Students, faculty, and community members occupy City College of San Francisco!

On Thursday, February 21st, City College of San Francisco students, faculty, and community folks began a day of action against the privatization of their school at the main Ocean campus by rallying, holding signs, and listening to speakers. This comes after weeks of organizing and outreach work by the SaveCCSF coalition which sprung up to rally students against this major attack. After the rally, folks marched into the Chancellor’s building to meet with the Chancellor Thelma Scott-Skillman and present their demands, just as she promised. To no one’s surprise, she was nowhere to be found. In addition to this, Board of Trustees representatives and lackeys waited at the stairs next to police officers to prevent students from climbing upstairs to confront the institution’s ruling class. This is because William Walker, the Board of Trustees Student Representative, snitched to the police about the plans to occupy the building, even after the student coalition allowed him in their meeting a few days before and called for the plans to remain confidential. Walker remained at the occupation throughout the night, sitting with the other admin henchmen and pigs,  acting like he’s on our side during the occupationists’ discussions by promising our voices would be heard during Board meetings if we emailed him.

Regardless, a core of about 20 students ended up gathering blankets, sleeping bags, and food to remain in the building throughout the night and into the morning. Different media outlets showed up to interview occupiers and police officers. Supporters arrived with pins, food, and other support materials. Several times, occupiers made a circle to discuss their feelings about the actions, talk about why they loved CCSF and joined the struggle, and share anecdotes about their history in this institution. In the intervals, music played, students danced and sang, and debated political approaches to the developing struggle.

The next major event is scheduled for a rally at the SF City Hall on March 14th where SaveCCSF will present its demands to politicians. The forces resisting austerity against CCSF remain very small and  much work needs to be done to build that support by winning over students, faculty, campus workers, and community members. In the weeks prior to rally at City Hall, teach-ins and other forms of outreach are scheduled in order to counter the ideological war the San Francisco Chronicle and the local bourgeoisie wage against the movement, claiming that something is fundamentally wrong with CCSF that requires an accreditation commission to “fix it” by gutting its programs, department, teacher and campus worker pensions and positions, and busting its unions.

The issue for revolutionaries , however,  is not simply how we numerically increase an anti-austerity movement, as important as that is. We need to develop a politic that seeks to expose the reactionaries allied with the privatizers, administrators, and ruling class servants and align school workers, students, and supporters with a militant, uncompromising line when it comes to defending CCSF. Our analysis needs to identify the structural and historical causes of this capitalist attack, and why only unified student and worker (including teacher!) unity can win against these attacks and make gains that increase the scope and resources for CCSF, in addition to implementing measures for them to increase their democratic control over the running of the school.

2 responses to “Students, faculty, and community members occupy City College of San Francisco!

  1. [Moderator edit: We appreciate the posting of the PLP article on the CCSF struggle, but are snipping the article and replacing it with a link to the same article on PLP’s website. We generally would like to discourage the practice of copy-pasting articles as comments, but definitely encourage posting relevant links, and then engaging in discussion in the comments section. While we’re here, AS wonders what your thoughts are Ellen on the CCSF occupation, and the analysis we posted here?]

    Bosses seek profits from Education Industry- CCSF battle

    (written before the occupation, Challenge-Desafio

  2. Thanks for putting the link and I certainly understand your policy. Here are a few thoughts in agreement with “identifying structural and historical causes” in capitalism.
    The strong points of the struggle are solidarity between students, faculty, and the community. A recent community meeting almost broke down when two to three times the number of expected people showed up. The occupation was a boost and the Outreach Committee is broadening the movement.

    There are in tensions in this movement between (1) the desire to “fix” the school by bowing to the accreditation agency’s 14 demands for downsizing and administrative control, and (2) the desire to launch a more wide-ranging fight against the bosses’ national educational agenda of downsizing, privatization, and control of teachers and students with standardized testing.

    PLP supports the approach of fighting for our whole class at every level of education. Restructuring to meet accreditation requirements is the pattern in community colleges around the country; part of the State apparatus of centralizing control. Working-class students’ access to education is shrinking. There is emphasis on training with low-level certificate programs as part of “a work-force development” agenda. This helps create larger pool of contingent labor & growing unemployment. These students are to work for low pay without unions or decent benefits. It is one way the U.S. ruling class is trying to boost profitability. More importantly, these rulers need to control the colleges to reproduce racist and sexist inequalities and then promote the ideas that justify this inequality.

    We may not yet be strong enough to win the immediate demands BUT we cannot allow accreditation committees to limit our struggle or blind us to the system we are fighting.

    PLP members involved in the battle are discussing the communist vision of education; where we work to serve society, knowing our needs will be taken care of. Education would be everywhere and international: schools, work sites, neighborhood collectives, free childcare centers etc. Those who do “the work” would do the planning and implementation because communism destroys divisions between “mental” and “manual” labor. International working class unity would replace citizenship requirements, CCSF’s citizenship “classes” and national borders.

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