Strike, Day of Action activities to be held Tuesday

A crowd of thousands flooded into Upper Sproul Plaza on the night of November 9th. More demonstrations are planned for Tuesday, November 15th.
David Herschorn/File
A crowd of thousands flooded into Upper Sproul Plaza on the night of November 9th. More demonstrations are planned for Tuesday, November 15th.

In response to recurrent funding cuts to higher education and impassioned by police actions last week, Occupy Cal protesters will vote on whether to set up an encampment again.

A general strike and a Day of Action are set to take place Tuesday on Sproul Plaza at UC Berkeley, beginning at 8 a.m. and to be followed by various activities including public readings, teach-outs and mass gatherings.

Demonstrations will take place throughout the day — including a rally at 2 p.m. and a general assembly at 5 p.m., when protesters will vote on whether to build an encampment. The day’s events lead up to a speech by UC Berkeley professor of public policy and former U.S. secretary of labor Robert Reich, who will deliver his annual Mario Savio Memorial Lecture on Sproul Plaza at 8 p.m.

Buses to San Francisco are planned for Wednesday. Because the UC Board of Regents’ meeting was canceled Monday due to concerns about violence, the protesters will rally outside banks affiliated with the regents.

To discuss this week’s events, several UC Berkeley students took to the steps of Sproul Hall Monday, sharing their stories of alleged police brutality at last Wednesday’s demonstration and urging the student body to take part in the protests.

Jessica Schaffer, a graduate student at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, said she was hit in the jaw by a police baton, knocked to the ground, then hit in the jaw again when police rushed the protesters a second time.

“After all that, I dropped my bike light, and when I went to pick it up, a police officer kicked it away,” Schaffer said. “Then he told me that if I wanted it, I’d have to leap through his legs to get it.”

Charlie Eaton, a UC Berkeley graduate student and financial secretary of United Auto Workers Local 2865 — a union representing more than 12,000 graduate student workers in the UC system — said at the Monday press conference that the union has gathered support for Wednesday’s events.

He said that the union has worked with the ReFund California Coalition to bring students “from Fresno to Santa Cruz” to San Francisco Wednesday.

He said that even though they would not be able to bring their dialogue directly to the regents, they would still find a way to tell the university administration that they should “side with students instead of with the Wall Street banks.”

UC Berkeley graduate student Alex Barnard became emotional while describing how he suffered a fractured rib last week as a result of jabbing from police batons. He said he asked to be arrested so the violence would stop and was subsequently thrown to the ground and punched in the head despite putting up no resistance.

“I was deeply traumatized by what happened,” Barnard said. “I’m unable to sleep, unable to work. I’m afraid to go to class or even be on campus as long as Chancellor Birgeneau is still here.”

Demonstrators at the press conference also discussed a potential lawsuit against UC Berkeley, UCPD and other police departments present at Wednesday’s Occupy Cal protest.

BAMN, a national pro-affirmative action group, announced plans Monday to file a lawsuit against Chancellor Robert Birgeneau as well as the UCPD, the Oakland Police Department and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department on behalf of injured and arrested protesters.

Fourteen people have come forward to become plaintiffs, according to BAMN attorney Monica Smith.

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  • Completely Serious

    “I was deeply traumatized by what happened,” Barnard said. “I’m unable
    to sleep, unable to work. I’m afraid to go to class or even be on campus
    as long as Chancellor Birgeneau is still here.”

    This is perhaps the most clownishly absurd thing I have ever read.
    It seems so much like a parody of what a liberal wimp that it’s almost unbelievable.
    UC Berkeley graduate student Alex Barnard is either a subversive comedian or a buffoon.

  • Confused

    Don’t start complaining until there are barricades around classrooms. Students have to dodge all the flyer people on sproul any other day, how is a big crowd and teach outs any more disruptive? If your teacher cancelled class, go use the opportunity to study in a library or something. Take a different route to class, avoid sproul if you really don’t want your ears violated by whatever you think is so intrusive. 

    Merriam webster definition of violence : “exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse” 

    You can try to claim the protesters want violence and attempt to use as much rhetoric as you can, but you cannot redefine the word to fit into what you want. The protesters don’t want violence, they want an encampment, they want a symbol of the poverty that the university, state, and country are in. That is not violent – outspoken, visible, yes, but not violent. That’s like arguing that red is a ‘violent’ color because it jumps out at you and may annoy some people. The police began the violence. If you want an example of how the situation SHOULD have gone, look at how they cleared out the Oakland camp. The second time, not the first war-zone like time. They peacefully ARRESTED people who were peacefully protesting. 

    What a concept. 

    ps. Preemptively blaming protesters for something they haven’t done yet? That illustrates your blind prejudice clearly. A single person pulling a fire alarm, like happened last week, is not representative of the whole. It’s unfortunate, yes, and shouldn’t happen, but troublemakers will take any excuse to cause trouble, and out of 3000 people a single fire alarm was pulled, no vandalism, no physical violence by any of the protesters [we’ll see how the battery on officers charges pan out- i wonder if they get charged for battery of a student?]. Looking at the actions of the whole is a far better objective, scientific analysis than choosing to look at the one odd apple out and saying that it’s a great representative, and telling all your friends that the protesters dont want anyone to be able to go to class…which is so not true. They want EVERYBODY to be able to go to class, they want to keep education accessible and affordable

    • Completely Serious

      An encampment isn’t violent.
      But it is illegal.

      • Confused

        Yes, and they should have been ARRESTED not BEATEN. 
        Nobody is arguing that the encampment is legal. 
        Point to last section of my post, see peaceful clearing of illegal oakland encampment. 

  • Bear

    What the protesters are doing here is distorting one very basic fact:  they were using physical force.  Doesn’t mean they were being “violent”, but they certainly are using PHYSICAL FORCE.  For anyone who disagrees with these tactics, let that be your keyword, here: “PHYSICAL FORCE”.  This is true for all of the occupy protests as well.  Seizing and “occupying” a public space, effectively turning it into your own private domicile, is quite an aggressive act.   It is certainly physical and, in fact, borders on violent.  When protesters trigger fire alarms tomorrow, and they will, they are PHYSICALLY disrupting class.  

    So what about the students who don’t want the disruption?  Are they to be physically prevented by others from receiving their education? What if they would rather the campus authorities prevent disruption of classes to the best of their abilities?  How should this be done?  

    It seems protesters cry foul whenever cops meet their physical resistance with any force of their own, claiming that their methods are “peaceful”.  I’m sorry, folks, BUT THE LINE BETWEEN PEACEFUL, PASSIVE, AND AGGRESSIVE HAS BEEN GETTING A LITTLE BLURRY LATELY, AND SOME OF YOU ARE STARTING TO RESEMBLE A CRAZY MOB OF BROWN SHIRTS.  Maybe that’s a stretch, but really, y’all gotta chill out a little.  

    I’ll tell you what, an answer to this question would satisfy me.  In fact, I’ll forever keep my foot in my mouth if someone can satisfactorily answer this question: if you are indeed doing something illegal and are being physically noncompliant with an arrest, what would be an acceptable method for police to wrestle you into submission?

    When answering this question, keep in mind that while you do have the freedom of speech under the first amendment, what you do not have is unhindered freedom of expression.  I mean, c’mon, if I legally had unhindered freedom of expression I can’t even begin to list the outrageous things I’d be pulling off.  

    • Calgirl43228

      The key phrase is “physically non compliant”.  Several of those arrested say they extended their wrists to be arrested and complying with arrest, yet were thrown to the ground.  The video shows Celeste Langan being pulled by the hair two-handed and thrown face first to the ground. The video shows she was not resisting arrest.  I think you have a strange idea of what “physically noncompliant”, “doing something illegal” and “freedom of assembly” mean.  You seem to think standing your ground in the face of big cops with sticks is physical force.  I think you are probably an authoritarian who enjoys seeing fellow Americans being abused for expressing ideas that you don’t agree with.  An authoritarian doesn’t understand not obeying a command from an authority like a cop with a stick, even when the command is violation of the 1st amendment.   Authoritarians do what they’re told because they want to fit in and be accepted by the powers that be.  
      The students who don’t want a disruption and just want to go to class can go to the library and study if their prof decides not to hold class today.

      • Bear

        You know, that really sucks that you have to stoop to the level of pigeon-holing me into a category like “authoritarian”.  How does that enrich our discussion?  

        And frankly, I love when people express ideas I don’t agree with, as it gives me a chance to learn more.  But you’re doing the propaganda thing when you keep saying doing something physically imposing to get attention is merely expressing an idea.  You can express ideas with words alone.

        Don’t you realize that if everyone concerned stood in an open field where no one was interrupted they might sound a more powerful message?  But them where’s the fun in that?  That invites no romantic struggle with the armed and brutal oppressor, so why do that, right?

        Lets not kid ourselves: your whole aim is to get things to turn violent. 

        • Oh Bear

          Let’s not kid ourselves: your wish is for the movement to shut up and go where you don’t have to look at them or have their message enter your eyes or ears.  Perhaps you realize the more images people see of big, armed, armored cops ramming batons into young students’ stomachs or dragging a professor by her hair or throwing tents and supplies into trash trucks, the more the sympathy for the movement grows.  How a person could see the video and insist the students were being “physically imposing”   is beyond comprehension

          • Completely Serious

             Or, perhaps, the wish is for the movement to go somewhere where it might actually be effective instead of just making a noisy mess at Cal and not accomplishing anything.

            Tuition is going up because of cuts in State funding from Sacramento. Protesting at Cal won’t do anything because the folks at Cal are not responsible. Protesting in Sacramento, on the other hand, might actually accomplish something.

          • True, but you’re trying to apply logic and reason to your argument. OTOH, most of these Occupy Whatever types are more into emotions and “feeling” as if they are “making a difference”, regardless of whether that difference results in a satisfactory resolution of the problem or not.

      • Completely Serious

        Setting up tents on private or public property without permission, ignoring lawful orders from the police, and resisting arrest are not a rights granted by the First Amendment. Sorry.

        • Confused

          Where were they resisting arrest? All I saw in the video evidence were police hitting with batons, not police attempting to pull away protesters calmly. 

    • GRD

      THANK YOU.  “Brownshirts” was exactly the word that came to my mind as I watched the protest footage.

    • Bear says:
      “Seizing and “occupying” a public space, effectively turning it into your own private domicile, is quite an aggressive act.   It is certainly physical and, in fact, borders on violent.”

      I think you misunderstand the terms “aggressive” and “violent”. 

      The occupy Cal protesters are assertive and peaceful – which is very different than aggressive and violent – and no rhetorical device can change that. I also thought your reference to “brown shirts” was way over the top…but not entirely inconsistent with your characterization of the protesters.

      • [I also thought your reference to “brown shirts” was way over the top}

        I don’t, given that the Occupy Whatever crowd has developed a track record of violence, vandalism, and criminality in NYC, Oakland, San Diego, and other places that they have chosen to squat and have their little “protests”..

  • alumnus

    Okay, students.  Many … strike that, MOST of you would like to take your classes, learn and attempt to excel.  You have to speak to each other about your frustrations with these tactics and, at some point, you even have to dare speak out.  Otherwise, these people will try to throw a wrench in your education because their vision of utopia isn’t being met with reality. 

  • Alfonso the Great

    “I was deeply traumatized by what happened,” Barnard said. “I’m unable to sleep, unable to work. I’m afraid to go to class or even be on campus as long as Chancellor Birgeneau is still here.”

    Oh, please. I agree what happened to you was horrible, but you could at least try to be less blatant in milking it. (Also, what would be so great about Birgeneau resigning? You think they’ll appoint a puppy in his place? You guys need to seriously think about why you’re fixated on Birgeneau instead of the real issues and the real culprits – the legislature and Californian voters.)

    • Sorta Kinda

      so Birgeneau should stay just because the alternative might be worse?

      This I agree with:
      “… the real issues and the real culprits – the legislature and
      Californian voters.”

      But isn’t Birgeneau – with his $500,000/ year salary, his cynicism, lies, general incompetence and inability to comprehend, let alone serve, the UC’s best interests – a manifestation of what is wrong?