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Its seems that to some extent

Its seems that to some extent folks in California have seen things retreat. This has come about for a number of reasons, including a lack of clarity in the movement, little to no discussion on why we do what we do and what the goals are, a reduction of union involvement during the GOTV process, and the normal tensions that develop among people engaged in this work when we are not seeing immediate gains. In reality we are after the initial period of this struggle, which is often marked by a initial burst of energy, though it rarely results in all the energy being consolidated. Folks enter initially with thier own desires for the movement, and things change or they get tied into other things / arent empowered enough to stick around. It is really up to folks to realize this, to look at what the goals of the movement are and do some serious work that proves that we can win and empowers people from the ground up. Its going to take more than a year of organizing to fight back 30+ years of attacks, the time it will take will depend on the willingness of the movement to engage in this on a day to day basis, and to creatively adapt.

Our best tool we can put into play is our ability to organize and work with the people from where they are at and in the many levels of the struggle. Our best way to do this is to find serious ways to build these centers of power that challenge administrations and force them into points of crisis. It has worked before, it can work again, we just have to be ready and flexible enough to adjust to the changing conditions and find creative ways to build struggle. UC GSIs did a grade-in to encourage a strike if they dont get a contract, and some are calling for an all out grade strike - which I think is right on. The best way to change the power dynamic is to shut down the university, to strike, and to do so with massive support. Of course this is easier said than done and requires a dynamic process to build towards.

Our goals should be to organized towards that point in empowering ways that brings people into the struggle, offering a powerful alternative narrative, proving we build better solutions and through struggle we can make them happen. We should be talking about how we can build towards mass student strikes and walkouts that will shake the system to the core. Not just the student left, but how do we engage the broader student body and empower those folks to want to get in on these actions. There is not one specific program that will work everywhere, but we need to be having the strategic discussions inside the movement that clue us into the best directions for the time on local and national levels. Having just got back from the Cali conference, one of parts that was most efective was the 20 minute breakouts on sunday (which were cancelled on saturday for time and people had to push to reinstate them on sunday). These brought people who are facing similar conditions together to talk about these issues, and many got a lot out of it. all the other stuff was good too, but demands, actions plans, and structure aren't the movement by themselves, especially if the discussions that talk about why we want these things don't happen and the natural process of building solidarity through talking about and strategizing around these conditions doesn't occur.

In the end, we move forward with what we have, which is certainly progress, and adapt to the new conditions. Also, if we are short on inspiration, we can always look at the international work going on around this issue! There's tons going on from europe to central and south america, to asia, etc. That can definitely re-energize and organizing base.


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