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Student Activists Prep For National Day Of Action

Callie Schweitzer |
October 6, 2010 | 4:47 p.m. PDT


Scherer on March 4 in front of Gov. Schwarzenegger's office in downtown San Diego. (Courtesy of Wayne Scherer)
Scherer on March 4 in front of Gov. Schwarzenegger's office in downtown San Diego. (Courtesy of Wayne Scherer)
Wayne Scherer will be one of many people in San Diego dressed for a funeral on Thursday.

The 27-year-old anthropology student will be mourning the death of public education.

He’ll be joined by other students from San Diego City College, parents, teachers, workers, organizers and activists in a funeral procession through downtown San Diego holding candles and signs.

They’ll be mourning a loss seen in overcrowded classrooms, in the homes of students who can no longer pay tuition due to recent fee hikes, in the minds of students who can’t find room in the classes they need to graduate and in the final paycheck of a laid-off teacher.

Scherer belongs to Education for All, a San Diego County grassroots organization devoted to fighting cuts to education and social services. The coalition, formed last fall, is just one group participating in the Oct. 7 National Day of Action. Campuses across the country are planning events including a rally at Brooklyn College, a teach-in at the University of New Mexico and a rally at the University of California Los Angeles.

“We’re being told by government officials that there’s no money for education, health care or social services. But at that same time we’re spending trillions of dollars on war efforts, on bailing out banks and on building prisons,” he said. “So it’s not a matter of the money not being there, it’s a matter of political priorities.”

The plans for Oct. 7 came about in early September at the San Diego Regional Summit when about 70 representatives from different organizations in the county came together to strategize, Scherer said.

“It’s a funeral scene,” he said. “The death of public education and social services, essential services for society, at the hands of these politicians and big markets.”

The protestors will be stopping at various public buildings and institutions during the procession and placing headstones at each one--R.I.P. Justice at the county jail, R.I.P. ethics at a bank, R.I.P. education and social services at City Hall and R.I.P. humanity at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement building, Scherer said.

“At each of these locations we’re going to place altars and host a rally there, marching silently between locations,” he said. 

The actions planned for Thursday mirror March 4, 2010, when tens of thousands of students, parents, teachers and workers across the country took to the streets to protest budget cuts on California's designated “Student Day of Action.”

Nearly 2,000 people protested outside Gov. Schwarzenegger’s office in downtown San Diego that spring day and shut down traffic in the area.

Scherer said he’s hopeful that thousands will turn out for Thursday’s protests, but participation may be lower because many schools in the University of California and California State University systems have just returned from summer break, leaving them with only a week or two to organize.

“We’re not going to have our demands met that day,” he said. “October 7 itself is just a step, just a milestone where we’re going to voice our evolution so far. My expectation is that we grow from there.”

Oct. 7 also serves as a precursor to a statewide “Mobilizing Conference” being held at San Francisco State University on Oct. 30 and 31.

“There’s a lot of support for what we’re doing and what this particular movement is expressing,” Scherer said. “Investing in education is the most wise thing to do…It makes absolutely no sense why education has become less accessible.”

Though the March protests centered on education, San Diego activists have reached out to justice and immigration groups and others to expand the coalition’s October strike in hopes of gaining strength, Scherer said.

“What’s been happening as people organize is they’re able to make connections with each other and realize how these are the same battles just on different fronts,” he said. “Hopefully we can get closer to addressing and developing a  political role and realigning the agenda of these politicians who are working bolstering their own interests and the interests of corporations that contribute to their campaigns.”

Thursday’s march will end with a reformation festival featuring local musicians, spoken word performances and personal testimonials, which Scherer calls the “rebirth” in the cycle.

It’ll fill the void many felt when the spring protest unceremoniously came to an end.

“The end of the action of that day wasn’t as powerful as it could be or as satisfying as it could be. March 4 ended with a powerful rally, but at the end of the rally the protestors went home,” Scherer said.

So organizers looked internationally for answers.

“We studied what other countries have been doing because this isn’t isolated to the United States,” he said noting that both Europe and areas of South America have been dealing with these same issues

“We took some elements of what happened out there and recognized the festive element offers an area or a space for people to bond or dialogue with each other or create the community roots that we’re lacking right now that are necessary to have,” he said.

But in the meantime, Scherer and other organizers are working “full time” to prepare for Thursday.

“Everybody that becomes involved in this is involved because they’re compassionate people,” he said. “No one’s paid to be an activist or a revolutionary.”

To reach editor-in-chief Callie Schweitzer, click here.

To follow her on Twitter: @cschweitz

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Spo101 (not verified) on October 7, 2010 8:29 PM

FOX Spin… ahhh, I mean News Alert:
The News Corp/Fox News Empire has put the word out for “interns”…

Now WHY should Democrats, Liberals, Progressives and Independents care? Think about this for a minute… Lets say a nation was experiencing hard times, the average citizens desperate for decent jobs with reasonable wages and benefits. Couldn’t the faintest hope of such rewards be used as a recruiting tool?

Millions of Republicans/Conservatives already sound like they’re auditioning for a spot on FOX news. Now we’re going to let them influence the youth? You might as well let your kids hang out with gang members or a fanatic cult…

Remember the “Reagan Youth” of the 80’s? These unethical b****’s grew up to be the driving force behind all the waste, fraud, abuse and scandal of the Bush/Cheney disaster. A Corporate Crime Wave of EPIC proportions where all the vile, craven perpetrators REFUSE to take responsibility for their criminal actions OR low grade thought processes. Instead they use their ill-gotten gains to BLAME the other guy… It’s the most un-American thing I’ve ever been witness to. Almost inhuman! Just look at Meg Whitman…

NOTE: (Honest to GOD, after Bush/Cheney I just can’t understand how ANY American could be so shameless, silly or stupid to vote Republicans back to power. What is about you degenerate morons that you put your trust in these wealthy, silver spoons who have NO IDEA what the average American struggles through? George H. W. Bush’s kid, Ron Paul’s kid, Dan Quale’s kid, Satan O’Donnell’s kid… lol. Paid for HO’s like Ken Buck in CO, Pat Toomey in PA and Ron Johnston in WI are leading in the rigged polls… COME ON? You people can’t possibly be that ignorant and misinformed, can you?

I’m going to make sure this right-wing phenomenon goes down as one of the low points in US history. Down there with April 10, 1950 when the Supreme Court gave in to hysteria and washed it‘s hands… leaving rights and justice to H.U.A.C. …THAT will be your future, Republicans/Conservatives of 2008-2012 will be hated and ridiculed for all times. NO EXCUSES!)

Americans need meaning to fill our blessed existence but becoming a propaganda Ho for the *“Conservative Labyrinth” is no way to live life. It’s the fat, drunk and stupid of our time. The Republicans/Conservatives have the wealth to BUY allegiance and a good paying job at FOX seems too good to be true but look what you become…

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Anonymous (not verified) on October 6, 2010 8:49 PM

Support the Franken/Dodd bill (Fairness for Struggling Students Act (S 3219)) and the house version (Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Fairness Act (HR 5043)) which will stop the discrimination against students and allow private student loans to once again be dischargeable in bankruptcy. HR 5043 has been voted out of subcommittee and is now in the House judiciary committee. S 3219 has also been voted out of subcommittee and is in the Senate judiciary committee. Call your Congressmen, Senators Franken and Dodd and members of the House and Senate judiciary committee to show your support. Time is of the essence.

A good example of how the banks actually write legislation is the bankruptcy reform legislation of 2005. In the bill Congress produced, private student loans were no longer dischargeable in bankruptcy. The banks were able to write this bill because students have no organization or lobby paying favors to congressmen.

I have seen it done with mine own eyes. The bank's inside counsel draft the legislation and then pass it on to congressional staffers that they have quid pro quo relationships with, often the staffers and bank's attorneys went to the same schools, and the bills are then introduced into committee in the form drafted by the banks.

No national purpose was served by this legislation. In fact, the bill has served to cause many who tried to better themselves through higher education to wind up as indentured servants slaving away for banks. American's families are impoverished and generations will live in poverty because the banks pay legislators lucrative rewards in the form of campaign contributions and high paying jobs.

These private loans, because of little regulatory oversight, often become unpayable because the interest and fees increase to an amount larger than the original loans. The only reason former students are discriminated against in bankruptcy (other bank loans and even gambling debts are dischargeable) is because students have no lobby, and the corrupt political process favors the disproportionate influence of the banks which use the legislative process to do their own bidding.

Americans should not have to live in indentured servitude because the economy cannot provide a job for them at a living wage, often because the banks and corporations use their undue influence in the political process to shape the economy for their own purposes, not for the good of the country.

Anonymous (not verified) on October 6, 2010 8:48 PM

Urgent Call to Action!
September 17, 2010 by Robert Applebaum
The Senate version of the Private Student Loan Bankruptcy bill passed a significant hurdle yesterday - it was voted out of subcommittee and now goes to the full committee. While we're still a good way from the finish line with respect to restoring basic fairness to student loans, this is great news. DO NOT LET CONGRESS DROP THE BALL NOW!
I was planning on writing sample letters and giving you links to find your representatives and Senators, but the good folks at The Project on Student Debt beat me to it. No sense re-inventing the wheel, therefore, if you do nothing else today, please follow this link to send a clear message to Congress that you support the restoration of fairness to private student loans.
Cut and paste link below to Send Letters to Your Senators and Representatives

Little by little, we're winning the fight to restore sanity to the student lending industry. Let's keep the momentum going!

Student Activists Prep For National Day Of Action | Neon Tom (not verified) on October 6, 2010 2:25 PM

[...] Link: Student Activists Prep For National Day Of Action | Neon Tommy [...]

Twitter Trackbacks for Student Activists Prep For National (not verified) on October 6, 2010 10:18 AM

[...] Student Activists Prep For National Day Of Action | Neon Tommy neontommy.com/news/2010/10/student-activists-prep-national-day-action – view page – cached Scherer on March 4 in front of Gov. Schwarzenegger's office in downtown San Diego. (Courtesy of Wayne Scherer) Wayne Scherer will be one of many people in San Diego dressed for a funeral on Thursday. Tweets about this link [...]

Student Loan Debt Consolidation | Student loan consolidators (not verified) on October 6, 2010 9:02 AM

[...] Student Activists Prep For National Day Of Action | Neon Tommy [...]