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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

College Protests Coming: "Day of Action"

This past Saturday, our post was on Civil Unrest.  I hope you read it, as all of us Californians will get a real-world chance to practice the plans and concepts this coming Thursday.

It seems that on Thursday of LAST week, there was a bit of civil unrest in action at the UC Berkeley campus.  A group of college students had spent some time in a dance that evening.  At the end of their night, "more than 200 people spilled out of a dance party on campus and trashed university buildings and smashed windows along Telegraph Avenue."

I guess things got a bit out of hand -
Forty-five officers from several law enforcement agencies responded, including the Berkeley and Oakland police, and the California Highway Patrol, officials said. At least two people — current and former students — were arrested.

By the time police arrived they found someone had cut a chain on the fence surrounding Durant Hall, a former library in the center of campus that is closed for renovations, and hung a banner reading "March 4" above the entrance to the building, a reference to Thursday's statewide "Day of Action" to protest education budget cuts.
So, what is Lesson 1?  A riot can start out of seemingly thin air.  These people were coming from a dance, and they're suddenly trashing the campus.  The riot lasted for 5 hours!

Lesson 2 is, Sometimes You Get Advanced Warning.  What is this March 4th, statewide "Day of Action"?
That's the day that tens of thousands of students, teachers and others are expected to attend protests. Among the plans:

— UC-Santa Cruz students, teachers and workers will gather at both entrances of the university in an effort to shut down the campus. The school's March 4 Strike Committee says it has gathered 1,700 signatures of people planning to cancel or walk out of class.
Great. A riot with 200 people took 5 hours and 45 police officers to quell.  What's it going to take if this ONE demonstration spins out of control?

Crowds outside the building continued to swell, and by about 1:30 a.m. Friday, people began to clash with baton-swinging police, throwing bottles, setting trash ablaze and breaking several windows on Telegraph.
Remember, this isn't just happening throughout the UC system.  It is going to happen at every State college, private college and Junior college in the state.  I'm guessing that the police on every college campus in California will be putting their own Civil Unrest plan into practice.  Add to that the CHP and local police, and I'd bet that there will be little hesitation on their part to "keep things in check".

Ahh, to be young and du..., well, wide-eyed. Here are some of the strike organizers talking about why they're doing this -
"What the government and the UC are trying to do is shut the doors to the campus," said Mary Virginia Watson, a graduate student and strike organizer. "One day of inconvenience is worth it."
Really? It's the UC system's plan to go out of business? You really think that's what is behind the cuts in the funding that is sending you to college for free?  There's clearly not an, "Economics and Common Sense 101" course taught at any of the UC campus'.
"Let us again make a point in the struggle against the cuts, layoffs, fee hikes, and educational segregation in California," wrote 21-year-old Joe Tran, a SJSU senior,...
Way to go, sport! Don't EVER miss a chance to play the race card. At a minimum, it will get your name in the paper and in a couple of blogs. Well done!

Oh, BTW, that card is WAY over-played. No one buys it any more. See, "The Boy Who Cried 'Wolf'" for more information.  Sorry.

Accept The Challenge

We know what's coming.  We know when it's coming.  We know (generally) where it's going to be.

Your plan on Thursday should be to stay at home, if possible.  At least here in the Bay Area, it seems like we have some sort of a JC or State College Extension on every corner.  At a very minimum, stay away from any college campus in the state.  Let your friends and family know what's going on as well.

If you take public transportation, and it passes by any college, find another way to where you're going for that one day.  If you must be out-and-about, have some sort of personal defense tool - such as pepper spray.

Assume you're going to get gassed, and tuck a bandanna or N95 mask into your purse/backpack/brief case, along with some eye wash solution (not contact lens solution).

Having a portable radio with you wouldn't be a bad idea as well.  You might want to keep an eye out for your local high schools, too.  Many times, these types of protest have a tendancy to "catch fire" there as well.

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Shy Wolf said...

Interesting about March 4... police in a particular large city in this area- well, I consider 100K large- are going on strike tomorrow. Could be an interesting time on campus this week, IMO.

Chief Instructor said...

A friend of mine just called, and said he heard a paid radio advertisement from the Cal Teachers Assn telling people to get out there and support this protest.

Judging from the press this is now starting to get, I'm guessing tomorrow is going to be a No Day Off day in many police agencies in the state.