With the global crisis deepening, California is being hit hard. Two consecutive booms then busts, in high tech and then housing, have left the state devastated. The official jobless rate for California is 12.4%, but the reality is probably twice that. Millions of foreclosed homes sit empty alongside tent cities springing up across the state. Austerity was forced on the working class with almost no opposition — until students rose up last fall. There have been occupations and strikes. On Thursday there will be statewide strikes, walkouts, and direct action. Hopefully it will spread beyond the campuses and become a general strike.
San Francisco, California—On the heels of strikes over cutbacks rocking Greece, the San Francisco Bay Area is bracing for an unprecedented widespread students, faculty and staff protests, walk outs and strikes in the public schools, community colleges, CSUs and UCs this Thursday March 4th as part of a statewide strike and day of action. While many of the faculty and staff at these campuses are represented by unions also planning after work protests at the SF Civic Center and Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza at 5 pm a broad coalition has been organizing for five months independently of these unions for direct action, walk outs and strikes. These efforts aim at not just protesting the destructive budget cuts crippling public, adult and higher education but engaging in civil disobedience to save public education, public services and public property such as the Civic Center which is slated to be auctioned soon.
“The $113 million in cutbacks are literally terrorizing the children in our school,” says San Francisco Sheridan Elementary School teacher Maria Lourdes Nocedal.
Students, faculty, staff and families are not only discussing the massive budget cuts, school closings, lay-offs, rising fees, course cancellations and overcrowding, and loss of critical student services that are damaging access and the quality of education but taking direct action to stop them.
“The cuts are targeting the poorest in our state most in need of an education,” explains Cañada College student Katy Rose. Rose is unemployed and was forced to move back into her mother’s Menlo Park house with her husband and two teenage children due to the declining economy when she and her husband lost their jobs.
“There is a bipartisan efforts to destroy and privatize education in California. We can no longer even rely on our unions to stop it since they give generous campaign donations to the very officials slashing and burning public education year after year.”