Friday, February 25, 2011
Remember the Irvine 17 (+2)
There has been a great deal of solidarity work in support of the Irvine 11, the eleven students who are currently being charged by the Orange County District Attorney's office simply for briefly disrupting the speech of the Israeli Ambassador to protest the illegal occupation of Palestine. I've written a couple postings on the topic, which you can look up if you feel like it. I think this is important work, and I hope that folks continue to put pressure on the District Attorney to drop the charges, but there is another group of students who are being charged by the same office, the Irvine 17, along with two outside supporters. These individuals represent a broad coalition within the University activist community, ranging from union activists, Black Student Union members, to members of the Worker Student Alliance. The group engaged in a non-violent sit in in the administration building, making a set of demands on the administration of our campus to the university system as a whole. The most immediate concerns were the refusal on the part of the administration to in-source the janitorial workers (who are the last outsourced employees in the UC (University of California) system) and to protest the anti-Black racism that was most evident on the UC San Diego campus through enrollment figures and the so-called 'Compton Cookout', but must be understood as a structural issue throughout the UC system. The students were immediately detained, and all the students involved in the sit in were disciplined by the University months ago. Recently, those students along with two students involved in a solidarity protest outside the building have been charged with criminal charges by the Orange County District Attorney's office. This occurred slightly before the charges of the Irvine 11, setting a precedent for the criminalization of political activism. The folks involved are some of the best activists on our campus, and they deserve our support. Please sign this petition to support them.