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Student Power! Democratizing Your Campus
Submitted by marc on March 29, 2008 - 5:42pm.
Taylour Johnson and Ashok Kumar from the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution lead a workshop on how to organize students on campus. How do we build institutional power structures on campus so that we do not have to keep recreating models from one generation to the next? How do we make our organizations about movement building rather than just being a social club?
Taylour and Ashok begin the discussion by talking about examples from UMass and Quebec of students successfully organizing and gaining their demands. Ashok made a distinction between reformist reforms such as a living wage campaign that gains a specific demand but does not build a movement, and non-reformist reforms that go toward building a movement so that the organizing efforts do not collapse after gaining a specific demand. This leads to the importance of building institutions that will last forever.
We then discussed in what realms we work where we could build permanent structures (RA and GTA unions, academic units, fraternities, student workers, athletics). But an ongoing problem is a lack of institutional memories, so that we have to continue rebuilding efforts year after year. Another problem is what to do about student apathy.