Thursday, February 27, 2014

UCLA Student Government Member's Resignation Letter

Kudos to UCLA student Evan Moffitt for saying to Hell with the student government, resigning and posting this letter in the Daily Bruin.

1 comment:

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Evan Moffit makes a lot of sense. I am reminded of two absurdities in other contexts:

Circa 1940, an organization called the National Negro Council was formed, with Communist Party support and participation, and for its first few years, actually did some good work advancing real issues, with non-communist leaders like A. Philip Randolph. The problem was not that there were communists in the organization. The problem was that over time, the communists developed the notion that their primary role was to pass resolutions on whatever The Party was talking about, rather than advancing the NNC as an effective mass organization with real mass appeal. Soon everyone else left, and it became a hollow shell of its former self.

There are similar distinctions in the Tea Party movement. Some think their job is to pass resolutions that adhere to The Party Line. Others lend themselves a tools to well-funded Republican consultant organizations. Others are actually trying to develop programs that, in their light, might benefit people. (I recently read that Tea Party supporters with an income under $50,000 tend to support raising the minimum wage, while Tea Party supporters with an income over $50,000 tend to oppose it.)

UCLA student government, as Moffit says, has real authority and responsibility for student government at UCLA, to improve the campus experience for all students. It has no real power or influence over the global issues they pass resolutions about.

Which brings me to a funnier story. In 1975, I happened to be observing when a public campaign meeting for Gus Hall for President (for all you UC - Santa Cruz Community Studies majors, Gus was chair of CPUSA and perennial candidate for president -- someone once suggested his campaign should run a five minute TV spot called "Its my party, and I'll cry if I want to -- ask Professor Davis about him) ... anyway, this was in Northern California, and in the middle of this public meeting they passed a resolution on behalf of the Northern California party chapter to send a resolution to the government of South Africa protesting apartheid.

Now I'm as opposed to apartheid as anyone, but I wondered, do these people think the government of South Africa cares in the least what the Communist Party of Northern California thinks about their policy?

Any organization, in order to justify its existence, has to deliver the goods, not just pass resolutions. So student government should focus on what goods at can deliver to those who elected it.