Thursday, November 10, 2011

They Come By Night

One of the characteristics of the repression of the current spate of uprisings known as "Occupy" is that the repression typically occurs in the dead of night. For some reason, our rulers prefer to do their business out of public view.

Last night and into this morning, the Center of Repression was on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley, the home place of the Free Speech Movement that got under way in the same location (not just on the same campus, but in exactly the same location in Sproul Plaza) some 47 years ago. Mario gave his stirring speech -- from which this excerpt is taken

on December 2, 1964, but the protest began in September of 1964, when the University administration decided that "free speech" (specifically to talk about and/or raise money for civil rights campaigns and to engage in critical dialogue about the Vietnam War) was verboten on or near the campus. It was actually quite a complicated ruling that in retrospect seems ridiculously bureaucratic and confused, and the student response to it was almost as baroque.

What Mario was going on about in his December 2 speech on the steps of Sproul Hall was the take over of the Administration offices located inside Sproul Hall through a sit in (what we now call an "Occupy"), an action that commenced immediately after the speech.

All day -- and all night -- there have been ongoing #OccupyCal protests, administration "negotiations," and police crackdowns. The video above shows police action yesterday afternoon. It's fairly rare to see these kinds of operations in the daytime, but UC police have been training in the open in the day time for just this kind of thing.

The festive day of protest at Berkeley started out like this:

Turned into this back on campus:

The action got much more intense after dark:

On the steps of Sproul Hall:

On the lawn:


Precursors: I yabber a lot about the Free Speech Movement of almost 50 years ago because it was so meaningful to me as a rebellious youth at the time. There have been many precursors to the current uprisings, though, some of them much more recent. This Revolt and Revolution did not emerge from a vacuum. The ground for it has been prepared for years. The video below depicts a protest over UC system tuition hikes that took place at Wheeler Hall on the UC Berkeley campus two years ago. Note the evocative nature of what was going on then; note how much of it has been incorporated into the Occupy Movement of today:

And this is what it ultimately came from:

No comments:

Post a Comment