Hundreds join Southern California student day of action
Student movement grows
On Sept. 29, hundreds of students answered a call to action by the newly formed organization Students Fight Back. Students protested budget cuts and tuition hikes at campuses across Southern California. Actions took place at Cal State Long Beach, Cal State Fullerton, Los Angeles City College, UCLA and elsewhere.
The protest tactics varied by school, including marches, speak-outs, street agitation, sit-ins and visibility campaigns. The recent attacks on education in California have negatively impacted every public school in the higher education system. This unified attack by the capitalists and their politicians sparked an increasingly unified response: education is a human right. Students, faculty and staff on every campus have started to build a movement to reverse the cuts and hikes, restore education, and protect it from future attacks.
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Cal State Long Beach
Students and faculty gathered at the quad for a speak-out and agitation. Flyering and petitioning were coupled with chants: “They say get back; we say fight back!” and “Stop cuts, stop hikes—education is a right!” The energy caused the protest to swell from 20 people to over 100.
Students Fight Back organizers, including Party for Socialism and Liberation members, led a march that circled through the quad, and marched alongside the student union to the administration building where students spoke about the necessity of building a new student movement. Onlookers chanted “No cuts, no fees! Education should be free!” and “Money for jobs and education—not for war and occupation!”
CSULB administrators took extreme measures to hinder the student movement, including shutting down the administration building mid-day, a massive campus police presence, and blocking student protesters from entering the student union. This is a building that belongs to students and is always open to them—except when they are fighting for their rights. The protest ended where it began, in the quad, where students left with a sense of the need to continue the fight-back movement.
Cal State Fullerton
That same day, 200 students gathered at CSUF’s quad and marched through the school. The march snaked through each building. They brought the march to a busy city street, where the action was highly visible to the local community. The protest lasted for several hours. Students Fight Back organizers participated in the action, helping to bolster militancy and the students’ collective resolve to fight back.
Later that night, about 40 CSUF students organized a sit-in at the library to demand a restoration of library hours, which have been severely cut due to the budget crisis. Students took over the central section of the library before it closed for the night, keeping it open. They studied as a symbolic demand for reversing education cuts. Students Fight Back and the PSL joined the action and led chants, helping to shape the political demands. The students succeeded in forcing the library’s two administrators to come to the sit-in and address student concerns. It was a small but important victory in the struggle.
Click here to watch a video of the CSUF sit-in.
At Los Angeles City College and UC Los Angeles, student activists and PSL members handed out thousands of flyers and held speak-outs about education rights. English- and Spanish-language mass media outlets covered the actions.
Students Fight Back is committed to organizing further actions and continuing the struggle against cuts and tuition hikes. We will not stop until all hikes, furloughs, layoffs and cuts are reversed!
Get involved with Students Fight Back: 213-251-1058 or email [email protected]. Click here to join Students Fight Back.