November 10, 2011

“Some things never change”: Student protests at UC Berkeley

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Jane Stillwater @ 2:15 am

On tonight’s news, they featured various segments covering protests at Occupy Oakland, Occupy Los Angeles, Occupy Denver, Occupy Seattle, Occupy New York, Occupy Austin, Occupy Chicago, etc. And tonight I was also a part of “Occupy Cal”. And the university police charged into a mass of student demonstrators like they were going after bank robbers or bad guys instead of just students protesting HUGE tuition hikes. And the students stood their ground on Sproul Plaza against great odds.

The police seized tents and banners from the students — and what do you know? The students seized them right back!

And, later, when there was a lull in between various attacks on students, I had a chance to talk to some of the cops. “Are other local police forces involved in this operation — or is it only the U.C. police?”

“Just the university police, ma’am. Not the city police. But the chancellor stated that he would not allow tents to be erected on campus.” And so the chancellor apparently chose to give an order to take the tents down.

Bad choice.

“I used to protest here at this very same spot back in the 1960s,” I then told the boys in blue.

“Some things never change,” one cop replied. Well, guess what? Things had pretty damn well better change — or else!

Or else what?

Or else there will be a hit-and-run type of protest movement from the rest of us 99% — that will go on and on and on at different places daily all over America until things DO start to change. The corporatists don’t have the money or the manpower to control all of us everywhere. A non-violent hit-and-run guerrilla protest movement? Yay.

And I just heard that U.C. Santa Cruz students have also gone out on strike.

And will a plaza or university or town square or bank near you be next?

PS: U.C. students in Berkeley are very well-represented by their district’s councilperson, Kriss Worthington, who was also on Sproul Plaza, backing his young constituents up. Here’s what he told the Berkeley Daily Planet tonight:

“At the home of the Free Speech Movement, the UCPD appears to have suppressed Free Speech again! Please join us in questioning this behavior and challenge the UCPD to respect the Free Speech Rights of Occupy Cal.”

Worthington then went on to admonish Chancellor Birgeneau and UC police chief Calaya for their violent actions against non-violent protestors. “I wanted to bring to your attention that banners with Free Speech content appear to have been seized by UCPD in front of Sproul Plaza. …It is hard to imagine that such an act could occur at the exact location in Berkeley where the Free Speech Movement began.” Worthington nailed it exactly.

“You can imagine that the sense of irony will not be lost on the public, that the UCPD violated the Free Speech rights of protesters at this particular location. …These students have made a firm commitment to no violence and no vandalism. The University should be commending the thousands of students that are participating. For many, this could be their very first political protest of their life. They are protesting specifically for additional financing for the University of California. The University should support this enthusiasm and help encourage this to be an effective protest that helps the University and our country.”–By-Councimember-Kriss-Worthington

PPS: Of course it is unacceptable that police are violently shutting down freedom of speech at the very spot where the Berkeley Free Speech Movement was born. But even more unacceptable is the fact that free speech movements all over the United States are also being shut down — here in America, in the Land of the Free.

I mean, seriously. With Veterans Day almost upon us, we can only speculate why our heroic troops fought and died in foreign wars — if the very Freedom that they fought so hard for abroad is being violently shut down right here at home.


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