It's been a while since I've written anything on this blog. I've been extremely busy with my work as a teaching assistant, along with my work as a union activist and as an activist in defense of public education. I feel like this month has been caught up in hundreds of little tasks that don't take all that much time in and of themselves, but add up to a considerable amount of time. In addition, I managed to attend the first weekend's festivities at Coachella and I am going to be going to the Labor Notes conference the weekend after next. However, before that, we will be having a rally and march on May 1st in defense of public education. I also managed to attend a joint council meeting for the union within the labyrinth of all those activities. Most of this has been the sort of labor that is necessary for social movements and educational work, but not all that interesting or worthy of narrative interest.
The joint council meeting had a couple controversies, but those were fairly minor as the debates have gone. The only major controversy was around the question of the compromise millionaire's tax, which was endorsed by the Santa Barbara campus and opposed by the Los Angeles and Irvine campuses. The compromise was negotiated between the governor and a couple of the unions that were involved in the ReFund coalition, but excluded us as UAW 2865. The compromise introduced a number of regressive sales tax elements to the bill, shifting the focus from an emphasis on making those who caused the crisis to pay to a model that operates on the logic of 'shared sacrifice.' In fairness to the bill's proponents, it does shift the proposals made by the governor in a far more progressive direction, making 85% of the tax burden directed towards the rich. However, I largely agreed with the opponents, who argued that working class organizations should support regressive taxes. The local, as a whole, chose neither to endorse nor reject the compromise tax, which caused the Santa Barbara local to storm out in implicit protest.
I'm not sure what's going to come of the May 1st events in Irvine. We're in better shape in regards to planning to the last action on campus in March, but I'm not sure that's necessarily going to translate into more folks in the street. We have something fairly standard planned, a rally and then a march around the ring of campus, but it's difficult to predict the amount of folks who come out to participate. I think there is the potential for a large and exciting set of actions, but I can't make any particular predictions at this point, although I think that we need to engage in some thoughtful self-criticism after the event itself. I'll probably put up posts dealing with that, along with what occurs in the Labor Notes convention over the next couple of weeks, hopefully increasing my blog output considerably from the last month or so. I think I'll leave the conversation at that.