Early in the Morning on March 4, students dropped several banners at ASU’s Tempe campus. Getting things ready for high noon in front of the Fulton Center, where the ASU President’s office resides.
At high noon, students rallied outside the Fulton Center. The event started out with banners, signs and a megaphone decrying tuition hikes and unfairness. Chants spread and various individuals took turns speaking into the megaphone, some with more pointed arguments than others. Some staff members stood outside and watched the spectacle.
The scene was swarming with police, at least seven mounted on bicycles, three in the lobby of the Fulton Center, and others buzzing around in their cruisers and on motorcycles. Protesters even recognized an officer filming their activities.
Eventually the students decided to march through campus, trying to drum up support. Some cynics amongst the group felt uncomfortable with the ‘passive, reformist’ chants but followed along in good spirits. The crowd of protesters made it to the Memorial Union, just in time to disrupt everyone’s lunch. Followed closely by cops, the group entered the MU, and commenced to get in people’s faces. The discussion was mostly of boring tuition hikes. Some members of the crowd reached out to workers in the MU, and tried to escalate the arguments beyond mere tuition increases.
After exiting the MU the bunch swaggered back toward the Fulton Center, flanked by bike cops and the slug who was filming the protesters.
Once back at the Fulton Center action was on everyone’s mind. The police had been hot on the protesters’ tails and now the demonstrators wanted inside.
Like the last bullet put into a clip of a gun pointed at a well deserving head, it all clicked into place. The students marched through the lobby, megaphones and voices blaring. Quickly finding the elevator, the protesters packed in and ascended to the 4th floor, where the president’s office resides. Once there, mischief took place in the corridor outside the President’s office (it was locked), papers were strewn about, chants were executed and papers were slipped under doors. A suit and tie lackey confronted the group and said he was willing to listen to what the protesters had to say. Turns out he was the Vice President. More chanting and yelling, police entered the fourth floor and some of the protesters became very uncomfortable. We ended up leaving when some of the other students began a dialogue with the Vice President. And with a defiant exclamation of the phrase “No Negotiations!” we exited down a back stairwell.
The confrontation dissipated. Interestingly, some students and non-students were detained by the police, eventually being let go. As a result of this, some students may be facing disciplinary ramifications from the University, we’ll let you know when we know.
The problem with tuition raises is the problem with capitalism. The problem with oppressive and exclusionary forces within the University is the problem with oppressive and exclusionary forces outside the University. Criticism of University policies ought not exist in a vacuum. They are motivated by the same factors that oppress those outside the University. This must remain in the front of our minds, especially if we want to avoid getting caught up in cycles of reform and avoid alienating non-students who are fighting against the same systems of oppression.
To us, the March 4th actions serve two functions. First, to express solidarity with those who are participating in wide scale occupations, strikes, walk outs, and direct actions in other locations. Hopefully our actions will let them know that they have friends in Arizona who are supporting them and following their stories closely. Next, to connect struggles in other places to our own. It is going to be a long push, but we refuse to wait for conditions to become ideal for us to make things interesting. While we recognize the strategic value in organizing around student tuition hikes, it should come as no surprise that our goals are loftier. Ultimately, we are happy that the Puppet Student Government is no longer the only voice. Now, as groups crop up to resist, we finally have something substantial to push with and against. We will continue to create ruptures and fractures.
The fires of revolution will not burn without the kindling of dissent and negation. If our recent actions are not enough of a spark the fire, then consider them the gathering of kindling.
Like our friends at ASU Resist, we vehemently exclaim: This is only the beginning.
We are proud that March 4th, the day that marks the climax for so many, is the birthday of resistance at ASU Tempe campus. Moreover, as we can see from the actions of the police, someone is getting nervous. This makes us proud. And utmost solidarity to our friends working on the West campus; there is something to be said for fighting without regard to whether you are ‘successful’ or your actions are visible to a large number. They fought because their lives depended on it, and so do ours.
And in the end... we are still who we are.
It’s like this: if the other groups cropping up were kids in our class, they would be calling out oppression with an unwavering voice, speaking in proud defiance. While we here represent the kid in the back of the class, probably wearing dirty black clothes, who is not even sure why she shows up to school anymore. If the other groups are the human faces of resistance, we more closely resemble a kid in a Frankenstein mask, waiting to blow a spit-wad at the teacher or overturn a desk and storm out of the classroom.
We are uncompromising and unapologetic. We will continue to lurk in the shadows and emerge to attack.