Last Friday, members of MeCHA, RAZA, and other groups at UC Berkeley began a hunger strike with demands that included open access for all students and amnesty for international students, for their chancellor to denounce SB 1070, rehiring of all fired janitors, and amnesty for Wheeler Hall protesters, who were largely women and people of color. They have called on activists and communities of color for support. FaDU, Democracy Insurgent, and International Workers and Students for Justice responded with a letter of support. You can sign their petition and find out more details of their demands here: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/make_chancellor_birgeneau_stand_up_against_sb_1070. We do not have a good resource for updates right now, but you can check out edu-factory.org for new messages, or join that listserv. Updates also coming out over March 4th listserv.
**Text of letter--Forward widely**
Dear hunger strikers at UC Berkeley and supporters,
As members of Democracy Insurgent, International Workers and Students for Justice, and For a Democratic University--multi-racial worker/student groups dedicated to anti-imperialism, worker rights, and immigrant rights based in the University of Washington as well as the broader Seattle community--we are heartened by your struggles of people of color, women, workers, and students at Berkeley, at the same time as we are disgusted by the manipulation of the deepening crisis by the rulers at Berkeley and beyond. At the University of Washington, we have also been fighting back, across race and gender, and as workers and working class students against cuts that gentrify the University and against police abuse of workers and activists. We denounce the white supremacist, anti-immigrant regime, and those of us who are immigrants fight despite the threat of deportation.
Like you, we see the immigrants rights and anti-budget cuts struggles as one, as a shared struggle against neoliberal policies that aim to privatize our universities, split our communities apart, and imprison our youth in jails and ICE detention centers.
On May Day this year we marched with 10,000 others in support of workers rights and against an increasingly repressive and violent anti-immigrant regime. We chanted "Boycott Arizona" and "No borders, no state/no bosses, no hate", in opposition to the racist SB-1070 and the white supremacist, anti-immigrant practices within the state of Washington, including the expanding Tacoma Detention Center, run by the Geo Group, and the newly proposed detention center in downtown Tacoma which would hold up to 1500 prisoners.
On May 3rd, students, workers, teachers, and community members formed picket lines from 4:30 AM to 2:30 PM at UW to protest budget cuts that have resulted in the loss of at least 850 jobs and have precipitated ever worsening abuse of immigrant workers, in addition to 29% tuition hikes and cuts to essential student services.
In denouncing SB-1070, we must also recognize that it codifies practices already occurring in Arizona and across the U.S. This law is a continuation of the ongoing attack in this country on immigrant families and workers and other people of color, in the middle east through both direct military occupation and financial support, and around the world in neo-colonial practices.
Ahead of May 1st, Democracy Insurgent, with the support of FaDU and other groups, released a statement linking the struggle against budget cuts to immigrant struggles. This document is available at www.democracyinsurgent.org.
Our groups support all of your demands and deeply respect your efforts. Please keep us updated and let us know what support we can give.
International Workers and Students for Justice
For a Democratic University