After months of furious and terrible battle, the dust is finally settling on the annual war that is the ASUC election season. First came the artillery fire of profile picture changes, warning us to steel ourselves for the more tangible onslaught to come. Then followed the cavalry charge of Sproul flyerers, leaping upon their unsuspecting prey and dogging them across campus until, ragged and wounded, they could seek refuge in their lecture halls and discussion sections. Finally, the bombardment of Facebook messages rained into inboxes across campus and beyond, until we begged to the heavens above just for one, sweet moment of release from the endless barrages of “Was I your first choice?”
Now, as we survey the bloodied battlefield, all that remains is to tally the fallen. Amongst the bodies that are strewn across Sproul Plaza, between the corpses of the Free Speech Movement and Chancellor Dirks’ dignity, lies one unexpected casualty: our fair campus’s perennial satirical third party, SQUELCH!
But let us proclaim a resounding “Halt!” to any would-be graverobbers. For though we may have not won any ASUC Senate seats this season, we, the SQUELCH! High Command, are loath to admit defeat. The minor goals of this season may have been lost, but the higher ideals for which SQUELCH! stands — nonpartisanship, accountability and transparency in the ASUC — have never been closer to actualization. We may have lost this battle, but in the larger war, we have never been closer to victory.
The two-party system of Student Action and CalSERVE that has held the ASUC in its grip for decades is weakening. Four independents won Senate seats, which is more than in any class in recent memory. Adding in the one Senate seat won by the Pirate Party, that makes an incredible five senate seats that are not yoked to a major party — a full quarter of the entire Senate class. This means 2017 can welcome the most independently-minded Senate since 2014, when SQUELCH! won three seats. And, notably, two of those independents are endorsed by communities — ECO and the Latinx community — that were formerly part of CalSERVE.
For the first time in at least a decade, the four regularly contested executive seats are equally split between Student Action and CalSERVE. The arc of the pendulum swinging between alternating sweeps by one major party or the other has been temporarily halted. The fifth executive seat, the traditionally independent Student Advocate, has happily maintained that status and will be filled by the independent and eminently capable Jillian Free.
No party holds a majority in the Senate, allowing the body to move past the pettiness of party politics — best typified by that old bugbear, bloc voting — to become the functioning, student-body-serving organ it was meant to be. And although one party, Student Action, holds a plurality of 10 seats, any attempts at bloc voting can be balanced by the veto power of the CalSERVE President-elect, Zaynab AbdulQadir-Morris.
And, beyond the vindication of our ideology by the rest of the ASUC, no accounting of our great success would be complete without an acknowledgement of the amazing work done by our outstanding senators of the past year, Anthony Carrasco and Marandah Field-Elliot. Senator Carrasco’s accomplishments include passing the Housing Security Referendum; passing the UC Regent Amendment; allowing more student control on Chancellor search committees; raising over $15,000 for the UCB Food Pantry; and reforming the school’s drug bystander policy. Senator Field-Elliot’s accomplishments include advocating for sexual assault survivors through administrative meetings and public events; creating a gender self-identification system through CalCentral; educating students on state elections; and working with Students United for Reproductive Justice to implement medication abortion at the Tang Center, inspiring a State Senate bill (SB 320) which would mandate that all California public colleges provide medication abortion.
And so it is that, although we have been bloodied and beaten, SQUELCH! has not lost. In fact, we are only that much further down the road to our ultimate victory. And, like the mighty phoenix, we shall rise from the ashes of our temporary defeat stronger, wittier, wiser and more amusingly disruptive than ever before. Our enemies shall rue the day they laughed at our defeat, for this temporary loss shall only make our glee ever greater when eventually we dance upon their graves, our bacchanalia tempered only by our rapt allegiance to the principles we so lovingly espouse. This is our manifesto.
SQUELCH! is dead. Long live SQUELCH!
The “SQUELCH! High Command” is composed of Zoë Brouns, Anthony Carrasco, Marandah Field-Elliot, Jake Fineman, Henry Foote and Andrea Rose.
Jake Fineman is a former Daily Cal opinion columnist.
A previous version of this article omitted the fact that Jake Fineman is a former Daily Cal opinion columnist.