Monday, April 28, 2008

More on Graduation Protests

I am posting this on behalf of someone else. No matter how many times I say this, people will still forget that I AM NOT THE AUTHOR OF THIS POST.


So, it seems like the protest plans are gathering steam. Not only will it be the hoary standbys in orange jumpsuits, but some actual lawyers and law students may come protest.

This means that not only will my aged and easily distracted father be annoyed by heckling from the aforementioned orange-jumpsuit-wearing septuagenarians as he approaches the Greek Theater, but he may also end up being distracted by shouting &c. during the ceremony, which could cause him to miss photographing that crucial shot of me holding my diploma-looking document in my teeth and flashing the Nixon double-Vs above my head.

The email below has had necessary portions redacted. Bolding is mine, to draw attention to the group's desire to only protest in appropriate ways... Note that my use of italics is to indicate I am being ironic: I do not think graduation is a particularly appropriate forum for protesting John Yoo.

Both [some very important person] of Equal Justice Society and I have received inquiries about staging a protest concerning John Yoo at Boalt, possibly at the Graduation Ceremonies or some other appropriate way. We are interested in having a preliminary meeting to discuss possible strategies that would both respect issues of academic freedom and express our concerns about John Yoo's memoranda concerning torture and executive powers. We have arranged meeting space near campus at Greenlining so that Guild and other Boalt student representatives and civil rights coalition members could discuss the possible protest.

We have reserved space for [Secret Time] on {Secret Date],[Secret Location].

I'm not sure we want to send it out too far and wide because there will be limited space, but please let individuals know about this meeting who may be interested and willing to come. [yet another influential person]- I apologize that this appears to be planned at the same time as the MLTF meeting, but maybe one person who has been active on this issue from MLTF can come out. [Shot Caller]- maybe you can update us on what happened at the WCW meeting last night - otherwise I will certainly contact you before Tuesday. Please RSVP to me if you will be there. Thank you.

{Big Boss]
National Lawyers Guild



Blogger Ben said...

Is Yoo even going to be at graduation?

4/28/2008 3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure why students think their graduation guests are going to be so horrified by the protesters. I think that a lot people expect to see some agitation when they visit Berkeley, and this is even more true of your parents than your contemporaries. It's like visiting Colonial Williamsburg--the trip isn't complete unless you see people in old timey dress, like, churning butter or saying "ye."

4/28/2008 3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a feeling at least some guests will be horrified by people in jumpsuits. As a guest of the law school graduation in Berkeley, you might not expect to see guys in orange jumpsuits with canvas bags over their heads and ropes around their necks. I simply wouldn't expect it ... protesting maybe, but I bet most of the guests won't see the connection (unless they've been told by graduates) and will be confused/stunned/horrified. Maybe that's the goal though, who knows with these people.

Anyway, looks like they're coming and this thing is gathering steam. Best to tell your parents/friends/family so at least they aren't completely shocked.

4/28/2008 4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think my family will get a kick out of it. They'll probably ask if they can get a picture of my grandma in the cage with a hood on. Probably not the result the protesters intended, but we'll be peacefully coexisting.

4/28/2008 4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that my family will NOT get a kick out of being yelled at over something that they already disagree with and are powerless to change except via voting Democrat (which they already do) and calling their congressional representatives (which they also do). This whole thing makes me sick.

4/28/2008 5:01 PM  
Blogger tj said...

Given that most people have come to the conclusion that there's nothing that can be done to avoid this, I ask:

Of the people who have been to graduation before - isn't it at the Greek Amphitheater? Don't they hold concerts, etc there? Aren't there tickets involved for this event as well? How physically are these protesters going to get into the graduation ceremony?

I assume that just anyone who wants to get into a concert wouldn't be able to do so. There's not going to be security at this event as well?

Being annoying in the parking lot is a lot better than being annoying as someone's name is being called to walk across the stage...

4/28/2008 7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I assume the administration is aware of this? Hopefully they will enforce security and ensure that nobody without a ticket gets in to the ceremony.

I don't mean to come across as an anti-free speech fascist. I've taken part in my fair share of protests, and have even engaged in disruptive tactics to make a point. However, I always made sure that my activities were directed at the appropriate audience. Here, the graudation attendees are no more relevant of an audience than the general public. Why not protest at Admit Day, where they can address incoming, rather than outgoing Boalt students?

Or, if the aim was to get media attention, I made sure that the event I was protesting had more than a very attenuated relevance to the issue I was protesting. The only relevance this event has to Yoo is that we're graduating from the school he teaches at, so any media publicity would really not be very relevant. There needs to be a more direct connection between what they're protesting and the location and means chosen to protest. Otherwise, it comes across as reaching and lends support to critics who claim they're just protesting for the sake of protest.

4/28/2008 9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have reserved space for [Secret Time] on {Secret Date],[Secret Location].

It would be really awesome if a bunch of law students went and protested the protest planning meeting.

4/28/2008 9:36 PM  
Blogger La Mitotera said...

Even if we knew where the meeting was taking place, they would probably just change it. Something tells me they don't want a taste of their own medicine.

4/28/2008 10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That would be pretty awesome. I know where it is, because I am on the NLG email list. I don't have a clue why--I suppose back during 1L year I must have put my name on their list or something. Anyway, I don't want to "out" the meeting. But anyone on their email list knows it.

4/28/2008 10:34 PM  
Blogger Christopher said...

"Best to tell your parents/friends/family so at least they aren't completely shocked."

Am I the only one who finds this pun hilarious?

4/28/2008 11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand why anyone would keep the meeting time and location a secret. It was sent to the NLG listserve, so it is fair game. Here is the info:

We have reserved space for 5:30 pm on Tuesday, April 29th,1918 University Ave # 2A, Berkeley, CA 94704.

4/29/2008 8:37 AM  
Anonymous John Yoo said...

Dope. Thanks for the info. Who wants to come protest the meeting with me?

4/29/2008 9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be there for you Johnny! You're doing a heck of a job!

4/29/2008 9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone not in the building to help with organizing will be asked to leave. If the meeting is disrupted the Berkeley Police will be called. If you think that's hypocritical then you haven't learned much in law school. Most protesters who commit civil disobedience expect to be arrested - so if that is the plan of those posting the meeting place, then expect the same.

For the record, the NLG has no plans as of yet to do anything at graduation. We are not part of the jump suit protest, and I don't think anyone plans to disrupt ceremonies.

4/29/2008 12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you think that's hypocritical then you haven't learned much in law school.

Are you kidding?

You intend to use law enforcement to shut down a peaceful protest. Moreover, you are using the threat of arrest in order to intimidate law students (who need to pass the moral fitness component of the bar) from exercising the same right of free expression that you are contemplating using during graduation.

Of course that's hypocritical! And I thought NLG considered itself a progressive organization...

4/29/2008 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:16, You're clearly an idiot. The NLG is protesting an obviously criminal offense by a proven war criminal. Protesting our meeting is an illegal act and you deserve to be arrested for it. Just because you're too scared to speak your mind, doesn't mean you have the right to harass us for doing what you're afraid to do. If you come protest you WILL be arrested and good luck getting some public interest pro-bono help. Now go back to massaging Yoo's balls and worrying about your families having a good time at graduation.

Don't come to the meeting unless you're either ready to be constructive, or ready to go to jail.

4/29/2008 4:04 PM  
Blogger tj said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/29/2008 4:27 PM  
Anonymous 2:57 said...

I'm gonna call troll and say that I really don't believe that the ridiculous and purposely offensive statements by 12:50/4:04 should be taken seriously. It was a poor trick by whoever posted that.

To those who are upset over the protesters: I say protest the protesters if you feel like it! Go out and get yourselves some social action. However, I'll be greatly surprised if anyone actually does. Please let us know if you do.

4/29/2008 4:29 PM  
Blogger tj said...

I'm not a legal scholar (by any means), but how does a protest of your meeting result in a criminal act? If I wanted to stand on University avenue during your meeting with a sign that said, "NLG is a bunch of hypocritical asshats - I'm protesting their foolish ideas regarding protesting," what's wrong with that?

And 4:04 - I can't help but feel you really don't get it. People don't have a problem with the fact you want to do something about JY. Protest all your little heart desires. People in the comments appear to have a problem only with your chosen venue - a place that has nothing to do with JY.

Of course, I'm just playing devil's advocate. I may or may not actually believe that certain NLG protesters on this board are "hypocritical asshats" that have "foolish ideas regarding protesting."

But I do admit that I'd love to see a person standing with said sign there. Extra points if the picture not only got 1918 University's front door (with address) in the picture, but also some Code Pink protesters in the background. Now THAT would be a great new addition to the lobby's photo collection...

4/29/2008 4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Most protesters who commit civil disobedience expect to be arrested..."

That isn't the impression I get in Berkeley. People love to protest in Berkeley because it takes the risk out. Nearly everyone agrees and the city council isn't about to impose any restraints.

There hasn't been courageous protesting since the 1960s.

4/29/2008 4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:57, I agree about 4:04, but I think 12:50 was serious.

4/29/2008 4:36 PM  
Blogger Boris said...

Thoughts from a 2L, who will have to wait a full year to see what ridiculous protest will mire his graduation.

Graduations are really all about family and celebration. My graduation will mean more to my 95 year old great grandmother than I can really explain. And with that sentiment, I can honestly say in comparison, I couldn't care any less about pet causes and self-righteous protests.

I'll be taking Yoo's seminar in the fall and simultaneously be counting the days until I can get out of this ridiculous city. In the meantime, you go get arrested, and I'll go get a job.

4/29/2008 4:39 PM  
Anonymous 2:57 said...

You may be right. *le sigh*...this is definitely my one problem with protesters (although not enough of a problem to disrespect them). Sometimes they have a funny way of making the controversy about them, not about laudable social changes they support.

Yeah, I admit it, I am sometimes annoyed by the alienating choices of protesters. I really hope that whatever confrontation goes down, wherever it goes down, it will be more constructive and respectful than vitriolic and divisive.

Perhaps the answer to this all is a resort to calm process, whereby the desires of the protesters to state their message and the desires of students to not be accosted can be hammered out so both groups can be equally ok with the outcome, rather than the (probably inevitable) stalemate of two parties who refuse to listen to each other.

Even the protesters have to admit that they do little to further their cause if their audience already hates them for who they are, at which point what they are advocating becomes a null issue. And the students should come to terms with the fact that the protesters, if not treated with respect, will likely return the favor and do their best to make the day less awesome. Thats not to say that you will get them to stop wearing jumpsuits and hoods and electrodes, but they might not shout at mom and pop and grandma might just get her picture in the cage...

4/29/2008 4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So my 91 year old grandmother can't make it, because she can't make the flight.

But, that said, if she *could* make it - she certainly wouldn't survive the emotional shock being presented by the suggested protest.

While I fully respect the right of individuals to protest - even using graphic features - I think that the posts concerning venue are most correct.

Protest where it is relevant, like Admit Day. Protest if Professor Yoo is holding an event, or if he's speaking at one. (He's not speaking at graduation.)

Make your protest have meaning - do it in a way where people will hear your message, not reject it because of an overly invasive protest measure at a minimally (if at all) relevant venue.

And if anyone DOES endanger, shock, or otherwise do substantial emotional harm to someone with every right to be there - I hope you're arrested, charged, convicted, and actually get to spend some time in prison. Protest rights don't extend to harming non-related parties.

(And if you're going to yell back that they do, come prepared with an SCt case to back it up whose doctrine is still in place. You won't find one.)

4/30/2008 1:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone know the outcome of the NLG planning meeting?

4/30/2008 10:34 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home