$105.00 donated in past month
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | East Bay | San Francisco | Santa Cruz Indymedia | U.S. | Anti-War | Education & Student Activism | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism | Government & Elections
Anti-Nuke Activists Disrupt UC Regents Meeting
Thursday, May 18, 2006 - For the second straight year, anti-nuke/demilitarization activists from around the state disrupted the University of California Regents meeting at UC San Francisco. In addition to concerns of corruption on behalf of top UC officials, students continued the decades old tradition of opposition to UC's vital role in the production of weapons of mass destruction. Through it's management of both Los Alamos National Lab and Lawrence Livermore, UC employees have designed every nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal. As such, the University of California would be complicit in the event of a nuclear strike on Iran.
In their successful bid for management of Los Alamos, the University of California partnered with notorious human rights violator and war profiteer Bechtel Corp. who built a name for itself by attempting to privitize Bolivia's water. On May 25, 2005, students disrupted the meeting twice before the Regents eventually voted 11-1 in favor of nuclear armageddon. (read more: http://santacruz.indymedia.org/feature/display/17121/index.php)
This year's action, organized by UC Santa Cruz Students Against War (SAW) included student activists from both UC Berkeley and UC Santa Barbara, in addition to members of the watchdog group Tri-Valley CARES. With boos, hisses, speeches, getting dragged out, and the eventual removal at the threat of arrest, the students ensured that their voices were heard and that the UC Regents' criminal acts do not go unobstructed.
In the 1980's, the student governments of every UC voted against management of the nuclear labs, but the UC Regents still believe that the production of weapons of mass destruction and toxic waste is somehow a service to the nation.
You can see SAW's press release prior to the action here:
And the pre-action announcement here:
Members of the public arrived at UC San Francisco and got through strict security only to wait for an hour and a half in the cold before they were let into the Regents meeting.
UC Berkeley students use the waiting time to strategize. They were presenting a resolution unanimously passed by Berkeley's student government opposing the UC/Bechtel management of Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore.
Two members of UC Santa Cruz Students Against War (SAW) talk with representatives of UC Davis' student government. The Davis students came to express disdain for the corruption scandal that has hit the UC system in recents months. Unfortunately, though, these students, even after invited, chose not to sit with the rest of the student atendees. At one point a Davis student even 'shh'd' the anti-Nuke activists.
Tara from the watchdog group Tri-Valley CARES and Darwin, a student at UC Santa Barbara both came to support the demilitarization action. They are both UC Santa Cruz alumni.
After an hour and a half, the public is finally let into the Regents meeting.
UC Berkeley student activists show off their homemade T-shirts. The Regents meeting guidelines generally bans clothing with political slogans, but I imagine they made an exception for these women as they had no other shirts.
After gloating for a good 10 minutes on how great UCSF's medical facilities are, the Regents moved into public comment period. In one of their beloved anti-democratic twists, they lowered the time allocation per individual to only 30 seconds. In other words, only enough time for someone to say their name, organization, and half of a sentence before being forced to shut up.
Here, Steve, the first demil speaker and a member of UCSC Students Against War (SAW) speaks to the UC Regents on their ridiculousness. When one demil activist spoke, all the others would stand up in a sign of solidarity.
After going over his 30 second allocation, 3 suit-and-tie cops descend on Steve, who is determined to finish his short speech.
As Steve is removed from the building for the day, he remains determined to finish his speech (which he achieves).
Students stood in solidarity when anti-Nuke/demilitarization activists spoke.
While most of the corporate press was secluded to their own little section, paying little attention to the student protest, one TV videographer is told by the suit-and-tie cops that he cannot film from anywhere but inside the press area. The cops also went after an AP photographer and a student journalist for the same reason. It appears that decent journalism (coverage of protests) is not allowed at Regents meeting.
After arbitrarily ending the public comment period with multiple speakers left unheard, students made a ruckus, eventually forcing the Regents to allow the last speakers to give their schpeel.
After this was over, they moved into their next agenda item - some lengthy report on UC's libraries. Included in this report were two thought-provoking images - one of the UC emblem in the center of other corporate images, and a 'Join Arnold' site randomly placed onto a slide.
The Regents moved into a report on the nuclear labs, and once it was mentioned that Lockheed Martin executives sat on the advisory committee, the anti-Nuke/demilitarization activists began a loud solidarity clap - the initiation sign of their meeting take-over.
The students, wishing to show the Regents what a truly democratic meeting looks like, started to give out mock proposals and have mock votes. One of these included dropping the management of the nuclear labs.
In response to the action, the Regents quickly flooded out of the room and a good number of cops flooded in.
At the initiation of the action, a Regent remarked that it would be a scary thought if students were to hold a truly democratic meeting. This comment attempts to beat out last year's "Peace = you not talking" response from a Regent after he was asked to define 'peace.'
Students discuss their next steps after the police chief calls the protest an 'unlawful assembly.'
After disrupting the Regents meeting for a good period of time, students vote to leave the room to avoid arrest.
Once on the outside, the activists talked with a couple student press outlets (the majority remained inside and didn't seem to care much about the protest), and eventually got into a political discussion with the police chief.
With 30 second speaking limits, harsh meeting restrictions (no banners, no flyers, no signs, no slogans), and an undemocratic/inaccessible governing body, is anyone surprised that students need to disrupt meetings in order to be heard?