How will winter break affect Occupy Cal?

By 9:30 PM, around 100 protesters gathered on the steps of Sproul Hall to listen to music and prepare for the Mass Sleep-Out.
Taryn Erhardt/Senior Staff
By 9:30 PM, around 100 protesters gathered on the steps of Sproul Hall to listen to music and prepare for the Mass Sleep-Out.

As Occupy Cal finishes its third week and the end of the fall semester approaches, public participation is waning.

The general assembly still meets regularly to discuss upcoming action days and proposals, but participation has been low in the last week, according to Berkeley resident Nick Porter, who was one of the few spending the night on Sproul Plaza Tuesday evening.

“It completely lost all momentum (in the last week,) and no one is really staying here,” Porter said. “There are 35,000 kids here in this university — why is there only four to five people here every night?”

As of Wednesday, the Open University demonstrations associated with Occupy Cal plan to break during finals week but will continue when the spring semester begins, according to senior Alaska Quilici, co-founder of the Open University.

For now, demonstrators are actively trying to keep the movement going. On Tuesday, the general assembly passed two proposals to advance the movement before the semester ends.

The first proposal calls for a mobilizing action around Thursday’s Police Review Board meeting, while the second forms a committee to mobilize the campus community to participate in a shutdown of West Coast ports planned for Dec. 12.

According to the second proposal, Occupy Cal will merge with the Occupy Oakland march to that city’s port, a march that is part of a larger effort to shut down seven ports — Oakland, Los Angeles, San Diego, Portland, Tacoma, Seattle and Vancouver.

“We’re trying to shut down the entire West Coast,” said Anthony Sherman-Gassetti, a student at Peralta Community College in Oakland.

Additionally, another proposal called for a party on Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s lawn Dec. 9 to celebrate the one-month anniversary of Occupy Cal.

However, that proposal failed due to a quorum rule passed on Monday that requires the Occupy Cal general assembly to garner 25 active votes — meaning yes or no votes — in order to pass proposals.

At the Monday meeting, no proposals were passed after the quorum rule was established. Though over 25 participants attended the meeting, the threshold for passing proposals was not met due to members abstaining from votes.

“We didn’t really do anything,” Porter said of the meeting. “It was pointless.”

While some events are planned and the Open University will continue through Reading, Review and Recitation week before finals, graduate student Eli Marienthal said the next few weeks will be a time of rest.

“Everyone needs to rest, everyone needs to eat right, everyone needs to stay warm and everyone has to get their school work done, because we are students. And so, dead week may be a time of recuperating and getting ready for a very big spring,” Marienthal said.

Occupy Cal has already finalized at least one demonstration for the spring semester. A proposal from Yvette Felarca, a teacher at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School and organizer for BAMN, was passed Tuesday to form a committee to mobilize for the UC Board of Regents meeting at UC Riverside on Jan. 18 — the day after the spring semester begins.

“If we maintain in our momentum and pressure on the regents … we have the potential to win our demands,” Felarca said.

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  • Anonymous

    “We’re trying to shut down the entire West Coast”
    Occupy idiots are trying to do something that al Qaeda has failed to do.  At what point does this persistent, coordinated attack on America’s economic system  become terrorism?

    • Claude

      when america’s economic system no longer is destructive

      • Stan De San Diego

        So when are you leaving the country?

        • CalParent

          I didn’t read your last two statements before I took the time to respond to your reply to my original post.  If I had I would not have wasted my time. Your statements are at the very best inappropriate and reveal your prejudicial and xenophobic attitudes. 

          • Stan De San Diego

            The “prejudiced” ones are those people willing to direct violence against others merely because they have more money than they do. As far as “xenophobic”, that must be one of your canned responses, as it is completely irrelevant to the discussion.

  • Guest

    This break will be a trying time for the movement, that’s for sure.

    • Stan De San Diego

      Why, because narcissistic little attention whores require an audience for their little demonstrations?

  • Guest

    Felarca wants to maintain “in” her momentum and “win her demands”.

    Hope it’s not English she’s teaching.

    Sherman-Gassetti sounds like a really smart guy.  Shutting down ports is going to hurt lots of blue collar workers, not to mention the economy.  More power to the 1%!

    As for the “movement”, it was dead on arrival.  Unfortunately the administration seems to cower to the demands of the extreme minority who shriek and wail, while ignoring the good of the silent majority who are at Berkeley to get a world-class education and secure world-class post graduation opportunities.

  • Student

    There are only four to five people there because we students are studying for finals and writing papers, trying to get the education for which we came here in the first place. You interrupted enough of it last month.

    • CalParent

      First of all I don’t believe you are a student.  If you are you might stop to think of the impact that the proposed tuition increase will have on your status as a student next year. While you may be living off Daddy’s money that is not the case for many students.  Most are accumulating large student debt and working in their off time.  As far as the protests interrupting your studies, that is simply not true.  No classes have been delayed, canceled or in any other way interfered with.  Try embracing integrity.  Don’t say things that are not true.

      • Anonymous

        A financially independent student is entitled to a multitude of tuition discounts.

        “No classes have been delayed, canceled or in any other way interfered with. ”

        That’s just incorrect.  Several fire alarms were pulled on the 9th.

        • Student

          Not to mention all the classes that WERE cancelled as part of the so-called strike they had a while ago. 

      • Stan De San Diego

        And I don’t believe you’re a parent – at least not a responsible one. If you think that pitching tents and engaging in pissing contests with the campus cops is going to solve everything, I sure hope your kids are smart enough to think for themselves and not listen to your advice.

        • CalParent

          Sorry to take so long to respond. I worked long hours this week as a responsible parent trying to carry as much of the financial burden of my kid getting a quality education as I can.  First, thank you Stan for restricting your insult to me and not extending it to my kid.  As far as the advice I gave my kid, I told him he was free to make own decision whether to participate in the protests, but to stay away from the police and any confrontations.  As to your so eloquent statement about “pissing contests with the campus police”, my son, as well as the overwhelming majority of participants in the protest in no way engaged with the police.  Your suggestion that protesting has no effect ignores history.  Civil rights, Womens’ rights, the exit from Viet Nam are just a few examples of how protests have changed America.  I hope you are not advising your kids to keep their heads stuck in the sand.  The core message of all the occupy movements is that the inequity of wealth in America has resulted in something very different from what most believe America represents (read the Preamble to the Constitution).

          JJMMC Please fill me in on how students can establish their independence and qualify for the multitude of tuition discounts.  Unless you are suggesting they should postpone their education and work for several years I don’t think your statement is realistic.
          As to the pulling of fire alarms, I wasn’t aware of that.  Freedom of Speech is not convenient and almost always will result with some small group misbehaving.  Again that is not what the overwhelming majority of students did.  Opposing the rights of people to protest because of the poor behaviors of a few is dangerous thought.  You can extend your argument to justify restrictions on virtually any and all of America Rights.

          Student  You seem to be implying that the Students cancelled classes or that the cancelation of classes was necessary because of the protests.  That is absolutely incorrect.  Be careful of falsely accusing the wrong people for actions they are not responsible form.  That is a form of prejudice.

          • Stan De San Diego

            In reading your post, I sense you are one of those geriattric 1960’s types brought up in the mindset that protest is the solution to all problems. Maybe it works with wimpy administrators and liberal Democrats who feel compelled to pander to their militant base, but it doesn’t fly with most of the people who actually have to pay bills. As far as not knowing about the fire alarm tactic, you probably haven’t set foot on Cal during the school year for a long, long time, since that was a common disruption tactic even in the 1980’s…

          • Anonymous

            In reading your post, I sense you are a humorless middle aged bore that spends a majority of his time lecturing imaginary “leftists” about hardwork. Maybe it works with the few friends or family members who can stand to be around you but it doesn’t fly with people who don’t spend most of their days on college newspaper comment sections. 

  • truth

    “If we maintain in our momentum and pressure on the regents … we have the potential to win our demands,” Felarca said

    What has BAMN ever done beside get ostracized by other progressive groups, yank hs and jh kids out of classes to fluff the numbers at the bamn rallies, to steal an entire print run of the DC because accoring to BAMN, free speech is only the freedom to agree with them, and if you disagree — screw you.    

    • Guest

      They’ve filed expensive lawsuits draining the University of scarce resources.  That’s a contribution, isn’t it?

      • cal ’14

        BAMN is really hijacking the GAs. I guess it’s all because enough of us don’t show up. Also, why did the protestors who were brutalized go with them for representation in their suit? Why not bring in a major civil liberties organization like the ACLU? Anyhow, more of us need to be out there to cancel out people pushing their agenda–that’s the bottom line.

  • truth

    “why is there only four to five people here every night?”

    Cuz nobody cares.  You are an outside Porter.  You are not a cal student.  Go do this in your front yard.