New club creates political awareness among students
September 25, 1998
Seniors Valancy Rasmussen and Eddie Casarez started a new organization
at the University of La Verne this semester. It is called the Marxist, Leftist,
Anarchist Collective for Political Activism and Education.
As the organization's name implies, its purpose is to promote political
activism and to educate on different subjects, such as China's occupation
of Tibet, said Rasmussen, who is a political science major and chair of
"We have a broad range of issues that we want to deal with, [including]
environmental issues like the nuclear testing in Nevada," she said.
Rasmussen plans to organize demonstrations in front of the Chinese Embassy
and near the Nevada test site.
When asked about her motives to start the organization, Rasmussen, who
was on ASF for a year and a half, said, "It is just the frustration
I guess. They [the students] are so apathetical when it comes to real issues,
not just on the University level but of the nation and the world.
"So I just wanted to get people involved and maybe to get more
people to really care about what's happening and try to get them to work
as a collective," she said.
Rasmussen, who calls herself a liberal Democrat, plans to contact other
universities and colleges. "I want to work with the people that were
protesting Proposition 209 last year," she said.
So far, the MLA Collective consists of 37 undergraduate members, three
faculty members and two advisers, Dr. Reed Gratz, professor of music and
Keith Lord, arts studio manager.
The organization's name is intentionally controversial. Besides raising
controversy, it is to embody a large political spectrum and show solidarity
for the politically left.
As far as the words Marxism and Anarchism go, Casarez said, "I
like to think beyond boundaries [and to] look outside the box. I guess that's
what Marxism and Anarchism is all about-to go beyond the structures of society.
There is nothing wrong with it."
While he admitted that some people may consider it [Marxism, Anarchism]
idealistic, he pointed out the similarity between political philosophies
"Just because people say it's never going to happen, doesn't mean
you're going to stop being a Christian," he said. "So why should
I stop being an Anarchist or a Marxist?"
Casarez, who considers himself a non-aligned liberal, said, "I
like to have my thinking dictate my actions as opposed to have party lines
dictate my actions.
"I want to empower people to do their own thinking."
Rasmussen wants members "to realize that they don't have to just
sit and just listen to this and think that's bad, but that they can work
and actually do something about it."
Vladimira Chavez, a junior, said she is a member of the MLA Collective
because it deals with "issues that most students at La Verne don't
think about and need to be discussed."
Chavez wants to raise awareness on campus. "People [should] take
a stand and have some convictions," she said. "It may not be something
I agree with, but at least they have a stand."
"When I was in high school, no one ever questioned the teacher.
But that's what a student should do- question not only the teacher, but
anyone," Chavez said.