reflections of an arrow in flight: on the santa cruz occupations

November 20, 2009

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?!

how easily it is done, and how difficult. not to over-dramatize what is happening here, but it immediately brings to mind, for instance, what we’ve heard about mai 68 from theorie communiste. once we make the insurrectionary rupture – then what?? how to organize, how to spread?

there are those who view our struggle as moral or philosophical rather than material or tactical. they are lost in abstractions. they think we all want “democracy” and “openness”, they think not in terms of communication but of appearance, and they feel that they have common ground with bureaucrats. well, let them have it. the strength of our movement, of our communization, if it takes strength, is in our material force and our ability to collectively impose what we want. not to dialogue democratically with those who own the means of our existence; not to recognize, acknowledge and thus reinforce their position but to render it irrelevant.

to push the university struggle to its limits. obviously, it has limits and we are bearing down on them. splits “within the movement” will be clarified (perhaps as brutally as at berkeley, where, again, a certain “section” literally took it upon itself to police the “rest of” the movement, as far as collaborating with the actual police). we’ll see.

the occupation at kerr hall compiled a very long list of demands. this happened because people with a megaphone decided that as soon as we had taken the floor the first thing to do was have a very long meeting where we decide on demands that we want to be satisfied before we would leave the building. demands are all well and good, there were many beautifully impossible demands issued. some of us however ditched this meeting because arguing about impossible demands is silly and pointless and most of all so if there is no occupation – ie no leverage to make them with. so we set about working on the practical details of inhabiting the space.

anyway, obviously the demands are ungrantable. a crisis period means that this will be more and more common, for instance, wage struggles in europe and asia, boss napping in france and riots in bangladesh and china… if there is nothing to pay them, there is just nothing to pay them. at this point it is only the police – the state – who enforce class belonging and prevent forceful communization via rioting and looting. this is the direction in which existing contradictions must currently be pushed.

there will be no business as usual tomorrow at kerr hall. there will be a union-organized rally at noon followed by an enrage-organized general assembly. the admin will begin threatening us that they need the building back on monday. instead of listening to their bullshit, we need to underline our demands. one of which was that school be canceled for a day; this could be monday. the admin obviously don’t know what to do about the fact that they keep losing control of parts of campus, other than wait it out. obviously this may change but we need to keep the initiative.

they also like to portray themselves as being “on our side”, against the cuts. this is a chance to demand that they PROVE IT instead of just talking out their asses like we know they do. they can take our side against the regents. or they can catalyze further struggle. or whatever. again, the point is we want them to become irrelevant. the point is we will hit our limits soon and have some choices to make.

anyway. two buildings are occupied right now. hella tight.

can’t stop, won’t stop. push the contradictions. escalate.

occupy the fucking shit out of everything.

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