Students Demonstrate Against High Gas Prices

Vida Djaghouri

Professor J.C. Moore’s Sociology
101 students took their frustrations to the streets May 7 in a protest against rising gas prices at the Mobil station across the street from campus.

“Bush got his oil war. Why are we paying more?” chanted about 30 Glendale students who were, along with Moore, positioned at all four corners of the Mountain Avenue and Verdugo Street intersection, holding up banners and waving signs, while passing cars honked in support.

Moore, who had never arranged
such a protest at Glendale College before, said it was not a class assignment, but that the protest was something the students chose to do themselves, using the class as a catalyst to do so.

“I’m losing my voice but I don’t care!” shouted student Gerardo Chicas, across the intersection. “We got no money!”

According to Chicas, the sociology
student, the protest centered
around awareness. “We’re just trying to get a message out there and make a difference and let people know this isn’t going to stop.”

The students planned it all themselves. They arranged the date and time (during one of their class sessions), made banners, and proceeded to demonstrate “man-made social change,” a topic covered in the course.

“These kids are intellectuals and they have class consciousness,” said Moore. “They are going to be the supreme outstanding leaders of this country and that’s why this country has hope. I believe in these kids.”

The students were learning about corporate power in class when the issue arose.

“Someone started discussing gas prices and how it’s affecting everyone and one person said, ‘we should do a protest against high gas prices,'” said Oralia Di Nicola, a full-time nursing student and a single mother of two children from the sociology class.

According to Moore and her students,
the skyrocketing gas prices and the protest
were not solely an economical issue, but rather a political one. Many of the banners and chants were directed toward President Bush “because Bush has friends in Saudi Arabia.The Iraqi war is his war and his war is an oil war. We cannot depend on oil anymore. We have to find alternate fuels.”

Moore said that such overlapping issues are typical and they demonstrate some of the theories of Max Weber, one of the founders
of modern sociology. “Max Weber said that religion, politics, and economics go hand in hand, said Moore.”

All the students from Moore’s Sociology 101 course attended the protest, although several were hesitant at first.

“I think it’s successful because students that were not very excited about doing it did get into it and they did learn something,” said Di Nicola. “We still have the power. We still could make a difference
and I think a lot of times people lose that because we get so busy and so involved with our own little worlds. And if two or three people that were not aware of it learned it, then it was a success.”