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A History of Student Movements and Activism at Evergreen State College and the Greater Nation

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INTRODUCTION

Students and student movements have played a major role in struggles for reform and revolution in the United States and around the world. Before I turn to Evergreen, I will give a few examples, mainly from the United States in the 1960’s. I will also share a few conclusions based on many years of activism with student movements.

On January 1, 1959, the July 26th movement in Cuba overthrew the Batista dictatorship. Its leader was Fidel Castro and the majority of its members in the initial uprising in 1953 were students. In 1960, four students from North Carolina A and T University, a Black University, sat in at the local Woolworth counter in the section reserved for whites in Greensboro, North Carolina. They ordered coffee and refused to move and the police arrested them. Spreading rapidly throughout the South, these organized sit-ins are often considered the beginning of the powerful social movements of the 1960’s, especially the Civil Rights and Black Liberation Movement which were so central to the 1960’s. A major group was the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, SNCC, which was composed primarily of Black college students. They played a central role in the organizing of Black communities in the South including but not limited to the right to vote. SNCC mainly worked off campus. They also opposed the war in Vietnam and the draft. Beginning later in the 1960’s, Black Student Unions (BSUs) and MEChAs (Chicano student group) demanded, rallied, protested and occupied college administration offices at college campuses throughout the country and won increased access to higher education, the creation of Black and Chicano Studies departments, and hiring of faculty and staff of color. Another major group that had chapters on hundreds of colleges through the U.S. was Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). They were primarily composed although not exclusively of white college students. SDS called for a participatory democratic society and played a major role in the growing movement against the U.S. war in Vietnam. They were also very active in struggles against racism and poverty. A constant discussion in SDS was whether to focus on organizing on or off campus. SDS and SNCC were both part of what is often called the New Left; groups interested in changing themselves and leading by example as they actively organized to transform society. As part of the new left but also as a reaction to the sexism within the New Left, a very powerful women’s liberation movement developed in the late 1960’s. It has had an important impact in changing for the better the lives and consciousness of women although sexism and patriarchy are still part of U.S. society, on and off campus.

Students and student movements cannot transform or revolutionize societies by themselves but have played an important and often igniting role throughout the world. So Don’t Sell Yourselves and Students Short! In May, 1968, an uprising and strike that began at French universities spread to workplace occupations by French workers and came close to making revolutionary change. A current example, although less far-reaching, is the major role students and youths have played in the Bernie Sanders campaign.

Student movements have been most important, powerful and effective when they connect issues of national and international importance to the campuses. An example from the 1960’s and 1970’s was protests on college campuses all over the country to Dow Chemical job recruiters. Dow was the principal maker of napalm and Agent Orange, which caused deaths, horrible burning of people, environmental destruction and birth defects of future generations on a massive scale in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. . Another example was the role of student movements in the 1960’s and 1970’s in support of the organizing efforts of the United Farmworkers (UFW) for the recognition of their union. Student groups boycotted grapes and got many campuses to ban grapes from large farmers that refused to recognize the union. A current example at Evergreen is the student group, the Farmworker Justice Committee, that supports the farmworkers at Sakuma farms in Burlington, Washington and the boycott of Driscoll berries until their union is recognized and the farmworkers get a fair contract. At the time of this writing, Sakuma Farms has accepted the vote by the farmworkers to be represented by the independent union, Familias Unidas por la Justicia.

Student groups, internationally and in the United States, played a central role in the international movement against apartheid. They built enough power through actions such as occupation of college administration offices to force colleges to divest from their investments in corporations that invested in South Africa or profited from the apartheid system, e.g. loans by banks, selling goods and weapons there, etc. At Evergreen, a movement led by students got Evergreen to remove all of their funds from companies involved in South Africa. These campus victories contributed to the loss of legitimacy internationally by the racist system in South Africa which was a factor in its collapse.   Today there are groups on 500 college campuses demanding that their campuses divest from corporations producing fossil fuel. This social movement has really been growing as it connects climate change to university complicity with the fossil fuel industry. Although smaller, there are also growing movements on campuses throughout the United States including the Evergreen State College that have joined the global BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Movement aimed at ending the occupation of Palestine by Israel. (More below)

For student organizations to be part of the solution, they should consciously work to have a large membership and to consciously be building strong and bold mass student movements. Too often student groups at Evergreen consist primarily of one or two coordinators and only a few others who attend meetings of the group. To gain membership and strength, student groups should go where students are at, like into classrooms to explain their activities and actions and to invite people to join. Washpirg is very effective at this. Occasionally, Evergreen student groups have been cliquish and arrogant. This undermines the possibility of growing and of building power. So does arrogance, for example an attitude that we are more radical and know a lot more about everything that is important than newcomers to a group. An attitude by student activists of moral superiority towards other students or others is totally off-putting. Rather we should be welcoming to new and potential members and be consciously inclusive.

It is valuable to do educational and cultural events, for example, speakers and films analyzing and criticizing the many countries that the United States is bombing or the growth in student debt. It is just as important and has been less common for student groups to develop campaigns with clear goals, a timeline and strategy. A successful campaign is likely to include many aspects including effective education on the issues and demands, outreach and a variety of tactics including militant actions that interrupt the daily activities of the administration or the meetings of the Trustees. The Evergreen State College administration has been very good at co-opting and redirecting protest away from demands and towards further and endless discussion of the underlying issues without making significant changes. A common tactic by the Evergreen administration is to set up a task force called a DTF (Disappearing Task Force, where students have a token representation or the administration selects students who will go along with the objectives of the Evergreen administration even if they conflict with justice or real student power.

While we should not try to repeat and copy past movements and actions, it is worthwhile and important to learn and share and analyze with each other our histories of organizing, of social movements of resistance, and of our successful campaigns and victories. We should also learn from but not be discouraged from our errors and defeats. I identify as part of this long tradition and culture of resistance on campus and beyond that has struggled for economic and social justice and for societal liberation. I hope you learn this history and also identify with it. Although difficult, there is strength and power in building multigenerational movements, e.g., of younger and older students, of staff and faculty. Youths are often the most courageous, the most willing to take risks and to put in the many hours of work and attending meetings that are necessary for social movements to thrive. Those who are older and have been active, if they don’t think they know it all and that young people should follow them just because they are veterans of past movements can contribute significantly by sharing lessons and history and experiences. Multigenerational organizations can be very powerful although difficult to achieve because we live in an age-segregated society and also because there are differences in needs and interests of different age groups, e.g., music tastes, need for childcare at meetings, etc.

STUDENT MOVEMENTS AT THE EVERGREEN STATE COLLEGE

Here are a few examples of student organizing and protest on campus since I came to Evergreen in 1987. The list is very partial, mainly based on my direct knowledge, and does not give justice to the major role students have played in off campus activism and resistance.

Graduation speakers and protests at graduation

In 1991-1992, Larry Mosqueda, Gail Tremblay and I taught a program, 500 years of Oppression, 500 years of Resistance. We connected our program to the global movement in solidarity with the indigenous people of the Americas challenging the celebration of Columbus and the Quincentennial of his invasion of the Americas. We, the students and faculty, decided to organize for Leonard Peltier, a leader of the American Indian Movement (AIM) and a political prisoner since 1976, to be the graduation speaker. Students voted for Leonard Peltier as the 1993 graduation speaker and he wrote a powerful talk that was read by a graduating student. Sadly, Leonard Peltier is still in prison and is very sick so I hope that you immediately learn more about his history and life and organize to get him pardoned from prison.

In fall quarter, 1999, many students and a few faculty organized and mobilized for and participated in the massive and powerful protests against the World Trade (WTO) that occurred in Seattle in late November and early December, 1999. The main student group involved was the Evergreen Political Information Center (EPIC), a student group with a long and proud history at Evergreen. Many of the Evergreen activists after the WTO protests turned their focus towards organizing a campaign to select Mumia Abu-Jamal as the graduation speaker. Mumia Abu-Jamal is an award winning radio journalist, former member of the Black Panther Party and author who was on death row at that time and had been imprisoned since 1981. He was charged and convicted of killing a Philadelphia cop although he did not have a fair trial. There is strong evidence that he is not guilty and was framed because of the hatred the Philadelphia police have for him because of his outspoken reporting and advocacy for liberation. This campaign led to Mumia being selected as graduation speaker by the senior class. This student led movement built enough support for Mumia speaking so the Evergreen Administration did not cave in to strong outside pressure to withdraw his speaking invitation. At the graduation, there was a protest against Mumia Abu-Jamal and Evergreen, mainly by Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police and led by the wife of the dead police officer. Few Evergreen students joined this police led protest. Mumia Abu-Jamal gave a powerful speech that was taped by a student he spoke to from death row. He talked how graduates of all “races” could contribute to creating a more just world by becoming revolutionaries. Although Mumia is still in prison, now serving life without parole and very sick, this campaign to have him speak was victorious and significant because it publicized his case and connected the major issue of political prisoners to something students could do on campus.

At numerous graduation ceremonies, students have often done banner drops, usually from the top of the library, to publicize major struggles such as criticizing with bold banners and posters the welfare cuts imposed by the speaker at graduation, Governor Christine Gregoire. There have also been such type of actions or similar ones protesting U.S. wars in the Middle East, defending the forest, and in support of environmental justice.

Access to Education: Class, “Race” and Immigrant Inclusivity!

There is no mythical past at the Evergreen State College that we should strive to return to. Almost the entire faculty when Evergreen opened in 1971 was white and male. When I arrived to teach full-time at Evergreen in 1987, the campus was whiter than it is today although there is a long way to go in terms of access and other issues before Evergreen can turn its rhetoric about racial justice into more of a reality. Until recently, efforts to racially diversify the Olympia campus of Evergreen have come mainly from staff, faculty and the Administration and perhaps less directly from students.

There was a larger proportion than now of older students in full-time programs. Evening and Weekend Studies didn’t exist. Tuition was less than $1500 a year for full-time study, which is about $3000 in today’s prices. Tuition covered a minority of the costs of education in 1987 as Washington State paid the large majority of the costs. Tuition has increased many times since 1987 and today covers about 60% of the costs as Washington State aid has declined as a proportion of costs and provides only about 40% of the yearly costs

From 2009 to 2011, there was an active campus movement against state cutbacks in aid to college campuses and the connected, 10% or more annual increases in tuition. A coalition of student of color groups, anarchists, and members of the group, Socialist Alternative, formed, called the “Olympia Coalition for a Fair Budget”. This coalition organized spirited rallies on campus, and also calls for walk-outs from classes that were not that successful. We should have gone into more classes to discuss the issues involved and our demands for freezing tuition and more state aid to higher education. Good organizing occurred in the dorms, by activist students going door to door to discuss demands. In one major action on March 4, 2010, we rallied on campus followed by a massive carpool to the State Capital led by a hearse symbolizing that we were mourning the proposed State budget because it was a funeral for higher education. We filled the State Capital legislature interrupting a Senate Hearing by singing and demanding more Washington State funding of higher education. We got some media coverage but the movement didn’t have much staying power and we did not have any substantial victories. There is a need to build alliances not only with student groups on other campuses but also with unions and workers, on and off campus, and with community groups demanding a comprehensive fair budget that furthers economic and social justice paid for by higher taxes on the wealthy. One difficulty has been the necessity to make demands simultaneously on Washington State, and also on the campus administration and Board of Trustees. The student movement has tended to focus only on changes of campus spending and has deferred too much to the administration for lobbying for more money from the State government. In addition since financial aid was increased somewhat, not all students were effected equally by tuition increases. The faculty union has mainly been concerned about increases in faculty salary and benefits and supporting the many faculty with little job security but not to lower or maintain tuition when it was rising rapidly.

There is a large movement in Washington State and nationally for immigrant rights. A campaign could be organized demanding financial aid and scholarships for undocumented immigrants who want to attend Evergreen but usually are ineligible for governmental financial aid.

Militarization of the Police

Prior to the 1990’s, the campus police were called campus security. They were unarmed and more integrated with the rest of the Evergreen community than today. Beginning soon after I got to Evergreen, a few of the campus security began to advocate strongly to be armed. I believe the main reason was so that they would be seen as real police by other police and law enforcement officers in Washington State. A strong multiracial student movement developed against their arming. We organized forums, debates and a referendum where 2/3 of the students voted against arming security and against making them police officers. The faculty vote was almost unanimous against arming them. We, mainly students, sat in at the Evergreen President’s office and blocked the Evergreen Parkway but at the end of a contentious year, the Vice-President of Student Affairs, Art Costatino, and the Acting President, Les Purce decided to arm them anyway. At first to defuse protest, they limited the times and places where the now Evergreen police could carry guns but over time this has changed to 24 hours a day arming with increased firepower. In a small victory, students and faculty defeated police demands in 2009 for assault rifles.

On May 21st, 2015 an Olympia cop, Ryan Donald shot two young Black brothers, Bryson Chaplin and Andre Thompson. Many Evergreen students have been involved in supporting them. The brothers were unarmed and had shoplifted some beer. A few minutes later, the cop confronted and shot them. Fortunately both lived, although Bryson Chaplin is paralyzed and in a wheelchair. In a major injustice, the brothers are facing felony charges of assault on a police officer and Ryan Donald, who was not harmed, continues as a police officer. There is a continuing movement demanding that charges be dropped and that Officer Donald be fired. If we want to prevent a future shooting by the Evergreen campus police, we should renew the movement to disarm the Evergreen police. Disarming them is an important issue to organize around that could connect the campus to broader moments such as Black Lives Matter that are publicizing, organizing and protesting the continuing epidemic of police murders.

Important struggles that have connected on and off campus social movements

2007: In Olympia, we have directly opposed the U.S. wars against Afghanistan and especially Iraq, by direct action against the militarization of the Port of Olympia.   From 2004 to 2007, the U.S. military used the Port of Olympia to send Strykker Vehicles and other military equipment to Iraq or to bring them back from Iraq in order to repair and then send them back. The largest actions, organized by the group,. Port Militarization Resistance (PMR), were in fall, 2007, when hundreds of Olympia residents, the majority of whom were Evergreen students, blocked for many hours the transport of these military vehicles through Olympia streets. Although these were important, powerful and worthwhile actions with good turnout, there should have been more outreach and education on campus and off-campus. The Olympia and other police departments used a lot of pepper spray against the protesters and clubbed many of them. The military has not used the Olympia port since 2007. However, the U.S. military at the nearby base, JBLM, is again considering using the Port of Olympia for military purposes, possibly this fall, 2016 or 2017. PMR has been revived and is gearing up to oppose these possible military shipments. Stay Tuned!

Police violence during the 2007 PMR led protests increased the hostility by many Evergreen students to the police. This was the context for the 2008 Valentine’s Day concert on campus by the hip-hop group, Dead Prez. It was a period of activism by students groups such as MEChA and SDS. During the concert, an Evergreen policewoman, unjustly detained and put in her police car a young Black man. Anger boiled over, a sheriff’s police car was overturned and damaged and many students forced the Olympia police and County sheriffs off campus that night. Sadly, the Evergreen police and administration identified students for criminal prosecution whom they thought participated in this anti-police action. I have personal knowledge of campus police threatening and putting pressure on students to identify (snitch) on participants. The campus was very divided in this period.

The Evergreen State College continued their law and order policies and behavior in 2008 by banning the SDS chapter because they organized an on-campus concert with folk singer, David Rovics, after the school had banned concerts as a result of the Dead Prez concert. This caused a lengthy occupation in spring, 2008, outside of the offices of Vice-President Art Costantino.   The Evergreen Administration didn’t arrest the students and instead, tried to wait them out. Finally, in a negotiated settlement, SDS was reinstated for the fall but with less autonomy and budget than previously. This action was bold but because of limited outreach to the faculty, staff and students, it did not build SDS or a stronger student movement on campus. Movement building is a challenge at Evergreen as there is a lot of individualism and unconscious racism that hampers the growth of multiracial and strong student movements.

Note: The original, SDS, which I discussed in the introduction collapsed by 1970. In the early 2000’s, there was the formation of a new national SDS. Chapters were formed on many campuses but they no longer exist at Evergreen nor at other campuses.

Anti-Prison and for Food Justice

In the early 2000’s, the Evergreen State College wanted to sign a contract with Sodexho-Marriott to run and profit from providing and selling all meals and food on campus. Sodexho-Marriott owned many private prisons and in addition had contracts to serve food in many others. A coalition consisting of those who were against mass incarceration and private prisons, those against the anti-union practices of Sodexho-Marriott and against the bad labor conditions of their workers, and those opposed to the low quality and non-local sourcing of their food formed. There were teach-ins, petitions and militant protests including a disruption of a trustee’s meeting where the contract was being discussed. A boycott of food services was being organized for the fall if Sodexho-Marriott was selling the food. Although an initial contract had been signed between Evergreen and Sodexho, Evergreen backed out claiming that there were some unforeseen differences that couldn’t be resolved, and it had nothing to do with the growing movement.   According to an Evergreen administrator, who participated in this decision, it was 100% because of the protests that the contract was rescinded.   People in power will never say that the protests and social movements were the cause for their change in policy but this is often the case. They want to misrepresent the reasons for our victory and minimize our power and effectiveness in order to undermine activism and grass roots organizing.

Although we stopped Sodexho-Marriott, other huge corporations such as Aramark still provide most of the food on the campus. There have been many protests and DTFs discussing alternatives but we have not stopped the renewal of the contract with them. A positive alternative which developed out of the struggle against Sodexho-Marriott has been the Flaming Eggplant, a student run and worker controlled restaurant with healthy, good and mainly locally sourced food. There has been ongoing discussion of organizing and developing a campaign for most meals being provided by a non-profit cooperative of students and other workers that would offer quality food at affordable prices but so far the outsourcing continues.

Very significant about this campaign was that it combined three complementary strategies: 1) many types of protest with various levels of militancy and direct action against Evergreen wanting to sign contract with Sodexho-Marriott. Organizing and mobilizing for a boycott of food services was a key aspect of this campaign; 2) educating the campus and doing a lot of outreach, explaining the underlying issues and connecting them to opposition to Sodexho-Marriott running Evergreen’s food service; and 3) developing a concrete non-capitalist alternative that eventually became the Flaming Eggplant.

See the introduction for my analysis of recent Evergreen student support for farmworker organizing of berry workers at Sakuma farms and the boycott of Sakuma products. There have also been in years past, education and outreach and protests by Evergreen students on and off campus in support of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) in Florida who are demanding decent treatment and an increase in wages.

For multiple reasons and for many years, students protested against the use of Bank of America ATMs on campus. Bank of America also handles Evergreen banking transactions and deposits. This campaign against Bank of America was done by a group of students that didn’t sufficiently involve the campus although opposition to Bank of America on campus was widespread. A partial victory was won as the ATM machines from the credit union, WSECU, were also placed on campus but Bank of America continues to be the bank for Evergreen deposits and transactions.

Also in the early 2000’s, student groups formed to oppose clothing produced in sweatshops that were being sold at the campus bookstore. The Evergreen group eventually affiliated with United Students against Sweatshops, a national group that is part of the global justice movement. Through a study and research group, led by students, negotiations with the administration, rallies and marches, they won their demand to get the Evergreen bookstore to change its affiliation from the pro-corporate Fair Labor Association (FLA), and agree to only buy clothing sanctioned by the pro-worker and independent of corporate control, Worker Rights Consortium (WRC). After winning this demand, student pressure to enforce this change was intermittent and many products in the Evergreen (TESC) bookstore or used by the athletic teams were not certified by the WRC. Winning an agreement or demand is not sufficient. We must continue to make sure that good agreements are enforced.

Campaigns and Activism against Militarism, and for Global Justice.

Gulf War, 1990-1991.

Just before the United States began bombing Iraq on January 17, 1991, hundreds of Evergreen students marched from campus to Sylvester Park on January 15, 1991. We demanded that the U.S. not go to war and that Washington State take a stand against this imminent war and become a sanctuary for soldiers who refused to fight. 3000 people marched from Sylvester Park to the State Capital and we occupied the legislature for one day. The U.S. bombing and troop buildup in Kuwait began two days later and the protests in Olympia and nationally, rapidly diminished in size although a community group, the Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace (OMJP) formed and continues up until today. Persistence is an essential attribute for committed individuals and social movements.

Protests against the U.S. invasion and war against Afghanistan, and the Patriot Act.

In 2001 and 2002, students organized to demand that the Evergreen State College take a stand against the U.S. war in Afghanistan and that it not collaborate with the PATRIOT Act, i.e., that Evergreen not investigate students, staff and faculty, that it not turn over records to the FBI and Homeland Security, that it resist government requests, and that it tell those being investigated by the Federal government what is going on. The faculty passed such a resolution but the administration refused to do so in spite of a student-led sit-in at the President’s Office. President Purce co-opted the sit-in by taking out his guitar and inviting the students to sing protest songs with him. Eventually the students left with little accomplished. The position of the past and present administration has been that the school should not take a stand on key issues unless they are narrowly about higher education, and that we should not make demands or take actions that go beyond the campus. It is crucial that we do not accept these restrictions.

Sister Universities, Community to Community Solidarity Across Borders

Students and faculty have organized to set up exchanges with universities in countries challenging U.S domination and intervention and trying to create societies independent of U.S. domination such as El Salvador, Nicaragua and Venezuela. The idea was to have international exchanges of students and faculty and to share Evergreen resources with universities in the global south. It has been set up to a limited degree with the University of El Salvador but has not put into practice for the last 25 years or longer.

As part of the 37 years of solidarity between the people of Nicaragua and Thurston County, and through the leader ship of the Thurston, Santo Tomás, Sister County Association (TSTSCA), Evergreen students have traveled to, studied and done voluntary labor in Santo Tomás, Nicaragua. The TSTSCA has also invited residents of Santo Tomás to share their experiences and knowledge with Evergreen and Olympia.

Iraq War

During the U.S. war against Iraq from fall, 2003 to 2007, students with some faculty support organized, educated, petitioned, rallied and demanded that Evergreen annually accept and pay for the tuition and costs of four students from Iraq. The idea was to make the war more real and concrete by having Iraqi students on campus. In a partial victory, Evergreen agreed to accept one student annually with free tuition with the broader Olympia community financing some of the living costs.

Against the Israeli Occupation of Palestine

On March 16, 2003, the Israeli military (IDF) killed Olympia resident and Evergreen senior, Rachel Corrie. She put her body in front of a house in Rafah in Gaza, where she was staying with a Palestinian family. She was run over and killed by a military vehicle driven by a member of the IDF and made by the U.S. corporation, Caterpillar. Many students and faculty wore kaffiyehs at the 2003 graduation and Rachel Corrie was given an Evergreen degree that was accepted by her mother who gave a moving talk. There had been protests before on campus against Israeli government officials supporting Israeli policies. However, the movement to end the Israeli occupation and Evergreen complicity with it has grown substantially since Rachel’s murder.

There have been two referendums, including one in spring 2016, where students voted by large majorities to bar Caterpillar equipment from campus, to not buy Israeli products, to not invest in corporations profiting from the Israeli occupation and to withdraw Evergreen investments in those corporations (divestment). This is part of the global Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions Movement (BDS). In spite of testimony at the Board of Trustees, rallies and protests, The Evergreen State College has not thus far, changed its policies. The ongoing movement to get Evergreen to end its ties with the illegal Israeli occupation is led by the student group, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). In an attempt to discredit this campaign, false charges of anti-Semitism have been made against it and against Evergreen faculty who support BDS. While anti-Semitism is real and should be strongly opposed, this charge has mainly been used in order to weaken this growing campaign against the illegal and immoral Israeli occupation of Palestine. SJP, today, is one of the stronger groups at Evergreen. It has done good education on the key issues but for movements to grow, victories are necessary and this has not yet happened at Evergreen on this important cause.

Homeless Organizing, Support and Advocacy

Evergreen students have been very involved in actively supporting the struggles by homeless people for housing, for food and clothing, against sexual harassment of homeless women, against harassment and repression by the police, and for clean needles and other support for those addicted to drugs. Occupations of Sylvester Park and of downtown Olympia have led to the building of the single room occupancy, Fleetwood building downtown, the community of formerly homeless people in small houses at Quixote Village, and the non-repressive and welcoming shelter at the First Christian Church. Demands for Evergreen to use empty dorm rooms or open other campus space to house the homeless have not been won.

Media

There have been continuing efforts to develop alternate media, e.g., the Counterpoint Journal of a few years ago, and to change the direction of the Cooper Point Journal so that it become a paper that supports, legitimizes and publicizes student and other social movements and advocates for a more liberatory and democratic Evergreen and society. A supportive media is a very important ingredient in building a mass and radical student movement, perhaps even more important than a radical student government.

CONCLUSION

The challenge for us is to build student movements and ongoing campaigns that endure, that are anti-racist and multi-racial; that are principled and involve growing and large numbers of people; that are not co-opted and have victories that we can build on. Our objectives are to win real gains and more student power as we struggle for a democratic and liberatory campus; for transforming our capitalist society to a sustainable, participatory socialist society, and that we develop our values, passions, knowledge and skills so that we can contribute towards this bold and necessary goal and vision in the present and future.

To build multi-racial and anti-racist movements, we must challenge institutional and structural racism, but also racism within our groups. Similarly, it is necessary, morally and strategically for us to challenge patriarchy, sexism, and LGBT oppression in society, in our groups and on campus. In our student and other social movements, let us combine cultural, ecological, economic, ecological, social and political struggles and continual learning, inside and outside the classroom, as we act and resist. Although we sometimes have to sprint, let us strive to be long distance runners for justice, equality, liberation and societal transformation on campus, locally, nationally and globally.

Si Se Puede!

Power to the People!

REFERENCES, RECOMMENDED BOOKS!

Clayborne Carson, In Struggle (about SNCC)

Dickie Cluster, They Should Have Served That Cup Of Coffee (about 1960’s)

Sarah Evans, The Roots of Women’s Liberation in the Civil Rights Movement and the New Left

Robin Hahnel, Of the People, by the People (a participatory socialist alternative to capitalism)

Peter Mathiessen, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse (about Leonard Peltier)

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, From Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation (2016) (excellent on current racism and police violence and strategies to combat them)

(A slightly revised version from the fall, 2016 Evergreen Disorientation Manual)

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Peter Bohmer is a faculty member in Political Economy at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. He has been an activist since 1967 in movements for fundamental social change.

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