A few hundred protesters gather on Sproul for noon rally

Gracie Malley/Staff
Gracie Malley/Staff

Protesters began Tuesday’s strike and Day of Action setting up a home for themselves on the steps of Sproul Plaza.

The psuedo-living room included couches, ornamental rugs and even a bookshelf filled with titles like The Power Elite by C. Wright Mills and The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom.

“The idea is to make this place more like a home,” said UC Berkeley freshman Sara Kei and member of the art committee that was responsible for furnishing the Mario Savio steps. “This is our space — make it livable.”

Along these lines, students from a beginning sculpture class contributed their works to form a sculpture garden of sorts on Sproul. Many passers-by stopped and photographed some of the works such as the “chime haven” — a tree decorated with chimes.

Meanwhile several professors and GSIs held teach-outs throughout the morning. Many classes focused on simply learning about issues facing the campus and society at large. Katie Cantrell, a UC Berkeley alumna gave a lecture on the corporate control of the U.S. food system.

Others organized ad hoc teach-outs of their own on issues as diverse as Venezuelan politics.

Faculty members like UC Berkeley linguistics professor George Lakoff used the opportunity to call his students to action.

“Democracy is at its worst in California right now,” Lakoff said to the teach-out, which was organized by the American Studies Undergraduate Alliance and included members of his class. “You can occupy elections.”

At around noon a few hundred protesters converged on Sproul Plaza and assembled for the rally with the crowd chanting, “No cuts, no fees, education must be free.”

Later in the day protesters plan to march to Berkeley City College and Berkeley High School in an effort to engage a wider audience.

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  • Katie Cantrell, a UC Berkeley alumna gave a lecture on the corporate control of the U.S. food system.

    And what exactly are they proposing as an alternative? Collective farms?

    These morons live in a world far, far removed from reality…

    • Katie C

      Actually, I’m proposing a return to the system used until  the government began subsidizing corporate-owned factory farms a few decades ago.

      More than half a million hog farmers have lost their jobs in the past 25 years, because they’ve been driven out of business by corporate Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.

      While products at the grocery store are rebranded with Mom&Pop names and idyllic pictures of farms, the reality is that just 4 companies control 81% of cow production, 60% of pig production, and 50% of broiler chicken production.

      CAFOs eliminate farming jobs, are one of the largest sources of water pollution, and cause millions of dollars in lost property value because their toxic manure lagoons are a blight on surrounding communities.

      This issue is directly connected to the Occupy Wall St. movement because the agribusiness corporations controlling our food system (companies such as Smithfield, Monsanto, Tyson, Cargill) have used their billions of dollars in profit to infiltrate regulatory agencies, and obtain government funding via the Farm Bill.

      I live in a world directly connected to the unpleasant realities that many people choose to ignore.

  • Super Cereal


    Easy to make demands about what should be “free” when you’re not the one paying the bills.

    • Yep. Same goes for their insistence that the police be prosecuted for violating their “rights” when these same protesters have NO regard for the rights of others, particularly those whose property has been vandalized and trashed in the course of their Occupy Whatever activities…

  • Once again, unrealistic demands (“No cuts, no fees, education must be free”), diversion into unrelated subjects (food, Venezuela) and engaging in activities that serve no purpose other than to  precipitate a physical confrontation (setting up furniture) will do NOTHING to address the issue of rising student tuitions. It’s all play-acting to satisfy your emotional urges to “do something” or “make a statement”, nothing more…