Whatever, America

Chico State is not exactly a hotbed of political activity

GLAD I MEChA Members of the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán march in April to protest an ad in a local weekly that disparaged the name and image of farm labor organizer César Chávez.

GLAD I MEChA Members of the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán march in April to protest an ad in a local weekly that disparaged the name and image of farm labor organizer César Chávez.

Photo By Tom Angel

Back when the parents of many of today’s students where in college, when they had long hair and groovy sandals made out of buffalo hide and smoked lids of Mexican grass and had free love at the be-in while the Jefferson Airplane were playing, political activism on campus was almost a given. That was mostly because they had this thing called “the draft,” and if the government called your number you had to trade in your love beads for a rifle and go fight some guy named “Charlie” somewhere really hot and far away.

Nowadays, most students could care less about politics. Despite all the efforts of well-intentioned rock stars to get young people to vote, it seems like the current crop of students—part of the Whatever Generation—just has other things to do. Political action these days is often considered boring, uncool, confusing, a waste of time and basically something that only nerds and hippies care about.

This is where the pitch to get involved usually goes, where we go on forever about how important it is to our democracy that young people have their views represented and take control of our country’s destiny and fight oppression and all that other stuff. But you know what? Forget it. If you don’t care, why should we?

Here are some clubs full of people who do care what’s going on in the world and have some different ideas about how to make it better.

Associated Students Women’s Center
Operating from a feminist viewpoint, the Women’s Center is one of the most visible and active clubs on campus. The center’s actions are often derided by conservatives for being reactionary (or maybe because its members often insist on spelling women with a “y"), but its philosophy of equality for all cuts across the spectrum of political thought, making it a natural focal point for campus activism and a networking ground for students of all political persuasions.

Drop by the center’s office in the BMU basement, visit http://www.aschico.com/?Page=33 or call 898-5724 for more info.

Chico State Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Did you know you have rights? Do you know what they are? Or how easily they can be taken away? The campus defense committee can bring you up to speed on what it means to be protected by the Constitution and how you can help protect it.

This year the committee has been active in opposing a state Senate bill that would force Chico State (and every other state university) to kick you out of school if you happened to get arrested for speaking your mind, partying too hard or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. With only about a dozen members, this is a club that needs your support.

Call 899-7172 for more information.

College Republicans
One of the most insurgent and well-funded clubs on campus, this group really has its act together, with a Web site, message board and dedicated core of activists. It’s hard to be the underdog when your party’s in power, but this bunch pulls it off by railing against the supposed liberal bias of college life and jeering at the “PC” antics of other campus groups. This year will see the debut of the club’s new, right-leaning newspaper. Like Michael Savage? These folks are for you.

Call 707 386-7325 or visit http://www.csuchico.edu/repubs/ for more information.

Student Democratic Club
Membership waxes and wanes with this club, as with most party-connected campus organizations. Right now they have some two dozen members, reports their faculty advisor, and they keep up a solid presence on campus by organizing visits from Democratic candidates and helping in get-out-the-vote and petition drives. They’ve been in a slump lately, but who knows? Maybe this is the year they get tired of getting sand kicked in their faces and start doing some kicking of their own.

Call 893-3225 for more information.

Students for Self-Government
These people will blow your mind. They want to abolish the state and create a society where people are free to do anything they want as long as they take personal responsibility for it. That means no drug laws, no taxes and no infringement on personal liberties. It also means no public schools, no social programs and no laws protecting consumers from corporations.

Think you could handle it?

Call 345-7963 or visit http://www.csuchico.edu/selfgov/ for more information.

Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA)
Technically an ethnic or cultural rather than a political group, MEChA nonetheless is a potent force on campus, advocating for the rights of workers and indigenous peoples and fighting against racism and anti-immigrant attitudes. For more information, call 899-1186.

These are just a few of the groups on campus trying to make politics accessible and exciting for students. There are dozens of others, a full list of which can be found at http://www.csuchico.edu/sac/org/catpol.html.