A call for support

by

On Friday, October 30th, Doug Zuidema, Director of Judiciary Affairs at UCSC, notified a collection of students — many of whom were journalists reporting outside the Humanities 2 Occupation — that they were potentially subject to disciplinary proceedings. The charge: simply being present in a space in which a political action was taking place. On Thursday evening, UCSC officials dispatched campus police to disperse a group of students and faculty meeting in a library to discuss the impact of the budget crisis on public education. University officials are engaged in an armed campaign to intimidate protestors, threaten press coverage of political action and restrict students’ and workers’ right to assemble. After witnessing two occupations on a single campus during the first month of the academic calendar, the UCSC administration is terrified that a new radical student-worker movement is gaining strength and numbers. The University increasingly functions like a police apparatus: taking surveillance photos at protests, compiling dossiers on individuals, modifying response protocols and manufacturing phony charges against students and workers for kangaroo courts. As further evidence of administrative paranoia, university officials preemptively evacuated several buildings which were thought to be the targets of future occupations.

In the eyes of the bureaucrats running this system, direct action constitutes a serious threat. Their response strategy is clear: attack anyone around political actions — and anyone discussing them for that matter — in order to scare away support for any political action at all. These are attempts to govern with fear, to silence our dissent. The administration seeks to divide us from one another, to alienate “the protestors” from “the campus community.” But we are increasingly realizing the truth of our collective situation: our community is being torn apart by this crisis. We are the crisis. These expressions of dissent through action ARE forms of discourse as well. They are modes of opening conversation beyond the limited forums available and ways of provoking discussion.

This is a call to students, workers, and faculty to support the freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and freedom of speech on this campus. We can use these disciplinary actions and police operations as a flashpoint for generalizing our collective struggle. Indeed, a diversity of tactics will be necessary in the days to come. It would be a perilous mistake to tolerate these brute tactics of intimidation and threat.

To the active demand for a free society, the University responds with a pair of handcuffs and a can of mace. There is a word for this policy: barbarism.

None of this should come as a surprise. The administration encourages us to express our dissent in discourse, but they criminalize all expression of dissent through action. It is only during a real political crisis that we catch sight of this ugly fact, lurking behind the glimmering facade of every ivory tower.

7 Responses to “A call for support”

  1. word Says:

    this shit needs to be called out for what it is.

    someone should definitely repost on indybay
    and there should be a teach-in/lecture/rally (or all three
    together or separately) either in the baytree plaza or in one
    of the classroom units

  2. Anonymous Says:

    No offense, but so far the way the occupations have run have not been nearly as successful as has been hoped. No one is really afraid of some radical form of movement, and so far from other students I have heard more negative Point of Views regarding the operation.

    This is also about hacking into the computer system to get every student’s email address. You call for solidarity, claim to do what the past did, and to be perfectly honest, your actions are more detrimental to the school, to the learning environment, and to the crisis we face today. We are in a crisis financially, but this is on a federal level on not just the school.

    Past protests that were successful were not as radical as you claim to be, but were rather more peaceful protesting mixed in with diplomatic discussion. As much as the school has brought up supposed Propoganda, you are only feeding the fuel.

    Diplomatic protesting is alot easier, more negotiable, than is a “radical” movement. Taking up space within the school? Not helping. Wasting the money YOU paid to go to school, even better. As for the whole students arrested and that this is an outrage, certain rights were forfeited upon BREAKING and ENTERING on public school ground. Although I don’t know the story completely,
    it was wrong on their part for not reading the rights to the students.

    As much as I don’t agree with the hikes in fees, I feel that this protesting has become absurd and detrimental to any talks regarding getting any sort of negotiations and talks. We ALL know we are facing a tough time, but you have to think of the federal components that have made this happen.

    So enough of the whining and plan right. Throwing dance parties won’t help you, and breaking into school grounds (YOUR school grounds) does nothing. You only make more problems and cause not only yourself to lose money but the rest of the students as well.

    • k7cycas Says:

      1. Whether or not the administration is “afraid” of occupations isn’t really the point. The point is that the occupations are a threat on university function if the movement does build, not just because one or two buildings were occupied but because the whole campus could potentially shut down.

      2. Everyone in the anti-budget cuts movement is perfectly aware this isn’t just about one school. That’s part of why the occupations were demandless, because people recognized that the admin have little control.

      3. What does hacking have to do with your point?

      4. What part of taking over a building is violent? Diplomacy? These are foolish notions that are being spread by ignorant individuals and the administrators. They tell us that they are listening, but I don’t give a fuck. Unless I have a voice and actual power in a democratic system, all forms of hierarchy are meaningless to me. Whether or not people are willing to exploit that system tactically is another issue, but fundamentally building a massive student presence that shows our refusal to stomach anymore bullshit, that is what needs to happen.

      5. Diplomatic protesting is also a lot less productive in the grand scheme of things. We want to revolutionize the way in which this system functions, both the university system and the state. Wasting money? This horseshit the university is telling everyone about costing the university bundles of money is ridiculous. It’s true that any money spent on this isn’t going towards the university’s day to day function, but the fact of the matter is that the regardless of whether the service worker is cleaning up graffiti or if the service worker is cleaning up your vomit from a night of binge drinking, that worker is being paid close to nothing, is being overworked, and exploited. If you want to change that, you need to stop arguing from within the system of injustice and access every tool you have in your reach. That isn’t to say that wanton and meaningless destruction is okay, but the reality is that we as students, as educators, or as workers have no control as to how the university allocates its funds. This is the real issue.

      6. The student arrested, and the students charged are not apart of the occupation. They were not given charges of breaking and entering.

      7. “We have to think of the federal components”? That is pushing the problem onto other people’s shoulders and more importantly, willingly giving up your power as a student or a teacher or a worker. How do you think this university functions? It doesn’t function because of the federal government or as a tributary for economics, it functions because of the stakeholders that are being educated, that educate, and that prepares everything to work, like our classrooms. Funding is an issue, but our complacency through actions like simple marches, that won’t produce anything, is the larger issue. By asking and talking nicely to the administrators, I have already acknowledged that I am inferior to them in this hierarchy. Again, I’ll do so when I must tactically, but the point of direct actions is to directly contradict that flawed logic that autocrats present us.

      8. Whining? Taking a building is not whining, period. What you are doing by posting here is whining. Start your own blog if you’re worried about your complaints against this action.

      9. Part of this struggle will have to include fun things, including dance parties (regardless of their political efficacy).

      10. Lose money? I’m not going to submit to this flawed logic: that there is only two components here. Admin paint this picture: students damage buildings, our campus must pay for it. The issue is fundamentally much bigger and isn’t so black and white, read some of the other literature on this site if you want a better understanding of this. The pitiful amounts of money actually lost (i.e. not the fictitious amounts the university is expounding) does not overrule the incomparable value of dissent.

      Finally, if you have problems, present them to a discussion group (or even start your own). This website is not dedicated to being a bulletin board for every individual with uninspired nonsense to post on. This is not to say you as an individual have nothing to contribute to this budget cuts fight, but it is to say that you should plug-in and get involved and change the way you want this movement to go, because otherwise you’re sitting their with your own unfiltered ideas on a computer frustrated with how people are taking action. If you don’t discuss in person, then you will be left totally disarmed and alone. Your ideas, discussed in person, will change other peoples ideas and hopefully they will change your ideas.

      • Anonymous Says:

        1. There are hundreds of other students who would probably take the chance of going to the school even if every student protested. People who are looking for work or might specialize in a certain field might take up the teaching positions, the worker’s positions, etc. if EVERYONE protests. Granted, upon reading I came in here without refining my ideas and rereading stuff (which is ignorant on my part, that I do apologize). As an example, on UC Santa Cruz grounds, it seems more students are ignoring the posters that are being put around to protest? Why? Because they want to fulfill their education and work towards getting a degree. Sure people are outraged at how ridiculous this fee is (32% is a ridiculous amount to go here). The bright side is, I guess, that there are forums being held around school to address the issues. The attempt to actually peacefully negotiate instead of taking radical movements that either hinder the educational process or are detrimental to students who want to study is something of a good stepping stone.

        Diplomacy works. I mean look at MLK Jr.’s protests. They were peaceful, not really radical, and they merged protest with diplomacy and it worked. It worked well in fact. I do, however, wish MLK Jr. was not assassinated as he was a great man, but his steps towards finding a solution provide a great example as to how things can eventually be settled.

        2. The Occupation has alot of voices complaining with the mentality “I’ll get what I want!” I’ve read several students comments regarding being apart of the Occupation in stating they will get what they want or else. Or else?! What would happen if nothing happens? What will the student do? As a student it just seems ludricrous to go into protest without really seeming to be organized. That is my view point from what I witnessed as a bystander watching this happen.

        3.Hacking. Hacking really has nothing to the point, but it was sadly apart of a stream of consciousness that i had while typing. So yes, it’s irrelevant.

        4. So you don’t give a fuck that they tell you they are listening? When there is a chance that they are trying to listen and see what they do? The school is becoming more and more privatized because the State of California’s government is underfunding our public system. We are asking alma mater’s and various parents to donate money to keep the school running. I understand that this situation is getting worse, but at the same time look at the actions a little more, maybe read City on a Hill press, and you might see that there might be a possibility that both Regents and Yudof are trying to rally students and fellow protestors to Sacramento to tell the governor to give us more funding. How is forming a massive student body of protestors really going to do anything? Granted, it might bring about a little fear in regards to seeing a voice of protest. If you think about it (which I am admitting that this is the one positive light i’ve found in the occupation) forums were established because of it. But there are other students who will want to get into the school. Granted there are variables neither I nor you can predict to which will be the result of a mass student body, but it does seem to possess a lower chance of working.

        5. There have been plenty of meetings that are held, that I have seen and have heard of from SUA members, to discuss things related to school that were forums established for the student to give input. All this hierarchal bullshit you’re pulling doesn’t make sense. We are given a privilege to actually go have schooling within the system, not a right that says we can automatically demand what we want and get it. Diplomatic processes have done many things, and settled issues at hand. Does protests work? I haven’t seen many that do and read. Or are you going to tell me that that is also some stupid shit the media is spoonfeeding me? Because if that is the case, then it can be argued what you read online could have a trace of bias and opinion and could be edited to sway the opinion. I don’t agree with the wages of the workers. But even if their strikes are not diplomatic, they have seemed much more organized and tactical than your work. I really haven’t even seen a result from their strike yet. Although the bus drivers and tech employees strike did show the need of them functioning for students, that is the one I have seen work. I agree that yes, we should have a say in how the funding goes to our schooling, but at the same time this whole “I’ll get what I want!” mentality shows that people seem to think this is a right more than it was a privilege that we earned to get into the faltering school system.

        6. I know they weren’t charged on it. I’m sorry if that was the impersonation i gave from my writing. At the same time “occupying” a school owned building and blocking the entrance to barricade it becomes a form of tresspassing and is illegal. And like I said before, I do not agree with the harshness and the brutality given to them, and even the not reading the rights things is ridiculous. However, occupying a building has not worked, and has not shown results. From what I have heard (and correct me if I’m wrong) those who vandalised the place during this time have agreed to pay restitution. If this is a radical protest, then is that previously said statement a contradiction! If I have truly been misinformed on the said topic, then I do apologize because I have allowed myself to stay in this misinformed state.

        7. I’m not saying to give up the power as a student or teacher, you’re putting words into my mouth. It’s that we have to look at more than just the University of California system for the reason why the hikes happen. You can say that the federal government doesn’t control the school rooms, teachers, etc., but the money we should be getting for education DOES. In fact, the less funding we get, the more the school system falls into debt, the more the hikes happen and all this continues because of the money we’re losing from the State. So I’m not saying to give up your powers as a student and to call yourself inferior, I’m saying THINK more and look much much more into the picture before you put words in my mouth and assume that by occupying the school, the change will happen. There’s levels of issues that lead to the problem at hand.

        8. I’m not saying taking a building is whining, but the people who constantly complain, nag, and what not are whining. Those within the occupations systems are whining and it shows. (Though I can see that I am matching the words I have used, so for that I can say I am). I do not want to start a blog because keeping up with stuff like that takes too much time, whereas reading on both sides to try to remain neutral (I disagree with the UC Regents as well). However, they seem to at least try to discuss the issue and look at the bigger picture. I’m wondering where that is with the Occupation group.

        9. Dance parties? Really? how so? Why do they have to include dance parties and “fun” stuff. If you are a radical movement, focus more on the actions you are going to take to get to the level of power you desperately want instead of wasting time on dance parties. Those are possible hours wasted on potential ideas that could have been brought up and made this a swifter process.

        I posted on this in some ways to prove a point in which you proved for me. I agree that there is some open mindedness regarding the situation, but I see closemindedness as well. I am going to the forum that is being held on Thursday to see what is being talked about, to see if potential negotiations and good ideas can spread. Because diplomacy can ACTUALLY work in these situations. What I’m really trying to say, I guess, is try to mix both because one will not win this argument at hand. A balance seems needed to get it going. I’ve talked with people, even had discussions and we’ve come to agree on ideas. So yes I do talk to people. Do not assume I don’t. So I will post again on this page again right now.

      • k7cycas Says:

        …if every student protested then how would students go to school? People ignores posters all the time, thats not even a matter of politics, its apathy. The understanding students need to come to in order to get involved is to understand the general dynamics of the system they live in. This is not only about the bullshit 32% increase in tuition being an inexcusable increase. This is about how this affects lower income people and people of color. This is about continuing a system of inequality. This is about challenging the corporatization of the university. This is about challenging capitalism on a whole.

        I cannot stress enough that this misunderstanding about regarding any radical actions as violent is wholly divisive. Radical actions are not, inherently unpeaceful. In fact both occupations have been peaceful with the exception of police actions.

        I’ll let someone else argue the radical status of MLK, because whether or not his tactics were effective do not negate the success or failure of other tactics (be it radical or not). This is not a logically sound argument. To argue that diplomacy is hands down a better tactic is understandable, but is still not demonstrated by your argument.

        I believe the words you’re alluding to states, “be realistic, demand the impossible, or else…” The “or else” is simply a statement implying the consequences of inaction. If we continue to be compliant with the system of oppression, with the system of capitalism, we will continue the injustice within it. The context of these statements rely on the rest of the literature that has been widely spread.

        Your fourth argument fails to justify the externalities of the university. That is to say that, the individuals in power, the administrators, are equally responsible for the corporatization of the university as the state and the system of capitalism. (Note, I’m making a distinction between corporatization and privatization, as I’m not simply arguing against the increased reliance on private funding, but also the increasing structural mimicry of for-profit corporations. Furthermore, there is a distinction between corporatization and the role the university plays within a capitalist system in order to sustain it. The history of the UC exemplifies that point as it produces research and students as a commodity for corporate profit and military advancement). While administrators can have a positive impact on the fight against budget cuts, they must challenge the system on a whole in order to do so. The hierarchy created between the regents, UCOP, campus administrators and then we, the stakeholders at the bottom, is a key obstacle to contend.

        I’m glad you appreciate the creation of forums and discussion. I think that is perhaps the greatest single point the occupations could have made as far as the “spectacle” nature of the occupation was. The discussion about milder actions and civil disobediences has erupted, and will hopefully propagate further actions.

        I contend that public education, free speech, dissent, and democracy are rights. I don’t see going to the UC as a matter of privilege, despite that in our current system of oppression it happens to be so. That is the issue; the fact we are “given privilege” is quite accurate and also quite disgusting.

        Hierarchy does indeed exist. I think SUA officers would agree with me, and SUA officers would agree with me that the current system of student government is not enough and is not the end all be all of student democracy. They understand perfectly well that they have little sway in the system.

        When diplomacy does work, why is that? Is it simply because administrators agree with students? I think the reasoning behind it is that there is a threat that students possess, whether it be protest, strikes, or making administrator’s lives hell that encourage them to give a few crumbs.

        What do you do when what you’re demanding is impossible within the system we live in? Don’t fool yourself, the economic crisis we are under is not due to our work, but rather the fictitiously important work of capitalists. There was no impediment in our work, the creation of foods, goods, services, etc, that created this crisis. Why must we stay silent in the face of this injustice? This so-called crisis is a story that we refuse to believe. We have the resources to create the social equality we seek, however if we continue to submit to this logic of scarcity, this logic that we need to support corporate scum and politicians that oppress us (i.e. capitalism), our demands are actually impossible.

        Strikes and unions have varying degrees of efficacy. I’m not here to argue that. It’s how direct actions are employed that matter. (Point of clarification, UPTE struck on the Sept. 24th, they are the University Professional and Technical Employees, not bus drivers. SC Metro bus drivers don’t cross picket lines)

        I disagree with this notion of private property in public hands. That is to say that this property is ours –perhaps not in a way that it takes this property away from other stakeholders– but it does mean we have full authority to use it, including occupying it. Illegality isn’t important (other than avoiding being pinched). Fundamentally, the idea is that at some point it will be possible for all stakeholders to involve themselves in occupying the campus and occupying the state. The current property laws (of capitalism) would then dissolve.

        The group of individuals that occupy buildings are a spontaneous collective, composed of different people at different times, that were not responsible for the graffiti (i.e. vandalism). Some individuals given judicial summons have been involved in the occupation on differing degrees, but a large portion of them were not involved at all.

        I appreciate your agreement on the brutality. Legality aside, it does seem rather odd that police would use excessive force when no individual was presenting a physical threat to anyone.

        Worked or not, occupations at this stage are catalyzing discussion and are experiments into possibilities.

        I’m not attempting to put words into your mouth. Much of what you are stating inherently supports the argument I’m presenting. The system we as stakeholders live in is hierarchical. This hierarchy is composed of multiple layers including the fed, the state, and the university admin (which in themselves are divided up into further layers). These are the layers of hierarchy that direct the manner in which funds are allocated, thus superseding the direct individuals responsible for the functioning of a university. The reality of the matter is that we don’t have very much power. The act of occupying campuses directly challenges this hierarchy in which we don’t have power. It is empowering ourselves as individuals to obtain and create for ourselves what we need (ultimately). We are taking over the means of intellectual production. We are challenging the curriculum and the logic that we don’t have the resources to create free public education. So far these are symbolic gestures we’re fighting for, but the end goal of occupying everything isn’t symbolism for our power, it is actual power (over our own lives).

        Looking at the bigger picture involves looking at the systems of oppression including capitalism, racism, patriarchy, heterosexism, etc (with respect to this “crisis”). These are issues that are not honestly confronted by the administration.

        On the issue of neutrality, it is quite impossible to be neutral, whether you’re political or simply a journalist. This is not to argue that journalists attempting to be neutral is not significant, but it is to say that there is something more important: an accurate representation of the facts. To that note, the regents and the administration fail to do so. They state things as if they are not opinion, when in reality they are. They act as if they are transparent and accountable, when they aren’t. They act as if they are our advocates, when advocacy falls short of democratic input.

        Agreed, dance parties are not productive in discussing political objectives, but it blows off steam and engages people. This issue is not inherently political as much as it is practical. As an experienced organizer, I can tell you that too much serious political work burns people out fast.

        Balance and diplomacy amongst ourselves is invaluable. Compromising values in order to get something from people with power over you is not. I encourage you to work within the system, as some small gestures can be achieved in that manner, but the end of oppression starts with radical discussion and actions. Occupations are one tactic, with its own flaws, that doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t criticize it, but doing so in order to deter further actions is divisive.

        FYI, the General Assembly is today (wednesday 11/4) at the Merrill Multicultural Center at 5:30pm.

  3. anonymous Says:

    stop taking over the library while students who are pursuing a degree, despite the cost, are trying to study for midterms. we all want to get our degrees as soon as possible and taking over shit is just making it tougher and who knows, because of the occupation, students may actually have to stay longer and bear with more of these tuition increases.

    • k7cycas Says:

      Correction: the occupyCA group is not organizing the library study-in. Furthermore, the library study-in is occurring DURING CLOSED HOURS (therefore not interfering in your study at the library).

      Your logic regarding studying and quickly graduating from the university is well noted, however it lacks a deeper political analysis of the budget crisis. If one dispenses these unjustified cuts upon the next generation of students, we fail to address the issue and perpetuate it. If self-preservation is truly your understanding of the goal of university education then you fail to perceive the externalities that an expensive public education will have, such as the increased pooling of education in the hands of the upper class. Ultimately it decreases diversity and creates unnecessary hardship that will, if not now, eventually damage you as well. Regarding the costs upon the university, while it may appear that by repairing minor acts of vandalism the damage to university property may be analyzed as a financial loss, the reality is that such losses are minute and partially if not mostly covered in the calculated cost of ‘wear & tear’ in the UC budget. Minor damages, such as scuff marks on wooden floors or even spray paint, will not increase tuition aside from fee increases justified through the political sympathy the UC gains from a purposefully misinformed public (i.e. justifying fee increases due to the fictitious value of ‘tens of thousands of dollars’). There are numerous other arguments that also clearly override your illogical musings, please peruse this website at your own leisure rather than simply writing off a carefully contemplated political action (albeit with plenty of its own issues).

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