KEY COMPONENTS OF SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL MOVEMENTS

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"For me, the most important lesson
[of the Freedom Movement] is that by respecting the fact that fellow activists could passionately disagree over strategy and tactics—yet remain allies—they strengthened SNCC and the Movement as a whole."
From Bruce Hartford's article in the current issue of Urban Habitat.
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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Letter from Avalos re: March 1st


As we have seen in the last few weeks, the spirit of the Occupy movement is alive and well. With everyday people pushing back on illegal foreclosures and the biggest banks circling the wagons to continue to protect their own interests against the outcry of public accountability. The people are chipping away and the small victories, like that of Monica Kenney (seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSMa6xZf9bk ) are adding up.

We're in it together and the top 1% need to pay their fair share so that all can have access to opportunity, education, housing and health care. In 2010, I sponsored a ballot measure to raise the real estate transfer tax on the highest end properties. That year, community and labor groups in SF came together to the measure's passage and just last week we learned that the measure has already raised $56M dollars! This new revenue has already helped protect after-school programs, senior services, and health access for those most in need in our City.

Now Californians have our sights on the taxing the wealthy statewide. This Thursday, I will be taking part in several local events in support of the March 1st Day of Action to kick off a 99 mile march for from SF to Sacramento for Education and Social Justice.

Come join us at Civic Center Plaza this Thursday, March 1st anytime between 3 to 6pm, where we will be rallying in support of statewide ballot measures like the millionaires tax that would ensure that the wealthiest Californians make equitable contributions to education and public services which must provide the opportunity that many of us expect of this great state of California. A united labor and community can win again this November.

In Solidarity,

JOHN AVALOS

P.S. Please save the date: Friday, March 16, 11:30am. Join Karen and I at City Hall as I file my candidacy for a second term as District 11 Supervisor.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Poster for Occupy Education March 1-5

A big thanks to Carlos Saavedra for the wonderful design of this new leaflet and for printing it poster-size and in color.

If you wish to obtain copies of the printed posters,  contact Carlos at saavedra10019@gmail.com

Please make copies of this leaflet and distribute them widely to family, friends and co-workers -- and/or forward the pdf as widely as you can.

All Out For March 1st in San Francisco (and March 5th in Sacramento) to stop and reverse the cuts, to fully fund public education and social services, to tax the corporations and the rich: Yes to the Millionaire's Tax, and Yes to the Oil Excise Tax!

In solidarity,

Alan Benjamin
Program Committee
OSF Education March 1st Actions

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Experimental College at SFSU gets media attention - a good thing?

Yesterday, the latest volume (issue #4) of the SFSU Golden Gate Express came out. The cover story is the brewing controversy over the resurgence of the Experimental College at SFSU.

Will Nelson and Kelly Corwin are not college teachers. They have long, sunny blonde hair draping their shoulders; they wear tattered jeans and sneakers. However, every Wednesday night for two hours in HSS 201, these SF State students are teachers to roughly 20 students.
Nelson, 22, and Corwin, 25, teach a Student Activism course, which explores social movements through comparative analysis, and for which some of the students are getting course credit.
The pair are working through the Experimental College, which was established in 1966 by the Black Student Union and Third World Liberation Front in protest of racial discrimination and lack of ethnic-centered curriculum. However, despite the support of some faculty, the administration is not backing the college’s courses.  READ MORE......
Here's the email that Kelly and Will sent out to professors asking for their support.  It seems clear that at least one person who got this email forwarded it to the provost, whose response is illustrated in the following email from the Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities:
College of Arts and Humanities hmnts@sfsu.edu



to undisclosed recipients
Provost Rosser has asked the deans to remind faculty that 699 courses for independent study are to be used only when an individual student is doing work with a particular faculty member.  The situation outlined in the e-mail below is NOT an appropriate use of an independent study. 

Faculty should understand that students cannot teach courses without faculty being present during class sessions and that under no circumstances are students to determine the final grades of other students.

Re 685s, see information below:

http://www.sfsu.edu/~senate/documents/policies/S97-200.html

Senae Policy clearly delineates what a student may not do:
Instructional aides may not:
  • be enrolled concurrently in the class for which they are an instructional aide;
  • design the course syllabus or learning objectives;
  • grade non-objective tests or papers;
  • write exams; or
  • have access to student records, including addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, and grades.
Any and all activities of the Instructional Aide, including contributing to lectures, presentations or demonstrations, or leading class discussions, must be carefully monitored by the instructor of record, who must be present at all times when the regular instructionally-related class is formally in session.
The instructional aides should be enrolled in a 685.
My email response to the reporter's questions:
Why do you believe it's important to continue with the Experimental College? What is your own history with the college and also Occupy SFSU?

I HAVE STUDIED ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION FOR A LONG TIME AND HAVE FOCUSED ON THE HISTORY OF THE 1964 MISSISSIPPI FREEDOM SCHOOLS AS WELL AS HIGHLANDER FOLK SCHOOL.  THE EXPERIMENTAL COLLEGE IS IN THIS TRADITION OF STUDENTS ASKING AND TRYING TO ANSWER THEIR OWN QUESTIONS.  I CO-FOUNDED THE SF FREEDOM SCHOOL IN 2005 AS A WAY TO GET PEOPLE TO LEARN FROM THE VETERANS OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT (TO LEARN HOW TO BE EFFECTIVE ACTIVISTS).  I HAVE BEEN TEACHING A COUPLE OF COURSES OFF AND ON AT SFSU FOR ABOUT 5 YEARS (I THINK?)  I HAVE NO CONNECTION TO OCCUPY SFSU, ALTHOUGH I AM TRYING TO FIND OUT HOW TO CONNECT WITH THOSE ORGANIZING THE MARCH 1-5 EVENTS ON CAMPUS. 
Why do you think the initial resurrection of the Experimental College, went so low in participation after 2009?  
I THINK THERE WAS A SPLIT AMONG THE STUDENT FOUNDERS AND ONE SMALL GROUP BECAME VERY IDEOLOGICAL AND DOMINERRING, THUS ALIENATING MOST OF THE PEOPLE WHO WANTED TO PARTICIPATE. 
What steps have you, as a sponsor, tried to make this semester in order to combat the lack of structure that followed the ExCo's original resurface?

I HAVE WORKED CLOSELY WITH THE THREE STUDENTS WHO HAVE DEVELOPED CURRICULUM SO AS TO HELP THEM UNDERSTAND HOW THEY CAN MOST EFFECTIVELY ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS.   I HAVE TAUGHT THEM PREVIOUSLY IN MY POLITICAL MOVEMENTS COURSE AND STRESSED THAT DISCIPLINE AND RESEARCH ARE AMONG THE KEY COMPONENTS OF SUCCESSFUL LEARNING.  JAMES LAWSON - A DISCIPLE OF GANDHI AND MENTOR TO MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. -- STRESSED TO THE STUDENTS HE TAUGHT IN NASHVILLE (1960 SIT INS) THAT IF ONE IS GOING TO ORGANIZE NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION, ONE HAS TO BE "FIERCELY DISCIPLINED."  ONE HAS TO STUDY NONVIOLENCE THOROUGHLY IN ORDER TO UNDERSTAND IT.  SOMETHING THAT THE OCCUPIERS HAVE YET TO DO.  THERE ARE TWO STUDENTS ON CAMPUS WHO WANT TO EXPLORE THESE IDEAS MORE FULLY AND HAVE CREATED A COURSE TO DO SO. 
Facilitators of the Student Activism Course, Will Nelson and Kelly Corwin haven't spoken with SF State about the college, yet have heard "indirectly" about the school's concerns about the program, according to Nelson. Have you or James Martel spoken with the campus about their feelings about the ExCo? 
NO, I HAVEN'T SPOKEN TO ANYONE.  I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY THE ADMINISTRATION WOULD WANT TO DISCOURAGE STUDENTS FROM ASKING AND ANSWERING THEIR OWN QUESTIONS -- WHETHER IT IS HOW TO CREATE A SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY OR HOW TO BE EFFECTIVE ADVOCATES FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE.  CREATING AND IMPLEMENTING THEIR OWN COURSES (WITH EXPERIENCED ADVISING, NATURALLY) IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY FOR STUDENTS TO LEARN HOW TO THINK CRITICALLY.  We have been here before...The "8 year study" from 1930-42): to form “democracy as a way of life,” 
the pupil must be brought back into the picture. After all he is the leading figure in the play. He is the future citizen, who will have to deal with all the desperate problems which we seem unable to solve and which are bound to constitute a part of our legacy to him. . . . He is entitled to have all the light that the school can furnish on underlying issues and he should have opportunity for the exercise of enlightened and independent judgment. (Bode 1937, 97–98)
I CAN ONLY SURMISE THAT THE ADMINISTRATION MIGHT BE AFRAID THAT STUDENTS MIGHT LEARN HOW TO REALLY BECOME AGENTS OF SOCIAL CHANGE, LIKE THE STUDENTS IN THE MS FREEDOM SCHOOLS LEARNED HOW TO CREATE AN ALTERNATIVE POLITICAL PARTY IN MS IN 1964.  SO FAR, THE ORGANIZERS OF THE OCCUPY MVT DON'T KNOW HOW TO BE EFFECTIVE ADVOCATE'S FOR THEIR AND OTHER'S NEEDS. BUT THEY ARE BEGINNING TO ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS THAT WOULD LEAD THEM TO BECOMING MORE EFFECTIVE ADVOCATES AND ORGANIZERS.  IF THE ADMINISTRATION TRULY BELIEVES IN ITS MISSION TO "
  • Fostering a collegial and cooperative intellectual environment that includes recognition and appreciation of differing viewpoints and promotes academic freedom within the University community; and
  • Serving the communities with which its students and faculty are engaged.
THEN, IF THERE IS A DEMAND FOR STUDENT CENTERED LEARNING WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF AN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM THAT SEES THE ABOVE AS ITS MISSION, THEN I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY THE ADMINISTRATION ISN'T PROVIDING STRUCTURAL SUPPORT FOR SUCH A PROGRAM.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Occupy CCSF Festival

Here is a full schedule for Occupy CCSF's festival, happening tomorrow, Tuesday 2/14 - Wednesday 2/15 at RAM Plaza. Come by anytime, and camp out with us if you can! :)

Stephan


FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

Stop by anytime for information on March Week of Action for Education, Millionaire’s Tax and Oil Severance Tax Initiatives, Occupy for Prisoners, Student Success Task Force legislation and more!

* Bring your tents and camp with us!
* All events held at RAM Plaza, b/w the Student Union and Cafeteria
* If it rains, come by the plaza for alternate location info

Tuesday, February 14

10:00 – 11:00 AM
Set up tents

11:00 – 12:00 PM
Student Success Task Force:
Taking the 'Community' out of Community College 
Workshop with Karen Saginor, Academic Senate President

12:00 – 1:00 PM
Labor, Students and Occupy
Discussion with Moises Montoya, Oakland City Worker, Labor Activist, Occupy Oakland Labor Solidarity Committee

1:00 – 2:00 PM
Speak Out/Open Mic
Featuring students from CCSF’s Second Chance Program and SFSU’s Project Rebound

2:00 – 3:00 PM
Marxism, Economics and Occupy
Discussion with Deborah Goldsmith, CCSF Instructor

3:00 - 4:00 PM
Performances/Open Mic
Featuring Queer Country with Liam and Acoustic Black Metal with Coston

4:00 – 5:00 PM
Writing Workshop
Led by Zhayra Palma, Poet, Activist and CCSF student

5:00 – 7:00 PM 
Dinner, Open Mic

7:00 – 8:30 PM
Lessons of the Southern Freedom Movement: Nonviolent Resistance
Workshop with Kathy Emery, Professor, San Francisco State University

8:30 - 9:00 PM
“Tax the Rich” Dance Performance
Featuring CCSF students

9:00 – 11:00 PM 
The Black Power Mixtape Documentary Screening


Wednesday, February 15

9:00 – 9:30 AM 
Yoga 
Led by Kathe Burick, CCSF Instructor 

9:30 – 11:00 AM
Open Mic, Tabling

11:00 – 12:00 PM
History of Activism at CCSF 
Discussion with Madeline Mueller, CCSF Instructor

12:00 – 1:00 PM
Open Mic, Tabling

1:00 – 3:00 PM 
Occupy CCSF General Assembly

Monday, February 6, 2012

March 1-5: March to and Occupation of Sacramento to protest education cuts

The National Call
We call on all students, teachers, workers, and parents from all levels of education —pre-K-12 through higher education in public and private institutions— and all Occupy assemblies, labor unions, and organizations of oppressed communities, to mobilize on March 1st, 2012 across the country to tell those in power: The resources exist for high-quality education for all. If we make the rich and the corporations pay we can reverse the budget cuts, tuition hikes, and attacks on job security, and fully fund public education and social services.
Occupy Northern California
The northern California Occupy Education coalition is planning a multi-day march in defense of education. The march will start off at UC Berkeley as part of the March 1st national day of action and will culminate in Sacramento on March 5th, when thousands of students, workers, and teachers from around the state will converge on the capitol and demand universal, free public education in California. On the 5th, people who choose to do so will begin occupying the capitol building. If you are interested in joining the march to Sacramento, please fill out this form so that those organizing the march can be sure to acquire the necessary resources and to prepare for the number of people who will be marching.
Members of the Outreach Workgroup of Occupy Education Northern California hope teachers and students will spend time during the weeks preceding March 1 teaching and learning about the problems facing teachers and students, and planning classroom and school-wide activities for March 1. We also hope you will follow the progress of the march to Sacramento and the convergence of activists in Sacramento on March 5. 

SF MoveoOn needs people to host movie Feb. 11 and 12: INSIDE JOB

SEE INSIDE JOB THIS WEEKEND

Dear MoveOn member,
Remember how Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth inspired a wave of interest and action on climate change? There's a must-see film narrated by Matt Damon about how Wall Street crashed the economy—and it can do the same for 99%. 

Inside Job is the type of movie that makes your blood boil. But more importantly, it makes you want to take action to fix a system rigged for the 1%. 
That's why we're throwing hundreds of Inside Job movie parties next weekend, February 11 and 12Currently, there are more MoveOn members in San Francisco than parties to acommodate them—so we need your help. 
Can you host a movie party so that more MoveOn members can see Inside Job next weekend?