“It’s hard to talk about history, when you’re in it…”

This was easily one of the most profound messages I took away from a recent talk by Angus Johnston, a professor at CUNY and historian of student activism. Speaking to an audience of student organizers from across the US this past Saturday, Johnston explained that the history of student movements that he studies is being written constantly, every day, with the incredible work of youth activists all over the US and all over the world. He sees the movement with the birds-eye view of both a former student organizer and current author of the blog studentactivism.net.

Tomorrow is March 4th. And history is being written.

March 4th has been designated a National Day of Action to Defend Education by student and worker organizations in California and other states. Well over 100 different actions are planned across the country in over 32 states, raising awareness and acting to defend the interests of workers and students from increasing privatization of education and rising tuition.

Here is a map of actions planned for March 4th, be sure to click on the pins for more information about each action. It is the work of Angus Johnston:

View in a larger map

This is an excerpt from the original call for action:

“The politicians and administrators say there is no money for education and social services. They say that “there is no alternative” to the cuts. But if there’s money for wars, bank bailouts, and prisons, why is there no money for public education?

We can beat back the cuts if we unite students, workers, and teachers across all sectors of public education — Pre K-12, adult education, community colleges, and state-funded universities. We appeal to the leaders of the trade union movement to support and organize strikes and/or mass actions on March 4. The weight of workers and students united in strikes and mobilizations would shift the balance of forces entirely against the current agenda of cuts and make victory possible.”(1)

Here’s to a more powerful, diverse, participatory, connected and GROWING left movement. And to history in the making. Cheers.

(1) http://www.defendeducation.org/

2 comments on “March 4th”

  1. Art Says:

    if you’re so against privatization, why aren’t you at your local state university?

  2. Matt Gabrenya Says:

    I’m not sure I can give you an adequate answer to that. (Obviously) in life, some decisions are made on principal, while others are based on personal preference and inclination.

    I don’t see this as hypocrisy, as my attending a private university has no substantial effect on continuing trends towards corporatization of education, just as personally attending a public university wouldn’t affect this trend. Of course, even having the choice to attend a private university is due to my overwhelming privilege. For most that is not a choice, and rising tuition at public universities will be preventing more and more working people from receiving any university education.

    What DOES have an impact are broadly-based and ever-growing social movements that present alternatives and act to continually raise social costs of policy inaction. This is what we are seeing in California and across the US today, which is exactly why I find it so exciting and inspiring. More than anything, I see the actions today as a sign of growth and further interconnectedness within the movement. Maybe after today, some student organizers will start to see their work as part of a broader whole. Maybe the large amount of students involved in actions for the first time today will become more involved, recognizing that they are part of something bigger. This is what will bring change.