Occupy ELAC to show student hardships

CN/Kien Ha

By Cristina Galvan

Motivated by the Occupy movements, East Los Angeles College students plan on protesting against budget cuts in what they call Occupy ELAC this Monday.

ELAC and other schools have experienced budget cuts throughout the past semesters, and tuition has increased. This semester, tuition has been raised to $36 per unit from the $26 per unit of last semester. It is expected to be raised even more. Besides paying for classes, students also have to buy books and other materials that are essential for learning.

Education and social services might see a $4 billion cut which will affect services offered to students. “We are fed up. We need change. We need Jerry Brown to prioritize our education,” said Angie Rincon, Feminist club president.

Rincon said this movement will allow students to get involved and protest for something that directly affects them. Since students are paying for their classes, it is encouraged that they do not walk-out or miss their classes to participate in Occupy ELAC, but that they instead fit it within their school schedule.

Student leaders from various clubs said students need to educate themselves about the issues and become aware of what they are protesting. The goal of Occupy ELAC is to “shine a light on the topic (tuition rates),” and that “You have to know why you are going to pay so much,” Rincon said.

Herlim Li, who is a member of Fighting Intensively for Resources in Education club, said that the protest is set to start-off at the free speech area located by the lunch truck followed with a march around the school. Protesters will carry a coffin filled with textbooks and school supplies. “This was our group’s idea as a creative way to symbolize the death of public education due to budget cuts and fee hikes,” Li said.

The march will end at the front steps of the school where the ELAC letters are located. Speakers will address attendees to start the first day of Occupy ELAC. “We are coming together as students, not clubs. Yeah, clubs are involved and are the way to attract people and inform students, but it’s not a feminist movement. It’s a student movement,” Rincon said.

Esperanza Ortega, president of ELAC Students for Political Awareness, is a mother of three-year-old twins. “I have a strong family that understands my passion for civil rights. The girls will be taken care of and  there is actually a kid’s zone downtown at Occupy LA. So why not start one for Occupy ELAC?” Ortega said.

“I’m motivated in keeping higher education affordable and accessible because I feel community college is a special place, it’s a place of second chances,” Rincon said.

“Whether you are retraining for another career, sprucing up your resume because you’ve been laid off or just continuing your education because community college is  more affordable. This is the one place that everyone in the community should be able to come and be able to better their lives,” Li said.

Interested students can attend a meeting on Thursday at 12:15 p.m. in room E3-114.

This article has 1 Comment

  1. Amazingly, or maybe not, ELAC has their own Occupation. Maybe this is the byproduct of the 60s and 70s movement or maybe it’s an evolution. Whatever it is, I find it refreshing that students do care about the livelihood of ELAC as well as the community vastly affected by the greed and corruption of Wall Street. Many have asked how this begun? Arguably since Reagan after he cut the top-tax rate from 74% to 45% and to our current level of 15% if you live on a dividend check. But you can go back further to the birth of this nation. So how were we all suckered? Like the goodhearted Germans in Nazi Germany, it was gradually done. Germans, according to in-depth interviews after the fall of Germany, said that the rise of the third Reich was gradual. The Jews were not exterminated immediately, but the rise of propaganda: stereotypical illustration, posters, radio programs and so on led to the extermination of more than 6 million Jews. How? Joseph Goebbels said it best,

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    Fast forward today: George W. Bush, “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.”

    So when you heard: The banks are too big to fail. If the bank fails we fail. It was repeated over and over and over ad nauseum/ad infinitum, to the tune according to CNN.com, $14 trillion. Yet according to Google, the U.S. GDP is $15 trillion. Wait, if our GDP is $15 trillion and the bailout is $14 trillion, where did the money come from?

    The Federal Reserve.

    Which prints paper money and get this? They are a private corporation. So in all honesty, the $14 trillion bailout? Was money created by the Reserve and guess who’s ending up paying back the debt? No, not China. China owns about $1 trillion as is: Japan, India and Korea, but the U.S. we hold 66% of our debt in bonds. These bonds pay for: schools, bridges, roads and so on. So when the republicans say they want to cut our debt? They’re cutting these programs and at the same time, giving tax breaks to the multimillionaire and billionaire corporations and wealthy folks.

    Just like Goebbels and Bush, the lies were propagandized over and over and over again, added to this fray was 9/11 and the wealthy got even more wealthy and you got stuck with an increase in tuition. Therefore, congratulations ELAC, everyone is watching! You are, including the staff and faculty as well as the union-back Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept deputies and their management are all in the same boat…and that boat is the 99%

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *