CSU Monterey Bay, Support & Solidarity on March 3, 2011 by guerrillathink
At 12:00pm today, March 2nd, The National Day to Defend Education, around 50 students, staff, faculty and community members gathered in the main quad of CSU Monterey Bay for the scheduled “Speak-Out” that day for students to voice their concerns. After 20 minutes of some rowdy and tribal noise-making and drumming, a couple of students called for everyone to gather around. Handouts were passed out that explained how “Chancellor Greed” continues to get paid exorbitant amounts of money to dismantle the CSU system of higher education, all the while our tuition is in a state of perpetual increase.
A couple of students gave a couple of small and rousing speeches while egging the crowd on for their opinion… and then, in the words of one student:
The only way to make the administrators who run the CSU system listen to us,
is if we force them to listen!
The Administration building is RIGHT THERE!
Let’s march up there,
and refuse to leave until our demands are met.
And that’s exactly what the collective group decided to do. They marched up to the top of the hill and preceded into the lobby of Building 1. A couple students demanded an audience with top administrators, and we happened to catch the Provost, The Dean of Students, and several other administrators.
A very lively and animated discussion transpired concerning the specific demands that were issued by a student organization called “Students for Quality Education.” The same student organization that organized the Speak Out, and last year’s March 4th rally.
Many, MANY issues were brought up concerning several issues across the board.
Many were campus specific; such as ousting Sodexo from CSUMB.
Many were concerning the processes in which democracy & shared governance are practiced and the structure of the university itself.
and of course, we continued to advocate on behalf of the students and their future (the future of California!), declaring that tuition increases are only going to further burden the students, and deny access to the very people that this University was built to serve; “The campus will be distinctive in serving the diverse people of California, especially the working class and historically undereducated and low-income populations.”
In the end, the Administrators continued to repeat the same ole cadence of “join this committee, go to that meeting.” despite our repeated efforts to explain to them that we simply aren’t capable of being stretched any thinner than we already are (Most students have jobs on top of full-time enrollment at the university, which leaves little time for anything else). The students continued to reiterate that there are systemic issues and contradictions that continue to inhibit change and devalue the quality of our education in a time of economic crisis.
A compromise of sorts was made; The Administrators feel that the students (& other csumb community members) ought to address these demands through the proper avenues of shared governance, but the students feel that the processes themselves snuff any flame of real progress, that the students need to look out for their personal livelihoods, and that ultimately without the students, there is no university.Therefore, the idea was proposed for a second meeting, at the Associated Students (the Student’s elected officials & representatives who were conspicuously absent at the Speak out & Sit-in) Meeting this next Monday, March 7th @ Noon
Facebook Event Text:
Wednesday at our Speak out we decided to bring our concerns directly to the administration. Students, staff, faculty, and community supporters marched to the administration office and demanded to talk to the CSUMB Administration. From that meeting the administrators agreed to come to the Associated Students meeting on Monday, March 7th to discuss ways that the students, AS, and administrators could work together to meet the conc…erns of students.
Agenda topics for AS meeting March 7th, 2011
· Remove Sodexo from campus
· Remove Sodexo’s monopoly on campus
· Eliminate mandatory meal plans
Alternative Food Service
· Hire food service workers directly
· Create student/worker run food cooperatives on campus
· Allow farmers markets and local food vendors on campus
· Do not militarize our campus by implementing an ROTC program
· Tell the Students, Faculty, and Staff how the current budget is being spent here at CSUMB
· Place a link on the website that provides a detailed model of the university governing structure
Budget Cuts, Tuition Increases, and Graduation Rates
· Do not use graduation rates as a measure of the quality of education
· Students are unable to graduate quickly because of annual budget cuts and tuition increases. These system-wide policies force us to work multiple jobs and take a high level of units while workloads for staff and faculty increase while their numbers decrease.
In Solidarity, From Egypt to Wisconsin to California! Democracy NEEDS Education!
WikiLeaks: U.S. warned Kenya against invading Somalia
By Alan Boswell | McClatchy Newspapers
NAIROBI, Kenya — U.S. cables made public by WikiLeaks show that the United States warned Kenya two years ago not to launch an offensive in southern Somalia against al Qaida-allied al Shabab rebels, but a U.S. official also offered to check on the "feasibility" of a U.S. review of the plans.
Kenya went ahead with an invasion a month ago, saying it was a response to a recent series of kidnappings near the border between the two countries. But the existence of the cables undercuts Kenya's claim that the move had not been long planned.
The cables paint a contradictory picture of whether the United States encouraged Kenya's invasion of its neighbor.
Taken as a whole, they seem to lend credence to Washington's claims that it had neither encouraged nor supported the invasion. But one particularly lively cable depicts a senior U.S. official asking Kenya's foreign minister if Kenyan troops shouldn't consider trying to take Kismayo, the Shabab stronghold seaport, on their own or with the help of Somali militias, and promising the review of the plans by an American team. The tactics described in that cable match the plan Kenya appears to be trying to execute.
While reliable independent information from the ground is scarce, the Kenyan offensive appears to have stalled one month in. The military has cited heavy rains and mud for slowing its movements, but Rashid Abdi, a Nairobi-based Somali analyst at the International Crisis Group, says that the military is hesitating to proceed into Shabab territory because the Islamist group is refusing to engage the Kenyan troops openly.
"The Kenyans were hoping to fight on their terms. Al Shabab has now turned the equation," said Abdi.
Kenya could be trying to buy time in hopes of more outside assistance. Kenya has called for a blockade of Kismayo from the sea, and on Wednesday it hosted Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his Somali counterpart, Sharif Ahmed, to shore up regional backing of its military campaign.
A bogged-down campaign is one of the reasons U.S. officials cited, according to the cables, for opposing a Kenyan operation.
According to a cable dated Feb. 2, 2010, Johnnie Carson, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, provided Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula with a variety of reasons that the U.S. believed a proposed Kenyan incursion could backfire during a Jan. 30, 2010, meeting in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.
Kenyan officials had been aggressively pitching the idea over several months, the cables show, asking U.S. officials to back their plan to create a semi-autonomous buffer zone on Kenya's border with Somalia. The Kenyans vowed that not "a single Kenyan boot" would enter Somalia and that the entire operation would be conducted by Kenyan-trained Somali troops.
Carson, however, warned that the operation would be more complicated and expensive than expected. He also said such an invasion might spark conflict between Somalia's combustible clan and sub-clan networks and weaken the authority of the central government in Mogadishu.
Carson also questioned Kenya's resolve in the case of defeat or setback and wondered if its leaders were prepared to deal with discontent back home if the war turned sour.
The cable said Carson "concluded by suggesting that there shold (sic) be more conventional and convenient ways to accomplish the same end. Could, for example, the trained Somalis help Kenya to re-take Kismayo?"
According to the cable, the National Security Council's senior director for African affairs, Michelle Gavin, then expressed the United States' willingness to brainstorm other strategies with Kenya.
The Kenyan delegation, which included Kenya's minister of defense, the head of its intelligence service and the chief of its armed forces, continued to press the Americans passionately for support, with Wetangula summing up their arguments by pleading, "I may not have been as convincing as I should have been," but "the threat is real," according to the cable.
Carson ended the meeting by promising to "look into the feasibility" of sending a U.S. team to Kenya to review the plan's technical details, but he told the Kenyans that he "still maintained deep reservations" about it, the cable said.
The cable noted this was the third time Wetangula had made a personal pitch to Carson to support the plans, which would involve 2,000 Kenyan-trained Somali troops in an offensive. The end goal was to create a new semi-autonomous administration in Jubaland, the southern region of Somalia. Kenyan officials argued that Kenya's poorly secured border with Somalia was a major national security threat.
Since Kenya's invasion last month, U.S. officials have denied that the U.S. was involved in planning Kenya's offensive or was providing assistance — a position that appears to be backed by the deep skepticism the cables show U.S. officials had for the plan.
"I don't think it points to an American plot," said Roger Middleton, an analyst in London for Chatham House, Britain's premier foreign policy think tank. "For me the cables make the case a bit stronger that Kenya went on this on its own."
But Middleton also said that the United States, Britain and France now have a "begrudging acceptance" of the invasion and are likely to be providing intelligence and other covert forms of support now that the operation is underway.
"In the short term, people would be happy if Kenya succeeds and takes Kismayo. But I haven't seen a plan of what comes next. And that's the real worry," Middleton said.
The diplomatic cables show that, at the beginning of last year, Washington shared those concerns.
Kenya tried repeatedly to persuade Washington to ease its opposition to its Jubaland project. In addition to Wetangula's pitches to Carson, senior Kenyan officials pitched a number of U.S. representatives around the same time: Karl Wycoff, the deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs, on Dec. 8, 2009; Alexander Vershbow, the assistant secretary of defense, on Jan. 26, 2010; and Daniel Benjamin, the ambassador-at-large for counterterrorism, on Jan. 29. All U.S. officials told Kenya that the U.S. had strong reservations about the plan, according to the cables.
The British government also was pessimistic of the plan, according to a Jan. 15, 2010, cable from the U.S. Embassy in London.
Opposition also came from Uganda, according to another cable, which said that on Jan. 31, 2010, in Addis Ababa, Ugandan President Museveni questioned Kenya's ability to wage unconventional war in Somalia, criticizing Kenya's military as a career army and asking rhetorically, "Is Kenya used to fighting like this?" Museveni also questioned the ideological commitment of Kenya's proxy Somali militias.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi offered only qualified support and said he shared U.S. concerns. "We are not enthusiastic, but we are hoping for success," he told U.S. officials on that same day, according to a separate cable.
The foreign minister of Djibouti, a small country to the north of Somalia that hosts a major U.S. military base, told the U.S. he feared Kenya's invasion could produce the same ill consequences as the U.S.-backed Ethiopian invasion in 2006, which prompted Shabab to launch its insurgency in southern Somalia.
The concerted rebuff had one notable exception, however: China. A February 2010 diplomatic cable from the U.S.'s Nairobi embassy says that in January, as Kenya was feverishly pitching its Western and regional allies for support, the Chinese government gave Kenya weapons, ammunition and uniforms for use by the Somali force that Kenya was training for the task.
The Kenyan military denied support from the Chinese in its current operations. "If there is under-the-table support, I am not aware," said Maj. Emmanuel Chirchir, the Kenyan military spokesman.
Chirchir also denied that China gave military support to Kenya's trained Somali militias two years ago. He would not directly respond to how Kenya's current military offensive is related to the Jubaland project as laid out in the Wikileaks cables.
"There is no such thing as the Jubaland initiative," Chirchir said. "We attacked because our tourism industry was attacked."
(Boswell is a McClatchy special correspondent.)