Friday, March 5, 2010

Thoughts on the University of California

These past few weeks have been an absolute whirlwind at UC San Diego. Almost every day I've been on campus in the recent weeks, there has been some sort of protest, movement, activist organization. This is NOT the "norm" for UCSD, and actually as a result of all this I've sort of strangely come to appreciate the "boring" political non-activism we used to be infamous for. Some peace and quiet go a long way - creating safe and tranquil environments for people to focus on their studies -- yeah, I miss it a bit.

Since it's impossible not to think of "real pain, real action" when it's staring at you or shouting at you, I've spent a maximum amount of time just fully lost inside the issue: thinking almost constantly about it, talking almost constantly about it with friends and faculty.

Anyways I'm going to just blog a bit about things that were said today at the the March FO(U)RTH for Education rally that really struck me.

Ivan Evans noted that while today was a small victory, our generation has yet to fully experience and have a real, big victory. I think he said, "When you win, you can fight forever." (Evans' own story is amazing - an apartheid fighter in South Africa turned Sociology professor, a passionate, articulate guide in the past few weeks to the Black Student Union@ UCSD and I think a role model to many people right now).

"When you win, you can fight forever." What does this mean to me/our generation? Maybe by adding in Obama's recent statements on healthcare, I can get to my point - he noted that what's at stake here is not only change to healthcare, but the legislature's ability to do anything at all. We were captivated by Obama who physically and rhetorically embodied something different, because our generation's political experience is chalk full of the same old, of "the man," the "system" and those vague "administrators" making final decisions, outlasting outrage and really just doing whatever. (Iraq War, No on 8, now healthcare). Maybe it's too much to speak for anyone but myself, but surely I have believed less and less in my actual ability to enact change at a high level.

(Which is partly why I've given up trying to change things at that level. Note that despite my ridiculous and retrospectively unbelievable involvement in community activities K-12, I have almost completely given up political activism since coming to college).

Fights that I believed in have been lost by the persistent, relentless tide of sameness perpetuated by the "power structure." The privatization of the UC is now that fight, and certainly we are at risk of losing this fight to  administrative NOTHINGNESS. Just think of how all of this has happened! We've made an uproar in the past, gotten riled up and demanded change. The Regents and Yudof just dont do anything, and then we just get STUCK, stuck, stuck in their system.

We have to conceive change as actually, physically, tangibly possible and demand it now.


Second thought is the coalition-building on campus, which is very characteristic of every social revolution. I'm curious to see how things play out.super rough timeline of the building:
black student union- +> mecha and LGBT +> students for justice in palestine + all browns (filipinos) +> allies (sympathetic asians/whites)

What is amazing about this mini-revolution is the character of the leadership!  Today the people to take the stand in front of the thousand(ish) students were transgendered, brown, black, yellow, one of the UCSD black alumni called it last Friday, "The Rainbow Coalition."

Okay those are some very jumbled thoughts! I'll hopefully get back to this later and make it worth your read.