Letter to the editor: Mar. 10, 2010

William Herbe

In response to Lisa Squier’s letter published Mar. 9:

Lisa Squier:
I am proud to be an active participant in the walkout.  My participation included classroom interruptions and blocking traffic by sitting in the street.

I am also dismayed you didn’t mention the horrendous police brutality perpetrated against unarmed peaceful protesters, including myself, several women who were pushed in the back and Professor Karen Baird-Olson.
I’ll ask a simple question: How far do you think the civil rights movement or the women’s rights movement or the anti-Vietnam War movement would’ve gotten making cute and polite phone calls to legislators?

What if Malcolm X’s “By Any Means Necessary” was instead “By Any Means That Don’t Upset the Authorities?”

What if Martin Luther King’s march in Selma, Alabama (technically against the law) was instead an orderly petition-drive including a sharply written cover page?

I’m not saying our education struggle in California is equivalent in importance to these previous movements, but from our history we clearly know what methods work to make change.  It’s not violence, voting, phone calls or letter writing.  It’s non-violent, civil disobedience.

You charged that we “disrupted education” while claiming to fight for it.  What we did was in the great tradition of Cesar Chavez and the farm workers: it’s called a “strike.”
Strikes are what gave us child labor laws.  It’s how the minimum wage was won.  It’s why you only work 8 hours a day instead of 12 or 15.

People used to work 12 hours a day 7 days a week until some “disruptive hooligans” came along and did their walk out.  The “serious” people were writing letters to corrupt politicians, asking if they could please work less.

We don’t “shake up” anything or anyone by coloring inside the lines and playing well with others.  In fact, it’s doing exactly that which has gotten us into this horrible situation.  “Telling” news companies how bad it is at CSUN will get us nothing more than a yawn and an un-returned phone call.  ABC7 came out with cameras; that’s when the police had to back down from their violence, and our rights were respected.

When’s the last time the media came out to cover a phone banking operation?

Asking nicely has gotten us nowhere, but demanding our rights and being determined to take them back empowers us as students.  We don’t have to just sit there and take it.

I agree that the classroom interruptions could have been more organized, perhaps with speeches prepared ahead of time.  What you witnessed was a spontaneous display of democracy, which can sometimes be messy.  Instead of criticizing the details, why not thank us for standing up for you and your rights?  It’s not every day CSUN students stop texting and facebooking long enough to actually do something that matters.

The students united will never be defeated.

Joseph Glatzer, Senior Political Science Major