO cadre, etc. , all point to the fact that they simply don't see the working class as a revolutionary subject. Like pomos, they are IDEALISTIC, seeing themselves as the educated "subject" that will lead the masses even if they have to trick them into following their program or "discourse."

Look at Todd's opportunism as an example. He was the main coordinator for the George Galloway tour of the U.S. He was promoting Galloway for his "anti-war" views, even though it was well known that Galloway was a reformist, pro-state, pro-Soviet Union, Stalinist. WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH CLASS STRUGGLE? Nothing! The corruption this brings is sadly evident when we consider Galloway's recent outspoken support for the Iranian government clamp downs on dissent. Why? Because by doing so he is supporting "anti-imperialism." Anyone remember when the ISO was attacking people who refused to "support the Iraqi resistance." This is the lamest, crustiest, stupidest THIRD WORLDIST nonsense. It's crap identity politics.

Combine that with their open manipulation of any meeting they are able to control and we start to see this corrupt outfit has NOTHING TO DO WITH WORKING CLASS STRUGGLE.
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