CONTACT: Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee – PHL (firstname.lastname@example.org); Rina Mascitti, Deputy Chair (302.354.9767)
WHEN: 11/12/15 (Thursday) @ 2:30PM; march begins at 3:45
WHERE: Rally in front of CCP’s Student Life building, march to City Hall
WHO: Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee – Philly chapter (RSCC-PHL) with allied students and workers; CCP Students for Justice in Palestine (CCP SJP); Philly Socialists; 15 Now Philadelphia
SOUND & VISUALS: Students will be holding signs and banners and playing music while engaging with the community. RSCC-PHL will then lead a contingent of allied individuals and campus organisations with their own signs and banners, chanting slogans.
DETAILS: Students, faculty and workers across the city of Philadelphia will be taking part in a national day of action Thursday, November 12, against heightening exploitation on our campuses. At CCP, we will be demanding an open campus, the abolition of tuition, the cancellation of all student debt, $15/hr for campus workers, the abolition of the Board of Trustees, democratic community control of the college, and an end to repression against student activists.
Year after year, our institutions of higher education are being privatised. Less and less do they serve the needs of the communities whose labour they are exploiting and whose land they are gentrifying. Rather than serving the needs of the people, universities and colleges in Philadelphia serve the needs of the ruling class.
At the Community College of Philadelphia, contrary to the promise of a “pathway to [petty bourgeois] possibilities,” we are confronted as students by the reality that ⅔ of us will neither graduate from our two-year degree programmes, nor transfer to a four-year university; only 2% of us will graduate on time. These results are heavily skewed along racial lines, with more than twice as many white students as Black students succeeding at CCP, despite there being more than twice as many Black students as white students enrolled. (nces.ed.gov) In this way, we can see that the Community College of Philadelphia, whose community is predominantly those of working-class Black and Brown people in Philly, is reproducing white supremacist capitalism before our very eyes.
This is because the Board of Trustees exists to enrich themselves through their investment in the Community College, and to satisfy the needs of a capitalist and racist labour market.
At CCP, we are also dealing with an out-of-control administration, which is more interested in grabbing and holding bureaucratic power over campus decisions and serving the Board of Trustees, than helping students succeed, or fairly remunerating its workers. Over the past several weeks, for example, the administration has militarised our campus, directing security to intimidate students into handing over identifying information simply to enter school buildings. This new policy treats community members like criminal suspects and potential terrorists, and creates unnecessary antagonism between campus security and our campus community. We want our open campus back, in the interests of community accessibility and student/worker/faculty safety from meddling police and security.
The administration at CCP has also used its power to crack down on political activity on campus. When RSCC-PHL members and allied faculty disrupted police recruiting on our campus as part of the larger Black Lives Matter movement against the racist police, the administration handed down suspensions on all students and faculty who participated. Another of our campus-specific demands at CCP is an end to retaliation against student and faculty who do political work on campus.
The Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee also wishes to stress the importance of abolishing the board of trustees, and replacing them with direct democratic control of the college as a public institution, held in joint interest by students, faculty, workers and the community. This democratisation of our campus is essential to meeting the demands of the Million Student March.
As student revolutionaries, we see it as our duty to break down the walls that insulate these privatising institutions from the struggles which are raging outside them. Our colleges must become bases of people power in order to fight these systems of oppression.
THE COLLEGE BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE
ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE