Chances are — whether you read this issue cover to cover, or just happened to glance at the back of it — you’re upset that Oberlin is laying off 108 UAW workers. And, if this is the case, then you’re probably also wondering what we, as individuals, can actually do to stop this. It’s very easy to fall into a hopeless nihilism when fighting the good fight. By reminding ourselves of what we can do, and why we do it, we remind ourselves of our very humanity.
1. Be Angry. Stay Angry.
This movement was sparked by outrage, and outrage will sustain it. We need our convictions to keep us going when the going gets tough. If you find your anger fading, just remember: real people’s livelihoods and humanities are at stake.
2. Get involved!
On Sunday, February 23rd in Dye Lecture Hall, over 150 students came together to turn our spontaneous movement into a coordinated campaign. Members of this assembly formed working groups focused on different areas of organizing that need to happen. If you’re interested in joining and were NOT able to attend the meeting, message Oberlin Beyond Austerity on Facebook. If you’re interested in joining the OYDSA, email us at OberlinYDSA@gmail.com.
When protests do arise, show up, make your voice heard. And though it might feel redundant, inform all you keep in contact with of these protests as you learn of them. There were tentative plans to post upcoming solidarity actions on the bulletin board in first-floor Mudd, so keep an eye out.
Learn what this is really all about. Even simply researching what demonstrations have happened so far, what their goals were, and where students plan on taking action next, is a great start. Once you know the basics, educate your parents, alumni you might know, your friends, anyone who will listen; it is vitally important for these workers that we raise awareness and dissent among the community.
5. Practice self care
I know it’s cheesy, but self care is necessary! Drink water, get enough sleep, eat healthy, and pay attention to your mental health and wellbeing. You’ll have more energy to organize, participate, and contribute if you stay happy and healthy. Take care of your flesh prison, and it will take care of you.
If the College plays hardball, busting Oberlin’s UAW, then this will be a long battle. Let’s not lose sight of why we’re fighting — Oberlin’s hourly staff make a fraction of what Oberlin’s administrators make, and they should not be made to pay for admin’s financial mismanagement with their homes and livelihoods. We abhor the College’s war on organized labor, and we will resist the proposed layoffs.