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Students and Workers Teach Republicans a Lesson in Solidarity

On Thursday, UCSC's College Republicans held a rally against the striking Metro bus drivers. While publicized all over campus, only a handful of students showed up to join them.

However, having heard of the anti-worker rally, students from the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA) and the Student and Worker Coalition for Justice (SWCJ), who have been very active supporting the bus drivers, were quick to react. They carpooled down to the rally and had far outnumbered the Republicans even before they arrived. While the mainstream media jumped at the opportunity to discredit the bus drivers' union (UTU Local 23), the pro-worker students showed that UCSC is overwhelmingly in solidarity with the bus drivers.

On Monday at UCSC, over 50 students and workers walked into Mike Rotkin's office, resulting in his acknowledgement that the Transit Board made a bad decision. On Friday, students and workers from UCSC will march at 4pm from the base of campus to the downtown Metro Center to show their solidarity.
Click on image for a larger version

1.jpg
A Metro driver (L) educates the president of the College Republicans (R) on the issues behind the strike. The Repubs, anxious to show their anti-worker sentiment, hadn't done their research.
Bradley has posted more photos of this action here: santacruz.indymedia.org/newswire/display/18712/index.php

Thank you to all the folks from the United Transportation Union (UTU) Local 23, AFSCME Local 3299, MEChA de UCSC, and the Student and Worker Coalition for Justice.

For additional photos or to reprint, please email sugarloaf (at) riseup.net with a request.
2.jpg
One of the first to arrive at the rally, this grad-student shows his solidarity with the bus drivers.
Click on image for a larger version

3.jpg
Eventually a few members of the College Republicans trickled in, apparently unable to garner much support from other students. The media (especially the Sentinel, City on a Hill, and NBC) largely ignored the majority of students and workers who stood in solidarity with the strikers and started a romance with the handful of College Republicans.

However, worker supporters were quick to react. On the far left, a member of MEChA sneaks his way into the shot...
4.jpg
...with his hand-made T-shirt.
Click on image for a larger version

5.jpg
A reporter with UCSC's City on a Hill Press gets them to turn his way and pose.
Click on image for a larger version

6.jpg
Pro-worker students march in a circle around the few College Republicans.
Click on image for a larger version

7.jpg
Eventually the College Republicans went home having accomplished little, while the majority of students and workers continued to walk the picket line.
Click on image for a larger version

8.jpg
Pro-worker students succeeded in their goal of vastly outnumbering a well publicized but poorly attended Republican outing. While this was their way of showing solidarity, the feelings were mutual - the striking bus drivers handed out cold bottles of water and offered students rides back up to campus, as they've been doing since the start of their strike.
9.jpg
A bus driver, having been at the picket line all day, takes a breather while students and workers continue to picket.

While striking workers struggle to feed their families and county residents go through immeasurable hassles to make their way to school and work, the Transit Board remains on 'vacation.' They won't be meeting until next week. As for this week, who knows what's in store for them... maybe a haircut... some shopping... or a nice walk along the beach...
 
 


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Comments

Re: Students and Workers Teach Republicans a Lesson in Solidarity

This is a great way to face down the forces of evil. Keep doing it this way and keep it clean. I would question an effort to target transit board members at their homes for instance. While you may think you are simply returning the favor by disrupting their lives as much as the bus rider's and driver's lives have been disrupted, think about the bigger picture. The bigger picture includes allegations that the real KKK and other right wing groups such as anti-abortion protest groups (and some leftists too) use terror tactics against their opponents.
I hate to sound like an appeaser of terrorists, but if we adopt the same tactics as they do (targeting people at their homes, be it via protests outside or more disturbing tactics such as power failures in the nieghborhood or crank phone calls) then we become no better than those we oppose. So I say again keep it clean.

There is a book on the subject called "Terrorist Stalking in America". A google or www.debriefing.com search will turn up a review of it. While the book tends to paint an overly broad picture of "terrorism" (pirate radio stations are included in their definition for instance) it does open the door to exploring various tactics used by NGO's that I would say are not above board.

Finally, here are the OFFICE phone #'s of some people to call to complain about the strike and the stalled negotiations:

Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District Board of Directors List

Mike Keogh, Chair
Office: 831-438-0333

Mike Rotkin, Vice Chair
mrotkin (at) ci.snata-cruz.ca.us
Office: 831-459-4601
or you can reach him via the Santa Cruz City Council line at 831-420-5020

Jan Beautz
jan.beautz (at) co.santa-cruz.ca.us
Office: 831-454-2200

Emily Reily
ereily (at) ci.santa-cruz.ca.us
Office: 831-420-5020

Dale Skillicorn
dskillicorn (at) ci.watsonville.ca.us
Office: 831-768-3007

Mark Stone
mark.stone (at) co.santa-cruz.ca.us
Office: 831-454-2200

Marcela Tavantzis
Office: 831-728-6161

Stephanie Harlan
Office: 831-475-7300

Dene Bustichi
Office: 831-438-2356
 

Re: Students and Workers Teach Republicans a Lesson in Solidarity

Another great example of how the liberal uc santa cruz machine brain washes its students. They want everyone to believe that $50,000 plus benefits is a pitiful wage, get real. I know many families that make half of that amount, with no benefits, they are the ones who are realy struggling not these crybaby drivers.
 

Re: Students and Workers Teach Republicans a Lesson in Solidarity

"I know many families that make half of that amount, with no benefits, they are the ones who are realy[sic.] struggling"

-chicano831

And what are you doing to help these people besides agreeing with college republicans on Internet sites?

You do realize that you are siding with the republicans with your argument. The same group that thinks that immigration laws should be stricter and that some of the families you mentioned should be deported to Mexico. The same group that wants to give tax cuts to the rich.

You do realize that these same students in the pictures would march with the families that you say you know that are really struggling. You do realize that the college republicans would protest against those same families. The minutemen at the border are not crazy liberals but rather crazy republicans.

Here's an idea chicano831. Organize a march for higher wages for the families that you know. Then look around and see who is standing with you and who is standing against you. If you think that the republicans would march with you and the bus drivers would march against you then you need to reevaluate who has been brainwashed.
 

Re: Students and Workers Teach Republicans a Lesson in Solidarity

"And what are you doing to help these people besides agreeing with college republicans on Internet sites?"

I have gone out and volunteered for organizations that actually make a difference such as VOTE, no kill shelters, and the salvation army.

My position against the union is more with the people displaced by the drivers strike than the college republicans. I do agree with the republicans/libertarians on many issues but to bottle all the individuals against the union as just college republicans, that is narrow minded thinking.

"You do realize that you are siding with the republicans with your argument. The same group that thinks that immigration laws should be stricter and that some of the families you mentioned should be deported to Mexico. The same group that wants to give tax cuts to the rich."

You are the one being the racist to assume that the working families I mentioned are all illegal. As for tightening immigration laws, the republicans have "some" valid points, such as the limited amount of resources available to any given population. Another reason would be to limit crime by those that are not the typical hard working mojados (i.e. hard core criminals).


"You do realize that these same students in the pictures would march with the families that you say you know that are really struggling."

well on this particular day they happened to believe that men and women who drive around in air conditioned buses are members of the oppressed. I have ridden those buses, they might be noisey and and smelling but to call that hard work, thats a slap in the face of those that actually do hard work for a living.


"Organize a march for higher wages for the families that you know."

psst buddy, marches have not worked effectively since the nineteen sixties, wake up, its the 21st century.
 

Re: Students and Workers Teach Republicans a Lesson in Solidarity

This is yet another liberal gathering that makes everyone who participates feel good, but doesn't do a damn thing.

The bottom line is that the bus drivers want money that isn't there. No amount of marching, no amount of temper tantrums, no amount of whimpering that $50k bus drivers are dowtrrodden is going to change the fact that the money isn't there.

You guys and gals are like watching a bunch of clown doing pratfalls. You are joke, and you don't even know it. WEhat you are doing is going to accomplish nothing.

The strikers wear t-shirts saying "Will strike if provoked." Gimme a break! $50k a year ($70k a year with overtime) and killer benefits is being provoked?!

You can't be serious.

What makes the UTU so laughabale is that actually ARE serious. Oh my god, what a joke!

If $50k isn't enough ($70k a year with overtime),then why don't you get a differnet job, or start a business. I tell you why. For most of you, you don't know what going to school means or what running a business means. You have been coddled in your taxpayer-supported baby cribs so long, you have completely lost touch with how the real world works. You are laughably clueless.

You wnat real workers? Look at most fo the people you selfish whiners left standing on the curbs. THOSE are real workers. THOSE are people who will never make nearly what you make, but can have a place at my dinner table anytime. They know what real work is.

What goes around comes around, and i think for you guys and gals of the UTU, your time may well be at hand.
 

Commentary Helpful

Thanks Josh, for providing the commentary for the photos. Earlier it was just photos.
 

Re: Students and Workers Teach Republicans a Lesson in Solidarity

From what little I know, the strike is not about higher wages. It is more about getting time off (ie saving the district money by having them hire more drivers who are not working overtime). The board threw out an agreement that would have allowed bus drivers to drop a day from an otherwise 5x10-12 hr or 50-60 hr work week. Plus, now that the board has shown bad faith by not adopting the interim agreement that both sides had their authorized reps agree to, to maintain the same contract thru June 2006 until a new contract can be negotiated, the drivers are on strike until a complete contract is negotiated.
 

Re: Students and Workers Teach Republicans a Lesson in Solidarity

"A reporter with UCSC's City on a Hill Press (and rumored to be a friend of the College Repubs) gets them to turn his way and pose. Apparently, the cutting of the Journalism program is always reaping wonderful results..."

Ah i see. So when it is one of your folks making a staged photo its all nice. But whats that? Someone said he might be a republican?! Well, then the witch hunt begins.

This whole article is a joke.
 

Re: Students and Workers Teach Republicans a Lesson in Solidarity

Oskar G. wrote: "So when it is one of your folks making a staged photo its all nice. But whats that? Someone said he might be a republican?! Well, then the witch hunt begins."

Unlike City on a Hill Press, The Santa Cruz Sentinel, or other mainstream media outlets, I make no claim to be 'objective.' Objectivity does not exist and any outlet that claims to be 'objective' is merely using another tactic to convince the public that their story is the 'truth.'

One of the purposes of my stories and photos are to show what the mainstream media will not. I was at the entire 12-2 rally on Thursday and watched the love affair between the mainstream press and the College Republicans (who were the vast minority at the event). If an independent photographer that documents the right-wing were to focus most of her/his attention on the Republicans, I'd have no problem with that. But when a media outlet that claims to be 'objective' does the same and sells it as "truth", I'll be damned if I'm not going to report it.
 

To: Chicano831

"I have gone out and volunteered for organizations that actually make a difference such as VOTE, no kill shelters, and the salvation army."

Sounds good to me. I just wish you would not use the past tense in that sentence.

"My position against the union is more with the people displaced by the drivers strike than the college republicans."

Police, fire, emergency workers, and all government employees have the right to go on strike. To help those affected by the strike I think a ride share program, bicycle use, and other far more creative measures can be used to help. You could try to help both sides of the strike come to a compromise. I see your point however, it help much much more to post stuff online. I feel like I'm accomplishing a lot already. I'll add "helped end bus strike by posting online" to my resume.

"I do agree with the republicans/libertarians on many issues but to bottle all the individuals against the union as just college republicans, that is narrow minded thinking."

The college republicans organized the rally. I didn't even say you were one. I said that you were siding with them on this issue. Did you read what I wrote? Here it is in case you forgot:

"You do realize that you are siding with the republicans with your argument. The same group that thinks that immigration laws should be stricter and that some of the families you mentioned should be deported to Mexico. The same group that wants to give tax cuts to the rich."

"You are the one being the racist to assume that the working families I mentioned are all illegal."

That's why I used the word all in my statement. Oh wait, I didn't use the word all. I used the word some. Again you need to actually read what I wrote.

Border issues tend to be a hot topic for Chicanos. If you would rather attack me personally than address the points I am making then the point I was making is undisputed.

"As for tightening immigration laws, the republicans have "some" valid points, such as the limited amount of resources available to any given population. Another reason would be to limit crime by those that are not the typical hard working mojados (i.e. hard core criminals)."

These two sentences might have made sense to you, but the lack of context for your statements make them thought fragments instead of actual arguments or points.

me:"You do realize that these same students in the pictures would march with the families that you say you know that are really struggling."

you:"well on this particular day they happened to believe that men and women who drive around in air conditioned buses are members of the oppressed. I have ridden those buses, they might be noisey[sic.] and and smelling but to call that hard work, thats a slap in the face of those that actually do hard work for a living."

I sure would be ashamed if I said that driving a bus is easier than for example strawberry picking. I'm glad I didn't make that comparison.

"Organize a march for higher wages for the families that you know."

"psst buddy, marches have not worked effectively since the nineteen sixties, wake up, its the 21st century"

I was using this as a mental exercise to help you understand where those pictured stand. If you read the next sentence, the one you selectively quoted and responded to, you would see that those that you lash out at would stand stand by your side in a struggle.

And I know it's the 21st century. Knowing that I post random rants online. I do this to distance myself from any actual action whatsoever just like you. At the end of the day we are so similar.
 

Re: Students and Workers Teach Republicans a Lesson in Solidarity

you gotta be out of your mind to think that city on a hill press was siding with the college republicans. CHP is a newspaper that covers newsworthy events, especially if they are in the vicinity of Santa Cruz. While everyday was busdrivers striking in solidarity with others, this was different and it warrented paying attention to. There is no mention here of the countless other articles CHP did supporting the bus drivers as well as shedding light on the situation in a form that the sentinel and other outlets were unable to grasp. And to call CHP a mainstream media outlet just adds on to the bullshit comments. Show me any campus newspaper in this country that is a mainstream media outlet . Please... i would like to see it. While i did not agree with the stance of the college republicans, they did bring up valid points about how many elderly and disabled citizens around santa cruz were just shit outta luck with this strike. Now that doesn't mean i side with the repubs, but isn't it nice to hear something other than what the "mainstream media" covers. What about this whole problem in relation to overpopulation in santa cruz. Perhaps the city's budget would be easier to handle if their weren't huge influxes of people coming in every year and adding on to what is becoming a waste of a town.
 

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