Monday, November 21, 2011

Until They Say "NO!"

These three videos give a fuller picture of what was going on at UC Davis on the Day of the Incident with the Pepper Spray.

It was not quiet, but at no time -- what so ever -- were the police under any threat at all. That, unfortunately is not enough to convince them to de-escalate the situation rather than making it worse. Why?

Because, as Katehi said in her interview below, they were "following protocol." In fact, compared to what happened at Berkeley, were numerous students and faculty were bludgeoned by the police, using pepper spray WAS a "de-escalation" -- at least it was to the blind, deaf and dumb brutalizers. It doesn't occur to them not to engage in brutality.

And it doesn't occur to them because brutality in some form is part of the policy their protocols for dealing with resistance -- "violent" or "nonviolent" resistance, it doesn't matter, any more than it would matter whether livestock were getting violently or nonviolently out of control. The policy is to use brutal force. Period.

This is how Nathan Brown puts it -- correctly in my view:

THESIS TWO Police brutality is an administrative tool to enforce tuition increases.

What happened at UC Berkeley on November 9? Students, workers, and faculty showed up en masse to protest tuition increases. In solidarity with the national occupation movement, they set up tents on the grass beside Sproul Hall, the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement. The administration would not tolerate the establishment of an encampment on the Berkeley campus. So the Berkeley administration, as it has done so many times over the past two years, sent in UC police, in this case to clear these tents. Faculty, workers, and students linked arms between the police and the tents, and they held their ground. They did so in the tradition of the most disciplined civil disobedience.

What happened?

Without provocation, UC police bludgeoned faculty, workers, and students. They drove their batons into stomachs and ribcages, they beat people with overhand blows, they grabbed students and faculty by their hair, threw them on the ground, and arrested them. Numerous people were injured. A graduate student was rushed to the hospital and put into urgent care.

Why did this happen? Because tuition increases have to be enforced. It is now registered in the internal papers of the Regents that student protests are an obstacle to further tuition increases, to the program of privatization. This obstacle has to be removed by force. Students are starting to realize that they can no longer afford to pay for an “educational premium” by taking on more and more debt to pay ever-higher tuition. So when they say: we refuse to pay more, we refuse to fall further into debt, they have to be disciplined. The form this discipline takes is police brutality, continually invited and sanctioned by UC Chancellors and senior administrators over the past two years.

Police brutality against students, workers, and faculty is not an accident—just like it has not been an accident for decades in black and brown communities. Like privatization, and as an essential part of privatization, police brutality is a program, an implicit policy. It is a method used by UC administrators to discipline students into paying more, to beat them into taking on more debt, to crush dissent and to suppress free speech. Police brutality is the essence of the administrative logic of privatization.
My emphasis. Not only is this the correct analysis, but it also provides clues to what will be required to change it.

For one thing, there has to be a demand. A non-negotiable demand that police on campus will not be allowed to use physical force of any kind against nonviolent resistance, and they will not be allowed to redefine nonviolent resistance to suit their needs to be violent.

Next, if campus police are trained to be violent against nonviolent resistance (training which was going on this summer on the Berkeley campus) they must say "NO!"

Then, if any campus police are ordered to attack people using nonviolent resistance tactics, they must say "NO!"

Until and unless police department personnel stop obeying orders to commit violent repression and brutally break up nonviolent protests, this sort of thing will just keep happening, no matter all the task forces, reports back, and recommendations.

Right now, it is the policy of the University to use violent tactics to break up nonviolent protests.

Even if that policy is superficially changed, the practice of violence against protesters will continue unless the officers involved themselves do the honorable thing and say "NO!"

We aren't at that point yet, but I think it may be coming.

As for me, I'm planning to head over to Davis this morning, but as the rally there is being billed as a convergence, I'm not at all sure I'll be able to get even close to it. Davis is a small town and the campus is defensible by closing off a few roads. Getting close to the rally may be impossible. If that's the case, I'll attempt to watch the events on video streams.

The Four Simultaneous Views Video of the Incident at UC Davis:


  1. Hey Che Pasa,

    Good to see you standing up for what's right.

    We miss you at UT, you know?

    Any way I can help? Please let me know.


  2. Hay Scuzza!

    I'm on indefinite hiatus from Salon. You know they got Talbot to come back. Well. There you are.

    (It's a lloooonnnnngggg story.)

    Anyway, hope you're all doing well over there and are as intrigued and excited as I am about the liberation potential of the Occupy (or "De-Colonize") Movement growing all over the world. With some exceptions, of course.

    Stay well!