November 22, 2011

To Faculty, Staff and Students of the University of California: We, undersigned faculty of the University of Southern California, stand in solidarity with and 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 structural violence 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 higher education, we are not blind to the consequences of privatization nor to the fact that no genuinely democratic system of education can thrive or even survive in face of the galloping corporatization of public institutions along with all the other public goods and services that have been targeted for liquidation and monetization in our time. As your own struggle has highlighted, fee hikes and cuts to programs, reduction of faculty and support 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. They also 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 the right 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 the deleterious effects of the corporatization of higher education. We witness daily the topdown management style of the private university; the devotion to PR rather than to critical thought; the swelling of the administration and the virtual abolition of faculty governance; the devotion of university planning to fund-raising through the profoundly undemocratic means philanthropic donations that deeply, if subtly, affects the intellectual environment of the campus; the increased dependence on corporate subvention that entails instrumentalized research driven by profitability, or by what is called euphemistically “meeting societal needs”. At the same time, we face equally the arbitrary closure of programs deemed economically unviable, irrespective of their intellectual value, the increasing reliance on part-time faculty, and the corporate “rationalization” of intellectual life. No less apparent has been the swift suppression and containment of any stirrings of student dissent on campus and the increasing thrust of university real estate development and gentrification at the expense of neighborhoods and businesses of color. All this is the logical consequence of the corporatization of the university that threatens to overtake the remaining great public universities of this and other neo-liberal regimes. It is not and cannot be a sustainable model for democratic education. As many have pointed out, the privatization of higher education, and of education at all levels, 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 over generations. As in every epoch of intensified accumulation, the effect of privatization is a 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 physical force. The violence that both faculty and students have met of late in the UC system, as you have sought to defend democratically won social goods, is of a piece with the police violence that has met the occupiers of Wall Street and Oakland. The suppliers of the means of violence, from pepper spray to CS gas, are those that equally supply the Egyptian military on Tahrir Square in their efforts to contain and reverse the democratic transformation of society. What is happening at UC seems to us, as it does to many, one dimension of a larger attempt to repress the resistance that economic privatization and neo-liberal political regimes have inspired globally. We are not, therefore, surprised by the recourse to violence of the authorities of the UC campuses, who have already committed or submitted themselves on behalf of the Regents and 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 and protest will be met with coercive force. We therefore seek to express our moral and political solidarity with the stand taken over the last two years by so many throughout the University of California and the California State University systems, a stand directed not only against immediate police violence but against the structural violence being inflicted on 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 and privatization that propose to destroy the UC/CSU systems and every possibility of a democratic transformation of our society and our collective conditions of work. In solidarity, Elinor Accampo Lois Banner Aimee Bender Sheila Briggs K.C. Cole Roberto Ignacio Díaz David Eggenschweiler Nina Eliasoph

Joshua Goldstein Macarena Gomez Barrís Erin Graff Zivin Judith Halberstam William Handley Nicolai Haydn Edwin Hill Carol Hofmann Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo Janet Hoskins Antonio Idini Kara Keeling Dorinne Kondo David Lloyd Andrew Manning Doe Mayer Tara McPherson Claudia Moatti Tania Modleski Carol Muske-Dukes Viet Nguyen Panivong Norindr

Gloria Orenstein Wlodek Proskurowski Laura Pulido David Rollo Ellen Seiter Fengzhu Sun Daniel Tiffany Karen Tongson