Don’t Let the 1% Dismantle CCSF!
By Socialist Organizer
We all want to save City College of San Francisco (CCSF). But how can this be done?
Influential forces from above say that the only way to save CCSF is to accept drastic cuts to our school. The ACCJC accreditation, CCSF administrators, and Board of Trustees (including the student trustee) are cynically using the threat of de-accreditation as blackmail to impose an agenda to downsize the school.
What they mean by “Save CCSF” is this: Change the college’s mission statement. Cut classes and services. Cut the wages and benefits of teachers and staff. End any democratic control by teachers and students.
What we students, teachers, staff, and allies mean by “Save CCSF” is entirely different: We want to save CCSF as an affordable and accessible institution for the working class and communities of color in San Francisco.
The attacks on CCSF are structurally racist. They are manifestations of an offensive to push people of color out of higher education — and out of San Francisco. The state wants to funnel us straight into dead-end jobs and prisons. Students of color must reclaim the militant traditions of the 1960′s — embodied by organizations such as the Black Student Unions, MEChA, and the Third World Liberation Front. Liberation requires struggle against the administrators and the 1%, not collaboration with them and the acceptance of their reactionary agenda.
They tell us that there is no money, so we have to cut back or they will close our school. They are lying. There are many obvious solutions to CCSF’s and California’s financial woes: taxing the rich, taxing oil extraction, cutting prison and war funding, and/or amending Prop 13. Cuts are not inevitable. The school and the state is facing a priorities crisis — not a budget crisis.
If we organize a massive movement to say “No Cuts to CCSF! Make the Rich Pay!” we can save our school as we know and love it. To win, we must expose the illegitimacy of the ACCJC — a completely unaccountable and undemocratic rogue agency that receives funds from the pro-privatization Lumina Foundation. To win, we must force the government to immediately find the money for CCSF. If they can bail out Wall Street and the banks, they can surely fund public education! All out for the March 14 rally: City Hall must take action to save our school!
Of course, building such a movement is no easy task. It will require tremendous amounts of organization and mobilization. It will require uniting students with the teachers, staff, and the community. The inspiring and victorious battles waged to defend public education in Quebec, Chile, Puerto Rico, and beyond show us that we can win. We can save CCSF.
The labor unions in particular have tremendous, as-yet-untapped, power. On campus and across the city, they have the ability to mobilize tens of thousands of people and, if necessary, shut down San Francisco via strikes to stop the attacks on CCSF. But this requires breaking labor’s subordination to the Democratic Party, which is funded and controlled by the ruling rich. The rank-and-file must push — and push hard -- in this fightback direction, beginning by pushing the unions to massively mobilize on March 14.
This struggle has huge national implications. If we let them dismantle CCSF, they will move on to do the same to other schools. But if we are able to beat back this unprecedented attack, we can help spark a wave of resistance across the state and across the country.
Through mass resistance we can move toward winning free, quality public education for all. We can transform education into an equitable, democratic, and liberatory tool to teach us our real history and train critical thinkers. But to achieve these goals requires eliminating capitalism and replacing it with a socialist society run by and for the working class majority. A society based on meeting human needs – instead of capitalist profits — is not only possible, it is absolutely necessary for the survival of humanity.