Thursday, November 10, 2011

On the coming general higher education strike

On November 10th at 1am, the following proposal was adopted by the Occupy Cal general assembly:
After a mass rally and march of over 3,000 people, and repeated police assaults on the encampment, the Occupy Cal general assembly 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 in all sectors of higher education. We will strike in opposition to the cuts to public education, university privatization, and the indebting of our generation.

We also call for simultaneous solidarity actions in workplaces and k-12 schools. We will organize through daily, 5pm strike planning meetings at our encampments, followed by general assemblies.
The following is meant as an analysis of the context, aims, and possible effects of the general higher education strike and day of action.

What occurred yesterday on campuses around the state, including at UC Berkeley, made real the antagonistic relations that shape the lives of students and academic workers. When university administrators and police repeatedly brutalized assembled workers, students, and debtors at large, such relations -- of exploitation and precarity -- were cast into sharp relief.

We did not back down, nor did we shy from an encounter with the forces that manage our lives and profit from our indebtedness. We held our ground when the police attacked our assemblies and encampments; then, after securing a space for assembly, we decided collectively to counter the Regents and the financial industry -- those responsible for privatizing our educational commons and resegregating our schools -- with one of our most effective tactics: our refusal to work and to attend classes.

We know that our relatively local acts of resistance and refusal will only have transformative force if they are embedded in a larger political disruption, a strike and day of action across all sectors of higher education, tied to sympathy strikes and actions in workplaces and schools. This is why we have called for a general higher education strike -- a strike throughout an entire economic sector and sphere of public life.

We understand that a fully realized general higher education strike is not likely to materialize next Tuesday. And yet, we take inspiration from last week's general strike in Oakland, and believe that a relatively generalized work stoppage and walkout is possible. By pushing for widespread mobilizations next Tuesday, we will build support for the convergences of the 16th and will further expand and strengthen our bonds of solidarity and mutual care.


For an account of how the Regents and financial industry profits off our indebtedness, see the recent pamphlet from Reclamations: "Generation of Debt."

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