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Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

One of Santa Cruz's weekly papers - Good Times - recently published a cover story on UCSC's College Republicans. The story was effectively a press release for the organization, and a terrible piece of journalism. I just sent a letter to GT's editor, clarifying some information. See below:
Dec 5, 2005

College Republicans a Joke

Dear Good Times,

Your article on UCSC’s College Republicans was more like a 7-page Republican press release than it was decent journalism. You create the illusion that the College Republicans are on the up-and-up, while failing to see through their ridiculous hype. The Republicans claim that they have “315 students signed up,? while the organization itself can only get a handful of students out to a meeting – the most pictured in the article was 13. This is in stark contrast to other organizations on campus, such as the Student and Worker Coalition for Justice (SWCJ) or Students Against War (SAW), both of which regularly get over 50 students every week. The Republicans have been completely ineffective at actual organizing. They claim to support military recruiters, yet were nowhere to be seen as SAW organized the 300 students that kicked recruiters off campus on April 5. Little more than a week later, the Republicans opposed a strike by low-wage AFSCME workers, while the unions and the SWCJ got over 1,000 students out in the streets, physically shutting down the campus, helping AFSCME win a better contract. This fall, Republicans worked hard to organize a protest against striking metro drivers, only to find that more than two-dozen students from the SWCJ and MEChA marched circles around less than 10 Republicans. These Republicans are not thriving – they’re failing. Yet, the Good Times and the corporate media irresponsibly focus on them. In your article, 7 Republicans are quoted in depth, while the only “alternate? opinion is from the UCSC Democrats’ president – an organization that frequently has more in common with the Republicans than they do with mass organizations like SAW and SWCJ. It’s time for the media to stop encouraging these ineffective racist Republicans who say things such as “we need more black people on the front lines? and “they can shoot all the terrorists, easily spotted by their non-white skin,? – an organization founded by Matthew Cox - one of two frat kids charged by the D.A. for brutalizing a decade old fish. Stop encouraging them and start doing honest journalism.

Josh Sonnenfeld
Santa Cruz, CA

Some sources:

Over 300 students kicked military recruiters off UCSC – April 5
santacruz.indymedia.org/feature/display/17073/index.php

AFSCME wins new contract, especially due to SWCJ strike action
santacruz.indymedia.org/newswire/display/18032/index.php

College Republicans were opposed to AFSCME strike
chp.ucsc.edu/paper/campus/AFSCME_strike.txt

Republicans far outnumbered at Metro protest
santacruz.indymedia.org/newswire/display/18713/index.php

“give the drivers guns cause that way they can shoot all the terrorists, easily spotted by their non-white skin?
www.ucsccr.org/index.php

“We need more black people on the front lines!?
www.ucsccr.org/index.php

Matthew Cox - founding member of the College Republicans, who was one of the frat-boys that killed the fish
www.metroactive.com/papers/cruz/06.11.03/nuz-0324.html
 
 


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Comments

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

Well put, Josh. Your letter is a great lesson in the importance of knowing your history and the words of those who seek to disrupt the progressive movements. The UCSC College Republicans incriminate themselves by their own actions and words!

In my mind, the only redeeming value of the Good Times article was the revelation that the UCSCCR are financed by an outside group. I wonder who that might be...
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

Hey HM,

You mention that the College Republicans are financed by an outside group. I know that they receive a fair amount of money from the RNC, unlike the Democrats and of course other groups. Was there another outside group you noticed?

p.s. the above article would have been longer and better formated, but Good Times has a 350 word maximum.
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

How nice you guys are quoting your own plants on the site. It was not a CR who posted the comments about blacks on the frontlines, or the comment about terrorists. Just like the guy who was planted alongside them with a sign reading "kill the icky Iraqis" at the anti-recruitment rally. I love how you guys plant these people in so you can complain about something. Any time I see a complaint about racism by the CRs, it's in relation to a SAW or SWJC plant.

At leas they have the dignity to not strip your plants of their free speech rights, unlike you guys who try to take free speech rights away from anyone who disagrees with you.
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

who would waste their time reading college republicans website anyways? if the racist comments made weren't in line with the college republicans' attitude, why wouldn't they have deleted the comments? why was it that even when a person responded to the racist comment that "while we are at it we should also give the drivers guns cause that way they can shoot all the terrorists, easily spotted by their non-white skin," the responder, the college republicans webmaster, only said, "Bus drivers killing terrorists, are you crazy? They're on strike!!!" which effectively upholds the racist element of the statement, without a challenge of any sort.

lets not lie to ourselves. of course the republicans are racist. why would they be opposed to a strike by afscme - who are mostly workers of color paid poverty wages - while stay silent as white UC administrators who already make over $400,000 a year get pay raises?
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

Although I agree whole-heartedly with most of your letter, I do not believe that we can universalize the opinions of radicals or neo-cons for their respective parties, let alone statements authored by anonymous posters on a web site. Each side has its fair share of political caricatures that we must refrain from indulging.

"He not busy being born is busy dying."
~Bob Dylan
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

Indeed, political diversity at UCSC is indeed quite lacking... :) Something to be proud of!

"lets not lie to ourselves. of course the republicans are racist. why would they be opposed to a strike by afscme - who are mostly workers of color paid poverty wages - while stay silent as white UC administrators who already make over $400,000 a year get pay raises?"

Awesome! I agree, to take it a step further, if you're black and a republican you should be ashamed for not being a democrat - you traitor!
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

[sarcasm]

And of course, if Condi Rice gets elected president than racism and sexism will be eradicated in this country...

[/sarcasm]
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

But to get back to the real issue...the Good Times is boosting conservative groups and underrepresenting controversial, radical groups. I usually enjoy the articles about alternative life styles, gas shortage, organic farming and other good for you topics. I guess I'll have to read it more critically now. But I would imagine in the end that they answer to their conservative, business-minded sponsers. Free paper my big butt! I doubt they'll even print the letter. Maybe I should write one too...
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

to Good Times' credit, I actually received a prompt reply from their editor, who agreed to publish the letter.
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

If you actually have the time to protest, you're either not studying hard enough or you need to get a job on the side to learn the true value of hard work, not complain that some people aren't getting paid enough when you don't even work. Most of the people who attend protests tend to have nothing better to do. That's the impression I got when I talked to people who supported the Metro Drivers. I think a majority of UCSC students have better things to do then attend "feel good" rallies where nothing gets done anyway. Wow, a thousand students supported AFSCME! Big deal! How many students go to UCSC again? 16,000 - 17,000? In the end, none of these rallies really do anything but waste time. Tent University? where were all the people there? 400-500 people turned out....Huge showing, the only interesting thing about tent university is when students got batoned for continued obstruction of justice. All rallies have poor showings because rallies don't do anything constructive but just reaffirm ideas. Meanwhile, in the real world, some of us actually go to class to get our degree...
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

“lets not lie to ourselves. of course the republicans are racist. why would they be opposed to a strike by afscme - who are mostly workers of color paid poverty wages - while stay silent as white UC administrators who already make over $400,000 a year get pay raises??


So being opposed to a strike makes you a racist? This is just ridiculous. Would you rather Good Times print nonsense like this?

I think that Josh has missed the point of the Good Times piece, and that is that there is a growing Republican presence at UCSC. And sure, they may not get 50 kids to go to their pickets, but there is a greater level of sympathy for them than in recent memory.

If we want to talk about realities, we should all agree that an open forum of opinions is not accepted at the UCSC campus. I do not belong to the party, but the way SAW and SWCJ bully others into falling in line with their agenda. How can you folks really be pissed that the campus Republicans had a piece done about them? Its not like your events get no coverage in Santa Cruz.
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

I also find it funny than in this article that claims that the Good Times made unfair assumptions and characterizations of the Republican Party on campus, they used an image that states “Fuck College Republikkkans.? No unfair generalization there! Ah, the hypocrisy!
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

"If you actually have the time to protest, you're either not studying hard enough or you need to get a job on the side to learn the true value of hard work"

Odd that student organizers are some of the brightest students on campus, many of which work at least one job on the outside - some two or three - just to avoid even larger loans. If creating social change while being a full time student and working 20 hours a week isn't 'hard work,' than I'd urge you to tell us all how you spend your time - besides posting ill-informed messages on Indymedia.

"there is a growing Republican presence at UCSC."

The College Republicans have been at UCSC since 1970. After all these years, they can still only get a handful of students out to a meeting. Percent-wise, they may be increasing to a great degree, but that's only because going from 6 consistent members to 12 members is a big jump.

However, there are organizations that are growing MUCH QUICKER AND MUCH LARGER than the Republicans are. That's specifically why the Good Times' article is problemmatic - they act as if the Republicans are on some sort of dramatic rise, while the largest rise on campus is a rise in students' willingness to take direct action for justice. 1,000 students deciding to physically block both entrances to campus as a way of supporting striking workers is significant - no campus in the entire UC system (not even Berkeley or UCLA, which are MUCH larger) were able to get anything close to these numbers - and this was no petition, this was mass civil disobedience, showing an amazing level of commitment to justice at UCSC.

"Its not like your events get no coverage in Santa Cruz."

There's a very big difference between the way the corporate media portrays organizations like SAW and the SWCJ than they do the Republicans. At SAW and SWCJ mass nonviolent actions, they tend to pinpoint specific instances of vandalism or force, while wherever the Republicans show up, the media starts making wedding proposals. Even at SAW or SWCJ actions, the corporate media has been known to misrepresent student concerns, or not even quote students at all. This was the case in the Sentinel's coverage of the April 5th action that kicked military recruiters last year, where not a single protestor (of more than 300) was interviewed - only those opposed to the action. This reflects a bias on behalf of the corporate media, which is a major reason why SAW and SWCJ continue to use Indymedia as a way to speak for themselves.

"So being opposed to a strike makes you a racist? This is just ridiculous."

It's very possible and common for people to be racist, without identifying as such. A persons actions and voiced opinions make them racist or oppressive. While the Republicans do not say that they do not support low-wage AFSCME workers because the majority of them are people of color, their continued opposition to strikes represents both a classist and racist intermingling - as it suggests that for some reason, it is ok for white UC officials to receive upwards of $400,000 a year, while it is not ok for low-paid workers of color to receive a living wage. It may not be stated racism or stated classism, but its application becomes such.

Furthermore, it is not only the voiced opinions against strikes that construct College Republicans as racist, but their positions on other issues as well. I should also clarify that when I say College Republicans, I do not mean every single person, but rather their political platform that the Good Times article so clearly displayed as 'united.'
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

Josh, you are right in that the College Republicans do have low turnouts at their events and “counter-demonstrations.? What I meant by a growing presence is that there are more and more conservative students on campus who do not align themselves with the traditional left leaning groups UCSC is known for. You are right that SAW and other organizations can bring out a 1,000 protesters, but as long as I have been in and around Santa Cruz, there have always been about 1000 protestors. Their faces change over the years, but the banners and slogans don’t. And this is not meant as a jab against SAW: organizing any event beyond 6 individuals takes work. But because their rhetoric and groups like theirs keep using the language and tactics of the 60’s, a large portion of the student body doesn’t care. We need some new thoughts around here.

On that same note, as long as the College Republicans and their mouthpiece The Redwood Review (is this even still published? I have not seen it around in a good while…), continue to use the old and amateurish arguments they have in the last few years, they will have only a handful of vocal supporters.
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

And again, I think it is unfair and highly biased to believe that anyone who does not support the strike is racist. Having been an AFSCME member and an employee at the UC I think gives me at least the same right to speak out about their actions as anyone else.

It is wrong that the higher ups at the university get paid such massive salaries, but the reality is that the work that many in AFSCME does is in a highly competitive field. There are a lot of folks who want their jobs and who can do their jobs. That does not mean that the work they do is not valuable, but the University can only pay so much for their labor. There is a reason you get folks who stay in those jobs for decades, and that’s because they pay well and have good benefits.

Just because there are people of color in AFSCME does not disqualify them from having any kind of criticism for their actions. And I think too many have forgotten that.
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

"It's very possible and common for people to be racist, without identifying as such. A persons actions and voiced opinions make them racist or oppressive. While the Republicans do not say that they do not support low-wage AFSCME workers because the majority of them are people of color, their continued opposition to strikes represents both a classist and racist intermingling."

And therefore I could call you a racist if you supported welfare because I believe it keeps minorities impovrished.

These are OPINIONS! Just because I don't agree with someone I won't call them a racist, that's just imature and reveals a weak argument.
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

Dear Good Times Editor:

Please publish Josh Sonnenfeld's letter to the editor about your college Republicans article.

I see the angle of your article, that though Santa Cruz is seen as a liberal town, it is interesting to look at the conservatives here too. And I understand that from an editorial point of view, that an article about college Republicans is more interesting to readers than another article about progressive organizations.

However, I agree with Josh Sonnerfeld that though it might be "interesting" to know we have college Republicans on campus, it is a misrepresentation to say they are thriving, or to parrot their exagerated claims of success.

As an editor it is your important job to look critically at the information presented in the articles in the Good Times. And often enough, Good Times editors shirk good journalism by not digging deeply enough into a story.

Please publish Mr. Sonnenfeld's letter, included below for reference, in the letters section of the Good Times as soon as possible.

Thank you.

Wes Modes
Felton
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

Some republicans are the cops. I am opposed to these front lines! Wake up and smell the roses - republican!! I work at UCSC and I know this. Stop them now. Keep santa cruz weird.
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

"Some republicans are the cops. I am opposed to these front lines! Wake up and smell the roses - republican!! I work at UCSC and I know this. Stop them now. Keep santa cruz weird."

Huh?..
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

Lailo, that made about as much sense as a snow man in Salinas.
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

Quick note Josh - people might take you more seriously if you didn't cite articles you wrote yourself as sources. Also, I find it funny that you're making such a big fuss over this since you claim the College Republicans are so insignificant to begin with. If they really are as weak as you claim, this seems like an awful lot of effort on your part all things considered. It seems more to me like you're scared about how their group really is growing and are doing whatever you can to make it look like they aren't.

And the fact that you cited comments from their open web board is just sad. All it does is show that you're either too stupid to even comprehend something basic or too stupid to realize that everyone else can.
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

Of the 7 sources that I cited, only one was a piece that I submitted. Even then, it was more photos than articles - photos that clearly illustrated outnumbered Republicans, something that all those who were at the Metro protest can confirm for you.

I don't really think a letter to the editor is a 'big fuss,' especially when its just informational clarification and analysis. If you want to talk about an unneccessary 'big fuss' lets talk about the Good Times' 7 page article on an organization than can barely get twice that out to a meeting.

And if you had actually read my earlier comments, you would know that regardless of whether the racist poster on the College Republicans' website was a member or not, the fact that they were not challenged reflects something.

So what's your beef, Matt? Don't like your Republican buddies being challenged?
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

"by josh 05 Dec 2005
to Good Times' credit, I actually received a prompt reply from their editor, who agreed to publish the letter."

Hey josh, the next issue of Good Times came out and your letter to the editor was not published. Did their editor give you a reason for their choice?
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

My letter's in the most recent version of the Good Times. The cover is something about Christian rockers.
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

This is a little disingenuous. The two items quoted from www.ucsccr.org are comments from anonymous individuals and not statements by the College Republicans. Both comments appear to have been posted with the intent of damaging the College Republicans.

The Liberal student organizations can muster a larger crowd than a conservative one on the UCSC campus should be expected. It surprises me that Liberal organizations can only manage 50 attendees on a campus famous for its Liberal position.

As the original article implies, I think those who appreciate the current political climate should enjoy it while they can. As UCSC is required to expand to match California's growing population, UCSC is likely to see the political barometer finally swing more to the center.

Which will be a welcome relief from the current intolerance that plagues the campus.
 

Re: Letter sent to Good Times: College Republicans a Joke

It is a bit sad the author of the letter believes that the posts made on the CR website are the ideas and thoughts of the organization. Perhaps they were posted by a member, but it is highly doubtful.
 

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