January 8, 2010 by tristan savage
The current fight against budget cuts in California has emerged as a radical challenges against state hierarchies and the dominance of business elites in public education.
In September, after months of detailed door-to-door and twitter-to-inbox organizing, students at UC Santa Cruz grabbed headlines with the first step of the campaign for democratizing California by occupying the Graduate Student Commons. In the following months, students all over the state occupied buildings on half a dozen public university campuses and staged dozens of rallies, sit-ins, walk-outs, protests, solidarity actions, accountability sessions with their local bureaucrats, as well as a general strike. (Check out this map of student/worker activism for the last few months). Over 220 students have been arrested in ongoing actions as university administrators consistently respond with riot police rather than with dialogue.
You can read all about the actions on their own websites, which participants have created and which describe the events far better than I could. I suggest starting with Occupy California, the website that launched the communique of the first occupation at Santa Cruz and pretty much kept up with everything since then. This is a great chance to examine (and participate in?) a major state-wide solidarity campaign in order to apply its lessons to our own communities. A few things to keep an eye out for:
Analysis on the debate between resistance and pacifism and how students are portrayed as victims (at UC Santa Cruz)
Some striking media coverage and photography of the actions
The normalization of police intimidation and brutality on militarized campuses
And, of course the many other radical student movements across the globe (i.e. Vienna, Athens, Croatia)
The struggle is ongoing: activists in Modesto just put out a call for students and workers to support an indigenous (Miwok) justice campaign, and students had a rally at UC Irvine on Monday.