Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Occupy Oakland

“Occupy Wall Street - A teepee grows in Oakland; As camps are raided and evicted elsewhere, the city's movement builds a symbol -- and searches for purpose”
2011-11-30 by Chris Colin []
[ … ]
“Every time we say the police aren’t going to do something dumb, they surprise us,” Becca Von Behren told me in the hours before the vigil.
Von Behren, 30, is an attorney with a San Francisco veterans rights group and part of Occupy Oakland’s volunteer legal committee. There's no clearer picture of a 99 percenter than a veteran my age, she told me. Over the last few days Von Behren was instrumental in helping to devise the legally savvy underpinning of the day's planned vigil. The idea rested on precedent from a 1984 case called Clark v. Community for Creative Nonviolence. As she and another attorney from the committee explained it to me, that case established that elements of a protest designed for expression were protected by the First Amendment — even tents and teepees, if they're used as symbols rather than for sleeping.
“Sleeping is not protected — they can ban that,” Von Behren said. “We'll have a permanent and meaningful structure in the plaza, but nobody will be sleeping in it.”
I asked her what the meaning was. Specifically, I asked her how I should explain it to my mom, a proxy in my mind for everyone with growing sympathy for the movement and growing doubts about its tactics.
“Here's what I said to my mom,” Von Behren said. “Regardless of whether measurable changes occur — and I'm not even sure what the metric would be — there are people out here involved in direct, deliberative democracy, discussing things usually not discussed among strangers. That kind of awakening is enough.”
[ … ]

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Students Occupy Hahn UCSC Student Services Building in Solidarity against Police Violence, Education Cuts

UCSC Hahn Occupation: Purpose and Explanation -
A statement explaining why Hahn was chosen was presented along with the demands.
[On] November 28, 2011, a group of UCSC student activists picketed and proceeded to occupy Hahn Student Services Center. This was an action of civil disobedience carried out as a result of a decision reached by the UCSC General Assembly in solidarity with UC Davis Students who were pepper sprayed and beaten by UCPD. We targeted Hahn because of the strategically placed offices it holds: the Offices of Financial Loans and Judicial Affairs. The Office of Financial Loans is the location where students are shackled with a lifetime of debt to finance ever-increasing administrative paychecks. The Office of Judicial Affairs consistently oppresses activists and violates their first amendment rights. These are important offices in our protest movement:
Business as usual has failed.
We realize the gravity of consequence incurred by our occupation to students attempting to complete business services in the building. A fundamental component of occupation is disruption of day-to-day activities. However, protesters in Hahn were given faulty information that regular building functions were relocated to other parts of campus. When we learned [the morning of November 29th] that this was untrue, we worked rapidly and in solidarity to return the building to students, who have always been a primary concern.
Let there be no confusion: we are a student-led movement, with aims to work toward a superior higher education system for faculty, students, and workers.
We have left this building as an exercise in student sovereignty; harnessing our power to return services to students, and in order to open negotiations of our demands in good faith. There will be a General Assembly on Monday at 7pm to further these discussions. [Location TBA]

UCSC Hahn Occupation Demands
Though students voted to end the occupation of Hahn, they have generated the following list of demands. Actions will be ongoing!
We support the demands of UC Davis students and faculty. In solidarity with them we make the following demands on our own campus administration: 
1. We demand that the UCPD be disbanded and a committee be formed by students, faculty and workers whose mandate is to transfer legitimate community safety responsibilities to democratically accountable and unarmed campus safety groups. 
The mandate of this committee will be to: 
-Determine the full range of functions that are currently fulfilled by UCPD which can legitimately be delegated to campus safety groups. 
-Determine the few specific situations in which it may be necessary to call on the assistance of outside agencies and to create the necessary protocols that the University must follow before these agencies are invited onto campus. 
-Prioritize community well being and violence prevention over police activities. To this end its emphasis should be on refunding resource centers like conflict resolution and rape prevention, as well as refunding centers dedicated to addressing the needs of underserved populations on campus. 
2. We call on the administration of this campus to refuse to implement budget cuts imposed by the state, UCOP or the Regents. This means: 
-Rescind tuition hikes back to 2009 levels and allow students to enroll in classes at that rate. 
-Rescind campus layoffs back to 2009. 
-Rescind budget cuts to divisions and departments to 2009 levels. 
3. We demand that no disciplinary actions are to be taken against students or allies for participation in occupation protest activities. 
4. We demand that this list of demands be sent out to all members of the campus community on the University's own e-mail servers.

Observation by a student:
Cal. Chancellor Birgeneau's campus cops violent baton jabs on peaceful students -
UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau campus cops apply violent baton jabs on students protesting increases in tuition. Campus UCPD report to chancellors and take direction from their chancellor. University of California campus chancellors vet their campus police protocols. Chancellors are knowledgeable that pepper spray and use of batons are included in their campus police protocols. 
Chancellor Birgeneau’s campus police use baton jabs on his students. UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau and UC Davis Chancellor are in dereliction of their duties. 
UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau and UC Davis Chancellor need to quit or be  fired for permitting the brutal outrages on students protesting tuition increases and student debt 
Opinions? Email the UC Board of Regents marsha.kelman [at] 

"UCSC Students shut down Hahn administration building"
2011-11-28 by rosie, posted at []:  
UCSC Students shut down Hahn administration in solidarity with students facing violent police repression at UC Davis and UC Berkeley. where free speech was shut down by weapons-grade pepper spray and beatings over the past few weeks. Students are calling attention to the militarization of campus and the focus on quieting political dissent rather than funding instruction and student services. Students will be heard. Demands: 1) Resignation of Chancellor Katehi 2) UCPD off of campuses 3) No more fee hikes

Students at the University of California, Santa Cruz have surrounded Hahn Student Services building and are planning for a day of actions in solidarity with students who faced police brutality and repression of student free speech at UC Davis. 
A little over a week ago at UC Davis, students’ freedom of speech was attacked with weapons-grade pepper spray. This attack threatens the freedom of students not only at UC Davis, but also of nonviolent protesters everywhere. Police brutality is being used to enforce fee hikes and growing student debt. The Regents have justified their hikes with the budget crisis, but they have enough money to fund their violence: last year, UC spent a total of $35.4 million on police, with an average pay of $92,700—that is, over six times as much as teaching assistants make. 
Police brutality is nothing new for the UC system. Demonstrators against budget cuts and tuition hikes have experienced a history of state repression: 
2005: “Tent University” at UC-Santa Cruz was violently dismantled by police 
2007-8: Tree sitters saw multiple attempts at repression, including arrests 
2009-10: Participants in the UC-wide occupation movement, including faculty, staff, and students, were subjected to arrests, pepper spray, and beatings 
2010: UCPD pointed loaded weapons at demonstrators at the UC Regents meeting in San Francisco 
2011: A nationwide occupy movement emerges and is subjected to violent evictions and repression 
2011: UC-Davis students pepper sprayed. ACLU declares the use of pepper spray for crowd control to be an “unconstitutional use of force” (NYT, 11/22/11)
Why is this happening? Police violence is to prevent resistance to an unjust economic system. In California 11% of the budget goes towards prisons, but only 7.5% goes to higher education. 
The Regents were planning to meet in San Francisco last week, to raise tuition by 81% over the next four years. Student activists planned a protest, and the Regents were afraid to confront peaceful student protest and cancelled their meeting. They will videoconference today in several locations, and UC activists are at those universities making it clear that they will disrupt their meetings. 
Administrations claim that they put police on campus to protect student safety. But the greatest threat to student safety is privatization, exploitation, and repression. Students are graduating with impossible debt and few opportunities to get a job. Meanwhile, Regents and administrators like Mark Yudof make over $500,000 a year and pledge our tuition to borrow money for lucrative building projects, while our class sizes increase. When we resist this exploitation, we are subjected to brutal violence by police. 
The general assembly of the Davis occupation voted nearly unanimously for a general strike today to protect their right to protest. In solidarity, and in defense of our own rights, we are striking today. We have three demands: 
1. Immediate resignation of Chancellor Katehi 
2. All cops off the UC campus 
3. No fee hikes 
As of 5:30am, students have surrounded the Hahn Student Services building with the intention of shutting the building down. This action is to call attention to the lack of funding for student services and instruction, while financially supporting the repression of free speech. 
The first rally will take place today (Monday) at noon at Bay Tree Plaza, followed by a 2pm Action Assembly to decide next steps. 
Students require a new kind of society that allows for the free speech and the expression of political dissent, values people over profits, and prioritizes education rather than repression.

(photo by rosie)
Occupy! (photo by Edgar)
"No Work Today" (photo by Edgar)
Solidarity with UC Davis (photo by Edgar)

Decolonize Education (photo by Edgar)
UPDATE: UCSC Hahn student services is occupied!
2:45pm – UCSC Hahn student services is occupied by 100-150 students. Specifically the financial aid office and surrounding halls. Support will be needed.

"Students Occupy Hahn Student Services Building at UCSC"
2014-11-29 photos and article by Alex Darocy [], posted at []: 
After effectively shutting down and preventing employees from starting the workday at the Hahn Student Services building at UC Santa Cruz starting at 5am on November 28, students held a rally at Quarry Plaza at noon followed by a general assembly at 2pm. After some discussion of agenda items, students consensed on holding the remainder of the GA at the Hahn building where they could support those who were still maintaining the shutdown. At Hahn, it was consensed on that the building would be entered and occupied.

The occupation of the Hahn building began at about 4pm, and the general assembly was moved to the second floor balcony. Some students listened to the proceedings from inside of the offices. While occupying the building, students utilized conference rooms for working group meetings, and the restrooms were briefly re-identified as "gender neutral." The general assembly was to be reconvened at 7pm so that students could break into specific working groups. The main office cubicle area was eventually transformed into a study area that students used as the evening's general assembly stretched late into the evening. By 11pm, and 4 hours into the resumed GA, students had consensed on how to proceed if the police arrived and asked them to leave the building, and the group also consensed on the location of an encampment to be set up if they did leave Hahn. At 11pm students still had to decide if they would leave to that new encampment location immediately, or stay in Hahn overnight.
The day of actions at Hahn Student Services was held in solidarity with students who faced police brutality and repression of student free speech at UC Davis. Throughout the day, students maintained their three specific demands of the university:
1. Immediate resignation of Chancellor Katehi (of UC Davis)
2. All cops off the UC campus
3. No fee hikes

Before the rally, the shutdown of the Hahn building.

Rally at Quarry Plaza.

A student guest speaker from UC Davis at the rally.

Speaker at the rally.

Speaker at the rally.

Students briefly set up tents during the general assembly at Quarry Plaza.

Quarry Plaza.

At Quarry Plaza, students reach consensus on moving the GA to Hahn.

General assembly on the second floor balcony of Hahn.

In a conference room.

The main cubicle area. Students later utilized this space for studying.

Listening in on the general assembly from inside of Hahn.

Gender neutral restroom.

Inside the break room.

After 7pm, the general assembly was facilitated from outside of the building looking in.

The final general assembly was held in the main hall of the second floor, and students consensed after some discussion on allowing members of the media to take one photo of the group.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chemical Weapons Defense

Chemical Weapons Defense, distributed during the 1st Oakland General Strike of 2011, by the "Rosehip Medic Collective":