This is the day – at UC Riverside where I am, throughout the California public education system and across the country. There will be solidarity actions around the world for this. Endebted students, underpaid workers, exploited grads, adjuncts tossed from contract to contract, professors who can’t bear to see the insanity of the system, and staff who know from the inside what’s being done to destroy it will join members of the surrounding communities to call for a halt to business as usual and find a new way of running the university. Today people are going out to demand more than just the rollback of tuition increases, furloughs, budget cuts in the departments and closures of schools and facilities. People are going out to demand a more just and egalitarian way of organizing this society, not for corporations and the super-rich, not for the banks and the military, but for us, all of us, black, brown, yellow, white, red and green if that’s the case, the people who institutions are supposed to serve, and who are presently being treated like numbers with no heart and no meaning. March forth around the world!
Shit’s gonna happen today – don’t be surprised when it does. There are a lot of angry people out there and we have not exactly been seeing kinder and gentler police. Don’t be afraid and don’t be apologetic! The crimes are happening at the top, the foreclosure crisis, the cuts in every kind of public service, the transformation of the university into a military R&D system, the tolerance for racism in schools that have given up affirmative action and minority programs, the outright lies about the budget crisis and the lack of transparency about where the money goes. If windows get broken, buildings get occupied and people get arrested, support them in their struggle by continuing with yours! Now is not the time for compromise, it’s the time to take what you know is true and bring that to the public. Use your ears and listen to what other people are saying. Don’t let the media and the administrators speak in your place. In the days and weeks that follow there will be lots of negotiations, lots of dead ends and lots of new beginnings for the movements. Nothing like this has been done in a generation. It’s time to take back our institutions and our lives from the bean-counters who pad their bank accounts while stripping everything out of yours. Beyond the cheers and the fears, after the fire and the tear gas, what’s ahead is the work of creating a better society. Today, the universities finally start doing the job they were built for. Walk out of the classes, off the jobs and try the real thing: public education in the streets!