Where does the violence come from?


by Charles Schwartz at UC Berkeley

Trying to make sense of recent events here, I came up with the following.

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DRAFT#1  by C.S. 11/19/11

The past two weeks have seen an unprecedented outbreak of police violence against peaceful students on UC campuses at Berkeley and Davis.  And this comes amidst the continuing loud protests against the privatization of UC.  Are those two things connected?

I expect that the Regents would say, No: privatization is necessary because the state has failed to provide enough money; and police action is necessary because some students don’t behave the way they should.

It seems clear that the Regents approve of the police violence – since we have heard no words of condemnation, or even regret, from them after the fact. Furthermore, it is quite conceivable that they actually ordained this violence, telling their Chancellors to “be tough” in the face of protesters. In any case, The Regents, are the legally responsible authority.

From ARTICLE 9 SECTION 9 of the California Constitution:
(a) The University of California shall constitute a public trust, to be
administered by the existing corporation known as "The Regents of the
University of California," with full powers of organization and government,

But, again, what has this got to do with privatization?

Freedom of Speech is protected by the U.S. Constitution, but only in the public domain. Any private business may fire employees and exclude customers whose speech displeases the bosses.  Freedom of Assembly is also only in the public domain. Any private business may call in the police to remove anyone they dislike from their private property.

Therefore, we propose ……

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For a reality check, I sent this draft to a well-respected colleagues, as follows.

We have been on opposing sides of some arguments lately; so now I want to see if we might possibly collaborate on something.  Below is my first draft of a somewhat broader statement about what is happening at UC.  Please tell me what you think of this and whether there is some form in which we might promote these ideas in concert.

He replied,

I’ll pass on this one.  I don’t believe anyone supports the violence – I think that far too many in our administration are well intentioned but incompetent.
On top of that, …

To which I replied,

X, thanks for your response.
I find your second sentence most thought-provoking: did that violence just fall, like rain, from the sky?

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So, now I am posting this for wider commentary.

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