Archive for October 16th, 2009

UC Police Brutality

16 October 2009

Last night I was brutalized by the UC police. Without warning a UC police officer sprayed me with OC spray (similar to pepper spray) and then arrested me. I was not told to stop, was never told I was being put under arrest, and never read my rights. I stand in solidarity with the occupation of Humanities 2 and with Olivia Egan-Rudolph who was also the victim of police brutality last night. Fuck the police, fuck the systemic violence of capitalism, the movement will not stop here. The administration has been put on notice, we want everything and we will fucking get it.

Brian Glasscock

Response to Kliger

16 October 2009

Dear Students, Staff, and Faculty,
I would like to take the opportunity to clear up some the misconceptions surrounding last night’s demonstration at Cowell College and Humanities 2, misconceptions made worse by EVC David Kliger’s willfully alarmist letter to the campus community.
Last night a group of students held a potluck dinner and discussion session on the steps of the Cowell College courtyard. We were there to discuss what can be done to fight back against the cuts to our public education system and to think of ways to force the administration of UCSC and the larger UC system to recognize that we, as students, staff, and faculty, will not passively sit by as the administration attempts to deal with its budget crisis according to the same failed blueprint that it has used for the last decade. We have concluded that we should not accept more fee hikes, tuition increases, decreased course offerings, benefit cuts, and the like. We should not sit idly by as the UC administration continues to raise tuition and fees so it can keep on borrowing money for its crackpot development and construction projects. We should not accept tuition increases (tuition is now, for the first time in history, over $10,000 per year), that limit access to a university education, and which disproportionately affect poor and minority students whose parents don’t have the luxury of spending tens of thousands of dollars on our educations. Recently, the entire state of California has learned of the salaries that UC administrators give themselves. I believe that it is outrageous that EVC Kliger can claim to be so concerned about students’ and their families’ budgets given what he and his fellow administrators pay themselves for dismantling our system, and expelling teachers, students and staff from our community. If he really cared, he would help us try to restore UCSC’s commitment to diversity, justice, and equality by fostering a university environment. But we don’t actually think he does. The further up you go in this system, the more acceptable cutbacks and tuition and fee hikes seem to become.
As for Kliger’s astonishment that a peaceful protest would, as one of its tactics, limit access to a small part of campus for a short period of time -when no one was using it- I hardly know what to say. Even the most unsympathetic observer could not fail to place last night’s events in the context of a tradition of peaceful protest and demonstration. Yes, the occupiers attempted to limit access to a nominally public space (again, for a few hours- at night!) for the precise reason of demonstrating that the university is itself in the process of systematically limiting access to thousands of current and future Californians. Most American school children with even a cursory knowledge of the history of nonviolent protests from Gandhi to Dr. King, would not fail to recognize the true nature of last night’s events.
I will end by making two further points. First of all, as to EVC Kliger’s assertion that students were provoking police officers, this is simply untrue. He was not there, and has relied upon the accounts of the police officers who were. Perhaps he would be interested in hearing what others saw, but I doubt it. There are dozens of eyewitnesses who saw, as well as video footage showing, what actually happened. They testify to the fact that there was absolutely no call for baton-wielding police officers to use pepper spray on peacefully assembled, chanting students. I strongly believe that it is nothing short of reprehensible for EVC Kliger to endorse this sort of behavior from police without even asking anyone else what might have happened. Secondly, it simply beggars the imagination that last night’s party and brief occupation could have created ‘tens of thousands’ of dollars in damages. If EVC Kliger wants to talk of the ‘incongruous’ and ‘absurd,’ I suggest he start here. For him to suggest that it will cost that amount to clean a few carpets and wipe off some spray paint is simply ridiculous, and, quite frankly, offensive. It demonstrates a remoteness from the real costs of services and the wages paid to service workers that is simply astounding. It couldn’t conceivably cost more than a few hundred dollars to clean up the ‘damage’ done by the two occupations. For a small fraction of the ‘tens of thousands’ this will supposedly cost, I would be willing to do the job. Just ask me. In conclusion, let me suggest that it is this kind of casual approach to accounting that contributed to the problems we now all face.
Patrick Madden

Fuck Dave Kliger

16 October 2009

from an autonomous collective:

Statements like, “these efforts [to clean up after the occupations] will run into tens of thousands of dollars” completely undermines any seemingly reasonable complaints that the university had to start with. The reality of the situation is that other than minor damages to benches or scratches here and there on furniture, nothing was destroyed. Individuals unrelated with the occupation spray painted all the messages you have seen. Although we don’t deny our sympathy with those statements, it is a complete and utter shameful tactic to attack these things as “vandalism” and ignore the elephant in the room. We can’t take this bullshit, these budget cuts, these cynical administrators any longer.

Tens of thousands of dollars in damage? Let’s talk real numbers: what about the $337 million that the UCOP caused to this university? What about the damage in excess of $813 million from the state? You’ve got to be fucking kidding us.

There was an occupation last night. It ended. Mistakes were made, and lessons were learned. To err is to be human. However, as full of holes as any occupation is, including October 15th, we are not going to see a change in this system if we do not take our spaces back, if we don’t show the system that the machine will no longer be tolerated.

To clarify: the police came at some point during the dance party. The police shouting, “Hey folks, this is vandalism” is not a call for dispersal, it isn’t a warning that people will be maced. When Kliger writes that three people carrying a large table “cursed at an officer,” he isn’t lying. They were cursing at the fuckers who were macing them. No shit.

“The two ‘occupations’ of campus buildings since the beginning of fall quarter appear to be related to dissatisfaction with UC funding and related budget issues.” We pay this guy in excess of $250,000 a year for this? People occupying buildings, people protesting and demanding the layoff of Mark Yudof are not dissatisfied. No, we’re livid. No, we’re fucking pissed. And this means, “fuck you, Kliger.” It means we reject anyone handing out budget cuts. You aren’t being cut, we are. You are the representatives and defenders of an order that is gutting the university. Getting an education is becoming increasingly difficult, and it’s autocrats like Kliger and Yudof who are planning and enforcing it. The budget cuts are a ploy to increase bond ratings and promoting misleading construction projects.

The occupiers and their comrades are not asking you to agree with everything that they did. They aren’t asking you to not criticize these actions. They’re asking you to stop listening to the lies the UC administration is feeding you. Dividing us in this fight is what has let them run this university into the ground. Just remember, we are the university, and it’s within our power to establish.

[original article by Kliger can be found here]

friday update

16 October 2009

we’ll be back

Police fail to warn students before spraying mace on them

16 October 2009


University of California, Santa Cruz
15 October 2009

Students participating in an occupation of one of the campus buildings at UC Santa Cruz were maced and arrested by police. All the police said to the students was, “Hey folks, let’s go, this is vandalism,” after which they sprayed mace on them. At no point did the police warn the students that they were about to be sprayed, nor did they ever instruct the students to desist. The police failed to read students their Miranda rights at the time of cuffing but were dragged away to the police vehicle.

Post Occupation Call to Revolt

16 October 2009

The glass walls of passivity, separating us from one another, can only be shattered with revolt. We are occupying a second building on the Santa Cruz campus of the University of California because we have answered the call of the first to occupy everything. Tonight is a demonstration to students and workers everywhere that the division between taking what you want and planning for a movement to come only appears as a problem for abstract thought about taking action. We only catch sight of the fires of the insurrection to come on the morning after the unrest of the night before.

What is a crisis anyway? It is the exclusion from work and public services of those most precariously situated within this system. To a crisis which is generalized, it is pointless to respond with generic activism. Activists of more prosperous eras held demonstrations. Still, they were unable to secure any lasting position for those on whose behalf they took “action”. As the current crisis unfolds, it is necessary to elaborate innovative forms of escalation and revolt. Our crisis is as much the failure of these tired forms of mobilization as it is the collateral damage caused by a growing economic catastrophe.

We have lived through too many cycles of defeat and must try something else. We are compelled to negate the crisis itself with whatever capacity we have now. Tonight, we have taken the Humanities and Social Sciences building. As long as we occupy this space, Dean Sheldon Kamienecki will be deprived of his workplace. This empty figurehead, who last spring made decisions about what jobs get cut and which departments lose funding, will no longer have access to the means of his existence. While we hope this occupation quickens his pulse and that of administrators like him, we have not taken this building to send them a message. Although we hope that they fear for the integrity of their documents and office supplies, we do not occupy to demand the reinstatement of funding channels to what they were before the crisis exposed the fucked up priorities of this school. This occupation is a second call to everyone who has been targeted by this crisis. Which is to say: it is a call to everyone. We cannot wait for some movement to come that will stop the forces pushing ever more people out of this system. Our task is to disrupt the functioning of this system by appropriating what is ours for ourselves.

No amount of organizational meetings, phone calls or emails to legislators have the capacity to build a movement. Society cannot negotiate its way towards liberation. There is no need to raise consciousness. The crisis is already making people painfully aware of the situation. Peaceful marches, rallies and symbolic protests, attracting spectacular media attention, will never increase our ranks because this very process of mediation reduces us to passive observers of what is supposed to be our own activity. Organization for action has become an end in itself cut off from the reality of capitalism in decline. How many voices of outrage are required for a political rally to have a set demands met? We all know the answer to this question: no amount of voices will ever be enough. There is no power to which we can appeal except that which we find in one another. The organization of the movement occurs whenever a freshman or a service worker learns how to barricade doors, how to avoid arrest, how to pick locks. The movement has staying power when, for every one of us who grows tired, there are three who will take our place.

We have recently learned that the University of California does not use tuition money or student fees to fund research and education. On the contrary, they place one hundred percent of this money into an account with the Bank of New York Mellon Trust in order to protect their borrowing power in credit markets. They hold our tuition as collateral in order to finance the largest and most speculative construction projects in the state of California. UC pledged collateral rose by 60% with the last issue of bonds to $6.72B from $4.2B. The number of students taking out debt has risen 20% since 2000: 80-100% for students of color. Average debt levels for graduating seniors rose to $23,200 in 2008 alone, a 24% percent increase over 2004. We know very well what is going on: the University’s ability to finance bonds for new construction increases in direct proportion to their ability to slash spending on education, raise student fees indefinitely and ensure that students cannot disrupt the function of the University itself. This spectacular credit swap finances new construction on the backs of parents who increasingly risk foreclosure on their homes and students who will work the rest of their lives to pay off their debt. The University of California has already been securitized, ensuring that none of us have a future within this system.

We in the US have been too timid for far too long. We are afraid of the police. We are afraid of losing our jobs or getting expelled from school. We are afraid of people shouting in the streets. Security is the watchword of our era: no one wants to take risks. But this illusion of comfort — our separation from one another into perfectly compartmentalized lives, disconnected and self-amused — increasingly unravels with each person thrown out of work, every family evicted from their home and each student unable to afford unending tuition increases without bartering away her future on credit markets. It remains for those terminated by this system to use these failures as flash-points for generalizing the struggle. Perhaps, at last, we can understand one another, for we are all going bankrupt.

Press contact: (eight-three-one) 332-8916