Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Compendium of Action (Republished from Claremont Solidarity)

Thursday April 15th, 2010

We here at Claremont Solidarity have many revolutionary duties besides writing blog posts – organize, escalate, write senior theses – and these have lately taken precedence over reporting on the continuing struggle of the Pomona College dining hall workers. In brief then, here is what has happened over the past week or so:

On April 6th, worker organizer Maria ‘YoYo’ Garcia debated Karen Sisson, Pomona vice president and treasurer, in a panel forum along with three faculty. The Rose Hills Theater at Pomona College was packed with supportive students wearing orange armbands and buttons, while a crowd of workers held signs in the audience. The debate was an embarrassment for the administration, which was clearly not expecting or ready to be so directly challenged by the workers themselves so publicly. The full two-hour long video can be seen here. A highlight is YoYo telling Karen Sisson that all of the benefits the workers have gotten as workers where won through their own struggle, and not the good will of the administration.

A couple days after the public debate, workers walked off the job in the dining halls in a coordinated break-time action. Dining hall workers took their half hour breaks at the same time and marched out of the dining halls together, leading a short worker-only march through the campus.

Shortly after the walkout, workers took over an anti-union meeting, refusing to be intimidated and speaking out against the attempts of the managers to make them listen to anti-union propaganda.

The coalition of students and workers has begun expanding to include the Ohlone tribe, a local indigenous group that is also fighting for recognition. The Ohlone youth have exhibited a militancy that far exceeds the student members of Claremont Solidarity. Workers and student organizers are to be guests of honor at the upcoming Ohlone pow wow.

Ohlone Chief Tony Cerda, with button and armband, in the struggle

Today, April 15, workers again staged a breaktime walkout, this time leading a march of about 150 students to the Pomona College administration building. The march was led by a large banner painted by Ohlone youth. During the march, a representative from a filming crew that was using the elite environs of the college quad to shoot a commercial addressed the marchers with the request that they keep it quiet so that the commercial could be filmed. Students and workers responded with noise.

Claremont Solidarity updates will continue to be unreliable until thesis dates and final exams are past, or until the revolution is won.

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