Students rise up, revolt, and reclaim their school. Together with workers and faculty, they walk out of class and don’t beg, don’t ask, but demand in unequivocal terms that the State give back their university. The call resonates on every campus. There are people in every classroom waiting to hear such a call, whenever and from wherever it may come. Today it was from California, soon it may emerge from others’ lips, with other words perhaps, but in similar spirits, with similar rage.
This is our hope. This is how, we believe, things should be. The university is ours, each campus, each building, by right belongs to those who work in them, who teach in them, and to us who study and live in them. Education is ours, by right. It is not to be doled out and denied according to legislators’ and administrators’ whims. It is not to be suspended at the rhythm of capitalism’s failure. Education is not, and should never be, a privilege.
But as you are showing, students refuse to be controlled. We refuse to be complacent consumers and victims of a “market” pitted perpetually against us. We refuse to have a line drawn before us- of gender, class, race, sexuality, or any other form of privilege, of unpayable tuition hikes, of asphyxiating budget cuts. Petitions, protests, walk outs, negotiations, and occupations are only the beginning of a fight that will, by whatever means necessary, be decided on the part of the students.
UC Santa Cruz and every school in the University of California system is your school. Each and every school, public or private, is our school. The workers’, the students’, and the faculty’s. Occupations are not theatrical stunts for media attention, or powerless angry outbursts by activists, or even simple and routine “protests.” They are fundamentally, radically, reminders to ourselves and to all students who are seeing their universities under attack: there is another way. Another university and another world are possible and necessary.
Occupations and protests, all student movements are the forceful eruption of a crisis. The crisis we feel daily. The crisis millions face at work, in class, on the streets, at the dinner table. The incompatibility of our needs and desires on one hand, and the present condition, imposed upon us from above, on the other, is catastrophic. And so we revolt.
The present occupation, and the wave of student protest that is arising is an answer to the question forced by this crisis, the question we have been asking ourselves for a while now: “WHOSE SCHOOL?” Thanks, UC Santa Cruz and all UC students in resistance, for giving us such a fucking good, loud answer.
From the east coast to the west in love and solidarity,
A Collection of Radical Students at Columbia University, Students for a Democratic Society, International Socialist Organization, Student Coalition on Expansion and Gentrification, LUCHA Columbia, Students Against Imperialism, Columbia Coalition Against the War, Columbia Palestine Forum,
New York City, September 25, 2009