The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

“Have Diploma, Can’t Afford Rent”

Mar 16, 2020

The University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) fired more than 80 graduate student employees who have been on strike for better pay. These are students who already have a diploma and are working as teachers and researchers while they pursue a more advanced degree.

About 230 UCSC graduate students began their strike in December, demanding better pay. In Santa Cruz, a one-bedroom apartment rents for $2,600 per month on average, while the typical monthly pay of a graduate student employee is $2,100, and only for nine months a year. The strikers say they have no choice but to keep fighting because, without better pay, some of them even have to worry about becoming homeless. Graduate students at other UC campuses, including Los Angeles, Berkeley, Santa Barbara, Riverside, and Irvine have been holding their own protests and walkouts.

These graduate students are people who normally hope for a privileged, comfortable future as professors and scientists. But today, they are caught up in the reality of capitalist economy: their boss, the UC system, is trying to use them as an overworked and underpaid work force, while the cost of living skyrockets.

That’s exactly the reality that most workers face in capitalist society their whole lives.