The rallies, strikes, marches, organizing meetings, and occupations that occurred on September 24, 2009 across many campuses in the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems were the product of the profound economic, political, and social crisis we current face. This crisis is deep in California where the state has cut billions from public education. UC administrators have used the state budget crisis as cover to quickly and thoroughly implement privatization measures through staff furloughs, layoffs, huge tuition increases, and cuts in services from the health center to trash removal and other campus safety measurers.
In California and throughout the United States, we are experiencing a structural adjustment; public services funded by our tax dollars are cut to the bone and privatized to the highest (or most well-connected) bidder. This is not unlike IMF/World Bank economic austerity measures imposed upon African, Asian, and Latin American countries over the past 30 years. These programs hollowed out public infrastructures there. Our rulers have no qualms imposing the same neo-liberal economic measures they use to support their imperialist agendas abroad as they do against working people in America. The two are in fact linked. So given the speed and devastation California state officials and UC management has acted with, what does the response by students and workers look like? This piece seeks to analyze the organizing efforts at UC Berkeley since summer 2009 to see how far we’ve gone, and how far we need to go.