Day of Action: Get off your butt and participate

Sara Donchey

Illustration by Sara Donchey

We can no longer afford to tolerate the apathy that has stagnated social movements on this campus.

Consider the actions surrounding March 1 your invitation to get out of your seats and reclaim your educational benefits that have been taken away over the last few years.

Things have gotten so bad that you really don’t have an excuse not to participate. We are paying incredibly high fees and receiving little in return. We have so many unnecessary fees tacked on each semester without our consent. We are utterly locked out of the decision-making process concerning our education, from the search for a new president to how our tuition fees are allocated.

It’s time to step up. In the discussion surrounding rising tuition and cuts to our educational system, we are united by how truly bad things are. There’s no dividing line here. Whether you’re a student, professor, lecturer or administrator, you’ve been affected by the slow degradation of higher education in California.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t care about politics. It doesn’t matter if you’re not entirely knowledgeable when it comes to budget issues. If you are a member of this campus community, you have been paying the price through tuition hikes and cutbacks. It is not only your right to walk out, but your duty.

We all agree how bad this is. Now let’s agree to stand together and demand that our grievances be taken seriously.

Arguing that you don’t want to walk out because you don’t think protests are effective is a cop out. Instead of sitting around complaining, get up and join the marches. With enough momentum, student protests are effective. You don’t need to look any further than our own campus to see proof. The ethnic studies program at SF State was only created after a large number of students protested in 1968. Their strike lasted for five months and resulted in one of the first ethnic studies programs in the U.S. If they could commit to months, a day is hardly a sacrifice.

The list of organizations supporting the upcoming March 1 to 8 actions proves that the momentum is there. With so much support from such a diverse range of organizations, you have no excuse not to be there.

There are more than a half dozen teachers unions who will be taking to the streets. SF State’s chapter of the California Faculty Association will be there. So will established activism groups like CODEPINK, Jobs With Justice and the Chinese Progressive Association. Faculty unions from the Bay Area and beyond will be marching shoulder to shoulder with representatives from almost every CSU campus.

This isn’t about the Occupy movement. This isn’t about debating the merits of direct action. This is about realizing that we absolutely do have the power to demand change. To pretend that we don’t have this power is selling ourselves short.

Yes, civil disobedience can be uncomfortable. Yes, it can feel scary to stand up publicly for what you believe in. But unless you want to live with the even more uncomfortable reality of further cuts and lack of voice in reforming education, you better stand up. Now.

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  • A clear and cogent bit of reasoning here. We need to find ways to wed Principle and Practice, and Crowell gives relevant and compelling grounds for both specific action (i.e. march 1-8 events) and a general attitude adjustment needed to bring about the change we so deperately need. Thanks for the article!