Saturday, September 26, 2009

UCSC Occupation

Oh, what a time to be in Santa Cruz! It appears some student activists have occupied the Student Commons on the UCSC campus. The occupiers write:
We are occupying this building at the University of California, Santa Cruz, because the current situation has become untenable. Across the state, people are losing their jobs and getting evicted, while social services are slashed. California’s leaders from state officials to university presidents have demonstrated how they will deal with this crisis: everything and everyone is subordinated to the budget. They insulate themselves from the consequences of their own fiscal mismanagement, while those who can least afford it are left shouldering the burden. Every solution on offer only accelerates the decay of the State of California. It remains for the people to seize what is theirs.”
How occupying the rather crummy restaurant near Cowell College is meant to achieve any of these things is beyond me (and likely the protesters themselves). At least this action has a more focused set of demands than their New York counterparts a few months back. With tuition spiraling upward in California, and with the job market being as it is, there is surely a lot of justified frustration to go around. Like previous tree-sits and student occupations however, this is not the best method of dealing with those complicated issues.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel has more on this story.
"There have been so many hikes in tuition and at the same time they are cutting our resources," said Elizabeth Jarasunas of Los Angeles, a junior philosophy major who said she supports the Commons demonstration. "We end up paying more for a less-quality education."

She and freshman Edward Loseman, a molecular biology major from the Dominican Republic, said they have not gone inside the occupied area but hope the event galvanizes students around fighting budget cuts.

"It's about time we stop playing by their rules," Loseman said
Playing by whose rules? As far as I can tell, the rise in tuition has been well covered by media outlets in California, and while the student occupiers may eventually speak with a University liaison, there “negotiations” will not roll back the cost of higher education within the state school system.

I look forward to reading the occupier’s victory memo, where they specify this action’s ability to achieve absolutely nothing.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

To Scottish-American Soldiers

A monument to Scottish-American soldiers in Edinburgh (with Lincoln nestled on top), next to David Hume’s tomb on Calton Hill.

On Kristol and Neo-Conservatism

Failure on the Italian Left

Dissent Magazine has a great article up on how the Italian left has helped keep Berlusconi in power.
"A very large minority among the Italian population actually continues to greet Berlusconi with intense hatred and widespread ridicule. Italy, despite appearances, is not a naturally right-wing country. Rather, the success of the right is explained by the fact that the left-wing half of the country has of late fallen into an angry, impotent slumber.

This is because, over the last two decades, Italy’s center-left politicians have become increasingly inept at representing this segment of the population—or at formulating constructive policies that would make it possible to convert the popular discontent with the political system into electoral success. If Berlusconi has succeeded in monopolizing public discourse, for example, then this is partially owed to the incapacity or even unwillingness of Italy’s left-wing politicians to defend democratic norms. To understand the roots of today’s Italy is, at least in part, to understand the roots of the weakness of today’s Italian left

Monday, September 21, 2009

Golly. Who knew?

From one of the Tea Party protests. HT LGF.