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
New York City, September 25, 2009
Declaration of Student Solidarity
Students, Youth, Workers, People of Color, and all Oppressed Peoples are being forced to absorb the crisis of Wall Street. We are being attacked and Wall Street and Washington are trying to make us pay for their crisis. Their plan is to cut our public programs, attack our social support systems, attack our families with mass layoffs, and expand the war on workers and the poor. The conditions that Students and Youth are faced with are just the beginning of what we will experience as we enter the world as workers. In this common interest, Connecticut Students Against the War issues the following statement:
Students and Youth all over the world face tuition increases, firings of staff workers, adjunct, and non-tenured faculty, cuts to programs and classes, expansion of class sizes in college and the public school system, cuts in essential programs, a general decrease in opportunities for employment, the Economic Draft and growing military influence in Youth Programs and schools.
In Connecticut, our public schools are facing drastic cuts threatening the jobs of an estimated 1500 teachers and paraprofessionals, threats to unions contracts, the closure of several extracurricular programs, and the halt in school purchases of needed supplies. This threatens the jobs of these workers and the quality of each student’s education as class sizes grow, work hours increase, supplies drop, and as the crisis deepens.
At the same time that we receive no relief from our debts, while the government bails out the institutes who are responsible for the crisis, while it continues to fund illegal wars and occupations around the world. We have become victims of a crisis that we could not prevent and over which we have no control to reverse.
We as Connecticut Students Against the War declare opposition to tuition increases, staff reductions, forced work increases, abandonment of children and students, attacks on union contracts, cuts to academic programs and classes, and any present or future disciplinary measures by administrations against students struggling for justice.
We call for the canceling of all student debt, an expansion of the education system, an expansion of employment opportunities for youth and workers to include truly green jobs, an expansion of government aid to all who seek education, and a reduction of tuition costs to increase access and affordability to higher education. We call for students in the public education system and at the college level to unite with their communities to resist all cuts and to demand an end to the war on workers and the poor to make us pay for the crimes of high finance.
We declare support for and stand in solidarity with struggles against cuts in education and social support systems.
We declare our support and stand in solidarity with UC Students who are standing up against the regressive policies of the university and the state of California.