Author Archive

Students Occupy Former Cross Cultural Center at UC Davis

24 January 2012

DAVIS, California – Students at UC Davis occupied the former Cross Cultural Center midday on Tuesday – the center having moved to a new $22 million building. They have declared their solidarity with UCR, Egypt, the hotel occupation in San Francisco and Occupy Oakland – especially with their upcoming moving day on January 28th.

This is their communiqué:

The spaces we live in are broken: occupation is our defense.

As capital spirals further into crisis, we are constantly confronted with the watchword of austerity. We are meant to imagine a vast, empty vault where our sad but inevitable futures lie. But we are not so naïve. Just as Wall Street functions on perpetually revolving credit markets where cash is merely a blip, so also does our state government. High tuition increases have been made necessary not by shrinking savings, but by a perpetually expanding bond market, organized by the UC Regents, enforced through increasing tuition and growing student loan debt. Growth has become a caricature of itself, as the future is sold on baseless expanding credit from capitalist to capitalist. Our future is broken. We are the crisis. Our occupations are the expressions of that crisis.

But on the university campuses, where militarization is increasing daily, we have more immediate needs. Our relationship with the administration and police is not one of trust and openness; the arrogance and nonchalance with which they regularly inflict violence against us is just as regularly followed by a thoroughly dissembling, inadequate, and cowardly condemnation of that violence. One hand attacks—one hand denies. Our universities and our public spaces are today ultra-militarized zones, where students and workers are monitored and subjugated under the pretense of “health and safety.” Officer Kemper from UC Irvine drew his gun at the Regents’ meeting at UCSF. Berkeley UCPD participated in violently clearing the Oakland Communards from Oscar Grant Plaza just weeks before they would come to UC Davis for the events of November 18th. On the day of the first Oakland General Strike, UCOP office in Oakland was lent out to OPD to “monitor” protests. Under the pretext of mutual aid, squads of armed and armored riot cops move from one campus, one public space, one city, to the next. The circulation of cops throughout the state shows that the mobile, militarized force of repression knows no boundaries: it will protect capital, government, and the status quo, wherever they are threatened. In a university whose motto is fiat lux, the administration crushes dissent and veils its intentions with lies. It has the same intentions as Mayor Quan or the Military in Egypt: to crush resistance, by any means necessary.

To continue our resistance, our immediate need is to create a safe space of togetherness, care, and freedom. When we occupied Mrak, the same officers who would later be involved in pepper spraying us watched over us as we slept. As we gathered to discuss, plan, and act to protect our right to education, the Orwellian “Freedom of Expression Team” and the “University Communications Team” loomed nearby, texting the pigs and administration on their stupid androids, smiling at us in their fake, overfed way, scooting near like unpopular highschool kids trying to overhear the weekends’ party plans. Later, these same concerned FOEs, would stand by on the quad and do nothing, grinning like idiots, as students pepper-sprayed at point blank range called for medics. It is clear to us that public space has become a euphemism for militarized, ordered, monitored space. Occupation opens a common space which is not the extension of private property to group property, but the active exclusion of all that reinforces private property. We must exclude the police and the administration, and their “Freedom of Expression Team” lackeys as well, in order to create the openness and togetherness which is impossible in their presence.

The UC Chancellor, President, Regents—who prattle on endlessly about diversity while the university closes its doors to brown students, who hail marginal utility while “the economy” closes its fist around the poor, who dream up ways to boost the university’s standing on some imaginary scale of “excellence” while slurs, swastikas, nooses, and Klan masks appear endlessly on our campus, who meet protests with violence and truth with lies—they have already proven their incapacity to imagine a future different than the present. We occupy because we will not wait for the broken future they have planned for us, because we do not trust our “elected officials” or administrators to make decisions that address problems beyond their own narrow interests. This action is not the beginning of a discussion; this is the end of the discussion. We cannot negotiate for our needs, we will not negotiate for our needs, we will meet our needs. (via UCDecolonized)

Read more:

Bob Meister interviewed by Doug Henwood

28 November 2009

Bob Meister was interviewed on the latest “Behind the News with Doug Henwood.” The interview begins around 25 minutes, and is available on KPFA’s website.

UC Davis update

28 November 2009

All charges have been dropped against 51 of the 52 protestors arrested in Mrak Hall on Thursday 19 November. Unfortunately the charges have yet to be dropped against the student who suffered police brutality. Absurdly, she is still being charged with a felony.

see our_university

Kerr Hall on November 21st

21 November 2009

There is a big risk that Kerr hall will be busted by the cops tonight. If at all possible, head down there and join in the fray!

I will keep updating this all night as I hear from occupiers what is going on.

UPDATE 8:23 UCSC Vice Chancellor Felicia McGinty announced that it is almost certain that Cops will come TONIGHT if negotiations fail. In other words, You should be there tonight, as well

UPDAT 8:47 Join the joint chant (inside and out) at Kerr Hall. “When I say ‘People’ you say ‘Power.’ ‘People,’ ‘POWER.'”

UPDATE 9:13 If you aren’t on campus you might have troubles getting in. A friend just texted me saying, “Campus is closed. A cop is calling his boss to see if I can be let in.” This is testament to the militarization of the University. Now we need the cops permission to enter a campus that we pay for! It ended with the cop saying, “Leave campus or you will be arrested.” Friend was already arrested on Thursday at UC Davis, so she turned around.

UPDATE 9:29 Cops haven’t come yet, but administrators are headed over to Kerr Hall en masse.

UPDATE 9:43 “Just a spoonful of sugar…makes the police state go down…” Know any good show tunes? Head over to Kerr Hall and sing with the occupiers!

UPDATE 9:51 The barricades are up! But the student’s work is never done. Currently the 80 occupiers and a number of journalists are cleaning up in Kerr Hall, making sure that OUR University looks good!

UPDATE 10:05 The Administration has flat out rejected the demands of the Occupiers, and instead promised that the cops will be at Kerr Hall by midnight. You should be there by 10:30! I was mistaken about campus being closed. If you have any problems…be sneaky. Oh, and if you know any Queen songs they will help you, as that is what the occupiers are currently singing.

UPDATE 10:28 The occupiers are on the second floor of Kerr Hall (which is the main floor). The cops won’t really be able to get in through the windows without repelling from the roof or from Helicopters (though if they brought helicopters to DAVIS they almost certainly will be at UCSC). Inside the mood is a little tense, but people are calming down by singing and playing music. Currently a few people are still doing security type activities. There are approximately 80 occupiers, several hundred protestors outside and 0 cops at this time.

A student union assembly person remarked that s/he is “pretty sure it will end tonight.”

On a more depressing note, Kerr Hall currently has only a few scrapes of peanut butter left. The occupied building is also–oddly enough–decorated by a letter from Bill Clinton.

UPDATE 11:22 Occupiers singing “Solidarity Forever,” reading, and generally chilling out.

UPDATE 12:02 Bring warm clothes! Still no cops at Kerr Hall, but several hundred supporters have rallied outside.

UPDATE 1:52 Occupation still going strong. Wait, I thought the Administration promised the cops would be there by midnight…it seems they can’t hold to any of their promises.

UPDATE 7:10 Riot cops are at Kerr Hall.

UPDAT 8:16 Riot cops penetrated the barricades and have removed the two largest. All occupiers (about 50) are told that the cops are authorized to let them go free. They freely march as a group to Kresge Town Hall, because UCSC is still occupied! Further interruptions of “business as usual” are being planned.