DAVIS, California – Last November, students across the UC system were in an uproar over the 32% tuition increase; protests and occupations sprouted up throughout the 10 campus system in response. Students at UC Davis took over the lobby of their main administrative building, Mrak Hall. Only one student was arrested while being outside of the building in support—for allegedly assaulting an officer among other spurious charges. Nearly 10 months later, her ludicrous charges have now been dropped. UC and CSU students at several campuses still face charges and sanctions for occupations and other protest activities last fall and earlier this year; some only face judicial charges inside the university’s kangaroo court.
Archive for the ‘CA STATE UNIVERSITY’ Category
Cal State L.A. students Stephanie Velasquez and Karla Chitay were stymied recently when they headed to the university library to study for a final exam: The facility had closed at 8 p.m. just before they arrived.
But a few feet away, scores of students were bent over laptops and textbooks in a makeshift open air study area. There was a copy machine and a printer. Coffee, free of charge, was brewing as a late evening chill began to descend. Velasquez, 25, and Chitay, 22, found a table.
“We came to the library straight from class and when we found it closed, we were like ‘oh no, what are we going to do,’” said Velasquez, who, like Chitay, is a social work major. “We wanted to study together but we live on opposite sides of town and needed a space. This is great.”
Since it opened June 1, the so-called “People’s Library” has been available until midnight each day. It was organized by a group of students after administrators curtailed regular library hours this year because of state budget cuts.
Organizers contend that reduced access to library resources was affecting students’ studies, especially in the run-up to this week’s final exams. So they gathered donated chairs and tables and have been using campus electrical hookups for lighting and equipment just outside the university’s main library.
“We’re studying in resistance,” one of the organizers, Laura Tejeda, 19, said this week as she urged passers-by to sign a petition for longer library hours. Tejeda works at the university library’scirculation desk. “We weren’t sure if people were going to come out in the cold evenings. But we’ve had big turnouts every night.”
Organizers said Cal State administrators at first threatened to close down the alternative operation and briefly turned off its electricity. Campus spokesman Sean Kearns said students launched the effort without warning and facility officials had initial concerns.
They helped the students address safety issues such as securing electrical cords and there have been no incidents, Kearns said.
more at LA Times.
FRESNO, California – Today after the Fresno State library closed at 5, 11 students refused to leave. In protest of reduced hours 11 students stayed in the Fresno State library after it closed on Saturday. This was in protest of the fact that finals are next week and the school has done nothing to increase library access to students. Friday night, students were also asked to leave early so that donors could have a “Wizard of Oz” conference, this also was protested by students.
At Saturday’s occupation, nearly a dozen campus police and FPD (who are not allowed on campus) came in along with Dr. Coon to threaten the students with a judicial review and delayed graduation. This is absurd since the budget cuts have led to cut classes and overcrowded classes which is already leading to delayed graduation for many students.
After 2 hours the students had their names taken down by the PD and were escorted out of the building. None of the law enforcement were willing to answer any questions, this includes FPD who were asked why they were there when they weren’t supposed to be there, they were also asked for names and badge numbers but refused this as well.
FULLERTON, California – On April 16th, the Orange County DA’s office issued notices to the students involved in the occupation of Cal State Fullerton’s Humanities building on March 3rd, 2010 that read in part:
A complaint was filed in the North Justice Center charging that on or about 03-03-2010 you committed a violation of section(s)
602(m) PC TRESPASS – OCCUPATION BY SQUATTER
It appears as though all of those charged have received the same court date, May 6th at 8:30AM at the North Justice Center in Fullerton.
These notices appeared after the detained students were told matter-of-factly by the police present that they would not be cited or charged, only banned from campus for 7 days, and that the only further consequences, should there be any, would come down from the university’s own student conduct hearings.
SAN FRANCISCO, California – On April 7th, students at San Francisco State University attempted a sit-in. This is a short debrief from a participant:
In response to the political repression and student fees issued recently to Decemeber 9th occupiers @ SFSU, 30 students conducted a peaceful march from the Ethnic Studies building to the Administration building. Seeing as we had had a peaceful sit-in in this building before- we didn’t see the chance for any police confrontation upon entering the building. However, after approximately 15 students entered the building peacefully, cops illegally closed all the doors to the building, shutting the rest of the students out. The next few students trying to enter were met with physical confrontation by the police. One student was put in a chokehold by the police, and another was tackled and wrestled for around 30 seconds. Neither student did anything to provoke the police and both escaped without any charges or wounds, however we must not turn a blind eye to the violence conducted by the police at a peaceful action.
statement from BSU & other community members in solidarity on Thursday, 3/18:
Dear CSUMB Community Member,
Wednesday morning the words “f**k black people” were found chalked on sidewalk outside the Otter Express. This follows an incident the night before where an African American student was called the N-word by a student she did not know who later claimed to be “joking.” The hateful words of Wednesday morning underscore that racial insensitivity is never a joke. Racism must never be taken lightly. By Thursday night, members from all racial communities came together in solidarity with the African American community that was the target of this particular racist incident to decide how to address this as a united community.
Please join our CSUMB community tomorrow outside the OE where we will come together in silent communion, black and white, male and female, gay and straight dressed in black to represent the death of all forms of discrimination. The words that were meant to hurt and divide us will instead bring us together tomorrow as we demonstrate our commitment to the Vision of CSUMB which values each and every member of our community whatever their race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, religion or personal identity.
We come together to send a strong message tomorrow that racism, sexism, homophobia and religious bigotry and all other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated on our campus. Anytime any member of our campus community is targeted in this way, it is absolutely necessary that all CSUMB communities come together in condemnation of discrimination and support for those discriminated against.
– BSU & CSUMB Community Members
Event pictures @ guerrillathink.wordpress.com
A great account of what happened in downtown LA: the desire/need for self-organized struggle
The Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of San Diego expresses its staunch support and solidarity with the students, faculty, and workers at K-12 schools, community colleges, and California State University and University of California campuses. We stand with them in their call for a democratic and accessible educational system for all students. We stand with them in their actions that shine light on the debilitating budget cuts and damaging campus climates that highlight not only the decline of public education in California and across the country, but also the ways that low-income students, students of color, and non-traditional students are disproportionately affected and further disenfranchised.
No campus – private or public, secular or religious, working-class or upper-class, urban or suburban – is immune from these overt attempts to dismantle public education. We are all directly impacted by these unwise assaults. Community colleges, public universities, and private universities such as the University of San Diego rely on public high school students who comprise the majority of incoming freshmen. Almost all college students rely on state-subsidized financial aid packages, especially those that include Cal Grants, in order to attend college at all. Budget cuts weaken already marginalized academic programs and student services, such as Ethnic Studies, Women’s Studies, LGBT centers, student retention and recruitment services, increased class size, and increased loans in financial aid packages. Weakened infrastructures also mean weaker departments and student organizations with which local communities can partner and collaborate.
We stand with our colleagues in defense of public education, not its privatization. We stand with them in protecting the integrity of education as a site for the regeneration and redistribution of intellectual, economic, and social resources, not increased socio-economic and racial stratification and terror. In light of this year’s 40th anniversary of the formation of Ethnic Studies, we stand together to honor the determination of our communities to transform public education into a means of liberation and sovereignty. We invite you to join us us in this important movement.
Department of Ethnic Studies
University of San Diego
DUBLIN, California – As of 6pm, around 70 of the 150 people arrested on the highway yesterday have been released. Those released at Santa Rita Jail on Broder Blvd. in Dublin need rides (now). Most of them have been charged with two misdemeanors and an infraction (obstructing traffic, unlawful assembly, failure to obey signs).
News & Updates from March 4
(Feel free to comment with corrections. Last update: 10:10am mar.7.10)
University of California
UC Santa Cruz
5:00am: Students out blocking streets at the intersection of High & Western, Hagar and Coolidge, and the western entrance of campus effective shutting it down. Only people on foot can enter campus.
7:00am: Some people have been hit by cars breaking the picket line, breaking someone’s leg and hitting another 3 or so people.
8:00am: Campus administrators activated the CruzAlert messaging system with the following message “Please avoid both campus entrances due to safety concerns. Check web or 459-INFO at noon for update.” (source)
9:40am: Currently a rally is being held at the main entrance (i.e. the east entrance) with 250 participants. For a while 2 helicopters were flying above. The students blocking the intersection of High and Western have left after most of the workers were blocked from entering campus (it would appear some dining hall workers were able to get on campus, but many others were unable to get on campus). Many of the workers are now here supporting the students.
Earlier this morning, multiple students were injured by two separate incidents where cars rushed the strike line (one at the intersection of Hagar and Coolidge, and the second at the intersection of High and Western). The car at Hagar and Coolidge was tailgating a police car being let through, students then approached the vehicle to stand in front of it and tell them about the strike. The car hit the gas and drove into the mass, injuring a student’s leg, fortunately not broken. In the incident at High and Western, a tan volvo began accelerating into the crowd blocking the street, despite the fact that cars driving down High (away from campus) were being slowly let through. The volvo hit around 5 students, one student flipped over the hood of the car and over the top, breaking the rear window as the student fell off the back. As the volvo sped away, students kicked the car, denting it. Several cars and motorcycles have tried to slowly push through the crowd through out the day, but all failed. Rumors of other car incidents exist, but the others have yet to be confirmed.
Also, earlier this morning a banner was hung over highway 1, stating “March 4 Defend Education!”
11:40am: While most of the protesters are at the main entrance and the west entrance, some of the protesters are at Hagar and Coolidge to watch out for supervisors forcing workers to trek up the long and steep hill to get to work. Supervisors began leading the workers up the hill past a handful of students in the intersection before the students could organize themselves. As more students came to support the other students in the intersection, they realized the workers and supervisors were already around 50 feet away up the hill to campus. So around 15 students ran up the hill to form a line to blockade the workers. The police arrived and dispersed the line, telling the students that they had made a “physical threat” on the workers. As the workers passed by, they shouted that there was no physical threat. So as the police returned to their vehicle, the students yet again ran up the hill the block the workers from getting further into campus. The police immediately turned around and approached the students to disperse them. However by now, the workers turned around and spoke to their supervisors claiming they couldn’t get through, the supervisors conceded and the workers were allowed to go home
1:00pm: Around 500 have rallied at the base of campus. Video below was taken around 12:45pm, the rally as of 1:15pm is still going.
1:55pm: Students are redistributing themselves around campus for maximum effectiveness. Around 60 people are at Hagar and Coolidge warning people that they may not be able to re-enter campus if they leave. They are also watching out for supervisors forcing workers to get onto campus still.
2:50pm: Strikers are now relaxing on the grass at the main entrance listening to a live band. The strike is mostly split up into three locations, Lower Campus (Hagar and Coolidge), Main Entrance (i.e. East Entrance), and the West Entrance.
3:20pm: Earlier story about a prius running into students and driving onto sidewalk at High and Western has been confirmed. At least one student broke some fingers when the car recklessly plowed through the crowd.
5:30pm: A general assembly starts
6:30pm: The general assembly decides to take the protest downtown.
7:11pm: 300 Students walk through Pacific Ave.
7:30pm: The students have rallied at the clock tower.
9:10pm: Students dissipate.
1:20pm: Around 1000 people walking down telegraph (currently crossed at 66 ave.) for a rally with students from community colleges, CSU’s, and elementary school folks at city hall in Oakland.
3:10pm: The march has reached Frank Ogawa plaza.
After the rally, protesters marched to highway I-880. Around 150 protesters were arrested.
7:00am: Most all of the ~40 arrested taken to North County Jail in Oakland out, charged with 2 misdemeanors and an infraction (obstructing traffic, unlawful assembly, failure to obey signs).
8:00am: Approximately 80 of the arrested at Santa Rita jail should start being released around 11am. They need rides!
More photos on indybay here.
12:50pm: Students at UC Davis have shut down the bus terminal and the main street in Davis.
1:12pm: Students march down Russell st. and are now shutting down the freeway.
3:10pm: One student has been arrested, dozens of others have been shot by rubber bullets. They are currently on the street near the offramp and have been given a deal from the police stating that they will release the student arrested if they leave the offramp now.
3:30pm: Police using pepper spray pellets!
4:00pm: Students walking back to campus.
4:30: Students march through buildings pulling fire alarms, and from there they returned to Russell and La Rue where they shut down the intersection for several hours.
1:40pm: Soft occupation at Murphy Hall
2:00pm: correction, sit-in
6:20pm: Outside supporters have been lead to believe that students sitting inside will be arrested.
6:40pm: Sit-in protesters all released.
1:50pm: Around 400 students are walking around campus urging others to join them in striking. According to OC Weekly, numbers increased to 800. One of the largest protests in recent campus history.
2:00pm: Students take to the streets and head towards freeway 73. Students clear one police line and continue down University Avenue.
2:34pm: Students moving back to campus after being stopped by police again. Police: “Immediately return to campus!”
2:50pm: Students gathering at Langson Library.
2:55pm: UC Irvine temporarily occupied with barricades at Langson Library. Students move to Gateway Study Center and lock down several doors before clearing out.
3:30pm: Students were unable to hold down the occupations, so they are now out and marching again.
3:45pm: Aldrich Hall, the admin building, was locked down with 15-20 police inside, so students held an impromptu general assembly in front of Aldrich.
UC San Diego
4:00pm: According to one source, 2000-3000 people, another source 1500-2000, (mostly students, with some teachers and parents) marched from Balboa park to the Governor’s Office downtown.
3:21pm: According to Daily Cal, somewhere near a 1000 students marching downtown.
UC Santa Barbara
According to one commenter:
12:00 noon rally at UCSB Arbor plaza draws 1000+ students, workers, teachers, biggest rally in UCSB’s recent history
1:30 PM – Rally heads downtown, most people use free bus service while about 50 take part in a Critical Mass ride downtown
3:40 PM – UCSB students, students and teachers from other schools gather at De La Guerra Plaza downtown, ~500 people take State St. for an unpermitted march down State.
4:00 PM – March has turned around and marches back up State, grows to ~1000 as it passes De La Guerra Plaza again. State St. is totally clogged with a massive march.
4:30 PM – Marchers arrive at the courthouse for a rally, with speakers including students, faculty and local politicians. Crowd disperses following the rally.
(special thanks to coyote)
California State University
San Francisco State University
They held a rally that ended at 2pm with 500 people. The rally later turned into a dance party. Another party is going to be held Thursday night at 10pm at Malcolm X plaza.
San Francisco (General)
According to Socialist Worker, [20,000+] people are protesting at the civic center.
DailyCal says that a Rally with thousands come out for a “funeral service”. While Socialist Worker is stating that nearly 6000 come out for a protest in Northridge resulting in at least one injury and several arrests. Protesters are apparently waiting outside the jail.
According to one commenter:
A few of us started organizing for the day around 10AM; making posters, mostly.
Around 11:30AM, we ran screaming for a walk-out with noisemakers/pots/bullhorns throughout various campus buildings. A lot of people joined us and we marched to a nearby busy intersection (Nordhoff/Reseda). There was an invasion through the library and some more buildings with a long line of people calling for a walk-out.
We met back at the busy intersection and invaded the center…police came soon and cleared up the streets. A few people refused to move. A couple local news stations came to report, and the occupation of the middle of the street continued.
Around 2:30PM, we went back to campus and gathered a huge crowd on the Oviatt Library quad.
At 3:45PM, we began the march with CSU Channel Islands students/faculty. We all took to the streets and marched around campus.
By 6:30PM, enough of us had begun an occupation of yet another intersection (Reseda/Prairie). This was when police threatened to arrest due to “unlawful assembly in the streets” and “trespassing.” A little while later, they began to threaten tear gas. Two people got arrested so far.
By 7:30PM, five people had been arrested and one of our professors, 74-yr old Dr. Olsen, was knocked down and her arm stepped on by the police. She’s currently at the hospital.
By 8:00PM, we invaded the space outside the library and talked to the media, reorganized, and planned for a press conference March 5th (today). Word started to go around that the students who got arrested were getting booked/released.
Summary ? Huge misrepresentation by the media. Police not the nicest of nice. Lots of people from the surrounding community made this CSUN protest big. Anger at our president for misrepresenting what happened last night through her statement. Good energy going around those who were part of the event; plans of having CSUN fund buses for the March 22nd rally at Sacramento.
(special thanks to Billimarie)
CSU Los Angeles
According to the blog EastsideLA, a March 4 rally started at CSULA which later traveled through parts of Los Angeles, through areas like Little Tokyo. Sometimes the marchers were on streets, other times they were corralled by police to stick to the sidewalks. EastsideLA remarked how controlled the march felt, from both police and some organizers. They also commented how elements of the march were joyous and fun as such a protest should be. Crowd estimates appeared to be a little over a thousand.
Los Angeles (general): Socialist Worker says 4000 rally in downtown.
At noon several fire alarms were pulled and hundreds of people poured in to Humanities Plaza for a rally and march through the campus.
CSU Monterey Bay
Around noon, students, staff and faculty participated in a walkout and marched from either end of campus to a rally in front of the Student Center. A few hundred people attended the rally. Some student bands played throughout the day while students danced to the music. Student, staff, and faculty members spoke about cuts to public education and related issues, from spending money on wars and prisons to the systemic injustice that prevents so many people from attaining higher education.
In the evening, some of the protesters from campus went to a community rally at Colton Hall (the sight of the first public school in California) in downtown Monterey. They joined people from local community colleges, K-12 schools, and members of various labor unions.
video here at indybay
4:32pm: According to DailyCal, an occupation of administration’s offices with 30-40 people.
5:17pm: They say 32 occupiers still holding it down.
10:30pm: Occupation ends. Occupiers leave without being arrested. see indybay.
Watch a video of an interview inside the Joyal Administration occupation.
California Community College
Cañada College (Redwood City, CA)
Skyline College (San Bruno, CA)
500 march through campus and almost every building, then hold a rally. Carloads of Skyline College stakeholders join those at SF civic center.
City College of San Francisco
An original rap at CCSF.
We got all these corporations erasing education
standarized testing placement exam evaporation
this is no exaggeration; let’s get rid of this abberation!
Student Occupation- it’s now ours for the taking
what should have been all along, this is democracy in the making
not a fire evacuation or a sly accusation
THIS IS NOT A DRILL, now you know were not faking
aint gonna hide under desks of leave the classrooms vacant
just teach-ins reclaiming the history you were debasing
free food with Food Not Bombs special catering baking
Love and knowledge; it’s a collage at City College
all the cultures reconnecting and solving the problems from the bottom
[i]Put your hands in the air if you want books not war
Democracy (what?),Tthat’s what the people is for!
Put your hands in the air if you want books not war
Democracy (what?), That’s what the people is for![/i]
Grass Roots, we’ve all got em- in the soles of our feet
and the souls that is a part of every energy being
every day they working hard to try to tear up your dreams
racism on the radios and consumerist bling
but now it’s time to shine and let freedom sing
The future is now; we’re the ones here to claim
The Rosenberg Library? I say it’s time to rename it-
repaint it like all the murals that made the Mission famous
aint gonna let a business suit calm us down or try to tame us
we’re WILD and free; we love it can you blame us?
Sorry Swarzinagger but we broke out of the cages
with solidarity K through 12 and all ages
[i]Put your hands in the air if you want books not war
Democracy (what?),Tthat’s what the people is for!
Put your hands in the air if you want books not war
Democracy (what?), That’s what the people is for![/i]
Textbooks is now free; take copyrights off of pages
Don’t need leaders or sages to mold our consent
when our rights is threatened it’s our time to dissent
throw up your middle finger to this one-party government
I didn’t vote for this war; I say you bring back our men
That’s my word and it’s as sure as the ink in this pen
that causes hysterics with these lyrics to throw me back in the pen
but I’ll do it again; a no compromise kinda guy
we comprised a bee storm after you swapping us like flies
like a video game set to unlimited lives
the people never give up and they infinite as the skies
We took off your disguise and blocked your deflectors
The board of directors is just a horde of rejectors
aint gonna listen to us until we unite as protectors
Call out to all sectors; we’re here and we’re permanent
The powers that be; you better be learning from it
We’re sick of your greed and sick of your rules
you wanna gut education well…
you about to get schooled!
check out more photos and information from Cabrillo Solidarity
Around 200 protest, more from indybay.
400 rally in busiest intersection
Out of State
SUNY – State University of New York
3:00pm: SUNY purchase occupied (see website)
Solidarity to all students, workers and faculty!
We ‘ve taken over the Student Services Building. We started on the bottom level, turning a meager rally into a protest-party on the inside.Students are chanting, singing, dancing. The energy moved upstairs to the second floor where a folk group is performing right now. Downstairs another band is about to play. We are holding space and reclaiming it as ours. We will not leave!
The local media showed up for the rally outside but left before we went inward. Channel 12 and other local media sources watched as the president of our school spoke. Students were the real stars, the expression of solidarity was fantastic. Food not bombs came out to feed everyone that was hungry, we screened the occupation of wheeler hall so passerbys could connect with the struggles in the west. Students are making noise!!!!, and celebrated our ability to come together. It’s more than just tuition hikes and budget cuts,
WE are not leaving! This IS just the beginning!
Slideshow & Audio from SUNY Purchase occupation.
CUNY – Brooklyn College
Hundreds participated in a successful teach
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
a big protest (~250), major police repression. 18 students arrested for trying to peacefully visit their chancellor!
Info and videos here: http://sdsmke.com/
University of Oklahoma
Warren Wilson College
University of Illinois, Chicago
250 protest, joined by SEIU Local 73
University of Massachusetts
FULLERTON, California – As of 3AM, CSU Fullerton’s 8-story Humanities building has been barricaded from the inside by some fairly heavy materials. Their communique below.
6:22am: Cops have raided the occupation. Four have been detained while the rest of the occupiers remain held up and negotiating with the police.
6:51am: Police have released the four detained, the rest of the 15-18 people inside are now being talked to, but will also probably be released on the spot. A full update will be posted later.
7:35am: Correction to previous update: The barricades were secure, but service ladders inside the building extend to tunnels below the building and had not been secured. The police entered through there, detaining four of the occupiers almost immediately. The rest of the occupiers scattered elsewhere in the building. All were eventually cited and released. The barricades that had been placed were indeed dumpsters chained to the doors from the inside, some stacked on each other.
Why Occupy? And Why the Humanities Building?
First and foremost, it is important for us to express our unease with the term “occupation.” The term’s historical indebtedness to militarization/colonial exploitation is difficult to disassociate. We use the term merely as a means of putting ourselves in direct solidarity with the “occupations” that have been occurring the world over from universities to factories to foreclosed homes; from Asia to Europe to Africa to central and south America and, now, here in the United States. They are happening and they are growing. The term that is perhaps more appropriate, and which still expresses the spirit of these movements, is “reclamation.”
Now to the question: why reclaim? Well, none other than CSUF’s own strategic planner Michael Parker, as well the university’s administration, has put out the call. In a document that was released as “pre-event reading” for the President’s Planning Retreat held on January 20th, 2010 Parker wrote the following:
If degrees obviously lead to jobs in fields like healthcare, public administration and pre-legal training, science and engineering, research support, communications, business, pre-medical and dental training that can be seen as crucial to society, then we make our case. More esoteric offerings such as literature, philosophy, fine arts, and so forth will only be justified in the minds of the public as they are clearly related to practical concerns. The fact that these are traditional parts of comprehensive universities is no longer a strong enough argument to the public. (p. 5)
Parker’s argument is that, given the current social mandate (i.e. the demand for high level job preparation in areas like public administration, business and communications), the Schools of Humanities and Arts, along with their subsequent disciplines, are “socially irrelevant.”
However, the term “social mandate” is duplicitous as it, in reality, refers to no social body whatsoever. Instead, it refers to various components of the global economy. As Parker writes: “…international corporations, the European economic Union, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and other international trade groups have become an organizing principle for society and are once again reshaping the nature of universities.” (p. 10) Thus, it seems clear to us that the Schools of Humanities and Arts are not “socially” irrelevant but, instead, “economically” irrelevant and, even, politically dangerous to the established economic order that has become an “organizing principle for society.”
Throughout the Presidents Planning Retreat document, as well as another document by Parker entitled “Strategic Planning Activities 10-08 to 09-09”, students, faculty and staff are consistently referred to as “human capital”, “producers”, “consumers” as well as short- and long-term “payoffs” meant for “repurposing” and “downsizing”. It is in the Schools of Humanities and Arts that we learn both the facts and expressions of various forms of social resistance to the commodification of everything – even the commodification of our lives. And it is precisely these programs (Afro-Ethnic Studies, Chicana and Chicano Studies, Asian American Studies, Women’s Studies, Modern Languages, Classical Guitar, and so many more) that show us a world beyond mere commodities and engage critically with the established order of the global economy, that Parker designates as “merely desirable” and “non-essential.” WE are not surprised because WE are dangerous.
And this is precisely why we are reclaiming the Humanities building: because we do not trust an administration that seeks to marginalize alternative narratives to the University of Phoenix business model (p. 10); because we cannot acquiesce to a university administration that called the 2007 CSUF on-campus noose-hangings merely an “offensive act” and not a hate crime; because we refuse to allow the absence of any disruption to a university system that seeks to expel Muslim students at UC Irvine for protesting a pro-Zionist speaker while a woman who hangs a noose at UC San Diego faces mere suspension; because it is absolutely impossible to offer our complicity towards the systematic downsizing of staff and adjunct faculty; and, finally, because we offer our solidarity to the Tongva Indians who, for 18 years, have been fighting developers to preserve the Puvunga, a burial ground on the western edge of campus of CSU Long Beach.
As our project may be to open the school of Humanities to the communities beyond the university context, those outside might ask: why the barricades? The school of Humanities cannot be a truly autonomous space until we have built the community to defend it, to ensure a space devoid of police, university and state violence and repression. As Michael Parker and the university administration have put the call out to reclaim spaces, we put the call out to those communities that wish to oppose systematic and conventional racism, classism and sexism.
For the full Michael Parker documents:
“The non-symbolic nature of the S.F. State strike was likewise reflected in the tactics, which carefully avoided the usual ritual seizure of buildings and planned confrontations with police. Instead of “living the revolution” inside an occupied building for a brief apocalyptic period culminating in a Big Bust… the TWLF [Third World Liberation Front] opted for a “protracted struggle,” closing the campus and keeping it shut down not by simply impairing normal campus activity, but by making it totally impossible.”
—James McEvoy & Abraham Miller, “On Strike…Shut It Down” in Black Power & Student Rebellion: Conflict on the American Campus (1969)
The parting words of After the Fall–at once both a summation and a call–present the occupations in the past 6 months as a “vulgar and beautiful” destabilizing force within a larger arena of forces, at times nomadic and imperceptible, at other times spectacularly, with declarations and attitude.
Still, the finale of welfare state social services, the numbing terror of disaster, displacement, the colonial politics, the social death of civic life, the logic of representation, the endless reproduction of modern misery, the absent future, the crises of capital, the Afghan offensive, the government in a box–none of this deserves the elegance of any of the words we printed in this publication. They deserve a swift, merciless street fight.
After the Fall.
We will not be free when we are educated, we will be educated when we are free.
Society has reached the stage of potential mass unemployment; and mass employment is increasingly a manipulated product of the state and state-like powers that channelize surplus humankind into public works, including armies and official or semiofficial political organizations, in order to keep it at once alive and under control.
LEO LÖWENTHAL, UC BERKELEY PROFESSOR, 1949.
Before the Fall we felt it briefly, in each hour and a half interval: the ten minute grace period between classes, waiting for a lecture to begin, assigning ourselves one uncomfortable chair amongst 130 other uncomfortable chairs, and so began the telling of human History—grand, anecdotal, scientific, relevant or apropos of nothing. And just as we felt this loss, it disappeared. So we laughed, we fell asleep, we posed calculated questions, we watched a bald man every three days in a nice shirt pacing back and forth in an auditorium, the lights went dim, the lights came up, we collected ourselves, ate potato chips and a sandwich. We are kept alive, vaccinated, some even plump, yes, but we feel our surplus status. Excess. Excessive. This excessiveness animates our underlying dissatisfaction. That we do not matter: our private morals, decisions, attitudes, preferences, manners—that we are kept so absorbed, busy forever arranging these abstractions into purchases, identities, further abstractions on the future, sacrosanct opinions on the past. We are governed by the abstraction of the future and a grand or alternative History, sure, but we are also governed by these abstractions of the present.
That is the crisis, a lost faith in an inhabitable future, that the work ahead is as limited as the work in place now: the absent future, the dead future, the unemployment, the anxiety. For an economy that so often drains meaning from the immediate present for an imaginary future, a loss of faith is crisis. A surplus population of students, writers, photographers, freelancers, philosophers, social theorists without a doubt—but also increasingly of engineers, scientists, lawyers, businessmen, politicians. The economy that animates the university is an engine that produces irrelevance. That the economy itself provokes such a crisis of faith is testament to its own inner operating procedures, and perhaps to its own grinding contradictions.
And yet in the Fall something broke. Students and staff made a different claim on the university. We were not convinced that a dead future could be renegotiated through a “New New Deal.” We were not easily chaperoned to the endless deferral of “Sacramento,” we did not hide from the rain, we did not quietly suffer the eclipse of the university by the county jail system. Our faith in a future abstraction was not renewed; it was replaced by faith in one another in the present.
The movement should exist for the sake of the people, not the people for the sake of the movement.
AIMÉ CÉSAIRE, 1956.
Secure at first food and clothing, and the kingdom of God will come to you of itself.
GEORG W.F. HEGEL, 1807.
To put forth empty slogans to “Save the University” in a moment of student occupations is as misguided as calling to “Save the Prison” in a prison riot—redemption in this case would be to restore the status quo: the exclusions and incarceration, the slamming gates of the university and the warehoused social death of the prisoner.
They function as opposite poles on a spectrum of class reproduction. The university—an arm of the economy and state—in all of its exclusions and exclusivity, its funding schemes and governance, is bound to and dependent upon the prison. Certainly this was momentarily evident when we snuck a glance behind the theater of scripted rallies and petitions and discovered the batons and tasers of riot cops, county jail and county court, and a multimillion dollar administrative public affairs media campaign aimed at criminalizing students. In this way there is no “outside” to the university: there are no “outside agitators” as the public relations office declares. For us the only outside agitators are the administration, its police, capital and the state.
During the Fall, students occupied in order to cast the administration, its police, capital and the state as the outside—to reconfigure the sides—the “insides” and “outsides”—of a struggle. We knew fundamentally there was no ‘outside’ to the university—the university is yoked to San Quentin, computer factories in China, deforestation in Indonesia, mineral mining in the Congo, nuclear energy in Russia, green capitalism in Sweden, coffee houses on Telegraph, intellectual property rights in India, coked up hipster parties in Echo Park, and weed farms in Mendecino. Perhaps this is the university’s appeal as well. It is a world. Everywhere, connected to everything.
So we thought it was a matter of subtraction: to take ourselves and these buildings with us to transmit a message that “We will get what we can take,” that “Everything belongs to everyone.” Among some, the reaction was predictable. “Only children can take everything.” “We must all make sacrifices.” “Our leaders are doing their best and making difficult choices on our behalf.” Another world is unpopular. And yet we found, despite mistakes and despite successes, that another world was recharting the global map: solidarity messages and actions from Pakistan, Japan, Ireland, Germany, Austria, South Africa, Chicago, New Orleans, New York City.
And now we move outwards, towards the ways in which the university is maintained: compulsory labor, the rented homes of university students and workers, the police violence in these neighborhoods. We gravitate towards the Miwok tribe in Stockton, CA who in January this year occupied their headquarters after being served eviction papers. We gravitate towards the January 21st attempted occupation of a Hibernia Bank in downtown San Francisco in a struggle against homelessness, the occupation of Mexico City’s National University in the late 90s, the 2009 summer-long Ssangyong auto plant workers’ occupation in South Korea. We gravitate towards the young people who last year set fire to downtown Oakland to show they were still alive, to reveal a spark of their own relevance in the shadow of the police execution of Oscar Grant Jr. and so many others. We recognize ourselves in them. For all of our apparent differences, how we have been classified and filed under the logic of capital, race, gender, citizenship, ad nauseam, we know these categories do not guarantee a politics– we know our differences and commonalities are more complex than what is allowed in this world. Our faith is sheltered there, housed in mutual recognition, in building-seizures and confrontations.
The present, due to its staggering complexities, is almost as conjectural as the past.
GEORGE JACKSON, 1971.
Over the past semester an important set of critiques were leveled at actions we gesture toward throughout this paper and any group engaged in direct action. The editors of this paper hail from different social movements and moments and frequently disagree. We cannot write a collective statement with positive prescription. What we do know is that all liberatory social movements benefit from the destabilization of the university as an institution, as both a dream factory of class mobility and an engine of profound inequality.
A social movement is a counter-force within an arena of power. At its best a counter-force destabilizes that arena and creates social and political openings, in the moment and in its wake. The longer a crowd exists the more dangerous it becomes. It’s there, in those openings, that we find fertile ground for broad and interpersonal solidarity, trust, dreams of the future, collective desire for anything. That is where we build our positive prescription, our visions. Meaningful, useful dreams are only dreamt in struggle, in the spaces opened and left behind by the fight.
The Fall was that kind of moment—a reemergence of new and old formations shaped around new and old realities and ideas. The creation of tactical and strategic openings. The real, if momentary, blockage of institutional policy and systematic violence. The necessary polarization; the flowering of new solidarities and the nourishing of the old; the possibility of generalized direct action, social ruptures; students and all the rest living in a more meaningful present instead of an institutionally-imposed, indebted future. Those currently in power want nothing more than the reproduction of stability and unquestioned legitimacy, the guarantee of an unchallenged control that lasts forever, the disparities each of us have tried to fight as though they were separate and separable catastrophes.
And so after the Fall we are left with some openings: March 4th is one among many. We’ve built, seemingly by vulgar and beautiful chance, a party. The occupation. The mob. A mobile force. A machine. This is to say many of us are you, and likely many of you are us. We are all bound together merely by inhabiting the same arena; many of “us” are people of color, queers, counter-settlers, 1st generation college students, service industry workers–traumatized, beat down, brilliant, and tender.
But we are also adventurists.