Formal Call for A National Day of Campus Action Against the Proposed "Contract With America"

Endorsed by the MIT Coalition for Social Justice


I. The Call 
	The "Contract With America" currently under consideration in
Congress purports to advance economic opportunity and make government
more accountable and responsible to the people. After learning about
the details of the Contract, we question the sincerity of these goals.
In recent weeks we have heard about proposals which would:
	 deny many young people the opportunity to attend college 
	 punish the poorest people for their economic status 
	 undo decades of efforts to reduce racism and other forms of
discrimination
	 allow big business to evade social and environmental
responsibility.  Congressional forces who won the last election claim
to be acting on these measures IN OUR NAME.
	However, the slim electoral victory in Congress is no
automatic mandate to enact mean-spirited laws that were disguised
during the election campaign. We must make it clear that if these
measures are enacted, it will be WITHOUT OUR CONSENT. A Contract we
never signed is not a Contract with America; it is a Contract on
America.
	We, the undersigned, therefore call for a National Day of
Campus Action Against the "Contract With America" on March 29, 1995.
We call for students, faculty, and staff organize forums, rallies,
pickets, teach-ins, direct action or other activities on March 29 to
educate their campuses and communities, and to build resistance to the
reactionary agenda of social inequality and environmental disregard
proposed in the Contract.

II. Call for Solidarity 
	Communities across the country are now mobilizing to stop
portions of the Contract which would eliminate popular government
programs and protections. While local actions may focus on one or two
key issues, we are also acting on March 29 to show solidarity with
people resisting other parts of the Contract, including those working
to:
	1. Save student aid and increase funding for education: Newt
Gingrich has said that Pell Grants insult students by insinuating that
they are too lazy to pay for their college education (Boston Globe,
2/3/94, p. 21). It is estimated that proposed cuts would affect 6
million students and shove as many as 2 million students out of higher
education. The Alliance to Save Student Aid (including US Student
Association), Student Aid Action of Antioch College, and the National
Association of Graduate and Professional Students are building
resistance to these measures, and there is a new email discussion
focusing on this threat to Education Rights (send email to
canet@pencil.cs.missouri.edu, body "sub can-er firstname lastname").
We call for March 29 actions to save our education.
	2. Preserve pro-environmental regulations: The fine print in
the "Job Creation and Wage Enhancement Act" will gut environmental
protections. In response, the Public Interest Research Groups are
holding an emergency "Free the Planet" conference from February 24-26
at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. On March 29, speak out
for the environment.
	3. Protect and extend women's rights: The fine print in the
"Taking Back our Streets Act" would repeal the Violence Against Women
Act, and while the Contract With America sought to avoid mentioning
the divisive abortion issue, Republicans attempted to take funding for
the defense of abortion clinics out of the proposed Crime Bill. The
National Organization for Women and other women's groups are moving to
stop this legislation with a National March on Washington on April 9,
1995. On March 29, rally on your campus for women's rights.
	4. Defend the rights of poor people and end poverty: The
"Personal Responsibility Act" would impose punitive government
restrictions on poor women and their children, as well as recipients
of any form of government assistance, by freezing additional benefits
for children born on welfare or to mothers under 18, and reducing
benefits if paternity is not established. National coalition building
by welfare and Civil Rights groups, such as the National Welfare
Rights Union, is the leading edge of the resistance to these measures.
We call for March 29 actions to stop the attack on welfare mothers,
their children, and America's poor.
	5. Prevent the scapegoating of immigrants: Proposition 187 in
California has already cut off thousands of immigrants from basic
survival measures. Proposals contained in the fine print of the
"Personal Responsibility Act" would also deny government benefits to
"documented" immigrants. An anti-187 movement with participation from
hundreds of campuses has sprung up, with coordination coming from the
Four Winds Student Movement centered in California and the Swarthmore
Coalition Against Xenophobia in Pennsylvania. Hundreds of students are
communicating about this organizing. (send email to
listserv@csma.berkeley.edu, body "sub 187-l firstname lastname") On
March 29, rally against growing racism and nativism.
	6. Resist the attacks on gays, lesbians, and bisexuals:
Although the Right has attempted to tone down its anti-gay rhetoric
during the first 100 days of Republican power in Congress, there is no
denying the use of bigotry by those who stand behind the Contract With
America. Many candidates who signed the Contract circulated anti-gay
videos as part of their campaign, supported anti-gay referenda in
places like Colorado and Oregon, and advocated stiff criminal
penalties for "homosexual behavior." The National Gay and Lesbian Task
force is organizing to challenge these attacks. On March 29, expose
the Right's anti-gay agenda.

III. The Time to Act is Now 
	We must begin immediately to organize and mobilize in our
campuses and our communities to build opposition to the Right's
agenda. The CCO has prepared a detailed organizing packet for more
detailed suggestions and information on this National Day of Campus
Action Against the Contract With America. Joining with others acting
simultaneously to resist the Contract will increase national
visibility and strengthen our movement of opposition. For schools who
cannot act March 29, we are calling for action on March 23. City
University of New York, Harvard, MIT, Brown and the University of
Hawaii plan to act on this date.
	We advocate a long-term perspective. Because the Right is well
enough organized to even use a defeat of the Contract to its advantage
in the '96 elections, it will be necessary for us to do more than try
to stop specific bills from passing. It will be necessary to use this
debate to inform the public about the anti-democratic nature of the
Right's agenda-and about the alliance between big business and
fundamentalist religious groups working to seize political power.


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