Category Archives: Solidarity
The following article was written Bob Ostertag (UCD Professor of Technocultural Studies and Music) and was published on The Huffington Post:
Governor Schwarzenegger should wash his mouth out with soap. Seriously.
When I was a kid I was over at a friend’s house when he said a bad word and his mother washed his mouth out with soap. It was impressive. I don’t think my friend said that word again for a long time. Now California’s action-figure governor is acting childishly, and he too needs to take some measure to ensure that he never again speaks as he did this week. He owes it to the university students of his state, and indeed to everyone in this country that welcomed his immigration here.
Here is what he did: he called two students of mine terrorists. Specifically, he called their protest against the recent 32% tuition increase at the University of California a “type of terrorism.” Really. I’m not kidding.
Shame on him.
Allow me to introduce the “terrorists,” Julia Litman-Cleper and Laura Thatcher. Both of them have been students of mine at the University of California at Davis. They are wonderful students: thoughtful, inquisitive, respectful, and supportive of their peers. They are not loud, strident voices. In fact, they are both noticeably quiet as students go. They are active in their departments and in the civics of their campus.
On Monday of last week a group of students from campuses around the University of California “occupied” Wheeler Hall at UC Berkeley and announced their intention to host a week of lectures on things like the history of public education in the state, the finances of the University of California, and so on. They also planned for music, study time, and lots of opportunity for students to sit and talk and work through their thoughts about what is happening to public education in California and what they might do about it.
What they were doing was technically illegal, as the university police informed them, but the students made clear that they would not obstruct any of the university activities that were ongoing in the building. A tacit agreement developed between the police and the students, to the point that one night police entered the building and told a group of students that they in the wrong room and ordered them to move to one of several other rooms they indicated were designated for the protest.
During the course of the week, several UC faculty members came to Wheeler and gave lectures hosted by the protesters. In the eyes of students, faculty are the real authority on campus. Students rarely deal with campus police or administrators, but they deal with faculty every day. Faculty give themgrades, by which their careers as students stand or fall. If the police aren’t bothering them and faculty are showing up to give them lectures, students have every reason to believe that the activities they are engaging in are legitimate.
So the students stayed there for a week, doing their student thing, even using some rooms as study halls for finals the following week, until 4:30am Friday morning. That is when the police burst in, locked the building’s doors so that no one could leave, arrested everyone in their sleep, and dragged them off to jail.
That made the students very angry, and justifiably so. Those of you who are a bit older might want to think back to your first encounters with the arbitrary authority of middle aged people with weapons and uniforms. Remember how absolutely livid you were? That night a group of very angry students, those who happened not to be in the building during the police raid, marched through campus.
It is hard to piece together exactly what happened when the march went past the chancellor’s residence. The police claim the students attacked the chancellor’s home, and arrested eight protesters including Julia and Laura. The students say that all that occurred was minor vandalism by a small splinter group, and that the cops arrested the wrong people. But with eight of their number facing multiple felony charges and the governor of the state calling them terrorists, the students’ lawyers advised them not to discuss the events.
While this may have some merit as a legal strategy, it left the police version of what happened largely unchallenged and the powers-that-be had a field day. University of California President Mark Yudof announced the students had gone “far beyond the boundaries of public dissent.” UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau claimed his life had been placed in danger. Not to be outdone, Governor Schwarzenegger declared that “California will not tolerate any type of terrorism.”
Laura, Julia, and the others were charged with rioting, threatening an education official, attempted burglary, attempted arson of an occupied building, felony vandalism, and assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer. Bail was set at $132,000 per student.
Then yesterday all charges against the students were dropped. Oops. Never mind.
Where the police saw multiple felonies, the chancellor saw a threat to his life, and the governor saw terrorism, the district attorney saw no case. This leaves Birgeneau, Yudof, and Schwarzenegger with some serious explaining to do. Particularly Mr. Schwarzenegger.
Consider what it means in the United States in 2009 to call someone a terrorist. Terrorists kill people. They fly planes into skyscrapers and explode car bombs in crowded market places. Terrorists are our icon of evil. This country has been waging a bloody and costly war on terrorists for years. To call someone a terrorist is to place them on the other side of that war.
These students were protesting a 32% tuition hike at a public university, brought on by an economic crisis that exploded out of the most powerful private financial institutions in the country. At UC Davis where I teach, students do not generally come from privileged backgrounds. I have students who are seriously wondering if they should stay in school at all given the higher tuition rate. They look at the bleak job market, and they can’t see how a college degree will earn back the money it will cost their family for them to complete their college education. I have one student whose mother just took a job as a translator for a private military contractor in Afghanistan because it was the only way she could make ends meet.
Imagine what it is like for the parents of these students to have to come up with $132,000 on short notice to make their daughters’ bail. To wake up to the governor calling their children terrorists? Type the names Laura Thatcher or Julia Litman-Cleper into Google and what comes up are links to pages and pages of media reports in which the governor of their state calls them terrorists. Imagine the stress that has placed on their families.
And then: never mind. No charges. Bye.
UC President Mark Yudof is absolutely right that there was “behavior” here that “went far beyond the boundaries” of what should be “tolerated,” but it is behavior of the governor, not the students.
Read the original posting here: Governor Schwarzenegger Should Wash his Mouth Out with Soap
Sierra College students are tired of being left in the dark when it comes to decisions our board makes. We taking matters into our own hands, investigating, getting prepared for action this spring… On January 14th Faculty and Staff will be either let go or those who are lucky enough to keep their jobs will take a at least 5% cut in their pay. Two days before that is a public board meeting at 4pm.
As, a Sierra College student hoping to transfer, I want you all to know that Sierra Stands in Solidarity with the UCs and there is more to come from Sierra College.
Thank you for the inspiration… All of you!!!
Thursday, December 17th 2009
Christmas is getting closer and the media is writing that the protests are fading…Which is not true!
In many cases it has not been reported yet, that there are universities occupied not only in Austria and Germany, but also in Croatia, Switzerland, U.S.A. and Spain. There are supporting protests going on in Poland, Latvia, Italy, Fance, UK, Macedonia and Serbia. We want to spread the news and let the public know!
On Thursday 17th of December 2009 we want to show the strong international connection of solidarity between the universities and tell the shopping crowd in our cities that we are still there and protesting for education all over the planet.
Please let us know whether you will be participating – in whatever way!
skype: international.unigraz email: email@example.com
We are looking forward to many international actions
international networking group
Occupants at University of Graz
24 November 2009
We the undersigned declare our solidarity with University of California students, workers and staff as they defend, in the face of powerful and aggressive intimidation, the fundamental principles upon which a truly inclusive and egalitarian public-sector education system depends. We affirm their determination to confront university administrators who seem willing to exploit the current financial crisis to introduce disastrous and reactionary ‘reforms’ (fee-increases, lay-offs, salary cuts) to the UC system. We support their readiness to take direct action in order to block these changes. We recognise that in times of crisis, only assertive collective action – walkouts, boycotts, strikes, occupations… –
offers any meaningful prospect of democratic participation. We deplore the recent militarization of the UC campuses, and call on the UC administration to acknowledge rather than discourage the resolution of their students to struggle, against the imperatives of privatization, to protect the future of their university.
• Dina Al-Kassim, Comparative Literature, UC Irvine
• Alison Hope Alkon, Sociology, University of the Pacific
• Eyal Amiran, Comparative Literature, UC Irvine
• Emily Apter, Comparative Literature, New York University
• Kiran Asher, International Development and Social Change and Women’s Studies, Clark University
• Jennifer Bajorek, Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College
• Gopal Balakrishnan, History of Consciousness, UC Santa Cruz
• Karyn Ball, English and Film Studies, University of Alberta
• Stephen Barker, Claire Trevor School of the Arts, UC Irvine
• LeGrace Benson, Emerita, SUNY Empire State
• Bruce Braun, Geography, University of Minnesota
• Nathan Brown, English, UC Davis
• Darcy C. Buerkle, History, Smith College
• Craig Calhoun, Sociology, NYU
• Julie Carlson, English, UC Santa Barbara
• Anthony Carrigan, English, University of Keele
• Amy Sara Carroll, Latina/o Studies, American Culture, English, University of Michigan
• Allison Carruth, English, University of Oregon
• Paula Chakravartty, Department of Communication, UMass Amherst
• Piya Chatterjee, Women’s Studies, UC Riverside
• Chris Chiappari, Sociology, Anthropology, St. Olaf College
• Kyeong-Hee Choi, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago
• Noam Chomsky, Linguistics, MIT
• Joshua Clover, English, UC Davis
• Drucilla Cornell, Political Science, Women’s and Gender Studies, Comparative Literature, Rutgers University
• Maria E. Cotera, Latina/o Studies, American Culture, Women’s Studies, University of Michigan
• Whitney Cox, Languages and Cultures of South Asia, School of Oriental and African Studies
• Jodi Dean, Political Science, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
• Richard Dienst, English, Rutgers University
• Elizabeth DeLoughrey, English, UCLA
• Sergio de la Mora, Chicana and Chicano Studies, UC Davis
• Mattanjah S. de Vries, Chemistry and Biochemistry, UC Santa Barbara
• Hent de Vries, Humanities Center, Philosophy, Johns Hopkins University
• Lisa Disch, Political Science and Women’s Studies, University of Michigan
• Ariel Dorfman, Literature, Duke University
• Alexander Garcia Düttmann, Philosophy and Visual Culture, Goldsmiths University
• Raymond Duvall, Political Science, University of Minnesota
• Ken Ehrlich, Art Department, UC Riverside
• Norma Field, East Asian Languages & Civilizations
• Gail Finney, Comparative Literature and German, UC Davis
• Paul Fleming, German, NYU
• Aranye Fradenburg, English, UC Santa Barbara
• James Fujii, East Asian Language and Literatures, UC Irvine
• John Funchion, English, University of Miami
• Jill Giegerich, Art, UC Riverside
• Alexander Gelley, Comparative Literature, UC Irvine
• Bishnupriya Ghosh, English, UC Santa Barbara
• Ruthann Godollei, Art, Macalester College
• Manu Goswami, History, NYU
• Yogita Goyal, English, UCLA
• Greg Grandin, History, NYU
• Martin Hägglund, Society of Fellows, Harvard University
• Peter Hallward, Philosophy, Middlesex University
• Werner Hamacher, Literature, Goethe University
• Harry Harootunian, History, Columbia University and Duke University
• Grace Kyungwon Hong, Asian American Studies and Women’s Studies, UCLA
• Eugene W. Holland, Comparative Studies, Ohio State University
• Laura Horak,
• Ashley Hunt, Photography and Media, California Institute for the Arts
• Adrienne Hurley, East Asian Studies, McGill University
• Natasha Hurley, English and Film Studies, University of Alberta
• Patricia Ingham, English, Indiana University
• Peter Jackson, English, Birmingham City University
• Fredric Jameson, Comparative Literature and Romance Studies, Duke University
• Micaela Janan, Classical Studies, Duke University
• Priya Jha, English, University of Redlands
• Adrian Johnston, Philosophy, University of New Mexico
• Richard Kahn, Educational Foundations and Research, University of North Dakota
• Peggy Kamuf, French and Comparative Literature, UCS
• Ken C. Kawashima, East Asian Studies, University of Toronto
• Rosanne Kennedy, School of Humanities, Australian National University
• Suk-Young Kim, Theater and Dance, UC Santa Barbara
• A. Kiarina Kordela, German Studies, Macalester College
• David Farrell Krell, Philosophy, DePaul University, University of Freiburg
• Ernesto Laclau, Politics, University of Essex
• Bradley Lafortune, English and Film Studies, University of Alberta
• Neil Larson, Comparative Literature, UC Davis
• Michaeal G. Levine, German and Comparative Literature, Rutgers University
• Jacques Lezra, Comparative Literature and Spanish and Portuguese, NYU
• Pei-te Lien, Political Science, UC Santa Barbara
• Akira Mizuta Lippit, Critical Studies, Comparative Literature, East Asian Languages and Cultures, USC
• Michèle Longino, French, Duke University
• Silvia L. López, Spanish, Carleton College
• Heather Love, English, University of Pennsylvania
• Stephanie Luce, Labor Center, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
• G. Akito Maehara, History, Asian American Studies, African American Studies, Chicano Studies, Native American Studies, East Los Angeles College
• Robert May, Philosophy and Linguistics, UC Davis
• Todd May, Philosophy, Clemson University
• Christina McMahon, Theater and Dance, UC Santa Barbara
• Walter Mignolo, Literature, Duke University
• Patricia Morton, History of Art, UC Riverside
• Fred Moten, English, Duke University
• John Mowitt, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, University of Minnesota
• Julian Myers, Visual Studies and Curatorial Practice, California College of the Arts
• Janet Neary, English, Hunter College
• Sianne Ngai, English, UCLA
• Joel Nickels, English, University of Miami
• Julia Olbert, English, UC Irvine
• Thomas Pepper, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, University of Minnesota
• Amy Pederson, Art History, Woodbury University
• John Protevi, French, LSU
• Jack Linchuan Qiu, Journalism and Communication, Chinese University of Hong Kong
• Francois Raffoul, Philosophy, LSU
• Eve Allegra Raimon, Arts and Humanities, American and New England Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Southern Maine
• Jason Reid, Philosophy, University of Southern Maine
• Joseph Rezek, McNeil Center for Early American Studies, University of Pennsylvania
• Corey Robin, Political Science, Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center
• William I. Robinson, Sociology, University of California at Santa Barbara
• Avital Ronell, Comparative Literature, Germanic Languages and Literatures, NYU
• Sven-Erik Rose, French and Italian, Miami University
• Andrew Ross, Social and Cultural Analysis, NYU
• G.S. Sahota, Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Minnesota
• Martha Saxton, History and Women’s and Gender Studies, Amherst College
• Ronald J. Schmidt Jr., Political Science, University of Southern Maine
• Louis-George Schwartz, Film, Ohio University
• Susan Seizer, Communication and Culture, Indiana University
• Katherine Sherwood, Art Practice and Disability Studies
• Lewis Siegelbaum, History, Michigan State University
• Brenda R. Silver, English, Dartmouth College
• Christine A. Stewart, English and Film Studies, University of Alberta
• Rei Terada, Comparative Literature, UC Irvine
• Sasha Torres, Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario
• Alberto Toscano, Sociology, Goldsmiths University of London
• Dimitris Vardoulakis, School of Humanities and Languages, University of Western Sydney
• Geoff Waite, German Studies, Comparative Literature, and Art History, Cornell University
• Elizabeth Walden, Philosophy and Cultural Studies, Bryant University
• Rebecca Weaver-Hightower, English and Postcolonial Studies, University of North Dakota
• Silke-Maria Weineck, German and Comparative Literature, University of Michigan
• Michael W. Wilson, Art, UC Riverside
• Mirko Wischke, Philosophy, National University of Kiev
• David Wittenberg, English & Comparative Literature, University of Iowa
• Hu Yong, Journalism and Communication, Peking University
• Slavoj Zizek, Philosophy, University of Ljubljana
•Jack Zipes, German, University of Minnesota
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
The Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa expresses its strong support and solidarity with the University of California students, faculty and workers who demonstrated their opposition to the UC Board of Regents’ decision to raise student fees 32 percent last week. We extend our grateful appreciation and commend them for their individual and collective actions to ensure that public higher education remains accessible for minority and low-income students. Their defiant and determined efforts to maintain control of their university are a much needed response to the devastating budget cuts that threaten the future of public education across the nation. That their protests are occurring this fall term is especially significant since this year marks the fortieth anniversary of the establishment of ethnic studies following a five and a half month long student strike at San Francisco State University. We call on our colleagues at other colleges and universities to stand in support of the UC students, faculty and workers.