Instead of a strike, those gathered for the strike vote decided that conversations, posters, and an open letter would be more appropriate. In addition, vodka was to be drunk on a hilock next to a maypole. Those that didnt drink were to spill the alcohol to the earth and trees, and remember the workers of the past.
The particularity of the situation here is that though the school is aledgedly progressive and the relations between TA and faculty are amicable, there is a gap between language and action which makes the TA position ambiguos.
Add this to an administration that does not give much ear to the student needs but is concerned with building the Disney Hall in LA, and the art school TAs have been neglected.
The following letter was given out to students, faculty and the administration. The letter was read in class by students and amicably discussed with everyone present. One of the aim of the day was to elucidate the collective voice of the the approximately 60 TA's and future TA's.
. Here is the open letter
Today Is May First
Again, with a laughing scream, we read it, May Day!!!!
In previous lives, we smirched off this as a miracle gone sour, a day of foolish romantacism or red-diaper dreams.
Well,we’d like to be among the many that announce that those days of nostalgia are over, that those smirches are a lie. Its Bush2 time and class war has been declared eren more loudly then before.. so with no time to waste, let us intraduce you to CalArts latest politicized body, the TA’s!!!!!!!
As has become routine with the MFA2 class, some of us have been meeting and cassually discussing our ideas about what it would be like if we were a body organized with a voice of the worker .
We, the TA’s and potential TA’s who, like the professional proffessors of our program, are not paid enough for our talent, knowledge and experience.
We, who sometimes work much more then our photostat contract is signed for, or who are given no responsibility at all and are TA’s in name alone.
We, who have to work as TA’s and toil at a seperate work study job that has money slated towards us while also doing our studies.
We, who compete with one another for the crumbs of status called TA, and those who are not awarded the TA-ships at all,
We, who as both students and assistants have to pay for a health insurance that made us cry ouy, " what am I paying for? "
The story is as such, THAT today, the day the Chicago Anarchists were martyred in the struggle for “the weekend,” we TAs and prospective TAs should be discussing amongst ourselves what we think
about our labor within CalArts. Some of us recognize our grievences as the grievences of the neglected sock in the washing machine, that we are treated well enough, have a function, but are so inconcequential in the weight of the rest of the laundry that we are left in the dryer. We wonder how we could be better utilized, better payed, so that we can get more out of the bargain.
We wonder why it is that some other departments in the school guarantee that there TA’s will be paid in work study money in addition to the money the department has slated to them. We are amazed at our fellow TA’s in other departments who actually teach classes, and at our brother and sister TAs in other art schools where being TA is both a responsibility and an honor.
And so, we close in communication and thought, and in solidarity with all other workers struggling against either head of the dual beast of CalArts and the debt servitude system of Capitalism.
All power to all people.