Friday, November 20, 2009

The Protest's Balls Grew Three Sizes Today

We've talked about the "strike" ad nauseum, but it became something different today: a good ol' fashioned Berkeley protest. Students have occupied Wheeler Hall, fights broke out between protesters and police, sirens have been wailing all day, and news choppers fill the sky. After two days of a namby pamby strike with confusing motives and limited purpose, someone finally let the wild rumpus start. (Sorry, DE.)

I don't know if this makes me a hypocrite, a bandwagoner, lazy, or an idiot--and I'm sure I'll be called worse in the comments--but the protesters won me over today. Why? I guess because they finally proved that they have some balls.

I've never really disagreed with their cause. They're mad about tuition going up 32%? Of course they are. Me too! They're also angry about 900 layoffs happening alongside lavish building projects and huge salaries for the upper crust? Fair enough. We could go back and forth all day over whether these cost-saving measures are necessary evils or whether the allying of these causes makes any sense, but you can't really blame these people for being pissed. And I never did.

I took issue with the PR. A "strike" that is scheduled to last a couple of days? Weak. Calling it a "strike" at all when students are being encouraged to skip classes they already paid for? That's called a walkout. Striking within the UC system when the various insanities of California state government are really at fault? Pointless. None of it made a lot of sense to me or apparently a lot of other people, so the strikers' rhetoric failed to catch on. Oh, sure, the early adopters in ELQ and elsewhere got a little riled up, but Joe Schmo (yeah, I'll be Joe Schmo) was left confused and a little annoyed.

Today they kicked it up a notch, and all that changed. A strike doesn't make a lot of sense when you have already paid for the service, but a fiery protest in the middle of a rainstorm? I can follow that. Channeling that righteous anger into the spontaneous occupation of a building instead of posting flyers specifying protest dates and times? Now you're talkin'. And making enough noise to reach not just Sacramento but the National media? Now that sounds like a movement!

I guess you shouldn't change your position on an issue based on how loud someone is yelling, but sometimes it's enough to make you listen. The action today, responsible or not, made a helluva lot of noise--much more than the wishy washy strike originally planned. The people who decide these issues will hear that noise, and maybe they'll think twice before cutting funding to public education. Good.

As I finish writing this, it looks like the protest has ended with the arrest of 41 protesters. However you feel about their cause, you have to admire their conviction. Before today, it was hard to take them seriously. Tonight, it's impossible not to.

70 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't make me sympathize with them anymore. There is nothing respectable about interfering with other student's eduction and costing the University even more money.

Glad they were arrested.

11/20/2009 8:28 PM  
Anonymous Dead Horse said...

Help! I'm getting beaten!

11/20/2009 8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Their stupidity makes me LIKE the fee hikes.

Hopefully some of these shitheads will be priced out of the school and will be forced to stop attending.

11/20/2009 8:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well put, dan. i agree -- glad to have you voice it

11/20/2009 9:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah Dan, I have to respectfully disagree as well. I'm all for public education and holding legislators feet to the fire, but illegally occupying a building- preventing other students from getting an education they have already paid for- and then whining that you won't come out until the powers that be promise to not attach any consequences to your actions doesn't really inspire me much. Particularly when your main gripe is that your incredibly cheap (undergraduate) eduction got a little less cheap (though still a bargain compared to other public universities) so that our university doesn't crumble, more layoffs can be avoided, and low income students can continue to get a free education. I mean seriously, even families making 120,000 are getting half the increase covered for the first year. At a certain point, these kinds of action just make students look disconnected from reality and exceptionally self-obsessed.

That said, if these kinds of symbolic protests actually make Sacramento take note, I will be the first one to say that I supported the strikers and occupiers from the get go.

11/20/2009 9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm on the same page with Dan. The first two days were just embarrassing. Responsible or not, today they finally made some noise.

11/20/2009 9:46 PM  
Blogger Beetle Aurora Drake said...

Even if you take the protesters seriously, I doubt many minds were changed about the issues themselves. If decisionmakers have the same view that they did before, I suspect it will be somewhat like a fisherman admiring the spunk of a fish he had to fight to catch before killing it anyway.

If they want to actually accomplish their goals, they're going to have to keep up this energy for weeks, through finals and over winter break, and coerce the administration into concessions, rather than simply be heard, and I don't think they have the numbers to pull off a general, extended disruption that's big enough to prevent an administration pushback.

I was an undergrad here when SJP occupied Wheeler, got a bunch of folks arrested, etc. While people stopped taking the administration seriously, that didn't help SJP any, and they fell apart. In that case, the local irrelevance of their cause left folks pretty unforgiving. They have a more relevant cause this time, but is it going to be sufficient for the rest of campus to tolerate their fucking with other folks' education?

11/20/2009 9:54 PM  
Blogger Beetle Aurora Drake said...

In a slightly related topic, since the impact here is going to depend a lot on news coverage, the Daily Cal apparently doesn't have the infrastructure to maintain their website when they have actual news to cover. Does that reflect more poorly on the Daily Cal for not being prepared, or the campus for convincing the Daily Cal they wouldn't need to be? That may be a boon for the protesters, because the Daily Cal is probably the only group that would actually go and hear from the folks who disagree with the protest approach.

11/20/2009 9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just a little worried Sacramento might take away the wrong message from all the ire directed towards yudoff, who in my opinion is doing his best to steer the UC through this budget crisis. What if all Sacramento hears is that the regents are evil, and then begins to think that they have a mandate to get more involved in setting salaries and general UC administrative priorities?

11/20/2009 10:18 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Thanks for the thoughtful comments, most of you. Not the public flogging I anticipated.

Beetle, I didn't check out the Daily Cal's website, but they did an excellent job keeping live tabs on the situation over Twitter (twitter.com/dailycal).

Dead Horse gets funniest comment award.

11/20/2009 10:32 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

To anyone, including our esteemed Chancellor, who claims these methods were ineffective, I reluctantly point you to the Drudge Report. Always eager to declare the failure of any state that votes blue, Mr. Drudge covered the protests here and at UCLA extensively under the headline "California on the Brink!" Responsible journalism award!

Still, it's definitely a public shaming of our state's government, which totally deserves shaming.

11/20/2009 11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note: If you actually read the article you cited, you'd see that "41 demonstrators on trespassing charges, including some nonstudents." Therefore, your reference to "41 students" isn't completely accurate.

Legitimacy helps any cause. . .

Just sayin'

11/20/2009 11:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree w/ Dan.

11/21/2009 12:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:46 - "That said, if these kinds of symbolic protests actually make Sacramento take note, I will be the first one to say that I supported the strikers and occupiers from the get go."
= Freeriding hypocrite. This type of comment makes me ashamed to attend the same school as this person.

On a more positive note, great post Dan.

11/21/2009 12:23 AM  
Blogger Armen said...

If only the second graders, the weak and the infirm, fire fighters, and police personnel had a never-ending desire to find a cause célèbre, fueled by group think, and resulting in a waste of the very resources you purportedly want spent on your cause. Maybe then those heartless bastards in Sacramento will listen and also save K12 education, public hospitals, and emergency services.

Dan's post nails it right on the head--how can people take students seriously when they're not skipping classes, disrupting the studying of others close to finals, and creating confrontations for the sake of creating confrontations?

11/21/2009 1:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait, no. At first I was excited to see this post, but I call bullshit on Nuts & Boalts.

The last few days, you've made abundantly clear which side you're on: with the Regents who are raising our fees $8000 next year. You showed what rabid, mean-spirited conservatives you were, and it was embarrassing.

Now today, after the police kicked the shit out of our friends --- seriously, that quiet girl that sits in front of you in Torts got beaten by police --- you want to take it back? Nope. Not having it.

A denigrates B for three days. A ridicules B's plan of action. B carries out plan action and focuses national attention on our problem. A claims he really supported B all along. Fuck off...

11/21/2009 1:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

N&B isn't being inconsistent. The post(s) here draw a distinctions between (a) the fee raises in general, (b) the protesters in general, (c) the protesters from Boalt. Further, they're written by different people.

11/21/2009 1:27 AM  
Blogger Beetle Aurora Drake said...

1:20... not exactly the approach to build a growing movement. I thought getting folks to come over to your side for no particularly rational reason was the whole point of getting cops to kick the crap out of you.

11/21/2009 1:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That quiet girl in torts should have spent more time learning about trespass.

Protest all you like. At the end of it, come up with a way to pay for an excellent, cheap education for low income students.

Perhaps I don't understand the issue. But my understanding is that undergrads whose families make less than 70k do not have to pay any fees (http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/blueandgold/). If that is true, I REALLY don't understand what the undergrads are complaining about.

To me, it seems like a bunch of middle class kids whining because they don't want to help support low income students.

11/21/2009 1:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:20,

Go f*ck yourself. Seriously.

I want to pay MORE money so that OTHER people can afford to attend a great law school, and *I* am conservative?

I basically SUPPORT a tax on wealthier (or soon to be wealthier) students to support students going into low income jobs, and *I* am conservative?

Maybe you guys are the "conservatives." You guys who refuse to pay a dime more to support things like LRAP, Financial Aid, and school quality.

It's not me who is doing low income students a disservice its you. You all who are just like the Republicans in Sacramento who refuse a tax increase under any circumstances.

Think about that for a second. And remember, go f*uck yourself.

11/21/2009 2:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:04,

Thank you. I'm also confused why I'm being accused of being a conservative.

And to the protesters, you still need to come up with some sort of alternative if you want to be taken seriously by the administration, and not treated like hooligans and criminals.

Without you showing me that there is a better solution to the problem, I'm inclined to believe that the fee hikes is the best possible solution. Please prove me wrong.

Until you do, I hope the police keep beating the shit out of you.

11/21/2009 8:38 AM  
Blogger tj said...

I'm thinking 1:20 is a 1L - it's a common mistake (although one I like to try and root out and dispell quickly) that N&B has any singular tone, motive or line of thinking. The more you get to know the individual contributors here the more you realize that significant differences exist in values, political leanings and ability to craft a proper sentence (haha).

So, 1:20, what you will hopefully realize is that the first post on a topic is just going to be done by the first to get to it - no crafted message is agreed upon ahead of time. The message conveyed in that post is just representative of that one person, but we use the comments here as a means of encouraging discussion. Ain't like huffington post or something..,

11/21/2009 8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:20,

I have heard no reports that the police "beat the crap" out of anyone. If you have heard of such reports, please provide a link. Police brutality is a serious problem and it doesn't help when people accuse the police of "beating people" just to make a protest seem more serious and legitimate. Not only is it dishonest, but it makes it much harder to properly respond when the police actually do beat someone.

11/21/2009 9:27 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

1:20, this is the first time I've posted about the issue.

11:50 PM, thanks for the note. I fixed the sentence.

Armen, I think I got lost somewhere in your spiral of irony. Can I assume you disagree with my post?

11/21/2009 9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:20 seems like a doodyhead.

Bandying the "c-word" around whenever anyone shows a hint of reservation about a cause YOU'VE deemed "liberal" betrays both a lack of character a lack of nuance.

- A poor kid who supports the fee hikes.

11/21/2009 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beetle Aurora Drake used "decision makers" as one word without a hyphen. Bold. Seems like a trend for Friday, with people occupying buildings, Yoo's "saving" ("misleading?") law students from a "fire," and professors continuing to teach in spite of the fire alarms. I'm not saying I like danger, but I do like having stories to tell.

11/21/2009 10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:38, I'm blown away that you first express confusion about being labeled a conservative and then say that you hope the police keep beating the shit out of peaceful protesters.

maybe the fee hikes are affecting other students/families in different ways than they are you. no one is saying you have to agree with the protesters' message, but have a little bit more respect for other peoples' viewpoints.

11/21/2009 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"i'm not a conservative, but..." is the new "some of my best friends are [group]..."?

for 9:27, this gives a little idea of what was going on http://www.ktvu.com/video/21684405/index.html

11/21/2009 10:42 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

10:25, Beetle and I have had our differences (in fact I think that's all we have), but I don't think you need to hyphenate "decision makers." It would not be incorrect to do so, but when the two words are so frequently used together, the hyphen becomes unnecessary.

11/21/2009 10:43 AM  
Blogger James said...

Three things:

1. The protesters took something over after the fees had been decided, thus wasting even more money.

2. It is correct that these fee hikes hurt the middle class much more than the lower class students. But, if you were at Sproul Hall on Wednesday at lunch listening to the speeches, you would have gotten the impression that these hikes were making it impossible for poor people to attend the UC. What these hikes really do are put pressure on the middle class families that make just enough money to not qualify for grants.

3. I'm left of Obama, but I guess these days that could still put me in conservative territory. ;)

11/21/2009 11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wasn't correcting Beetle. I'll admit, I've gotten into arguments re: "decision makers" (and its variants) vs. "decision-makers" vs. "decisionmakers." But that's why I'm a "preppy freak, the office pariah, and nobody likes me." (Schrute's words.)

10:25 out.

11/21/2009 12:05 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

"What these hikes really do are put pressure on the middle class families that make just enough money to not qualify for grants."

That is exactly right. Still worth getting angry over.

And as for the protest occurring after the issue had been decided, I see it more as a very convincing expression of outrage than an attempt to undo what has been done. I think it will pay dividends in the future.

11/21/2009 12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, do you guys think that if you tasered the ocean, the fish would die?

11/21/2009 12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:29 just disclosed my preferred method of fishing.

11/21/2009 12:40 PM  
Anonymous Hersh said...

As disturbing as those pictures of police violence are, I think they are authorized to use necessary force if they give an order and people don't comply.

The police wouldn't really have much ability to do anything if the extent of their power was simply to ask politely.

Having said that, there were a couple instances where it looked like the police went overboard. The footage of the guy on the ground being beaten by two cops with batons seems like a pretty clear violation of the rule that you only use what force is necessary. If necessary they should have taken the guy into custody, but I don't think they are authorized to dole out corporal punishment as they see fit.

Also, students seem to be very naive when it comes to the power of the state. This is a democracy and the state feels justified in enforcing its will, because it thinks its will is the will of the people. Now if a minority (who may make up a majority in an area like Berkeley) want to change state policy they can try at the ballot box, but if they try to coerce change without going through their representatives, the state will feel justified in pushing through the policies it feels are its prerogative to implement -- using brutal force if necessary.

Remember desegregation? Back then we cheered the armed presence of the state as it forced locals to adhere to its will. People always welcome the power of the state to coerce compliance when we agree with its policies. We vote to give the state more and more power, because we want to see it force through the changes we want. But sooner or later the state has some ideas that we don't agree with, and then that same violence is visited on us if we try to oppose the state.

You have to go through the ballot box, or be prepared to take the beatings. You can't expect to shortcut the election process and change policy through one building take over.

Now if the protest is a publicity event designed to awaken the electorate so they vote in a new administration, then you have to calmly take your beatings like Gandhi did. One thing you never saw him do was act surprised about the beatings he got. He calmly took his beatings and then gave a press conference in his bandages saying, "See, this is the nature of the British Empire. Is this what you support?"

11/21/2009 1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not trying to justify police beatings here, but after watching the news reel a few times it looks to me like the guy on the ground being clubbed a few times had some sort of pole or baton in his hand. Never a smart idea to waive a potential weapon at police, especially when they are in a chaotic situation and likely a little on edge. Just saying.

11/21/2009 1:40 PM  
Anonymous Hersh said...

Just got this in my email. If the reports of violence are true, the police behaved in a totally unjustified manner. This is state brutality for you. Think about it the next time you want to give more power to the state:

"Chancellor Birgeneau characterizes the role and presence of armed and aggressive police officers that engaged in violence against students on this campus as positive and necessary in resolving the situation. When I arrived on campus early in the morning as a supportive alumnus, two UCPD officers attempted to ram a metal barricade through a crowd of students I was in -- without announcement, notice, or even a chance to move out of the way. Students had no choice but to push back in self defense to prevent injury to themselves and their peers. Yet Chancellor Birgeneau says that the situation "ended peacefully," and thanked the police for their allegedly positive role.

On at least two later occasions students at the front of barricade lines were threatened with batons thrust into their chests, stomachs, shoulders, and backs. Berkeley Police Department officers once again violently confronted students, placing barricades on police lines. Their blows rained down on the students at the front line, who had absolutely no opportunity to follow police instructions to move because the crowds were too thick. Apparently the officers did not care about this fact or did not understand it because they struck student after student, marks on whose bodies are still apparent today -- even as Chancellor Birgeneau announces the situation "ended peacefully."

A graduate student's fingers were maliciously destroyed by an officer who struck her with a baton for placing her hand on the barricade. She requires reconstructive surgery, as after the beating her fingers were left hanging by a thread of flesh. And yet Chancellor Birgeneau claims that the student protests ended "peacefully."

At least one undergraduate student was shot by an officer with an unidentified projectile. There is a mark on his stomach today, but Chancellor Birgeneau claims that the student protests ended "peacefully."

I saw one camera man threatened by a police officer who screamed: "if you're close enough that my baton can hit you, I will hit you!" And yet Chancellor Birgeneau says that the police "did very well under difficult circumstances" and that the situation ended "peacefully."

11/21/2009 2:56 PM  
Anonymous Hersh said...

My previous post isn't verified by a news outlet. Its possible its just concocted. But if its true, the police we have are behaving not like police but like soldiers in some occupied territory.

Necessary force does not include beating someone's fingers to pieces because they put their hands on a barrier. That is pretty extreme.

11/21/2009 3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what, fine. I am sick of having to argue that these fee increases are good for low income students.

From now on, I completely support the protesters. I want the University to stop raising fees. To make up the difference it should cut a few a bunch of high level administrators, cut Financial Aid grants, end the blue and gold program, and suspend LRAP. Oh, and the UC may have to lay off some staff.

This will actually be be great for me. I will pay less fees, and then I will enjoy a private sector job. All the while, people who are interested in public interest and low income students will get priced out of a UC education.

Perfect. The protesters grand plan worked. They convinced me.

11/21/2009 3:14 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I love when Hersh argues with himself.

11/21/2009 3:14 PM  
Anonymous Hersh said...

Ok, I tried to verify the email I was sent earlier today.

The press are reporting the finger injury as a result of a stray baton swing.

In addition I have watched a few videos taken by students at the protest site. The police did warn the protesters to step back.

In addition, the baton swinging seems to have been done because the crowd, instead of backing up, said, "HOLD THE LINE."

The police swung their batons because the line would not move.

The crowd at one point shouted, "We're not violent but how about you?"

Seems silly. The state doesn't want to be violent. It wants you to comply and obey the law.

Judge this:

Protests at Wheeler. Police v Students

Protests at Wheeler. Police v Students

11/21/2009 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hersh,

Please explain your assertion that the state does not want to be violent. Also please explain why the police ordering a crowd of hundreds to collectively step back before immediately attacking them is different than giving no order at all. Also please explain why the police are authorized to produce such an order when people were respecting their already established police lines. Also please explain why 'obeying and complying' with the law is not a form of state violence. Have you read the penal codes?

11/21/2009 3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After watching the videos I don't think the police handled the situation well.

I am completely against these protests, but I don't think people, including these protesters, should not be able to protest.

The officers could have just placed the barricades a foot back and thus avoided all the violence. Just because they can give orders does not mean that they should.

Sure, the protesters could have backed down too. But only one of the two groups--the police--are paid professionals that are hired to handle stressful confrontations. In this case they just added fuel to the fire.

11/21/2009 4:07 PM  
Blogger James said...

In these situations the police generally escalate way faster and with more violence than is warranted. In the few videos I've seen, this seems to have been the case.

Visibly unarmed students aren't harming anyone by placing their hands on barricades, etc.

11/21/2009 4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with 3:14. I'm going to a firm. Thus my support for the fee hikes constituted support for a plan in which I would pay more so that others would pay less. I supported the fee hikes because my values trumped my self-interest.

Whereas now, maybe I'm just embittered by the level of discourse, but I'm starting to think something more along the lines of, Well, jeez, if you guys really convinced them not to hike fees, maybe that wouldn't be ALL bad... Sure it'd be a shame about financial aid and LRAP, but at least I'd end up paying off my loans earlier...

11/21/2009 4:22 PM  
Anonymous J.D.elicious said...

Thanks for the video links. Even if they did order the crowd to step back, it does seem a little unrealistic to expect them to do so instantaneously when there are so many people behind them.

It also seems that the people were just standing there peacefully. Even if they disobeyed the police order to step back, I am skeptical that their failure to obey warranted such a forceful reaction. Why did the police need them to step back? Did an ambulance need to get through or something? I don't know the law on the issue, but it seems that such a use of force must be justified by a good reason. Anyone out there know the relevant law?

This situation calls to mind the Iraq war protests in the Oakland port a few years ago, where the Oakland PD used illegal force against protesters. I believe that they fired rubber bullets directly at protesters, instead of ricocheting the bullets off the ground first so the force would be deflected. Below is a link to an article with pics of the injuries (warning, pics might be disturbing). One of the commentators on the Oakland port case suggests that the law is that police may only use "less than lethal force" if "there is an immediate threat to the safety of officers or others." Its a bit hard to tell from the videos if that threat was present here, but my eyebrows are raised.

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/images/0407-05.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/1213-08.htm&usg=__x05XbgtM4-FRp4RvH2a1oInogbc=&h=344&w=250&sz=19&hl=en&start=2&um=1&tbnid=ETy_06xk-4D4CM:&tbnh=120&tbnw=87&prev=/images%3Fq%3Doakland%2Bport%2Bprotest%2Brubber%2Bbullets%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1

11/21/2009 4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:28,

I am no expert, but from what I remember, the police may not use lethal force unless there is a safety issue. See, e.g. Tennessee v. Garner 471 U.S. 1 (1985) (holding that under the Fourth Amendment, an officer may only use deadly force to stop a feeling suspect if he has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a threat of death or serious injury to others).

Individual police departments may or may not have more stringent rules.

The problem is that it is extremely difficult to actually hold a law enforcement officer accountable for such conduct. Depending on what you think the risk of false positives is, this may or may not be a good thing.

11/21/2009 4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Err, tons of errors in my previous post including a missing comma and a misplaced modifier. fail.

11/21/2009 4:47 PM  
Anonymous J.D.elicious said...

Thanks 4:45! Hmmm... maybe enrolling in crim pro would be a good idea before the bar :).

11/21/2009 5:12 PM  
Anonymous J.D.elicious said...

Thanks 4:45! Hmmm... maybe enrolling in crim pro would be a good idea before the bar :).

11/21/2009 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tennessee v. Garner is general Crim Law reading. I believe its holding is substantially adopted by the MPC.

The question in this case isn't about lethal force at all. It's about the use of less-than-lethal force in situations where there appears to be nothing more than the disobeyance of an apparently, though arguably not, lawful police order. Ideally the offenders would be arrested; instead they were beaten. Tennessee v. Garner has nothing to say about that.

11/21/2009 6:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:20,

Agreed the case was not entirely on point, and I did not explain my reasoning.

Perhaps I misunderstood the post I was responding to, but I guess my point was that even lethal force may be allowed where there is a significant safety threat.

Therefore, reasoning from there, lesser levels of force (e.g. non-lethal, but dangerous) would probably be constitutional where there was a slightly less significant safety threat. Does that make any sense?


As I said, I'm no expert. But this is the general sense I got from our discussion of this and similar issues in our Crim Law class. And you are correct, Garner is standard crim reading.

11/21/2009 7:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think people who claim these videos "prove" that the police acted unreasonably are mostly looking to validate their predetermined views on the situation. The fact is that you can't see what the protesters were doing. You also can't see if any of the blows actually landed such to cause any injury.

Furthermore in most of these protests, it's unsurprising that the protesters taunt and play chicken with the police. The police face an almost impossible balancing act of maintaining order without using any excessive force. The protesters know and exploit this. Getting the police to overreact will help advance their cause.

11/22/2009 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Hersh said...

3:32,

I guess I see the state and the individuals who make up the police as different things. The police on the ground get violent, but I'm sure the state, if it had the power to do so, would prefer to whisk everyone peacefully away from the protest site with no physical confrontation at all.

After all, scenes like the one that happened at Wheeler don't benefit the politicians.

Ideally you'd want your police to be highly professional and immune to provocation. In practice think about the type of people that are attracted to a career that involves walking around with your gun + baton and forcing people to do things they don't want to do (like obey the laws).

11/22/2009 10:12 AM  
Blogger tyler said...

It's off topic dead horse beating, but I wanted to mention that in addition to being way, way, way more bad ass than the Boalt Hall strikers, the Wheeler Hall protesters also had a different platform.

As I understand it, the Wheeler Hall protesters were protesting the layoff of a number of workers, including some custodial staff. By contrast, the union supported by the Boalt Hall strikers (the UPTE), advocates saving $800 Million by laying off "excessive" bureaucrats who are not members of their union (presumably, none of THEIR members are excessive).

Additionally, I noticed that a number of workers at Boalt continued to work through the strike. Contrary to what I expected from reading BLOC's broadsheet response to DE, many librarians, administrators, and custodial staff appeared to be working, as were the employees of the Zeb concessionaire.

Maybe I'm missing something, but what I deduce from this is that the UPTE is not in solidarity with these workers. To me, this makes the strike seem even more like an attempt by the UPTE to preserve what they have at the expense of other workers. And it makes their opposition to a fee increase that was already a foregone conclusion seem even more like a clever strategic move to use students to exaggerate support for their cause.

I think its unfortunate that this strike was uncritically supported by Boalt students who didn't want to be (in 1:20's terminology) "conservative."

11/22/2009 2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the comment above, the "way more bad ass" Wheeler Hall protestors that were getting beaten Friday were actually the exact same UPTE strikers and Boalt Hall students that were protesting Wednesday and Thursday.

11/22/2009 3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Getting beaten?

Why is it that Boalties are willing to jump to conclusions about what happened when it is the police/someone white, but when it is a young black man with a criminal record Boalties go on and on about innocent until proven guilty and how everything is an allegation?

Shouldn't we be saying "allegedly beaten?"

Or at least be saying "allegedly beaten without cause?"

11/22/2009 4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the Wheeler Hall protesters were different than the Boalt Hall protesters too.

I think the problem is that there are so many different people protesting so many different things that there isn't a coherent message.

All I really seem to hear is "wah wah wah the school needs to put more money into education" without an explanation of where that money is gonna come from.

11/22/2009 4:40 PM  
Blogger Thomas said...

"Why is it that Boalties are always willing to jump to conclusions..."?

Maybe because we were there, saw people getting beaten up, and/or got beat up?

11/22/2009 5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A graduate student's fingers were maliciously destroyed by an officer who struck her with a baton for placing her hand on the barricade. She requires reconstructive surgery, as after the beating her fingers were left hanging by a thread of flesh. And yet Chancellor Birgeneau claims that the student protests ended "peacefully."

Talk about an exaggeration. Pretty sure it is basically impossible for a finger to almost completely detach from a stray baton hit.

11/22/2009 6:30 PM  
Blogger James said...

If you're so skeptical, I can find a baton and you have a hand. ;)

11/22/2009 6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's why he said "without cause."

You can't taunt the police and completely disregard their orders and expect them to not act to prevent a riot.

11/23/2009 12:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

$3,000,000 Yudof/Birgeneau Reckless Spending: 32%hike in TuitionWhy does one of the top universities in the world have to spend $3 million of taxpayer money for consultants to do what should be done internally by UCB Chancellor Birgeneau?
Who teaches auditors how to audit? Do UC professors not have the knowledge to perform what they teach?
Having firsthand knowledge of consulting, I know one cardinal rule, "Don't bite the hand that pays you."
In a nutshell, we have a high-paid, skilled UCB Chancellor who is unable or unwilling to do the job he is paid to do. Why do we wonder that UC and California are in a financial crisis!
I'm sure taxpayers would not object to the $3 million payout if the money is reimbursed by taking money from the UCB Chancellor's salary over the next 10 years.
Stop the spending of $3,000,000 on consultants by President Yudof and the UCB Chancellor and do the job internally
Respectfully

11/23/2009 9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about a post about the latest BART arrest at W Oakland?

11/23/2009 10:32 AM  
Blogger Carbolic said...

How about a link to the latest BART arrest, so we will know what you're talking about?

11/23/2009 11:50 AM  
Blogger James said...

This is the link: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/11/bart-officer-injured-arresting-rider-under-investigation-for-useofforce.html

Last I checked, N&B isn't a catch all for police violence, not that this isn't a great example of continued BART police bullshit.

11/23/2009 12:19 PM  
Anonymous 10:32 am said...

I deliberately left out a link since I know Carbolic is too retarded/lazy to use google, and I don't want him/her/it to write another post.

11/23/2009 12:33 PM  
Blogger Carbolic said...

Reverse psychology? Whatever. Anyway, your wish is granted. We aim to please at N&B.

11/23/2009 1:03 PM  
Blogger L'Alex said...

Dan - excellent post.

11/24/2009 11:52 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Hey, thanks!

11/24/2009 4:20 PM  

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