Friday, 12 May 2017

Marxist Black Student Group Rewarded for Taking Over Building at UC Santa Cruz

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A Marxist black student group at the University of California, Santa Cruz that took over an administration building earlier this month is celebrating having its initial demands met but is threatening more “reclamations” unless the university meets additional demands.

The ordeal began on May 2, when about 150 students took over and forcibly occupied (they prefer the term “reclaimed”) Kerr Hall, an administration building on campus. The students chained the doors and barricaded other possible entries with furniture and other items. Then — while enjoying free electricity, hot and cold running water, Internet service, and access to vending machines — the social justice warriors tweeted pictures of their successful conquest. Of course, they hid their faces from the camera.

In a statement on the African/Black Student Alliance website, the group made four demands for the release (or would that be unreclamation or perhaps dereclamation?) of Kerr Hall. The statement said in part:

Our demands for the Reclamation are simple, for now. They are as follows:

1. Similar to EOP students and International students’ housing guarantees, we demand that ALL African Black Caribbean identified students have a 4 year housing guarantee to live in the Rosa Parks African American Themed House. Guaranteeing this would provide a viable living option to all ABC identified students regardless of housing status and college affiliation. We demand a written agreement by the opening of housing applications in April 2017.

2. We demand the university remove the beds and release the Rosa Parks African Themed House lounge so it can serve its original purpose. We demand the lounge be returned by Fall 2017.

3. We demand that the university fund the ENTIRE exterior of the Rosa Parks African American Themed House being painted Pan-Afrikan colors (Red, green, and black) by the start of Spring quarter 2017. These Pan Afrikan colors represent Black liberation, and represent our diaspora, and the goals of our people.

4. We demand that all new incoming students from 2017-2018 school year forward (first years and transfers) go through a mandatory in-person diversity competency training in the event that the online module is not implemented by JUNE 2017. We demand that the training be reviewed and approved by A/BSA board every two years. We demand that every incoming student complete this training by their first day of class.

The statement also attempts to redefine the forced occupation of Kerr Hall (as well as the planned occupation of other buildings) in the context of reclamation:

For us, the language of “reclaiming” is about highlighting the fact there were things promised to ABC [African, Black, Caribbean] students that have gone broken and thrown away, like the four-year guarantee for housing in R.PAATH [Rosa Parks African Themed House]. We mean to reclaim those things. As Black people, there are things that we are owed within the context of reparations and the hxstorical traumas we have experienced and that we continue to experience today, and we plan to claim and reclaim those things. There are Black hxstories on this campus that have gone hidden in plain sight, such as the radical hxstory of the Black Panther Party’s connections to this campus, and those hxstories need to be recovered and uncovered. This is a part of that process of reclamation. There are the real hxstories of take-overs of buildings and spaces by Black students throughout the UC system and throughout the nation dating back to at least the 1960’s. We are reclaiming that energy and drive toward making changes that benefit us. We recognize and sense both the positive outcomes of those movements, as well as some of the ways the institution has subsumed some of those victories back into liberal and neoliberal academia. We also understand and situate our reclamation in the contexts of the Black hxstories and Black student movements here in the U.S. and worldwide, including #ConcernedStudent1950 at the University of Missouri and #RhodesMustFall at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

A few things stand out in this section of the statement.

One is the spelling of history as “hxstory.” This is a growing trend within the circles of liberal academia. The spelling is deliberate and is designed to remove the “cisgender” (a term invented to differentiate from “transgender”) connotation of history and to call into question the validity of history itself — which is itself the product of the world the communists and their masters seek to destroy and replace. Other words have received the same treatment: human is now humxn, person is now persxn. The list goes on and on and on.

The reference to “reclaiming” the “energy and drive” of previous communist groups such as the Black Panthers is telling. The African/Black Student Alliance ends their statement with a quote from Assata Shakur:

It is our duty to fight for our freedom.

It is our duty to win.

We must love each other and support each other.

We have nothing to lose but our chains.

—Assata Shakur, from Assata: An Autobiography (1987)

Shakur was a communist member of the Black Panthers and Black Liberation Army. She was involved in bank robberies, bombings, kidnapping, and police killings. She was convicted of murder in 1977 but escaped prison and fled to Cuba where her comrades offered her asylum. She still lives there and has praised Cuba while working as English-language editor for Radio Havana Cuba.

That the African/Black Student Alliance would quote her and would plan the forced occupation of Kerr Hall on May 2 — which the group referred to as “the day that Warrior Assata Shakur lay handcuffed and terrorized on a hospital bed in 1973” — is a sure sign that the group is not opposed to violent means to attain its objectives.

Indeed, Scott Hernandez-Jason, a UC Santa Cruz spokesman, described the temporary theft of the building as a peaceful protest in a statement to Fox News. The statement also said:

Chancellor George Blumenthal has been working with several student groups, including the African/Black Student Alliance and the Black Experience Team, over the past year to explore ways to effectively address some of their concerns. We’ve taken some steps forward, including hiring a recruitment specialist and a retention specialist, and continue to discuss how we can make sure that all students feel supported and have a sense of belonging.

One wonders whether a group of angry black students who marched into a bank on campus and demanded the “reclamation” of all of the money in the vault would be called peaceful protesters and offered the opportunity to “feel supported and have a sense of belonging.”

Three days after Kerr Hall was occupied by the radical student group, Chancellor Blumenthal gave in to all demands and issued a statement saying:

The student demonstrators raised a number of issues with campus leaders, issues we fundamentally agree upon. Students from historically underrepresented communities deal with real challenges on campus and in the community. These difficulties include things that many people take for granted, such as finding housing or even just a sense of community.

The lesson to be learned here — though if Chancellor Blumenthal hasn’t learned it with all of his education and experience, he is either not likely to learn it or is deliberately helping the communist takeover of his campus — is that you get what you reward. By giving in to the criminal actions of the radical Marxist activists at UC Santa Cruz, he has invited more of the same to happen again and again.

In fact, the African/Black Student Alliance made it clear in their demands that there would be more. The demands began with “Our demands for the Reclamation are simple, for now,” and ended with:

What Remains:

There are two demands we have made that are not being re-stated as a part of this current Reclamation. They are:

1. We demand the University purchase a property located at or near the base of campus (High Street) to serve as a low income housing cooperative for historically disadvantaged students. We demand this property have 4 bedrooms with appropriate furnishings. This property will then be student ran and student operated by the Afrikan Black Student Alliance. We demand a written agreement to fund this project by beginning of spring quarter.

2. We demand the University allocate an additional $100,000 to the SOAR/Student Media/Cultural Arts and Diversity (SOMeCA for the hiring of advisor who has personal and professional experience handling African/Black/Caribbean student issues) permanently. We demand A/BSA has a final decision on who is hired for this position.

Additionally, there was an earlier demand for the creation of a Black Studies department on this campus. The Administration has not agreed to the creation of a Black Studies department, and has instead agreed to the creation of a Black Studies Minor or Major. While some may want to commend this Administration for their seeming agreeance, the truth of the matter is that what they have agreed to has not come into existence, as it still only exists in “white man’s promise”, and as of today, the program, whether a Minor or a Major, has not been established at UCSC.

With these three additional demands in mind, we want to extend an opportunity to the Administration to make good on their promises and to meet our demands, though we remain leery of this Administration’s abilities to meet us where we need them to. However, we do recognize these demands may take a little more time, and in the spirit of generosity — which we are almost all out of — we want to make it clear that we are giving the Administration a little more time to meet these demands. If detailed plans on how the Administration will meet these demands are not delivered by the start of Fall Quarter 2017, there will be more Reclamations as you force us to have to take what we know to be in our best interest to Reclaim.

Given that he was warned ahead of time, the next round is on Chancellor Blumenthal. 

Photo: Image is a screenshot of the UC Santa Cruz African American Resource & Cultural Center

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