Real Dawgs Fight Back: Workers take back the U
Submissions by September 12th, 2009. Between 300-750 words; alternatively, other formats (such as maps, diagrams, interviews, and pictures) 1/2 page or 1 full page in size. Submit to firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you a worker? UW employee? Student? Teacher? Parent? Partner? Taking out loans? Seattle or Western Washington resident? Housed? Un-housed?
Our VISION for this ZINE is to present the experiences of those who have ties to the University of Washington, broadly, and are affected by uneven and oppressively implemented budget cuts. The U is supposed to be THE public university of the STATE OF WASHINGTON but the UW administration wants to use the economic crisis as an excuse to turn it into a more exclusive, oppressive, and elite campus. Alternately, this publication will help us re-envision the struggle of the University as a public resource through the struggle of all working folks.
Therefore, we seek submissions about but not limited to the topics of: safety concerns and management retaliation as a result of contracting out/privatization; layoffs, speed-ups, firing; increased class size, change in pedagogy/curriculum; cutting of programs or resources; change in workplace politics/oppression; UPASS/Parking; family burdens; implications of globalization for education and voices from international students; hope, resistance, alternatives! We stand in solidarity with workers across the world, and invite submissions linking UW to other parts of the world that are directly affected by capital, labor, and military actions in the US/Seattle!
We are framing this call as "we are all workers" to emphasize the fact that the university is not separate from the rest of society. Workers and students are told that they are different from one another; in reality, we are all laboring for the University; but the money and resources gained from our efforts are being kept from us. Now more than ever, we need to ask, this is a University by whom for whom? We reject the idea that workers can only be oppressed victims. We find strength in the notion that we are all workers, because we are ultimately the ones who can take control of our labor and relationships and use them to build a better university and a better society than our managers envision. By acknowledging that we are all workers, we can start to understand how we need to work together as staff, students, community members, and families to take control of our own lives, as they are affected by the work we do in the University. We are all impacted by uneven budget cuts that are framed in terms of inevitability caused by the economic crisis, in order to keep us from fighting back. We want to show that there is a lot at stake when we are forced to "suck it up" as workers and as students. We furthermore reject the idea that we are only students or only workers. We are all students and workers at the same time. We are either accumulating debt in school, laboring in class and at a work-study or outside-the-U job, employees of the U (staff, TA, RA, etc), or unemployed workers looking for education and work. Those who work and don't attend classes here should have access to those classes. Many UW employees, from custodians to painters, are students of society, mastering not only our own jobs and trades but also raising and studying broader questions about the economy, politics, and values of the world we live in. We are students especially as we get organized to fight for more control over our jobs. We have a lot to learn from each other.
This is not a new vision. It has been tried, and battles have been waged by our predecessors in the 1960s, and before. Those demanded access to education for women and people of color. The struggle for black studies and ethnic studies in colleges around the country, the struggles for admission of people of color into formerly all white institutions was a victory that is constantly under attack. WE refuse to stand by and watch these hard won struggles be rolled back. We demand the same as previous struggles, AND MORE!
This understanding demands that we recognize that the global economic crisis we are facing is not because of some accident, but because of unsustainable and violent decisions made by the state and corporations, working together to increase profits at the cost of the lives and livelihoods of everyday people. In particular, this crisis disproportionately affects women, queer folks, folks of color, and folks with disabilities. The University is no exception; budget cuts disproportionally fall on our backs while squeezing profit out of us through a process of privatization that raises tuition, abuses workers with retaliation and unsafe work environments, causes work-wide speed-ups, and further marginalizes folks who built the university with their labor. Therefore, we are calling for the UW to be a truly public institution-- a community center for the entire city and region, an educational and intellectual resource controlled by everyday people, and in particular by those most affected by exploitation. We do NOT want UW to be a private university for the elite to reinforce oppression against ordinary people, nor do we want it to function as an arm of the state used to create "good workers" who will be docile and exploited in society during school and after graduation. We pay for the university with taxes, labor, emotional ties, relationships, and commitment. The University IS us, and we demand control!