Posts tagged “police state”

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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Democracy Now! interview with Elliot Madison

Democracy Now! interview with Elliot Madison, the New York City social worker who was arrested for tweeting the location of police actions during the G-20 riots in Pittsburgh last month. (28:23)

This is some must-see TV if there ever was such a thing, but don’t expect to see this interview on any of the mainstream media networks. They are (almost completely) ignoring the story [CNN (the singular hit)- Fox NewsMSNBCABC NewsCBS News]. This compares to those same news organizations cacophonous coverage of the Iranian “twitter” uprising this summer [CNNFox NewsMSNBCABC NewsCBS News]. Again I ask, if it is good enough for Iranians, why isn’t it good enough for Americans?

You can watch today’s full episode of Democracy Now!, as always, in the right sidebar. For those of you that want to see with just how much ease our government can swoop into your home, steal your possessions and detain you in your underwear, here are Mr. Madison’s motion (PDF) and his lawyer’s supporting declaration (PDF), courtesy of the Electronic Frontier Foundation; attached to the declaration are copies of the search warrant, an inventory of the seized items, and the original criminal complaint.

If you think this story doesn’t concern you, think again.

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New York man arrested for tweeting police actions at G-20

A self-described New York City anarchist has been accused of tweeting the location of police officers to protesters trying to evade them during the Group of 20 economic summit in Pittsburgh.

Pennsylvania State Police arrested Elliot Madison alleging he used Twitter to direct the movement of protesters and inform them about law enforcement actions at last month’s summit.Associated Press Wire Service

There is so much to say about this that there is actually little to say. Forgive my Yogi Berra-ness. I’ll just pass along the thoughts of a Huffington Post commentator:

By the way, the Iranian protesters tweeted the actions and events surrounding their stolen election, and we cheered them on. Funny how suddenly Iranians have more rights than Americans in Pittsburgh. The charges better be dropped, and an apology from the police department forthcoming. I’m not holding my breath.Huffington Post user “bugsbonzai”

Don’t forget, the Obama administration thinks so much of the power of Twitter that they actually asked them to delay maintenance to help keep the flow of information coming from inside Iran. So, I ask you, if it is good enough for Iranians, why is it not good enough for Americans?

Perhaps now would be a good time to think about joining the ACLU and the EFF if you haven’t already done so. Along with the Center for Constitutional Rights, these organizations are the last line of defense for these citizens who are out there in the world, making full use of their natural rights and running into the road blocks thrown up by our government. This brings a close to our impromptu pledge drive. Please feel free to move about the cabin.

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