Thursday, November 19, 2009

COMMUNIQUE FROM THE UCLA OCCUPATION

On 19 November at approximately 12:30 students occupied Campbell Hall at UCLA. The time has come for us to make a statement and issue our demands. In response to this injunction we say: we will ask nothing. We will demand nothing. We will take, we will occupy. We have to learn not to tip toe through a space which ought by right to belong to everyone.

We are under no illusions. The UC Regents will vote the budget cuts and raise student fees. The profoundly undemocratic nature of their decision making process, and their indifference to the plight of those who struggle to afford an education or keep their jobs, can come as no surprise.

We know the crisis is systemic - and that it reaches beyond the Regents, beyond the criminal budget cuts in Sacremento, beyond the economic crisis, to the very foundations of our society. But we also know that the enormity of the problem is just as often an excuse for doing nothing.

We choose to fight back, to resist, where we find ourselves, the place where we live and work, our university.

We therefore ask that those who share in our struggle lend us not only their sympathy but their active support. For those students who work two or three jobs while going to school, to those parents for whom the violation of the UC charter means the prospect of affordable education remains out of reach, to laid off teachers, lecturers, to students turned away, to workers who've seen the value of their diplomas evaporate in an economy that 'grows' without producing jobs - to all these people and more besides, we say that our struggle is your struggle, that an alternative is possible if you have the courage to seize it.

We are determined that the struggle should spread. That is the condition in which the realization of our demands becomes possible.

To our peaceful demonstration, to our occupation of our own university, we know the Univeristy will respond with the full force of the police at its command. We hear the helicoptors circle above us. We intend to learn and to teach through our occupation, humbly but with determination. We are not afraid. We are not going anywhere.

15 comments:

  1. Supporting your struggle from Venezuela! Don't Step Back! Don´t Decay! Education should be free and for all!

    Student Delegate for Sociology School at Central University of Venezuela

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  2. Present an alternative and we will have the courage to grasp it.

    Open a dialogue. Instead of seeking to inspire through confrontation,find a solution.

    This is not a civil rights battle, stop treating it as one.

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  3. I am wearing my Berkeley sweatshirt, thinking about how it was expensive back in the 80's! Good luck aqnd God Bless. The education should be for everybody, not just the rich!!!!

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  4. much gratitude for your words, your work, our words & our work....i'm coming to campbell at noon to support y'all and all of us :)

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  5. You all definitely have the support of many people, including myself; however, it's crucial that you outline what the alternative ACTUALLy is. The communique does not let us know what you actually want coming out of the occupation--demands. And it does not tell us what you want an alternative, democratic system to look like--vision. Without those two, it's going to be hard to shape your strategy. Some food for thought.

    Solidarity

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  6. This is a crucial struggle and everyone who takes action against the present budget cuts should be supported! The point of having no demands is clear enough. Why make demands when the very principles of the UC system are equal access for all and knowledge for the public good? What's necessary is to stop the continuing transformation of the university system, and the state as a whole, into a mere vehicle for the demands of the rich as represented by the UC Regents in this case. Plenty of those involved in this struggle are making very clear and valid demands which have not been met. These people have chosen to put their bodies on the line by occupying a building and saying, we must take a stand against the process of expropriation or it will continue forever! Nothing could be more clear, forthright, courageous or necessary today. The alternative vision is stated by this act. It's the stoppage of business as usual, where business mathematics determines every agenda and is the final deciding factor for every decision. Only when this privilege of a single interest group has been overcome can any other vision be acted upon. Let us all maintain our solidarity until we get a general strike in the state of California, then another one in the whole country. It's the only way to put the real questions on the table so that they cannot be brushed aside and covered over with words words words.

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  7. I was forced to drop out of school 18 credits short because of cuts in financial aid. I know what you are facing and don't give up. I sent some of your information to a friend of mine who has been organizing internationally against the commercialization of education, and I will be covering your goings on on my own blog. Let me know if there is anything more I can do to help.

    jpoleary@riseup.net
    http://peoplesinformative.wordpress.com/2009/11/19/breaking-news-ucla-students-riot-over-32-tuition-hike/
    http://www.emancipating-education-for-all.org/

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  8. Solidarty from the University of Illinois. Your struggle is ours.

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  9. Solidarity from Russia!

    Солидарность из России!

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  10. I strongly agree with what anonymous in the second post said.

    Present an alternative and people will be willing to support it. Occupying out of anger or frustration is a destructive tactic. Make it constructive by offering a solution to the problem other than the one proposed by the regents.

    By the way, I cannot even describe how annoyed I am by the huge amount of people trying to make this out to be a race/ethnicity issue. It's not. And you're alienating your white middle class supporters by saying that only people of color are the victims.

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  11. Solidarity for you at Berkeley from university protesters in Lublin, Poland! We would like to support your demands and say how much your struggle is important to us. Tomek Kitlinski, Sylwia Nadgrodkiewicz & all Lublin 9-Ta Obca alternative of Thinking&Acting

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  12. Solidarity to you from the members of the Rouge Forum. Rescue Education from the Ruling Classes. The core issue of our time is rising color-coded inequality and the promise of endless war met by the potential of mass, class-conscious, resistance designed to transcend the system of capital.

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  13. @ Greggor & "anonymous", the "alternative" that you want to have decreed to you for what is the future of our school is not up to one set of leaders--not even the most advanced, as are those who executed this protest. It's up to you and me to PARTICIPATE in the democratization of our schools and our society so that we have a collective voice in how things are run. There is no democracy without participation--you need to get involved and bring YOUR vision for what the future of our schools needs to be like.

    With regard to your suggested problem of alienation of white middle class students and "allies", you are heading in the wrong direction. White and middle class students are not allies who are so easily alienated by such simple demands as racial justice and equality opportunity to education as any other students. I am a white person whose upbringing could be considered middle-class (my dad owned a business but struggled, and my family were immigrants), but I don't have to refuse to relate to the struggle for student equality and democracy, or to be "alienated" and left behind from a struggle for justice when instead I can see my part in it and participate both in solidarity and for my own interests.

    However, this movement does not owe the demands of any "uncomfortable" white middle class students (which may only exist in imagination anyway) any conessions or apologies. It should continue to stand on principle, as it has done so far, and it will continue to win by doing so.

    Solidarity from San Diego.

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