Labor's Gotta Play
Hardball to Win!
Showdown on West Coast Docks: The Battle
click on photo for article
Chicago Plant Occupation Electrifies Labor
click on photo for article
May Day Strike Against the War Shuts
U.S. West Coast Ports
click on photo for article
Internationalist Club Statement of Class-Struggle
Strike Means Shut It Down! Cops Off Campus!
Cave In? Hell No!
Escalate the Strike to Win!
an Elected Mass Strike Committee
Members of Los Angeles area unions come out to show
solidarity at UC strike picket lines, November 29.
to Any Sellout!
54K, COLA, Full Childcare
Accessibility, End of NRST and PDST...
LOS ANGELES, December 4 – The strike of
48,000 University of California student workers is at a
crossroads – a decisive turning point. As we enter the
fourth week of the largest higher ed strike in U.S.
history, the strikers (who are members of United Auto
Workers union locals 2865, 5810 and SRU-UAW) have been
fighting for demands that are crucial for us all. Pickets
and marches have resounded with the determination to win.
In recent days strikers have carried out building
occupations at various UC campuses. Teaming up with union
militants who’ve scored important successes in stopping
deliveries, we’ve built strategic pickets of construction
sites, bringing in members of several key L.A. labor
sectors to show the power of workers solidarity.
(The London Guardian [2 December] reports: “even
construction staff have put down their tools in
Across the country, workers and students are watching
this fight between the notoriously high-handed bosses of a
huge university and tens of thousands of participants in a
historic strike. In fighting against poverty pay, the
crushing burden of sky-high rent, and basic needs on the
job, UC strikers are taking a stand that is important for
millions of working people. And it comes at a time of
major promise and challenges for organizing and struggle
from coast to coast, from Amazon to the current strike by
UAW members at the New School in New York City. So what
happens in the UC strike will have an effect on many other
present and future struggles. Together with Class Struggle
Education Workers, the student and union activists of the
UCLA Internationalist Club say that of all this makes the
fight for victory to the UC strike even more
urgent and imperative today.
To download a printable pdf of this
leaflet, click on image.
And now the question of power and determination in this
battle is posed point-blank. Right now really is the most
crucial moment, in an academic workers’ strike: when
exams, grading and research deadlines are just around the
corner. When, at such a moment, a push comes down from
above trying to disorient strikers into retreat by
peddling the lie that the strike is past its “peak power,”
it’s time to push back, hard. So the time has come to not
just stand fast for what strikers have been fighting for
all along, but to intensify the struggle, and organize the
means of winning it.
This means decisively rejecting attempts by the bosses –
and by the UAW union bureaucracy acting as a conveyor belt
for pressure from the UC administration and its
ruling-class/Democratic Party godfathers – to shove a
sell-out deal down the throat of those who have been
waging this crucial strike. Remember: the members are the
union, and must exert their organized will in the fight
for their needs and demands.
Mass meetings of strikers should be held now,
on every campus, to vote to uphold the strike’s
original demands; to continue – and intensify – the
strike, rejecting any sellout; to reaffirm the call for
cops off campus; and to organize concretely for the next
steps in the struggle. The same kind of votes should be
held in any and all scheduled union meetings, and in
departments, inter-campus or UC-wide meetings, etc. And
needless to say, the rotten, divide-and-conquer “tentative
agreements” for postdoctoral scholars and academic
researchers need to be ripped up. One out, all out, no one
goes back until we all win. Remember why the strike’s
demands were adopted in the first place: because of what
UC’s student workers need.
Key now to the fight is forming an elected, mass
strike committee here at UCLA, with
representatives elected (and recallable) from each
department, lab, etc. We need to make UCLA a bastion of
opposition to any sellout, pushing forward the struggle
for the strike’s full demands. Such strike committees
should be created at the other campuses too, as part of a
UC-wide delegated strike committee by means of
which the membership can make the decisions in the strike
and control how it – including the bargaining – is run.
“If We Don’t Get It ” – Do What?
“SHUT – IT – DOWN!” For 21 days and
counting, that’s been the chant. But to use a term that’s
going around these days, “peak power” has not even come
close to being brought to bear in the strike. Having not
gotten the demands the strike was called for, it’s high
time to move from chanting the slogan shut it down
to actually putting it into practice. A year ago, Columbia
strikers’ day of action to shut the campus down was the
turning point for winning their strike.
Here at UC today, far from backing down, it’s time to escalate
the strike. What this requires is not only
well-organized, disciplined, all-out strike militancy, but
a program of class struggle bringing in key
sectors of the workers and oppressed. It's a question of power.
Among other things it is crucial that all
classes be cancelled, that no grading or
exams go forward, and that construction, deliveries and
every other kind of UC business as usual grind to a halt.
Picket lines mean don’t cross!
Yet at this key moment, what are union bureaucrats trying
to shut down? Not the bosses’ anti-strike machinations –
but the strike itself. That’s the meaning of last
Wednesday’s bargaining team (BT) vote. By a margin of 10
to 9, the UC-wide union BT, having thrown COLA under the
bus, voted to drastically slash core strike demands, to
reduce to 43K the demand for $54,000/year minimum pay for
graduate workers and cut the childcare reimbursement
demand by almost half – while ditching others completely.
These include dependent healthcare coverage and disabled
workers’ demand for better accessibility without having to
show medical documentation. Meanwhile the demand to end
Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition – a call crucial for
international students – hangs in the balance as the
bargaining team has already shown willingness to put it on
the chopping block and has dropped the demand for ending
Yet today the demands that 48,000 UC
student-workers have been organizing and fighting for
remain as crucial as ever. A particularly
vital part of our struggle is for cops off campus.
Just days ago UC Riverside called the cops against
strikers occupying the UCPath financial services center.
In New York on November 21, the NYPD crashed the
membership meeting of Students Workers of Columbia–UAW.
And let’s not forget that the 1964 Free Speech Movement
was waged against repression meted out by UC’s “corporate
university” ideologues – nor that in 2020, then-UC
president Janet Napolitano, previously America’s top cop,
sent riot police to brutally beat COLA strikers.
So what about the BT' s vote last Wednesday for a package
of massive retreats? The razor-thin majority that pushed
the vote through reflects the illegitimacy of this
capitulation – which has been met with outrage. As for
coaxing the employer to please “move” on union demands by
slashing some and ditching others, against the will of the
members and when the crucial test of power is right around
the corner – this is a stark example of the delusional
“logic” of class collaboration.
If capitulation to the UC administration is not stopped,
defeated and reversed now by the union
membership, fighting for the strike’s full demands,
this BT vote will be just the beginning, opening
the way for even bigger retreats as the employer pushes
for more. Such a sell-out would make the UAW
bureaucracy’s stabbing the 2020 COLA (cost-of-living
adjustment) strike in the back pale in comparison.
To win the struggles of the workers and oppressed, the
burning need is for a class-struggle leadership. This is
inseparable from the fight to free labor’s power from the
death grip of U.S. imperialism’s Democratic Party, and all
capitalist parties and politicians – from ex-UC president
Napolitano to L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti and California
governor Gavin Newsom, on up to the halls of Congress and
the White House. The urgency of breaking from the
Democrats and building a class-struggle workers party was
highlighted yet again by the Democrats’ open strike-breaking
against the railway workers. (And here yet
again Biden, Pelosi & Co. were backed up by the
“Squad.”) The Internationalist Club stands for a socialist
revolution to throw out the capitalist exploiters,
replacing their system of racism and imperialist war with
workers rule here and around the world.
Today at UC, they’re not trying (yet) to illegalize our
strike outright – but they are trying to cow us into
submission. Will we let that happen? We
say: no way! Let solidarity with the railway workers, and
workers everywhere, be one more reason to strengthen
collective determination to take the steps urgently needed
now, to win the University of California strike! On
strike means – shut it down! ■
For more info, or to get involved,
contact the UCLA Internationalist Club: