The 45th Anniversary of the San Francisco State Strike, Labor and the Lessons for Today
The Turning Point - SF State '68 Strike (56 min.)
This is the 45th anniversary of the 6-month-long San Francisco State strike that established the first ethnic studies program and won support within the labor movement for a policy of open admissions. The ILWU Local 10 and ILWU Local 34 played an active part in supporting the strike. Today, the privatization of the California State University system along with the University of California and the growing attack on our public community colleges is directly threatening the entire working class, the 80% of us who sell our labor for less than $80,000 a year, as well as some of the middle class whose family income cannot afford $10,000 a year tuition, plus books and room and board, particularly Black and Latino along with Asian from having an education. Students under massive debt are turned into paupers even before they are able to graduate and many cannot afford to graduate at all. The destruction of a school system is the destruction of a society and that is what a serious labor movement must mobilize to stop now.
After the video, panelists will discuss the lessons of the strike and its relevance today in labor and the struggle to defend students and working people.
Initial Panelists: Jimmy Garret, former head of SF State Black Student Union (BSU); Dr. Ray Tomkins, former BSU striker and heath advocate in Bayview-Hunters Point; Terry Collins, former BSU striker and with KPOO Radio; Clarence Thomas, former BSU striker and ILWU Local 10 Executive Board member.
Strike Chronology and Demands of the Strikers at: http://www.library.sfsu.edu/exhibits/strike/case3-text.html
Original May 1968 Demands
1. An end to Air Force ROTC on campus
2. Retention of Professor Juan Martinez
3. Programs to admit 400 ghetto students in the fall semester
4. The hiring of nine minority faculty members to help the minority students
The Ten BSU Demands
◾ That all Black Studies courses being taught through various other departments be immediately made part of the Black Studies Department, and that all the instructors in this department receive full-time pay.
◾ That Dr. Nathan Hare, Chairman of the Black Studies Department, receive a full professorship and a comparable salary according to his qualifications.
◾ That there be a Department of Black Studies which will grant a Bachelor's Degree in Black Studies; that the Black Studies Department, the chairman, faculty and staff have the sole power to hire faculty and control and determine the destiny of its department.
◾ That all unused slots for Black students from Fall, 1968 under the Special Admissions Program be filled in Spring, 1969.
◾ That all Black students wishing so be admitted in Fall, 1969.
◾ That twenty (20) full-time teaching positions be allocated to the Department of Black Studies.
◾ That Dr. Helen Bedesem be replaced from the position of Financial Aids Officer, and that a Black person be hired to direct it, that Third World people have the power to determine how it will be administered.
◾ That no disciplinary action will be administered in any way to any students, workers, teachers, or administrators during and after the strike as a consequence of their participation in the strike.
◾ That the California State College Trustees not be allowed to dissolve the Black programs on or off the San Francisco State College campus.
◾ That George Murray maintain his teaching position on campus for the 1968-69 academic year.
The Five TWLF Demands
◾ That a school of Ethnic Studies for the ethnic groups involved in the Third World be set up with the students in each particular ethnic organization having the authority and control of the hiring and retention of any faculty member, director and administrator, as well as the curriculum in a specific area study.
◾ That fifty (50) faculty positions be appropriated to the School of Ethnic Studies, 20 of which would be for the Black Studies Program.
◾ That in the Spring Semester, the college fulfill its commitment to the non-white students in admitting those that apply.
◾ That to the Fall of 1969, all applications of non-white students accepted.
◾ That George Murray, and any other faculty person chosen by non-white people as their teacher, be retained in their position.
See also: http://www.library.sfsu.edu/about/collections/strike/ http://www.sfsu.edu/~ethnicst/ http://foundsf.org/index.php?title=S.F._STATE_STRIKE_1968-69_CHRONOLOGY
(photo of Don McAllister beaten by the police says it all about American "democracy." Democratic Mayor Joe Alioto sent the San Francisco Police Tactical Squad against the students and professors on strike. He sent the same goon squad against Kaiser Hospital strikers. The entire SF Bay Area was mobilized to walk the picketline at SF State as well as participate in fundraising events, including art auctions, for the strike fund. The professors went on strike and stayed on strike despite a court order to end their labor strike.) http://www.laborfest.net/2013/2013Films.htm#f28 http://www.laborfest.net/2013/2013schedule.htm