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.
The Richmond community is mobilizing as UC Berkeley moves forward with plans to build the Richmond Bay Campus (RBC), a research facility that is slated to be three-fourths the size of the Berkeley campus, and see a volume of 10,000 faculty, students, and workers per day.
“We want to have access and be included in the process. We want our kids to be able to go to the UC and maybe some day they can work there,” says Richmond community member and UC bus driver Luster Howard, describing the position of a coalition of community organizations that has emerged to address issues associated with the new campus.
The University of California is an active engine of the death economy- An economy where our labor is exploited for the extraction of natural resources and community wealth, while polluting our homes and bodies, all to generate power and profit for a select few. The only way to uphold this system of greed and destruction against the inevitable popular uprising, is through a repressive military and police force.
The UC has every ingredient of this cycle. The UC extracts wealth directly from its students, with the looming threat of even more tuition hikes. For students who still find ways to afford an education, structural racism and classism within every level of the institution creates an un-safe zone for students to think critically and question the oppression that pervades our lives. Students leave burdened with debt and afraid to engage in political resistance because of the pressure to find paying jobs. Student movements have historically been some of the most radical and transformative struggles for reimagining a new world- our silencing is strategic.