As predicted yesterday in my post about bourgeois Berkeley brats bemoaning tuition hikes, far from being a genuine student upswell, these poor saps are, in fact, being orchestrated by an extensive coalition of neo-communist networks. How wonderful it must be to have a readymade mob of dopey, emotionally driven, undereducated idealists filling the roles anew each year who will skip class and throw themselves at Riot Control at the very thought of fulfilling their flower-power fantasies.
Let’s be clear about one thing: The California school system spends lavishly on public education, as they do most every other social service imaginable. As the Wall Street Journal Notes:
Despite the budget cuts, California will this year devote $3 billion to the U.C. system. That’s about $13,000 per student—more than the $10,000 per student that Illinois devotes to the University of Illinois and better than double the $6,000 per student that New York devotes to the SUNY system.
Early on in California’s economic meltdown, hackles were raising over cuts and tuition hikes to the U.C. system (because, of course, somebody has to pay for the state’s profligate policies). Now, nobody really loves the thought of tuition hikes, but the real interest is the agenda behind the agitation.
“Defend Education” is an ad hoc committee of “students, workers, and other activists” — a veritable cornucopia of Who’s Who in the American radical Left. Notable endorsers include the Worker’s World Party, Students for a Democratic Society (new), the Freedom Socialist Party, and countless others. Other groups such as “By Any Means Necessary,” and “Occupy California” are listed as active supporters.
On March 4, Defend Education rallied the troops to demonstrate against public education cutbacks. The operative word here being “public.” The coalition is very concerned over anything that would bolster educational privatization especially when it comes to non-unionized charter schools. Private schools are a “threat” to public education (they say) particularly to the powerful teacher unions and their intensely protected coffers. So, it is no surprise that “United Teachers of Los Angeles,” the “Oakland Education Association” and the “United Educators of San Francisco” are heavily involved in the project.
What is most reprehensible is the shameless manipulation and demagoguery Defend Education has engaged in throughout this effort. They describe proposed layoffs, fee increases and the like as “attacks.” Attacks by whom? The Terminator? With the help of adult protest leaders and participants, Defend Education has managed to instigate quite an aggressive student force under the impression that they are reliving a 60s era movement intrinsically imbued with higher purpose and concern for the greater good.
“We have to be courageous like the ’60s … we have been called to change the world over and over again, and we are going to win this war.”
—Percy Hintzen, African American Studies professor (back in September)
“All of us are united as workers, students and community members. Our movement is national and international….They are going after public schools because they want our youth to join their wars and fill their prisons. We will not let the university or the bureaucracy or the police intimidate us.”
—Nancy Kato, assistant registrar at Boalt Hall, UC Berkeley
“I’m hoping that students . . . feel connected to Montgomery, to Selma . . . to the sit-ins, to Freedom Riders, to the farmworkers’ struggle”
—David Patterson, librarian at Cañada Community College
Demonstrators chant endlessly about class warfare and racial oppression. In the flurry of the moment, one could easily forget he or she is protesting tuition increases and not something profoundly more serious. But really, I think that’s the point.
And so went thousands of kids. Into the streets to throw themselves at police officers and get arrested, or to skip class and divert from their studies, or impede the studies of their peers as much as possible. Yet, sadly, few are little more than pawns of the old radical canard which isn’t really about petty things like tuition hikes, but exploiting social uneasiness and encouraging unrest in order to advance the perennial “struggle.”