Perhaps the greatest, and most dangerous, delusion confronting the struggle centered around higher education in California is the widespread belief that a return to normalcy is possible. No such return is possible because there has never been a normal—at least not the normal we perceive—and even supposing that there was, returning to that stage is neither possible nor desirable.
Capitalism can never remain in a normal state because it is in a constant state of upheaval and conflict. Capital continually reinvents itself in response to changes in the social and cultural fabric in order to preserve its mission of labor and natural resource extraction. The University exists to serve two functions in response to this mission. First, to keep the future managers of capital abreast on new developments in Capitalist restructuration, through academic study and workforce development. Second, to provide the intellectual and technical foundations for Capital—ranging from the development of neoliberal theory to weapons systems research to keep the rabble in order.
As we hear propaganda announcing the end of the global financial crisis, it is painfully obvious that Obama and his apologists have nothing more in mind than to preserve the system of Capitalism by destroying the old order and building a new Capitalism, this time obscured by the friendly face of Social Democracy, all the while more lethal than the old Capitalism. The neoliberal order has crumbled under the weight of its speculative apparatus. Now we are witnessing the birth of a new Capitalism, more adept at integrating and therefore diffusing popular anti-Capitalist dissent, featuring a rise in State-Capitalist ventures and “green” initiatives, whereby both the State and Capital profit from the sickness we all carry due to commodified existence, and the same companies which are rapidly killing our planet for profit will profit once more from their path of destruction.
As new Capitalism emerges, the University must change to accommodate its new master. The budget crisis is not a temporary crisis, rather it is the mark of transition. This is why there is no going back.
Milton Friedman advocated the use of crisis and the perception of crisis as a smokescreen to usher in unpopular and devastating social reforms; it appears that this tactic is being used in California now. As the “defend public education” crowd hems and haws at budget cuts, they are missing the movements happening behind them. This is more than just about entire departments being cut: we will see the entire mission of higher education dramatically morph every day.
As students and workers—consumers and producers—at the University, we refuse to be complicit in the onward march of Capital. We are tired of existence mediated through the commodity. We are tired of existence as commodity. In discovering the nature of the crisis, we know that we cannot wait for the movement, we cannot wait for the revolution—the revolution is here now. But it is not a thing to be sold or won or lost, it is the ongoing struggle of being.
There is no hope for symbolic gestures or capitulation. We must occupy our own existence. Reoccupy our past, present, and future, in all their forms. Take back what is ours.
We make no demands of Capital or the State. We recognize their hegemony but not their legitimacy; we are ungovernable. We cannot demand resolution of the budget crisis, because there is no budget crisis. What we perceive as crisis is really transition within the framework of business as usual. But while there is no budget crisis, there is a wholly different crisis: the crisis inherent when Capital must forcibly reintegrate those wretched bodies into its failed logic who have experienced liberation and themselves. WE ARE THE CRISIS!
We call for the spread of the tactic of occupation as our crisis deepens. We call for bodies to find themselves and others as subjects, rather than objects. We call for a generalized ungovernability. In doing so, what we are really calling for is an expropriation of everything: our schools, our bodies, our existence.
BE THE CRISIS YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD!
THERE IS NO GOING BACK!
Always in the struggle,
An autonomous committee in fuckin’ Irvine.