Posts Tagged ‘occupation’

Eshelman Hall Shutdown

27 November 2012

BERKELEY, California – On Tuesday afternoon, students at UC Berkeley chained their necks to the 2 doors of the 6th floor of Eshelman Hall. Police are unable to enter the floor without causing severe injury to demonstrators. Initially, some 40 students gathered outside to support the action. The demonstration is calling attention to the low enrollment of students of color and austerity measures impacting students of color being employed at the university. It appears this occupation is not strictly related to #occupycal demonstrators who pitched tents and faced police brutality a little over a year ago. The action coincides with the appointment of a new chancellor, Nicholas Dirks, to the campus.


5:30pm – Police appear to be unable to enter the 6th floor.

5:40pm – The occupiers have released a list of 4 demands including: amnesty to demonstrators, the restoration of the Multicultural Student Development (MSD) to its former structure, increase the MSD budget, increase funding for recruitment and retention services.

5:50pm – It appears some administrators have entered the building to negotiate. The police has otherwise restricted access to the building.

6:05pm – Negotiations have reportedly fell through, however the occupation continues.

Demonstrators outside spell out of “SOS” with candles.

6:25pm – Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Gibor Basri [and Dean Poullard] continues talks with some students. Watch livestream here.

6:40pm – Crowd outside has increased. Negotiations appear to continue. The student newspaper, the DailyCal, reports that students actually drilled their restraining locks to the doors. The demands can be found re-posted in full here.

7:00pm – Reportedly, NLG legal observers have been denied access to witness potential police action inside the building.

9:15pm – Negotiations have ended and the Eshelman occupiers have decided to exit the building. The student demonstrators have been promised a “transitional review team” and amnesty for their actions.

9:40pm – The occupation has ended.

Occupy Everything Fight Everywhere Strike March 4!

6 February 2010

Occupy Everything Fight Everywhere Strike March 4!

The call has gone out. On March 4th, students, workers and teachers throughout the nation and across the globe will strike. Pre K-12, adult education, community colleges, and state-funded universities will come together in an international Strike and Day of Action to resist the neoliberal destruction of public education in California and beyond.

We stand beside all who wish to transform public education, and we seek to advance the struggle by generalizing the tactic that has, by far, been the strength of the movement: direct action.

In keeping with the spirit of March 4th, we call upon everyone, everywhere, to occupy everything—from collapsing public universities and closed high schools to millions of foreclosed homes. We call on all concerned students and workers to escalate the fight against privatization where they are, in solidarity with the California statewide actions. We envision a network of occupied campuses in multiple states across the nation.

We call upon all Bay Area students, teachers, and workers to unite on March 4 to march from Berkeley into downtown Oakland. We encourage all those in the Bay Area to organize actions alongside and in support of the occupation movement, so that March 4th becomes a day of blockades, sit-ins, mass marches to the streets and freeways, a day for reclaiming public spaces and institutions. In solidarity with hundreds of occupied schools and workplaces across the globe, we seek to make March 4th an international day of action demonstrating our collective resistance.

Why Direct Action?

We understand clearly that decades of rallies and petitions have not and will never be enough. We have already witnessed the violent extremism and radicalism of the other side: behind every fee increase, a line of riot cops. Behind every call for “dialogue,” the threat of prison. Behind calls for “shared public sacrifice,” millions in obscene raises and bonuses.

Governor Schwarzenegger’s recent proposal to tie public education to privatized prisons has accompanied the authorization of mass student arrests, the labeling of student activists as “terrorists,” and the accelerating militarization of California from its public campuses to its patrolled borders.

The state’s decision has also revealed the power and effectiveness of direct action to turn the tide against the corporate and financial interests, the lobbyists and politicians, who have used the crisis to enrich themselves while destroying or privatizing fundamental public goods like education and health care.

Public Education Versus Private Prisons: A False Choice

As more and more jobs are lost and homes foreclosed, an entire generation has been reminded that those who work do so at the expense of others who are barred from doing so. The availability of scarce future jobs depends upon the forced subtraction of a portion of the population from the work-force. This is the web of relations in which we work and study; this is the truth of a profoundly racist, neoliberal society whose logic education reproduces, alongside prisons, in the name of “meritocracy” or “a better life.”

Prisons and schools are the last remaining spaces in our society where individuals rendered superfluous by contracting job and housing markets gather together for years at a time. Schools and prisons house the “privileged” or the “pathological.” The university produces the wage earner-to-be, with skills financed by a lifetime of debt. Prisons are a home of last resort for those unable to pay the steep price of admission for job training, certification, and the right social networks.

The Governor’s zero-sum proposal pits various sectors of the population against each other for diminishing resources, for the right to die slower or faster. It is a false choice and we reject it. This crisis cannot be solved, only magnified, by distributing violence and misery among scapegoated populations: immigrants, prisoners, the “urban poor,” and now, students and youth in general.

The Crisis Is General. So Too Is The Resistance

To occupy a building, to defend it against the police, to shut down a city, is to subtract ourselves as much as possible from the property relations that govern our relationships to each other—from the enclosure of knowledge and skills within dwindling job markets and hollowed-out institutions; from the enclosure of universities within admissions policies which crowd out students and workers of color through exclusionary logics of race, class and citizenship; from the enclosure of tuition within capital projects financed by student and worker debt; from the enclosure of work within the wage relation which clearly cannot meet the basic human needs of the vast majority of us.


Rousing Speech From the General Assembly

27 September 2009

Everyone can sense it: our leaders are afraid. They are terrified of our power to escalate this situation. 100 citizens of California disrupted the most recent meeting of UCOP and the Regents. 100 people placed their bodies in the way of business as usual, causing the Regents to evacuate their own meeting and sending the message that the people of California will not tolerate these, or any, future cuts. 100 bodies managed — however briefly — to grind this system to a halt. But the armed thugs, who we call the “police,” dragged these 100 people out of a public building so that the business of UCOP and the Regents could continue unopposed. We have heard this declaration of war and we are prepared to respond in kind.

Do you know what UC President Mark Yudof had to say for himself? Do you know what he said after these people were forcibly removed from his meeting and after he proposed to increase student fees to $10,300 for next fall? I’ll tell you what he said — and I quote — “It’s kind of like kindergarten…we need some ‘quiet time’ around here.” [pause] On the contrary Mr. Yudof, it is you and those in Sacramento who are behaving like a selfish children. It is you who need to go back to kindergarden and learn how to share. Respectfully, Mr.  Yudof, it’s time for you to shut the fuck up, sit the fuck down! [pause] We have heard your declaration of war. We have observed your attempts to silence dissent, and we are prepared to respond in kind.

Would anyone like to know what Yudof — a well-intentioned liberal — his advice to the faculty, students and workers of this University, his advice to all of you assembled here today? [pause] He stated, and I quote, “You have more of a future in prisons than in universities.” That was his advice to you at the last Regents meeting: “You have more of a future in prisons than in universities” He actually said that if the University was run more like California’s prision system, “we’d be much better off. We’d be much more competitive.” [pause] The University of California is already being run like a prison!  The evidence of this fact is all around us. The same architects, who designed the University buildings on this very campus, built California’s sprawling prison system. Much like the inhabitants of these prisons, we have been told that our situation is non-negotiable. We have been told that we have to just just bend over and take it without complaint. With each increase in fee, with each cut to course offerings, with each overcrowded lecture hall, and with each student of color and low-income student no longer able to afford a University degree, our society becomes less free — and — the students of this University are imprisoned within a sick cycle of spiraling student debt. And for what? We work hard and we borrow in order work hard and make money we have already spent. For most of us, the jobs awaiting for us after all the exams, and lectures and books are the jobs we already have. Close to three quarters of students work; many full time. Meanwhile we no longer acquire an education with our degrees; all we’re acquiring is debt! And this situation is only getting worse from here. THe time for dissent is now!

It is true: there is no future inside or outside these prison walls. Therefore, we gather here today to make the impossible demand for a free university, accessible to all. We make the impossible demand for a free society.

But our generation is not so naive as to believe that Mark Yudof is the problem with this system. The entire program running the system is the problem! There is a point at which the operation of the system becomes so appalling, makes you so sick in the head, that you can no longer take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to throw your bodies upon the upon the wires and upon the control panels of this system, upon the whole terrifying apparatus — and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it — that unless you’re free the system will be prevented from working at all!!

We stand on this campus, and on campuses throughout this state to reject the prisoner’s dilemma into which we have been forced. We reject the zero-sum logic in which we are forced to decide today which of our friends, colleagues, students, or workers will receive pink slips tomorrow. Sacramento, the Board of Regents, and the Office of the President have already hijacked the mission of higher education in an attempt to run the University like a corporation. It is they who have made it impossible to prepare the youth of this state for a life actually worth living. We therefore reject all attempts to paint today’s walkout as harmful to our mission to teach. Rather than allowing business as usual to continue, we have instead chosen to teach the most important lesson of all to the youth of California: That lesson is dissent. That lesson is freedom of speech. That lesson is the power that you already hold in the palm of your hand and in the fist that you can clench.

The choice of how to escalate this situation is ours and we are about to conduct a discussion about it. We can make it impossible for business to continue at this University. Our generation can build a movement today with our friends at Cal State University and at Community Colleges across this state to oppose the evisceration of our public schools, the impoverishment of our futures and the imprisonment of our minds. We can send the message that we have heard this declaration of war. We have observed the attempts to silence dissent and we are prepared to respond in kind.

Make no mistake about it: today, a battle line has been drawn between those defending the idea of a free and public education accessible to all Californians, and a group of wealthy plutocrats seeking to line their pockets with tuition dollars from working families and students, tuition financed largely through the same corrupt system of credit that got us in this whole mess. The Regents and UCOP have declared this war; faculty, students and workers have merely chosen the first day of battle. It is up to our generation to decide what our next move will be.

Thank you.