“If you’re scared today you’ll be scared tomorrow as well and always and so you’ve got to make a start now right away we must show that in this school we aren’t slaves we have to do it so we can do what they’re doing in all other schools to show that we’re the ones to decide because the school is ours.”
The Unseen, Nanni Balestrini
Days later, voices in unison still ring in our ears. “Who’s university?” At night in bed, we mumble the reply to ourselves in our dreams. “Our university!” And in the midst of building occupations and the festive and fierce skirmishes with the police, concepts like belonging and ownership take the opportunity to assume a wholly new character. Only the village idiot or, the modern equivalent, a bureaucrat in the university administration would think we were screaming about something as suffocating as property rights when last week we announced, “The School is Ours!” When the day erupted, when the escape plan from the drudgery of college life was hatched, it was clear to everyone that the university not only belonged to the students who were forcefully reasserting their claim but also to the faculty, to every professor and TA who wishes they could enliven the mandatory curriculum in their repetitive 101 class, to the service workers who can’t wait for their shift to end, and to every other wage-earner on campus ensuring the daily functioning of the school.
Last week, the actualization of our communal will gave us a new clarity. The usual divisiveness of proprietorship was forcefully challenged; cascades of hidden meaning rush onto rigid notions of possession and our eyes look past surface appearances. So now when asked, “who does the university belong to?” we can’t fail to recognize that the college itself was built by labor from generations past, the notebook paper is produced by workers in South America, the campus computers are the output of work in Chinese factories, the food in the student cafe is touched by innumerable hands before it reaches the plates, and all the furniture at UC Berkeley is produced by the incarcerated at San Quentin. Thus the university, its normal operation and existence, ought to be attributed to far more than it regularly is. To claim that the school is ours requires our definition of ownership to not only shatter the repressive myth that the college belongs to the State of California and the Regents but to also extend belonging past national and state borders and throughout time. It’s clear, the entire university, for that matter, every university belongs to everyone, employed and unemployed, all students and all workers, to everyone of the global class that produces and reproduces the world as we now know it. The school is ours because it’s everyone’s and the destruction of the property relation, with all its damaging and limiting consequences, is implicit in the affirmation of this truth. It’s our university…
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AN OCCUPATION IS A VORTEX, NOT A PROTEST
via This is Our Emergency
on the end of the kerr hall occupation: from the occupants and the admin
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A little less conversation, a little more action…
EVERY TIME a building has been occupied at UCSC, the administration has responded by moaning publicly (and into every @ucsc.edu mailbox) about the monetary costs of alleged damages, as if by beating this drum to insist we focus only on what is important to them – property – rather than the present and future of our lives or any other issues that are at stake here. We’ll admit it, we felt a cruel pleasure as the cables screamed and cried when they were parted from the conference room tables; the tables begged for mercy as we broke their legs, jumping up and down on them with malicious glee; and we could only chortle as the filing cabinets complained loudly that we had not had a 4-hour long democratic process before strapping them across doorways. We imagine that the same bureaucrats who normally use the building, and who piously denounce our acts of collective negation must feel a similar thrill as they ransack our futures.
Seriously, they should be glad we didn’t burn the fucker down.
For around 60 hours we seized control of the driver’s seat of UCSC, the main economic power and site of social reproduction in the local metropole. In the aftermath, heading towards another seven-day unit of capitalist commodity-time, we feel the deadening of our existence especially sharply in contrast to the fullness of hours spent behind barricades, fighting for our right to our own destinies. It’s clear that the momentum we are part of has grown by leaps and bounds and as the crisis ramifies, we are forming new bonds and new complicities. Young people confronting an absent future are finding each other, recognizing ourselves in others as far away as Greece and Vienna, as near as the streets of LA. We are getting a taste of the power we want and it feels amazing.
There are a number of aspects of the Kerr Hall event that we as participants would like to illuminate.
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Like Lost Children blog
“we seek to push the university struggle to its limits.”
-communique from an absent future
“there is nothing in the world of capital that compares to the feelings of comradery and power in the moments when it is only possible to speak of i-as-we.”
-politics is not a banana
this is not a rational discourse, only some brief reflections of an arrow in flight.
tonight around 200 people are occupying the largest administrative building at ucsc. the chancellor’s office is denied to him as education will be denied to thousands of youth in california, as the uc and csu approved 32% tuition hikes earlier today in so cal. (police were exceptionally violent at the ucla protest, where regents were trapped inside the building for a time. lots of pictures of them tasing and beating the fuck out of people. pigs also got pretty brutal at the solidarity demo in nyc and 45 people were arrested occupying an admin building at uc davis. the ucla occupation dissolved today due to threat of police attack.)
but wait how did this happen? weeks ago we said “don’t even bother talking about kerr hall, it’s a pipe dream”. the only way to make the impossible possible is by building action through action. today there was a general assembly at occupied kresge where 3-400 people decided “let’s go occupy something!” really, it was that simple. we marched around campus for about 20-30 minutes chanting. hahn and the bookstore were both on lockdown. then suddenly we were descending on kerr hall. they locked the doors inside as the swarm approached. we started runnning. someone finds an open window and a door is propped open from inside.
then there are 300 people running through kerr hall, chanting, screaming, pounding on the walls. such a tremendous feeling of collective-being. into the stairwell, but the doors are locked; someone hops in an elevator and then we are pouring up into the second floor, where the main entrance lobby and the chancellor’s office both are. HOLY FUCK! we just occupied kerr hall!! um… what do we do now?!
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