In the wake of the savage assault on Occupy protestors last week at UC Berkeley, activists are calling for a system-wide “General Strike” on November 15. While they are confused on the concept and terminology, they are correct in calling for an intensification of their protests.
A General Strike entails the overwhelming majority of workers in a city or region refusing to work, whereas the UC actions are an attempt to shut down only one employer, the University of California. Therefore, it would not be a General Strike.
A system-wide strike is a necessary step in asserting students’ rights to peacefully assemble, speak freely, and participate in university life free from police brutality. It is, however, only a step, not a solution. Furthermore, it is only step toward defending the right to free speech, which itself is only a step toward their actual goals of lowering educational fees, ending privatization of the university system, restoration of funding to the system, and the ever-nebulous “making the rich pay.”
Students have won the support of at least some of their professors. The UC Davis Faculty Association has endorsed the strike, setting the way for the professors to walk off the job and join students.