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USC Faculty Statement on UC Police

USC Faculty Statement on UC Police

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Published by Chris Newfield

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Published by: Chris Newfield on Nov 25, 2011
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11/25/2011

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November 22, 2011To Faculty, Staff and Students of the University of California:We, undersigned faculty of the University of Southern California, stand in solidarity withand admiration for the strong stand that many of you have taken, both in the face of egregious police violence against peaceful demonstrations and in face of the structuralviolence of the ongoing cuts, fee hikes, and the privatization of the public institutions of the University of California.Although we are in many ways the material beneficiaries of a private institution of highereducation, we are not blind to the consequences of privatization nor to the fact that nogenuinely democratic system of education can thrive or even survive in face of thegalloping corporatization of public institutions along with all the other public goods andservices that have been targeted for liquidation and monetization in our time. As yourown struggle has highlighted, fee hikes and cuts to programs, reduction of faculty andsupport staff and the increasing exploitation of part-time and insecure academic labor,irrevocably damage both access to and the quality of higher education for students. Theyalso contribute to an increasingly deleterious environment for free inquiry and research.All this you know better than we do and we salute your struggle to defend and extend theright to affordable, accessible and publicly funded education. From our own perspective,from within the limits of a fully privatized institution, we can bear witness to thedeleterious effects of the corporatization of higher education. We witness daily the top-down management style of the private university; the devotion to PR rather than tocritical thought; the swelling of the administration and the virtual abolition of facultygovernance; the devotion of university planning to fund-raising through the profoundlyundemocratic means philanthropic donations that deeply, if subtly, affects the intellectualenvironment of the campus; the increased dependence on corporate subvention thatentails instrumentalized research driven by profitability, or by what is calledeuphemistically “meeting societal needs”. At the same time, we face equally thearbitrary closure of programs deemed economically unviable, irrespective of theirintellectual value, the increasing reliance on part-time faculty, and the corporate“rationalization” of intellectual life. No less apparent has been the swift suppression andcontainment of any stirrings of student dissent on campus and the increasing thrust of university real estate development and gentrification at the expense of neighborhoods andbusinesses of color. All this is the logical consequence of the corporatization of theuniversity that threatens to overtake the remaining great public universities of this andother neo-liberal regimes. It is not and cannot be a sustainable model for democraticeducation.As many have pointed out, the privatization of higher education, and of education at alllevels, belongs with a general effort of neo-liberal capitalism to appropriate the social
 
goods that have been struggled for and maintained by democratic social movements overgenerations. As in every epoch of intensified accumulation, the effect of privatization isa deep social violence inflicted on the most vulnerable; the process of expropriation itself is also protected and defended from protest or resistance by immediate coercive physicalforce. The violence that both faculty and students have met of late in the UC system, asyou have sought to defend democratically won social goods, is of a piece with the policeviolence that has met the occupiers of Wall Street and Oakland. The suppliers of themeans of violence, from pepper spray to CS gas, are those that equally supply theEgyptian military on Tahrir Square in their efforts to contain and reverse the democratictransformation of society. What is happening at UC seems to us, as it does to many, onedimension of a larger attempt to repress the resistance that economic privatization andneo-liberal political regimes have inspired globally.We are not, therefore, surprised by the recourse to violence of the authorities of the UCcampuses, who have already committed or submitted themselves on behalf of the Regentsand the President of UC to protecting and furthering the privatization of the University of California. The expropriation of social goods cannot take place without protest andprotest will be met with coercive force. We therefore seek to express our moral andpolitical solidarity with the stand taken over the last two years by so many throughout theUniversity of California and the California State University systems, a stand directed notonly against immediate police violence but against the structural violence being inflictedon the University and its communities. We vigorously condemn not only the use of police violence in recent infamous incidents, but moreover the social violence of cuts andprivatization that propose to destroy the UC/CSU systems and every possibility of ademocratic transformation of our society and our collective conditions of work.In solidarity,Elinor AccampoLois BannerAimee BenderSheila BriggsK.C. ColeRoberto Ignacio DíazDavid EggenschweilerNina Eliasoph
 
Joshua GoldsteinMacarena Gomez BarrísErin Graff ZivinJudith HalberstamWilliam HandleyNicolai HaydnEdwin HillCarol HofmannPierrette Hondagneu-SoteloJanet HoskinsAntonio IdiniKara KeelingDorinne KondoDavid LloydAndrew ManningDoe MayerTara McPhersonClaudia MoattiTania ModleskiCarol Muske-DukesViet NguyenPanivong Norindr

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