Indybay Regions North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area California United States International Americas Haiti Iraq Palestine Afghanistan
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature

Class Size and Class Struggle: Organizing Lessons from the UCSC Strike

by J. Brahinsky, A. Haider, S. Smith
“I appre­ci­ate the calm and pro­fes­sional man­ner in which UC police han­dled this morning’s chal­lenge,” wrote Exec­u­tive Vice Chan­cel­lor Ali­son Gal­loway in an offi­cial email about our April 2-3 strike at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia. This was just after one of us was dragged to the ground and forcibly arrested after pub­licly announc­ing an inten­tion to legally picket, and com­ply­ing with police demands to turn around.
Class Size and Class Struggle: Organizing Lessons from the UCSC Strike

by Joshua Brahinsky, Asad Haider and Sara Smith

Twenty-two activists were arrested dur­ing the Unfair Labor Prac­tices strike at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, and they need your help. Please call the num­bers at this link and demand that the charges be dropped:

“I appre­ci­ate the calm and pro­fes­sional man­ner in which UC police han­dled this morning’s chal­lenge,” wrote Exec­u­tive Vice Chan­cel­lor Ali­son Gal­loway in an offi­cial email about our April 2-3 strike at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia. This was just after one of us was dragged to the ground and forcibly arrested after pub­licly announc­ing an inten­tion to legally picket, and com­ply­ing with police demands to turn around.

The “chal­lenge” for the admin­is­tra­tion, it seems, rep­re­sented an oppor­tu­nity for the labor move­ment – our strike has been widely cov­ered in the labor media. This con­firms for those of us involved in UAW 2865 – the student-workers union which rep­re­sents 13,000 teach­ing assis­tants, read­ers, and tutors across the UC sys­tem – that we aren’t just a stu­dent move­ment cross­ing over into labor pol­i­tics. We are a vital and cen­tral part of the labor move­ment today, a move­ment look­ing for cre­ative strate­gies. Along the same lines, we rep­re­sent an insti­tu­tional legacy of grad­u­ate stu­dent union­iza­tion, which is a cru­cial weapon for aca­d­e­mic work­ers who face increas­ingly pre­car­i­ous conditions.

Our posi­tion between the stu­dent and labor move­ments has been a core aspect of our orga­niz­ing. While we often end up drift­ing between these two poles, we have also found that our posi­tion opens unex­pected pos­si­bil­i­ties and reveals unex­pected allies. Since the issues we con­front extend across the whole uni­ver­sity sys­tem, itself a space that increas­ingly cov­ers whole geo­graphic regions, we have to ask how this kind of move­ment can spread. How can aca­d­e­mic work­ers at other uni­ver­si­ties begin to build their own orga­ni­za­tions? How can the labor move­ment as a whole exper­i­ment with new strate­gies and orga­ni­za­tional forms?

We don’t claim to have answers to these mas­sive and cru­cial ques­tions. We do want to try to answer a more lim­ited, but more con­crete ques­tion: what lessons can be drawn from the union expe­ri­ence at UCSC – not just this strike, which both­ered the admin­is­tra­tion enough to bring in out­side riot police, but also the long, dif­fi­cult, com­pli­cated, and reward­ing process of build­ing a rad­i­cal union move­ment over the past sev­eral years?

1. His­toric moments for cam­pus solidarity

When In These Times reported on our ear­lier Novem­ber 20 strike as “A ‘His­toric Moment’ for Cam­pus Sol­i­dar­ity,” it was because we had taken advan­tage of a “coin­ci­dence of tim­ing” to declare a sym­pa­thy strike in sol­i­dar­ity with the ser­vice work­ers of AFSCME 3299. These work­ers drive the shut­tle buses, cook in the din­ing halls, clean the build­ings, and main­tain the grounds – and they have con­fronted extreme lev­els of inequal­ity at the UC. Under­grad­u­ate activists took the ini­tia­tive to shut down the cam­pus in support.

While the sym­pa­thy strike might have come as a sur­prise, sol­i­dar­ity between work­ers, grad stu­dents, and under­grads has been the bedrock for suc­cess­ful cam­pus and system-wide orga­niz­ing suc­cesses for at least the last decade. This sol­i­dar­ity is built on the mutual recog­ni­tion of what UC admin­is­tra­tors most fear: the obvi­ous inter­con­nect­ed­ness of all of our strug­gles. Cam­pus work­ers, who are typ­i­cally given lit­tle voice in sto­ries of cam­pus activism – despite the fact that their labor keeps the uni­ver­sity run­ning – have been work­ing since at least 2004 to become a vis­i­ble pres­ence in cam­pus strug­gle.

On the other hand, while top level admin­is­tra­tors and their cheer­lead­ers por­tray stu­dent activists as priv­i­leged fire­brands, the real­ity is far dif­fer­ent. Grad­u­ate stu­dents do the basic work of teach­ing and grad­ing, the basic con­di­tion for every university’s mis­sion of edu­ca­tion and research, for rad­i­cally low wages. Under­grad­u­ates also par­tic­i­pate in this work, as well as work­ing part-time or even full-time out­side the uni­ver­sity, in fields as diverse as farm­work, domes­tic labor, and the ser­vice indus­try. They find them­selves pay­ing the price for the cut­backs aimed at cam­pus work­ers and grad­u­ate stu­dents: larger class sizes, fewer resources in the libraries, and fewer work­ers to ser­vice their res­i­dence halls, all on top of a ris­ing tuition and plum­met­ing job prospects.

Today the uni­ver­sity is one of the pri­mary sites in the US for labor orga­niz­ing; as United Auto Work­ers’ inter­est in grad­u­ate stu­dents and US Steel inter­est in adjuncts show, unions need the uni­ver­sity – and that means coali­tion work between stu­dents, work­ers, and student-workers. Our local has approached coali­tion work with stu­dents very sim­ply: we offer sup­port for what­ever orga­niz­ing projects they engage in. Since under­grad­u­ate and grad­u­ate stu­dent inter­ests have tended to over­lap, we’ve had com­mon ground on which to build sol­i­dar­ity and trust. With our fight for a new con­tract loom­ing, we specif­i­cally sought out their help. From the begin­ning, we designed our cam­paign around qual­ity of edu­ca­tion issues, in part because we built it in coali­tion with under­grad­u­ate friends and comrades.

In bar­gain­ing, our union hit a wall with man­age­ment over one of these qual­ity of edu­ca­tion issues. Man­age­ment refused to nego­ti­ate on class sizes, which as any teacher knows is an over­whelm­ingly impor­tant labor issue. There’s a mas­sive dif­fer­ence between hav­ing 40 stu­dents and hav­ing 80 stu­dents, espe­cially if you care about the student’s per­for­mance and want to give them con­struc­tive feed­back as they all hand in papers and midterms. Some of us are reg­u­larly the only teach­ing assis­tant for classes of 300. Usu­ally 25% of these stu­dents fail, and many of them come from the com­mu­ni­ties and fam­i­lies with the least higher edu­ca­tion expe­ri­ence and the great­est need for sup­port. In other words, class size is also an issue of class and race hier­ar­chy. We main­tain that management’s refusal to nego­ti­ate on class size is an Unfair Labor Prac­tice, because the inten­sity of labor is a “manda­tory sub­ject of bar­gain­ing.” Even after our Unfair Labor Prac­tices strike, they have pub­licly dug their heels in, and retain a regres­sive posi­tion on qual­ity of edu­ca­tion issues.

In addi­tion to refus­ing to dis­cuss class size, the UC’s recent pos­ture towards the UAW has involved esca­lat­ing threats, intim­i­da­tion, and now out­right vio­lence. Video­tap­ing protests, threat­en­ing strik­ers with fir­ings, polling work­ers about their union activ­i­ties, threat­en­ing inter­na­tional stu­dents with revoked visas for union par­tic­i­pa­tion – such tac­tics have become stan­dard man­age­ment prac­tice. The chair of the UCSC writ­ing depart­ment declared to a group of his employ­ees: “If you strike, you will not work in this depart­ment again.” All this built towards the April 2-3 events at UCSC, when a total of 22 under­grad­u­ates and grad­u­ates were arrested dur­ing the two days of the strike – the “ugly irony” of vio­lently arrest­ing union mem­bers at a strike in protest of intim­i­da­tion has not been lost on the public.

Arrests seem to con­sti­tute an “event” for the move­ment – an explo­sion of the norm that excite and inspires far beyond the every­day sit­u­a­tions of meet­ings and announce­ments. While this kind of dra­matic rup­ture with the state of things is a real phe­nom­e­non, our expe­ri­ence shows that such events only mat­ter if we have already built a frame­work that can pro­duce that effect – if we are there en masse with a well-articulated and well-supported project. And they only explode if we make them explode – if we have the orga­ni­za­tional basis to spend the night dis­trib­ut­ing fly­ers and mobi­liz­ing peo­ple to protest the arrests the next day.

2. We are the union in general!

On the first day of our strike an unhappy motorist who wanted to cross the picket line com­plained that “the union in gen­eral” didn’t sup­port our deci­sion to strike. Quick-witted strik­ers responded with a new chant: “We are the union in gen­eral!” This slo­gan rep­re­sents the most fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ple of our union, the one that has given strength to our actions. But in order to struc­ture our move­ment around this prin­ci­ple of self-organization, we had to fight an inter­nal strug­gle against a bureau­cratic lead­er­ship more inter­ested in absorb­ing us into the Demo­c­ra­tic party.

Between 2004 and 2011, our union was under what we now call the old lead­er­ship, or the “admin­is­tra­tion cau­cus.” One of us par­tic­i­pated in the union from the very begin­ning (2004), when the admin­is­tra­tion cau­cus ensured it was an unde­mo­c­ra­tic, demo­bi­lized mess. A few char­ac­ter­is­tics of the old regime:

* All com­mu­ni­ca­tions to the mem­ber­ship had to be vet­ted through the pres­i­dent of the union. Any time cam­pus lead­er­ship wanted to email mem­bers, the pres­i­dent had to approve – and often refused to, or dras­ti­cally altered the message.
* The exec­u­tive board and the pres­i­dent con­trolled the bud­get. Every request for money, no mat­ter how small, had to approved by the pres­i­dent, who often denied the request. Once, one of us requested a ream of col­ored paper. The pres­i­dent at the time, Chris­tine Petit, would only grant the request if we at UC Santa Cruz agreed never to use the col­ored paper for “unau­tho­rized” peti­tions or fly­ers. The request for one ream of col­ored paper was denied.
* Campus-based staff were hired by and directly answer­able to the pres­i­dent of the union. Elected lead­ers and mem­bers at the cam­puses had absolutely no say over our cam­pus staff, includ­ing the hir­ing process and over­see­ing the orga­niz­ing projects of peo­ple on staff.
* The UAW inter­na­tional staff, often work­ing behind the scenes, played a cen­tral role in quash­ing union democ­racy within the union. The Inter­na­tional staff were (and still are) hired by the United Auto Work­ers, our par­ent union, to help us out. Instead of help­ing us mobi­lize effec­tively, how­ever, the inter­na­tional staff per­sis­tently attempted to keep us under control.

This extreme level of micro­man­age­ment meant that our mem­ber­ship was com­pletely dis­in­vested from par­tic­i­pa­tion in the union. The Joint Coun­cil, our statewide lead­er­ship body, was more than half empty. We had no cam­pus auton­omy. Tech­ni­cally – though we found some ways around this – we sim­ply could not orga­nize any­thing on the cam­puses with­out the per­mis­sion of statewide lead­ers. Our union was demo­bi­lized and unable to effec­tively orga­nize to pro­tect and improve the work­ing con­di­tions and com­pen­sa­tion of teach­ing assis­tants, read­ers, and tutors.

When those of us who believed in self-organization dis­cov­ered that we had no voice within our own union, we formed the Grad­u­ate Stu­dent Sol­i­dar­ity Net­work to orga­nize grad­u­ate stu­dent sup­port for AFSCME 3299’s con­tract cam­paign in the spring of 2005. We found that mean­ing­ful sol­i­dar­ity work had to hap­pen out­side of our union. We tried to take up the class size issue, orga­niz­ing a peti­tion around the effect of bal­loon­ing class sizes on work­load and qual­ity of edu­ca­tion. When we brought our peti­tion to the annual statewide meet­ing of our union at UC Berke­ley in 2005, it was dis­missed. Although we were the largest cam­pus con­tin­gent present at that meet­ing, we were derided by the lead­er­ship, dis­missed by some as anar­chists, and ulti­mately shut down.

At UC Santa Cruz, we saw that unde­mo­c­ra­tic prac­tices within the union impeded our orga­niz­ing efforts, and decided to begin the slow process of reform. We linked up with reform­ers on other cam­puses and formed a minor­ity reform bloc on the bar­gain­ing team. We pushed for greater trans­parency and mem­ber input into bar­gain­ing, and were con­sis­tently opposed by the old leadership.

Then the reces­sion hit, with bud­get cuts and tuition hikes the order of the day. Another round of bar­gain­ing occurred in 2009-2010, again with reform­ers the minor­ity on the bar­gain­ing team. While bar­gain­ing was tak­ing place, the move­ment against the bud­get cuts and the pri­va­ti­za­tion of the UC burst onto the scene. Mas­sive ral­lies, strikes, and build­ing occu­pa­tions were wide­spread through­out the UC sys­tem. For the most part, the union, still in the grip of the admin­is­tra­tion cau­cus, was dis­en­gaged from the move­ment. Once again, to do mean­ing­ful orga­niz­ing in the new move­ment we needed to orga­nize autonomously from the union.

How­ever, reform efforts came alive on the heels of the move­ment against pri­va­ti­za­tion in 2009-2010. See­ing the near-complete dis­en­gage­ment of the union from the move­ment, grad­u­ate stu­dents at Berke­ley formed Aca­d­e­mic Work­ers for a Demo­c­ra­tic Union (AWDU). Inspired by Berke­ley, we formed an AWDU chap­ter in Santa Cruz as well. In the spring of 2011, we con­sol­i­dated our forces, build­ing a statewide coali­tion, and won the tri­en­nial elec­tion. From 2011 to 2014, Aca­d­e­mic Work­ers for a Demo­c­ra­tic Union has made up a major­ity of the union leadership.

Since being elected in 2011, AWDU activists accom­plished a great deal towards their three pri­mary goals: democ­ra­tiz­ing the union, devel­op­ing an explicit anti-oppression labor project, and build­ing an activist union in sol­i­dar­ity with other forms of stu­dent orga­niz­ing. The class size and non-discrimination demands cen­tral to our cur­rent con­tract fight are exam­ples of this work. Not only are far more peo­ple involved in union activism than before, at UCSC and sev­eral other cam­puses, the cam­pus lead­ers share all respon­si­bil­i­ties equally.

Bar­gain­ing, begin­ning in the spring of 2013 and con­tin­u­ing to this day, has been opened to all mem­bers: in Santa Cruz, over 150 activists came to bar­gain­ing and told their sto­ries. One after­noon, on Octo­ber 22, 2013, 100 peo­ple marched to a bar­gain­ing meet­ing, while man­age­ment hid upstairs for over an hour (they had things to print, appar­ently). When they finally came down, they had to lis­ten to the tes­ti­monies of grad­u­ate and under­grad­u­ate stu­dents describ­ing their strug­gle to make ends meet, and teach and learn effec­tively. At UC Davis, a group of 40 par­ents and chil­dren marched into bar­gain­ing with their chil­dren to demand fam­ily and hous­ing sup­port. At UC Berke­ley, after attend­ing bar­gain­ing, stu­dents marched off to occupy the Chancellor’s hall­ways. At all the cam­puses with strong AWDU sup­port, bar­gain­ing was a lively and pow­er­ful affair – it became a means of demon­stra­tion, mobi­liza­tion and rad­i­cal­iza­tion, rather than a quiet bureau­cratic procedure.

How­ever, we now face a con­sid­er­able chal­lenge. Many of the demo­c­ra­tic reforms AWDU imple­mented in the last three years have not been insti­tu­tion­al­ized in our bylaws. If the admin­is­tra­tion cau­cus wins this next elec­tion, they will be able to over­turn many of these reforms, and the union will likely return to its old state – a rigid, cen­tral­ized bureau­cracy dis­con­nected from social move­ments and inca­pable of defend­ing and improv­ing the lives of its members.

3. Don’t mourn, organize

It’s easy to get dis­heart­ened by the chal­lenges aca­d­e­mic work­ers face in pulling off actions like strikes. Along with high turnover, struc­tural con­di­tions of inse­cu­rity have led many grad­u­ate stu­dents to keep their heads down, to pro­tect their sem­blance of a posi­tion and get their degrees. But rumi­nat­ing over these obsta­cles – or worse, the­o­riz­ing them – tends to become a sub­sti­tute for inter­ven­ing against them with the unglam­orous but game-changing work of rank-and-file orga­niz­ing. This means knock­ing on doors, mak­ing phone calls, and try­ing to fill mem­ber­ship meet­ings. Dur­ing our strike, it meant talk­ing to every sin­gle car that approached the picket line and mak­ing sure they left with a flyer.

Tac­ti­cal flex­i­bil­ity has meant refus­ing to get trapped in debates about whether union strug­gles over wages, ben­e­fits, and labor con­di­tions are reformist, and whether it’s nec­es­sary to go beyond union strug­gles towards rad­i­cal actions that push the bound­aries. We have won our labor demands with actions that push the bound­aries; we know we will not con­vince the uni­ver­sity that our demands are bet­ter pol­icy, we need to com­pel them to con­cede through active dis­rup­tion. It has also meant join­ing social jus­tice demands to qual­ity of edu­ca­tion through the most broadly vis­i­ble ele­ments of our work­ing con­di­tions, like class sizes. We knew in this con­tract fight that there would be pres­sure to ditch non-majority demands like gender-neutral bath­rooms, fam­ily issues, and sup­port for undoc­u­mented work­ers. So we put them first in bar­gain­ing and in mobi­liza­tion, and are aim­ing for a con­tract that will trans­form the ways we think about grad­u­ate stu­dent labor – although we still have a big fight ahead to win it.

Think­ing strate­gi­cally requires enor­mous cre­ativ­ity, and the refusal to fall into ide­o­log­i­cal traps. It’s a cliche on the Left today to invoke the virtues of union orga­ni­za­tion against anar­chist adven­tur­ism. That kind of state­ment is rad­i­cally inco­her­ent for us, since our union has a large pro­por­tion of anar­chists, and oth­ers gen­er­ally com­mit­ted to anti-hierarchical and anti-oppressive orga­niz­ing prin­ci­ples, who have played a fun­da­men­tal role in mak­ing it func­tion as an insti­tu­tion. Social democ­rats can take a moment to chuckle at the fact that anar­chists are work­ing as lead­ers, and should then ask them­selves if they can claim to have done the kind of grass­roots labor orga­niz­ing that these anar­chists have. With­out a vibrant rank-and-file basis and anti-bureaucratic orga­niz­ing prin­ci­ples our union wouldn’t have the strength that it does.

Coali­tions are a core part of this kind of strate­gic open­ness. Work­ing with under­grad­u­ate stu­dent groups make every action a lit­tle bit unpre­dictable for man­age­ment and draws in new activists. Orga­ni­za­tions like Autonomous Stu­dents fol­low in a rich tra­di­tion of hell-raising that they con­sis­tently and clearly place behind cam­pus work­ers’ strug­gles, and orga­ni­za­tions like Movimiento Estu­di­antil Chicano/a de Azt­lan (MEChA) places the pol­i­tics of a large pro­por­tion of the cam­pus worker and stu­dent pop­u­la­tion at the cen­ter. Our empha­sis on stu­dent move­ment issues, built from our piv­otal posi­tion between fac­ulty and under­grad­u­ates, as well as between stu­dent and labor orga­niz­ers, may be one of the key lega­cies of AWDU.

As the UC exper­i­ments with new approaches to uni­ver­sity secu­rity, we need even more cre­ativ­ity. Strikes, cam­pus shut­downs, and occu­pa­tions have been fre­quent occur­rences at UCSC; part of our dis­cus­sions now will be directed towards dis­cov­er­ing new tac­tics that can change the polit­i­cal terrain.

Since 2010, the UCSC cam­pus has been shut down numer­ous times. The first of these shut­downs was orga­nized by grad­u­ate and under­grad­u­ate stu­dents, and caused a mas­sive change in the UCSC cul­ture. The strike took over three months of inten­sive orga­niz­ing, by which activists col­lected over 2,400 com­mit­ments to join the line. Stu­dents reported that nearly 1,000 peo­ple showed up through­out the day, and the cam­pus was closed by virtue of these over­whelm­ing num­bers. The next strike, in 2012, was also student-organized. It required 2,000 com­mit­ments, brought out approx­i­mately 600 peo­ple, and became one of the piv­otal actions in the spring fol­low­ing Occupy that pushed the state towards Propo­si­tion 30. UCSC’s new Exec­u­tive Vice Chan­cel­lor Ali­son Gal­loway decided to let it hap­pen with­out police intervention.

In the past year, with AFSCME and the UAW both in nego­ti­a­tions, strikes have become labor-focused, and legally con­strained in new ways. Instead of grad­u­ate and under­grad­u­ate coali­tions hold­ing the cam­pus shut, as in pre­vi­ous strikes, the clos­ing work has now shifted entirely to under­grads, while grad­u­ate stu­dents – hin­dered by National Labor Rela­tions Board reg­u­la­tions pro­hibit­ing unions from block­ing com­merce – walk a mov­ing picket. But the cul­ture had been estab­lished, both on the side of stu­dent activists who felt that a total shut­down was pos­si­ble, and admin­is­tra­tors who thought it was inevitable and were will­ing to con­cede a day’s labor to keep the peace. In this con­text, a cam­pus shut­down was accom­plished in fall 2013 – very early in the year – with only 1,000 com­mit­ments to walk the line. It was thin, but enough for the moment.

Then there were three other strike threats, and man­age­ment caved each time. AFSCME’s two unions each set­tled their con­tracts on the eve of five-day statewide strikes – both nego­ti­a­tions con­cluded within a hair’s breadth of pick­et­ing. The third was a griev­ance strike planned at UCSC by UAW, in response to two griev­ances. The first griev­ance involved 28 under­grad­u­ates who were hired for posi­tions equiv­a­lent to a grad­u­ate teach­ing assis­tant, but were only paid a quar­ter of what is required by our con­tract. The sec­ond involved TAs who were sched­uled for an excess of class time, which made it impos­si­ble for them to fit their labor within the con­trac­tual limit. Again, at the last minute, the UC averted a strike by essen­tially agree­ing to all of the union’s demands, and we can­celled the strike because we won. We won $6,000 per quar­ter in back pay for each of these under­grad­u­ate work­ers, the TA class­room hours were reduced to a rea­son­able limit, and the uni­ver­sity agreed to set up a joint Labor-Management Com­mit­tee to over­see work­load concerns.

But the bal­ance of opin­ion among the admin­is­tra­tion had shifted. When we finally called an Unfair Labor Prac­tices strike start­ing on April 2, with only 400 com­mit­ments for a whole day’s picket, at 6 a.m. the line was less robust than nec­es­sary to effec­tively counter the 30 riot police brought in.

Over­com­ing these chal­lenges will take hard work and advance plan­ning – we need to pre­pare for actions over peri­ods of months and years, and we need to knock on every office door to sign up thou­sands of par­tic­i­pants. But we also need to explore new orga­ni­za­tional prac­tices. How much fur­ther can coali­tions can be extended – can grad­u­ate stu­dent union­iza­tion efforts at urban uni­ver­si­ties link up with fast food and retail strik­ers to gen­er­ate new and dynamic kinds of orga­ni­za­tions and actions? It is increas­ingly clear that the pro­fes­sional life that uni­ver­si­ties have trained stu­dents for over the last half cen­tury is dis­ap­pear­ing. So uni­ver­sity unions are part of a move­ment to con­nect grad­u­ate stu­dent work­ers and our under­grad­u­ate allies to the a broader pol­i­tics of labor, rather than to an ever more fic­tional mid­dle class. Our strug­gles are not just the strug­gles of those on uni­ver­sity grounds, but are inter­twined with work­ers through­out the cities and towns we live in.

We may also be rethink­ing our under­stand­ing of power. Just because Santa Cruz geog­ra­phy allows a direct and com­plete shut­down, is this the only, or the best means for stu­dents to rad­i­cal­ize a com­mu­nity and build work­ers’ power? It may be. But in the last strike stu­dents also began to exper­i­ment with other forms of col­lec­tive action, dif­fer­ently dis­rup­tive, more fleet­ing, but also more labile, and per­haps sim­i­larly effec­tive. These are open ques­tions. We hope that we will be able to learn from other orga­ni­za­tions that emerge across the uni­ver­sity sys­tem as we plan and orga­nize our own polit­i­cal futures.

Joshua Brahinsky is a graduate student and academic worker at UC Santa Cruz, and an activist in UAW 2865.

Asad Haider is an editor of Viewpoint, a graduate student at UC Santa Cruz, and an activist in UAW 2865.

Sara Smith is a graduate student and academic worker at UC Santa Cruz, and an activist in UAW 2865.

Originally published on April 14, 2014 at:

Viewpoint Magazine
§An orga­niz­ing meet­ing the evening of April 2
by J. Brahinsky, A. Haider, S. Smith
Add Your Comments

Comments (Hide Comments)
by how about today
I like your point about doing what the UC fears most. It is the essence of strategy to do what the oppressors fear most. Strikes. Bad press that might lead to declining enrollments. Picket lines. Video of pigs brutalizing students.
Let me ask you this:
What would the UC fear more?
A 2 day strike and picket or a 2 month strike and picket.
We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!


$20.00 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.


Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network