Friday, November 19, 2010

Students arrested at UC Berkeley while defending their future

2011-03-03 "17 arrested in Wheeler at UC Berkeley" []:
After the 5 pm rally in front of Wheeler entered the building, occupants decided to try hold it beyond its 10 pm closing time.  In the end, as cops swarmed over the building, 17 students decided to remain inside.  All were arrested some time after 11:30.  About 150 supporters gathered in front of the north and south exits while cops lined the perimeter.
At around 11:50 a police van tried to make its way to the north side of the building, but a number of supporters sat down in its path.  Others gathered behind the van.  During the scuffle we learned that all 17 had already been escorted off the premises, presumably via the south exit.  They are currently being booked at Berkeley Jail at Addison and MLK.  All of those not on probation should be out around 2:30 am.
We’ll post pictures from the evening’s festivities tomorrow.  It sounds like there will be a support rally at noon on Monday, March 7; we’ll confirm this as soon as possible.  There will also be a rally at 2 pm on Friday, March 4 at the Laney student facing charges’ hearing.  Supporters will be demanding that all charges be dropped unconditionally.  You can find the backstory and further details here [].
Cops push a cement barricade away from the north exit of Wheeler.

2010-11-19 "Berkeley Students Want Police Off Campus"
from "CopBlock" []:
The students of Berkeley in California are outraged by a proposed 8% hike in tuition cost and decided to protest it. This is where the police come in. Not only were they refusing to allow people into the public meeting but they were using excessive force (pointing guns at unarmed people) as well. See video below.
This is the world we live in, people. A heavily funded state college is forced to up it’s tuition because of the irresponsibility of those with political power. This upsets current students who are already being taxed at their jobs, taxed at the school and paying more than they would for education in the first place. When the students plan a protest and crash a meeting of school officials who gets called? Yep, the police.
What happens then is standard police practice today. Up the amount of force, people with guns, shields, Tasers, pepper spray, batons and more to control the (rightfully) upset public. Don’t ask questions about whether you (the police) have the right to intervene in peaceful protest. Don’t ask what government is doing in the schooling business in the first place. Just show up and put your boot/baton/firearm in anyone’s face who questions your authority.
That’s what we have today, but by the looks of the video and from my many travels across the country, it’s coming to an end. People are sick of punishment for victimless crimes, they’re sick of the police (and their heavy handed actions) and by far people are sick of being forced to pay for it all. Now all we have to do is let them know by refusing to pay for this treatment. Again, ask yourself this question… do you think the police are keeping you safe? If your answer is no, then you need to stop paying for them.

Letter to Peter King, DIrector of Media Relations, UCOP

November 17, 2010 · by Rebel 2 ·[]:

Peter King
Director of Media Relations
UC Office of the President
1111 Franklin St., 12th Floor
Oakland, CA 94607-5200
November 17, 2010
Dear Mr. King:
You are cited by the NPR station KALW as stating that campus police officer Kemper, who drew a gun today and pointed it at students, “was beaten with his own baton and drew his weapon in self-defense” ( KALW points out that KTVU video ( conflicts with this statement: “In the video, Kemper seems to lose his baton while trying to push through a crowd of sign-wielding demonstrators and draws his pistol shortly thereafter.” Indeed, the statement you are cited as having made—not that Kemper was afraid that he would be beaten, but that he had been beaten, and “with his own baton”—is too far from the facts shown in the video to be simply an alternative interpretation. Kemper is not touched with his own baton, much less “beaten.” We request that you explain what your statement was based on. Since you were not a witness to the event, who informed you that Officer Kemper had been beaten? Where did that person, in turn, get this idea? If Officer Kemper is the original source of the details in your statement, then he has given a false representation and this itself is worthy of investigation. If Officer Kemper is not the source of the details in your statement, then surely it is a matter of public concern to the university community to know how your statement came about. You may reply to all of us at this email address.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Sincerely, Rei Terada, The Rebels (and more to come…)

2010-11-17 "Protests against new fee hikes being met with violence"
from "Occupy California" []:

SAN FRANCISCO, California – As of 8:45am (Wednesday), 200 students are blocking entrances to the William J. Rutter building at the UCSF Mission Bay campus, where the Regents are scheduled to meet.  On the agenda today and tomorrow are another 8% fee increase and a move to change “fees” back to “tuition,” which was formally prohibited under the California Master Plan.
Cops have reportedly donned riot gear and have begun to arbitrarily charge and assault the student pickets.  Already, 2 UC Berkeley students have been arrested for unknown charges.
This also follows last night’s news of an agreement between the UC and UAW Local 2865, the union representing Teaching Assistants, Graduate Student Employees, and Academic Student Employees.  Following 5 months of bad faith and illegal bargaining practices from the UC, unfair labor practices, stalling, walking away from the table, lying, and refusal to concede anything, the UAW bargaining team has accepted UC’s original proposal on wages, employment notification, and summer childcare in exchange for a minor concession on childcare reimbursement.  If the contract is ratified by the membership, TAs will receive subinflation wage increases of 2% a year locked in for the next 3 years.

8:55am: There was a confrontation between students and police in the parking garage.  Many of the Regents have been able to enter, smiling as they watch cops hit students.
9:15am: Reports that students and workers have pushed through the police barricades and are storming the building.  Several students are badly hurt from police attacks and some have been maced.  More arrests, 5 total: 3 Berkeley, 1 Santa Cruz, 1 Davis.
9:20am: Confirmed: students are inside the building!
9:30am: Police are indiscriminately pepper spraying students.  Police have put masks on.
9:45am: Daily Cal reports that Berkeley student government Vice President Ricardo Gomez was among those pepper sprayed by police.
10:00am: Cop has reportedly just drawn his gun or taser on students!  Students chanting “Take his gun!”  More arrests have been reported, numbers and reasons unknown.  Police putting up more barricades.  Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau and Riverside Chancellor White are currently speaking to the Regents in favor of fee hikes.
10:15am: Student numbers now over 300.  Police becoming increasingly aggressive violent.  Reports of a large number of arrests and even more injured, but numbers still unknown.  The Regents are currently discussing increasing out of state enrollment.
10:30am: Confirmation that 8 students have been arrested, including Berkeley student government VP Ricardo Gomez (previously reported as peppersprayed). Twitter post: “Officer KEMPER pulled a gun on student protesters he holstered in for a minute and pulled it again aiming at students.”
11:00am: Arrested protesters being cited and released at 15th and Fulton in the city.
12:00pm: UC spokesperson has said 16 were arrested.

2010-11-28 "UC Students Confront Attacks on Education! Enough Is Enough!" from "Revolution" newspaper #218 []:
On Wednesday, November 17, University of California (UC) students and university workers came from around the state to a meeting of the UC Board of Regents in San Francisco to protest brutal attacks on public education in California. They were met with tear gas and—outrageously—a policeman drew his gun to threaten them. The next day, university regents voted to raise student tuition 8 percent—the fourth tuition increase for students in the University of California system in three years. Just last year, tuition went up 32 percent. Adding insult to injury, the regents also slashed the university budget.
The fact that a cop drew his gun on protesters made national news. Associated Press accounts, reprinted in papers across the country, simply channeled statements by campus police that the cop "had drawn his weapon to protect himself. He was very concerned about his safety." This was contradicted by many eyewitnesses. The official student newspaper at UC Berkeley, the Daily Californian, ran an article with an account from a protester that "the officer hit a student with his baton with such force that the baton bounced out of his hand. Facing the crowd, the officer panicked, pulled his gun and aimed it at students, according to Lara-Briseno."
In any event, the use of pepper spray, the arrest of 13 protesters, one for a felony, and threatening students with a gun, were not in any fundamental sense because a cop—who had been beating students with his baton—felt threatened.
The police violence was a completely unjust escalation of ongoing attempts to brutally intimidate, stop, and terrorize the students and their determined struggle to defend the right to education. In recent days, these attacks have ranged from the arrest of five students at UC Irvine for writing protest messages in chalk, to the stationing of UC police and county sheriffs outside student protest meetings and in the hallways of classroom buildings on campus. One young activist was stopped and harassed by police on the UC Berkeley campus for legally posting flyers with a picture of the cop with the drawn gun and the headline, "Pay your fee increase or I'll shoot you." Then he watched as the police tore down all the flyers. "This is intimidation and harassment," the student said. "They're trying to silence us. Yesterday that cop with the gun was scary. It reminded me of what happened in Oakland with Oscar Grant."
A Wave of Attacks on Education
A UC Berkeley student who was pepper sprayed and jabbed with a police baton gave voice to the motivation of many who were there when she told Revolution, "Education is a right. It's a basic tenet of a healthy society. The university is being privatized. We are losing something very precious right now. People need to be able to understand the world they live in, they need to be able to understand the differences around them so they don't become misdirected or prejudiced."
But that is not the logic of the capitalist system—where education is not a right.
Tuition has been going up for years at UC schools, but since the financial crisis in 2008, students have been subjected to a relentless series of fee hikes, cuts in staff, resources and services, and cuts in classes with progressive departments in the liberal arts have been first on the chopping block. The University of California system has long been considered the "crown jewel" of public education in the United States—an institution open to anyone who meets the academic requirements. Now, education quality and accessibility are being radically restructured. Enrollment of Black and Latino students is dropping at many UC campuses and students of all backgrounds are "paying more for less," burdened by massive debt as they go out into a world of unemployment. And similar drastic slashing of spending on public higher education is going on across the country, from Louisiana to New Jersey.
People are being told they have to accept all this because the State of California has a budget deficit of $25 billion. In addition to slashing public education, the budget deficit has led to a wide range of drastic attacks ranging from the temporary layoff of 200,000 workers in November, to cuts in Medicaid payments that endanger the most baseline medical care for the poor.
The current economic crisis has sharpened and intensified what has been true for over 100 years—all over the world, capitalism-imperialism is grinding up lives and thrusting people into ever more vulnerable positions. In the imperialist countries in Europe and in the U.S., this has taken the form of massive slashing and/or "privatization" of essential social services, education, and the public sector generally.
But for the last year, students in California's public university system have refused to accept that this is just the way it has to be. There have been major protests and building occupations. And the protests against attacks on education have intersected with other important student activism in California. Early this year, hundreds of students at UC San Diego were part of protests against racist incidents on campus. And there was a hunger strike during finals last year at UC Berkeley protesting the budget cuts and Arizona's fascist law against immigrants, SB1070. At each point students have been met by repression and brutality from the police.
When a cop drew his gun to threaten student protesters at the recent UC Regents meeting, he was in essence the armed enforcer of a capitalist system which cannot and will not tolerate any challenge to the major changes that are being imposed on education.
Student activists at Berkeley have responded to the tuition raise and the police brutality and intimidation they faced at the regents meeting with more resistance. As this goes to press students at UC Berkeley just did a "snake march" through campus, decorating the ground and buildings with chalk messages against police brutality and budget cuts as they went. Their flyer said "$822 tuition increase? Bigger exec salaries? UCPD officer pointing guns at students then ripping down flyers of pictures of the incident? ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!"

Video still from []:

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