The Occupy California blog is where it’s all happening these days. Let’s start with this:
In Chile and Puerto Rico, in Austria, Greece, Italy, and Croatia, and in 33 states in the US—all over the world we are experiencing the systematic dismantling of education systems that supposedly serve the public. Students all over the world have begun to respond, through occupations, strikes, shutdowns, blockades, and other forms of direct action. We are starting to take back what is ours.
The UC Regents have formed the UC Commission on the Future: a body that will be meeting May 18-20 at UC San Francisco and again this summer to solidify the current cuts. This means more fee increases, larger class sizes, and the introduction of 3-year degrees and online courses. Despite widespread opposition, the regents are making their decisions behind closed doors during the summer months, when school is out of session. If we do nothing, a UC undergraduate entering school five years from now could be paying $22,700 per year for overcrowded classes. We cannot stand by and watch as our public education system is being destroyed due not to a budget crisis but to a state that stakes education as the lowest priority.
The privatization of our universities is a piece of a larger statewide attack on education and other public services. Across California and especially in urban areas public K-12 schools are facing debilitating cuts: teachers are being laid-off and having their salaries reduced while students are getting less attention and lower quality education. UC workers are having their hours cut and are therefore being forced to do more work in less time. Campus resource centers that were intended to address the needs of under-represented communities have been the first on the chopping block. Under the guise of an economic crisis, the state is allocating resources in a way that further privileges the upper class and further disenfranchises those who are already marginalized. This is apparent in Schwarzenegger’s decision to find funding for education by privatizing the prison system; the future of public education should not be contingent on heightened incarceration. We can win this only by rejecting this logic of competition for resources and by refusing to be complicit in a racist, classist, and discriminatory state agenda.
We began this on March 4. In Santa Cruz we successfully shut down campus, which proved that when we organize autonomously we can fight back against this repressive institution that denies us power. We can continue by targeting the university administration and by making it absolutely clear that these backroom deals will not stand. We are calling for students, workers, and all allies to mobilize around the Regents’ meeting in San Francisco on May 18-20 and shut it down. We specifically urge Bay Area campuses to focus their energies on this. We are calling for direct actions at schools and universities that shut down business as usual. We also welcome everyone to join us in Santa Cruz for a full campus shutdown. These actions are a warning that if the administration approves the Commission on the Future’s recommendations, there will be escalated actions and the possibility of a longer-term strike in the fall. Nothing will be won unless we take it for ourselves.
Join your friends and allies to reclaim what is yours.
-UC Santa Cruz Strike Committee
If that isn’t enough to inspire you, then read their posts about the UCSC Strike Committee’s demands, the May Day party in Santa Cruz, the ongoing occupation at Middlesex University, and the ongoing strike at the University of Puerto Rico.