Archive for the ‘UC Davis’ Category

Note from Revolutionaries of Color II

27 May 2013

from DavisAntiZionism:

“At whatever level we study it… decolonization is quite simply the replacing of a certain ‘species’ of men by another ‘species’ of men. Without any period of transition, there is a total, complete, and absolute substitution.” -Frantz Fanon

“Indeed our words will remain lifeless, barren, devoid of any passion, until we die as a result of these words, whereupon our words will suddenly spring to life and live amongst the hearts that are dead, bringing them to life as well.” -Sayyid Qutb

We, the anti-Zionists and radicals (of color), organized to take over Dutton Hall at the University of California, Davis on May 15, 2013, the 65th anniversary of the Nakba, in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. The administration, Zionists on and off campus, and local media have tried to misrepresent what took place that day, and this is why it is necessary that we send a clear and direct message.

Our action had absolutely nothing to do with the recently failed UC Davis Divestment resolution. The fact that the divestment resolution did not even pass the initial stages of Zionist bureaucracy provides us with another example of the failures of dialoguing and negotiating with racists. The resolution’s failure only made visible the pre-existing antagonisms of Zionism (colonialism) and anti-Zionism (anti-colonialism). We did not organize our action out of frustration from the failure of the divestment process. We were already frustrated! For us, dialogue with the colonizers, with the enemies of the Palestinians, is already a form of defeat. It is already a weak, counter-revolutionary position to sit down at the same table as the colonizer. We have no desire to melt the heart of Zionists. We want to remove the colonizer out of the political equation, so that there is a final end to colonial-relations. We shut down Dutton Hall – an action we recognize to be minimal compared to the worldwide anti-colonial/anti-imperialist struggles – not because of the failure of the divestment resolution passing, but because it was the day of the Nakba, the day of catastrophe for all Palestinians, and we consider it to be our historical responsibility to take a strong oppositional position against colonialism in general, and Zionism in particular.

We want to make sure everyone knows that these were autonomous actions by anti-Zionists and radicals of color. No campus student organizations were involved in the organizing and mobilizing process. The question of organization is not only a theoretical problem but also an important tactical question for us. We know full well that organizational structures that were useful in an earlier stage of history are now obsolete and impotent on the ground – outside of (Zionist) classrooms, and administration-controlled centers. These centers function within the mystifying logic of multiculturalism, in order to not only reproduce the disciplining and policing of dark bodies, but also to create internalized technologies of self-surveillance. The student organizations generally work very closely with these centers, and share with them vital information and documents about events, workshops, training programs, and the students themselves, thereby enabling the (re)creation of both structures of surveillance with a wide pool of data, as well as subjects that monitor themselves in an effective way. It is precisely in this juncture that we witness the slow disappearance of the difference between administrators and students. We encounter students that act in favor of administrators, and administrators that act as soft cops, and the entire structure of surveillance work with its various institutional coordinates in a methodical and coordinated manner in order to identify, target, order and pacify (student) protests that may have resonance in the larger communities of struggle.

The UC Davis Police Department graduated its first student cadets a few days ago. ASUCD President Carly Sandstrom commented: “This program is something every UC campus should take on — training homegrown officers who understand students.”  This is an example of how the administration works through a structured cooperation between administrators, cops, and students. The various student centers on campus, like the Cross Cultural Center (CCC), have demonstrated themselves to be spaces complicit with Zionist ideology. Students and staff members affiliated with these centers always mediate rightfully enraged pro-Palestinian students into submission through inter/intra-community snitching which has become central for the smooth functioning of administrative logic. There is no point anymore to talk about reclaiming the CCC by evoking the history of the hunger strike. We have to realize that these centers are fundamentally anti-Black, anti-Muslim, and anti-indigenous. To promote policing is to promote the ideology and political practice of settler-colonialism. It is concretely the continuation of the systematic obliteration and assimilation of indigenous communities, geographies, and economies, and the disciplining of black bodies that reduces them into flesh, into the economic units of slave labor. To promote policing is to promote the ideology of the War on Terror that not only evacuates Muslim bodies out of their material social self-representation and location, but also destroys their societies and modes of life for the purposes of creating new markets. The plundering and re-appropriating of resources requires strategic cooperation with the native Muslim bourgeoisie, and it is in this juncture that we witness the use of soft-power that through various reformist programs encourages the formation of moderate subjects that are complicit with U.S imperialism. Within the United States, the emergence of the “American-Muslim” identity signifies the shift from an articulation of an anti-plantation/anti-racist political-religion, towards an internally re-arranged and re-articulated ideology that is at peace with hyphenated Americanism. The CCC nurtures such counter-revolutionary identities. It will not become less racist with time. It will keep reforming and renewing itself to be better at policing dark bodies, and to train students of color to become cops and informants themselves.

For these obvious reasons we did not work through the given student organizations, nor did we try to prepare for our action at a student center, and as we took over Dutton Hall we made it clear that we did not want administrators in our space. Initially, three administrators came to the occupied building and tried to negotiate with us. But we were successful in having them leave the building as it closed around evening time on May 15. The next morning, we were able to blockade the building. We saw from the inside that cops, a fireman, administrators, and reactionary students tried to enter our space. But they were unsuccessful. We were supported by many students on campus who were sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. They came to look at the banners and signs, and engaged in discussions about colonialism, political-economic and social suffering in Palestine, police violence on and off campus, and student debt with supporting comrades who acted as observers right outside of the building. We thank our comrades for their support.

Islamophobia is actively present at UC Davis. But we do not want to think about the hatred against Islam at the level of psychological disposition or cultural misperception. But rather, we want to think about the objective conditions that structure certain kinds of social behavior that target and demonize “non-secular” bodies. When Islam is made flesh through various movements of the body of the mu’min, whether they are religious rituals or political acts in the public sphere, it provokes the racialist order to think about its own foundational sins.  In order to maintain its own metanarrative, white supremacy constantly refounds and reproduces itself in a new historical plane. Islam is seen as a deliberate transgression, an embodiment of infidelity towards America. While there is a general hatred against Islam, patriarchy enmeshed with whiteness targets Muslim women in a particular manner. The precision of this kind of peculiar targeting of veiled Muslimas gets its substance from the specificity of colonial social relations. In order to examine the substance of this specific hatred against Muslim women, we need to look at the dream content of the colonialist. The colonialist dreams about unveiling and penetrating the colonized woman, and this is structurally linked to political-economic penetration and domination. But the veil marks and makes visible the political separation between the colonizer and the colonized. If it is used in a non-assimilationist way, against multiculturalism in accordance with the embodied practice of the sharia, the veil creates a sense of terror in the hearts of the unbelievers. It signifies resistance. It signifies separation. But most importantly it signifies unknowability. This is precisely why for the colonialist there is a need to understand the veil. The understanding of the use of the veil is central to taming of the body that uses the veil. Fanon examines the relation between visibility, colonial gaze and dream of unveiling. He writes: “This woman who sees without being seen frustrates the colonizer. There is no reciprocity. She does not yield herself, does not give herself, does not offer herself [...] Thus the rape of the Algerian woman in the dream of a European is always preceded by a rending of the veil.” Beyond the veil-fetishism, colonialism has a direct interest in targeting bodies of dark women. Women are specifically targeted in Gaza because it is through their bodies that the struggle reproduces itself. Palestinian women and children are seen as a threat to the future of Israel.  Their deaths are not accidental. Israel even sterilizes its own immigrant African women, demonstrating a fundamental anxiety over the reproduction of darker bodies. These genocidal acts of the Israeli State against the bodies of darker women make it structurally similar to the United States[i]. During our occupation of Dutton Hall, as we positioned ourselves against the regulative principles of the administration, practicing Muslims – particularly our sisters – observed their religious duties. There was a salaat (prayer) schedule, and the Muslims prayed in congregation. The practitioners agreed that making salaat together inside an occupied building, in the midst of political encounters, is consistent with the spirit of Islam that aims to bring order out of disorder, without making the forceful distinction between religious practices and political action. Jahiliyyah[ii] is a condition of non-Islam, a condition in which we experience the world in an inverted manner. Our bodies feel disoriented, and the world as a totality seems disrupted. Under these extreme conditions, when we take it upon ourselves to critically engage with the disrupted/disruptive world of colonialism and capitalism, and force ourselves to struggle against the causality of this disruption, we fundamentally work against the material causes of Islamophobia, and take the first step towards disalienation[iii].

Palestine is central to decolonization proper. It is not a side issue. We are at the beginning stage of the formation of an uncompromising anti-Zionism on campus that does not take soft positions for the sake of political, legal, social expediency. Anti-Zionism helps us determine our friends and enemies in a historical manner[iv]. Post-Zionism is just another name for the justification of the occupation of Palestinian life and social consciousness through a reified genealogy that aims to evoke the settler-socialist fantasy of civil integration. Far leftists will have to call for a decisive break with Zionism if they are to be credible in the Islamic world, in the third world. Post-Zionism may have the appearance of a political pragmatism, but it is fundamentally a counter-revolutionary, reactionary position. Zionism cannot be improved. It has to be dismantled. But this task of dismantling requires that we understand Zionism as more than a mere political ideology. It plays a central role in structuring, specifying and organizing neoliberal economic programs[v] in the Middle East within the totalizing logic of capitalism. The economic domination of Palestine foundationally relies upon the Zionist occupation that emerges out of a racialized social-political, historical-ontological difference between settlers and natives.

We had to write this note from the point of view of revolutionaries of color because we find ourselves in colonial relations, in antagonism with white supremacy. And, we are sure that true (white) abolitionists will understand this position. Colonial-relations are reproduced in capitalism. Capitalism has to persistently racialize and colonize. The Nakba is a historically specific event. And, we cannot lose sight of this specificity and the details of our social experience and the differentiating grammar of struggle as we make general propositions about the structure of capitalism, and by extension, imperialism. We have to understand that while capitalism absolutely totalizes and homogenizes, it also necessarily differentiates. It necessarily makes distinctions between the first world and the third world. It necessarily reproduces bodies of slaves and servants in a new historical plane. As always, we are against identity politics[vi], but that in no way seduces us into carelessly upholding empty universals. Fanon writes: “Challenging the colonial world is not a rational confrontation of viewpoints. It is not a discourse on the universal, but the impassioned claim by the colonized that their world is fundamentally different.”  We cannot forget the historical specificity of the dynamic between determinations and struggle.

Death to Jahiliyyah.

Death to reified conceptions of struggle.

Long live the Intifada!


[i] We know about the sterilization of indigenous and black women in the United States in the past.

[ii] This concept is discussed by Qutb in the modern context. We have discussed it differently here.

[iii] This notion of disalienation comes from Steve Biko’s work.

[iv] The friend-enemy distinction is inspired by Malcolm X’s speeches and his theorization of the “collective white man”. A comrade/sister from Palestine reminded us as we were preparing this note that we should be careful about the friend-enemy distinction because there are too many so called “allies” for the Palestinian cause who are interested in dominating the way we talk about resistance to Israel. This is precisely why Malcolm X’s focus on white-supremacy in relation to slavery and servitude is the correct political move.

[v] Adam Hanieh talks about neoliberal programs in Palestine in more detail.

[vi] For our critique of identity politics see our first note: http://bicyclebarricade.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/note-from-the-revolutionaries-of-color/

Re-Admit Tomas to UC Davis

18 April 2012

from Davis Anti-Repression:

A UC Davis undergraduate in art studio was arrested early Saturday morning, 17 March, in his dorm room, by members of both the UC Davis and City of Davis Police. He was charged with Felony Vandalism and held in jail over the weekend and into finals week; his school supplies, phone and computer were all confiscated. With no access to his contacts nor warning of the arrest, he was unable to contact legal representation. Incommunicado in jail, he was unable to take final exams, and was only bailed out (for $20,000) when concerned friends began looking for him after he had been missing for days. UC Davis Student Judicial Affairs, which initiated the warrant for his arrest, didn’t bother to notify his home department, his family, friends, or professors to let them know the student’s whereabouts.

Several weeks later, both Student Judicial Affairs and Student Housing threatened him with disciplinary measures including eviction and expulsion, in addition to the criminal charges they initiated through Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig. The student, who entered UCD as a transfer student last fall, has since been expelled based on poor academic performance, on top of criminal charges that may carry a 3-4 year sentence and $10,000 fine. As a student prominently involved with Occupy UC Davis, arrested during the pepper spray incident on Nov. 18, 2011, these charges appear to be a means to intimidate and punish him for political activism.

The charges against this student-activist are in line with the ongoing and systematic police and legal repression of the Occupy movement. Threatening people with inflated or trumped-up charges, a familiar tactic in many vulnerable communities, is now increasingly wielded as a strategy to chill political dissent on campuses — a way of exacting punishment in jail time, legal expenses, and interference with other obligations before the opportunity for trial. “This is the new de facto regime of guilty until proven innocent, and it should be opposed by every decent person,” said Joshua Clover, a professor at Davis. The university News Service, which reports directly to Chancellor Katehi, has already expressed its enthusiasm for engaging “law enforcement to prosecute proven violations” — seeming to misunderstand the legal relation of trials, proof, and guilt almost entirely, with harmful consequences for students.

The Reynoso Task Force Report on the UCD Pepper Spray Incident just last week verified that the administration’s unfounded hysteria regarding the Occupy movement resulted in their extralegal use of force against student activists. Importantly, the Reynoso Report also underscored the need for campus authorities to handle student political protest through already established, appropriate channels; namely through the SJA and Student Affairs—and not by means of police and criminal charges.

We urge the UCD campus community and the general public to reject categorically the administration’s use of legal maneuvering to suppress political dissent.

Bring a cushion, 5,000 friends, your favorite textbook, and a colorful sign to the Office of Letters and Sciences [at 1:30pm, Thursday]! We’re going to meet at the building’s ground level entrance. If you can’t attend this event, support Tomas at his arraignment this Friday: https://www.facebook.com/events/217176528382173/

FREE TOMAS! WE DEMAND HIS IMMEDIATE RE-ADMITTANCE!

Update:

After a student and faculty sit-in, Tomas was readmitted.

Related:

Davis Dozen Press Release

11 April 2012

Occupy UC Davis Antirepression Crew Media
oucd-antirepression-media@googlegroups.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

What: Call-In to Oppose Prosecution of the 12 UCD Protesters
Contact: Yolo County District Attorney at (530) 666-8180 or Fax: (530)666-8423
Support: Come to the Arraignment on Friday, April 27th, 8:30am at the Yolo County Superior Court, Dept. 9, 213, Third Street, Woodland, CA, 95695

11 UC DAVIS STUDENTS, PROFESSOR, CHARGED FOR U.S. BANK BLOCKADE

Accused May Face up to Eleven Years in Prison

Just months after UC Davis police pepper sprayed seated students in the face during a protest against university privatization and police brutality, Chancellor Linda Katehi’s administration is trying to send some of the same students to prison for their alleged role in protests that led to the closure of a US Bank branch on campus.

On 29 March, weeks after an anti-privatization action against US Bank ended with the closure of the bank’s campus branch, 11 UC Davis students and one professor received orders to appear at Yolo County Superior Court. District Attorney Jeff Reisig is charging campus protesters with 20 counts each of obstructing movement in a public place, and one count of conspiracy. If convicted, the protesters could face up to 11 years each in prison, and $1 million in damages.

The charges were brought at the request of the UC Davis administration, which had recently received a termination letter from US Bank holding the university responsible for all costs, claiming they were “constructively evicted” because the university had not responded by arresting the “illegal gathering.” Protesters point out that the charges against them serve to position the university favorably in a potential litigation with US Bank.

Three of the protesters had received summons from UCD Student Judicial Affairs in mid-February, and it was only after US Bank announced that it had permanently closed its doors that the UCD administration requested that the DA bring criminal charges against the 12. Supporters argue that the university is targeting the dozen in order to limit its liability to US Bank and that the university is effectively using public funds (through the DA’s office) to protect a private corporation’s right to profit from increasingly indebted students at an increasingly expensive public university.

Among the 12 are some of the protesters pepper sprayed by campus police during the infamous November incident. But whereas the District Attorney declined to file charges against protesters then, this less publicized prosecution seems to be an attempt to punish the dissenting students, perhaps in retaliation for their pending ACLU lawsuit against the university. “We might not think of this as violence, because there aren’t broken bones or pepper spray or guns—it’s not as explicit—but sending someone to jail, holding them for a day, let alone 11 years, is violence,” said Andrew Higgins, a graduate student in History and representative of the UC graduate student union.

Supporters are requesting that the public contact the Yolo County District Attorney at (530) 666-8180 and voice their opposition to this prosecution. Supporters also request public attendance on the day of their arraignment, Friday, April 27th, 8:30am at the Yolo County Superior Court, Dept. 9, 213 Third Street, Woodland, CA, 95695. The website in support of the 12 accused is http://www.davisdozen.org.

[END OF PRESS RELEASE] (via BicycleBarricade)

Related

Letter of Solidarity with the Davis Dozen from their UC Berkeley Counterparts

5 April 2012

from UC Chilling Effects:

Last week, 12 students and professors were notified by the Yolo County District Attorney that they were being charged in relation to the blockade of an on-campus bank at UC Davis.  Protesters had blockaded the branch of US Bank in opposition to its exploitation of students at Davis, and the banking industry’s profit-taking through increasing student debt and rising tuition in general.  The protests were successful in getting the bank to close its doors and void its contract with UC Davis. Now, almost a month after the protests ended, these 12 are being charged with over 20 misdemeanor counts related to the blockades, and the Yolo County DA has indicated it might seek damages of up to $1 million dollars on behalf of the bank.

As the recipients of a similar set of belated charges from the Alameda County DA, brought against us in relations to the events of November 9 at UC Berkeley, when students tried to set up a small “Occupy” encampment there and were viciously beaten by the police, we want to extend our solidarity to the 12 protesters charged. We condemn this opportunism on the behalf of UC Davis police and administration. They are clearly using the Yolo County DA to accomplish repression which they feel they are unable to undertake on their own, after the widespread public outrage at their behavior last fall, when sitting protesters were serially and vindictively pepper-sprayed.  That incident, captured on video and viewed millions of times the world over, became an international symbol of the brutality of US police.

In a talk given last year, UC Irvine Professor Rei Terada reflected on the fallout from the UC Berkeley and UC Davis incidents by predicting that, in the immediate future, campuses were not likely to resort to “the kind of violence you can photograph.” The developments at Davis and Berkeley have proven her remarks uncannily prescient. Afraid of public outrage and its endangerment of their jobs, UC administrators and police departments have farmed out the job of repressing students to local prosecutors. This allows the campus administrators to absolve themselves of any responsibility for the charges, claiming such matters entirely outside of their jurisdiction, even though in all of these cases charges could not have been brought without the active encouragement and collaboration of campus police. And so we see that, at Berkeley, Chancellor Birgeneau claims that he knew nothing about the charges filed against UC Berkeley protesters, even though his police department had forwarded to the DA specific recommendations to charge all 13 people. Either Birgeneau is not telling the truth or UC police acted, in this matter, without his oversight. Both are evidence of incompetence. At Davis, Chancellor Katehi, who nearly lost her job after the pepper-spray incident, instructed her police department to avoid confrontation and let protesters continuously blockade the US Bank branch for close to eight weeks, without ever arresting any of them. But, wanting to have it both ways, her police then forwarded the cases to the Yolo County DA.

The last year has seen a remarkable flourishing of protest and resistance in this country. Hundreds of thousands of people have had the opportunity to experiment with new tactics and ideas. But this has also been a time of experiment and innovation for police forces and the courts, which have used the protests as a chance to deploy new weapons, and practice with new techniques of control and containment, as well as set new legal precedents which allow for greater repressive powers. This recent round of “jail-mail” might seem limited in scope but it sets the precedent for a future world where, based upon omnipresent surveillance, anybody who attends a protest might become the subject of a criminal complaint months or even years later.

We understand this development not as the exception to the rule but rather the confirmation of a general trend toward the continuous expansion of the powers of the state, where civil disobedience-style tactics which, in other times and other jurisdictions, might be treated as mere infractions are met with the threat of jail-time and tens of thousands of dollars in fines. We hope that all sane people will stand with us in calling on the Yolo County DA to drop the charges.

written by several of those charged for the events of Nov. 9

(via Cuntrastamu!)

Rally to Support the Banker’s Dozen

3 April 2012

Demonstrators who helped shutdown the US Bank at the UC Davis campus have been handed criminal charges. A rally is being held this Thursday, April 5th at 2pm at the M.U. Patio in support.

More:

 

Criminal Charges To Be Filed Against UC Davis Bank Protesters

30 March 2012

DAVIS, California – Misdemeanor charges will likely be filed against 12 people connected to the on-campus U.S. Bank protests, according to an email circulated among UC Davis administration Thursday evening. The protests were part of an effort to get US Bank off campus, which is eventually what happened. (via reclaimuc)

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:

Strike & Actions Against Police Brutality at the UC

28 November 2011

CALIFORNIA – On Friday, November 18, students at UC Davis followed UC Berkeley protests the previous week and set up tents in the UCD quad in solidarity with students and faculty beat at UC Berkeley and the occupation movement. When UC police ordered a dispersal of the quad, non-violent protestors sat down and linked arms. At this point, Officer Pike retrieved a can of pepper spray and casually sprayed sitting students three times. An angry crowd began to gather around the police, demanding they leave — after which, the police conceded and left. Demonstrators gathered and called for a rally that following Monday. On Monday, some 5-10,000 students, workers and faculty gathered in the UCD quad and held a General Assembly. The UC Davis GA last Monday ratified a call for a strike for today, November 28. Solidarity actions have been organized at multiple other UC campuses. Among the top concerns include resignation of UCD Chancellor Katehi, some form of accountability of UC police or no police on campus (see UCD English Dept.), and no tuition increases. Today is also the first day of the UC Regents meeting that was rescheduled due to planned protests; this meeting will be teleconferenced from several locations including UC Davis.

Updates:

6:00am – UCSC business building Hahn has been shut down with students blocking entrances. Read more

20111128-103619.jpg
(above: UCLA; some 19 regents are present at UCLA)

10:50pm – Around 500 present at different teachins at UCD.

~1pm: Some 200 students at UC Davis have occupied Dutton Hall, reportedly in solidarity with students who shutdown Hahn student services at UCSC

2:45pm – UCSC Hahn student services is occupied by 100-150 students. Specifically the financial aid office and surrounding halls. Support will be needed.

20111128-034444.jpg
(above: UCD Dutton)

3:50pm – Occupied Hahn is holding a General Assembly right now.

4:15pm – Occupied Hahn GA is over and will reconvene at 7pm.

6:45pm – Occupied Dutton has decided to stay the night

7:15pm – Occupied Dutton has decided to stay for the next two weeks with three demands:

1) Katehi’s immediate resignation

2) Cops off campus, with alternative safety force (to be worked out)

3) Immediate freeze on tuition

~11:30pm – Occupied Hahn at UCSC has decided to stay for at least the night. The previous General Assembly that helped establish the Hahn actions today previously approved the same demands that Occupied Dutton ratified today in solidarity with Davis students. An assembly will be held at the occupation at 9am, with another GA to follow later.

Tuesday, 29 November

~11am – Hahn occupiers decide to vacate the building to allow student services to return to their normal function, including Disability Resources. Upon vacating the building, occupiers have supplied a list of demands to the administration.

Letter to President Yudof objecting to hiring William Bratton to investigate UC Davis pepper-spray incident

28 November 2011

November 27, 2011

President Mark G. Yudof
University of California
1111 Franklin St., 12th Floor
Oakland, CA 94607
Fax: (510) 987-9086

Dear President Yudof,

The Council of University of California Faculty Associations (CUCFA) protests your decision to hire the Kroll Security Group, and its Chairman William Bratton, to conduct what you call an independent investigation of police violence at UC Davis. We take no position here on Mr. Bratton’s personal qualifications; our objection is to the conflicts of interest of Kroll Security itself, which is already a major contractor with UC on security matters. According to its website, Kroll’s services are not confined to securing databases and facilities from attacks by criminals and terrorists. It also protects many global financial institutions and other multinationals against threats to “operations” that may come from public criticism and direct political action.

By deepening UC’s links to Kroll, you would be illustrating the kinds of connection between public higher education and Wall Street that the Occupy UC movement is protesting. Kroll’s parent company, Altegrity, provides data-mining, intelligence and on-the-ground security to financial institutions and governments seeking to head off and defeat both private sabotage and public protest. In addition, Altegrity’s parent company, Providence Private Equity, is a major global investor in for-profit higher education companies that benefit from the decline of publicly funded higher education.

We already know that Kroll has provided security services to at least three UC campuses for the past several years. This in itself would disqualify Mr. Bratton from participating in the investigation you propose, even if the role of Kroll and its affiliated companies in defending the financial sector against OWS did not raise further questions about its pro-Wall Street and pro-privatization bias.

A truly independent investigation that would allow UC to provide a credible response to the events at Davis (and the other campuses) needs to address several questions that would not be seriously considered if you hire Kroll.

  • What was your role and that of UC General Counsel in the events at Davis? Did you, as a distinguished first amendment scholar, tell chancellors and campus police chiefs that protests (especially protests against UC’s own policies) are “part of the DNA of this University” that should not be addressed using the same techniques that UC has developed (likely with the help of Kroll) to deal with terrorists, shooters, and cyber-saboteurs? (Even if you have been a zealous defender of the rising student movement to restore public higher education, such a conclusion would not be credible coming from an investigation tainted by Kroll’s conflicts of interest outlined above.)
  • What was and is the role of Kroll in helping banks and public institutions (including UC) investigate and defeat movements such as OWS and their campus counterparts? Is Kroll now acting as a liaison between universities, city governments and the Department of Homeland Security in defending the financial sector against protests occurring on what used to be considered public spaces? Are protests against Wall Street in such spaces now considered a threat to the security of the nation, the city and the public university? (The growing securitization of public space has been a major obstacle to first amendment activity since 9-11.)
  • How much money has UC and its individual campuses paid to Kroll for security services? Were these contracts issued as sole source contracts or was there open bidding? Were Kroll’s services confined to protecting, for example, the privacy and integrity of data systems and faculty and staff conducting animal research or did they extended to what Kroll’s website calls “organizational threats” arising from “the dynamic and sometimes conflicting needs of the entire campus population?” (This could be a description of the student protests that you rightly regard as “central to our history” as a university.)
  • What led to the issuance of false and misleading statements by University of California officials (Chancellors and their assistants, spokespeople, and police chiefs) in the aftermath of police violence at Berkeley and Davis? Did you encourage these efforts at spin control? (Dishonest statements seriously damage the university as an institution devoted to truth and protect only the individuals whose decisions are in question.)

The broader issue is how protest can be part of what you characterized as “our university’s DNA” when the right to protest is not formally recognized within the university’s own codes of student and faculty conduct. It could be and should be. The CSU student code states explicitly that “[n]othing in this Code may conflict with Education Code Section 66301 that prohibits disciplinary action against students based on behavior protected by the first amendment.” If such language were included in the UC code of conduct, students would have a clear first amendment defense against disciplinary action arising from peaceful political protest-and there would be strong grounds for questioning the legality of a police order to disperse a peaceful protest from a public site on a public university campus. The explicit incorporation of constitutional limits on UC’s power to break up demonstrations that threaten its march toward privatization would go a long way toward recovering UC as a public, rather than a private, space. We urge you to see that the UC codes of conduct are amended to parallel those in place at CSU.

Events at Davis and the other campuses have shown the University of California in a negative light, and we agree strongly with the need for an independent investigation. We believe, however, that your appointment of Kroll to investigate the university’s response to last week’s protest could itself become a basis for new protests, and that you should ask Speaker Perez (or someone unaffiliated with the University) to appoint a genuinely independent committee with representatives from student, faculty, staff and civil liberties groups. Such a committee should be given a specific charge to investigate and report on all of the questions set forth above.

Robert Meister,
President, Council of UC Faculty Associations
Professor History of Consciousness and Political and Social Thought, UC Santa Cruz

(via CUCFA)

UC Davis Physics Dept Apologizes on Behalf of University

22 November 2011

DAVIS, California – The UCD Physics dept. has released this moving statement in response to the brutality of the UCPD last week and Chancellor Katehi’s inadequate response.

UC Davis Strike Call

21 November 2011

 

The UC Board of Regents, who not only represent but actually are this state’s richest one percent, has repeatedly shown itself to be utterly unfit to manage and represent the interests of the students, faculty, and workers who constitute the University of California.Following two successive years of sharp tuition increases, accompanied by millions in department and resource cuts, layoffs, and furloughs, the board had the audacity to propose a new 81% fee increase and drastic budget reductions.

Undergraduate student fees have tripled over the past ten years, as we have seen an unprecedented explosion of student debt; and departmental budgets have shrunk, as academic and non-academic workers experience diminishing benefits, swelling workloads, and non-existent job security.

In the midst of the economic crisis, the Regents have intensified their pursuit of the project of privatization and de-funding that diminish the quality of education and quality of life for those across the UC, while consigning students’ futures to greater and greater sums of debt.

The Regents’ theft of an ostensibly public resource to fund “capital projects” such as construction projects and private research initiatives, demonstrate a clear conflict of interests that benefits a narrow administrative elite—both the Regents and their local appointees (chancellors and vice chancellors)—at the expense of the greater faculty, staff, and student body.

The familiar rhetoric of autserity demands our resigned compliance, as our learning and working conditions progressively deteriorate. We have seen recently and in years past that political dissent is met with increasingly violent displays of force and repression by University police.

The continued destruction of higher education in California, and the repressive forms of police violence that sustain it, cannot be viewed apart from larger economic and political systems that concentrate wealth and political power in the hands of the few.

Since the university has long served as one of the few means of social mobility and for the proliferation of knowledge critical to and outside of existing structures of power, the vital role it plays as one of the few truly public resources is beyond question.

The necessity of reclaiming the UC has never demanded such urgency, as it continues to shift towards the corporate model, pursues dubious fiscal partnerships (such as those with the defense department and international agribusiness), and engages in disturbing collusion with financial institutions like US Bank (which is one of the largest profiteers from student loans).

As such, I propose that in light of the upcoming Regents’ vote [concerning the possible 81% student fee hike] on Monday the 28th, (which will be occurring on four campuses simultaneously, one of which being UC Davis), that we call for a general strike this same day, with the aim of shutting down campuses across the state and preventing the Regents from holding their vote.

In response to the intolerable effects privatization and austerity and the horrific repression of student dissent that has occurred throughout the last month, the GA, as a governing body of all concerned UC Davis students, will prevent the Board of Regents from continuing its unbridled assault upon higher education in the state of California.

This will entail total campus participation in shutting down the operations of the university on the 28th, including teaching, working, learning, and transportation, as we will collectively divert our efforts to blocking their vote[s]. In doing so students, faculty and workers assert the power—and the will—to effectively represent and manage ourselves. (via reclaimUC)

Related:

  • UC Santa Cruz General Assembly votes to support UC Davis’ demands including the resignation of Katehi, disbanding the UCPD, and no fee hikes. UCSCGA also votes to form a solidarity action with UCD for Monday, including campus disruptions.

UC Davis Calls for General Strike (and other general assembly news)

21 November 2011

DAVIS, California – The thousands of students, faculty, and workers holding a General Assembly in the UC Davis quad passed by a call for a education wide General Strike for Monday by 99.5%.

The second proposal–disbanding UCPD–did not pass, though it had the support of 60% of the general assembly. The proposal was tabled to be revised, taking into account comments and critiques made yesterday. Many women and people of color spoke out elucidating the many ways cops’ presence on campus did not make them feel safer.

Thousands Gather at Davis Against Police Brutality

21 November 2011

DAVIS, California – In response to the pepper spraying of protesting students at #OccupyUCDavis last week, a noon rally for today, November 21, was scheduled. As of around noon, several thousand have taken to the quad.

12:30pm – Various speakers are talking about their experience being pepper sprayed 3 times in a row. The speaker right now explained how when he was arrested, the zip ties were so tight around his wrist that it caused nerve damage and he has lost some motor function in one his hands.

12:47pm – The crowd size appears to be 2000-5000, but may be much higher (over 10,000). It’s difficult to tell.

1:00pm – Professor Nathan Brown is calling for the resignation of Chancellor Katehi on the mic. Katehi is on the stage with him. Brown is also calling for the removal of campus police.

1:30pm – The GA just started and the first proposal is a General Education Strike on Monday in response to the Regent’s teleconference. Also, a tent encampment will happen tonight.

~9pm – There are some 50 tents set up.

Related:

  • The second #OccupyOakland encampment at Snow Park was raided early this morning and cleared.
  • As of noon on Monday, there are already over 65,000 signatures asking UCD Chancellor Katehi to resign.

No Cops, No Bosses

20 November 2011

from BicycleBarricade:

By now much of the world has seen video and photos of Lt. John Pike of the UC Davis police department as he discharged a canister of burning chemicals into the faces of students seated in the center of the university quad. Most viewers are outraged, and justifiably so. Much of the outrage has been directed at John Pike. He deserves it. But we should remind ourselves that Friday’s police violence was only an aberration because it happened on a university campus not easily assimilable to the stereotype of “Berkeley radicals” and to students who are perceived or portrayed as mostly white and as resisting passively. Whiteness is brought up here, not to chastise those who only now denounce police violence that has been routinely applied to non-white communities and individuals—this itself is a misperception of Friday’s events: a majority of those arrested were not white—but to invite readers, new and old, to extend the critique of police violence beyond the walls of the university to the communities whose life it damages every single day.

Friday’s punitive violence, as terrible as it was, is not an example of bad policing. It is an example of policing.

We’ve seen this kind of violence used before on California campuses, and not just in response to the anti-privatization protests and occupations of the past two years. We’re seeing it used now to suppress dissent in cities across the world, from Oakland to Cairo.

When UC Davis police chief Annette Spicuzza says she is “very proud” of her officers, who “did a great job,” she is convinced that this is true. It’s not simply a public relations strategy, it’s a reflection of the fact that her officers did what cops are expected to do: employ violence against those who challenge authority.

This is why we do not demand the dismissal of Lt. John Pike, although it would be welcome.

Our demand is COPS OFF CAMPUS. Period.
(more…)

Open Letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

19 November 2011

18 November 2011

Open Letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

Linda P.B. Katehi,

I am a junior faculty member at UC Davis. I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, and I teach in the Program in Critical Theory and in Science & Technology Studies. I have a strong record of research, teaching, and service. I am currently a Board Member of the Davis Faculty Association. I have also taken an active role in supporting the student movement to defend public education on our campus and throughout the UC system. In a word: I am the sort of young faculty member, like many of my colleagues, this campus needs. I am an asset to the University of California at Davis.

You are not.

I write to you and to my colleagues for three reasons:

1) to express my outrage at the police brutality which occurred against students engaged in peaceful protest on the UC Davis campus today

2) to hold you accountable for this police brutality

3) to demand your immediate resignation

Today you ordered police onto our campus to clear student protesters from the quad. These were protesters who participated in a rally speaking out against tuition increases and police brutality on UC campuses on Tuesday—a rally that I organized, and which was endorsed by the Davis Faculty Association. These students attended that rally in response to a call for solidarity from students and faculty who were bludgeoned with batons, hospitalized, and arrested at UC Berkeley last week. In the highest tradition of non-violent civil disobedience, those protesters had linked arms and held their ground in defense of tents they set up beside Sproul Hall. In a gesture of solidarity with those students and faculty, and in solidarity with the national Occupy movement, students at UC Davis set up tents on the main quad. When you ordered police outfitted with riot helmets, brandishing batons and teargas guns to remove their tents today, those students sat down on the ground in a circle and linked arms to protect them. (more…)