Spring 2011 Statement: Lines of Demarcation

At reclaimuc.blogspot.com:

From Lines of Demarcation [PDF here]:

Many of us are looking back right now at the sets of actions that trace student/worker/faculty opposition to the programmatic final neoliberalizing of the university. We have engaged in various actions over the course of the last two years, some of which we have seen the immediate effects of and some whose effects we have not been able to see or anticipate. Those actions in the second group are the source of much anxiety; we wonder if they have been a waste since they appear not to have advanced anything. We should remember that actions have a dispersed life and bear on our moment in many ways. One way that we can understand this is by the effects that we can see in the actions of our enemies. The administration is shaken. This is evident by the unprecedented police presence on our campuses after the Regents’ meeting. They are trying to forcibly enter our meetings, scare us with heavy handed legal consequences. Collectively, we are students, faculty, student-workers, and service workers, we are the classes that make the university, we provide the labor that it uses as capital and cache in its attempt to sell the university as a commodity. They hold us in precarious positions and divide us from one another through bureaucratic distinctions like job titles and degree designations. They pit us against each other, making us think that we have to fight each other for resources. This is a lie. They know that we produce, collectively, the product that they sell and profit from. They keep our wages down and our ability to determine the university by keeping us from aligning with one another. We have learned in the history of our actions that we are already aligned. When we act together, as we have, they cannot stop us. The problem emerges when we are again divided by our fear: fear of sanctions, fear of violence, fear of future retribution. We must not let this be the case. We must remain in solidarity.

It may be easy to feel depressed about the lack of apparent wins, but our actions have had consequences. Now is the time to push those consequences to the conclusions that we want. Let’s not let the round of repression from the university, the police, and their allies keep us from reconfiguring the spaces that we live and work in. We are angry at the wave of arrests, home ‘visits’, police standing guard on our campuses, sending students to jail, and charging them with ‘serious’ crimes.

The convention of looking backward as one begins something new only reveals what is normally concealed; the past can only exist in the present. We look to the past to get a sense of what to do in the present, but the present is opaque to us too. The present is the name that we give to what has just happened. To be concerned with the present in this way is to think ideologically about what is possible. We can and must thinkwith the conjuncture, not about it. The present that we occupy is under construction at every moment in the sense that we produce the narratives of our actions that give them meaning. We live here. We live now. We act in the relations that we live in if we do this, we move against ideological separation and we move in solidarity. This is to say: they are afraid; if we were not threatening, they would not push back with this force; however, their fear alone isn’t a win and it doesn’t mean that they can’t hurt us. Let’s push the situation further. We should begin to disrupt every aspect of business as usual. Engage in every tactic that brings the university to a halt. Solidarity means that we act in concert but not in unification. We should have one demand: the control of the place that we both produce and are produced by. We must do everything we can to disrupt every process that forces us to produce our own debt and hold us accountable for it. Shut down the processes that are mobilized to keep students and workers from controlling the university. Let’s realize the relations that capital tries to conceal from us. Categories of hierarchy (graduate students, lecturers, adjuncts, undergraduates, faculty, staff, service workers) though material, conceal the ways in which we are all precariously situated in the institution that we make.