Author Archive

UCI students visited by the FBI

8 January 2013

[Correction: The previous post on this incident contained inaccurate information regarding the subject of the investigation and was retracted.  The FBI has not mentioned the Muslim Students Union or Students for Justice in Palestine during their questioning.]

from OccupyUCI:

The FBI is seeking information from UCI activists, again

Today a UCI activist comrade was approached by the FBI.

Two FBI agents showed up at the parent’s house wanting to know information on another activist on campus.

This is how the conversation went:

FBI: Do you know X?
Comrade: I do not want to talk to you, I want to talk to my lawyer.
FBI: OK

Under NO circumstances talk to the FBI or any cops!  ANYTHING you say can implicate your friends and yourself.  Do not attempt to say something smart thinking that you are being clever in responding.  Even saying “I don’t know” can result in perjury charges.  Additionally, do NOT invite them into your home.  This is leaves open the opportunity for the FBI to search and gather clues lying around your home.  If they come to your doorway step outside, close the door behind you and say “I do not want to talk to you, I want to talk to my lawyer.”  Tell them a lawyer will get in touch with them.  If they do not leave ask “Am I being detained.” if they say No, WALK AWAY.

This is all intimidating, they want you to be intimidated! Do not let them coerce you into talking, you have the right to remain silent and not implicate your friends and yourself in anything.  They do not look as scary as they seem, they in fact look a little douchey, twenty-something, right out of the academy.  If you weren’t looking any closer, you could mistake them for Jevoha’s witnesses, or Mormons.

Regardless, treat the FBI like vampires, do not invite them in, do not talk to them, do not let their charms fool you!

Here is an excerpt  Not Yr Cister Press, in response to Leah and Grand Jury subpoenas in Portland:

“Whether or not Leah provided information substantial to indictments, her cooperation facilitated the grand jury investigation. Frequently stated in grand jury resistance trainings is that answering even “harmless” seeming questions can have highly damaging outcomes. What appears insignificant could be an essential link in the prosecutor’s case. Further, stating “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember” could potentially open you up to perjury charges. Finally, the State had, until October 17, encountered a mostly solid wall of resistance. Their strategy had failed to break solidarity among anarchists. In coercing testimony from Leah, the State damaged the credibility of those who publicly resist.

This point—that even limited cooperation is harmful—cannot be emphasized enough. Saying anything to a grand jury is a problem. Say nothing.”

Solidarity with all Grand Jury Resistors, Solidarity with all activists facing political persecution.  Solidarity with all prisoners.

Here are also some good readings:

Occupy Legal (Mainly serving the Bay Area) 

NLG: You have the right to remain silent (PDF)

Support UCLA Students!

11 April 2012

On March 29, three UCLA students were arrested at the UC Board of Regents’ meeting at UC San Francisco, as police were sent in to remove students from the meeting and they tried to comply with police orders.  Before the students were violently arrested,  UCLA Lt. O’Connell was seen pointing out certain UCLA student activists to other police.  The first student was arrested after he asked police who the commanding officer was, and why students needed to leave the building when the dispersal order was only to leave the room where the meeting was held.  Two graduate students were arrested as the police wrestled the first student to the ground.  It seems clear that the three were singled out given their prior arrests at UCLA.  Two were booked on serious charges and a total of $72,000 bail, and it cost students almost $6000 to post bond to get them out of jail.  The third was released on her own recognizance.  While the San Francisco District Attorney has decided not to file charges against these three, the bond amount was not recoverable.

This year, UCLA has become a flashpoint of student protests against increasing tuition, budget cuts, and administrative mismanagement of public higher education.  In November of last year, 11 students were arrested blocking the Westwood-Wilshire intersection to draw attention to UC’s business relationship with Bank of America and Monica Lozano’s conflict of interest as a member of both the Board of Regents and the Board of BoA.  Later that month, under the direction of Lt. O’Connell, 14 students were arrested in a pre-dawn raid of the Occupy UCLA encampment by around 70 riot police as administrators watched.  Despite a letter signed by dozens of faculty, the LA City Attorney still pursued charges against the students, eventually settling with the protesters to take a class on the First Amendment in exchange for a diversion of the charges.

Since the arrests in November, UCLA students have seen a rapid and troubling increase in repression from police, including arrests and violence.  Lt. O’Connell also oversaw the police response to student protesters at the Regents’ meeting at UC Riverside in January, in which a lecturer was violently arrested and police opened fire on students with less-than-lethal ammunition.  Even since the most recent Regents’ meeting, UCLA police have been following student activists on campus.  While students still aren’t deterred and will keep fighting, we anticipate more arrests and more violence against students.

We are therefore asking for your support in covering our costs to free the two students, and building a bail and legal defense fund for future arrests.  If you are able to donate, please go to: https://www.wepay.com/donations/ucla-protester-bail-fund

Please help us, so we can keep fighting!

In solidarity,
The Ad-hoc Legal Support Committee of Occupy UCLA

Abandoned Library in South Central Los Angeles Liberated, Evicted

14 December 2011

INGLEWOOD, CA — Around 9am this morning, youth from South Central LA, Watts, Inglewood, and Compton liberated the LA City Library’s Hyde Park branch on Crenshaw and 66th. The library has been vacant since 2004 and is located in one of LA County’s poorest neighborhoods, not far from one of the major flash points of the Rodney King riots.

The action was intended to keep the building open to provide programming and services to the community, including free food, employment and health workshops, and classes for high school students who have been through the criminal justice system or are at risk.

LAPD officers arrived within an hour–apparently alarmed that young people of color were trying to enter a library–and immediately shut the outside gates, trapping about half of the youth and supporters, including media and legal observers, on the property. Police closed nearby streets and had arrest vans and a helicopter on the scene. The youth participating in the action were threatened with arrest for trespassing and $5000 bail; they were eventually able to leave the site without arrest.

Following the eviction, the city–which can never seem to find resources to provide for the basic needs of the community–constructed an 8-foot tall fence around the library and parking lot to make sure that it was even more difficult for the community to access the space.

Hundreds rallying at UCLA against privatization (and USC)

21 November 2011

WESTWOOD, CA – After a day of teach outs and a march, hundreds of UCLA students are rallying around Bruin Bear with chants of “No cuts, no fees, education should be free” and a modified UCLA 8-Clap ending in “UCLA OCCUPY!”  A box built around the Bear to protect it from vandalism by rival school USC, who UCLA is playing in football this week, was covered with banners and slogans about public education.  There are also 2 tents on top, and more tents around Bruin Plaza, as students are planning to camp again tonight, the first time since police raided Occupy UCLA on Friday morning and arrested 14 students.

Irvine 11 found guilty of all charges

23 September 2011

Santa Ana, CA — 10 of the defendants in the Irvine 11 case have been found guilty of conspiracy and disturbing the peace. Court is in recess until 1:30pm, when Judge Peter Wilson will read the sentences.

One of the defendants had previously had his charges dropped in exchange for community service after it had been found that some of his charges resulted from a confidential email between him and his attorney which was obtained by the District Attorney’s office.

The guilty verdict comes 19 months after the 11 were arrested for disrupting a speech on campus by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren.

During the trial, defense attorneys pointed out that the 11 had disrupted Oren for just a few minutes, while Professor Mark Petracca and other administrators spent more time ostracizing and paternalizing students on “civility” and “appropriate behavior.” Oren himself delayed the speech by nearly a half hour, and cut the talk short in order to attend the LA Lakers game that evening. Defense attorneys also pointed to other disruptions that didn’t result in charges, including Senator Joe Wilson’s heckling of President Obama and previous disruptions of Muslim Student Union events by Zionists as the police looked on. (Occupy UCI has a similar analysis of past speaker disruptions and heckling)

We will post additional updates once the sentences are made public, but in any case this will have a serious impact on all protest in Orange County, especially the UCI 19 case which is headed to trial November 8. In a society in which one can be found guilty of conspiracy for planning a protest, then all dissent is rendered illegal.

UPDATE, 2:30pm: Because all of the defendants have clean records, they will receive NO JAIL TIME but instead will receive 3 years of informal probation and 56 hours of community service at a non-profit organization.  The judge said that the actions of the 11 were political, and that they are productive members of the community.

BREAKING: UCIPD Simulating an Anti-Occupation Operation at UC Irvine

15 September 2011

IRVINE, California – We have just received word from our comrades at UC Irvine that as of 3:00pm today, UCIPD and Irvine PD are running an anti-occupation operation at the Gateway Commons Study Center at UC Irvine.  Campus and/or police staff are pretending to be student protesters and are simulating the occupation of the Gateway Commons building, while police are in full SWAT gear and Irvine PD are dressed in olive green and brown military fatigues.  The “protesters” reportedly are throwing water bottles at police.  The UCI Press Office would not comment when called.

Gateway was the site of a brief—but failed—occupation attempt on March 4, 2010, following a rally of nearly 1000 students that left campus and blocked Campus and University Drives.

UPDATE: A UCI undergrad made the following notes regarding the operation:

I am on campus today and I am currently witnessing a protest simulation complete with UC Irvine SWAT teams, police, fake protesters, and the fire department. It looks like a really strange farce. They are “protesting” outside of Gateway in a “closed” off area around the library. The protesters are simulating what “protesters” act like, confronting officers, yelling, and running around the building with picket signs and megaphones. There are also photographers and camera men “capturing” the event . . . . There were a lot of SWAT on campus and I thought they had a real emergency going on. It seems it has been going on for over an hour. The protesters even have fake “speeches” and chants.

A sign reads “Police Training 8am- 4pm.” People are changing “Join us for peace,” “We want something.” There’s a camera crew capturing the “event” from different angles, Orange County people with picket signs saying “No Peter” and blocking the Gateway center . . . . Police in swat gear are “confronting” protesters who are “booing.” They’re rehearsing to act intimidating, practicing how to surround the building and the perimeter. “This a protest, be LOUD.” The practice is going inside the Gateway building, police are ready to come into the scene. “No Peter” signs, a sign reading “I have a sign!” More chants: “Join us, don’t you believe in freedom and justice?” “Hell no, we won’t go.”

(more notes, written a little after)

The fake protesters did NOT look like UC Irvine staff, they are not very good actors (or smart ones), and you can tell that they were working for the police. There are some middle-aged people, a couple of protest “leaders” and designated lawyerish and “first-aid” folk with megaphones. There were also a couple of young people, pretending to lock box themselves together inside the Gateway Center, three young men who look like 20-something-year-old college “students.” The simulation was thorough, the police and swat teams made several rounds around the building before entering the Gateway Center, even going on the megaphone to deliver an order to disperse. When the police “asked” the fake head protesters “Why are you doing this?” they responded “Oh you know, I don’t want to pay to pee. We want free books. Fees.” There was some more chatter, but I could not hear them very well and it was quite obvious that the whole protest message is a joke. They also said “We want freedom, justice,” “Hell no we won’t go!” yelled “Pigs” at the police, “Come on this is a protest!” “We want free stuff,” “UCI! UCI!” “USA! USA! USA!” and  “We don’t like the guy in the green!” They also threw several water bottles at police in riot gear . . . .

The protesters also said “Join us, join us!” and four middle aged women “chained” themselves to the entrance of the Gateway building, where occupiers were “locking” themselves in. They then proceeded to “break” through the “locks” and ties, with firemen on hand to remove the fake protesters. There were at least ten Ford beigeish cars parked in the back of the library on ring road, along with a SWAT team paddy wagon (Irvine SWAT), and three fire trucks. These SWAT appeared more militarized, with head-to-toe body armor, high black combat boots, shields, long black batons, rubber-bullet rifles, and face shields.

 

GRAND JURY CONVENED FOR IRVINE 11 CASE, FELONY CONSPIRACY CHARGES POSSIBLE

27 January 2011

From Occupy UCI:

If you have been indicted, subpoenaed, or contacted by the Orange County DA regarding this case, call the National Lawyers Guild Hotline at 415-285-1041 and the Los Angeles NLG Chapter at 323-653-4510.

Have yet to receive independent confirmation, but OC Weekly reports:

Radio station KPCC 89.3 reported today the Orange County district attorney’s office has convened a grand jury to look into the possibility of filing conspiracy charges against a group of Muslim students busted at the UC Irvine campus in 2010 for disrupting the speech of  U.S. Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren.

The information was reported during Larry Mantle’s morning show, Air Talk, which then opened the phones to callers expressing incredulity that a grand jury was convened for what they feel is essentially a free-speech issue. There were also those who theorized that a politically motivated Tony Rackauckas is strategically appeasing conservative Jewish Orange County constituents. Orange County DA’s office spokeswoman Farrah Emami declined to comment, saying it was the policy of that office to not discuss grand-jury proceedings.

What are grand juries? From the Grand Jury Resistance Project:

What is a Grand Jury?

In the federal legal system, the grand jury is used to decide whether someone should be charged (“indicted”) for a serious crime. The grand jury hears evidence presented by the prosecutor: the U.S. Attorney. The grand jury uses subpoenas to gather this evidence. It can subpoena documents, physical evidence, and witnesses to testify. The “special” federal grand jury, created in 1970, can be used to investigate “possible” organized criminal activity rather than a specific crime. The California legal system also has grand juries, but it is optional whether criminal prosecutions are initiated by grand jury indictment, or by a complaint by the District Attorney and preliminary hearing before a judge.

How is a Grand Jury Different Than a Trial Jury?

Unlike the “petit” jury, which is used to determine guilt in a trial, a grand jury consists of 16 to 23 jurors who are not screened for bias. The purpose of the grand jury is not to determine guilt or innocence, but to decide whether there is probable cause to prosecute someone for a felony crime. The grand jury operates in secrecy and the normal rules of evidence do not apply. The prosecutor runs the proceedings and no judge is present. Defense lawyers are not allowed to be present in the grand jury room and cannot present evidence, but may be available outside the room to consult with witnesses. The prosecutor and the grand jury members may not reveal what occurred in the grand jury room and witnesses cannot obtain a transcript of their testimony.

How Has the Grand Jury Been Misused?

Because of their broad subpoena powers and secretive nature, grand juries have been used by the government to gather information on political movements and to disrupt those movements by causing fear and mistrust. The grand jury lends itself to being used for improper political investigation due in part to the prosecutor’s ability to question witnesses without regard for rules that prohibit irrelevant, unreliable or unlawfully obtained evidence. Those called before the grand jury may be compelled to answer any question, even those relating to lawful personal and political activities. That information has been used by the government as a basis to conduct further surveillance and disruption of political dissent. When used against political movements, the grand jury causes fear and mistrust because persons who refuse to answer questions about their First Amendment political activities, friends and associates may be jailed for the life of the grand jury: up to 18 months. If a witness asserts her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, she may be forced to accept immunity or go to jail for contempt. Even a witness who attempts to cooperate can be jailed if minor inconsistencies are found in her testimony. Such a perjury charge may stand even when the grand jury fails to hand down any indictment for what it was ostensibly investigating.

No Compromise has this guide to “Crush Grand Juries”:

Grand juries are a tool of political repression which the government uses to frighten activists, create mistrust, drive people out of the movement, and cause others to inform on friends out of fear. Grand juries are the modern day Inquisitions. But instead of scapegoating innocent people as “witches” and “heretics,” they target innocent activists as “terrorists.” At grand juries, your rights are stripped away and chucked out the window! You have NO right to remain silent, NO right to be represented by an attorney, and NO right to a trial should you be jailed. In fact, you can be jailed for up to 18 months without even being charged for a crime!

Yes, grand juries are unconstitutional. Yes, grand juries are wrong. And yes, grand juries are often used by the FBI’s as part of a COINTELPRO efforts against activists because they steal our rights. That is why we cannot cooperate with them. And that is why we have the following strategy on combatting these true threats to democracy:

1. Organize Early. As soon as you hear a grand jury is convening, start organizing to fight it. The sooner you start working against it, the more options you will have to fight it through legal and political channels.

2. Get Help. Start organizing by contacting other animal groups who have experience and expertise in fighting grand juries. ( See the resource groups below.)

3. Stick Together. Typically, when a grand jury convenes, activists avoid those targeted with subpoenas for fear that associating with them will make them a potential target –YOU MUST NOT DO THIS! Activists must stick together and support each other — not isolate targeted activists as the authorities want us to do! Thankfully, the nationwide coalition of grassroots militant activists who have helped support the LA3, Barry Horne, Tony Wong, and Sue McCrosky, as well as other activists, will not abandon you should you be targeted for government harassment. Be sure to contact the resources group’s below to tap into their support.

4. Set Up a Defense Committee. To organize support, resistance, and educational efforts locally, a defense committee should be formed. They will be responsible for coordinating media, organizing news conferences, support protests, producing educational literature, working with the lawyers of the targeted activists, supporting the activists in other ways, and coordinating jail support should anyone be imprisoned.

5. Expose the Authorities Abuse of the Grand Jury System. Conduct news conferences, send out news releases, organize protests, and distribute literature exposing the government’s harassment of activists, the FBI’s COINTELPRO activities, and the unconstitutional and undemocratic nature of the grand juries. Exposing the authorities abuse of our civil liberties in the media typically causes them to back off. And right now the FBI are most vulnerable to bad press because of FBI whistle-blowers who say the crime lab has falsified evidence to gain convictions, and because their blunders at Waco, Ruby Ridge, and Atlanta City are still fresh in the minds of most Americans.

6. Don’t Cooperate with the Authorities. This means knowing your rights, and asserting them. You do not have to talk to the government agents. Even if arrested, you do not have to talk to them. If arrested all you have to give is your name and address — tell them no more. You do not have to let them search your house or car without a warrant — so don’t. In fact, you don’t even have to answer your door when the police are there unless they have a warrant. By asserting your rights, you again frustrate their attempts to get information on activists to further their COINTELPRO actions and harassment against the movement.

7. Educate Other Activists. Be sure to educate other local activist on what their rights are and how grand juries work. Let them know that, should they be a subpoenaed, there is a support committee of people available to help.

8. Utilize All Legal Strategies. There are plenty of court strategies that can be used to frustrate the authorities’ grand jury witch hunts. Motions to quash the subpoenas, or motions for discovery of electronic surveillance can be used to tie them up in the courts for months and force them to give over information they would prefer to keep secret.

9. Have Patience. Resist the temptation to “get it over with” by testifying at the grand jury or going to jail. It is important to resist for as long as possible. Activists who are quick to go to jail, can be used to scare other activists into cooperating with the authorities. Instead, be sure to exhaust all of the many legal, political, and constitutional solutions. Grand Juries last for 18 months, and the longer you can stall them, the less time activists will have to spend in jail, should they be jailed.

10. Do NOT Testify or Capitulate to Their Demands. Never enter the grand jury chamber. And unless you are going to be issuing some motions, don’t even go to the courthouse. If they want your fingerprints, or mailing lists, don’t give it to them. Resist and fight! The stronger you resist, the better it will turn out for you. According to a publication by the National Lawyers Guild, “For many political activists, the historic and principled way to avoid these dilemmas (informing, perjury) has been the invocation of absolute non-collaboration with grand jury investigations of political movements. While this has resulted in many instances with the witness’ incarceration for contempt, it has also discouraged the subpoenaing of further witnesses, and on some occasions, the withdrawal of all subpoenas.”

The Grand Jury Resistance Project has lots more resources on fighting illegitimate grand juries.

If you have been indicted, subpoenaed, or contacted by the Orange County DA regarding this case, call the National Lawyers Guild Hotline at 415-285-1041 and the Los Angeles NLG Chapter at 323-653-4510.

UCI administration is out for blood

9 December 2010

SANTA ANA, California – UC Irvine students charged today, December 9th, for a civil disobedience that occurred almost 10 months ago.

From OccupyUCI:

We have just learned that 19 students and supporters have been charged by the District Attorney of Orange County for participation in the February 24 sit in.

Each person is being charged on average with 3 misdemeanors, though 1 person each is being charged with 2 and 4 counts.  The charges include: false imprisonment, obstruction of a public place, being a public nuisance, trespassing, disturbing the peace, and refusal to disperse.  Arraignment will be December 29.

It is important to note that these charges were filed DURING FINALS WEEK and the arraignment will be during Winter Break, while many students go home to see their families.  Not only is this the greatest intensification of political repression coming from the UCI administration yet, it is also a deliberate attempt to disrupt the course work and family lives of students involved in dissent.

We will keep you posted for more about these cases.

[Editor’s note: read our initial report on the UCI sit-in here, and an editorial on it here.]

Protests against new fee hikes being met with violence

17 November 2010

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’sShare photos on twitter with Twitpic 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.

UPDATES:

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic8:55am: 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.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

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.

Over 100 arrested following Mehserle Sentencing

5 November 2010

OAKLAND, California – As of 9pm November 5th, around 153 people have been arrested around East 18th St and 6th Ave in Oakland following the sentencing of Johannes Mehserle.  The former BART cop was given 2 years for involuntary manslaughter – minus time served – for the murder of Oscar Grant.  Mehserle may be released in as little as 7 months.  The judge presiding over the trial decided not to apply a firearms enhancement charge, which would have increased the sentence to as high as 14 years.  The police immediately declared the organized march unlawful and began trapping the crowd for mass arrest.  At least one National Lawyers Guild legal observer has been arrested.  During the march, protesters smashed shop and car windows, and one man was arrested for allegedly unholstering an officer’s gun and pointing it at him.

According to several observers, police did not issue a dispersal warning (and allow protesters to leave), but in fact corralled protesters and even some observers and then serially arrested them. One witness that had followed the crowd through out the course of the evening explained that as the marchers left downtown Oakland, they began to head towards the Fruitvale BART station where Oscar Grant was murdered. Repeatedly, police blocked the marchers off, riling the crowd. At one point, as the crowd passed Laney Community College, the police cut them off in an attempt to summarily arrest the entirety of the crowd. In response the bulk of the crowd tore down a temporary fence and scrambled through a construction site to circumvent an assured arrest. It was only later, after a string of antagonizing by police, did some marchers get arrested.

Update: Some, if not most, of those arrested last night are being released today. According to what the police at the jail were saying, the number of people arrested may be closer to 250 or even 300.

We have also gotten word that many of our comrades from Advance the Struggle have been arrested tonight, and we would like to express our solidarity with them, and with all who have been arrested.

Photos from JoshWolf/Indybay.

UCI Kangaroo Court turns down MSU appeal

4 September 2010

from OccupyUCI:

UCI upheld the suspension of the Muslim Student Union despite appeals, though the term was reduced from a full year to one quarter.  This came after months of political pressure from special interest groups external to UCI who want to see a major battleground over support for Israel and Palestine pacified (but with Israel coming out on top).

Of course, I’m sure this had nothing to do with the religion/ethnicity of the students involved, UCI’s overt support for Zionism, and a broader campaign to criminalize dissent on the UCI campus.  These “findings” are not at all related to the 28 students at UCI and 200+ state-wide facing conduct charges for minor protest-related infractions if not just vocalization of opposition.  /sarcasm

The Office of Student Affairs, under outgoing Vice Chancellor Manuel Gomez, sent out an email to the entire campus, wasting scarce university resources to further demonize the Muslim Student Union and sew Islamophobia in the UCI community.  Gomez, who claims to have once “flown the black flag,” now apparently lives by the mantra: “But now I’m older and wiser, and that’s why I’m turning you in.”  Here’s the email: (more…)

May Day party gets underway in Santa Cruz

1 May 2010

SANTA CRUZ, Ca. – A dance party to celebrate International Workers’ Day in Santa Cruz morphed into a black bloc as it traveled through different parts of downtown with hundreds of participants and observers. As the crowd swelled to over 350, torches and flares were lit. The crowd zig-zagged through different side streets, eventually ending back on the main street downtown (Pacific Ave). As the crowd marched back to the clock tower, windows of corporate chains and bourgeois shops were smashed. Police presence was scarce; early on, one police car drove into the crowd to disperse it. Instead of leaving, the dancers stepped around the police car and threw paint on it. Only after the crowd voluntarily dispersed did any police appear.

10:35pm: A torch mob of about 300 people is headed down Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz, with hundreds of observers following. More info to come.

11:00pm: Graffiti: “Brick by brick we will bring it down”; “Destruction is the New Pink”; “Destroy the Destroyers” and others.

11:05pm: photo of people observing the dancers

11:15pm: Several expensive “hipster” stores, corporate chain stores, and bourgeois shops that cater to tourists had their windows smashed.

11:20pm: It’s scattering, with only 2 cop cars nearby.

First Student Conduct letter issued at UC Irvine

19 April 2010

IRVINE, California – The first Student Conduct letter for budget-related actions was delivered by email today, to Graduate student John Bruning, for alleged violations occurring on November 24, 2009, at UCI’s Aldrich Hall, and March 3, 2010, at Cal State Fullerton.  Bruning was arrested on the first occasion after allegedly–and according to the arresting officers–pounding on a glass door, after police had closed the administration building (including Financial Aid and the Registrar) to the public during a rally against police brutality at UCLA.  The second date refers to the Humanities Building “reclamation” at CSU Fullerton, where participants were detained, issued stay-away orders, and told they were being released without charges, but just last week were informed they were being charged with trespassing.

The letter follows threats of disciplinary actions–including expulsion–against the Irvine 11, and Student Conduct actions against over 100 students at UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz.  This may be the first case of a California university disciplining a student activist for participating in actions off-campus.

The letter cites allegations “that you have violated the following University policies specified in the University of California Policies Applying to Campus Activities, Organizations, and Students” on campus, and “in accordance with our Off-Campus Behavior Policy (101.00a)”, listed in detail below.

Update (4/20): Four additional UCI students have received disciplinary letters, solely for their involvement in the Fullerton action, on the grounds of Sections 102.04, 102.06, and 102.24.  This is going even beyond disciplinary threats against the 3 UC Riverside arrested at the Irvine 11 action, by holding students subject to academic disciplinary action for participation in protests at other, and non-UC, campuses.

(more…)

Dance Party at UCSC

26 February 2010

Santa Cruz, CA – Around 10:15pm, a dance party began in Porter college at UCSC.

10:50pm: Now about 60 people.  Party has moved onto the small stage in Porter Quad.

11:20pm: Party has moved into Kresge classroom 327. Occupation is on!

11:25pm: Numbers increased to 100+.

11:40pm: Party has moved back outside.  Chanting “March 4th!”

12:10am: Party has crossed a bridge, past Sciences, to Colleges 9 & 10.  Passed a bus, and at the next stop a dozen people on the bus joined the dance party!

12:35am: The party has moved into Humanities 2.

12:42am: Now 250+ people.

Summary:

UCSC is divided into ten colleges, all of them paired with another.

The dance party started small in the Porter quad, and after swelling to about 50-60 people, it moved through the college and into the next college, Kresge. There it made a stop inside an empty classroom for a while. The roving dance party made its way around Kresge college collecting more dancers and made its way to the other side of campus (going over a bridge, and up Science Hill). At college 9/10, more students joined, and for a while the party actually made its way through the first floor of a dormitory. They then descended down the street and into the Humanities area of campus, and entering the Humanities 2 building. After leaving the building, the party continued into Cowell college through a central building, and out into a courtyard where the party grew larger. Finally, the group made its way down the hill into the Quarry Plaza (where the Graduate Student Commons resides). The party raged on well after 2am, and then dispersed as quickly as it started.

Through out the evening, multiple buildings were temporarily seized and vacated with ease–leaving only a trail of fading music.

12 Arrested at UCI

8 February 2010

from OccupyUCI:

12 students were arrested at UCI this evening protesting a talk given by Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael B. Oren.  Throughout the talk, Oren continually denied Palestinians their right to live in a territory which they solely occupied.  As the presentation continued, students began yelling and chanting, at which point UCI PD began escorting students out of the room, only to arrest them and detain them in a police holding room inside the Student Center. Throughout the whole ordeal, Professor Mike Petracca, Chair of Political Science, repeatedly denounced students while groveling before the Israeli Ambassador.

It is clear, now more than ever, what interests run our university.  Right now, our administration feels perfectly content using our student fees to fund representatives of a murderous government.  When we speak out, we are arrested.  This has happened in the past as well: last year, the Center for the Study of “Democracy” (a research center located in Political Science and Sociology) paid for former Mexican President Vicente Fox, guilty of countless human rights violations and murders, to speak on campus and dine with graduate students.  Before that, it was John Yoo, author of the Torture Memos.  At the Yoo protest, an FBI agent ran over a student with a van and then fled; UCI PD said they wouldn’t do anything.  The administration has also violated their own campus policies on numerous occasions to prevent students from drawing attention to their support for mass murderers and human rights violators, in one instance last year banning mention of Israel in official campus media which is open to other student organizations.

Our administration has already made deceitful attempts to deny us students agency in our university.  Like at every action around the state this year is claiming that none of the arrested students were UCI students, even though they fully know that every one of them was.  In fact, the majority of students present were opposed to Oren.  The rest of the audience were part of the rabid Zionist community in Orange County, which has openly called for deportation of Arab and Muslim students and violence against them.

The administration is bringing ANOTHER Zionist speaker to campus on Wednesday, another Israeli diplomat.  The event is at noon in Social Science Plaza A 2112.  We will not tolerate this misuse of our money.  We will not tolerate this indifference to student concerns. We hope to extend the embarrassment of Petracca to the entire University, until every administrator, professor, and cop like him–holding the interests of global power before the interests of students and workers–resigns or is forced out.   When we say “FREE PALESTINE” we are also calling for student power, for a student movement from Gaza to Greece to California.

END THE OCCUPATION OF PALESTINE

BEGIN THE OCCUPATION OF OUR SCHOOLS

– An autonomous collective at UCI