University of Minnesota Solidarity Network

Tag Archives: care

Reflections on an Open Occupation for Movement-Building

Within, against, and beyond the U of Minnesota

by RENE G. –

Finding Each Other

Wisconsin students called for a nationwide student walkout on March 11th, 2011, at 2pm, to stand in solidarity with their teachers and other workers who are under attack, being stripped of their collective bargaining rights.  Finding their call through a facebook event, and inspired also by the ongoing revolutions in the Middle East, a few organizers in the neighboring state of Minnesota decided to make it happen.  The day before, we plastered the campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis with posters for a walkout and general assembly.  The turnout was decent for only a day’s notice with a generally apathetic student body: about a hundred people attended, with about thirty sticking around through the end of the assembly (see video at The UpTake). Speakers from the Industrial Workers of the World talked about the insufficiency of the currently dominant strategy of trying to recall the Republican senators in Wisconsin—because it was not as if back in November before the vote, the working conditions were all that great—and, instead, why a general strike was necessary.  Meanwhile, on long sheets of butcher paper, participants wrote their grievances, visions for a better world, and strategies for how to get there.  The facilitators of the assembly drew out these reflections and—recognizing that they had so much potential power gathered together—the participants were inspired to commit to some plan of action, and through some debate they settled on occupying a University building. Read more of this post