In favor of a strike with consequences

Lately, it seems like actions are dying out. They’re increasingly more like the efforts to stop the war during the Bush years. We’re angry, we spend time and effort planning actions that take into account safety and all facets of resistance. The administration puts on a show of concern where they send a few officers to pretend they’re concerned, some lower-level bureaucrats who placate us by listening to our demands, and then they do nothing. They simply wait for us to give up and go home.
We feel dejected and ineffectual. Why is this the case?
Because we engage in an action that has no structural effects. We yell and scream and wave banners and refuse to leave. It is becoming apparent that there is something flawed in the logic that we use—this is our space and we aren’t leaving. What if nobody cares? What if the administration agrees? Yes, you do have a right to be there. So we are in accordance and in some ways, we’ve won something, but it’s time to escalate.
It’s not that we have do anything drastic, necessarily. This isn’t simply a question of using more ‘extreme’ tactics; instead, it is a question of what tactics are appropriate to our current moment. Any actions that could be called successful should be part of a long term process that is strategized in terms of the effects that it produces.

A suggestion.

Let’s think about it like this:

  • Does the tactic have an effect?
  • Does the tactic’s effect have longevity?
  • If not, does it contribute to the possibility of actions that have long term material effects?
  • Does the tactic help build a mass movement?

If not, then the tactic is bullshit.

There’s nothing wrong in claiming spaces and feeling our presence as real in the strong sense. There are actions that build community, and everyone likes to feel good and avoid being beaten by the police. The suggestion isn’t that we should try to engage in confrontations, but that we should put our energy into producing real changes in our material conditions.
We’re still getting screwed by the university—undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, workers, student workers—the alteration in our lives is still happening. The administration is still only interested in self-preservation and brand-building. They want to push the product that we make: with our grades, with our research, with our physical labor, and with our time. They control the means of production, i.e., the infrastructure, but they don’t have to. We make the university—in many different ways, but we all do. We don’t need a middling managerial class telling us to make do, to pipe down. We know that cuts are being made because we feel them. They need our work to make their profit. They’re asking us to do more with less.
So what do we do?
A proposal:

If our labor, be it service, clerical, instructional, or intellectual labor—undergraduate work is work too and boosts brand value—is the labor that produces their profit, then let’s take away their profit.

GSIs and Faculty: withhold grades, refuse to submit your own work. If you have to give grades, give all As.
Undergraduates: refuse to pay fees en bloc, work with your GSIs and Faculty to make sure that you are still learning, but support their efforts by standing in solidarity.
Service and clerical workers: refuse to work or slow your work down.
If we all work together, we can shut down this campus until they meet our demands.
1. We want quality healthcare, childcare, and materials to produce our work.
2. We want our fees to go to enriching our quality of life here, not capital projects that build brand recognition.
3. We don’t want to do more with less. In other words, give us the funding to do our jobs.
4. We want real power in the direction of campus affairs. The GA and the undergraduate assembly have no real power to direct campus affairs.
5. We want police intimidation to stop. Stop stealing our banners, sending our friends to jail for no reason, and lording your power over us.
6. We want you to fight for us, not against us.
Let’s make them feel the pain that we live with!
Bureaucrats and Police Off OUR Campus!

The university belongs to those who use it, meaning that it belongs to those who know it as a use value and who make that use value.


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