As a UC Berkeley alumnus and emeritus CSU faculty member (Long Beach), I strongly support the Oct. 24 Mobilizing Conference to Save Public Education and urge all UC, CSU, community college, and K-12 students, workers, teachers, and their organizations to participate in this movement.
As a congressional candidate of the socialist Peace and Freedom Party (District 10, 2008), I would remind everyone that, ultimately, the solution to California's budgetary problems lies in the socialist transformation of the global economy, based on the principles of peace, democracy, equality, and ecology, and led by the workers of the world organized as the ruling class. I do not suggest that students and workers simply wait for The Revolution, however. Instead, I urge them to challenge the existing system with the following transitional demands:
• Roll back all fees to 1954 levels (Even though we had a capitalist economy when I enrolled back then, fees totaled $45 a semester at UC Berkeley, less in the CSU and Community Colleges).
• Cut bloated administration salaries to the level of faculty and staff. (Does anyone really believe the university is a better place because Mark Yudof got paid $828,000 in 2008? Or that Coach Jeff Tedford got $2.8 million?)
• Reform the California state budget by measures such as the following:
A. Impose an oil severance tax of 25 percent on all oil produced in California (comparable to the 25 percent imposed on oil companies by former Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin).
B. Develop a split-roll tax system, protecting Prop. 13 tax levels for homeowners while requiring businesses and corporations to pay their fair share of state taxes.
C. Create a State Bank of California similar to the state banks of North Dakota, the Canadian Province of Alberta, and the state banks of China and India.
D. State budgets to be passes by majority vote of the state legislature.
F. Federal bailout of state and local governments comparable to the bailout of banks.
• End all wars in the Middle East, shut down the war machine, put the Merchants of Death out of business, abolish all nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.
• Single-payer health care, establishing a universal health care system, providing free health care for all.
• Legalize and tax marijuana, and free all non-violent drug offenders from California prisons.
By organizing around such specific issues, students and workers will be building a new world within the womb of the old.
Anyway, that's what I think. And don't let the university interfere with your education!
Eugene E. Ruyle is an Oakland resident.