Then come meet and greet (and eat with!) fellow activists/organizers, to join in the creation of a new coalition!
Friday Aug. 30th at 7pm in 160 Dwinelle
There’s Money for Surveillance, but not for Students?
Although the reputation for educational excellence established over the years at UC Berkeley has helped it maintain a high ranking in national publications, we know that the quality of education, and of campus life more broadly, has been deteriorating even as tuition and costs have continued to rise. And further cuts are just on the horizon. The people who make this university run, GSIs, janitors, nurses, dining hall workers, student-workers, and others, are facing poverty wages, work speed-ups, and cuts to benefits. Students face ever-increasing tuition, larger classes, and an increasingly repressive campus climate.
The regents claim that there simply isn’t enough money to pay workers fairly, or make tuition affordable. And yet, they never seem to run short of cash when it comes to administrator salaries, and increasingly ridiculous and extravagant weapons for the UC police department. They take the same money they refuse to spend on education, and instead spend it suppressing dissent against those exact cut-backs in education.
Surveillance and Repression on Campus
The hiring of Janet Napolitano, former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, as the new President of UC is only the most recent manifestation of the continued policing of our campuses. Napolitano’s skill set is in surveillance and policing, not in education. The regents elected her as president to protect the economic interests of the elite.
Napolitano was hired for her background working with police agencies to deport 1.5 million undocumented people, her role in privatizing public schools in Arizona, and her efforts towards raising millions of dollars in support of the Israeli military’s war on Palestine. Now, Napolitano intends to force UC to shift to online education (and the campus and classroom surveillance that entails), without guaranteeing proper student and faculty representation in that process.
Napolitano appears this year along with even more spending on UC police, and even less spending on actual education. No university actually requires this much surveillance! Most colleges don’t have their very own police force (like UCPD), and many are sanctuary campuses, where undocumented students and political dissenters can feel safe.
A Global Trend
The past five years have seen a reduction of democratic rights, and public services, around the world. Instead of funding social programs to help people, regimes have resorted to repression, surveillance, and policing. And considering the recent NSA revelations, the US doesn’t appear to be different. Schools have been cut while campus ‘security’ has been increased, and social programs have been cut while banks have been bailed out. We fight austerity and policing at Berkeley in the context of this larger political trend.
Our Response: A Public Education Coalition
We are inviting you to join a host of other campus groups, workers unions, and community members to mingle, get to know each other and share some food and drink (on us, of course!). At the most basic level, we think that getting together at the beginning of the year will give those of us involved (and/or those of us looking to get involved) in different forms of activism the opportunity to learn about the issues that matter to other members of our community.
Ideally, we’d like to use the concerns among us to help form a new safe, democratic organizing body that will allow us all to come together to challenge different forms of oppression at the university and in society.
MONEY FOR JOBS AND EDUCATION NOT FOR COPS AND CORPORATIONS
Who: Students, workers, activists, and community members interested in issues of social justice.
What: A social event to meet, greet, and network over food and drink (and of course to begin the process of building a larger coalition among ourselves)
When: Friday, August 30th, at 7pm
Where: 160 Dwinelle Hall, at UC Berkeley
Why: Because there are too many of us who give a damn to not come together. And free food and drink!