Statement of Global Solidarity

As students, workers, and community members we came together in solidarity today to protect the beating heart of public education. We rallied for quality, accessibility, accountability in learning and working conditions. Despite our efforts, the UC Regents approved a tuition increase plan 7 to 2 despite large on-site student protests, including at least one arrest, and opposition by Governor Jerry Brown. Undeterred, we stand with movements around the world that are fighting to protect the commons from privatization and militarization.

The police presence at UCSF Mission Bay is a reminder of the ways police are consistently used to intimidate those who use their education to fight for social justice and equity. In previous years, UC police have pulled guns on students, beaten and dragged students, pepper sprayed students who were expressing demands for a public institution. UC Administrators have stood by or colluded in these actions.

From the struggle of the 43 disappeared students in Ayotzinapa, Mexico to the uprisings against police brutality in Ferguson to today’s student protests against austerity in London, we recognize that we are experiencing is part of a global struggle that is now uniting in solidarity.

We recognize the struggles in Guerrero, Missouri, and London as not just problems in those individual communities but as a menace for all who face police and institutional repression. The UCs have a rich tradition of free speech protest and we draw upon that, just as we now draw inspiration from the movements around the world who wrestle a bold new future from the hands of privatization and militarization.

Students at UC Berkeley are currently holding Wheeler Hall as an Open University, in the spirit of democratizing education, and maintaining the right to public education and an intellectual commons.

CPC opposes UC Plan to Raise Tuition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 18, 2014

CONTACT: Margaret Mary Downey, margaretmaryd@gmail.com (email); 717-471-0459 (cell)

Cal Progressive Coalition Announces Opposition to UC Plan to Raise Tuition, Plans for Week of Action

Berkeley: On Wednesday November 19th,  the UC Regents will vote on a plan that would increase tuition by up to 27% over the next 5 years. The cost of attendance for in-state undergraduates could increase by more than $3,000, to over $15,500 per year. For professional students like social workers and nurses, the increase is greater. For out-of-state students, the increase would be more than $31,000.

As the Cal Progressive Coalition, a collective of students, workers, and community members, we oppose these tuition hikes and the larger process of privatization as absolutely the wrong direction for the UC. President Napolitano’s “long-term stability plan” aggressively demands more support from the state and raises tuition costs while continuing to spend money on administrative bloat, chancellors’ salary increases, and wasteful subcontracting. While privatization is supposed to bring greater efficiency and accountability to the university, we see the opposite: the UC has become rife with waste and inefficiencies, and is now absolutely unaccountable to the state or to the students it is supposedly serves.

These tuition hikes are the latest in this trend of unaccountability. We see this unaccountability as the UC sells off the Gill Tract farm land to corporate interests. We see inefficiency and waste as the UC is wasting millions on contracting out workers, while doling out raises to UC executives. We see irresponsibility as the UC ignores calls to divest from dangerous fossil fuels.

Privatization and tuition hikes hurt students, workers, the middle-class, and marginalized communities in numerous ways:

Declining accessibility: The high fee, high-but-inconsistent aid model deters first-generation students from even applying, and subjects UC students to a financial aid system that lacks transparency or predictability. The UC’s increased reliance on out-of-state and international students to fill funding gaps means that fewer Californians have access to the institution their tax dollars have helped to build. The proposed hike in tuition would particularly affect working class students and students of color, making this institution even less accessible to those communities than it already is. Research shows that higher tuitions lead to lower graduation rates for low-income students. Students already struggle to pay tuition, often working multiple part-time jobs and going tens of thousands of dollars into debt.

 

Declining quality: While the UC administration proposes to raise tuition, they also ignore calls to regulate class sizes and fund education so students do not have to work multiple jobs while in school. Students are funneled into industries that will enable them to pay back massive debt rather than seeking education that fosters growth, both personal and in sustainable economies and communities. Additionally, management now vastly outnumber faculty across the UCs, prioritizing bureaucracy over recruitment and retention of quality educators.

 

Declining working conditions: For the service, patient care, and academic workers at the university, corner-cutting, short-staffing, and subcontracting mean dangerous working conditions and poverty.

 

The Regents distract from their own role in privatization by pitting students and workers against the state. If the state falls short of providing what the UC wants, tuition will be raised to compensate. The plan ignores the fact that any increase cuts short the Regents’ agreed-upon 2012-2016  tuition freeze and again makes annual tuition hikes the new normal. While the UC administration continues to unilaterally mismanage funding and ignore student, worker, and community voices, they cannot reasonably point to Sacramento as the source of the problem.

Our actions: Following a week of campus actions, CPC members along with students and workers throughout the state will attend the Regents’ meeting at the UCSF Mission Bay campus on November 19th. Collective action like this has been effective in the past: in fact, if the proposed tuition increases from several years ago had not been successfully blocked through mass mobilization and pressure, tuition at the UC could have ballooned to as high as $19,000 this year.

As a coalition, we envision a future where we and our families have access to quality, affordable, public education that we take pride in supporting, attending, and working to create. We will fight together for that future.

PRESS RELEASE: Coalition Unites to Victory in Enduring Struggle of FSM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10/1/2014
Coalition Unites to Victory in Enduring Struggle of FSM

Press contact: Maggie Downey,  Email: margaretmaryd@gmail.com, Phone: (717) 471-0459

Facebook: www.facebook.com/calprogressivecoalition  Twitter: @CalProgressives

A & E Building, UC Berkeley Campus: Cal Progressive Coalition (CPC) demonstrates the power of unity and civil disobedience.

Uniting students, workers, community members, and veterans of the Free Speech Movement, CPC led a surprise sit-in at Capital Projects following the rally for the 50th Anniversary of the Free Speech Movement. Capital Projects is the real estate arm of the University of California Berkeley that is actively privatizing public resources, such as in their proposed commercial development of the historic Gill Tract Farm. The CPC action sparked dialogue across campus on how the UC continues to silence students through the privatization of the public university and increasingly militarized police violence.

The sit-in lasted through 6 hours of negotiation amidst speeches and chants that could be heard across central campus. Students, community members, and FSM veterans emerged from Capital Projects around 7pm calling victory on their first two short-term demands: a meeting with Chancellor Dirks and a signed commitment for documents that Capital Projects promised to share in May. The coalition came forward to the cheers of supporters who had gathered outside in solidarity. However, the UC continued to stonewall on any of the main demands, which include a halt to the development of the Gill Tract and a community process for an alternative design for a Food Initiative on all 20 acres of this historic farmland (more about the demands and the Gill Tract, below).

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PRESS RELEASE: Coalition takes action against privatization

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10/1/2014

UC Berkeley Coalition Takes Action against Privatization, Leads Alum to Action on 50th Anniversary of the Free Speech Movement

Press contacts:

Maggie Downey, margaretmaryd@gmail.com, (717) 471-0559

Alison McDonald,  Email: mcdonadalisonclio@gmail.com, Phone: (951) 330-0660

Facebook: www.facebook.com/calprogressivecoalition Twitter: @CalProgressives

A & E Building, UC Berkeley Campus: Following the 50th Anniversary of the Free Speech Movement rally, UC students, workers, and community members of the Cal Progressive Coalition (CPC) led a surprise march and sit-in at Capital Projects, the real estate arm of the University of California that is actively privatizing public resources. The CPC action sparked dialogue among Free Speech Movement alums on the ways that the UC continues to silence students through the privatization of the school and increasingly militarized police violence.

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PRESS RELEASE: March for enduring struggles of FSM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Students March to highlight the Enduring Struggles of the Free Speech Movement

Interviews available upon request

Email: calprogressivecoalition@gmail.com
Website: https://calprogressivecoalition.wordpress.com/october-1st/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/CalProgressiveCoalition

Sept. 30th, 2014

Berkeley, CA: This Wednesday, October 1st, Cal Progressive Coalition (CPC) is gathering together student, worker, and community voices to amplify the current struggles for justice silenced by or ignored by the University. The coalition will be gathering at 11am at California Hall to march to Sproul Plaza to lead the rally in solidarity with alums from the Free Speech Movement celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the struggle against the violent repression of student voices by Berkeley’s police, Chancellor, and the Regents of the University of California.

CPC is marching to make it clear that this anniversary should not be a moment for the university to congratulate itself on a legacy of social justice, but rather a time to recognize that each of the major student struggles over the past 50 years made gains in spite of repression by the university. UC Berkeley continues to actively target and silence dissenters.

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What Is Capitalism?

What is capitalism? Why should it be opposed? Does the current crisis mark the beginning of capitalism’s end such that we’ll be in some new social formation(s) by 2040? What is the relation between higher education and rising tuition on the one hand and capitalism and neoliberalism on the other? Finally, what are some principles around which left strategy might orient itself in the struggle to build a radical democratic egalitarian alternative to capitalism?

I think these are important questions and, given the limited space, will briefly respond to them here. Nothing I say here hasn’t already been said: I’ve included citations and suggestions for further reading so that you can pursue these ideas at greater length. Because this guide is aimed at university students, I presume you, like me, find truth in the old adage that knowledge is power. If we are to overcome and subdue structures of domination and injustice and build better social institutions, we’ll need some sophisticated knowledge. Thus, rigorous and continual education—reading, writing, critique, debate, and embodied experience—is a necessary precondition for social emancipation. I hope this essay contributes toward that end.

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A Brief Look at Student-Worker Solidarity at UC Berkeley and in the UC System

UC Berkeley and the University of California system have a strong and proud hxstory of student and worker solidarity, building coalitions that successfully resist privatization and austerity measures that heavily affect marginalized communities on our campuses. One does not have to look far back to see the extraordinary power that students and workers have when they join together to fight back – just last November, students and workers came together to participate in the largest strike in UC hxstory. More than 30,000 students and workers united to protest the intimidation of our campus workers by the administration during their contract negotiations. This is just one of the many examples of the strength that students and workers posses when they join forces and organize against the tyranny of the University and its Board of Regents.

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We Are All Ferguson

On August 9, 2014, the murder of Michael Brown, an 18 year old Black man in Ferguson, MO erupted into riots & protests against the racist police. Every 28 hours, a Black person is killed by police or other person acting as a vigilante. The Ferguson rebellions has sparked a flame that has only gotten brighter and shows little sign of withering away. It has galvanized not only Missouri, but also people in the U.S. and around the world. An example that shows the solidarity and connection Ferguson shared with the world are the instances where Palestinians have been giving tips through social media on dealing with the police force’s daily barrage of tear gas and violence.

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On Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Berkeley

Today’s situation has three main characteristics

In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestinians live under military occupation. Their land is stolen to create settlements and the Apartheid wall. Hundreds of military checkpoints block their movement. The occupation violates their human rights.

We believe Palestinians have the right not to live under occupation.

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Silenced Exodus

Imagine yourself living in the third world, while dreaming of the first. Imagine yourself observing the way poverty determines your living standards, in stark contrast to how the luxuries of the first world enriches life beyond your Central American borders. Imagine yourself unable to attend school regularly due to your obligation to work in order to provide for your family, while knowing that students, thousands of miles away, receive a world-class education that absolves them of the need to engage in child labor. Imagine sitting down in a run-down classroom decorated with bullet holes, and dreaming about migrating to a place where you could learn in massive lecture halls . Imagine yourself believing that the simple act of leaving your country will give you a chance at living a better life. Imagine yourself making the decision to emigrate from the only country you have ever known, in hopes of reaching a country that (you believe) will welcome your limitless potential.

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