After massive California budget cuts, and student fee hikes, students throughout the state have been taking action on campuses since early last Fall (in this latest round).
The University of California Student Association (UCSA) contacted Ruckus early this year to help them train as many UC students as possible in nonviolent direct action skills at their February 27-28 annual student conference in Sacramento, in order to prepare for March 4th.
We started with a training for the UCSA staff at their Oakland office on February 4th, to introduce the staff to NVDA, and help them think through plans for March 4th actions.
Then last weekend, four Ruckus trainers – Cy W, Cathie B, Scott P, and Hannah S – spent the weekend in Sacramento with hundreds of UC students, conducting three NVDA trainings over the course of the two-day conference.
From the trainers:
We trained a large group of UC students from UC-Berkeley, UC-Santa Cruz, UC-San Diego, UCLA, UC-Riverside and UC-Irvine, plus some UC Student Association (UCSA) staff, taking them through three trainings, which covered introduction to Nonviolent Direct Action, Action Planning, and Blockades.
Students’ main issue was the fee hikes (the UC Regents voted on a 30% fee hike last fall). The fee hike issue has gained a lot of state and national media attention and resulted in lots of rallies, protests, occupations, other direct actions and, in some cases, riots. The students requested basic NVDA and Action Planning trainings because lots of actions have taken place all over the UC and California State U. system since the fall. While there have been many actions, there seems to be a lack of an over-arching strategy.
All the trainees were between the ages of 18-25. The majority were young women. It was a very racially diverse group. The political spectrum ranged from liberal to radical/anarchist.
While many of the participants had been participating in actions and occupations, they felt a real lack of strategy. But as we spent a good bit of time emphasizing this, we saw many a light bulb come on in their heads. One student told us (and the whole training) that they were too busy being a movement to pull together a campaign. We responded by saying that movements are made up of campaigns and you can’t let your tactics drive your strategy and expect that to be a movement.
Photos by Cathie
Be on the lookout for news from the March 4th actions in defense of education all across California!