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So... this is what the base of campus (our campus being on a giant hill) has looked like all week this week: Tent University. (Also see article plus smaller picture).

This is one of those protests where nobody really knows what they're protesting. The idea is something like "we don't need no teachers, let's educate ourselfs," although I keep hearing various versions of it depending on who you ask. Some say "we're setting up an alternative community which fosters education". On the one hand, I have to admire it... but on the other hand, it would have been better if they could come up with a more believable excuse to rebel (ever hear of the "blind leading the blind"?). Last Thursday we had a legitimate strike (for the janitors and clerical workers wages) and the campus nearly shut down entirely; this week everything is pretty much running as usual, aside from the most radical element which can't seem to get enough of protesting, even if there's nothing left to protest. The whole thing is being run more like a rock concert or a pot-smoking fest (I'm sure it's no coincidence 4/20 marks the midway point of the madness) rather than a serious political event.

Anyway, Monday night my roommates and I heard there was some shit going down, so we drove over to campus around midnight. There were cops in riot gear trying to control the crowd of people, who were chanting stuff about Che Guevara (whatever he has to do with any of this!), fuck the police, fuck the Regents, etc. We talked to some of the people who had been there from earlier, and supposedly at around 10pm they just started arresting people randomly and hauling them away for smoking pot and making too much noise (and setting up tents on land that the university specifically forbid them from sleeping on). But the crowd formed a chain and encircled the cops and tried to block them from hauling anyone away. That's apparently when the riot control cops from the next town got called in. But while we were there (shortly after midnight), the most miraculous and strange thing happened. The cops were all talking on their radios and then all of a sudden they turned around and marched away in line back to their vehicles. The crowd went wild with elation, taunting the cops and lauging at them. Apparently, the cops decided the more they did to harrass people and try to control the situation, the worse it got. So their best bet was to withdraw. The next morning we got this message from the dean. (The Dean's best attempt at painting it as a victory for the school is "It is important to note that only 200 or so, including both UCSC students and others, were involved in the incident. The great majority of our 15,000 students were not involved, and no official student organization participated.") Apparently, in this town the men in blue have almost no power. The students can do pretty much whatever they want. Which is kinda cool, but kinda scary too in a way. Yesterday and today there were still plenty of people camping at the base of campus, but not nearly as many as Monday night. Of course, today was supposed to be the peak originally so I don't know what is happening tonight--if things have escalated or calmed down. What a crazy town I live in! I wouldn't trade it though; there was never this much entertainment on a Monday night in Georgia.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
spinemasher
Apr. 21st, 2005 08:26 am (UTC)
That sounds way cool. Ah California... the promised land. Here, it is the exact opposite. People live in fear and constant harassment from cops. The local authorities here go unchecked. Actually, I think you are from Florida. Could you ever imagine such a thing happening here? (save for Miami but then it would have ended in gun fire, no doubt from cops AND civilians alike)
spoonless
Apr. 21st, 2005 09:33 pm (UTC)
yeah, I grew up in Bradenton Florida from 1st grade to 12th. Nothing like this would have ever happened there, that's for sure.
wanton_adonis
Apr. 21st, 2005 04:08 pm (UTC)
Well, Berkeley had its sister act of that, nothing compared to tent city. Even without agreeing with the cause *shame, shame, Berkeley*

man our cops just sat in the back and looked bored.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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