About 80 students and community members throughout the East Bay met at Berkeley City College Saturday morning to discuss the ongoing cuts that have affected the public sector and inspired the Occupy Movement.
The teach-in, which was sponsored by Against Cuts — a group that educates communities about budget cuts — and the college’s global studies club, featured presenters from several local organizations who talked about their efforts to combat cuts to areas of the public sector like education and transit and upcoming events to raise awareness and support.
The event began with a powerpoint presentation delivered by Berkeley City College English professor Marc Lispi, who talked about the increasing trend of disproportionate taxation between the corporations and the rest of society that continues to go unaddressed by the state and federal governments.
“This is nothing more than a strategy to transfer wealth from one section of the population to another,” Lispi said. “The 1 percent have never been wealthier.”
According to the powerpoint, “The Budget Cuts and Where the Money Is,” tuition for California State University students has increased by 290 percent since 2009, while the UC system has seen an increase of 330 percent. Around $3.1 billion in funding has also been cut from community colleges in California since 2002, causing hundreds of thousands of students to be turned away.
Kristy Morrison, organizer for Against Cuts, said the teach-in’s goal was to raise awareness about what is happening to the public sector and to encourage more people to find ways to “fight back on behalf of the 99 percent.”
“Imagine that 20 people are involved now. After today we want 120,” Morrison said. “We want as many people involved as possible.”
Representatives from other local movements such as the nurses strike at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center Hospital, Oakland Streets United and California State University organizers working to combat budget cuts also spoke at the teach-in.
Jevon Cochran came to represent the Public Education Coalition, which is actively organizing against increased tuition and budget cuts to public education. Cochran encouraged attendants to take part in Occupy Cal on Nov. 9 and in demonstrating at the UC Regents’ meeting Nov. 16.
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