Berkeley Pre-Game Communiqué (That’s Not The Sky, That’s The Ceiling)


Inside a commandeered university building, we gathered, we spoke, and we conspired. Outside the police waited, they observed, they plotted. They were in no way prepared for the wave that came crashing down, and neither were we.

While there seems to be endless conversation on the violence of smashing windows and the damage to the movement done by spontaneous action, there is a notable absence of discussion of the violence of class division in american society and its relationship with higher education.

Is the movement so fragile that a smashed window destroys it, yet broken bodies don’t bring it to the boiling point. We are told that the streets must be policed in order to be “safe.” That no one will join us and that people who would’ve supported the cause are now frightened to participate. Yet what we see is laughter, dancing, and a freedom that is impossible to describe in the language of everyday capitalism. How, we must ask, is a movement that collapses under the weight of overturned trash cans going to withstand the presence of millions of people challenging their relationship to the economy? A structure that collapses in the rain will not withstand the earthquake.

The worry of a potential alienation of workers and students is disproven by moments like this. Where the underlying collective hatred of the police and those that manage the living social order is acted upon. The students, the kids at the bar, the street kids on Telegraph, the rioters, they do not alienate, they are alienated!

That is why they throw parties in the streets, that is why they burn what they touch, that is why cars are smashed, dumpsters are plowed into police lines, windows are broken, and people ghostride through the smoking streets.

Our roles as anarchists and organizers, communists and radicals, dissipated as the situation took on a life of its own. This is what happens when the conflict truly spreads beyond the university and its sanctioned student groups, when people become involved on their own terms. A dance party becomes a protest, becomes a party again, transforms into a riot and back again into a party.

This is the coveted mass movement! The point where people question their roles and identities as students, as street people, as jocks, or as activists.

Walkouts in September, occupations in november, riots in the streets in February and March. This points to nothing less than the willingness of participants to exceed the boundaries of expectation imposed upon the movement. We must refuse to allow anyone to split the movement, to divide it along the lines of what the police, the administration, the professional activists deem acceptable. Those who deny the sudden and spontaneous awareness of the Berkeley rioters regarding the role of police, or the arbitrariness of property relations, desire nothing else than the reintegration of the movement back into politics.

A movement moves forward on its own volition, exceeding the expectations of both its enemies and its participants. The role of those that find themselves caught in the middle is to develop along side it. There is an enigmatic quality about March 4th and no one can foresee what will happen. We eagerly anticipate this uncertainty.

13 Responses to “Berkeley Pre-Game Communiqué (That’s Not The Sky, That’s The Ceiling)”

  1. cbipcrew Says:

    you’re all amazing.
    <3 friends in chicago.

  2. theory of the offensive :: Berkeley. They Clash. :: March :: 2010 Says:

    […] A couple of nice photos here. But take a look at the video here […]

  3. brooklynn Says:

  4. anon Says:

    so much love.

  5. Castro Says:

    I wish you good luck with your actions.

    We are now planing the next educational strike in Germany for the 9. of June.



  6. cbipcrew Says:

    <3 chicago

  7. Eskarbille Says:

    Hi is it possible to have a the written communiqué of the Berkely pre-game video because I’d like to translate it in french so people who doesn’t understant english well can have french subtitle… it maybe usefull to anyone who wish to translate it in another language to!


    Nous sommes des braises, allumons l’incendie!

  8. transconaslim Says:

    <3 Winnipeg, Canada

  9. Bakari Kafele Says:

    When will the movement start to go directly to the source?
    The deans office, the regents, the board of directors
    the people pulling in million dollar salaries and making the decisions
    and, beyond university, wall street, and the homes of the top 0.01% in society.
    The cops are working class people, and though they may blindly follow orders, they believe what they do is right. The problem is not the cop on the street, it is the people giving the orders, and even more so the people who set the stage for inequality in society.
    Do we want to party, do we want to rebel just for the thrill, or do we want to create permanent change? What is most effective in creating the latter?

    of course, on the other hand, we have these people:
    Maybe there isn’t that much hope, when we have people on the low rung of society fighting fiercely to protect the top.

  10. Mike Says:

    Reminded me of a favorite quote:

    “If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.”

    Let’s see some thunder and lightning!

    Mike (Atlanta)

  11. Solidarity Says:

    That was beautifully narrated, great montage (and humanities education?). I’m torn about the hating-all-cops thang, & the 19th & 20th century political labels. I’ve known a [very] few good-hearted cops, tho I’ve known many more who are criminals in uniform. As a person of color, I’ve seen too many of us, and women, take the cops’ road to the Promised Land of permanent debt aka middle-classdom, abusive power, and ‘legitimacy’.

    I also know cops are deadly when their gang feels threatened, and obviously, they did. Until they split up the group and herded one like wolves on one sheep.

    Learn to react and grab onto each other for dear life when they pull/push at one in the group. Pile on the one they single out – better many take the blows than only one. Unity has to be more than an ideal. It has a price. Be ready to pay it, or lose it.

    It’s hard to resist the sense of power in making them step back, but it’s a false sense of power: they’re armed, you’re not. Threatening them is pretty futile – and deadly.

    Educate those cops – carefully. Yes, I’m an elder, and Kent State is burned into my brain (and I’m a ghetto child). It’s a class thang for them, fronting ‘privileged’ college kids. They need to learn there’s no privilege left in it (except for the elite few) – just a lot of debt and pimping people for corporate profit.

    It’s about resistance and reclamation. Including/excluding people in a movement according to dead men’s ideological labels is movement suicide, imo. “Unity” is the most terrifying cry oppressors can hear.

    Our pain & rage, songs & dances, should be directed at those who pull the cops’ strings – they’re the true source of illegitimate power, and they’re the ones who least expect it. That is, until their underpaid cops attack you to defend them – then, it’s survival. You don’t have to scare them to win – just keep them out there long enough to rack up lots of overtime, and cost their handlers plenty. $ is their God.

  12. De KSU ‘Keek op de Week’ « Kritische Studenten Utrecht | 2010 Says:

    […] het highlighten waard!: UC Berkeley’s Pre-Game Communiqué. Er was vorige week een bezetting en een street riot. Wat een […]

  13. Eric Says:

    Awesome video. Make more.

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