Just prior to the hunger strikers’ noon rally today, campus workers in AFSCME 3299 gathered at Telegraph and Bancroft with a few dozen supporters to rally against layoffs and cuts to their pensions. Immediately afterward, the crowd marched over to California Hall to join the hunger strikers and their allies in defense of Ethnic Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, and African American Studies, all of which are about to undergo full-time staff layoffs.
Speakers from the affected departments explained the situation, rearticulated their demands, and drew supporting statements from sympathetic faculty and City Councilmember Kriss Worthington. Meanwhile the Daily Cal published one of the most reactionary editorials we’ve seen in months, including the statement:
The strikers’ goals were neither realistic nor representative of the entire student body, and we cannot imagine that they expected administrators to capitulate.
When restoring two full-time positions in already underfunded departments is preemptively dismissed as unrealistic, we can’t help but wonder if this editorial was ghostwritten by Margaret Thatcher: there is no alternative. Just two semesters ago, a series of AFSCME pickets on this very campus proved successful in forcing the administration to rehire a handful of laid off employees. If resisting budget cuts in the form of mass worker layoffs — 280 this school year alone — isn’t “representative of the entire student body,” then we are proud to say that not only is the Daily Cal not representative of students and workers on this campus, but it is fairly representative of the positions espoused by neoliberal proponents of austerity. Once again, they have outdone themselves; disgusting.
Solidarity with the hunger strikers! Defend Ethnic Studies!
Follow the hunger strikers on Twitter here.