End Tuition in CaliforniaPosted: May 21, 2014
Speech for East Bay Democracy for America Candidates Meetup
Rockridge Public Library in Oakland
Thursday, May 22, 2014 7 PM
by Eugene E Ruyle, Peace and Freedom Candidate
for California Assembly, 15th District
Thank you for inviting me to the East Bay Democracy for America Meetup. My name is Gene Ruyle, it’s a silent “Y” so it rhymes with cool. I’m the guy from the Peace and Freedom Party, the only working class, socialist, and feminist party in this campaign. There was a time when people looked to the Democratic Party for progressive social change in America. We think of FDR and the CIO, the WPA, the Sit-Ins, the Wagner Act, and Social Security. But that was a long time ago, before even I was born.
Let me tell you a story. We have the greatest University in the world, right here in the 15th Assembly District. When I graduated from UC Berkeley in 1963, I paid $150 a year in fees, no tuition. This meant that even with my minimum wage job, I could pay for my education by working two or three hours a week.
Now, tuition is over $13,000 a year — never mind non-essentials like books and food. What happened?
Well, Ronald Reagan happened. Reagan was elected Governor in 1966 with two slogans: “send the welfare bums back to work” and “clean up the mess at Berkeley.” Reagan proceeded to destroy a century of tuition-free higher education in California and started charging tuition in 1968. Since then, it’s been a bipartisan affair of annual tuition hikes for students.
My point is not that the Republicans Are Bad News—we all know that. My point is that the Democrats didn’t stop him. They didn’t stand up and say” “NO. This is the People’s University. You can’t charge tuition.” That’s what FDR would have done. That’s what Pat Brown would have done. Instead, the Democratic Party joined the Republicans in sticking it to the students of California.
So it’s left to the little Peace and Freedom Party to stand up for working class students, and say
“End Tuition in California!”
And I know the politicos are going to join with the bureaucrats and say, “Oh, we can’t do that. Budget Cuts, you know . . . “
Well, the whole purpose of my campaign is to say can do it, and it’s not exactly rocket science. Here’s How:
End the Wars and Tax the Rich
That’s how we get free education, free health care, affordable housing, and everything else workers need in our beautiful state.
FROM THE PEACE AND FREEDOM PARTY PLATFORM
Full free high quality public education
from pre-school through graduate school,
with lifelong learning and retraining.
Cancel existing student debt
From the 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education in California
It is recommended that the Regents of the University of California and the State Board of Education reaffirm the long established principle that state colleges and the University of California shall be tuition free to all residents of the state.
Shut Down the War Machine
Guaranteed Jobs with Decent Incomes for All
Free Education & Health Care for All
Defend Our Personal Freedoms & Political Rights
Protect & Restore Our Mother Earth