May 7th, 2010
To the Hunger Strikers at UC Berkeley
In the spring quarter of 2009, students at UC Santa Cruz went on a hunger strike lasting four days. We had a long list of demands because the promise for a better future, for an accessible higher education, is still a privilege reserved for a class of people that can afford it. The UC still remains out of reach for swathes of communities throughout California, and inequality at the university continues to marginalize students, communities of color, students with children, the undocumented community, and workers. I was one of the hunger strikers then and so I would like to send a message to you: that myself and undoubtedly many others at UCSC stand in solidarity with you.
The struggle at the UC and the student movement at large is bittersweet. It unites us and pushes us to grow and expand the possibilities we see for the future; simultaneously it’s a struggle that extends beyond returning the university to the status quo, a struggle entrenched with superficially contradictory thoughts and ideas. It’s not an appeal to edit the university, but one to re-imagine and recreate it. Don’t let the administrators, the politicians, the media, or anyone else convince you to end your fight with promises of reform. As you know, the end of your hunger strike, with our without victories in hand, is far from the end of the struggle. So we shouldn’t call for reform, but instead call for a revolution; we shouldn’t call for a university, but a movement of education to expand consciousness.
Our triumph has always been the ability to find each other and to discover new means to relate with one another beyond the limitations of this alienating system. The most profound experience of our hunger strike was breaking the day-to-day routine in order to build a community. In the space where we organized the hunger strike, in the spaces we’ve occupied—in these fleeting spaces, we have, for a moment in time, developed a new experience of social relations that words fail to describe.
Indeed, we are the crisis. We are the power to realize our needs. We do what we can to create a brighter future.