Sunday, March 21, 2010

Northbay March in March to protect public access to higher education (Napa, Sonoma, UC Davis)

2010-03-10 message from "Northbay No Cuts Coalition": 
In the wake of the historic student protests to defend public education on March 4th, and amidst the rise of youth activism all across the North Bay and beyond, students and young people are coming together on Saturday, April 10th for a mass meeting to form a North Bay youth coalition to fight for education and social justice!
As young people, we are facing an overwhelming and oppressive future. The state continues to cut education, lay off teachers and campus workers, and increase student fees. Meanwhile, funding for prisons and war is on the increase, while administrators, UC regents, and politicians give themselves a huge pay raise. Every day our futures are being traded off for short term profits. We can, and must, stop this now. The way to do that is to get organized, stay united, and fight back!
Several organizations are calling for a mass meeting of students and young people on Saturday, April 10th at Noon at Sonoma State University. We will meet in the Student Union at the center of campus. I've attached the flyer, which you can feel free to print out and distribute everywhere.
We encourage all young people to attend. If you are part of a school club, youth-led community organization, or if you're just an individual who cares about their future, we invite you to come make history with us, and help us form this massive youth coalition to fight back for education, and justice for all people. On April 10th, we will propose that all young people in the North Bay come together and build this new youth movement. You will get a chance to hear what we are proposing, then discuss it and decide exactly how we will go about this. We don't just want you to attend. We want you to participate. At the bottom of this email is a series of questions about this upcoming meeting. Please look over them and shoot us back an email with your thoughts, so we can incorporate everyone's ideas into this meeting in a more democratic manner.
Lastly, please spread this email to everyone you know. Let your friends know that young people are on the move in Sonoma County . We're fired up, and we can't take it no more!
In solidarity, carl
This meeting is being supported by:
IMPACT!, MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan), Free Mind Media, Zero Campaign, Students for a Democratic Society (Napa Valley College).
*let us know if you'd like us to add your campus group or organization onto this list!
CONTACT: email:
phone: 707-579-1605
What would you like this coalition to focus on? If you could choose 2 or 3 issues for a youth coalition to focus on, what would they be?
What should the goal of the coalition be? Should we run a campaig or focus just on outreach and education?
What should the responsibilities be for those who want to join the coalition? Should it be a loose or formal structure?
How should the meeting on April 10th be run? What should the agenda be? How long should the meeting go?

2010-03-18 “Copwatch Report” by A. from UC Davis General Assembly []:
Turner says she has been disappointed by news media coverage that characterizes the protest movement at Davis as far broader than it truly is. On a campus of roughly 30,000 students, the protests actually haven't included more than 1,000 people at any one event, Turner says. Far more common than freeway blockers, she argues, are students piling up as many credits as possible to get out quickly. "Our students, they're at Taco Bell working," she says. "They're not protesting." wow - I can't believe she is trying to imply that student protesters are not truly the ones being affected, that we are the privileged kids who do this all for fun and show. - Just another tactic to try and delegitimize this struggle. [signed] -A

Report from Napa Valley College SDS!
On March 21st, Latinos Undios organized a march in Downtown Napa to bring awareness toward immigration rights and the cuts to education. Students for a Democratic Society endorsed the action and marched with the group. About 50 people met at New Tech High and marched onto Soscol street. The marchers were carrying signs such as “stop immigrant bashing” and “tax the rich, fund education”. The group stopped at a busy section of Soscol street by the Napa Cinedome. They received many honks of support by passing traffic. After about half an hour the group began marching. They passed through Downtown Napa and converged back at New Tech High School. The Napa Register published an article about it the next day. This action occurred the day before March 22nd which was another big march and day of action at the capital to protest the cuts to education. It was an indicator the student movement is alive in Napa. []  

2010-03-21 “Latest Update” from Against Cuts []:
Thanks to all who came to the Against Cuts meeting on Sunday, March 13. There were 88 people from many different schools and groups. It was good to hear about the outcome of everyone’s hard work. We had reports from College of Alameda, Merritt College, Berkeley City College, CaƱada College, Chabot College, DeAnza College, Diablo Valley College, Laney College, San Mateo College, Alameda High, Galileo High, Berkeley High, El Cerrito High, Oakland High, CSU East Bay and the California Faculty Association and UC Berkeley.
From the meeting it seems clear that most people had a very rewarding experience both at individual schools and at the various marches and rallies on March 4. There were a lot of positive comments about the rallies on March 4th, especially in San Francisco . People raised many possible activities for the future. We discussed the importance of doing more outreach where we are and ways to get more people involved and different ways we could mobilize our forces against budget cuts. Let us know what you are planning.
There will be an Against Cuts table at the Monday, March 22 Sacramento protest organized by the student governments of the Community Colleges and the CSUs. We will also have a table at an event on Friday, March 26 at Mission High School in San Francisco , where Indian activist and author, Arundhati Roy will be speaking. Come find us at any of these events and help out.
Spring Breaks are coming over the next few weeks, so everyone get some well-deserved rest. We will write more in a couple weeks.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Humboldt Communities For Justice and Peace

Works include holding marches and protests, sending out  reports and research studies, exposing media bias and holding this government accountable.
Press Contact: Jack Nounnan [707-442-8733] [jnoun (]

2011-02-22 "Our stand against U.S. Navy weapons tests massively destroying ocean life" press release by Jack Nounnan from "Humboldt Communities For Justice and Peace":

 In this past Saturday's Feb. 19 Rally in Eureka  - we acknowledged how this government has ignored our greatest concerns for over 2 years past and we agreed that all avenues being exhausted, saving Great Ocean Life is left in our hands.
 Rally organized by: "Communities For Justice and Peace, Humboldt.Co.", inspired by the efforts of "Agricultural Defense Coalition of Mendocino" [], and the "Coalition Against Naval Weapons Testing and killing of Marine life" which is connecting with native tribes, environmental, legal and other groups nationwide.

 A Declaration -
 As a group, we are resolved to advocate nonviolent direct action in face of U.S. Navies blatant cruelty and killing. (A rally in Mendocino  took a similar stand)
 A mission statement: As certain as the Golden Rules voyage (see below) inspired the first Nuclear Test Ban Treaty by setting out  to engage  ultimate threat of nuclear testing, we must attempt to intersect with U.S. Navy in their testing areas.

 Beginning This Campaign -
 Join us by calling and connecting with people owning boats among our locals . . . and friends in all coastal regions of our country effected by these tests, encouraging them to be part of this search for those who own boats and can be part of a flotilla . . . numbers of boats  from all coastal areas. . . to intersect with U.S. Navies testing, in bringing wider public notice of this extermination of precious ocean life. For this government to go on with its rationales for eliminating ocean life is not an option! It promises to end certain ocean life cycles and all the marginal to worse ocean deterioration which follows.
 We will continue to urge this government to act, as we have in California through Rep. Mike Thompson and our Senators, while, for example, Thompson's most recent  correspondence sights only his past efforts, while all of this wrecklessness and slaughter go right on.
 As in any action of civil disobedience, our reasons go beyond these present and unacceptable national policies. In refusing to include care and maintenance of great oceans, this government demonstrates it is not fit to fulfill  responsibilities demanded by our times and in no way  reflects our greatest concerns.
 *Thus we begin that we begin, in earnest. . . making our calls and sending our messages by every means we can muster. . .  in arousing awareness of this campaign in finding those who can help in any given area along our coasts... and readying  ourselves to sail into Naval testing areas. We've been living in a quasi dark age mentality for ages regarding our responsibilities of care for oceans and their life forms.

 Our Inspiration:
 The 30 ft. sailboat Golden Rule changed the world with her epic voyage into the Pacific and is now  being refurbished  in Eureka, Calif. and inspires us to act!
 It sailed in  1958, with Albert Bigelow at the helm, a former lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy who commanded three combat vessels in World War II. He set out with four crewmen aboard this small sailboat from San Pedro, Calif., to protest nuclear testing in waters off the Marshall Islands, located in the western Pacific Ocean between Guam and Hawaii.
 The boat was boarded by the U.S. Coast Guard twice in Hawaii, and the Golden Rule crew were arrested before it could make it  to the testing area, but  this action, together with what followed brought on the Nuclear Treaty. The incident stands out as one of the finest examples of nonviolent protest, together with great exposure to the world at large, which brought on such incredible demand-government responded!

 Stage 1  - Present focus -
 Reaching out  to caring people of California, Oregon and Washington, the eastern seaboard, Gulf coast, Hawaii and Marianna Islands, spreading this message as much as possible, which is only as good as what all of us can do!...... to friends, friends of friends, those in other coastal areas... to find those with seaworthy  craft, maybe fishermen who may be aware of how the Navy's "take' (kill) has been cumulative and undermining of their own livelihoods.
 This is a stunning issue, a whole teaching in itself. . . so be prepared with your best set of facts and feelings in reaching others. Good Resource info [].

 Stage 2 - Strategies and logistics for carrying out this mission -
 If we feel we can muster and have decent communications/coordinating among  a close knit group of those in any specific coastal areas, then forming some idea of how to go about this..all of us committed/rooted in  non violence as we  proceed with any  direct actions.
 Time is of essence :  Every region is essentially a self contained area and should be among those who know and trust one another. . . each immediate group deciding its own focus/action/time line and taking care to keep such plans known only within that particular group.
 Meeting to organize in each area;  discussing all implications and credible ways to proceed;  any info on Naval scheduling of departures from bases involved with testings;  working on plans and your crew scheduling of  calendared time slots over the next months.  Listing all needs of equipment, personal gear needed, food, etc. scheduling those involved where they have time. Attempting to ascertain  how much support we have for this.
 We ought to acknowledge what all this will take.    Only if we  feel such an action is right...feel confident we're able to follow through, have the time, are able to work closely together on strategies in the best sense supporting one another in considering an action.  It's going to take some real doing.
 Greater numbers of us involved gives us far better chances.  It gives us more opportunity to know what the Navy is up to in regard to these tests in our own areas. And our greater numbers will help in case of government action against any one member or team.
 Remembering all of this work in outreach is best for arousing public awareness and  continues building greater strength to demonstrate against these government atrocities.
 It means mustering enough in any given group  who urgently feel this is a the right course, beyond mere emotion it invokes.
 Preparation means having a good sense of media contacts... both locally and beyond, among national environmental groups and the press. And considering the very best strategy... for when to be in touch with these media connections.
 Let us begin and see where this takes us, keeping in touch best we can and welcoming the best ways to go about  carrying out such plans.

 What our world already faces:  (A quick review) World  Summit  On Biodiversity  calls for immediate action to save life on Earth.                   
TOKYO (AFP) -  Oct 10, 10'.
 Delegates from  193 nations gathered  to confront the rapid loss of animal and plant species that allow humans to exist,  a "defining moment" in the history of mankind, aimed at survival of diverse species and ecosystems threatened by pollution, exploitation and habitat encroachment. "We are destroying the very foundations that sustain life on this planet.". . . estimates of Earth losing species 100 to 1,000 times the historical average. "We're on the verge of a major extinction spasm," said Russ Mittermeier, president of Conservation International.

 Non violent resistance:
 "Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as cooperation with good" said Gandhi throughout his life. Later Philip Berrigan told us:
 "We have to practice nonviolent resistance to imperial America, as a way of life."Resistance is not just a periodic fling, but a day to day process. Gandhi insisted that if people wanted independence, they had to start acting like they were free...and thus seeing what all was involved and what was robbing them of their liberty.

 Non violent code:
 + Our attitude is one of openness and respect toward all beings
 + We will not use violence, either verbal or physical
 + We will not carry or use alcohol or drugs other than for medical purposes during actions
 + We will carry no weapons
 + We will strive to create an atmosphere of calm and dignity
 + We will not condone senseless acts of sabotage.
 + We promise to practice finding  humor in most  all concerns and pay attention to maintaining our awareness and our balance.

 **Update:  U.S. Naval war against ocean life should be intimately tied to  upcoming protests  to end wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq!

2012-03 press release by Jack Nounnan from "Humboldt Communities For Justice and Peace":
 "We seek the democracy you've  endlessly  spoken of, but never seem to mean, We march together with this profound  and impassioned public outcry ... Joining  with Americans everywhere, all of us wanting that you absolutely know!
 We're  sickened by  your violent practices against humanity abroad and here at home.
 We're appalled  by your wasted  fortunes on these incorrigible  wars,   literally condemning our chances for  funding our overwhelming domestic choices.
 We loathe massive productions meddling with earth, now demanding quick responding efforts, but seeing  you're obsession blinds ...and toward responding, you're never inclined.
 We see we face this never ending... ever disintegrating-usurping of our rights and very lives!
   We know too, we won't  endure too well, just choosing to ride this through. Thus it dawning ( or was it being compelled)  to finally see  how maybe, after all, It's our moment, 'our' history...and how, of course, it's written by what we do !
 "Yes" and embracing our part, our share in all  this  emerging scenario And together making our way, empowered by fuller meaning of our devotions and our part in destiny."
 Bothering to be public to gather and to grow!
   We have no intention whatsoever of forgetting who we are! Thus we'll celebrate as well Mar 20,  as surely as the people of South Africa  danced before those powers refusing them recognition, never forgetting their good will nor natural exuberance and fun .
      **Everyone  much encouraged to volunteer and bring cloths in fairly good shape for the Haitian peoples, so call [707-442-8733]**
 "Of course it's family friendly and an exceptional time to have our kids involved!"
 See you Saturday!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Eureka Police engage in death-squad behavior, again!

2010-03-18 "DAVID SEQUOIA shot in the head by Eureka cop"
Shot him in the head?
The guy who tackled David because David was on his property, Kris Coon, said that David was on the ground when the cop shot him.
Which cop we don't know.
Wrestle someone because they walk onto your property?
David's body needs to be preserved. After every other killing by local cops, the families were contacted and rushed into cremating their loved ones body (by the crooked coroner). Then there is no body for an independent forensics investigation or for the civil rights cases that are brought by the families. David Sequioa's body must not be destroyed!!
What is he was facing down? What if he was shot in the back of the head?
"Stop reaching for the gun"? (see Times-Standard article below) As if someone could reach for a gun more than once in front of a cop.
And then the Times-Standard criminalizes David by commenting on some other shooting that happened in Eureka and pondering whether David was involved!
Breaking News - Officer Involved in Fatal Shooting in Eureka
Submitted by Roy Frostenson on Thu, 03/18/2010
A man is dead after being shot by a Eureka Police Officer this morning. News Channel 3's Ranjini Srinivasan reports that homeowner Kris Coon says around 11am today he confronted a young white male in his carport at his house in the 1900 block of Summer Street. Coon says the man had a backpack and a gun and police responded to the scene where according to Coon the officer repeatedly instructed the man to drop the gun and backpack and lie down on the ground but the man refused and reached for his gun and at that point Coon says the officer shot him. At a news conference later this afternoon Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielson confirmed an officer involved shooting but would not release any other details of the incident or the dead man's identity. Nielson did say that the State Department of Justice would investigate today's shooting.
(707) 633-4493
March 23, 2010
Open Letter To Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen,
Eureka City Council members,
Eureka Mayor,
Eureka City Attorney, Sheryl Schaffner:
Re: EPD Sergeant Rodrigo Reyna-Sanchez threatens to kill!
It is unfortunate that we must write to you again about yet another series of violent incidences, one of many, wherein Eureka Police Officer Rodrigo Reyna-Sanchez is targeting, physically abusing, and threatening the life of a vulnerable Eureka resident. The City's lack of response to any of our prior letters and its failure, to date, to expel dangerous officers such as Sanchez from the police force exhibits your unwillingness to protect the people of Eureka. However, with this explicit notice of severe threats and abuse by Sanchez against a specific person, you have a moral and legal obligation to take whatever actions to prevent further abuse or even murder by Rodrigo Reyna-Sanchez.
We learned about a year ago that Sanchez had blatantly threatened to kill Shawn “Rutherford” Hill . “I'll shoot you in the back of the head” were the words Sanchez used. Sanchez has since made such explicit threats on at least two more occasions. Sanchez has told Shawn that “you are a piece of shit because you do heroin”, that “no one will know or care if I kill you, “if you have a seizure tonight- and I know where you sleep- I'll shoot you.”
Many times during the day, Sanchez will see Shawn and tell him to “move on”, whether he be standing on a corner or sitting on a public bench. Sanchez will also often demand identification from Shawn and put him in handcuffs, although on those frequent occasions, Sanchez is neither in the process of ticketing Shawn nor is he investigating a crime. Shawn, who is a lifetime resident of this area, is houseless; so he is very vulnerable, having no walls to cover with, to this harassment and danger from Sanchez.
On or about March 11, 2010 , Officer Sanchez threw Shawn off the back ledge behind the library. He also threatened Shawn, referencing the Derringer packed in his [Sanchez'] ankle. With other officers behind him (names unknown to us), Sanchez pointed his gun at Shawn and told him “You even move, speak, fart, or anything, I'll shoot you in the back of the head, stupid.” That makes twice that Sanchez has pointed a gun at Shawn. In every instance wherein Sanchez approaches Shawn, Shawn is doing nothing violent, saying nothing violent, and doing nothing to harm another.
Some months ago, Shawn watched Sanchez and another officer, at about 5 or 6 am , cut up his survival gear - sleeping bag, clothes, and blankets- behind the library.
Sanchez has ordered Shawn to get in his patrol car and driven him both ways over the Samoa bridge, speaking so to intimidate Shawn, then dropping him off back in Eureka .
Sanchez recently kicked Shawn in the head while he was sleeping (on public property).
Neither Shawn's act of sleeping in hidden public areas, which he is forced to do due to his status as houseless, nor his substance addiction issues pose a threat to Sanchez. Shawn is not hurting another person, and has never threatened Sanchez verbally or otherwise. Indeed, Sanchez has Shawn extremely scared. So much so, Shawn now checks in with Redwood Curtain CopWatch every day so that we know that he is alive. Over the past two weeks, there have been two instances at night- one in which Sanchez physically abused Shawn, and the other, wherein Sanchez, again, verbally threatened Shawn with further violence or death.
We have not seen Shawn since Saturday. Hopefully, he has found a safe haven, out of danger from your viscous and murderous police. It is horrible and unacceptable for our community to have to worry, due to police violence and threats to kill, when we have not seen some one, and it is despicable that your officers, Sanchez being one of the worst, target the most vulnerable people.
As we have reminded you before, several of the young men who were killed by Eureka Police Department had prior awareness and had expressed to others that the police were going to kill them. You are now on notice about Shawn.
We do not want Shawn “Rutherford” Hill harmed AT ALL by Sanchez or any other officer. If Shawn is not in contact with us for a long period of time or is found dead or seriously injured, we will have every reason to suspect Sgt. Sanchez (or someone acting on behalf of him, EPD, or other local "law enforcement."). That being said, we much prefer that you (and each entity to which this letter is going) protect Shawn and prevent the anticipated violence against him.
Sanchez' abuse and threats against Shawn are ILLEGAL. As is any retaliation for this or other complaints.
Once again, and in light of the recent shooting (in the head!), we implore you to EXPEL RODRIGO REYNA-SANCHEZ from the Eureka Police Department.
Updated: Armed suspect shot by Eureka police dies
The Times-Standard Posted: 03/18/2010 11:48:14 AM PDT
A Eureka Police officer shot a reportedly armed man in an alley off Summer Street just before 11 a.m. after a resident wrestled the man to the ground.
Humboldt County Coroner Dave Parris said at about 1:45 p.m. that David Sequoia, 25, of Eureka, is deceased. Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen confirmed that the shooting involved an officer with his department, though few other details have been released.
Resident Kris Coon said he heard rustling in the carport of his home, and found a white man in his early 20s carrying a backpack. Coon said the man - later identified as Sequoia - pushed him, and Coon wrestled him to the ground, then realized the man had a handgun in his belt. Coon's wife called 911, and police arrived quickly, Coon said.
Sequoia refused to comply with an officer's order to stop reaching for the gun, Coon said, and an officer shot the man in the head.
"They gave him every chance in the world to comply," Coon said.
The man was taken to St. Joseph Hospital for treatment, and the coroner was dispatched to the hospital shortly afterward.
Nielsen said that the state Department of Justice is on its way to aid in the investigation. Nielsen said he couldn't confirm whether a report of two shots fired on California Street about a block away was related to the incident in the alley off Pine Street. Initial scanner traffic indicated that two others may have been shot in the area and left the scene in a black sport utility vehicle.
Video of witness, immediate defense from EPD Chief
Submitted by Verbena (not verified) on Fri, 03/19/2010 - 10:58am.
Here is a video from Channel 3: []
It is called "ARMED MAN SHOT DEAD IN EUREKA FOR JEOPARDIZING RESIDENTS' LIVES." Already, the media justifies the killing.
It's sickening to see EPD officer Terry Liles (in white shirt and tie), who killed two teenage boys in cold blood within a 2 1/2 month period, acting as a detective!
"I saw the barrel of the gun go up to his head, and I heard the the gun go off, and I saw the blood." Kris Coons
"We were responding to a call of somebody being chased with a gun in the area..." Chief Neilsen contradicting what Coons said. Channel 3 reporter says that Coons suspected David, who was carrying a backpack (see backpack in video), of stealing, and "wanted to search him." Then the two men got wrestling... Not sure how that amounts to someone being chased with a gun. Chief Nielsen, after EIGHT Eureka cops and then Humboldt Sheriff's Jail Officers beat 26 year old Martin Cotton (who was houseless) to death, Chief Neilsen also made confident statements about what "his" officers did and did not do, and that he had seen video, etc. However, the next day admitted that he had not even read one report nor seen a video...
Submitted by copwatch on Fri, 03/19/2010 - 5:15pm.
I, Verbena, was personally told by an elder person (long time Eurekan) that the coroner's special vehicle was on the scene on Summer Street- contrary to the Times-Standard's parroting of the crooked cops and coroner lies. This is what the T-S reported: "Sequoia was taken to St. Joseph Hospital for treatment, and the coroner was dispatched to the hospital shortly afterward." LIES
Then I read this from a blog:
[begin excerpt]
I was told several interesting things by a close friend who was working at St. Joe’s when Sequoia was brought in:
1. Radio communication with the hospital said the guy was in code (meaning, still alive), but someone slipped up and referred to him as “the body.” My friend was there when he arrived at the hospital. Pronouncing him dead at the hospital was a formality, in my friend’s opinion.
2. There were 2 bullet wounds: 1 in the head, 1 in the chest.
3. Someone who was on the scene told my friend that when transport arrived to pick the guy up, he was face down in a pool of blood, with his hands cuffed behind him.
4. Sequoia had $2,000 in cash on him.
Not making any speculation as to what these things mean, but they are pieces of the puzzle not necessarily out in the papers.
 [end excerpt]

Saturday, March 6, 2010

2010-03-06 "Students march on City Hall"

by Laura Wenus from "La Voz" of "De Anza" college []:
 Two more council members spoke briefly before the microphone was offered to impromptu speakers, who were invited to share their reasons why education was important to them and their experiences with the budget cuts.
 Speakers included Meredith Watson, an ex-chef with a serious back injury. She walked the roughly three miles round trip to City Hall and back on her cane to protest budget cuts. To her, the budget cuts would harm her ability to get an education that could help her get a job which doesn't require her to stand for long periods of time. John Milton, a former English professor at De Anza, frequently interjected encouragement and statistics as people spoke into the microphone at City Hall.
 "Complacency kills," warned David Daman, the CEO of a group called Everything Wins, whose purpose is to provide food to the hungry. He continued, "Your education is paramount to your future."

Thursday, March 4, 2010

UC Davis Student Power!

2010-05 "Rebels With a Cause: Fee hikes and budget cuts lead to a new era of student activism"
by Clifton B. Parker from "UC Davis magazine" []:
(Photo: Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

(Photo: Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

 The day of protests started March 4, like so many others before at UC Davis, with a morning rally outside the Memorial Union. But more than a dozen fire alarms pulled randomly across campus signaled something new was afoot. By the afternoon, a crowd of about 300 protesters briefly blocked Unitrans buses, then marched toward Interstate 80 with the expressed intent of stopping freeway traffic. Instead, a two-hour standoff with law enforcement officers ensued, ending with officers using batons, and Tasers and firing pepper balls to repel the oncoming crowd. One student was arrested.
Student protests are back — and on a scale reminiscent of the 1960s and 1970s, when America’s young took on issues like the Vietnam War, civil rights and apartheid. Now, they are fighting a different beast — one that threatens higher education itself.
State funding shortfalls to the UC triggered a 32 percent fee hike over two years, along with fewer and more crowded classes, sparking students to take to the streets in opposition.
On campus, students have expressed their outrage since the first day of classes.
Around the UC, the message from students and many others is clear — it is time to advocate for the UC as never before.
The March 4 demonstrations, part of a “day of action” by students nationwide, followed a series of other protests on campus. During the 2009–10 academic year, UC Davis students staged a series of sit-ins in Mrak Hall, Dutton Hall, Shields Library and other buildings. Most protests were peaceful, though last Nov. 19 when a large group of students refused to leave Mrak Hall after the close of the business day, police arrested 52 people, including one faculty member. Such arrests were not unique to UC Davis — statewide, scores of student protesters were arrested last fall.
And while the March demonstration at UC Davis turned unruly, some protests at other UC campuses escalated even further. That same day, more than 150 protestors in Oakland were arrested after blocking Interstate 880, and at UC Santa Cruz, the campus closed down after protestors smashed a car windshield.
In all, more than 100 campuses in at least 33 states — including Texas, Illinois and Alabama — took part in the day’s events, according to Angus Johnston, a New York University historian who studies student activism. But nowhere was feistier than California.
“The California protests seem to be serving as a model for activists throughout the nation,” Johnston said.
“California’s campuses were at the forefront of the student movements of the 1960s, and many have remained active since.”

‘A right to be upset’ -
UC Davis, known as a “cordial” campus, has witnessed its share of student protest in the past. They just have a special Davis flavor to them.
“In the 1960s, UC Davis had a nonthreatening environment and maintained its small campus atmosphere,” said Ed Costantini, professor emeritus of political science, who witnessed the Free Speech and anti-war movements from three vantage points — Berkeley, Davis and Sacramento.
If Davis back then was not quite at the epicenter of the protest universe, it might be today — as are all UC campuses, now subject to the same state cutbacks.
UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi has acknowledged that students “have every right to be upset and angry” about rising fees. She has urged them to take their concerns to the state Capitol — where the governor and Legislature have subjected the UC system to two successive years of deep budget cuts.
“What we do with our energy and emotion is critical to the university’s future,” Katehi said. “For all the measures in place to mitigate the fees’ impact — including expanded financial aid and a $1 billion scholarship campaign — we must, together, aggressively remind the state of its responsibilities. We must work together and make our voices heard in Sacramento.”
Students this past year tried a variety of ways to get their message across.
With looming fee hikes, program cuts and employee furloughs, hundreds of UC Davis students and their supporters organized a walk-out on the first day of classes on Sept. 24. Magali Rabasa, a cultural studies doctoral student and teaching assistant in the Spanish department, said it was an opportunity for the “outraged” to voice their support for the continued public funding of higher education.
“Education is a public good that cannot be treated as a private enterprise,” Rabasa said.
She said it is “imperative that the UC regents and the state of California protect the quality and accessibility of public education for everyone.”
Rabasa acknowledges that students must not simply preach to the choir — UC students and employees — but need to take their case for an accessible, publicly funded education to the general population and state lawmakers where budgets are set and public opinion matters.
Many faculty members side with the students, but not all agree with their tactics.
Winder McConnell, a professor of German, joined with another professor, biologist Jonathan Eisen, in an opinion column that appeared in The Sacramento Bee two days before the planned Sept. 24 walk-out. “None of us wants these miserable budget conditions and furloughs.” But, is cutting class the answer? No, they said.
“Simply put, we see it as a moral, pragmatic and political misstep for faculty to abandon their classrooms and their students,” McConnell and Eisen wrote.
On the other hand, Joshua Clover, an associate professor of English, participated in the walkout protests. Arrested at two protests this past year, he views the struggle in the UC as “a vital focus within a larger struggle against privatization.”
Clover said, “Within the university, this is a confrontation between those who live and study and work here on one side, and those who run the joint on the other. The university has a content, which is knowledge and work. That is us, that’s the public principle, the commons.”
On the opposite side, “the university has a form,” Clover said, a “corporate-model junta of bureaucrats” and a bunch of “really rich guys” who reflect the “principle of privatization” that’s behind the escalating fees, layoffs and restructuring of the UC.
“They would like to ‘re-form’ the university so it is public in name only, if that. We are the ones who say, no, that would betray the content of the university.”
Physics professor Markus Luty joined with students and gave a speech on the day of the Sept. 24 walkout rally. “The big issue is access to higher education,” Luty said later. “If we turn to a private financing model for UC, that may not be so bad for faculty and employees, but it will be negative for students because the costs will rise.”
Many of his students are the first ones in their families to go to college. “That’s a fantastic thing,” said Luty, in advocating that the UC continue to provide this kind of social mobility opportunity.
Back in the 1980s, when Luty was a student at the University of Utah, he participated in student protests on the nuclear freeze and civil rights. “But being a protestor growing up in Utah was a bit lonely,” he quipped.
Today, students are more “professionalized,” Luty said. “They are much better prepared for every facet of the educational experience, from high school on through college.”
And they have a new array of tools for organizing themselves. Students are using social media like Facebook and YouTube to spread the word, whether about an upcoming sit-in or to post pictures or video of a recent event.
Graduate student Rabasa said these Web 2.0 tools help activists organize their fellow students, but that face-to-face communications is ultimately where change takes place.
“The most significant form of communication is definitely everything that happens in personal interactions where people are encountering each other and really engaging in dialogue about the struggles we are facing,” she said.
Campus administrators this past year held several face-to-face meetings with student demonstrators.
Soon after the November Mrak Hall sit-in that ended in arrests, Katehi held a town hall meeting to talk with students about their financial hardships and what the campus is doing to help. The chancellor explained the difficulty of dealing with UC Davis’ two-year budget gap of almost $150 million. By not fully funding the UC system, the state left UC Davis with a $113 million shortfall for 2009–10, on the heels of a $33 million shortfall the year before.
“A chancellor is a chancellor for many people,” Katehi said at the meeting, “and on this campus I am the chancellor for 32,000 students, for 20,000 staff, and for 3,000 faculty and lecturers, and every single one of them is hurting. And it is very difficult to find a solution that will protect anyone in today’s environment.”
In February, students organized a weekend “study-in” at Shields Library to rally in support of the library, which like other units across campus has weathered cutbacks. In the tradition of the old-style ’60s “teach-in,” the students invited speakers and held workshops on topics like civil disobedience, yoga, composting and knitting. Campus officials allowed them to hang handmade banners and posters inside and in front of the building.
In doing so, both the library and campus officials collaborated with students on what turned out to be a peaceful, teachable moment on the importance of library funding in a democratic society.
German professor McConnell said he is grateful that this year’s protests have not “degenerated” into the violence that characterized the 1960s and early 1970s. Then, America witnessed a flowering of the Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley as anti-war protests spread to campuses around the country. The most tragic episode came in 1970 at Kent State University in Ohio, when National Guard troops shot and killed four student protestors.
During that era, McConnell was a graduate student at the University of Kansas. He said student activism then “took on a dimension that included the questioning of the very basis of American society.” In the end, he said, “ideologues” and “zealots” dominated the student protest movement, and there was not much “rational dialogue” left.
“That the students would protest the rise in student fees at a time of diminishing resources is understandable,” McConnell said. “With the exception of the intent to block traffic, the student protests that I witnessed and those that I have heard about appear to have been both responsible and civil.”
The challenge ahead — for students and UC supporters — is to speak out loudly in a way that gets results, not a backlash.
“Being involved in student activism can be an important part of their education and can lead to important lifelong involvement,” Fred Wood, vice chancellor of Student Affairs, said. He explained that the university expects students to express themselves on the “issues of the day” and to participate in our democratic society. This is part of what a well-rounded college education is all about, he added.
“We don’t consider student activism ‘bad,’” said Wood. “In fact, we generally see it as good.”
[sidebar] Rebels with a Cause: Another Kind of Protest [] -
(Photo: Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

In early April, when UC Davis was reviewing which athletic teams to discontinue, student-athletes staged the year’s most creative protest.
Outside Mrak Hall, members of the women’s rowing team set up several rowing ergonomic machines to exercise on all day. The goal — to educate people about the sport of rowing.
“We understand that not many people understand our sport or the amount of work we put in,” said team member Darcy Ward. “I would say it was a success.
We got people to stop, watch and ask questions, which is really all you can hope for from demonstrations.”
A protest like this, Ward said, helps student-athletes share their “faces and stories” with the rest of campus. Like other student protestors, the rowing team used tools like Facebook, especially, as well as Twitter, text messaging and blogs to organize and communicate about their activities.
But in the end, rowing was among the four sports cut for budget reasons.

NORTHBAY UPRISING special report, with UC Davis Student Power organizers allied with "By Any Means Necessary (BAMN)", a network of activists affiliated with the 4th International, who engage in non-violent civil-disobedience and who are organizing the freeway closure at UC Davis!
Thursday, 12 to 3pm,!

2010-03-04 "UC Davis Students Threaten to Shut Down Freeway" 
Students march towards the freeway in Davis.

Students protesting California education cuts on Thursday afternoon marched toward Interstate 80 in Davis and threatened to shut down the freeway.
The confrontation came on a day when students around the state gathered to protest steep fee hikes, canceled classes and faculty furloughs. The protest, which is part of the Day of Action, comes at a time when the state is facing a $20 billion deficit.
Police fired rubber bullets into the ground in an effort to deter students, who stood toe-to-toe with officers.
The California Highway Patrol slowed down traffic on westbound I-80 as a safety precaution, but the road remained open.
Deputies from sheriff's departments from Sacramento and Solano counties responded to help the CHP and local police.
Protesters covered their mouths in anticipation that tear gas may be used.
Earlier in the day, a rally at the state Capitol in Sacramento attracted at least 1,000 students, teachers and other staff from University of California, California State University and community college campuses. Some protests also occurred at elementary and high school campuses.
Some violence was reported at University of California, Santa Cruz.
David Kliger, campus provost at UC Santa Cruz, sent a message to the campus community warning of reports of protesters carrying clubs and knives. He said it also appears that someone smashed a car windshield with a metal pipe.

"Students face police, push through, no arrests yet" from "California Aggie" of UC Davis []: