Statement of Solidarity from the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa
WE stand in solidarity today with the students, staff, and faculty members at the University of California campuses who have been occupying campus buildings in protest of the 32% fee increase, budget cut, laying off of the workers, and loss of quality public education and those who are engaged in the similar struggle at Michigan State University. Your movement not only makes visible the demand that the public university be valued and maintained as an important site in society for the redistribution of wealth and privilege. The occupations of the buildings at UC Davis, Berkeley, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco State University–along with other acts engaged in solidarity–have proved that the students can free time and space in the midst of today’s corporate university. It is the time and space stolen from that university that matters, the kind of university that is so bent upon making profits while sacrificing our desire to learn and think, exploiting its workers, especially the vulnerable ones such as the non-tenured faculty members and the non-teaching workers on campus, and, worse still, demanding that its students must pay money for the kind of education that teaches us to be a “competitive labor,” a euphemism for a calculative, lonely individual subjected to the forces of capital and shackled to student loans. In many ways, if we may quote from the Zapatistas, we are you here in Okinawa. Our budget has been cut annually, our part-time language teachers lost their jobs or teaching hours, our curriculum began to include classes on job search, job interviews, and invididual psychological health. “Hell no,” (“jodan ja nai” in Japanese or “yukushi” in Okinawan) has been our response, so we pitched tents on campus last winter to make visible the same tension, to steal time and space on this island. It is in this spirit that we show our support and solidarity to the students, faculty, and staff members at the UC and Michigan State University.
You and we are the beginnings!
November 27, 2009
Concerned Students at the University of the Ryukyus