They said the HazMat suits were to protect themselves from the OccupyIck.
At 19:50 in the following video, the LA Ick Tanks are shown. They cleanse and decontaminate their tootsies with Palmolive. Whew.
An Open Letter to UC Berkeley Students, Faculty, Administration & Regents from the UC Berkeley Police Officers’ Association
It is our hope that this letter will help open the door to a better understanding between UC Berkeley police and the University community.
The UC Berkeley Police Officers’ Association, representing approximately 64 campus police officers, understands your frustration over massive tuition hikes and budget cuts, and we fully support your right to peacefully protest to bring about change.
It was not our decision to engage campus protesters on November 9th. We are now faced with “managing” the results of years of poor budget planning. Please know we are not your enemy.
A video clip gone viral does not depict the full story or the facts leading up to an actual incident. Multiple dispersal requests were given in the days and hours before the tent removal operation. Not caught on most videos were scenes of protesters hitting, pushing, grabbing officers’ batons, fighting back with backpacks and skateboards.
The UC Berkeley Police Officers’ Association supports a full investigation of the events that took place on November 9th, as well as a full review of University policing policies. That being said, we do not abrogate responsibility for the events on November 9th.
UC Berkeley police officers want to better serve students and faculty members and we welcome ideas for how we can have a better discourse to avoid future confrontations. We are open to all suggestions on ways we can improve our ability to better protect and serve the UC Berkeley community.
As your campus police, we also have safety concerns that we ask you to consider.
Society has changed significantly since 1964 when peaceful UC Berkeley student protesters organized a 10-hour sit-in in Sproul Hall and 10,000 students held a police car at bay – spawning change and the birth of our nation’s Free Speech Movement.
However proud we can all be of UC Berkeley’s contribution to free speech in America, no one can deny this: Our society in 2011 has become an extremely more violent place to live and to protect. No one understands the effects of this violence more than those of us in law enforcement.
Disgruntled citizens in this day and age express their frustrations in far more violent ways – with knives, with guns and sometimes by killing innocent bystanders. Peaceful protests can, in an instant, turn into violent rioting, ending in destruction of property or worse – the loss of lives. Police officers and innocent citizens everywhere are being injured, and in some instances, killed.
In the back of every police officer’s mind is this: How can I control this incident so it does not escalate into a seriously violent, potentially life-threatening event for all involved?
While students were calling the protest “non-violent,” the events on November 9th were anything but nonviolent. In previous student Occupy protests, protesters hit police officers with chairs, bricks, spitting, and using homemade plywood shields as weapons – with documented injuries to officers.
At a moment’s notice, the November 9th protest at UC Berkeley could have turned even more violent than it did, much like the Occupy protests in neighboring Oakland.
Please understand that by no means are we interested in making excuses. We are only hoping that you will understand and consider the frustrations we experience daily as public safety officers sworn to uphold the law. It is our job to keep protests from escalating into violent events where lives could be endangered.
We sincerely ask for your help in doing this.
Like you, we have been victims to budget cuts that affect our children and our families in real ways. We, too, hold on to the dream of being able to afford to send our children and grandchildren to a four-year university. Like you, we understand and fully support the need for change and a redirection of priorities.
To students and faculty: As 10,000 students surrounded a police car on campus in 1964, protesters passed the hat to help pay for repairs to the police car as a show of respect. Please peacefully respect the rules we are required to enforce – for all our safety and protection. Please respect the requests of our officers as we try to do our jobs.
To the University Administration and Regents: Please don’t ask us to enforce your policies then refuse to stand by us when we do. Your students, your faculty and your police – we need you to provide real leadership.
We openly and honestly ask the UC Berkeley community for the opportunity to move forward together, peacefully and without further incident – in better understanding of one another. Thank you for listening.
Keep in mind that the last time Russia embraced "liberal free-market reforms" it was done at the point of a gun, albeit a Russian gun, during Yeltsin's so-called capitalist "shock therapy." Recall that the Russian Federation had a written constitution and an effective and democratically elected parliament after the dissolution of the USSR. Prior to October 1993 that freely elected Russian parliament actually constituted an effective check on the power of the Russian president.
In the summer of 1993 the Russian parliamentary deputies adamantly refused to pass Yeltsin's capitalist "shock therapy" program, then being urged on Yeltsin by the U.S. and other capitalist powers. Instead the parliament even began proceedings to impeach Yeltsin. After several weeks of deadlock between Yeltsin and the parliament, with growing street protests, Yeltsin issued a "decree" dissolving the Russian parliament on September 21, 1993. Yeltsin's decree was in direct contradiction with the articles of the Russian constitution.(1) The mounting crises lead to widespread anti-Yeltsin protests and violence on the streets of Russian cities.
Yeltsin then ordered parliamentarians to vacate the White House (the Russian Parliament building). When they refused Yeltsin promptly ordered the Russian army to besiege and storm the parliament. Hundreds of Russians came to the scene to form a human shield around the parliament building. On October 4, 1993, tank rounds were fired at point blank range into the Parliament building and then it was stormed by armed troops. Hundreds died in the violence that ensued. The government officially declared that 187 people had been killed and 437 wounded. However eye witnesses put the real number much higher.(2) There was not a word of protest over these manifestly undemocratic and violent actions from the U.S. Clinton Administration, because Yeltsin was doing what the U.S. wanted him to do.(3)
Having destroyed the opposition (literally) Yeltsin then proceeded to re-write the Russian constitution more to his liking, giving the president the power to virtually rule Russia by decree, and the power to finally ram his Western-authored "shock therapy" down the throats of an unwilling Russian population.
Yeltsin's shock therapy program subsequently saw Russia's GDP rapidly decline by some 50% from the level that had been achieved during the final years of the Soviet Union(4), as inflation spiraled out of control. Over the next decade Russia suffered a massive decline in living standards as well as the virtual collapse of Russian society and culture. Virtually every statistical indicator of social well being showed the depth of the destruction of Russian society, from the collapse of health care and the rise of long-banished diseases to the collapse of education and spiraling crime, alcoholism and drug abuse. During this period major international criminal gangs became entrenched in Russia including those specializing in the trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and children.
Now this unprecedented social and humanitarian catastrophe took place even as a handful of corrupt "oligarchs" became fabulously wealthy and powerful by leveraging their newfound control over state assets that only yesterday belonged to the people.(5) Almost all the hundreds of billions pocketed by the oligarchs, especially from the sale of Russia's rich natural resources, was spirited out of Russia and into secret offshore bank accounts, tax free.
University campuses are unsafe. While the [Greek] Constitution permits the university leadership to protect campuses from elements inciting political instability, Rectors have shown themselves unwilling to exercise these rights and fulfill their responsibilities, and to take the decisions needed in order to guarantee the safety of the faculty, staff, and students. As a result, the university administration and teaching staff have not proven themselves good stewards of the facilities with which society has entrusted them.
The politicizing of universities – and in particular, of students – represents participation in the political process that exceeds the bounds of logic. This contributes to the rapid deterioration of tertiary education.
ATHENS–November 17: a date that haunts Greece. It’s the date when the uprising of several hundred of students, who stood up against the military dictatorship by occupying the Athens Polytechnic, was brutally crushed. The iconic photo of a tank driving through the Polytechnic’s gate is a symbol of freedom for (probably) all Greeks.
It was back in 1973. The student uprising was crushed but the beggining of the end for the military junta begun that day. The colonels fell from power a year later, in the summer of 1974.
To describe how central this day is for modern Greeks one needs to mention a few simple facts.
- One of the characteristics that the new Greek state has (or had until recently) was the so called “university asylum”. It was an emotionally heavy (due to the Polytechnic uprising) law that officialy prohibited the police from entering any university building. From then onwards, the university compounds would be an area of free expression. In the decades that followed that law meant a lot of freedoms indeed, but few abuses as well. Police only stepped inside university areas after the local dean would ask the prosecutor for their presence. The freedom of speech boomed but Greek universities became at times a haven for different sorts of criminal activity (from rioters who caused mayhem and then hid in university buildings, playing hitch and hike with riot police, to people selling copied DVDs). In any case that law was so emotional for Greeks that, despite its occasional abuses, people were more or less supporting or tolerating it.
- Another illustrative fact is that the biggest terrorist organization in Greece was named after that date. November 17 aka 17N. It was the Greek version of Red Army Faction or the Red Brigades, a pure urban guerilla movement targeting individuals who were connected with the dictatorship or the establishment and was relatively popular, especially up until the end of the 1980s.
- The 1967-1974 dictatorship was one of those CIA sponsored coup d’ etats that were so popular back then. The American role behind the scenes would never wash away from our collective memory. Even today, people in the streets would tell you things like ‘The Americans are behind everything”. The first victim of 17N was Richard Welch, CIA’s station chief in Athens back in 1975. The last one was Stephen Saunders in 2000, he was the military attaché of the British Embassy in Athens. So you get the picture and now you know all about the infamous Greek anti-americanism. This is why the 17 November demonstration always begin from the Polytechnic and ends at the American Embassy.
The graffiti on the Polytechnic’s gate reads “Kick the USA Out” and “Kick NATO Out”
"You cannot evict an idea whose time has come."
Athens NTUA (aka Polytechnic) was the site of a ground-breaking student strike from November 13-17, 1973. To this day, Nov. 17 is a national student holiday in Greece.
The Greek Junta rammed the gates of the University with a tank, killing students, and sealing the end of the dictatorship scarcely 6 months later.
Katehi graduated from NTUA in 1977, and was present at the time of the student strike.
Katehi knows visceraly that a student rising, and political suppression can spell the end of the regime. She appears to be of "mainstream" political views, not overtly reactionary, but dislikes the trajectory of modern Greek politics in favor of a more technocratic or corporatist guidance.
Her current position is that of the Greek Junta in November 1973. That knowledge must be deeply painful to her, since the facsist Junta is universally discredited.
She also knows that a single campus revolt can light the spark that burns a corrupt system to the ground.
In an interview, she explains some of her political philosophy vis-a-vis
Despite the rhetoric though, the political system is not addressing these issues. Why is that in your opinion and what is the solution to actually re-launching the next Apollo Program? Are President Obama’s goals realistic without a willingness on behalf of the broader political system and the American people?
The answer to this is very complex. For starters, our current political system is weak and true leadership is badly needed but lacking. We have a society that has created needs that are expensive. We are experiencing demographic changes such as the aging of the baby boom generation, advances in medicine that prolong the average lifespan, an expectation for better health care and a higher quality of life. At the same time, we have a societal crisis of values and an unwillingness to see that this course is unsustainable in the long-run. The result is the creation of serious political gaps, polarization along party lines and our leadership and voters losing the sense of what our country’s strategic goals should be.
What about Greece? What are your thoughts on the sovereign debt crisis there? What caused it, who was responsible and do you see the country emerging from the doldrums? What policies do you think need to be implemented to successfully improve the situation?
Let me start by saying that I cannot speak with much certainty about Greece. I haven’t lived there for a long time, so my information and empirical experience is limited on that subject. What my belief is that the political leadership in Greece made grave directional mistakes during the late 70s and the 80s. It had an opportunity to develop a functioning democracy and bring its economy closer to European standards but it failed. There were decisions made that compromised education and light manufacturing and drove away whatever productive capacity existed. The policies implemented lead to what we see today: heavy indebtedness, outdated infrastructure, a counter-productive culture and eroded educational institutions.
What do you make of the leadership of George Papandreou?
I am hopeful with the direction of the new government. Hard choices need to be made and the new leadership seems like is making a good effort at addressing them. In Greece you have a good talent pool but also an anachronistic bureaucratic system that needs to be fundamentally changed. Only time will show which one will prevail.
by Panglozz on Sun Nov 20, 2011 at 12:46:56 PM PST
My emphasis. Not only is this the correct analysis, but it also provides clues to what will be required to change it.
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.
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.