DSA-Santa Cruz endorses the wildcat strike by graduate students at UC Santa Cruz

We are in a crucial moment for labor organizing, nationwide. After more than a generation of demobilization, union-busting and retreat we are finally seeing the shoots of a vibrant and militant labor movement poking through the cold ground of neoliberalism. Education workers are leading the way in this, with strikes in West Virginia, Arizona, Colorado, Chicago and Los Angeles as only the most visible examples of this inspiring wave of organizing. We are thrilled, both to see this wave of militancy move into the higher education sector, and to see it come to Santa Cruz, where rents are some of the highest in the country.

We see in this strike the intersection of many of the different struggles that DSA-Santa Cruz has been organizing around. Like most workers in Santa Cruz, graduate teaching assistants struggle under oppressive levels of rent burden. Grad student workers have canvassed alongside us for rent control and to elect council members who support tenant protections.  And with us, they have seen those efforts frustrated by a powerful real estate lobby that poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into our local election. In all of this, their employer (and in many cases, their landlord) stood cynically by on the sidelines – refusing to meaningfully raise wages and refusing to do anything to help rein in housing costs.

Now, in the face of inaction and apathy by the UCSC administration, these student workers – led by rank-and-file militants – have followed the successful example of West Virginia teachers by going on wildcat strike. We applaud their decision and condemn the intimidation and threats of retaliation they have received from the UCSC administration. We join in their demand that the university immediately grant the cost of living adjustment (COLA).

We also enthusiastically applaud the decision to step outside of business-unionism, “no strike” clauses, and the narrow confines of an approach to contract negotiations that is pathologically obsessed with decorum and labor peace. A labor movement capable of beating back the winter of neoliberalism, privatization, and Trumpism will be a labor movement of wildcat strikes, unpredictable tactical swerves, and unbridled enthusiasm. It will be a labor movement that looks, and feels, like the electrified UCSC campus does this week.

We see in this strike a model to be followed in other unions and an ideal to aspire to for our comrades working on labor issues in other DSA chapters. We are watching (and participating) in this action with renewed energy to build the labor movement that we need.

To the real estate interests that rule this town, to the University administrators and bosses, let this be a wake up call. You cannot count on the fact that workers and renters who form the majority of the population, will forever absorb the double blows of increasing rents and low wages.

Graduate student workers have struggled with us against the privatization of the university and the inflation of a student debt bubble, they have fought alongside us against the rising tide of fascism in the country, against the militarization of our borders and the criminalization of our undocumented and houseless neighbors. They have marched with us for the climate and  they have canvassed with us for rent control and the decommodification of housing. They have stood alongside us for a more militant and powerful labor movement.

Now it is time for us to stand with them. Their cause is righteous, their tactics and strategy are correct. COLA NOW!

In Solidarity,

DSA Santa Cruz

How you can help:

First, solidarity means showing up.  Wildcat strikes are inherently unpredictable, but when we hear of rallies and events, we will keep DSA-Santa Cruz informed and we hope many of you turn out!  To stay in the loop, you can text “wildcat” to 844-936-0993 to receive text updates on the strike.

    • Call/email administration and tell them that you support the strike and that Grad Students deserve a COLA! Contact info:

Chancellor Cynthia Larive
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 831-459-4291

    • Contribute to the strike fund to help defray any costs incurred during this historic strike!

Donate Here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-fund-for-striking-workers-at-ucsc

Climate Strike!

  • Gathering near Wells Fargo

DSA Santa Cruz organized an intervention in front of the Amazon office at Cooper and Pacific St. downtown.  Here’s what 2 of our comrades had to say:

 TJ Demos:

Why are we striking at Amazon, what do they have to do with climate chaos?

We’re striking Amazon because it funds climate chaos, through logistics and infrastructure, structurally enabling the US military’s war machine.

We’re striking Amazon, in solidarity with Amazon workers, because of the massive wealth of Jeff Bezos, the richest person on the planet, who represents economic injustice, worker oppression, and anti-democratic oligarchy.

We’re striking Amazon because it directs its enormous wealth and power toward climate violence. The software and CIA-funded data analysis company Palantir, founded by billionaire Trump adviser Peter Thiel, runs on Amazon’s cloud. (Thiel has said that “freedom and democracy are incompatible”–we think not.) Palantir provides ICE with software to track and store information on migrants and asylum seekers, with Amazon and Palantir enabling ICE’s reign of terror that tears families apart. This is climate chaos.

We’re strike Amazon because it is part of Trump’s deportation machine, supporting biometric data mining and algorithmic surveillance. Palantir pays Amazon $600,000 a month for use of its servers. Amazon is the invisible backbone of ICE’s immigration crackdown, creating a beyond-Orwellian security state founded on anti-migrant xenophobia, institutional racism, and white supremacy—all part of climate chaos.

We’re striking Amazon because it’s now bidding for a $10 billion contract with the US military to set up a War Cloud—massive computer infrastructure to support the greatest greenhouse gas emitter, purveyor of violence, and force of geopolitical destabilization on Earth.

We’re striking Amazon because it is acting to securitize climate emergency instead of helping people in desperate need, people from central American, from Honduras and Guatemala, who have suffered decades of violent US military interventions and anti-democratic policies, and who helped produced the drought and agricultural emergency that is now plaguing the region. This is climate chaos.

We’re striking Amazon because the Never Again Action group has compared Amazon’s logistics to IBM’s collaboration with Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

We’re striking Amazon because Jeff Bezos spends billions on space travel (one billion every year for his Blue Origin program designed to create off-world habitats), instead of stopping the destruction of Earth right now.

We’re striking Amazon because its infrastructure is part of the server farms that consume 200 terawatt hours per year, likely to grow 5 times by 2030, insuring more disastrous climate breakdown.

We’re striking Amazon because “climate change” can’t be narrowly defined; because green capitalism—including Amazon’s electric cars—won’t save us; because climate chaos, as Amazon, Wells Fargo, and Google/Looker show us, represents an economic regime that places profits over people.

We’re striking Amazon to demand economic justice, to demand migrant justice, to demand climate justice, to demand a massive structural political and economic re-organization that is the only way to create a liveable planet for all!


Hi I’m Angela. I use she/her and they/them pronouns. I am a sophomore at San Lorenzo Valley High School and member of the Democratic Socialists of America.

Many agree that we need system change not climate change. But what is the system we should be targeting?

It’s capitalism.

Capitalism is an economic system based on private ownership. The people don’t have control over the resources they need to survive because they are owned by the wealthy. Capitalism encourages business competition and an exponential increase of profit. As a working class person, you have to sell your labor for a wage decided by your boss, but there is no limit to how much your boss can profit off of abusing you and ecological resources. Under capitalism, companies have to grow exponentially or die. It is a system inherently incapable of being ecologically sustainable.

Because they have to compete with other businesses, bosses have to cut costs to grow and dominate the market as quickly as possible. Exploiting workers and natural resources is generally an effective way to do this, whether through using cheap coal, or paying employees a poverty-level wage.

Mass production of goods- like clothing or food- requires massive amounts of work and energy. Amazon and other corporations use tons of fuel every day to transport goods. Warehouse workers are paid extremely low wages and work in unsafe conditions, and they are in danger of losing their jobs to automation. Under capitalism, all of this is justified in order to make a profit. Workers and nature are both exploited.

Using “clean” energy may sound like a great solution to climate change, but it’s a huge investment. It cuts greatly into profits, so owners are incentivized to resort to fossil fuels (or electricity likely produced by fossil fuels) because it’s cheaper. Because the bosses and the banks have the power, we don’t get a say in how our natural resources are used. We don’t get to say what kind of work we do or democratically decide what products society as a whole produces. We don’t get to produce things based on what we need. This is a problem.

We are told that what is good for business is good for society because of the free market, but that isn’t true. Capitalists are encouraged to neglect future consequences for short-term gain. They must grow profit exponentially which cannot be sustainably done with limited resources.

I’ll close with this: If Jeff Bezos wanted to, he could liquidate $100billion in assets to spend on trapping carbon dioxide, funding clean energy, OR” providing food, medical care, counseling, and shelter for the tens of millions who are already displaced due to climate change. He would still be a billionaire, but he won’t do it. Neither will the rest of the bourgeoisie.

Everybody must do their part, but changing consumer culture won’t solve climate change. We must topple the capitalist system that, in this country alone represents almost 15% of ALL greenhouse gas emissions.

Capitalism and its need for constant growth causes climate change, and this global problem will not be solved without the dismantling of the capitalist system.”


Report Back from 6/21 “No PG&E Bailout” Action

On Friday June 21st an action was held at PG&E headquarters in San Francisco. The purpose of the action was to call attention to the corruption of PG&E, an investor owned utility that puts profit over people time and time again resulting in loss of life and homes. The 21st was the day of the annual shareholders meeting.
The action was organized by the No PG&E Bail Out Coalition which consists of representatives of several groups including Local Clean Energy Alliance, System Change Not Climate Change, Idle No More, Food and Water Watch, Californians for Public Banking, DSA San Francisco, DSA East Bay and others. DSA was well represented at the action with several members from San Francisco, East Bay, Silicon Valley and Santa Cruz chapters. Martabel was able to get contact info from the other chapter for future collaboration.
There were several speakers addressing the issues around PG&E and it’s corporate greed strategy. Jovanka Beckles from the Richmond Progressive Alliance, Shahid Buttar a lawyer and activist currently running against Nancy Pelosi in the 12th District, Matt Jones an activist from San Bruno where a natural gas pipeline explosion in 2010 caused by PG&E neglect killed 8 people, TURN (The Utility Reform Network) and several young activists from a group called New Voices Are Rising among others. New Voices Are Rising is based in Oakland and its mission is to develop young leaders in low-income communities and communities of color in Oakland by helping young people gain the skills and experience in civic engagement required to tackle the many problems – especially environmental health problems – that disproportionately impact their communities. The young people who spoke were awesome!
A memorial for the victims of the Camp Fire in Paradise was organized by 11th Hour, a Bay Area affinity group. They got 85 pairs of shoes, painted them black, placed a small potted flower in each of the pairs and laid them out in the plaza in front of the PG&E headquarters building. The shoes represented the 85 people who were killed by the Camp Fire which was caused, once again, by PG&E’s neglect. It was a very moving representation of the damage caused by greed.
As the shareholders filed out for a break, a lawyer came over and spoke to us. He represents victims of PG&E neglect and had purchased at least one share of PG&E stock in order to attend the shareholders meeting. He told us that at least 5 shareholders stood and made statements telling the PG&E Board of Directors to listen to the protestors out front. Not much but at least it’s something. Unfortunately, 85% of PG&E shareholders are financial firms according to information provided by TURN. We all know what those firms care about.
Although this action won’t bring “immediate change” it felt important to be there and help bring attention to the greed of corporations who are controlling resources that we all need and depend on and causing considerable harm while doing so. Hopefully down the line we will all be able to “own PG&E”.


Madeleine, DSA SC Ecosocialism Working Group

Solidarity with the Central American Exodus

Two Santa Cruz comrades are set to travel to Tijuana on Tuesday to join DSA members from around the country as part of international solidarity efforts with the Central American refugees currently at the border. The US Border Patrol is currently allowing only a handful of asylum seekers through each day, causing a humanitarian crisis as thousands of people are forced to spend weeks with inadequate shelter. A group of mothers in the caravan have launched a hunger strike protesting the CBP’s failure to allow refugees to claim asylum.

Many of you have asked how you can help in these efforts. The word we are getting from organizers on the ground is that donated supplies are already backed up at the border and only small amounts are allowed through at a time. The DSA Immigrant Rights Working Group recommends that instead of donated items, it is better to raise money that can be used to purchase whatever is needed in Tijuana.

Here’s how you can help:

1. Venmo your donations to @DSA-SantaCruz
This is the fastest and most efficient way to contribute.

2. Donate online
If you don’t have Venmo, this is the best option. Use the form below and your payment will be processed securely by Stripe.com

  • American Express
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DSA needs YOU this weekend!

We are in the FINAL WEEK of this campaign season and we need all hands on deck!

 This is our last and most significant effort to get out the vote for  our DSA endorsed measures and candidates: Yes on Measure M, Yes on Prop 10, Justin Cummings and Drew Glover for Santa Cruz City Council! 

Sign up for shifts here:


Statement of Solidarity: AFSCME, UPTE, CNA

The Santa Cruz chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) stands in solidarity with AFSCME Local 3299, UPTE-CWA Local 9119, and CNA members in their fight for a strong and fair contract. We recognize the necessity of direct action against an unfair bargaining process brought on by the University of California (UC) and we support the UC strikes not only at our local Santa Cruz campus but all across the state.

Some of our membership, who consist of current and former UC students, remember our fights against the Board of Regents for their neglect not just for their employees but for their students as well. We recognize that a “world-class” university cannot hold its title in full truth until education is free and its workers are treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve. This is why we must acknowledge that this strike, like the rest of the strikes in public education around the country right now,  is as much about raising the quality of education for students as it is raising the quality of jobs for the workers who work tirelessly to serve the future generations of our country.

The University claims to respect their workers and their actions reflect otherwise. The University proposes to cut salary step increases, raise the retirement age and placing retirement security into the hands of risky 401Ks, cut health care benefits, and make it easier to contract out their jobs. Furthermore, the UC is attempting to force such a contract upon its workers. All of these proposals and actions are unjustifiable as the Board of Regents and Chancellors make excessive six-figure salaries with continuous pay increases. It is morally reprehensible that the Regents expect cuts on their workers that they are not willing to impose on themselves. Enough is enough.

Without the workers, there is no University of California. DSA Santa Cruz stands with AFSCME, UPTE, and CNA in their strike and will contribute, to the best of our ability, in their fight to win what is long overdue to the workers of the UC.

Solidarity forever!
Democratic Socialists of America, Santa Cruz