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"the importance of imagining an alternative to the current order is not to lay down a precise programme for the future, but rather to provide a point of alterity or exteriority as a way of interrogating the limits of this order. Moreover, we should think of utopia in terms of action in the immediate sense, of creating alternatives within the present, at localised points…. Utopia is something that emerges in political struggles themselves." -Saul Newman

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since 2-25-11

 

On White Privilege

1) having white privilege doesn’t make you a bad person.  Not admitting you have privilege and then not working to educate other white folks on that privilege means you are NOT standing in solidarity with people of color/anti-racist work.  Period.

2) if you’re white, you benefit from society.  You have the luxury to walk through this world without judgment BASED ON the color of your skin.  You don’t have to change your vernacular and your body language around the cops or around possible employers.  You see people with similar body types consistently in the media.  You are never asked to speak on behalf of your entire race on issues.

3) White people do not have perfect lives.  White people have hardships.  So do people of color.  But white peoples’ hardships are not created because of their race.  People of color have hardships BECAUSE of their race.

4) White people can always walk away from a conversation about race and racism.  People of color cannot, they are reminded of their skin color and their “difference” every day.

5) White people can never fully understand what it is like to walk through the world as a person of color.

6) It is not a person of color’s responsibility to teach white folks about anti-racism and anti-racist work.  Being an ally and standing in solidarity means doing a lot of the work yourself.  Demanding it from PoC and then rationalizing away your ignorance is not only selfish, it’s another symptom of your privilege (see number 4).

7) Again, having white privilege doesn’t make you a bad person.  Being aware of your privilege and reflecting on it makes you a more considerate, awesome person.

8) Histories of colonialism, slavery, and genocide are very much alive and well.  And being from Western countries, we are all complicit in its continuation.  Only by acknowledging our privileges (I certainly have privilege in many other areas which I constantly reflect on) can we start to break down the violently racist systems that create our current world.

9) White privilege and reflecting on that privilege is a lifelong task.  You can never fully develop a tool kit or a set or “rules” to be completely anti-racist.  But approaching the ideal is the goal.

10) You are an awesome person for reading through all of this.  Now start reading and learning!

-Queer Insurrection

Equality California: Ethics, Pedagogy, Discourse, Praxis

Upon graduating from UC Irvine this past March, I managed to land a job with Equality California on my first day of job searching.  One of my awesome queer/trans activist friends hired me on the spot.  Since my commute would have been 1-2 hours each way (from Santa Ana to West Hollywood on some of the most congested freeways in the nation), my awesome friend also set me up with some community members to crash / couch surf with in LA so I could work without the intense commute.  They’ve been super awesome and supportive throughout my entire transition from student / theorist  / academic to someone in the labor force. I would probably be spinning in vertigo if it was not for this amazing creature. Thanks Steggie!

Equality California is the largest gay / LGBT(QQIA?) rights organization in the state, passing 85 pieces of pro-LGBT legislation within the last 13 years.  They are one of the few mainstream / homonormative organizations that I know of that doesn’t abandon trans folks, and that’s a major reason why I accepted the job at Equality California.  I had reservations about working at such a large (corporatized) non-profit because of my background in theory, but I reasoned that I could learn a lot from Steggie and folks at Equality California, who were experts on policy making and the “political” process.  Without much time to process my graduation from undergrad, the possibility of moving to Japan for a teaching gig, becoming (financially) independent from my family, some relationship drama, and more, I dove head first in to work.

After working for a month at the organization, I feel like I have a better sense of my politics surrounding the organization—this is why this post has been so delayed.  I’m still working through some ethical questions about the work that I do, mostly concerning the politics of money and fundraising as a form of political activism, but my thoughts on pedagogy, praxis, and discourse are materializing in my mind more clearly at the moment.  This post is meant to be an honest reflection on the ways in which homonormative non-profits are run and my own participation in them.  I do not intend to make moral claims about the organization, simply because I think any/all organizations and activist tactics have limitations in their effaciousness.  Rather, I believe that this reflection might be a way of navigating the complex discursive space of “post-grad” life that no amount of theory could prepare oneself for.  This is a messy process, so please bare with the murky coagulations.

My position is a canvasser.  Essentially, I go out in the public in front of grocery stores, shopping malls, and the like and have conversations with folks about Equality California, our current campaigns, and hopefully getting folks involved on a monetary or volunteer level.  The emphasis is almost completely on financial contributions in order to fund the organization and some outreach programs we have been developing to “change the hearts and minds” of Californians towards pro-equality.  I’ll spare the details because they are relatively unimportant for this post, but I do think that Equality California is doing great work in changing the political / discursive landscape by having one-on-one, intimate conversations with folks about queer/trans politics.

The first thing that surprised me about Equality California (and I would soon find that this also applied to other large homonormative organizations) was that it is run by an overwhelming number of straight folks / allies.  I thought my hasty assumption that gay orgs were run by (normative) gay folks was a given, but I was incredibly mistaken.

This presents some problems.  One of the most obvious problems with this might be best explained by an example and how it manifested itself.  We, at the Los Angeles office, have the only field team that actually talks to the public.  Folks like myself are the face of the organization for the general “public,” we average around 20 conversations per canvasser a day and empower folks to get involved on a level that they feel comfortable.  Most folks that I encounter have never heard of the organization, even though we are the largest gay rights org in California.  Why is that?  If the community that we (claim to) represent doesn’t even know who we are, are we fairly representing them?  That is, are we detached from the communities that we are serving?  This signals two things, it signals the importance of the work that we as canvassers do in involving folks with an organization that represents their interests, and it also signals the failure of Equality California in producing a space where the community feels engaged, involved, active, and represented.

What is motivating so many straight folks (white males) to spend a great deal of their resources on pro-LGBT legislation while simultaneously spending minimal resources on the folks who build a community of leaders, volunteers, allies, and activists?Why do straight folks (white males) feel so invested within a gay rights organization while wanting to detach from the very communities they are representing?  The gesture of wanting to defund the canvassing teams that do all of this community organizing work is startling, to say the least.  The gesture, to me, demonstrates the ways in which the non-profit industrial complex functions.  To do work for a community without involving that community in the process of the work shatters any argument of humbleness or accountability to that community.  It’s an unwillingness to forsake some power in defining a “gay movement” to the community out of a fear of not getting what you want, what you envisioned, or what you hope to gain.

When I saw my co-workers constantly stressing over making a quota, I felt incredibly uncomfortable surrounding the politics of fundraising as a form of political activism.  I kept telling myself that fundraising was opening doors to other forms of activism, other ways to organize within my ethical bounds.  But I started to realize that it was this strange existentialist hamster wheel crisis.  A dog chasing a bone dangling in front of his face.  We were all working in a system dominated by straight white males who don’t prioritize community spaces, community organizing, and building critical thinkers—which would all challenge their privilege, their positions, and their power.

I don’t think I’m the only one to realize this.  Once I hit this realization, however, I recognized that the work that I was doing in this space needed to shift from a model of radicalization to a model of community solidarity.  I wasn’t in there to produce theory and (radical) critiques of homonormativity—which are still useful in and of themselves.  My purpose there is to show folks the importance of community organizing, solidarity, active listening, and giving the marginalized a voice within the gay rights movement.  And this subtle—yet crucial—shift in my relationality to the organization has been making all of the difference in the world.  I’m learning, and I’m teaching folks how to be critical of the work that they do (the radicalization), but I’m also emphasizing the ways in which our presence in the “public” operates as moments of quotidian disruption, as moments of empowerment that sow the seeds of political affiliations / coalitions.  I’m showing how powerful grassroots organizing from the root, from the base, can be.  And this praxis shift has led me to a new hope for the organizing that I am able to do within this homonormative space.  This is what radical means for me at this moment, a pedagogy of the oppressed, a praxis of community solidarity, and a discourse of empowerment that acknowledges the ways in which we are always able to speak back to power, speak back to the dominance that pervades our lives.

There is hope.  At a training on Tuesday with many of the largest gay organizations in the state, I was able to make some productive critiques that were well received.  Folks of color are organizing across the state within these large homonormative organizations, and we are now more connected than ever.  Radical thinkers (from cultural studies, women studies, and the like) and community organizers are growing within the ranks of the homonormative elite.  I am excited about my work in an entirely new way.  

Reflection on privilege, theory, and activist spaces.

hefox:

queerinsurrection:

I see a lot of discussions on tumblr about privilege, most notably the binary between the oppressors and the oppressed.  The Internet provides a space for many silenced voices to be heard, which provides an ambivalent space for me to navigate as a feminist, queer, radical, person of color.

I’m just going to be blunt and cut the jargon.

We need to fucking heal together.

Fighting amongst each other in semantics battles and screaming at each other only does work to divide us.

Have we forgotten the teachings of Audre Lorde?  Our differences are our strengths, let it inform our activism and guide our words.

Here’s the thing about privilege: it’s unearned.  That’s right, privilege isn’t something that people ask for, nor is it something to feel guilty about.  What’s important is that you understand that your position, your unearned advantages, create limitations and boundaries, whether it’s epistimological (knowledge-based) or material.  This means you aren’t going to know a whole lot of shit about other positions because you haven’t experienced them, and never will.  Meaning, if we want to heal together and move forward, we have to be open to the idea that we don’t know and therefore, should listen to each other so that we can learn and grow.

In feminist ethics and post colonial studies, giving equal weight to all voices has become incredibly important, especially to the disenfranchised subject.  Theory has often been a site of empowerment for disenfranchised people(s)—people of color, queer and trans folk, poor people—but in my experience, theory doesn’t heal.  Theory allows you to articulate the fucked up shit that you’ve known all along, how unfair it is to be targeted by the police, glares and stares of strangers, assumptions made about you in relationships with others, etc.  But theory doesn’t give you what you need to heal those wounds, it empowers you to find ways to do that.

One of the best ways to heal that I’ve found has been through community building and finding intimate connections with other people: intellectually, spiritually, physically, and emotionally.  However (I’m guilty too), often times arguments over privilege, policing of language (that’s racist, that’s abelist, therefore you’re a horrible person conversations), and elitist theories can turn community building / healing spaces in to violent spaces.  I think these battles and arguments about privilege often create tension and animosity between groups that should be learning and growing from/with each other.

We all want to change the fucked up status quo.  Let’s start with something we can manage: the spaces we create, the relationships we have each other, and the connections that we build.  Yelling and screaming at each other about being privileged (white, cis, abel-bodied) or trying to defend one’s privileged position to legitimize themselves in spaces (thus erasing a lot of violent experiences of others) are counter-productive to the healing that we all need to do before we can tackle the behemoth of the fucked up world we live in.  Listen to each other, let our different privileges and experiences inform knowledges about ourselves, and let’s do our best to create our utopian visions of an anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic world in our community building efforts.

THIS is what my disorganized thoughts have been trying to voice (well, more detialed). We gotta stop fighting to get anyway.

Was thinking of an example earlier. Two people are walking in a field where they will direct walk into other. Both have been walking like that without troubles and are “right” to be walking that way. In order not to crash, either one of them has to move aside, or either has to move halfway aside. If one of them is forced to move aside alone, that one will feel resentment because they had to change for the other, but the other didn’t. If both move aside, it will be more equal. If neither moves, they crash and cannot continue.

reblogging an old post of mine because I see a lot of discussions of privilege-shaming or oppression olympics going around tumblr.

Queer Under All Conditions #4 Call for Submissions

queerunderallconditions:

QUAC is an Orange County (UCI)-based zine project dedicated to archiving and distributing queer/trans voices, histories, experiences, knowledge(s), and survival tactics in the face of violent silencing within public space and dominant culture.  As QUAC has become more established within the zine and queer/trans community, we’ve seen the growth and development of certain aesthetics, most notably anger, militancy, and rage.  These three aesthetics have functioned in multiple ways throughout QUAC, but we’ve found that the pieces that center these elements in their work are some of the most effective / thought-provoking pieces that start conversations and build community solidarity.  We, the editors, realize that there are often very few places queer and trans folk can publish angry / militant / raging things.  As social justice minded activists and organizers (in our own ways), we recognize that there are a lot of fucked up things in the world to be angry about, and for many of us, this anger can become destructive if it is not given the proper outlet.  As such, QUAC aims to become a space for this anger, to both “vent” a little bit, and to build a community in solidarity with the struggles of our complex and diverse community(s).

potential ideas for material include, but are not limited to: 

  • Uses of Anger:  How do you navigate (your) anger?  In what ways has anger been productive?  Destructive?  What constitutes productive/destructive anger?
  • Coping mechanisms:  Often times, our organizing work is against structures that have been in existence for hundreds of years (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc.).  Fighting battles that you cannot win within the next few days / weeks / months / years is physically, mentally, and spiritually tiring.  In what ways have you learned to navigate this?  How do you cope with the (violent) things occurring around you and your community(s)?
  • Queer militancy:  The queer and trans movements blossomed out of radical liberationist movements of the 50s and 60s.  However as we’ve seen, this liberationist framework has been obscured by more (homo)normative / liberal frameworks of thinking since the marriage equality movement of the early 90s.  In what ways are militancy and queerness linked, historically, epistemologically, and ontologically?  In what ways has a queer militancy resisted / subverted hetero/homonormativity?  How do you navigate your own queer militancy, or why do you refuse a queer militancy standpoint?
  • Erasure:  In what ways have you experienced erasure?  We’ve noticed that a lot of anger / rage stems from a politics of visibility.  What is at stake for the silent / erased?  Can anger / rage break this silence?
  • Triggers:  What triggers your anger, rage, and/or your militancy?  When you recognize these triggers or possibilities of these triggers, what do you do pre-emptively?  How have you created spaces with these triggers in mind?  How can we create safer spaces, using our own experiences with anger and violence as insight?
  • Responses to anger:  How do you respond to anger and frustration?  How do you de-escalate situations?  How productive is anger for you?

As mentioned above, please do not feel that submissions need to be restricted to or specifically answer these questions. QUAC is interested in hearing as many different voices as possible, in whatever form or on whatever topic they choose to speak. If in the process of writing your piece unfolds into something else and deviates from the questions above, we’d still love to take a look. If you have an older piece which you think might be relevant to this issue (or not, hey, we’ll read it anyway) please feel free to submit it, too.

QUAC has always had a commitment to local artists, poets, and musicians—we would love to have your work in the next issue.  Please aim to have finalized submissions emailed to us by March 1st, 2012 at QueerZineUCI@gmail.com

Included in your submission, please include the name that you would like to be printed under, contact information (email, blog, website, etc.)  for our readers, and any other information that you would like to be printed alongside your submission.  Also, please include a current mailing address so that the editors can send you a complimentary copy of the fourth issue as a thanks for helping out with the project :]!

Also, the QUAC editors always need help with layouts and collages, if you would like to participate in a zine-making / background-making session, please email or message the editors.

The best way to stay up to date with the project is to (continue to) follow us on tumblr and “like” the facebook page.

We greatly appreciate all of the time and effort of the contributors, fellow zinesters, friends, and supporters of the project.

We greatly anticipate your work, comments, suggestions, and love.

In solidarity:
QUAC Editors

(Please reblog and repost elsewhere to spread the word.  If on tumblr, please reblog as text please so the whole post shows!  Thank you kindly!  :])

please forward this widely!  this zine is not restricted to folks who live in Orange County.  The blog also has the 3 previous issues online free for download!

Please sign and forward out widely the Open Letter to Defend CA Public Education:

This Open Letter is an indispensable tool to reverse the attacks on public education in California. It gives the authorities an ultimatum: either cede to our demands or we will begin a massive wave of actions beginning on February 1, 2012.

Please help us gather hundreds of thousands of signatures, including from all major labor, student, and community organizations, by forwarding this out widely. Moreover, please begin organizing on the ground to make February 1, 2012 the start of the largest, most united, and most powerful wave of actions California has yet seen.

(This Open Letter was first adopted by the Nov. 15 General Assembly of Occupy Cal, the largest GA in the history of the U.S. Occupy movement, with more than 5,000 students, faculty, and campus workers. For more information, contact caloccupation@gmail.com )

——-

http://www.change.org/
 petitions/ open-letter-defend-ca-public-education


Open Letter to the State Government, UC Regents, CSU Trustees, and All Education Administrators

Quality public education is a basic human right, not a privilege. We call on you to publicly declare your support for the following:

1) Stop cuts to public education. Reverse the fee hikes, layoffs, and cuts in all levels of public education to at least their 2009 levels.

2) Refund education and public services by taxing the rich and the corporations.

3) Fully implement affirmative action to stop the re-segregation of public education. Overturn Proposition 209.

4) Respect free speech and free assembly. No use of force against protesters on school sites.

If you fail to issue such a statement, and if you fail to take concrete actions in this direction, we will begin a wave of actions, up to and including strikes by some groups that are part of our movement, beginning on February 1, 2012 to ensure that our demands are met.

We call on all California students, teachers, workers, and their organizations to sign this Open Letter and to organize and mobilize around it at their sites and in their communities.

Dan Savage Glittered Again, Student Arrested

On November 9th, Dan Savage was the recipient of a “glitter bomb” stunt for the second time this month so far. He was continuing his MTV tour at University of California Irvine. One of the students involved in the stunt was grabbed by the police and arrested.

According to my source at the event, Savage was in the middle of answering a question from a student who was wondering if her boyfriend was a freak because he watched porn featuring trans women. Savage suggested that her boyfriend was a freak, while freely using the terms “shemale” and “freaky tranny porn.” That is when two individuals ran up and threw glitter on him yelling “Transphobe!” Someone from the MTV tech crew muttered “Oh, not again!” Savage laughed it off and said that being gay he loves glitter.

Later, when another student was asking him about the incident, Savage answered, “I’m used to it.”

Savage’s use of the terms “tranny” and “shemale” are a minor part of the complaints being lodged against him, however, the use of those slurs is the most visible and most discussed part of them. Savage has claimed that he was transphobic 15 years ago but isn’t anymore, however, if that is true than why would Dan choose to use those same derogatory slurs knowing how much anger it draws from the trans community and so soon on the heels of the first glitter stunt?

Was he being antagonistic or just oblivious?

Considering that he is being called transphobic so frequently that he now says he is “used to it,” it’s hard to understand how he can continue to see himself as a spokesperson for the LGBT community rather than solely a gay spokesperson. Especially when he apparently has begun bringing police to his events to protect him from the community he claims to represent.

It’s worth noting that as far as I can tell activists from previous glitter stunts have not been arrested or faced charges, including those targeting Karl Rove, Michelle Bachman, and Newt Gingrich. It is not clear if Savage requested charges be pressed or if local police are pressing charges on their own initiative, but if he allows charges to be pressed on his behalf, it will be extremely disappointing if he is less capable of handling glitter-based criticism than the conservatives that had previously been the target of it.

After the first glitter stunt, many reported on the fact that it was being used to criticize a gay man, calling it a queer-on-queer glitter bombing. Unlike previous glitter bomb stunts, the message was clearly based on anti-trans actions rather than anti-gay ones. In this light, calling it a queer-on-queer would be akin to calling Michele Bachman a target of a white-on-white glitter bombing. The shared identities are besides the point, Bachman’s glitter bombing was not about whiteness and Savage’s glitter bombing was not about gayness.

There is still significance in the fact that gay and trans communities are supposed to be in coalition together and that infighting can damage that coalition. However, for those concerned about infighting, it is vitally important to see the whole picture and acknowledge Savage’s anti-trans actions as unprovoked infighting that this is responding to.

As a movement, we have to be able to criticize our allies or else they are not really allies. That doesn’t mean beating upon them like a punching bag as a way to vent our frustration with the world. That doesn’t mean the good things they are doing don’t count. It’s not about who they are deep inside or their value as a human being. It just means that something they did was unacceptable and has to change.

It was hard not to notice all the cis (non-trans) people rushing to defend Savage’s transphobic actions and argue that he should be free to continue them. In many cases, this was based on an appreciation of the good work he has done with only a minimal understanding of the complaints against him.

As our community has a conversation around this issue, I would suggest that those who consider themselves allies to trans people and feel the urge to aggressively defend Savage may benefit by prioritising listening to trans people’s voices on the matter. And it goes without saying that no weight should be given to those who do not consider themselves allies to trans people and insist on telling trans people that their concerns are not valid.

Update: Dan Savage has responded via text message to Joe My God. He dismisses the criticism against him as “ridiculous” and notes that he was only mirroring the language a cis audience member was using and did mention that “some people have a problem with it.”

It is disappointing that he continues offer excuses and be unwilling to listen to the concerns of the trans community. It was that unwillingness to listen that prompted activists to resort to these stunts to the community’s attention. As I note in a comment below, if a white audience member used a racial slur, that would not be an excuse for him to nonchalantly use the slur after mentioning that “some people have a problem with it.” It should not be an adequate excuse here, either.

______________________________________________

It’s also very important to note that UCI has a violent history with the police.  Please see issues with the Irvine 11 and the Irvine 19 for more details (linked below). 

UCPD Stage fake occupation

Irvine 11 Sentenced

Chalking events at UCI

White-Washed Faggot

This is a piece I wrote in response to a conversation that I had with another POC activist at UCI.  It is published in QUAC, a zine that is published and distributed in the Orange County, California area.  PS:  apologies for the lack of my original writings on this blog, I’ve been writing very personal poetry and prose that I’m not comfortable sharing in such a public venue lately.  I hope to write more once the current term is over.  Thanks for keeping up with the blog, I appreciate having such an awesome cohort of followers who engage the intersections of queerness and radicalism simultaneously with vigor, passion, and love.

————————————————————————————————

I am trembling: I write this piece from a place of pain.

I must not be the only one feeling like this.

“You’re so white-washed.  4th generation?  You might as well be white” a fellow UCI activist told me who worked on “people of color” issues (self-proclaimed).  Since I am a racial majority on campus as an Asian-American, the assumption was that I didn’t experience structural violence the same magnitude that they did—in fact, they would say that I didn’t experience racism at all.

As if the process of “white-washing” wasn’t a violence I was struggling with.

As if my family’s blood-thirsty assimilation in to the United States for a better life, leaving me with no ties to my heritage wasn’t a violence I was struggling with.

As if my grandparents thrown in to internment camps wasn’t a violence that has left a legacy of US colonialism and imperialism for me to navigate.

As if both of my grandparents working minimum wage jobs to support families of 6 in the post Chinese Exclusion Act and Proposition 187 era wasn’t a violence (and expectation that I must do better) that was then mapped on to me.

As if slurs like “ching chong ching chong” and “go back to where you came from Oriental” don’t violently exhibit rampant xenophobia.

As if the violent impulse to assimilate and thus copy heteronormative (patriarchical) family structures aren’t violent upon my socialization processes, that I am constantly working to undo.

As if the hyper-feminization and hyper-sexualization / asexualization of the Asian body wasn’t something I had to navigate constantly.

As if being identified as “exotic” and “submissive” doesn’t violently effect my experiences in queer (white) spaces.

As if the silence around sexuality within Asian communities didn’t violently alter my self conception of my queerness.

As if HIV and AIDS and poverty isn’t a huge problem within Asian communities.

The list goes on.

“Read for the silences, and listen for the echoes” my mentor said.

I don’t know why that sticks with me, but it does.  I suppose that somewhere within that silence is the disconnect I feel, an intellectual dysphoria plaguing my mind as I sit in the corner of community meetings, women studies classrooms, queer / trans spaces, and the halls of my mind.  That silence speaks to the feeling of longing for a validation, a recognition of myself within the theories, within the spaces and between the lines.

I rarely (if ever) see an analysis of the queer asian body or hear the topic being discussed explicitly while I’ve been at UCI.  All I have is an umbrella term: people of color, the assumption being that all non-white subjects have the same experience, the same racism(s), the same goals.

If queer theory taught me anything, general blanket statements should send off a red flag in your mind: no groups have homogenous experiences, sameness is impossible.  So why is it that I continue to hear the term “people of color” used colloquially over and over again, without an acknowledgement of Asian bodies?  Why is it that I rarely encounter queer Asian literature, philosophy, and theory until I actively seek it out on my own?  Do I have to take a class on Asian American sexuality to learn about it?  Why is there a silence surrounding queer and asian identities at UCI?

What’s at stake in using the term “people of color” without actually acknowledging the differences between the multiple communities represented?  For me, it has been an emptiness, for my other (queer) Asian brothers and sisters who aren’t as privileged, it is most likely far more violent.  My intent is not to make an argument that my experience with violence, racism, homophobia, (sexism?) is worse or more oppressive than other identities.  My point is that this myth of a “model minority” and the umbrella term “people of color” leave blindspots in the conceptualizing and activist work that we (need to) do.

My experience at UCI within activist and intellectual spaces has been a generally positive one, something that has empowered me to engage in a lifetime struggle towards social justice for all.  However, it wasn’t until I haphazardly stumbled upon a Queer and Asian (theory) book in the library that I started to understand my discomfort with the (silence on the) intersectionality of my identities and the term “people of color” as an umbrella term.  How many others have not had this privilege?

Violence is silence.  Violence is neglect.  And although I tremble, I speak.  I raise my voice for the thousands of my Asian brothers and sisters who are unable to speak back to authority figures, who are unable to have an opinion not in line with their parents, who are unable to explore other ways of being and loving, who are discounted as privileged subjects in the face of Orientalism and colonialism.

“and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard 
nor welcomed 
but when we are silent 
we are still afraid 
So it is better to speak 
remembering
we were never meant to survive” 

-Audre Lorde

Pay attention UC students/faculty/workers!

weareuci:

Did you know?

-Tuition at the UC has more than doubled since 2000, from less than $5,000 to over $12,000—and that’s about to go up.

-If fees are raised 16% per year for the next four years (as speculated at the September Regents meeting), today’s freshmen would pay about $21,800 in 2015 for their senior year at the UC.

-Qualified California residents are being turned away in order to make room for out-of-state and international students who pay $36,000/year.

-The ratio of students to TAs has increased dramatically in recent years, fewer classes are offered each quarter, and departments and programs across campus that emphasize community and accessibility have seen their budgets slashed.

-The UC will continue to lose its best faculty as it is unable to offer competitive salaries or a supportive work environment.

-That UCI will need to cut $54 million from its operating budget for the 2011-2012 school year?  That’s the equivalent of one year of financial aidfor 3,865 undergrads. 

 -That these costs come in part from a 76% increase in administrators, “professionals,” and managersover the last ten years, with only a 24%increase in spending for what affects students most — faculty and instructors?

-That Student Loan debt now tops $1 trillion?

 Is the state broke?

California’s Gross Domestic Product has more than doubled since 1987, rising from about $803 billion to $1.9 trillion in 2010. Per capita income has grown steadily since 1959. (numbers adjusted for inflation at 2005 levels). California has the 8th largest economy in the world. However, state funding for the UC declined 50% between 1970 and 2005, (well before the current recession). Per student state funding has decreased from $16,430 in 1970 to $7,570 in 2009-2010. While California’s incomes and output have grown, the state has chosen to defund California’s universities.

Is the UC broke?

Yes and no. While state funding for the UC has been cut sharply in the last few years, mismanagement by UC Administrators and Regents has worsened the impacts of these cuts and squandered workers’ pensions. While the UC administration has been laid off workers, watched faculty positions go unfilled, and cut services, it has added senior managers. There are now more senior managers than professors (and this does not include adjuncts, lecturers, and graduate student instructors). The UC Regents regularly approve millions in 20-25% raises for these executives at meetings where they also raise tuition. This costs about $600 million a year.

But you’ll get a higher paying job and pay off those loans soon enough, right?

The total US student debt has doubled since 2005—to $1 trillion this year. The average debt for a college graduate is $24,000. While tuition for the UC has doubled since 2000, the national average earnings for college graduates is down by 11%.

Why should everyone care about the defunding of higher education?

A high rate of college education provides economic and social benefits to society as a whole—including to those who have not attended college. The UC generates $46.3 billion annually in economic activity for California. For every $1 invested in the UC, the university produces the support and innovation for $14 in overall economic output. Higher educational attainment leads to higher incomes, more tax revenue, and less demand for social services. Higher rates of education are correlated with greater economic equality, lower crime rates, and higher rates of political participation. Most importantly, quality, accessible education and an informed citizenry are essential to a functioning democracy.


The Budget Crisis affects not just individuals, but entire UCI communities - and the student groups that support them. Join the UC Tumblr to lend your group’s voice; share how you have been affected by the budget cuts degrading the quality of your public education. Take a picture of you or your group with a sign describing the challenges you face and send it to us at: 

Nov9MediaUCI@googlegroups.com. Please keep attachments to 4 MB or under.

Of you can click here to submit directly on tumblr!

Click here to go to the Facebook event for the November 9th Rally (Noon at the flagpoles at UCI)

weareuci:

“Dear UCI:
You detained me for chalking on campus, something I could freely do in grade school, arrested some of my best friends, charged me more for huge impersonal classes and a degree with no guarantee of a future than I can ever pay back.  Am I UCI?  If I am, then I am a place where I have felt repressed, afraid to speak my mind and stand up for what I believe in, but also a place which I love, which has so much more to offer than a BA and research opportunities.”
Budget Cut Information and Call for ImagesSubmit your own image!
Clicking on the image will take you to the November 9th Rally Facebook Page for UCI

weareuci:

“Dear UCI:

You detained me for chalking on campus, something I could freely do in grade school, arrested some of my best friends, charged me more for huge impersonal classes and a degree with no guarantee of a future than I can ever pay back.  Am I UCI?  If I am, then I am a place where I have felt repressed, afraid to speak my mind and stand up for what I believe in, but also a place which I love, which has so much more to offer than a BA and research opportunities.”

Budget Cut Information and Call for Images
Submit your own image!

Clicking on the image will take you to the November 9th Rally Facebook Page for UCI

weareuci:

Dear UCI,
I have watched:
Police become more violent
Discussion sizes go up.
Quality of classes decrease
(Chancellor) Drake refuse to treat workers with respect and dignity
I have seen peaceful student protest criminalized WHILE administrator malfeasance goes unpunished.
EDUCATE.  AGITATE.  OCCUPY.
Budget Cut Information and Call for ImagesSubmit your own image!
Clicking on the image will take you to the November 9th Rally Facebook Page for UCI
 

weareuci:

Dear UCI,

I have watched:

  • Police become more violent
  • Discussion sizes go up.
  • Quality of classes decrease
  • (Chancellor) Drake refuse to treat workers with respect and dignity
  • I have seen peaceful student protest criminalized WHILE administrator malfeasance goes unpunished.

EDUCATE.  AGITATE.  OCCUPY.

Budget Cut Information and Call for Images
Submit your own image!

Clicking on the image will take you to the November 9th Rally Facebook Page for UCI

 
weareuci:

“We moved off campus because it’s too expensive to live where we work and study.  Our student debt totals over $84,000 (and counting)”
Budget Cut Information and Call for ImagesSubmit your own image!

fancy.

weareuci:

“We moved off campus because it’s too expensive to live where we work and study.  Our student debt totals over $84,000 (and counting)”

Budget Cut Information and Call for Images
Submit your own image!

fancy.

UC (Irvine) BUDGET CRISIS

weareuci:

                                                         

Did you know … 

  • That UCI will need to cut $54 million from its operating budget for the 2011-2012 school year?  That’s the equivalent of one year of financial aid for 3,865 undergrads. 
  • That the UC Regents are considering a 16% increase in fees each year until 2016, raising undergraduate tuition to $22,068 by 2015? 
  • That these costs come in part from a 76% increase in administrators, “professionals,” and managersover the last ten years, with only a 24% increase in spending for what affects students most — faculty and instructors?  
  • That Student Loan debt now tops $1 trillion?

The Budget Crisis affects not just individuals, but entire UCI communities - and the student groups that support them. Join the UC Tumblr to lend your group’s voice; share how you have been affected by the budget cuts degrading the quality of your public education. Take a picture of you or your group with a sign describing the challenges you face and send it to us at:  

Nov9MediaUCI@googlegroups.com. Please keep attachments to 4 MB or under.

Of you can click here to submit directly on tumblr!

Click here to go to the Facebook event for the November 9th Rally (Noon at the flagpoles at UCI)

Please reblog as text, not as a link so that the whole post shows!  Spread this far and wide, especially if you know students in the UC system!

Welcome to the Occupations

lareviewofbooks:

BEN EHRENREICH on Occupy Los Angeles

and JASPER BERNES, JOSHUA CLOVER, and ANNIE McCLANAHAN
on percentages, politics, and the police.

Woman Detained cc Paul Weiskel
BEN EHRENREICH

Uprising

They are occupying Riverside! They’re occupying Oakland and Omaha and Iowa City and Sacramento and Denver and Miami and Kalamazoo and and Hartford and Philadelphia and Buffalo and Austin and San Antonio and Fort Wayne, Indiana! On Tuesday morning, police in Boston arrested 141 protesters. This week cops made mass arrests in Des Moines, grabbing 30 in one swoop, plus 25 in Chicago, 11 in San Francisco, six in DC, another 21 in Seattle last week, and those 700 on the Brooklyn Bridge. Torrance is under occupation!

What a difference a month can make. Until September 17, 2011, I was buzzing along in my usual slow, steady state of localized political despair. In Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Bahrain, people had been risking and losing their lives, demanding to play a role in the construction of their own societies. And it was clear enough, if you paid attention, that they were rising up not just against particular dictatorships but against the local manifestations of a global economic system that had for decades been concentrating wealth in fewer and fewer hands, privatizing all public goods, tossing everything into the market and dicing it up into speculation-ready bits. The Greeks took to the streets, too — and the Chileans, the Italians, the Spanish, the French, the Irish, the British, the Icelanders. The forty-years-and-running neoliberal transfer of public wealth to private coffers was everywhere becoming too brutal and too brazen to ignore. While mouthing the now nearly universal rhetoric of “shared sacrifice,” governments were feeding billions directly to the banks. And people across the planet were showing them exactly what they were willing to sacrifice — their freedom, their lives — to stop the looting.

Everywhere but here. In the U.S., it seemed that Milton Friedman’s jolly acolytes had colonized (occupied, even) not only the halls of power but our very imaginations, locking us into solitary suffering, cutting off all possibility of even envisioning some collective response. Politics was for politicians — and for those who could afford to buy one. Even the fleeting, expiatory pleasures of a good riot seemed beyond us. We were pissed, surely and righteously, but beyond voting-booth fetishism, online griping, and The Secret, what options did we have? The jackals in Congress wouldn’t listen anyway. They had their orders. Better to stay home, avoid the mailman while there still was one to avoid, and pray that the Law of Attraction kept functioning long enough to keep the cable and the Internet on.

It took the Canadians, in the end, to snap us out of it. I didn’t know Adbusters was still around, but a few people did, and they began to gather in a tiny park in lower Manhattan near a certain street with a famous name, a name that spoke, appropriately, of exclusion, fortification, enclosure. There were not many people out there at first, but there were enough, apparently, to make certain other people nervous. People of the exclusive, enclosed and well-fortified variety. For the next two weeks, the mainstream press kept a studious silence while Mayor Bloomberg and the New York Police Department did everything they could to turn an isolated protest into a rapidly growing movement. Every blast of pepper spray, every baton blow to the gut, every protester beaten and dragged away on YouTube made it clear what the stakes were, and who was on what side. While the slogan of the moment — “We are the 99 percent” — can be faulted for eliding enormous differences of class, race and privilege among us masses of non-billionaires, billy clubs and zip-tie cuffs have a funny way of forging solidarity. The fallen and falling middle class is swiftly learning what the poor have known for too long: that the rich protect their wealth with violence and the state exists to help them do it. Like the picket signs say: “Screw us and we multiply.”

Read More

highly recommended book!  awesome introduction to queer theory, critical race theory, homonormativity, prison abolitionism, social constructionism, and structural oppression in extremely accessible (yet only slightly reductive) terms.  pass it along!  

highly recommended book!  awesome introduction to queer theory, critical race theory, homonormativity, prison abolitionism, social constructionism, and structural oppression in extremely accessible (yet only slightly reductive) terms.  pass it along!