Archive for topic “student activism”

Is the tank of pepper spray the new fire hose?

http://youtu.be/BjnR7xET7Uo
Watch as Lt. John Pike of the UC Davis Police Department assaults protesters.

[Ed. 9:25 PM CST] Added sentence identifying Lt. John Pike.

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March 4: two campuses, two experiences

I received the following update and photo gallery from my cousin, Kat Williams, who is a doctoral candidate at UCLA:

We had fun yesterday [Ed. March 4]. I made the banners. Actions were fairly decentralized. My department lost the big march early on as we were carrying large drums. We had a nice slow-motion procession through Royce Quad carrying the banners in a line. Lots of people taking pictures, though I haven’t seen any yet. Then we met up with other protesters for the sit-in at the Chancellor’s office, bringing a dance party to that hot hallway. You can find video of it on Facebook. [Ed. I haven’t found this yet video at The Daily Bruin.] While there, we also did a couple of rounds of Guerilla Yoga Drill to bring some meditative mindfulness to the sit-in. Though asked not to leave, we took our dance party/march to south campus and the court of sciences. About 8 bike cops were following us until we did more Guerilla Yoga Drills, then they took off. We headed back to our recently-renovated million dollar lawn (Dickson Plaza) for a picnic. We spotted Peter McLaren on the way and brought him along for a sandwich. Good times in the fight for public education. We took this quote as our guide:

“If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be a part of your revolution.” -Emma GoldmanKat Williams
UCLA doctoral candidate, folklorist

Video: AggieTV

Excellent student journalism from UC Davis' AggieTV. Watch as UC Davis students peacefully march and protest in support of public education. Eventually, they encounter police in riot gear who beat the students with batons, shoot them with pepper balls and use TASERs on the students (only one TASER is visible in the video, though the sickening sound of the TASER is quite audible in the background). Uploaded to bring this video out from behind the walls of Facebook.

And then, there was UC Davis. Another case study in how a police force can commit acts of violence and terror against a student population, release a statement saying that “no one was injured”, get it reported by the mainstream media to the entire world and everyone can just switch back to watching The Bachelor. Take a look at the on-the-scene reporting from UC Davis’ AggieTV with reporters Ericka So and Nicki Sun. They did an excellent job of bringing the story to the world. Ms. So and Ms. Sun did a far better job than the pap I saw on CNN anchored by Ali Velshi on March 4 and continue to find on cnn.com right now.

Really CNN? The lead point in the headline is that traffic is snarled? Not that police beat a female student unconscious (see video) with a baton at UC Davis? Oh yeah, you COMPLETELY LEFT THAT OUT OF YOUR REPORTING. Why CNN refuses to report on police brutality against American students continues to elude me. Honestly, if there is an explanation other than that they implicitly support a fascist police state, please leave it in the comments because I am all eyes and ears!

The key phrase to listen for in the video is “You guys ready to augment?” That is when the shit is about to hit the fan. I guess any of you potential protesters out there should memorize that phrase and know to cover your soft bits if you hear it.

When confronted with these two divergent experiences within the same University system, it is important to remember that March 4 wasn’t just about these two campuses. It was a nationwide Day of Action.

There have been clashes with police. Most notable was the takeover of a freeway in Oakland which ended, one officer estimated, in 150 arrests. One student was injured in that incident, though reports differ as to the severity of his injuries. Students were also arrested or detained in New York, in Michigan, and elsewhere, though rarely in large numbers…[but] today’s protesters rarely articulated immediate demands, and administrators rarely engaged with them. Today was more about activists talking to each other, working with each other, than it was about talking to or working with — or working to overthrow — university power structures. That part comes later. That part starts March 5.Angus Johnston
Historian, Blogger

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Public education deserves your attention…TODAY!

View March 4 Day of Action in a larger map

A map of campus organizing around the March 4 Day of Action to Defend Education, compiled by Angus Johnston of the Student Activism blog (http://studentactivism.net). As of March 4, shows 122 events in 33 states.

March 4 is upon us. For those just joining the conversation:

…the March 4 Day of Action to Defend Education is a grass-roots event in which students, faculty, and others are coming together around the country to speak and act. The Day of Action was originally conceived in California as a response to the current crisis in higher education in that state, but it has since grown to encompass students and others at educational institutions at all levels in all parts of the country — from Berkeley and San Diego to Portland, Maine and Montgomery, Alabama.Angus Johnston
Historian, Blogger



My classes were slated to be about copyright law from the start of the semester. I’ll be “teaching in” on the issues facing public education and blending that in with copyright and the Creative Commons. It should be a wonderful day of radicalization! Don’t you just wish you could be there?

Unfortunately, if past is prologue, today is not going to consist entirely of polite discussions of issues. You can follow all the latest news of the protests in the #march4 twitter feed right here, brought to you live streamed via HootSuite.

As a purveyor of higher education, there is one particularly sickening question that I always come back to when discussing the hash that I sling for a living, so I’ll leave you with that. What does it say about our society that we are willing to allow our children to indenture themselves just for the opportunity at an education?

Now, with that said, go out and read about the issues (and read that last link!) and then get involved in the process of defending a strong, vibrant, cheap (preferably free) public education in your area, wherever you may be. In the oft quoted words of Zach de la Rocha, “It has to start somewhere; it has to start sometime. What better place than here? What better time than now?

Educators and non-educators alike, endorse the movement here.

Follow the March 4 movement on Facebook.

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