This is what American Education looks like

Police brutalize UC Berkeley students on November 9

Peacefully and non-violently, the students attempted to set up an Occupy Wall St encampment on Sproul Plaza, right exactly where (among so many others) Mario Savio spoke in the 1960s. And look at how odious the machine is today! I sent the following letter to the despicable Chancellor Birgeneau who should resign now, both for the indignity of this violence and for his own lack of any minimal respect for the democracy which these students have somehow learned to practice, despite him and his peers: the 1% who rule us and treat us like dogs.

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Chancellor Birgeneau -

As a native Californian and UC Berkeley PhD graduate, I too have a stake in UCB. I follow closely what happens there. Today I read the following statement that you made to the extended UCB community:

“It is unfortunate that some protesters chose to obstruct the police by linking arms and forming a human chain to prevent the police from gaining access to the tents. This is not non-violent civil disobedience.  By contrast, some of the protesters chose to be arrested peacefully; they were told to leave their tents, informed that they would be arrested if they did not, and indicated their intention to be arrested. They did not resist arrest or try physically to obstruct the police officers’ efforts to remove the tent.  These protesters were acting in the tradition of peaceful civil disobedience, and we honor them.”

This is ONE OF THE MOST HYPOCRITICAL STATEMENTS  I have ever read. The idea that linking arms is not non-violent civil disobedience flies so far in the face of common sense that it is sufficient to condemn you entirely as an administrator. Far from honoring anyone, you have cast immense shame on yourself and have committed a physical and verbal assault every aspiration and ideal that the people of California have invested in OUR university.

In your actions one clearly sees that you choose to represent and enact a police state rather than a community of democratic debate. If you believe that the civil disobedience of Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King is reducible to blind obedience to the orders of men wielding clubs, then you have severely misunderstood the meaning and power of the civic philosophies which have been elaborated and taught within OUR public university. Such a profound lack of understanding disqualifies you from the position you hold, and I call on you to step down from it. No other action could remove the shame of the statement you have made.

In the absence of your immediate resignation, I sincerely hope that one day soon I will have a chance to link arms along with thousands or tens of thousands of others to protest the tyranny that your administration manifests.

Brian Holmes

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2 Responses to “This is what American Education looks like”

  1. l.e. long Says:

    If you’re in California, UC Berkeley students are going on strike tomorrow, Nov. 15., and intend on setting up camp.

    • Brian Holmes Says:

      Thanks! I am well aware and encourage everyone to participate. I just live in Chicago now… Let’s hope the action goes well. It looks as though Occupy is going to have a new life on campus. Students deserve better than Chancellor Birgeneau! We all deserve better than a society run like a business for the sole purpose of personal and corporate profit.

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