Author Archive

Tucson, AZ: Students walkout, storm state building

15 May 2010

from Arizona Indymedia:

On Tuesday, May 11 Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed HB2281, a bill that legally prohibits ethnic studies programs from Arizona public schools, equating such classes with sedition and removing state funding from districts that offer them.

On the morning of May 12th state superintendent Tom Horne, who for years has advocated eliminating ethnic studies, tried to hold a meeting with Tucson Unified School District officials to discuss the district’s curriculum. Rumors began circulating around 10:00 a.m. among Jr. high and high school students that Horne was in Tucson to immediately “pull the plug” on their classes.

In response, more than 700 spontaneously walked-out of their classes, with participants from Rincon, Cholla, Tucson and Pueblo high schools. Students then marched to TUSD headquarters and proceeded to surround the building and blockade the entrances to prevent Horne from entering. Shortly thereafter, school district officials canceled their meeting, claiming that Horne, who is running for state Attorney General, had turned it into “a political event”. (more…)

Police seize control of U-PR

15 May 2010

Police seized control of one of the largest universities in the Caribbean on Friday, acting on orders of the vice chancellor as dozens of students continued a three-week strike to protest budget cuts and changes to the academic program.

More than 250 police officers arrived before dawn and barred anyone from entering the University of Puerto Rico, where dozens of students have camped out inside since late April.

“The order is to close all gates,” Police Col. Miguel Mejias Cruz told The Associated Press. “We are not going to allow anything or anyone to come in.”

The father of one student who tried to take his son food and water was arrested after getting into a scuffle with police, Mejias said.

On Thursday, hundreds of students flocked to San Juan’s convention center and voted to continue the strike indefinitely.

Some students said Friday that authorities had cut the university’s water service, but Water Authority spokeswoman Edith Seda said the agency had not received any such order.

Two protests were scheduled for Friday.

Interim Chancellor Ana Guadalupe has said the strike will delay the graduation scheduled for June 17 and enrollment in August, and will affect students who have been accepted to universities abroad.

original AP article here.

Let the Dead Bury the Dead

9 April 2010

A brilliant theoretical contribution to the struggle in course by some friends in NYC.

Recent events have raised many important questions: What does a real and vital movement look like? What is the nature of leadership in struggle? Is there a ‘correct’ way for us to fight against our conditions? Below is a statement from some friends addressing theoretical and practical concerns that have arisen in the last month or so.

“The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language…. The social revolution of the nineteenth century cannot take its poetry from the past but only from the future. It cannot begin with itself before it has stripped away all superstition about the past. The former revolutions required recollections of past world history in order to smother their own content. The revolution of the nineteenth century must let the dead bury their dead in order to arrive at its own content. There the phrase went beyond the content – here the content goes beyond the phrase.” Karl Marx – 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte

The above quote is just as integral to revolutionary struggle in the 21st century as it was for France in 1852. Across the vast human topography of class society, clear lines are being drawn between those who parody and fetishize the movements of dead generations in order to dominate the movements of today, and those who seek to expand forms of praxis and theory created in the current cycle of struggle, through the self-directed struggle of workers and students themselves.

After several weeks of smears, ad hominem attacks and political diatribes, the conversation surrounding the events of March 4th has finally shifted to the terrain of tactics and ideology. The small segment of humanity actually paying attention to this debate has been gifted with lapidary critiques of Anarcho-Imperialism, Anarcho-Situ-Autonomism, Demand-Nothingism, and – most recently — dangerous, “anger-based” Anarcha-Feminism. While these critiques are coming from various activist quarters, they all focus their attention on the supposed Take The City “Organization.” Each of these critiques (even if accurate) could land only a glancing blow, because the people who comprise their opposition are neither a party, nor an association nor even a website. In fact, the alleged saboteurs of March 4th, the occupiers of last April, the self-proclaimed “bitches,” the militant feminists, and many others are merely tendencies within a larger, informal network. This group has no party-line, no hierarchical structure and little theoretical unity. The only thing that unites us is camaraderie and solidarity on the one hand and an understanding of direct action and self-organization on the other. The following is a partial critique, by one tendency within this group, of the tactical and theoretical composition of what has been called the ‘student movement’.

Can a couple hundred students at an outdoor rally at Hunter be considered a movement? Can six or seven hundred people standing in a Midtown police pen be considered a movement? The reason the NYC ‘student movement’ must be put in quotations is because the label is largely self-flattery. We hope to show below that the tactics of the coalition of movement-builders are, at best, unhelpful to the development of a strong and vital movement and, at worst, preventative of one.

continued

Florida: Cop shoots African student in face; students storm Trustees meeting

20 March 2010

Adu-Brempong is hospitalized in critical condition, having lost his tongue and jaw. Incredibly, the police action took less than 30 seconds. Having suffered a case of childhood polio, Adu-Brempong was unable to walk without a cane. To add to the outrage, the University of Florida police charged him with a felony for ‘resisting arrest with violence.’

Gainesville Area Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) led the campus action. Beginning with a rally and speakers at Turlington Plaza, the mass of protesters marched through campus to the Board of Trustees in the Emerson Hall Alumni Building. The Board of Trustees governs the entire university. Since the building was closed to the public, the protesters pulled the doors open, pushed past security and took over the building.

Rest of story here

Philippines: Students protest 2,000% fee hike

20 March 2010

The students, nearly a thousand of them, threw armchairs, tables and papers down to the ground floor and set these on fire. Many of them hanged streamers from the state university’s main building denouncing the proposal.

In a statement, PUP student regent Donna Pascual said the proposal means an increase from P12 to P200 per unit of tuition. “(The tuition increase) is expected to affect all incoming freshmen in the university,” she said, estimating the affected students at about 50,000.

PUP is a state university where most of its students come from the poor. “PUP is supposed to be the most accessible university with its P12 tuition fee. What would happen now to our poor students and high school graduates? They have nowhere to go to,” said Chaser Soriano, student council president.

Read more

Evergreen is occupied

20 February 2010

Communique from the occupied HCC: The Evergreen State College, Coast Salish Territories

We just realized we’ve been paying money in order to follow rules. Rules that we have no say in. We also realized that soon we will be paying even more money and following even more rules that we still have no control over, and it makes us disheartened, discouraged and frustrated.
Realizing these things and feeling this way led us to the discovery that we can and should be able to commandeer the facilities that we are paying for. We realized that we can stop being subjects ruled by an administration, a bureaucracy and a campus police force. We realized that we are autonomous and free people, capable of anything.

And so, we decided to occupy the Housing Community Center (HCC).

The administration claims that the HCC is already a common space for the students. If this were truly the case, we would not have to occupy anything; we could use it whenever we wanted.

If any of us ever hope to create spaces in which we are no longer ruled, we have to not only have no rulers, but also do a better job than our current administrators. Otherwise, we are kidding ourselves. The administration prides itself on its coercive benevolence. “We care about you,” they say. “We only want what’s best. We are here to protect and serve. Trust us, we know what you’re feeling. Here, have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” We’d prefer not to listen to Les Purce, the businessman with the mansion. We can actually take care of ourselves, believe it or not. Our smiley-faced rulers are no longer necessary.

We don’t need a new CAB building. We don’t need to vote on a plan that they drew up without us. We no longer need to settle for the lesser of two evils. Everything that we paid for is ours. Everything is ours. It’s right there in front of you, waiting for the intention, the desire and the effort.

They have nothing to give. We have everything to take.

Occupy Everything.

Demand Nothing.

– From a band of individuals unaffiliated with any organization or student group.
We are autonomous individuals.
Strike! Occupy! Takeover!

French workers occupy refinery

19 February 2010

from LibCom news

Striking workers occupied Total’s refinery in Dunkerque after management refused to meet an ultimatum over negotiations.

At least 150 workers stormed the buildings this morning, forcing their way past security guards and at one point using ladders to gain entry to the offices on the higher levels of the buildings. Workers took the action after union demands for a mediator in negotiations and for the removal of security guards from the site were ignored.

Workers at the site have been on strike since January 12th. The site has been closed since September due to “a structural and durable fall in the consumption of petroleum products”. Fearing that Total would try to close the site altogether workers launched the strike and later the occupation.

The refinery employs 370 workers directly and a further 450 through sub-contractors. The inter-union group at Total comprising CGT, CFDT, Sud and FO has called for a national strike on Wednesday and Thursday in support of the strikers in Dunkerque

Davis Calbet, a CGT member and spokesman for the occupiers said that they would no longer negotiate with the director nor the local human resources department who had repeatedly refused to meet them. He stated “We will stay in these buildings until we have received what we are asking for. We don’t want more blah-blah-blah… We won’t budge until we have a response.” He also stressed “We aren’t crooks, it’s out of the question that we’d damage our equipment. We have been peaceful since the beginning of this action. We aren’t calling for violence.”

Cabrillo College calls for walkout and strike March 4

12 February 2010

from Cabrillo Solidarity:

Today, around 40 students, faculty and staff met to discuss how Cabrillo College is going to get involved in the movement to defend public education.

There were a variety of political perspectives represented, but there was near-unanimous support for the March 4th Strike and day of action against the budget cuts in the CA public education sector. So far, collective disruptive action is the only thing that has gotten any kind of response from the school administrations and the state government.

Details remain to be worked out. There will be another meeting next week at the same time and place, 2:30pm on Thursday 2/18 in Room 1091 (behind and below the library). There will also be tabling in the quad hopefully every day leading up to March 4, handing out flyers and information and talking with people.

We now have an email list for organizing and a facebook group for announcements.

UCSC occupiers interviewed on SubMedia

8 February 2010

The most recent episode of submedia.tv‘s irregular anarchist video news blog features an interview with UCSC student occupiers, as well as on resistance to the Olympics and state repression in Vancouver and struggles against resource extractive industries from Nigeria to Virginia. Check it out!

Cabrillo College’s First General Assembly!

7 February 2010

Our futures are not for sale!

ORGANIZE to fight the budget cuts and defend public education!

From kindergarden to grad school, public education in California is being dismantled under the excuse of the budget deficit and the recession. Each year, our state’s government sends more people to prison and fewer to college. These backward priorities will only intensify the economic crisis and the difficulties we are all facing.

We can not and will not take this lying down! Resistance has been growing across the state, as students and workers in the public higher education system have organized collectively to strike, protest and occupy at their campuses. Only grassroots power will prevent the current crisis from becoming a complete social disaster. Please join us to discuss how students, staff and faculty at Cabrillo can become part of this momentum, and specifically how we will participate in the March 4 Education Strike.

We are the Crisis!

General Assembly: Thurs., Feb. 11
2:30pm @ Room 1091

cabrillosolidarity.wordpress.com

(check website for alternate location in case of rain)

Support AFSCME’s Week of Action at UCSC Dining Halls, Feb 8-11

4 February 2010

Staff and students will gather in solidarity at the following dining halls at the following times to demonstrate about the following issues and discuss what is to be done about them and how to build the student and worker struggles in solidarity with each other! Awesome!

Everyday from 11:30am-1:30pm
Mon – College 8
Tues – College 9
Weds – Crown
Thurs – Cowell

Parents occupy school in Lanarkshire, Scotland threatened with closure

28 January 2010

from LibCom

Parents in Glasgow occupied yet another primary school this week; the latest in a series of school occupations which have taken place over the past year.

Taking action in response to proposals to close St. Matthew’s Primary School, five concerned parents barricaded themselves inside the school and announced their intention to remain there until their demands were met. Protests have also taken place at three other schools in the area set to close. These threatened closures are the most recent in a concerted campaign by councils across Greater Glasgow to shut of schools and nurseries.

In early 2009, Glasgow City Council announced plans to close at least 13 primary schools and 12 nurseries across the city. The consultations for these closures have been branded flimsy at best by angry parents who feel the decision had, in many cases, been finalized before the public consultation was even finished. Over the past year budget deficits have led to council cutbacks across Glasgow, with a £75 million shortfall in North Lanarkshire where St. Matthew’s is located. As the predicted cost of the 2014 Commonwealth Games soars to £454 million, it perhaps comes as no great surprise that the council is using the excuse of low pupil numbers and building disrepair to mask their attempts at cost-cutting.

Both Glasgow City Council and North Lanarkshire Council have responded to parents’ protests with threats and intimidation. During the Wyndford Primary occupation in early 2009, the school’s water and electricity was cut off after a council worker posing as a safety inspector gained entry. The protest was only able to continue thanks to donations of bottled water from local residents. In this latest occupation, the parents staging the sit-in at St. Matthew’s were threatened with the prospect of the pupils being sent to another school because two of the occupiers do not possess a Disclosure Scotland form.

The tactic of occupation now seems one which is more readily employed since the closures were announced, with a number of similar actions having taken place across the city over the past year. Various individual campaigns have been linked together under the ‘Save Our Schools’ banner and local parents have proved that they are unwilling to let these threats to their children’s future go ahead without a fight.

from http://www.afed.org.uk

ABOLISH PRISONS; LIBERATE EDUCATION: anti-repression demo 1/26

20 January 2010

“Behind the privatization of the university, a line of riot police”

We are excited to call for a spirited demonstration against repression: specifically, the punishment faced by student activists around California for demonstrating and occupying against the forcing of the capitalist crisis onto the education system; and the recent proposal by the Governator to fix the education crisis by taking funds away from the prison system.

Meet at Quarry Plaza at 11am
Tuesday January 26

NO MORE CUTS, TO CLASSES OR TO PRISON HEALTHCARE!
NO PUNISHMENT FOR STUDENT ACTIVISTS!
LIBERATE PRISONERS!
LIBERATE EDUCATION!

Flyer: https://occupyca.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/jan26f.pdf
Poster: https://occupyca.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/jan26_1.pdf
The governor promises more money for education and admits that campus protests were “the tipping point”—but where is the money to come from? California’s prisons, most of which are operating at over 200% of designed capacity. In August, a panel of three federal judges ordered the state of California to release 43,000 inmates due to the lack of medical care and other conditions creating an “immediate [risk of] death and harm.” The state government’s reponse? They are appealing the decision.

Meanwhile, scores of the same student activists who the governor has been forced to acknowledge—showing that disruptive protest and direct action get results—are facing legal charges and academic sanctions related to protests and occupations around the state. Some of our friends now are banned from their school except to attend class, under threat of arrest—including those who work on campus! Others have been fined hundreds of dollars for alleged damages the school cannot (and does not have to) prove. This is completely unacceptable.

The educational system as it exists now is an instrument of repression. Only through grassroots struggle and collective power can it be transformed into a truly liberating space. We will not allow our interests to be pitted against the health care of prisoners, most of whom are in on non-violent drug offenses. How about ending the racist drug war, repealing “three strikes,” and letting the working-class captives go home to their families and communities? How about alleviating the crisis in housing, education, and employment rather than strengthening the system of punishment?

And how about letting our friends get back on campus and into the struggle where they are needed?

The state must drop its appeal, release the prisoners, and improve prison health care.

UCSC, UC Berkeley, Santa Cruz County, San Francisco, and SF State must drop all charges, fines, suspensions, and other punishments against politically active students.

The fee hikes, budget cuts, and firings still must be rolled back, and all construction projects must stop.

We must continue to resist attacks on our future and on the working classes.

We must gather and struggle against the society of punishment, for a community of solidarity and liberation.

Nigerian Students Riot against fee hikes

19 January 2010

from the Nigeria Sun:

Three shot as police, UNN students clash

From Petrus Obi, Enugu & Kassidy Uchendu, Nsukka

Sunday, January 17, 2010

At least two students and a policeman were shot and about 22 vehicles destroyed yesterday when hundreds of rampaging students of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) took to the streets to protest what they termed arbitrary increase of fees by the newly installed management of the institution.

The rioting students sacked the university town and descended on the Vice Chancellor and Pro-chancellor’s lodge, where cars and buses were badly damaged.

The vice chancellor, Prof Bartholomew Okolo, was however reported to have escaped unhurt.

Apart from taking over the town after sacking all principal officers of the university, including the university librarian, who escaped from the vice chancellor’s lodge by scaling the high fence with the help of a security staff, they defied security operatives and traveled some five kilometers to the Enugu-Benue federal highway where they held up vehicular and even human traffic for over three hours.

The students were protesting alleged astronomical increases in school fees being introduced by the administration of Prof. Okolo, who they accused of being adamant to their entreaties that the situation be reversed or at least be mitigated.

The protests had started last Thursday in the University Secondary School where N60,000 levy was being imposed without any explanation, a ploy seen by parents as introduction of a 100 per cent increase in fees.

Some students who spoke to us explained that the situation has become unbearable as the vice chancellor was insisting that their fees, allegedly being increased by some 300 per cent, would not be reversed.

One of them, who said she is a second year student of Sociology, stated: “For this running session, I have paid N30,000 but what the VC is introducing is that we will now pay N90,000. He has increased hostel accommodation from N9,000 to N35,000 for the female students.”

Another student explained that apart from the school fees going high in an unimaginable dimension, “the VC has also proposed an increase in convocation fee paid by the graduating students from N4,000 or N6,000 to N40,000.

“For the incoming fresh students, it has been a tale of woes. They initially took shopping forms at the sum of N10,000 each. Those admitted will pay acceptance fee of N25,000 each. That is up from N6,000 fee introduced by the immediate past administration. Yet, they are to pay fees allegedly amounting to N120,000.”

At the height of the rampage, some of the protesters at Ede-Oballa town near Nsuuka disarmed two policemen and continued firing the arms until the ammunition were exhausted.

A police source confirmed to our reporter at Opi Junction that a policeman was shot on the arm during the incident of disarming.

The female student who was shot was said to have met her cruel fate when police earlier confronted the protesters within the university premises. But details of her identities were not available immediately. It took the intervention of a unit commander of the mobile police, Mr Ehindero Ola, who had been drafted in from Enugu, to get the students to vacate the federal highway about noon.

More:

Why we reject the plan to fix the schools by cutting prison funding.

17 January 2010

What does it mean to pit students against prisoners? Obviously at the first level it’s a maneuver of public relations. The government is taking the words of the student movement into its mouth, but without proposing any real solution for the crisis of schools or prisons: only a desperate attempt to maneuver itself around the political crises on its horizon.

The university and the prison are the two remaining institutions in this society in which masses of individuals are gathered together for years at a time. They exist as reverse mirror images of each other; the schools, for the privileged, to produce particular kinds of skilled labor; the prisons, for another kind of workforce, the lumpen or surplus population who are not necessary to the economy. They become subjects of value production through being incarcerated, or through participation in underground and gangster economies; they go into the military; they live in the shantytowns popping up across the state. They are a reserve pool. The prison is symbiotic with the ghetto; college, with the suburb; in this sense they are structures of class stratification which mark out their denizens for very different roles in life.
In the last major revolutionary upsurge (the 1960s and 70s), prisoners and students played major roles, especially in California. The riots in Berkeley; George Jackson and the San Quentin six. The counter-revolution was not purely repressive, but actively constructed with millions of tons of concrete in the new, more modern schools and prisons. The kinds of crowds that gathered by the thousands in Sproul Plaza during the Free Speech Movement were preventively dispersed by the new campuses designed to have no central gathering point. Similarly, in the prisons, new regimes of separation and isolation were installed. Prisoners across the board were cut off further from contact with the outside world and with other sections of the prison, contained in smaller, more manageable, modular sections. The communication that had been necessary for the radicalization of prisoners like George Jackson and his Black Guerrilla Family, or the inmates who seized control of Attica, was made impossible; it became difficult to even get books into prisons. The 1980s saw the appearance of the “super-maximum” control units, and while prison segregation had been banned, authorities found it advantageous to stimulate racial hostilities among their captives. Meanwhile, the rise of both community colleges and community corrections served to de-center both institutions in space.

Today, 1 in 200 Californians are in prison (most of them on nonviolent drug offenses), and most prisons are operating at 200% of designed capacity. In August, a panel of three federal judges ordered the state of California to release 43,000 inmates due to the low level of medical care and other conditions creating an “immediate [risk of] death and harm.” The governor, of course, refused. And now he gives us this absurd proposal to set a max percentage for prisons at 7% of the budget, and universities at 11%—reversing their current standing. This is only a crude propaganda move; all this has of course been pointed out before—that there is only so much in the budget, that thanks to Prop 13 and the two-thirds majority required for raising taxes, the treasury is simply becoming drained. Some of the more prescient elements of the student movement have already demanded the liberation of the state’s captives. Of course, the policy proposals on the table basically come down to the Republicans, who oppose early parole, and Democrats who oppose cuts to prison health care.

The only possible solution to salvage either of these institutions for capital is to privatize them. It is here that capitalism as the unbridled negation of human existence shows its face; these two sites which are already situated to mold individuals to their social roles will be put under the rule of the most cutthroat calculus—quality will never outstrip quantity within the capitalist mode of existence. Students are merely collateral for construction loans, and a gamble on productive jobs in the future; prisoners are those without a legitimate place in the process, except as a reserve labor force (and object of prison corporations; let’s not forget prison labor as well, the latest form of slavery). And in order to create new forms of value, there must be a simultaneous devaluation of a particular sector of society. The university is thus being redesigned as a glorified vocational school, producer of complex labor powers for a privileged few, and an outsourced research and development division for state and corporate agencies to which it is ultimately the appendage. Its future can only be ever-more null and quantitative existence for its ever-more restricted pool of students: there must necessarily be those who are excluded access from the university, in order for the degrees it produces to be worth anything.

The opposite pole of social reproduction is found in the prison system, where individuals are actively being made useless. The prison is no longer meant to be a place to rehabilitate individuals, but a dead end in which the individual’s nullity in everyday life comes to its logical conclusion. As jobs become scarce, foreclosed homes are left unoccupied, and the prisons become the only place in which the growing number of people without a tenable capacity to produce value can be safely placed. It is this devaluation of living labor—“the crisis of a period in which capitalism no longer needs us as workers”—which underlies the crises of the prison, the university, and so much more. Socially condemned individuals are to simply to be warehoused and contained at all costs, healthcare be damned. Imprisonment is exclusion taking total form, one which marks even those who depart from its walls, still to be denied inclusion in the legitimate economy through the loss of employment, education and housing. (Much like immigrants who are finding themselves increasingly imprisoned and deported.) The prison as a form of mass containment and social control originated as the debtors’ prison; we still speak of prisoners “paying their debt to society.” Now students and workers are facing more debt than ever before: our whole society is a debtors’ prison. Meanwhile, the extension of parole regimes, house arrest, and generalized surveillance may be another means not just of reducing the cost of prisons, but bringing them into ever closer convergence with the rest of daily life (or rather, vice versa).

The unity we are calling for in the struggle against the privatization of both schools and prisons, and toward their abolition along with all other structures of capitalist society, is not based on some spurious identification between the student and the prisoner. We realize they occupy very different, again, almost opposite places in the social sphere. What we have in common is our becoming increasingly useless to capitalist production; the increasing uselessness of any given person, who might be given a wheel to spin if they show sufficient obedience, and thrown in a cell if not. In either case, to spend our days in a bloodless, alienated, increasingly solitary and disconnected form of life. It is the growing mass of useless people who, during capitalism’s mounting crises—so it’s said—become the proletariat, the class-for-itself that is forced, in order to defend its interests, to destroy the capitalist economic mode. In other words, when the opposite poles meet is when the whole thing collapses: when we confront these kinds of divide-and-conquer tactics, not just through analysis, but by articulating through action where our loyalties lie—not with the system that reduces everyone to functions and lists of numbers, but with all whose lives are reduced and controlled by it. It is through the decomposition of our assigned roles, and the structures that enforce them on us, that we become worthy of and dangerous in such a struggle. By means of strike, blockade, looting, occupation, and riot, we will make this crisis the last.

For collective action against all capitalist social institutions!

Poster
Flyer