Days of Action for Public education 9/10nov2011
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The University of California could soon face an additional $100 million in preapproved, midyear trigger cuts — on top of $650 million already cut from the system this year — if state revenues fall significantly behind projected numbers. The Legislative Analyst’s Office and the state Department of Finance will release revenue forecasts for the state — by mid-November and December, respectively — which will determine if cuts will be enacted in part, in whole or at all. “The Legislature wanted to make sure that there was a built-in mechanism in place to keep the budget in balance, and that’s what you have with the preapproved trigger cuts,” said H.D.
This fall’s wave of “Occupy” actions centered on the Occupy Wall Street encampment in NYC has drawn on many recent movements for inspiration, from the Arab Spring to the mass uprisings of Greece and Spain to the last few years’ campus occupations and street protests in Britain and the occupation of the Wisconsin state capitol in Madison. But to anyone who has been focused on American student organizing in the recent past, “Occupy ________” has until recently meant one thing above all: California. Since the fall of 2009, student activists in the University of California and Cal State systems have staged dozens of demonstrations and actions, many of them culminating in occupations of campus buildings.
These videos follow the Nov. 9 Day of Action starting with a series of teach-ins starting at 8 a.m., a rally at noon and a march to Bank of America. Protesters set up a series of tents in front of Sproul Hall and later in the afternoon, riot police marched to the encampment and were met by a line of protesters. Violence erupted when the protesters refused to allow police to remove the tents. The Daily Cal multimedia team including Sarah Jedlicka, Gina Palefsky, Jeff Capps, Anya Schultz, Arami Matevosyan, Kevin Ho Nguyen, Cecilia Wong and Kelly Fang contributed to these videos. Comment Policy
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A March 20, 2003 rally against the War in Iraq on the steps of Sproul Plaza, held by the Berkeley Stop the War Coalition. Aerial view of Sproul Plaza from 1978. Zellerbach Hall is on the right, Eshleman Hall in the center, and Sproul Hall is center-left.
The Occupy Berkeley General Assembly endorses and supports the actions of Occupy Cal, a movement of UC students formed to raise awareness of the continual privatization of public education, in particular an 81% free hike that has been proposed by U.C. President Mark Yudof. Tomorrow, November 9th, Occupy Cal will conduct a day of action followed by an encampment on the Berkeley campus to protest these austerity cuts that students face in lieu of forcing the 1% to pay their fair share.
On November 9th, an outdoor encampment, modeled after the encampments in New York, Oakland, and other cities worldwide, will be established at UC Berkeley in order to protest the privatization of public education. We write to express our support for the project of Occupy Cal, and to state publicly that we view outdoor encampments as a legitimate and potentially transformative form of political activity. The occupation at UC Berkeley—like other occupations established this fall—constitutes an instance of free assembly and should be allowed to persist and reproduce itself free of police interference. We understand that the occupation at UC Berkeley will be organized through daily general assemblies; will enable important political discussion and debate over contemporary social conditions; and will provide for the material needs of students, workers, and wider community members, offering emergency medical care, food, basic supplies, legal support, and a place to live.
For nearly two years now the University of California has been criminalizing peaceful student protest. University officials have arrested activists as they slept quietly in a campus building, resting after a day of hosting workshops and seminars during a pre-finals study period. Campus police have used batons and tasers and pepper spray on protesters who meant them no harm and posed no physical threat. The university has distorted and abused its student conduct policies, deploying judicial sanction to suppress lawful dissent.
There’s been a lot of attention paid to a comment that Captain Margo Bennett of the University of California Police Department gave to a local newspaper late last week. “The individuals who linked arms and actively resisted, that in itself is an act of violence,” she said of the Berkeley protesters who were beaten by police on Wednesday. “Linking arms in a human chain when ordered to step aside is not a nonviolent protest.” This is, of course, ridiculous, and so it’s been widely ridiculed. Bennett has been the subject of appropriate mockery and outrage all weekend.
An Open Letter to the Administration of the University of California Berkeley Dear Chancellor Birgeneau, Executive Vice Chancellor Breslauer, and Vice Chancellor LeGrande, You should all resign—now. On Tuesday, you sent a message to students informing us that we would not be allowed to set up encampments or occupy campus buildings.
Yesterday, I was beaten, arrested, and jailed for participating in an act of civil disobedience against the privatization of education and criminalization of dissent in California. I’ve spent the last day trying to process what happened, and writing this is an attempt to get it out of my mind and on to paper (having spent last night on a cement floor, I could use some mental solace). There’s nothing exceptional about my experience, and yet, even knowing that, I write this grappling with a feeling of voicelessness and powerlessness that I have never before experienced. I know that, once you start talking about “police brutality” and “police states”, you enter into a group of wild-eyed conspiracy theorists that most Americans dismiss out of hand.
“The Grass Is Closed”: What I Have Learned About Power from the Police, Chancellor Birgeneau, and Occupy CalAt about 11:30 a.m. yesterday, a police officer told me and about eight other students that, and I quote, “the grass is closed.” We were going to sit under a tree and discuss things, and two police officers were watching us vigilantly to make sure we didn’t suddenly do something violent like try to put up tents. As we moved towards the tree, the first police officer stepped up and informed us that we could not walk from the broad concrete steps of Sproul Hall, where about a hundred people were sitting and talking, and sit on the grassy area just to the north of it. “The grass is closed,” she said. If you meditate on these words until they become a mantra, you will learn some profound things about how police authority works.