This letter examines the inefficient attempt by the UC Faculty to appropriate the student movement by encouraging a paternalistic/familial guidance to “peaceful” protest.
In the aftermath of the November occupation of Kerr Hall at UCSC there has been a storm of writing and discussion as both supporters and critics have rushed to represent the unprecedented events and imbue them with political meaning. The administration said what everyone knew it would say – that the participants went beyond the bounds of civil protest, that they deprived the university community of its rights, et cetera. We are neither surprised by nor interested in their rhetoric. More important to us have been the conversations developing within the movement itself, some of which we fear threaten to distort the real content of the occupation and drain it of its radical potential. As participants in the Kerr Hall events we want to set the record straight about a few misconceptions and also challenge a particular kind of political logic that has surfaced from some quarters.
First of all, we have witnessed over the last several weeks an effort on the part of some to cast the student occupiers as frightened victims of administrative terror. We have heard more than a few descriptions of events that – whether out of ignorance or political utility, we cannot be sure – describe students erecting barricades fearfully and desperately as riot police arrived. Not only is this factually inaccurate, it misrepresents the basic dynamic inside the occupation. It was a collective, preemptive decision by the occupiers to barricade the doors, not a fearful reaction to the imminent threat of police violence. Read the rest of the letter.