March 4 — A Day to Defend Public Education!

[Note: Following is the statement adopted on Saturday, Feb. 27 by the March 4 Strike Committee at UC Berkeley on the need to build a “movement that is inclusive, democratic, and non-violent.”]

This Thursday, March 4th promises to be an important step forward in advancing the struggle to defend public education and all public services. On October 24th, a conference held at UC Berkeley and attended by more than 800 students and workers from different sectors from across the state, put out a call for a Strike and Day of Action on March 4th. Hundreds of schools from all sectors of education throughout California have responded, and will be taking action to protest the catastrophic cuts, layoffs, and fee hikes and to propose solutions to the priorities crisis of both the UC Regents and Sacramento.

Last semester our mobilizations were successful in forcing a response from both the Regents and the Governor in regards to the crisis facing students and workers within our educational institutions. But their response has been insufficient: the budget has not been made transparent, the fee hikes have not been rescinded, and workers continue to be laid-off alongside promises of new cuts to classes and student services. Meanwhile, the UC administration continues to refuse to disclose the full budget and explain why the reserve funds cannot be used for education while they continue to raise our fees, cut our classes and student services, lay-off workers and continue the re-segregation and privatization of our university.

The Governor’s response has fallen short as well. We reject his attempt to dissociate higher education from the K-12 system and the Community Colleges — sectors which are under-funded and under threat of privatization. We reject his proposal to privatize California’s prisons to create funds for higher education. We cannot accept this!

The UC Berkeley March 4th Strike Committee endorses all actions that seek to deepen our movement and strengthen our solidarity through peaceful demonstrations — our movement is inclusive, democratic, and non-violent. Our power on March 4th will come from our collective action. Likewise, we discourage individualistic acts of vandalism and will resist, united, provocations by the police that could hinder us from coming together in this crucial time for our movement. Our movement is more massive, open and democratic than the isolated actions of “vandalism” portrayed by the media and the UC Administration.