Archive for the ‘Statements/Communiqués’ Category

Statement of Solidarity of Gezi Gardens

10 June 2013

from HumanBeIn:

Today, Sunday, June 9th Liberate the Land marched from Gezi Gardens to Civic Center Plaza to join the people of San Francisco standing in solidarity with the people of Istanbul and Turkey at a rally there. Over a hundred people rallied to express support for people in Turkey facing police repression. Chants sang out over the livestream between SF and Istanbul as rallies happened simultaneously all over the world. The below statement of solidarity was read at the rally before everyone marched back to Gezi Gardens together changing, “from Turkey to the Bay, green space is here to stay!”

Statement of Solidarity of Gezi Gardens, San Francisco, CA

We at Gezi Gardens in San Francisco, CA stand in solidarity with all people world wide liberating land from private control and corporate interests and for the common good of all people. We liberated the piece of land on Laguna Street between Oak and Fell Streets in San Francisco on June 1st, 2013, and renamed it Gezi Gardens to express our solidarity with all those in Istanbul and throughout Turkey standing up to the privatization and development of Gezi Park. We recognize that the struggle in Turkey goes far beyond the fight to retain an open green space. However, we find common ground in this, as well as our wider aspirations for a more free and just world.

Like Gezi Park, the space we are in is a rare green space in a city being gentrified and developed without the consensus, input, and participation of the people in decision making processes that affect all. Rather than a luxury apartment complex, we wish to see this space continue to grow food, host wildlife habitat, be a home to trees and natural ecology, and be a place where people can interact with, learn from, and live in greater balance with the earth and our environment. In Istanbul, a tree falls and a nation rises. Here we wish to rise before the first tree has to fall.

Similarly, we stand in solidarity with the indigenous people of Brazil resisting the construction of the Belo Monte River Dam, a hydroelectric project that would dam the last free flowing tributary of the Amazon River, cutting off a lifeline and displacing thousands of indigenous people from the land they have lived on for generations. We stand in solidarity with the people of La ZAD in Nantes, France who have banded together to stop the construction of an airport planned to clearcut vast forests and displace local farmers from their land historically used for growing food. We stand in solidarity with the Zapatistas of Chiapas, Mexico, who pushed the Mexican state out of their territory in 1994 and reclaimed land from first world corporations in order to grow food, open clinics, build schools, and foster community in their newly declared centers of autonomous governance. We stand in solidarity and alongside all indigenous people around the world struggling to maintain common access to their ancestral lands.

In liberating land around the world, for the commons, with love and strength,

Gezi Gardens, San Francisco

Note from Revolutionaries of Color II

27 May 2013

from DavisAntiZionism:

“At whatever level we study it… decolonization is quite simply the replacing of a certain ‘species’ of men by another ‘species’ of men. Without any period of transition, there is a total, complete, and absolute substitution.” -Frantz Fanon

“Indeed our words will remain lifeless, barren, devoid of any passion, until we die as a result of these words, whereupon our words will suddenly spring to life and live amongst the hearts that are dead, bringing them to life as well.” -Sayyid Qutb

We, the anti-Zionists and radicals (of color), organized to take over Dutton Hall at the University of California, Davis on May 15, 2013, the 65th anniversary of the Nakba, in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. The administration, Zionists on and off campus, and local media have tried to misrepresent what took place that day, and this is why it is necessary that we send a clear and direct message.

Our action had absolutely nothing to do with the recently failed UC Davis Divestment resolution. The fact that the divestment resolution did not even pass the initial stages of Zionist bureaucracy provides us with another example of the failures of dialoguing and negotiating with racists. The resolution’s failure only made visible the pre-existing antagonisms of Zionism (colonialism) and anti-Zionism (anti-colonialism). We did not organize our action out of frustration from the failure of the divestment process. We were already frustrated! For us, dialogue with the colonizers, with the enemies of the Palestinians, is already a form of defeat. It is already a weak, counter-revolutionary position to sit down at the same table as the colonizer. We have no desire to melt the heart of Zionists. We want to remove the colonizer out of the political equation, so that there is a final end to colonial-relations. We shut down Dutton Hall – an action we recognize to be minimal compared to the worldwide anti-colonial/anti-imperialist struggles – not because of the failure of the divestment resolution passing, but because it was the day of the Nakba, the day of catastrophe for all Palestinians, and we consider it to be our historical responsibility to take a strong oppositional position against colonialism in general, and Zionism in particular.

We want to make sure everyone knows that these were autonomous actions by anti-Zionists and radicals of color. No campus student organizations were involved in the organizing and mobilizing process. The question of organization is not only a theoretical problem but also an important tactical question for us. We know full well that organizational structures that were useful in an earlier stage of history are now obsolete and impotent on the ground – outside of (Zionist) classrooms, and administration-controlled centers. These centers function within the mystifying logic of multiculturalism, in order to not only reproduce the disciplining and policing of dark bodies, but also to create internalized technologies of self-surveillance. The student organizations generally work very closely with these centers, and share with them vital information and documents about events, workshops, training programs, and the students themselves, thereby enabling the (re)creation of both structures of surveillance with a wide pool of data, as well as subjects that monitor themselves in an effective way. It is precisely in this juncture that we witness the slow disappearance of the difference between administrators and students. We encounter students that act in favor of administrators, and administrators that act as soft cops, and the entire structure of surveillance work with its various institutional coordinates in a methodical and coordinated manner in order to identify, target, order and pacify (student) protests that may have resonance in the larger communities of struggle.

The UC Davis Police Department graduated its first student cadets a few days ago. ASUCD President Carly Sandstrom commented: “This program is something every UC campus should take on — training homegrown officers who understand students.”  This is an example of how the administration works through a structured cooperation between administrators, cops, and students. The various student centers on campus, like the Cross Cultural Center (CCC), have demonstrated themselves to be spaces complicit with Zionist ideology. Students and staff members affiliated with these centers always mediate rightfully enraged pro-Palestinian students into submission through inter/intra-community snitching which has become central for the smooth functioning of administrative logic. There is no point anymore to talk about reclaiming the CCC by evoking the history of the hunger strike. We have to realize that these centers are fundamentally anti-Black, anti-Muslim, and anti-indigenous. To promote policing is to promote the ideology and political practice of settler-colonialism. It is concretely the continuation of the systematic obliteration and assimilation of indigenous communities, geographies, and economies, and the disciplining of black bodies that reduces them into flesh, into the economic units of slave labor. To promote policing is to promote the ideology of the War on Terror that not only evacuates Muslim bodies out of their material social self-representation and location, but also destroys their societies and modes of life for the purposes of creating new markets. The plundering and re-appropriating of resources requires strategic cooperation with the native Muslim bourgeoisie, and it is in this juncture that we witness the use of soft-power that through various reformist programs encourages the formation of moderate subjects that are complicit with U.S imperialism. Within the United States, the emergence of the “American-Muslim” identity signifies the shift from an articulation of an anti-plantation/anti-racist political-religion, towards an internally re-arranged and re-articulated ideology that is at peace with hyphenated Americanism. The CCC nurtures such counter-revolutionary identities. It will not become less racist with time. It will keep reforming and renewing itself to be better at policing dark bodies, and to train students of color to become cops and informants themselves.

For these obvious reasons we did not work through the given student organizations, nor did we try to prepare for our action at a student center, and as we took over Dutton Hall we made it clear that we did not want administrators in our space. Initially, three administrators came to the occupied building and tried to negotiate with us. But we were successful in having them leave the building as it closed around evening time on May 15. The next morning, we were able to blockade the building. We saw from the inside that cops, a fireman, administrators, and reactionary students tried to enter our space. But they were unsuccessful. We were supported by many students on campus who were sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. They came to look at the banners and signs, and engaged in discussions about colonialism, political-economic and social suffering in Palestine, police violence on and off campus, and student debt with supporting comrades who acted as observers right outside of the building. We thank our comrades for their support.

Islamophobia is actively present at UC Davis. But we do not want to think about the hatred against Islam at the level of psychological disposition or cultural misperception. But rather, we want to think about the objective conditions that structure certain kinds of social behavior that target and demonize “non-secular” bodies. When Islam is made flesh through various movements of the body of the mu’min, whether they are religious rituals or political acts in the public sphere, it provokes the racialist order to think about its own foundational sins.  In order to maintain its own metanarrative, white supremacy constantly refounds and reproduces itself in a new historical plane. Islam is seen as a deliberate transgression, an embodiment of infidelity towards America. While there is a general hatred against Islam, patriarchy enmeshed with whiteness targets Muslim women in a particular manner. The precision of this kind of peculiar targeting of veiled Muslimas gets its substance from the specificity of colonial social relations. In order to examine the substance of this specific hatred against Muslim women, we need to look at the dream content of the colonialist. The colonialist dreams about unveiling and penetrating the colonized woman, and this is structurally linked to political-economic penetration and domination. But the veil marks and makes visible the political separation between the colonizer and the colonized. If it is used in a non-assimilationist way, against multiculturalism in accordance with the embodied practice of the sharia, the veil creates a sense of terror in the hearts of the unbelievers. It signifies resistance. It signifies separation. But most importantly it signifies unknowability. This is precisely why for the colonialist there is a need to understand the veil. The understanding of the use of the veil is central to taming of the body that uses the veil. Fanon examines the relation between visibility, colonial gaze and dream of unveiling. He writes: “This woman who sees without being seen frustrates the colonizer. There is no reciprocity. She does not yield herself, does not give herself, does not offer herself [...] Thus the rape of the Algerian woman in the dream of a European is always preceded by a rending of the veil.” Beyond the veil-fetishism, colonialism has a direct interest in targeting bodies of dark women. Women are specifically targeted in Gaza because it is through their bodies that the struggle reproduces itself. Palestinian women and children are seen as a threat to the future of Israel.  Their deaths are not accidental. Israel even sterilizes its own immigrant African women, demonstrating a fundamental anxiety over the reproduction of darker bodies. These genocidal acts of the Israeli State against the bodies of darker women make it structurally similar to the United States[i]. During our occupation of Dutton Hall, as we positioned ourselves against the regulative principles of the administration, practicing Muslims – particularly our sisters – observed their religious duties. There was a salaat (prayer) schedule, and the Muslims prayed in congregation. The practitioners agreed that making salaat together inside an occupied building, in the midst of political encounters, is consistent with the spirit of Islam that aims to bring order out of disorder, without making the forceful distinction between religious practices and political action. Jahiliyyah[ii] is a condition of non-Islam, a condition in which we experience the world in an inverted manner. Our bodies feel disoriented, and the world as a totality seems disrupted. Under these extreme conditions, when we take it upon ourselves to critically engage with the disrupted/disruptive world of colonialism and capitalism, and force ourselves to struggle against the causality of this disruption, we fundamentally work against the material causes of Islamophobia, and take the first step towards disalienation[iii].

Palestine is central to decolonization proper. It is not a side issue. We are at the beginning stage of the formation of an uncompromising anti-Zionism on campus that does not take soft positions for the sake of political, legal, social expediency. Anti-Zionism helps us determine our friends and enemies in a historical manner[iv]. Post-Zionism is just another name for the justification of the occupation of Palestinian life and social consciousness through a reified genealogy that aims to evoke the settler-socialist fantasy of civil integration. Far leftists will have to call for a decisive break with Zionism if they are to be credible in the Islamic world, in the third world. Post-Zionism may have the appearance of a political pragmatism, but it is fundamentally a counter-revolutionary, reactionary position. Zionism cannot be improved. It has to be dismantled. But this task of dismantling requires that we understand Zionism as more than a mere political ideology. It plays a central role in structuring, specifying and organizing neoliberal economic programs[v] in the Middle East within the totalizing logic of capitalism. The economic domination of Palestine foundationally relies upon the Zionist occupation that emerges out of a racialized social-political, historical-ontological difference between settlers and natives.

We had to write this note from the point of view of revolutionaries of color because we find ourselves in colonial relations, in antagonism with white supremacy. And, we are sure that true (white) abolitionists will understand this position. Colonial-relations are reproduced in capitalism. Capitalism has to persistently racialize and colonize. The Nakba is a historically specific event. And, we cannot lose sight of this specificity and the details of our social experience and the differentiating grammar of struggle as we make general propositions about the structure of capitalism, and by extension, imperialism. We have to understand that while capitalism absolutely totalizes and homogenizes, it also necessarily differentiates. It necessarily makes distinctions between the first world and the third world. It necessarily reproduces bodies of slaves and servants in a new historical plane. As always, we are against identity politics[vi], but that in no way seduces us into carelessly upholding empty universals. Fanon writes: “Challenging the colonial world is not a rational confrontation of viewpoints. It is not a discourse on the universal, but the impassioned claim by the colonized that their world is fundamentally different.”  We cannot forget the historical specificity of the dynamic between determinations and struggle.

Death to Jahiliyyah.

Death to reified conceptions of struggle.

Long live the Intifada!


[i] We know about the sterilization of indigenous and black women in the United States in the past.

[ii] This concept is discussed by Qutb in the modern context. We have discussed it differently here.

[iii] This notion of disalienation comes from Steve Biko’s work.

[iv] The friend-enemy distinction is inspired by Malcolm X’s speeches and his theorization of the “collective white man”. A comrade/sister from Palestine reminded us as we were preparing this note that we should be careful about the friend-enemy distinction because there are too many so called “allies” for the Palestinian cause who are interested in dominating the way we talk about resistance to Israel. This is precisely why Malcolm X’s focus on white-supremacy in relation to slavery and servitude is the correct political move.

[v] Adam Hanieh talks about neoliberal programs in Palestine in more detail.

[vi] For our critique of identity politics see our first note: http://bicyclebarricade.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/note-from-the-revolutionaries-of-color/

First Person Account of FBI Raid in West Oakland

18 February 2013

from Indybay:

3 days ago on Feb 13th 2013, my home, The Music Box, located on 3404 Market St in Oakland was raided by the FBI, OPD and various officers leading the investigation from Citrus Heights, CA.

The police officers at first vocalized that the intended purpose of the raid was to look for a murder suspect. Latter, they vocalized that they were there only to search for his personal belongings that could be connected with the case. The warrant stated that they were there to search for a myriad of different objects, mostly pertaining to electronic devices, digital media storing devices, clothing, and objects connected with illegal cannabis production. The warrant also stated that they could come back within 10 days of the raid to confiscate other electronic devises, specifically cell phones.

The person whose homicide case they were conducting the raid in conjunction to was in prison for other charges during the time of the raid and had been behind bars for at least a month.

The raid started at approx. 7 am, with one of the residents spotting armed police officers and federal agents approaching the house across the street, the officers then approached the front door, coming through the gate and busted in, flashing a search warrant at the resident who answered the door. They busted all of the residents o of the Music Box out of their bedrooms and forced us all to wait outside in the front of our house, forced to pee in front of them, all of us in our underwear and pajamas for approximately 2 hours while they searched through our home, taking and breaking things leaving with what we saw to be 3 or 4 bags of things. No known electronic devices were taken. They originally told us we were detained but then that too was verbally retractted. They let us all take a look at a copy of the warrant that they left for us. They attempted to interrogate some of the residents about the suspects character, his whereabouts and asking if he had ever attempted to get them to do illegal things with them. One of the residents was put into handcuffs after they went to get a pack of cigarettes.

We called out for help to passer by, pleading for them to record the event, tell people what was happening. Eventually, friends of our house were contacted for help and came by, and around that same time, they let us all go. Thankfully, no one was arrested and the Feds as well as the cops left as calmly as people like that can leave a home they just invaded.

There were approx. 10-15 officers, many armed with assault rifles and FBI agents in swat gear. Many of the officers also had small video cameras around their neck recording the whole ordeal.

The previous day, Feb 12th, a few officers showed up in the afternoon claiming to be responding to a 911 call that apparently came from our home that they were doing a routine check up on. They said, without any instigation, that they were not trying to raid the house. The residents who answered the door told them they could not enter and told them to leave. Latter in the evening on Feb 12th, several helicopters circled our home, flashing search lights into our back yard as well as the front door.

 

(more…)

Support UCLA Students!

11 April 2012

On March 29, three UCLA students were arrested at the UC Board of Regents’ meeting at UC San Francisco, as police were sent in to remove students from the meeting and they tried to comply with police orders.  Before the students were violently arrested,  UCLA Lt. O’Connell was seen pointing out certain UCLA student activists to other police.  The first student was arrested after he asked police who the commanding officer was, and why students needed to leave the building when the dispersal order was only to leave the room where the meeting was held.  Two graduate students were arrested as the police wrestled the first student to the ground.  It seems clear that the three were singled out given their prior arrests at UCLA.  Two were booked on serious charges and a total of $72,000 bail, and it cost students almost $6000 to post bond to get them out of jail.  The third was released on her own recognizance.  While the San Francisco District Attorney has decided not to file charges against these three, the bond amount was not recoverable.

This year, UCLA has become a flashpoint of student protests against increasing tuition, budget cuts, and administrative mismanagement of public higher education.  In November of last year, 11 students were arrested blocking the Westwood-Wilshire intersection to draw attention to UC’s business relationship with Bank of America and Monica Lozano’s conflict of interest as a member of both the Board of Regents and the Board of BoA.  Later that month, under the direction of Lt. O’Connell, 14 students were arrested in a pre-dawn raid of the Occupy UCLA encampment by around 70 riot police as administrators watched.  Despite a letter signed by dozens of faculty, the LA City Attorney still pursued charges against the students, eventually settling with the protesters to take a class on the First Amendment in exchange for a diversion of the charges.

Since the arrests in November, UCLA students have seen a rapid and troubling increase in repression from police, including arrests and violence.  Lt. O’Connell also oversaw the police response to student protesters at the Regents’ meeting at UC Riverside in January, in which a lecturer was violently arrested and police opened fire on students with less-than-lethal ammunition.  Even since the most recent Regents’ meeting, UCLA police have been following student activists on campus.  While students still aren’t deterred and will keep fighting, we anticipate more arrests and more violence against students.

We are therefore asking for your support in covering our costs to free the two students, and building a bail and legal defense fund for future arrests.  If you are able to donate, please go to: https://www.wepay.com/donations/ucla-protester-bail-fund

Please help us, so we can keep fighting!

In solidarity,
The Ad-hoc Legal Support Committee of Occupy UCLA

Davis Dozen Press Release

11 April 2012

Occupy UC Davis Antirepression Crew Media
oucd-antirepression-media@googlegroups.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

What: Call-In to Oppose Prosecution of the 12 UCD Protesters
Contact: Yolo County District Attorney at (530) 666-8180 or Fax: (530)666-8423
Support: Come to the Arraignment on Friday, April 27th, 8:30am at the Yolo County Superior Court, Dept. 9, 213, Third Street, Woodland, CA, 95695

11 UC DAVIS STUDENTS, PROFESSOR, CHARGED FOR U.S. BANK BLOCKADE

Accused May Face up to Eleven Years in Prison

Just months after UC Davis police pepper sprayed seated students in the face during a protest against university privatization and police brutality, Chancellor Linda Katehi’s administration is trying to send some of the same students to prison for their alleged role in protests that led to the closure of a US Bank branch on campus.

On 29 March, weeks after an anti-privatization action against US Bank ended with the closure of the bank’s campus branch, 11 UC Davis students and one professor received orders to appear at Yolo County Superior Court. District Attorney Jeff Reisig is charging campus protesters with 20 counts each of obstructing movement in a public place, and one count of conspiracy. If convicted, the protesters could face up to 11 years each in prison, and $1 million in damages.

The charges were brought at the request of the UC Davis administration, which had recently received a termination letter from US Bank holding the university responsible for all costs, claiming they were “constructively evicted” because the university had not responded by arresting the “illegal gathering.” Protesters point out that the charges against them serve to position the university favorably in a potential litigation with US Bank.

Three of the protesters had received summons from UCD Student Judicial Affairs in mid-February, and it was only after US Bank announced that it had permanently closed its doors that the UCD administration requested that the DA bring criminal charges against the 12. Supporters argue that the university is targeting the dozen in order to limit its liability to US Bank and that the university is effectively using public funds (through the DA’s office) to protect a private corporation’s right to profit from increasingly indebted students at an increasingly expensive public university.

Among the 12 are some of the protesters pepper sprayed by campus police during the infamous November incident. But whereas the District Attorney declined to file charges against protesters then, this less publicized prosecution seems to be an attempt to punish the dissenting students, perhaps in retaliation for their pending ACLU lawsuit against the university. “We might not think of this as violence, because there aren’t broken bones or pepper spray or guns—it’s not as explicit—but sending someone to jail, holding them for a day, let alone 11 years, is violence,” said Andrew Higgins, a graduate student in History and representative of the UC graduate student union.

Supporters are requesting that the public contact the Yolo County District Attorney at (530) 666-8180 and voice their opposition to this prosecution. Supporters also request public attendance on the day of their arraignment, Friday, April 27th, 8:30am at the Yolo County Superior Court, Dept. 9, 213 Third Street, Woodland, CA, 95695. The website in support of the 12 accused is http://www.davisdozen.org.

[END OF PRESS RELEASE] (via BicycleBarricade)

Related

The SF Commune Lives – Open Occupation on May Day

10 April 2012

from indybay:

The SF Commune arose on Easter Sunday at an undisclosed Church owned property. Less than one week after the Archdiocese commanded SFPD to violently evict and arrest 75 folks from 888 Turk St., a new Collective Housing Community Center has been established. The SF Commune will not tolerate the systems that force 7,000-10,000 San Franciscan’s to remain homeless while over 30,000 housing units are wasting away vacant.

On May Day, the SFC will open it’s doors and conduct another Open Occupation in solidarity with the May 1st General Strike. For the next three weeks, the new site will continue to thrive covertly, engaging in mutual aid and direct democracy, in preparation for May Day. The SFC has been initiated to provide a perpetual, autonomous headquarters for the OccupySF movement.

Students Occupy Former Cross Cultural Center at UC Davis

24 January 2012

DAVIS, California – Students at UC Davis occupied the former Cross Cultural Center midday on Tuesday – the center having moved to a new $22 million building. They have declared their solidarity with UCR, Egypt, the hotel occupation in San Francisco and Occupy Oakland – especially with their upcoming moving day on January 28th.

This is their communiqué:

The spaces we live in are broken: occupation is our defense.

As capital spirals further into crisis, we are constantly confronted with the watchword of austerity. We are meant to imagine a vast, empty vault where our sad but inevitable futures lie. But we are not so naïve. Just as Wall Street functions on perpetually revolving credit markets where cash is merely a blip, so also does our state government. High tuition increases have been made necessary not by shrinking savings, but by a perpetually expanding bond market, organized by the UC Regents, enforced through increasing tuition and growing student loan debt. Growth has become a caricature of itself, as the future is sold on baseless expanding credit from capitalist to capitalist. Our future is broken. We are the crisis. Our occupations are the expressions of that crisis.

But on the university campuses, where militarization is increasing daily, we have more immediate needs. Our relationship with the administration and police is not one of trust and openness; the arrogance and nonchalance with which they regularly inflict violence against us is just as regularly followed by a thoroughly dissembling, inadequate, and cowardly condemnation of that violence. One hand attacks—one hand denies. Our universities and our public spaces are today ultra-militarized zones, where students and workers are monitored and subjugated under the pretense of “health and safety.” Officer Kemper from UC Irvine drew his gun at the Regents’ meeting at UCSF. Berkeley UCPD participated in violently clearing the Oakland Communards from Oscar Grant Plaza just weeks before they would come to UC Davis for the events of November 18th. On the day of the first Oakland General Strike, UCOP office in Oakland was lent out to OPD to “monitor” protests. Under the pretext of mutual aid, squads of armed and armored riot cops move from one campus, one public space, one city, to the next. The circulation of cops throughout the state shows that the mobile, militarized force of repression knows no boundaries: it will protect capital, government, and the status quo, wherever they are threatened. In a university whose motto is fiat lux, the administration crushes dissent and veils its intentions with lies. It has the same intentions as Mayor Quan or the Military in Egypt: to crush resistance, by any means necessary.

To continue our resistance, our immediate need is to create a safe space of togetherness, care, and freedom. When we occupied Mrak, the same officers who would later be involved in pepper spraying us watched over us as we slept. As we gathered to discuss, plan, and act to protect our right to education, the Orwellian “Freedom of Expression Team” and the “University Communications Team” loomed nearby, texting the pigs and administration on their stupid androids, smiling at us in their fake, overfed way, scooting near like unpopular highschool kids trying to overhear the weekends’ party plans. Later, these same concerned FOEs, would stand by on the quad and do nothing, grinning like idiots, as students pepper-sprayed at point blank range called for medics. It is clear to us that public space has become a euphemism for militarized, ordered, monitored space. Occupation opens a common space which is not the extension of private property to group property, but the active exclusion of all that reinforces private property. We must exclude the police and the administration, and their “Freedom of Expression Team” lackeys as well, in order to create the openness and togetherness which is impossible in their presence.

The UC Chancellor, President, Regents—who prattle on endlessly about diversity while the university closes its doors to brown students, who hail marginal utility while “the economy” closes its fist around the poor, who dream up ways to boost the university’s standing on some imaginary scale of “excellence” while slurs, swastikas, nooses, and Klan masks appear endlessly on our campus, who meet protests with violence and truth with lies—they have already proven their incapacity to imagine a future different than the present. We occupy because we will not wait for the broken future they have planned for us, because we do not trust our “elected officials” or administrators to make decisions that address problems beyond their own narrow interests. This action is not the beginning of a discussion; this is the end of the discussion. We cannot negotiate for our needs, we will not negotiate for our needs, we will meet our needs. (via UCDecolonized)

Read more:

UCSD Reclaims Revelle’s CLICS Library

5 December 2011

Hello Community,

UCSD Student’s have RECLAIMED the Library known as CLICS located in Revelle College. The University shut it down earlier this year due to “budget cuts.” This has had a dramatic effect on all students and further illustrates the Universities Privatization. The school just placed a $1.3 Million Dollar installation on the Jacob’s School of Engineering but couldn’t afford to keep the Library open.

Students have spoken out and taken action into their own hands! They have reclaimed their library! But we need you support! We need our faculty and departments to stand in Solidarity with the Students, you all can come into the space and use it for office hours or help us by publicizing to other students that the space is open.

It is currently being operated/run by students. They are currently working on a set of demands and are taking suggestions!

CLICS will function as the center of our reclamation process in taking back our university against the budget cuts and privatization of our education. We need your help getting the word out about this action: please tell your students to study at CLICS and to participate in the action. Here are a few action items….
Action items:

Please publicize this to students and other Faculty that will also help us publicize.
If you would like to hold office hours or review sessions within the space let us as soon as you can.
If you want to hold your final there or want students to turn in their finals let us know.
Please write a letter to the university supporting this action and demanding the University to meet our demands.
If you can donate supplies, financially or food, please let us know as well.
Let us know if you have any ideas or suggestions or things you would like to see within the space.

More than anything we need your support and advice to sustain this movement.

Con amor,
The students

UPDATE

  • From the students on the ground: “we had been working at this for a while, and made it really hush hush, but this morning at 6 oclock we were met by cops, so the library was not reclaimed, we are currently outside speaking to admin and police. Since its finals week the students have proceeded to studying outside. It is really cold outside, the building has running water and electricity with NO materials (computers,penicls etc.) all we want is a space to study. They cut this 24 hour library and gave us no alternative.”
  • The Admin seems to have conceded and they have now allowed the students entrance. Although, the students say it was them “who opened the doors”. They continue to push for the same demands. For more info, check out the following links: NBC San Diego and Sign On San Diego. (via RebelRadio)

Related:

  • A community garden set up on Saturday in solidarity with the occupy movement in Santa Cruz is under threat of bulldozing today at 1pm.

Support Needed at New Santa Cruz Occupation!

30 November 2011

[The following is a statement provided by an autonomous group occupying an empty bank in downtown Santa Cruz. In the late afternoon after the bank was occupied, police came to evict occupiers, but were unable to do so and retreated to cheers from the crowd. The first night continued the occupation without incident. See their blog.]

The Former Bank
at 75 River Street in Santa Cruz
Has been occupied!

This building is being re-purposed in solidarity with Occupy Santa Cruz. Formerly a bank, the building was bought by Wells Fargo, closed, and has been vacant for the past three years. The company leasing the building manages foreclosures for Wells Fargo.

The building is being re-purposed under Federal and State laws surrounding “adverse possession.” This law states that space is most beneficial to the people who use it. Spaces like this one, reclaimed from the wealthiest 1%, are places where we can seek redress to our grievances.

In the years to come, this space will be used to organize humanitarian efforts, house a library, and provide a forum for discussion. The General Assembly of Occupy Santa Cruz is also invited to use this space.

This building will be a space for the expansion of our movement; please respect it as our new home.

Come join us now at 75 River Street!

If we want to keep this space for our movement it is critical that we have hundreds of people defending it today and tonight. Bring your sleeping bags and snacks and come see our new space. Call and text everyone you know and tell them to hurry down!

UC Davis Strike Call

21 November 2011

 

The UC Board of Regents, who not only represent but actually are this state’s richest one percent, has repeatedly shown itself to be utterly unfit to manage and represent the interests of the students, faculty, and workers who constitute the University of California.Following two successive years of sharp tuition increases, accompanied by millions in department and resource cuts, layoffs, and furloughs, the board had the audacity to propose a new 81% fee increase and drastic budget reductions.

Undergraduate student fees have tripled over the past ten years, as we have seen an unprecedented explosion of student debt; and departmental budgets have shrunk, as academic and non-academic workers experience diminishing benefits, swelling workloads, and non-existent job security.

In the midst of the economic crisis, the Regents have intensified their pursuit of the project of privatization and de-funding that diminish the quality of education and quality of life for those across the UC, while consigning students’ futures to greater and greater sums of debt.

The Regents’ theft of an ostensibly public resource to fund “capital projects” such as construction projects and private research initiatives, demonstrate a clear conflict of interests that benefits a narrow administrative elite—both the Regents and their local appointees (chancellors and vice chancellors)—at the expense of the greater faculty, staff, and student body.

The familiar rhetoric of autserity demands our resigned compliance, as our learning and working conditions progressively deteriorate. We have seen recently and in years past that political dissent is met with increasingly violent displays of force and repression by University police.

The continued destruction of higher education in California, and the repressive forms of police violence that sustain it, cannot be viewed apart from larger economic and political systems that concentrate wealth and political power in the hands of the few.

Since the university has long served as one of the few means of social mobility and for the proliferation of knowledge critical to and outside of existing structures of power, the vital role it plays as one of the few truly public resources is beyond question.

The necessity of reclaiming the UC has never demanded such urgency, as it continues to shift towards the corporate model, pursues dubious fiscal partnerships (such as those with the defense department and international agribusiness), and engages in disturbing collusion with financial institutions like US Bank (which is one of the largest profiteers from student loans).

As such, I propose that in light of the upcoming Regents’ vote [concerning the possible 81% student fee hike] on Monday the 28th, (which will be occurring on four campuses simultaneously, one of which being UC Davis), that we call for a general strike this same day, with the aim of shutting down campuses across the state and preventing the Regents from holding their vote.

In response to the intolerable effects privatization and austerity and the horrific repression of student dissent that has occurred throughout the last month, the GA, as a governing body of all concerned UC Davis students, will prevent the Board of Regents from continuing its unbridled assault upon higher education in the state of California.

This will entail total campus participation in shutting down the operations of the university on the 28th, including teaching, working, learning, and transportation, as we will collectively divert our efforts to blocking their vote[s]. In doing so students, faculty and workers assert the power—and the will—to effectively represent and manage ourselves. (via reclaimUC)

Related:

  • UC Santa Cruz General Assembly votes to support UC Davis’ demands including the resignation of Katehi, disbanding the UCPD, and no fee hikes. UCSCGA also votes to form a solidarity action with UCD for Monday, including campus disruptions.

Declaration of Solidarity with Neighborhood Reclamations

1 November 2011

from OccupyOakland:

Occupy Oakland, in solidarity with the Occupy movement and with the local community, has established the principle of claiming for open use the open space that has been kept from us. We are committed to helping this practice continue and grow. Here in Oakland, thousands of buildings owned by city, banks, and corporations stand idle and abandoned. At the same time social services such as child and healthcare, education, libraries and community spaces are being defunded and eliminated.

Occupy Oakland supports the efforts of people in all Oakland neighborhoods to reclaim abandoned properties for use to meet their own immediate needs. Such spaces are already being occupied and squatted unofficially by the dispossessed, the marginalized, by many of the very people who have joined together here in Oscar Grant Plaza to make this a powerful and diverse movement.

We commit to providing political and material support to neighborhood reclamations, and supporting them in the face of eviction threats or police harassment. In solidarity with the global occupation movement, we encourage the transformation of abandoned spaces into resource centers toward meeting urgent community needs that the current economic system cannot and will not provide.

Berkeley UAW on Tolman Occupation

28 September 2011

from reclaimUC:

Ratified, Monday September 26, 2011
Statement of Solidarity with September 22 Actions and Arrestees:
UAW 2865, Berkeley Unit

On September 22nd, members of the UAW 2865 joined several other students, workers, faculty, and their organizations to nonviolently protest the austerity measures undermining the quality and purpose of public education at UC Berkeley and other universities around the state. Hundreds participated in a rally at Sproul Plaza and marched through campus to raise awareness of the undermining of our public institutions and reclaim education as a civil right.

Near the end of the march, participants decided to occupy and utilize empty classrooms in Tolman Hall where the Department of Education is based to hold teach-ins, documentary viewings, and general meetings open to anyone who wished to contribute. While some classrooms in Tolman Hall are still in use, the reclaimed classrooms, which once prepared future generations of educators, are now empty due to administrative and state disinvestment. We students, workers, faculty, and community members understand this neglect of space to be symptomatic of a larger crisis of priorities: upper-level administration and faculty – as well as UCPD – take increasing portions of the budget while workers are fired, overworked, and underpaid; student fees and tuitions are increased; and classroom buildings as well as departments are abandoned. Such austerity measures satisfy investors by selling off our futures, displacing educational costs onto unreasonable amounts of student debt. The university continues to grow and enhance its brand while instructional value suffers, students struggle to graduate, and staff works more for less money and job security. Students and workers transformed these derelict spaces into improvisational classrooms where people could speak critically and openly about how these changes are affecting their lives and about local, national, and international movements to restore affordable education at the center of our democracies. Documentaries were viewed. Food and water was distributed. A conversation with a student activist in Chile was organized. Teach-ins were held.

Although hundreds of students and workers entered Tolman Hall to carry out these peaceful demonstrations, they were met by the UCPD with shows of aggressive, physical force and pepper spray. Throughout the day, the presence of the UCPD militarized the situation and often escalated confrontations. Demonstrators grew increasingly frustrated as they watched one participant be beaten and seized in a hallway outside of a classroom under the pretense of fabricated charges. Around 8:50pm, the UCPD began locking down the building on peacefully chanting demonstrators without giving a dispersal order or even announcing that the building was to be closed – in contrast to the official statement made by UCPD and the UC administration. The counter-force exerted outside the building came after the police locked the doors on protesters. Ultimately, nearly all protestors inside the building were allowed to leave peacefully without receiving citations. We believe these violent, precipitous, and likely illegal actions by the UCPD to be a localized expression of broader structural tensions augmented by divisive strategies of austerity and privatization. The core mission for all members of the academic community –workers, students, faculty, and community members alike—should be the restoration of the purpose and viability of education as a public, democratic good.

The repression of students and workers cannot be tolerated!
Austerity undermining public education will not be tolerated!

As members of the UC community, we demand:

  • A complete reversal of recent fee increases.
  • A revision of current admissions policies to lift barriers faced by underrepresented students of color and working class students.
  • The re-hiring of workers fired as a result of budget cuts
  • A full investigation of the Regents’ conflicts of interest, especially their investments in banks and for-profit schools.
  • An end to UC administrative and police surveillance, violence, and intervention in political and academic activities.
  • Equal and full access to the university for undocumented students and workers.
  • The democratic control of the university by students, faculty, and staff.
  • All charges be dropped against the two individuals arrested on Sept. 22.

The UAW Local 2865, which represents academic student-workers, calls on community members and all faculty, students, workers and their organizations to join us in making these demands.

The escalation of police force against peaceful demonstrators indicates that conventional measures of protest and dialogue have been denied despite official pronouncements by UCPD and the UC administration. If faculty, students, community members, and workers cannot gather peacefully on campus to defend public education against the austerity measures imposed by the UC administration and enforced through the brutality of UCPD, we are increasingly left with no choice but to disrupt business-as-usual at the university in order to be heard.

We call on all community members, faculty, students, workers and their labor unions, associations and organizations to accelerate preparations for larger, collective actions if our demands are not met following sustained efforts of public statements, negotiation, and peaceful protests against the UC administration.

Day 1, Sept 22

12 September 2011

from reclaimUC:

Day 1

September 22, 12 pm

Sproul Plaza [at UC Berkeley]

 

Resistance at UC campuses and other schools in California has certainly diminished since the powerful events of the 2009-2010 school year – its strikes, its occupations, its stand-offs with police. Emboldened by this fact, the UC administration have begun a fresh round of assaults – piling on thousands of dollars of fees, laying off thousands of workers, and signaling that they intend to continue with more of the same over the coming year.

We need to regain the ground of 2009 and 2010. But we’ll need to do more than that if we want to begin to win. We need to surpass those occasional days, and bring the university to a grinding halt for as long as it takes. As one text from 2009 put it – “We need to push the university struggle to its limits.”

These are remarkable times. From Greece to Chile, from Britain to Spain, government austerity measures provoke some of the most profound militancy in over a generation. And in each one of these cases, students and student movements (which involve more than just students, of course) are central to the fight. We should take some inspiration and direction from these fights, but we should remember that students on their own can only do so much. We need more “outside agitators” rather than fewer of them.

September 22 is the first day of classes at the other UCs. Though we know that they won’t be able to organize anything yet, we picked this day in solidarity with them, in hopes that later on in the semester we can organize events on a cross-campus basis.

This is intended as the first of what we hope are many “days” this year. Let’s make it big!

AWDU’s Message to UC TAs

27 April 2011

from AWDU:

The union that houses all of the University of California’s 12,000 TAs – the UAW – will be holding statewide elections from April 26-28 (next Tuesday-Thursday). The current leaders of the UAW local have displayed a consistently conservative and accomdationalist approach towards working the UC administration and an undemocratic and highly centralized, bureaucratic relationship towards its own members – determining from afar what campus campaigns will look like. The UAW has actively worked to disenfranchise members both overtly – illegal vote counting tactics – and subtly through years of bureaucratic management that has hidden the leadership from accountability. In response to a flurry of anti-democratic actions in the wake of a contentious contract ratification earlier this year – wherein the current UAW leadership negotiated a terrible contract that actually decreased our pay, while attempting to increase the Executive Officer’s, in January – the Academic Workers for a Democratic Union (AWDU) caucus was formed in order to sweep the deeply conservative forces out of office. In their place, AWDU is running a slate of candidates who have all been deeply involved in recent attempts to fight privatization and inaugurate a truly democratic university.

AWDU can already count some success: since we began organizing against the contract last quarter, voter participation has increased dramatically, opposition meetings have been well attended and numerous unfilled local positions have been filled. Further, AWDU has fought to include the rank-and-file in the negotiating process whereas the current UAW leadership is quite happy to see that we remain shut out of any decisions – preferring instead that we simply ratify their actions. Since AWDU’s inception, the UAW has been forced to take a more proactive stance on issues that are important to graduate students; while pressure is a fine first step, the upcoming election is our chance to simply push them out of office altogether.

This election is important generally for activists across the state: an active and progressive graduate student union is one that can agitate for a general strike, rally for Ethnic Studies and other democratic programs, and more generally agitate for economic justice and democracy within one of California’s leading employers. Against us is an entrenched, though weakening, UAW machine that has proven itself willing to engage in any number of sketchy tricks in order to maintain power. Their perversely and ironically named caucus, United for Social and Economic Justice, has been a parody of activist grievances and aims to mislead as many grad students as possible into siding with the leadership’s ineffective and misguided governance. AWDU has vociferously opposed this model of organization, but to truly break their power, we need all the help we can get – both from grad students and from activists. In order to mitigate their economic advantage and incumbent position, AWDU encourages all grad students to spend 5 minutes between the 26th and 28th and vote for the AWDU slate. Every vote counts and each vote for AWDU is a vote to move the UAW towards the front lines in the battle against budget cuts, administrative collusion and a political future in which the people themselves determine the shape of their lives.

AWDU Slate: http://tinyurl.com/AWDU-Slate

AWDU Platform: http://tinyurl.com/AWDU-Platform

University of Minnesota Occupation Press Release

29 March 2011

from UMNsolidarity:

3/28/2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Hallie (612)217-2462, umnsolidarity@gmail.com

Students and Community Supporters Occupy Social Sciences Tower at University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus – West Bank

Occupying in Solidarity with Wisconsin Students and Workers and Against University Budget Cuts

Minneapolis – On Monday, March 28th, a group of students and community members have occupied the first floor of the Social Sciences tower on the West Bank of the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota. Following a rally in front of Coffman Memorial Union, participants marched across the East Bank of campus and crossed the Mississippi River onto the West Bank. Students and supporters entered into the first floor of the Social Sciences tower and held an assembly to discuss possible courses of action. Using a democratic process of consensus, protesters decided to hold the space in an open and soft occupation.

Since the occupation is non-violent and open, as of press time the University has not removed the occupiers. However, the University buildings close to the public at 11 pm each night. “We have a solid group of people here who are committed to the occupation, and we are using social media to bring more students and supportive community members to the space,” said undergraduate student Andrew, who has chosen not to give his last name. “We are planning specific events for the space in order to benefit the entire community, which we will be posting on our blog, umnsolidarity.wordpress.com,” added Sara, a U of M student who was forced to take a semester off of school for lack of finances.

Students and community supporters are outraged over soaring tuition, budget cuts, skyrocketing administrative salaries, mounting student debt, attacks on cultural diversity groups on campus, and blatant disregard for workers’ rights across the nation. In light of recent student and worker uprisings around the world, students in the Twin Cities are no longer willing to bear the burdens of the economic crisis while the rich only get richer. Inspired by the actions of students at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Madison, and other campuses around the state, U of M students are standing up against injustices in their own state and their own university.