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Friday, April 30, 2010

Thoughts On UCB/UCSD Divestments

People were asking me today what I thought about the UC Berkeley student government not being able to override the veto of the measure that would get their school to divest from two companies involved in Israeli war crimes as well as the measure at UC San Diego that was tabled. So this is what I gave them:

We shouldn't be disappointed. Okay, yes we should be disappointed, but as we say, "Don't mourn, organize!" What we need to do now is learn from these failures and understand what we can do better next time this comes up.

But in all seriousness, any great progress towards fighting social injustice was never granted to the people from above (that being, the government and the elite whom they represent). Every movement that brought justice was always a struggle by the people, who massively organized to demand a change. Those in power only permitted the people to have their rights once they realized that the people's demands were too much for them to handle. That's what we should really be thinking about the next time divestment from Israel comes on the table. I'm not bashing the student government members personally when I say this, I'm just attacking the institution they play roles in, but fuck the student senate. Who gives a shit what they're views are? WE are the ones who have to fight to ensure this stuff gets passed. They aren't going to just vote for it and give us what we want because they feel like it.

This is what pisses me off about some activists - and yes, this is the same sort of thing we touched on last time. People don't examine the existing conditions well enough and just jump into things without giving things a thought. There's no way any of those divestment measures will be passed unless a huge number of students (like over half the campus) supports it and is willing to fight for it.

And look, the zionist-nationalist crowd DOES have better press and more resources and more money; that's just something we have to accept right now. Instead of complaining, "All these Israel lobbyists are on my campus screwing everything for us!!" we should really be focused on building up our movement from the bottom-up. That means we have to talk to students, engage students, bring what's happening in the Occupied Territories to them. Let's not forget actions either. If something like what just happened at Berkeley happened at whatever school I'm ending up at, I would probably suggest to a bunch of student activists that we all occupy a building or do something to show that we won't take the fact that our school is invested in companies that participate in human rights violations anymore. Think about what all of those students are doing in Greece; those are examples of direct actions getting things done right there.

Maybe I am getting too dramatic. I'm a little hungover from working at LPC today and reading those books on the IWW.

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