Sunday, November 13, 2011

Call for Open University Strike and Solidarity Actions on November 15th

Adopted by the Occupy Cal General Assembly

After a mass rally and march of over 3,000 people, and repeated police assaults on the Occupy Cal encampment, the general assembly at UC Berkeley decided on the night of November 9th -- with over 500 votes, 95% of the assembly -- to organize and call for a strike and day of action on Tuesday, November 15. We ask that all classes be cancelled or held at Sproul Plaza.

The Open University strike is both a response to the University’s violent raid on the encampment, and an action against the defunding and privatization of public education in California.

We will strike to reassert our collective right to freely assemble, both at the University and elsewhere, so that we are able to build public spaces where we can discuss and counter the various crises affecting our communities. We stand in solidarity with the Occupy movement, and especially with Occupy Oakland, which has been, and may again soon be, repressed by the city of Oakland and the Oakland Police Department.

We will also strike to reaffirm our determination to fight for a truly public and free University, and for the refunding of all levels of public education and public services. Since the crisis of 2008, the UC Regents have accelerated their push to privatize the University, subjecting students to unsustainable levels of debt, excluding increasing numbers of students, and further resegregating public education in California. The policy of privatization also subjects workers to layoffs, work speedups, and drastic benefits reductions. All these regressive transformations are forms of structural violence, which the police enforced against the assembled students, faculty, and workers on November 9th.

We call upon all sectors of public higher education in California to take actions on Tuesday, November 15th, up to and including strike actions, and to join the mass convergences on November 16th at the UC Regents meeting and the CSU Trustees meeting. We also call upon workplaces and K-12 schools to join us, either by taking actions at their sites or by converging on UC Berkeley and helping us to open up and transform the University from which most Californians have been systematically excluded.

We do not think that property destruction is a useful tactic and we ask those who join the Open University to respect this sentiment. At the same time, we do not think that it is a good strategy to use physical force against those who might engage in such acts.

Please join us on November 15th as we stop business as usual at our University in order to open up and transform our campus, and as we reestablish the Occupy Cal encampment.

Schedule for November 15 Open University:

8am-5pm: All day open university activities (teach-outs, workshops, public readings, installations, etc.) at Sproul Plaza and surrounding areas.
Noon: Mass convergence at Sproul Hall and formal inauguration of day-long open university.
Noon – 2pm: Teach-outs in Sproul Plaza.
2pm: Rally against police violence and other, related forms of violence, including dispossession, privatization, and debt.
2:30pm: March to Berkeley High and Berkeley City College.
5pm: General Assembly at Sproul Plaza.

Occupy Cal’s Demands:

Local Demands
- Respect Free Speech, Including the Right to Set Up Tents.
- Immediate Resignation of Robert Birgeneau, George Breslauer, Harry LeGrande, and Mitch Celaya. Democratic Election of their Replacements by Students, Faculty, and Staff.
- Charge the Police Responsible for Brutalizing Protesters. No Use of Force Against Protests on Campus.
- Amnesty for All Protesters.
- Make UC Berkeley a Sanctuary Campus for Undocumented People. Pass the UC-wide Dream Act.
- Equal Benefits and Retirement Security for UC Union Workers.

Statewide Demands
- Reverse the Fee Hikes, Cuts, and Layoffs To At Least Their 2009 Levels.
- Refund Public Education and Public Services: Tax the Banks and Billionaires. Repeal Prop 13.
- Full Implementation of Affirmative Action. Overturn Prop 209.

Nationwide Demands
- Stop the Privatization of Public Education.
- Bail Out Schools and Public Services. Redirect Military Funding to Education.
- Immediate Forgiveness of All Student Debt.
- Repeal Race to the Top.
- Stop the Attacks on Teachers Unions.

Endorsing Groups:
Occupy Cal, UC Berkeley Faculty Association, UCSF Faculty Association, UC Davis Faculty Association, UC San Diego Faculty Association, UC Council of Faculty Associations, AFSCME 3299, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, California Nurses Association, Communities for a New California, UAW Local 2865 (UC), UAW 4123 (CSU), UC-AFT.


  1. A rally is scheduled to occur on the UC Davis campus on the quad, starting at noon. Please encourage as many people as possible to attend.

    The current plan seems to be to march at 2:30 pm from the quad to Central Park in Davis to meet up with the Occupy Davis folks camped out there.

  2. Who wrote these demands - will students who show up tomorrow be allowed to have input? Why are we demanding a repeal of Race to the Top? If the goal is to Occupy until demands are met...considering some of these "national demands" we may be there a while, what is a successful outcome in that case? How do we convince the voters to repeal Prop 13? Altering Prop 13 is probably the most important thing we can do to re-fund the UCs but polls don't look good on that - has anyone put together a plan for a ballot initiative? I don't believe this list serves the interest of assembling a broad coalition of students who want to join a movement against divestment in public higher education and protest the way the University and police handled last weeks demonstrations. I'll show up but I'd like to see some real achievable goals.