since 1965  (really?)

Fighting To Learn, Learning To Fight: Building the Movement for Public Education and Equality to Defeat the New Jim Crow

This course listing applies to a Spring 2016 course. To find current courses, check out the Find a Course page.

Spring 2016
Ethnic Studies 198
2 Unit(s)



About the Course:

The growing inequality across the globe has created an unprecedented political crisis and sharpened the class struggle of oppressed versus oppressors. Recent studies have shown the greatest concentration of wealth in the history of human society, where 62 individuals own wealth that is equivalent to the bottom 50% of the world’s population as racism, famine, and global catastrophe increases. Within that context, oppressed people across the world are fighting back for their survival and dignity. In the US, outrage over the racist police murder of Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO exploded in uprisings that spread across the nation, including at UC Berkeley.

The student movement on this campus made an important development over the past year. More and more students, inspired by the struggle in Ferguson against racism and police brutality, and fed up with the segregation and racist inequality on campus and in their schools and communities, are coming forward to not only demand but to force real change through direct action. In response, the administration is making desperate efforts to stifle the anger and optimism of the new movement to hold back the tidal wave of struggle they know is coming. But the new phase of civil rights struggle opened by the youth of Ferguson and continued by Baltimore has provided the movement with the boost of consciousness and militancy needed to win. This movement requires a new layer of young leaders to come forward now.

This class gives students an opportunity to learn about participate in the work of the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), which has led the fight to defend affirmative action, immigrant rights, and public education on this campus for 20 years. We bring the movement into the class, and take the class to the movement.

Through videos and documentaries, discussions, and course readings, we analyze past and current political struggles that are affecting students at UC Berkeley, drawing lessons from them so that students can learn what they can do to strengthen those struggles, including:


·       Fighting privatization and the attacks on free speech and public education:


  • a)      Rebuilding a new free speech movement at UC Berkeley through the Occupy Cal lawsuit and upcoming trial set for November 2016 against the UC Berkeley administration and police on behalf of protesters to defend free speech and oppose police violence
  • b)     Stopping UC President Janet Napolitano’s attempt to privatize the UC system and building the movement to remove and replace her as UC President
  • c)      Organizing in Oakland public schools to stop attempts to privatize the schools through charter schools and the destruction of special education programs


·       Mobilizing to increase underrepresented minority student enrollment and end UC Berkeley’s discriminatory admissions policies through restoring affirmative action and establishing a Top Ten Percent Plan, mobilizing to the U.S. Supreme Court this fall

·       Analyzing the global movement for immigrant rights and lessons from the historic immigrant rights movement of 2006 and today’s fight to win a Federal DREAM Act and full citizenship rights for undocumented immigrants

·       Uniting the civil rights movement with women’s rights to fight rape and sexual assault on college campuses, empowering victims to come forward publicly to fight for themselves and others

·       Strengthening the fight against racism and police brutality through analyzing the movement so far and its contradictions, from Oscar Grant to Mike Brown and Freddie Gray, then applying those lessons actively to BAMN’s anti-police brutality work in Oakland and Berkeley

How to Enroll:

Everyone is welcome. Feel free to audit or walk-in anytime.

Course Contact: mcortezm AT


Faculty Sponsor: E. Lima

Time & Location:

Section 1Michael Cortez-Mejia
40587 BarrowsM 5:30p-7p2/01started— (lower)
31416 (upper)

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Course info last modified January 26, 2016. This page has been viewed 1094 times.

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