Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Whose University? Your University, You Twits


Let me tell you, living in this nightmare of a state called California is a trying experience at times. The state is going bankrupt. It's enormous deficit makes it damn near ungovernable by the Legislature (who are running at a deficit of their own, only theirs is in the logic and reason department) and it's really starting to take a toll on folks. From what I can tell, the Legislature, encouraged by the voters, have sought to build some sort of utopia but have failed to realize that there are basic economic principles that make their utopian idea impossible. That doesn't stop them from trying. And from spending. And from spending more. And from spending...whoops! Out of money! Try again! And from cutting. And from taxing. And from cutting. And from taxing. And from...whoops! Angered the university students. Stand by for a completely inane and futile protest.

You know, you used to be able to attend a California university for free. Seriously. Free. Through completely irresponsible spending and waste by both the Legislature and by the UC system, the California universities are anything but free. They're pricey. And recently, they just got pricier when a 20% tuition increase was announced. And that tuition increase was after budget cuts of more than half a billion dollars. Now, I realize that 20% is a lot. I get that. I also realize that half a billion is a hell of a lot. Holy canoli, who doesn't get that. Not only are they able to find half a billion dollars to CUT, they STILL need MORE money so they raise tuition fees?! Yeah, I'd be angry too. I totally get it.

What I don't get is how a bunch of students thought that having some sort of protest where the overtake the Business Building at San Francisco State University (SFSU) and make a bunch of idiotic demands (even though they seemed to have only planned on staying there for three days) is going to help the situation.

We all know that there were a lot of protests during the 1960s. I don't know that they accomplished a lot, but that's not to say that they were useless. They weren't. But what made them work were a couple of elements. One, they were (mostly) non-violent. Two, they were (fairly) well-organized. And three, they had (usually) some pretty specific goals. These are not the cases with the protest that took place over there at SFSU.


I don't know if the thing was well-organized or not. All I know is that I watched a bunch of videos (which I am going to spare you the torture of having to endure by my posting them) and all I saw was a relatively small group of people all bundled up like they were attending classes somewhere in the Arctic Circle (winter in San Francisco does not require Gortex, folks) and chanting the chant "Whose university? OUR university! Whose university? OUR university!" That's it. That's all they had. Nothing with a rhyme. Nothing with a catchy beat. Nothing like that at all. Rather disapointing, really. I enjoy a catchy protest number from time to time. But I digress....

But inside the Business Building were between 50 and 100 protesters who were making demands! (The media still can't get their act together enough to narrow down a number so that one end isn't twice as big as the other end. That's not really reporting as much as it is guessing out loud.) And demand they did! Now, you're going to need to stay with me here in order to really appreciate their list, OK? OK. They are protesting (remember this, it's important) the hikes in tuition at the universities. Hikes in tuition. Along those same lines, I'm going to give them that they're angry about the half a billion in cuts to programs. Half a billion in cuts. Hikes in tuition. That's what they're mad about. Let's see their "demands" shall we?

This list came out, from what I can tell, about eighteen hours into this ordeal. The whole thing only lasted about 30 hours overall before the police stormed in. That's about 30 hours too long if you're asking me, but I'm basing that assessment solely upon this list. Here's what they wanted: (Remember, tuition and cuts! Key anger points.)

We demand the following, or we will occupy this building indefinitely.

That the imperialist wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Gaza are ended, and that money is used to feed and clothe the poor.
That the university system be run by the students, faculty, and staff. Not administrators.
That education, from kindergarten to PHD, be free of charge.
That a permanent space be established on campus for students to use, free of surveillance or control, to organize this struggle.
That no disciplinary action be taken against us for our action.
That the bailout money, all 5 trillion of it, be returned to the people who lost their homes.
That student loans be forgiven
That the union painters on campus, who were all fired and replaced with independent contractors, be rehired.
That the City of San Francisco establish a board of frontline healthcare workers to coordinate healthcare and public services around the city.
That Sutter Health CPMC lose their nonprofit status, and the 70 million in tax breaks they get in SF, unless they restore Saint Luke’s Hospital to the services they had in 2000.
That the multinational corporations and oil companies pay fifty percent in taxes
That Prop 13 be amended to close loopholes for corporate property tax.
That single payer healthcare be established and the HMOs are abolished.
That prisons are closed and defunded.
That all military recruiters be expelled from all campuses.
That the Three Strikes Law be abolished.
That the CSU board of Trustees be dissolved.
That all laid-off lecturers be rehired.
That the furlough program is ended, and layoffs ended as well, because the furlough program costs more than it saves.
That workers receive decent pay, adjusted for inflation.
That Robert Corrigan comes to the general assembly
Cancel the proposed Recreation and Wellness Center that would cost 93 million dollars while we have no classes.
We want the Ethnic Studies Resource Center to be reopened.
That the decisions of how budget cuts are made, and how much is cut from each department, are made public and completely transparent.
That members of the board of trustees, and Robert Corrigan, cancel all of their investments in the military industrial complex.
We demand that the presidents of the universities and the trustees have their salaries redused to the level of janitors.
We want real working class representatives of different races, class backgrounds, sexual orientations, ages, alternatively abled persons, and genders, from faculty staff and the student body, to have the highest decision making power on campus.
That Robert Corrigan be prosecuted for union busting and embezzlement at his previous jobs.
That the administrators that make salaries above the median salary have their salaries cut down to the median, as the CSU currently spends about 540,000,000 on executive and administrative salaries.
That the 40,000 students who were rejected from the CSU due to budget cuts be admitted.
That a student owned and run food cooperative be established on campus.

I only bolded the ones that I found particularly ridiculous. Oh, look! It's nearly all of them. Hey! Morons who used to be in the building! Listen up for a minute. Who in the hell do you think you are, exactly? If you honestly thought that your list of "demands" (translation: utopian fantasies) was going to be met, then I can understand why you're angry at the California University System. Heck, I can understand why you would be angry at the entire Education Department of California. It has clearly failed you up to this point in your lives because you're complete morons to think such a ridiculous thing. It's too bad that while you were in the Business Building that you couldn't have taken an Economics class or two because you can really use a lesson in that sort of thing.

Some of these are just so outrageous that I actually lol'ed. My favorite one is how they want the salaries of the university Presidents and trustees dropped to equal that of the janitorial staff. Way to de-value the janitors there, folks. Rather than have the janitorial staff receive some sort of raise, they would rather paint them out to be a bunch of low-lifes receiving a pittance for a wage. Good job bringing the masses together with that exclusion! I'm sure ALL of the janitors are on your side! Especially NOW that you've all been properly expelled from the building and they have to clean up after your sorry asses. Nice job.
I'm curious as to where they got the figure of "5 trillion in bailout money". Trust me, if it were 5 trillion dollars, both you and I would have heard about it from someone besides some little twit who has moved into the Business Building at SFSU. Again, such a shame there weren't any Econ classes available for you during your stay. They really would have come in handy.

Oh, wait a minute! How did I miss this one? "Alternately abled persons"? For crying out loud, is that the new politically correct term for "the disabled"? Before you go off using that one, what say you check with someone who is "disabled" and see how they feel about being called "alternately abled". They might not like it. I remember when there was a small push to use the term "handi-capable" instead of "handicapped". That did not go over very well with the handicapped (mainly because they had settled on "disabled"). Alternately abled. If you didn't believe me before when I said that they were trying to create some sort of unobtainable utopia, you've gotta believe me now, right? I thought so.

What really annoyed me was the part about how they don't want any disciplinary action taken against them. Of course you don't! You're totally willing to stand up for something, but you don't want to suffer ANY repercussions because of it. Never mind that you're totally disrupting classes in that building. Never mind that the very education that you so desperately want is the same one that you are denying to anyone who had a class in that building and could not attend it. Sure. I see. You want to purposely disrupt the lives of others for reasons that you have to know are pointless and ridiculous and will never be met and then you don't want anyone to be mad at your for it? Forget about those Econ classes I mentioned. What say you take that attitude out on the playground and see what happens to you then. Come talk to me after your beating.

Kids, let me tell you what you need to do the next time that you plan on something that you want to be meaningful and effective. Next time, take your protest somewhere that it is warranted. Take it to the people who were the most instrumental in getting you into this mess in the first place. Take it up to Sacramento and take it to the Legislature. Stage your protests at the Capitol Building. Do some sort of sit in thing, chant if you'd like, outside there. Be prepared to stay not for days, but for weeks. And have a LOT of you. 50-100 isn't going to cut it. You need thousands and you need them there at all times for weeks on end. THAT will get noticed. THAT will not have you looking like a bunch of utopian seeking college students. THAT will not annoy the crap out of me.


P.S. The word "redused" is spelled "reduced". Now stop staging protests and go back to class. It's obvious that you really need it.

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