I haven't been able to post much this month. I've been caught up with the process of grading final exams, and preparing the travel to Minneapolis for the holidays. Additionally, I am trying to finish a chapter of my exam over the holiday season, so I have been spending more time thinking about Judith Merril, and less on the blog. However, beyond that, I think that I have been caught up in the current malaise that has been defining the current activist milieu within California student activist circles. This situation has a number of factors influencing it. The factors that immediately come to mind are as follows. 1. a sense of despair about what the movement (at this point, I think it would be disingenuous to refer to the activism of the year as constituting a 'movement.') accomplished last year despite the level of activity. 2. substantial schisms within the movement because of personal and political differences. Along with that, there has been little effort to deal with issues of racism and sexism within the movement. 3. In addition to these substantial internal issues, there has been a great deal more repression from the administration, ranging from arrests to student conduct charges.
Those are the issues that immediately came to mind, and I suspect that there some substantial issues that I forgot about or don't know about. Often its only until well after a situation is over that we can understand its causes. To be honest, I'm at a loss at how to reorient the current situation to revive the movement from last year (or if that is possible or even desirable.) At the same time, despite all the issues over the past year, it is pretty clear that our substantial activism was the only reason that there weren't more cuts to the university system or further acts of privatization on the part of the regents. We are also moving towards a fairly substantial set of struggles in response to the potential austerity program that will most likely be introduced by President Obama, including cuts to Social Security. Without opposition, there will continue to be a retrenchment of bourgeois class power, a retrenchment that only can be understood in the context of a backlash against the civil rights movement and feminism. We need to see the struggle at the university within that context.
At this point, I am in danger of repeating myself, so I thought I would see what you thought about this. What do you think that we should focus on as student activists next year? Should this focus on reviving the movement from last year or should it try to create something new, something that might deal with the contradictions and power differences that are inherent to the category 'student'? How can we effectively communicate our desire to create a new, genuinely public university to a population who are often all too aware of the university's role in facilitation of inequality? How can we move towards that ideal in some substantial form? What am I missing out within this analysis? Thus far, I haven't had much luck in translating this blog into a space for communication, but I thought I would try again.
As a last note, there are a number of student activists who now face charges for a sit in that occurred last spring. Whatever we decide on, we need to provide substantial support for those folks.