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East Bay | Education & Student Activism | Police State and Prisons

At Least 8 Arrested at UC Berkeley After Concert & March
by jbp
Saturday Dec 12th, 2009 2:03 AM
Students at UC Berkeley re-grouped Friday evening to protest the early morning raid on the Open University at occupied Wheeler Hall. A rally at Wheeler was followed by a concert and a march on the north side of campus. Police dispersed the marching crowd and arrested at least 8, who are being charged with "riot vandalism."
Students at UC Berkeley re-grouped Friday evening to protest the early morning raid on the Open University at occupied Wheeler Hall. Police raided Wheeler at around 5 am Friday morning while many of the students occupying the building were asleep. 66 people were arrested. Students had been occupying Wheeler since Monday, and the space was being used for study sessions, lectures, workshops, and celebrations during "Dead Week," the time between the end of classes and the beginning of final examinations.

At the evening rally, students denounced the arrests earlier that morning, which came without warning. Campus police and administrators had seemed to indicate that the students would be allowed to continue the occupation until Friday. Students also pointed out that while the occupation had not disrupted classes and study sessions at the building, the police locked the building and closed it to students after the raid. Speakers stated that the occupation was an example of how the university could be run and that it was a critique against the privatized nature of the university.

After the rally, a concert, featuring Boots Riley from the Coup, that had been scheduled to take place inside Wheeler Hall was held at an alternate location. The concert was followed by a march on the north side of campus. Police dispersed the marching crowd as it passed by the chancellor's residence. At least 8 people were arrested and are being taken to Dublin jail. They are charged with "riot vandalism."

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by newsman
Saturday Dec 12th, 2009 11:12 AM
(12-12) 10:35 PST BERKELEY -- Eight people were in custody early today after they converged on UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau's on-campus residence, breaking windows and throwing incendiary devices in protest of fee hikes and budget cuts, authorities said.
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The arrestees were among some 40 to 75 people - some whom were carrying torches - who surrounded the mansion on the north side of campus off Hearst Avenue at about 11:15 p.m. Friday, officials said.

Yelling, "No justice, no peace," the protesters began smashing planters, windows and lights and threw incendiary devices at the building, said campus spokesman Dan Mogulof. Birgeneau was sleeping at the time and was awakened by his wife, Mary Catherine, Mogulof said. They were unharmed, but university officials denounced what they called an unwarranted attack on the chancellor.

In a statement, Birgeneau said today, "These are criminals, not activists. The attack at our home was extraordinarily frightening and violent. My wife and I genuinely feared for our lives. The people involved in this action will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I want to emphasize that they represent an extreme minority of our students."

UC Berkeley police arrested eight people, two of whom are students, on suspicion of rioting, threatening an education official, attempted burglary, attempted arson of an occupied building, vandalism and assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, Mogulof said.

The incident came a day after university police arrested 66 people in connection with a four-day protest this week at Wheeler Hall. The building was also the site of a Nov. 20 occupation and clash between protesters and officers from several law-enforcement agencies.

The latest incident isn't the first protest at the chancellor's home. Most demonstrators have been peaceful, but in August 1992, People's Park activist Rosebud Denovo broke into the home, occupied by then-Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien and his wife, and was shot and killed by an Oakland police K-9 officer as she wielded a machete in a bathroom, authorities said.

The home was being cleaned up today, and Birgeneau and his wife were back at the residence under police guard, Mogulof said.

"This is what it looks like when students get hijacked by extremist and violent elements in its ranks," Mogulof said. "There is no place in our community for such extremism. They now have to decide which path hey take going forward. If the elect to continue on this path of violence and extremism, we will spare no effort to identify an remove them from our community."
What took place at the Chancellor's residence was violence and criminal, regardless the motivation. Its interesting that only 2 of the 8 arrested were Cal Students. Presumably the other six were enrolled in the Open University, and were just minding their own business. The moral highroad does not extend to the use of incendiary devices, vandalism and the use of violence.
by A
Saturday Dec 12th, 2009 12:08 PM
i wonder what the supposed incendiary devices were, especially when it is wet outside.
by rahr.
Saturday Dec 12th, 2009 12:13 PM
Wait, a minute. You really think the destruction of a couple of planter boxes is violent? come on now.
by Sandy Sanders
Saturday Dec 12th, 2009 12:46 PM
The torches do recall the home visits made before the American Revolution as hundreds of torch bearing citizens confronted and called out government officials in cahoots with the British Capitalist's tyrannical economic control of our country. But maybe tomatoes and animal dung would be a better message? America is such a patheticly materialistic gollumy place that one broken tea cup turns the Demopublicans into raging meanies demanding jail and infinite punishment. I empathize with breaking stuff, but any physical threat to people can never come of good. Instead, imagine 200 angry people throwing tomatoes, eggs and doodoo at the Chancellor of Mordor's house. I think we need to make new use of comic symbols of rebellion that stink and stain but are water soluble. Then clearly advise everyone of these tools being used and get everyone on our side. Revolt 'em into submission.
by ram
Saturday Dec 12th, 2009 1:27 PM
Violence is never a good tool for change, it only brings more violence in return. I believe that the UC Berkeley administration use of violence against students is a demostration of their poor leadership. The use of violence by the students is a result of that poor leadership the administration is exercising. We are in a crisis yes! but a crisis of leadership and priorities. The students at Wheeler were studying for finals when they were suprice by swatt style "shock attack" by the UCPD under the direction of the administration. It was like if they were capturing "Terrorist" in their caves or busting a methlab. After that shock students were drag down to the basement of Wheeler kept uncomunicado and put in a bus to jail. Some students had no shoes. These is violence at the level of stupidity. How can the chancellor say he is against violence if he him self started it!
by Aaron Aarons
( indy [at] aarons.f-m.fm ) Saturday Dec 12th, 2009 1:47 PM
There has never been social change, whether for better or worse, without violence. And ruling classes never give up their wealth and power without violence, no matter how peaceful are those who are trying to take away that wealth and power.

The overly-glorified "American Revolution", which had both liberatory and very anti-liberatory aspects, was violent. Slavery in the U.S. was overthrown violently, but not with enough violence to prevent it's later violent reimposition under other names.

But open violence, or even property destruction, when the cops are looking is generally a bad idea, until such time as the forces of anti-capitalist liberation are strong enough to defeat the capitalist state. Until that time, real violence against capital should be covert.
by read up
Saturday Dec 12th, 2009 2:13 PM
Any n00bs subscribing to pacifism (I used to...kinda: self-defense is a must) should read How Nonviolence Protects the State and Pacifism as Pathology

"Violence is very effective; that's why they use it." -Derrick Jensen
by fight to win
Saturday Dec 12th, 2009 3:13 PM
For activists who are doing more than self-expression, but really want transformation, the need is as great as ever to create a persuasive strategy for revolution using armed struggle. That strategy does not yet exist.

"Violent revolution" and "nonviolent revolution" are actually in the same boat at this time -- neither has a spelled-out strategy for the U.S. There is a huge need for strategic thinking among advocates of armed struggle as well as advocates of nonviolent struggle.

The last time in the U.S. that many activists talked seriously about "revolution" -- the late 'sixties -- the socialist activist and writer Martin Oppenheimer found himself in public discussions with activist leaders who were advocating violence but could not put a strategy together. To assist them and himself, he wrote a book, "The Urban Guerrilla", (2) in which he developed two different strategies using armed struggle and tested them in the book in terms of likely consequences. Pragmatically, both of the armed struggle strategies led to disaster for democracy and justice.

How we go about developing strategy is influenced by our assumptions about how the world works, so comparing assumptions can be helpful. No amount of argumentation about assumptions, however, will substitute for the hard work of creating strategy. Since many of the new activists are based in colleges and universities, and most are affluent and can take the time to do this hard work, I'm hoping they will accept the challenge!

From:
http://www.trainingforchange.org/nonviolent_action_sword_that_heals
by c
Saturday Dec 12th, 2009 3:29 PM
Maybe I shouldn't give out this simple tip, because there really are some impulsive people out there who don't think out their plans from beginning to end very well.
But... if you want to have a 'candlelight march' that has flames larger than standard 1inch height, one can construct a large candle or torch using sterno, little strips of cloth, and medium sized sticks. One basically rubs the cloth in the sterno and ties it securely around the end of the stick. The flame can get 4inches or more initially, and this is safe in the hands of any calm adult or child, but should not be used in any sort of running situation, held by irresponsible people, or around wildland areas. Any barbecue or fire at the beach can easily cause greater risk, but the visual impression of a torch has to be carefully negotiated.

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2003/05/02/16065581.php

by UCB Alum
Saturday Dec 12th, 2009 4:21 PM
This sounds like the most politically stupid thing ever. Do we really need to throw our energies behind people living a revolutionary fantasy? Is it more important to reinforce their egos, or to make real social change, a real revolution?

We can't afford to confine our energies to occupations and stunts. This movement needs to generalize, and expand beyond the universities. We need to find ways to involve more normal people, not just people who wear their politics on their clothing but only as deep as such.
by berkeley resident
Saturday Dec 12th, 2009 4:55 PM
Last nights march was completely amateurish. Its no surprise that the cops grabbed a number of people who now face serious charges. Immediately we entered the street people began tipping over garbage cans and mindlessly intimidating passing drivers who inevitably called the police, giving them plenty of time to get to the scene before the action had taken place. Those who initiated it failed to make any security plans whatsoever, many of the participants were drunk and completely lacking in discipline or tactical awareness. Intimidating motorists and kicking passing cars has nothing to do with political action and is just criminality or hooliganism masquerading as radicalism.

A more serious point is that UC students are the frontline of political action against the austerity being imposed on Californians generally. that leadership position means that the students have a political responsibility to expand networks of solidarity and resistance. Turning the chancellor into a victim is not a way to do that, it succeeds only in handing the university and the ruling class an advantange against the run of play. The people who initiated last nights idiocy should defend their actions and indicate how exactly it has enhanced the student movement rather than enhanced the the political power of the state.
by Cal Student
Saturday Dec 12th, 2009 5:03 PM
If we protest non-violently then we can claim the high-ground when the police arrest people who are peacefully protesting. If we use violence then we should expect the police will answer with violence and there will be no sympathy for us when it happens.

Consider the following:

If a cop uses a taser of or baton on a peaceful protester then the cop is a bully. If he uses his gun to kill someone attacking the cop or others with a weapon, then the cop is a hero.

Birgeneau is an old man. Attacking him violently does not take courage or conviction. It just takes the willingness to be a bully and to attack people who are weaker than you. A protester who non-violently resists the armed police with courageous. A protester to who joins a mob to attack an unarmed old man in him home is a coward and a bully.

Now that a protest has turned violent, the university has no more need to tolerate peaceful protests. They can arrest everyone and say "look, the last time we let people march peacefully, they turned violent. this is preventative action."

This violence a complete failure that go against the very core of peaceful protest. And anyone who try to compare this to actions during the American revolution is delusional about the scale and scope of the issues.
by d
Saturday Dec 12th, 2009 5:08 PM
TO THE MARCHERS:
Thank you for standing up for all those arrested in Wheeler Hall. Something had to be done to respond to that fucked up assault on students that happened.

I'm sure every student who was humiliated, violently detained, and arrested, appreciates it (much more than the stupid comments on here, which do nothing to stand up for those students' freedom).

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!
by bkley res
Saturday Dec 12th, 2009 6:26 PM
fud, I don't think these people were agent provocateurs, though they may have acted like that. I think it was a crew who labor under bad ideas and who were testosteroned up on booze and insurrectionary incoherence. I challenged one kid who was dragging a garbage can into the street and asked him what he thought he was doing, he responded that he was blocking the path the cops would take in pursuit! Fantasy stuff even if it were actually the likely approach of the police which it was not. This exchange was emblematic of the kind of thinking in effect last night. Not thinking. It was friday night fight stuff under the banner of radical chic.

In fairness to many of those present, the street was cleared and the garbage replaced into the bins by people on the demo. So there was a high level of critical thinking going on at least by some of those present.
by solidarity
Sunday Dec 13th, 2009 5:29 AM
Ok, so i've read a lot of reactions and I have to say, i'm astounded at the lack of unity, though not surprised. Most people will not look deeper into the issue and just willingly accept what the newspapers write after they consult UC officials and police. This turns us against each other even when we are aiming to reach common goals (I would hope). The Oakland Tribune article stated that this was in no way organized or condoned by students. Which students were consulted? The students who are simply upset their tuition fees have gone up and are not at all concerned about the layoffs and the lack of truly public education maybe? UC Berkeley is no longer the UC Berkeley of the sixties. One complaint that seems to be prominent is that somehow this action hurts the student movement by making it impossible to hold peaceful protests. First off, your absolutely ignoring the fact that many peaceful protests are forcibly ended anyways, at a school that at one point was into free speech and that kind of stuff. One example might be, oh i dunno, the insulting arrests at Wheeler Hall the morning before an advertised concert. If you think peaceful protests are the "high ground" don't forget peaceful protests give the UC police ample opportunity to videotape you, gather information on activists and let you go home feeling like you've made a difference. We must evaluate our definition of violence in reference to direct action. Some property was damaged, people's feelings got hurt, but that's about it. The govenator is calling these people terrorists? If the anger that is legitmately felt and transformed into actions "harshes your mellow," its simple: don't participate. But don't give those in charge the satisfaction of watching us destroy ourselves from the inside.
by Protest Bear
Sunday Dec 13th, 2009 11:17 AM
It is messed up that these dumbasses are ruining the student protest!! And most of them aren't even UC students!!!
by UCB Alum
Sunday Dec 13th, 2009 3:11 PM
At this point, any kind of small vandalism serves no purpose but to get people arrested, help the enemy tar us in the media and make us look like brats, and alienate other people. You are correct that it is not violence. However, it is pointless, and destructive to the movement. For that reason people are very correct to be wary of agent provocateurs, and perhaps they should develop some protection against this behavior in case it begins to cause them real damage.

I think the spirit of the live week was completely opposite to that. People were mopping the floors, not trashing the place. They were very respectful to other students and pledged to leave the place cleaner than they found it. Regardless of your views on nonviolence, this apparent righteousness that the students have is critical to the expansion of the movement. Our numbers are desperately small, and the movement is pre-embryonic. Our first priority should be to expand and generalize. We're not going to win friends by presenting ourselves as scraggly black-clad vandalizing punks with no respect for anyone.
by student
Sunday Dec 13th, 2009 6:20 PM
You don't know who was or wasn't a student. It's already been mentioned at a Nov 20 action that cops call a group of 44 people non-students when only 42 actually are. You don't know the struggles of everyone there. A lot of low-waged people are losing their jobs while administrators expand their ranks. A lot of students are forced out of school or denied entrance right now. Additionally, the corp-media errs or fails to report what is most significant, let alone focus on the wrong things with the wrong point of view. Stop making assumptions based on what the administrators feed you or what a failing media report distorts or just on invented bullshit.

Peacefully protest, great. But when the implication is made that any other tactics used will shatter the "movement" then, what is implied is that only peaceful protest is legitimate. What happens to people who lose their jobs for being seen at a protest? Or comrade students who get suspensions handed out for being on sight at an allegedly safe action? What really happens when a denunciation is made by non-violents and pacifists is that the voiced separation is what shatters unity, not specifically the diversity of actions. We act together however so, but our accusations are divisive.

You all know very clearly that the administrators are fucking shady. You also know that we fight for common goals. Do not allow you unwillingness to participate in something in particular become an overbearing "law" of social change or revolution. That's a boundary you have every right to, but be careful about how you address it.

Whether using non-violence or otherwise, the target is capital, not the "wrong" people administrating the ideology in OUR lives. It's continuing success is our continuing struggle. Some of us see complacency, "protest" and self-limiting vocal opposition to do nothing to effect change, when more specific direct actions could really bring it down.

Action is for us to define, not to fit within capitalist declarations of "criminality" - notions which keep the system in place!
by UCB Alum
Sunday Dec 13th, 2009 10:08 PM
I'm referring specifically to vandalism and needlessly provoking the cops. I know that these acts happen because I've seen them with my own eyes, despite media distortion. Almost everyone who has been at a few demonstrations has seen them. I'm not even coming from a pacifist perspective. I just think they're stupid, pointless, and destructive.

I certainly hope we have the same goals here, but I'm worried that some people have been carried off and are driven by a petty desire to impress their friends and earn macho points.

Me? I don't want to work in some fucking cubicle. I don't want to read the paper and know how many young lives have been snuffed out by our system. Some education would be nice too. I know that it will take a massive social revolution to create the world I want to live in. Maybe this movement can be a start in that direction, but only if we can find a way to involve the millions of people in California who aren't with us yet.

We won't get there by lighting some trash can on fire or some other stupid spectacle and hoping the masses will rise up. Propaganda by the deed has a terrible track record. Social movements and revolutions are made by organizing.
by from another student
Monday Dec 14th, 2009 5:48 AM
No social change has ever come about without the oppressed group fighting back in one form or another. You say you are not coming from a pacifist perspective, but what else could it be? You clearly have a bias in favor of what you call "peaceful protest." I am a woman, so i'm definitely not trying to be "macho" to impress my friends when I commend these comrades of OURS for their bravery. Yes, people run the risk of getting arrested when using direct action tactics, whether peaceful or not, you still seem to give no attention to all those folks arrested at Wheeler Hall earlier that morning who were certainly not provoking the police. Sure, its only right that we critique the effectiveness of our actions as a movement, but you are not critiquing, you are making blanket statements about the people who get involved in these types of actions and deliberately trying to distance yourself from them when you should be embracing their passion to promote social change, not just against the fee hikes but against all injustices. If you truly care about any broadening of the social movement, you will be better served by making more thoughtful critiques, for someone with a UC education you should realize your rhetoric should move beyond "that action is stupid, pointless etc. etc. and actually look at whether the possibility exists that you are viewing this action from your own narrow frame. One more thing, people need to stop looking at who's a student and who's not. The point is free education, if there are non-students, or non UC students participating (community colleges are suffering to) they are obviously participating with the goal in mind that one day they might to get the opportunity to go to college. Don't deny them their voices, embrace other tactics, critique is always needed, but the more you use such black and white narrative, the more you are just helping the university weed out whoever the university deems undesirable (anyone who speaks out or takes action against their policies) and as the UC spin doctor said keep them out of "their community." At this point, from your posts, I cannot tell if you are even a student but perhaps a UC official determined to divide the ever increasing ranks of a radical student (and non-student) body that continues to become ever more threatening to the fat cats at the top. Hopefully what i'm saying makes some sense, its early and I have a cold. Much love and peace everyone, stick together and don't let media disinformation destroy our solidarity! Support the UC8!
by hilarious
Monday Dec 14th, 2009 8:36 AM
She chides and lectures to poster "UCB Alum" for making overly generalized statements.....then concludes by suggesting that he doesn't even sound like a student to her, so he's likely a UC Administrator? What could be more generalized than attempting to discredit anyone who disagrees with your agenda?


*Rotfl* Way to be judge and jury and paranoid all at once!
by amused student
Monday Dec 14th, 2009 10:52 AM
When I saw your post I was surprised you had actually been able to read my "lecture"! (note: my lectures to "UC Alum" are also available on CD for just 3 easy payments of $39.95) Seriously though, I am a huge fan of laughter so I'm glad I could brighten up your day!

by UC Alum
Monday Dec 14th, 2009 12:46 PM
To another student: I won't disagree that social change happens by fighting back. But does a tiny group of people breaking pottery and lamp-posts, and throwing trash on the street qualify as fighting back? Even if this didn't happen, for argument's sake? I am refering to this specific type of non-direct action as pointless and stupid. Pointless because it won't accomplish anything good. Stupid because it can result in real harm to our friends. It needlessly provokes the cops. They can arrest you for breaking pottery, not for doing something righteous. It's a gift to our enemies, really!

Note that I did give positive attention to our friends who were arrested in the last morning of live week, and how their action contrasts with small vandalism.

Also, on the topic of macho points, I believe this applies just as much to women. Women can be strong and brave, and just the same can be carried away by their egos. I am not trying to be insulting. I want to put it out there that we should question whether we are being carried away and driven by commendations for political stunts: "...when I commend these comrades of OURS for their bravery" even if they are pointless, even if they hurt our friends, and even if they alienate people who aren't active instead of furthering (expanding!) the movement.
by hilarious
Monday Dec 14th, 2009 4:59 PM
If you meant you were surprised that I could understand your post because you doubt my capacity to comprehend such heady material; don't flatter yourself.

If you meant you were surprised because you're logic and rationale were so circuitous as to be incomprehensible, thank you.

I too enjoy a good laugh. Sadly though, in regards to this weeks series of protests, the laughter has come from reading the self-aggrandized posts by those who are seeking to support this "action" as effective or even deserved.

When it comes time to break windows, throw torches, and riot, then count me out. (And I don't use the term riot loosely. It was described as such by one of the involved protesters in their post at Occupy CA. (Where they also note "This was neither peaceful nor a protest; the time for dialogue is over. ").

And so, while I respect your right to protest as you see fit, I also ask that you respect my right to not be treated as a drooling idiot. If you want to light torches, march down the middle of the street overturning trash cans, bang on cars of innocent passers-by, and vandalize the Chancellors house...go for it. But don't insult me by proposing that it was all innocent, exaggerated in media reports, and a setup by the cops. I'm not that stupid.

Happy Holidays,

Hilarious.
by Cryovile
( sanstree [at] gmail.com ) Monday Dec 21st, 2009 10:54 AM
Ok ok. Sure, there are times when violence might be warranted. Still, it's generally a lack of creativity and ingenuity on the part of the activist that leads to violence, just as it is a failure of leadership when officials resort to skull cracking. But let's be serious here. The raising of fees at the UC is NOTHING compared to the cost of attending most colleges elsewhere in the country. The Berkeley campus is still INCREDIBLY cheap.

Now, that doesn't mean that the arguably incompetent management of the UC system should go without protest, but I'm not sure it's of a level demanding violence. Even if it is, the Chancellor's house was a stupid target. A grade school target. A target only because most students and anarchist activists don't have the vehicles or money (or balls) to go to Sacramento and stick it to the REAL people responsible. The state government is more at fault for the budget shortfalls than the UC is. Furthermore, even if the state government were competent and the UC a bunch of malicious jerks in every respect, they still work for the state. You don't argue with the customer service douchebag, you ask to talk to his manager. If torches must be thrown, throw them at the state house, however, a much more successful tactic would probably be a ballot initiative that would change the governance of the UC and bring into line with the goals of California higher public education. The Chancellor is a small fry and going after him makes you look as stupid as a dog biting it's owner because it has a hurt foot. "I'm in pain, here's someone nearby me that could be causing the pain, so I'll attack him." Stupid.