March 3, 2010

Twenty four hours from now, things are going to be very different.

I took today to sleep. To rest, to prepare myself as much as I can be prepared. The fact of the matter is, I can’t really prepare myself or anyone for the future. One of the things that has confused me the most about the student movement, and the ‘activists’ within it is our constant need to predict. The future is impossible to see. Could we have been more productive by creating plans and building them broadly – rather than bickering about the best way to carry something out? The way that would be most representative of people who weren’t in the room.

The point is that the entire campus wasn’t in the meetings. Nor were the people planning the next day even in the same meetings with one another. How can we aim to speak for more than just ourselves and still claim to be democratic? Instead, we should leave spaces open, where everyone can feel comfortable to participate. My goal is that tomorrow, no single part of campus alienates a student or worker. March 4th is a date that will unfold on its own. We can build a foundation, but we cannot predict the color of the house (though my bet is red).

Historical materialism is a method for understanding the world around in terms of a collective. It requires reflection upon all of the history up until this point, as well as the material conditions of the present. Over the last weekend, this movement has gone through serious changes. It has now taken on a stronger affinity with fighting racism, as nooses and hoods were found upon UCSD’s campus. These symbols show that America still holds bastions of racism, and though we can feign equality, it is not one of totality. In addition, homophobic graffiti was found on UCD’s campus. The level of disrespect and intolerance that is emerging has to do with education in many forms. But the most concrete, and simple way to put it is to say that Ethnic Studies and Gender studies are some of the first programs cut within the budget crisis. There are less and less ways to teach tolerance, and engage a community. In addition, resource centers which helped oppressed communities are also in the first rounds of cuts.

And yet another element were the ‘riots’ in Berkeley, and the subsequent discussion of privilege. Though some students are offended by this discussion, I see its merits and feel that it is a discussion that should be had openly. The movement itself has become segmented in the midst of a larger sentiment of prejudice. The mixed consciousness that creates these symbols of hate seems to stem through our generation. Calling something ‘gay’ is somehow not offensive, making parties themed around racism is fine, and describing women (sometimes describing themselves) as ‘bitches’ is just slang. A radical generation is trying to do away with oppression, but has yet defined what is an oppressive force, and how we sometimes facilitate the oppression of ourselves and peers. To cast  aside a conversation about white privilege is detrimental to the growth of all of our consciousness.

Instead of discussing what is tearing keeping people apart in public, we do it on the internet. Instead of talking about how to get more involved, sometimes we bicker about dates or what something should be called. At a certain point, I wonder, have we put too much emphasis on planning? So much so, that it was no long meaningful in productivity but in hearing ourselves speak.

So is it an application of historical materialism to constantly pick apart an action/date/GA? Or should we instead be laying a canvas for the whole campus to paint collectively. Should we ignore discussions that are relevant because they are difficult? Or should we openly confront the divisions that face us. In the end I think we would find that these divisions stem from the ruling class rather than our comrades.

Tomorrow, the campuses will speak for themselves. If there is a framework, and a structure that allows for breath and movement, then I think we have done our jobs. Then again, I don’t have a crystal ball, and I don’t want to make predictions.

So rather than writing what I hope comes from tomorrow, I can only wait. I can only go to so many meetings to gain perspectives on what I think everyone is doing. The pieces I hold are not the collective whole of what tomorrow is. I will not see that whole until the spirit and love of everyone involved fills up the spaces. Genuine, spontaneous action for the love of education and human rights is not something I think I could even describe in words, let alone before I experience it. So I wait.

this is only the calm before the storm, and i can’t quite get my thoughts together now…

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