With the ushering in of a new school year, the Los Angeles YSA has a optimistic outlook on our tasks and perspectives for the upcoming months. We plan educational forums on a variety of issues such as affirmative action, the Cuban Revolution, and the Black Panthers.
We will be active with the Affirmative Action Coalition, a broad group on campus that fights to save the gains won during the civil rights movement that are currently being killed.The attacks against affirmative action and other minority rights are intensifying, and it is more important than ever for youth to organize to reverse the trend.
Although affirmative action can’t change the fundamental oppression minorities suffer under capitalism, it can make a difference in living standards and integrating the forces of the working class, and it is worth fighting for.
We plan to have events that will illuminate the revolutionary aspects and potential of the arts, like our “Art and Revolution” event last year. We will also be doing more work around Mumia Abu-Jamal with the UCLA Student Mobilization to Free Mumia. We will be in active solidarity with labor struggles around LA, visiting picket lines and showing our support.
Most importantly, the YSA will be expanding this year to other campuses in the greater Los Angeles area. We will be active and present at Santa Monica Community College, an ethnically diverse school located near UCLA, as well as at Occidental College and Clairmont College.
Last semester, we were very successful in building the foundation of our organization on the UCLA campus
We were active in organizing with SAGE, the graduate students union, who were struggling last year for union recognition, and went on strike last October.
We were active around struggles on affirmative action and the environment, and we were involved in community struggles like the bus riders’ union.
But perhaps our best accomplishments were with the Student Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. Student organizations such as RAZA women, USAC (the undergrad student government), the Environmental Coalition, and MEChA were involved in and supported our coalition.
Because of our work, Mumia’s case became well known on campus. We were able to do this because the YSA believes that when fighting for a specific issue, the most effective way is not to struggle as fragmented groups, but as a powerful united front around specific slogans that we all agree on.
-DEREK SEIDMAN, UCLA-YSA