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Galindez writes: "It would have been easy for students at UC Davis to riot after watching their classmates being assaulted with pepper spray. Instead, they remained nonviolent. That simple act gave them the moral high ground. And that's how social change movements grow. The Occupy movement must adhere to its guidelines of nonviolence, and distance itself from acts of violence."

I am here to apologize,' Chancellor Katehi (center) told students. 'I know you may not believe anything I am telling you today, and you don’t have to. It is my responsibility to earn your trust.' 11/22/11. (photo: Paul Sakuma/AP)
I am here to apologize,' Chancellor Katehi (center) told students. 'I know you may not believe anything I am telling you today, and you don’t have to. It is my responsibility to earn your trust.' 11/22/11. (photo: Paul Sakuma/AP)



UC Davis Students Are Role Models

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

22 November 11


Reader Supported News | Perspective

 

Occupy Wall Street: Take the Bull by the Horns

 

t would have been easy for students at UC Davis to riot after watching their classmates being assaulted with pepper spray. Instead, they remained nonviolent. That simple act gave them the moral high ground. And that's how social change movements grow.

Rewind a couple of weeks.

Occupy Oakland was in a similar situation. Police had violently cracked down on their encampment. Iraq War veteran Scott Olson almost died. They had the momentum, which led to a successful general strike that closed the Port of Oakland. As night fell on the day of that general strike, some of the protesters became violent. That violence turned public opinion, and slowed their momentum.

It reminds me of a 1988 demonstration at the Pentagon. We had a thousand people committed to nonviolent civil disobedience. We attempted to shut down the south parking lot. We went through nonviolence training prior to the action, and this was key to our success. Affinity groups were all on the same page. The action remained nonviolent and, in the words of Daniel Ellsberg, "Pentagon employees had to step over us to get to work." All went well until a small group decided to start lighting fires - some of them under transit buses. All of that hard work to keep the protest from turning violent quite literally "went up in smoke."

Problems like this have always plagued the progressive movement. The authorities know if they provoke the right groups they will become violent and public opinion will turn against whatever movement they are targeting. Those who keep wondering why the police fan the flames of the Occupy movement will learn the answer to their question if the Occupy movement responds to these provocations with violence.

The Occupy movement must strictly adhere to its guidelines of nonviolence, and publicly distance itself from acts of violence. As tempting as it may be to fight back when you are under attack, all that does is alienate future supporters.

Back to UC Davis.

Yesterday, thousands turned out on campus for a nonviolent rally, one that included an apology from Chancellor Katehi.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfzQyT9nUMk

If the students reacted violently to the pepper spray, yesterday's rally would have been much smaller and much less effective. It was the nonviolent response that made people who usually don't attend protests, but are sympathetic to the cause, feel safe enough to attend and to stay.

While there is a time and a place for more militant actions like the blockade of the Pentagon, only the hardcore attend these events. If any movement is to grow and flourish, newcomers need to feel safe. One of the pepper-sprayed protesters put it best, "Do not choose the path of violence. Their only weapon is violence. We will prevail."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mse5wfBZ4j8

The authorities will continue to use violence in the hope that they can inspire a violent reaction from us. They know that scenes like the violence in Oakland after the general strike will kill the momentum of the movement.

Let us learn from Oakland, and follow the example set by Occupy Davis. Right now Oakland is struggling to maintain a camp, while Occupy Davis is back, bigger and stronger than ever.


Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott will be spending a year covering the presidential election from Iowa.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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+72 # mwd870 2011-11-22 14:37
The Occupy Davis students remained brave and non-violent when attacked by vicious bullies. This does make their cause stronger and is an example for other Occupy Movements to follow.
 
 
+16 # Texas Aggie 2011-11-22 20:35
Remaining nonviolent takes a lot more courage and maturity than reacting to violence with violence. I don't think I would be able to do it. I truly admire the bravery and the fortitude of those students who have made the pigs look so bad.
 
 
+62 # pernsey 2011-11-22 14:37
WOW!!! Keep it non-violent, violence does only makes protesters look bad, no response to violence makes the police look terrible!!

OCCUPY OCCUPY OCCUPY!!
 
 
+35 # fredboy 2011-11-22 15:17
I also admire the fact that UC Davis students care and are aware of what Wall Street, Washington, and corporate America are doing to their future.

Most public and private universities appear nowhere on the advocacy and leadership radar, mute and perhaps frightened to speak up or raise questions. Their absence shares a dim and disappointing light on a generation that is on the verge of being raped and gutted out of any hope of an economic or civil liberties future.

Best speak up now, or wish like hell you did. You will hate the day when your children or grandchildren ask "What happened?" and you reply, "I don't know. I didn't care. And I was afraid to speak up at the time."
 
 
0 # prof poe 2011-11-22 15:26
http://youtu.be/D--gF74tHGw
 
 
+27 # DLT888 2011-11-22 15:42
I recommend that everyone who plans to attend an Occupy event take training in non-violent civil disobedience. Groups like the Answer coalition should be able to provide you with a source for that training. The Civil Rights movement was successful because they practiced non-violence in exercises where others tried to provoke an angry response. So if you have a temper, PLEASE go to some practice classes on non-violence. I have a temper and that's what I need to do, too. I'm not used to not reacting so I need the practice.
 
 
+18 # Brewsir 2011-11-22 16:04
This image fully represents resolve. One side is comitted to ignorance and bullying. The other side's demonstrates a combination of much higher powers. One will live on to the eternal detriment of the other. This show of so called police power will remain in an easily available file. Heading: Abuse; sub head: to be determined.
 
 
+42 # sukumar 2011-11-22 16:11
Chancellor Katehi, if you are sincere in your apology and truly want to earn our trust, bring your tent and sleeping bag and come on over and join us.
 
 
+12 # michelle 2011-11-22 20:05
This is a brilliant suggestion and I hope you email her office. If she is truly sincere this is an excellent action to unify the campus.
 
 
+7 # jon 2011-11-22 20:59
Right, talk is cheap!
 
 
+17 # lydiablanchard@yahoo.com 2011-11-22 16:33
Isn't there another possible non-violent response to the policemen's tear-gassing of non-violent peers? Could the observing protesters, who were rightly shouting "Shame!", have also stepped peaceably between the police sprayers and the tortured friends? Is it violent to show caring toward one's friends and their bravery, attempting non-aggressivel y to stand between the torturers and those they are hurting? I would have had great difficulty not doing so in this situation at UCDavis. What if they were being shot with live ammunition?

The biggest hospital in Cairo today (11//22/11) is open-air in the center of Tahrir Square, where thousands are being consecutively treated for having bravely run to the periphery to confront the military and have become severely injured for acting non-violently in defense of what is more precious than life: 'food, freedom, and respect'. Yes, many are not surviving. There are risks worth taking, circumstances worth occupying, when too much has been taken.

--former UCD librarian, grieving to see my library in a tragic, inevitable setting, yet greatly heartened and supportive
 
 
+27 # Hank 2011-11-22 16:46
I don't like to bring up conspiracy theory but it only takes a few hardheads from the right to sabotage peaceful demonstrations.
Check the telephone threats to recall petitioners in Wisconsin.
 
 
+12 # Texas Aggie 2011-11-22 20:38
Police provocateurs are standard procedure.
 
 
+12 # Bodiotoo 2011-11-22 17:00
The main stream media , while it HAD to respond to the vicious aggravated assault by the uniformed officers...have not shown the results from the
Mike Check" and "Time Out" that was asked for.

The officers were clearly afraid for thier safety, but when the peacefully assembled Occupiers asked them to recognize that they(the PD) were armed and the Occupiers were not and ...'would they please lower thier (assault) weapons...and that "No one was going to harm them, ...Please just leave..." the Shock(shook) Troops" backed out and left...They heard the chants of "Shame" etc and have to know that they were WRONG in what they were doing and what they watched and allowed thier superiors to do. Embarressment and Fear! Bravo UC DAVIS! Bravo!!!!!
 
 
+9 # Archie1954 2011-11-22 17:11
Unfortunately the only way to distance themselves from acts of violence is to stay very far away from the police.
 
 
+23 # Capn Canard 2011-11-22 17:16
Katehi has got to go. Ordering riot police on peaceful students is inexcusable.
 
 
+11 # Texas Aggie 2011-11-22 20:39
Even worse was her initial response to the event where she blamed the people sitting there for not doing what the pigs told them to do.
 
 
+20 # BLBreck 2011-11-22 17:29
The silent protest by the UC Davis students was one of the most inspiring and brilliant things I've even seen. It is imperative that the protests remain non-violent. It must be clearly shown who, as is said in the article, has the moral high-ground. What happened and the response of the students has furthered the cause in a huge way. Thank you to all the brave students, you make me feel even more that the younger generation is indeed the hope of the future.
 
 
+16 # Buddha 2011-11-22 17:31
"All tyrannies rule through fraud and force, but that once the fraud is exposed they must rely exclusively on force." - George Orwell

All great successful protest leaders, such as Ghandi and MLKJr, understood the dynamic and power of meeting tyranical force with nonviolence. Responding violently always dissolves public support and justifies the force used by the tyranny. Of course, that is why agents provocateurs are so successful and are such a threat going forward. I wouldn't bet my house that some of those masked black-hooded ninjas in Oakland weren't provocateurs...
 
 
+22 # Richard Raznikov 2011-11-22 17:45
The student response at Davis is a watershed for the Occupy movement, but it is also worth noting, as one other writer has, that there are such things as agents provocateur –– people who are assigned by the police or by civil authorities to engage in or provoke violence as a means of discrediting a movement. This will inevitably happen and must be exposed.

The owners of America are not going to passively permit this movement to continue to grow because it is the first genuine threat to their stranglehold in more than forty years.

This movement can succeed if it continues to strike at the nation's conscience with weapons of truth and moral courage.
 
 
+10 # futhark 2011-11-22 19:19
Holding the ethical high ground is essential to the success of any political endeavor in this day of cell phones and YouTube. People who participate in demonstrations must understand that their reactions to provocation will be seen by the public and be seen as a test of their sincerity and the ethical basis of their position.
 
 
-39 # CharlesH2011 2011-11-22 19:39
I think you are all confused about the difference between violence and nonviolence.

The students began the cycle of violence by refusing to leave, and in some instances resisting being removed.

The act of forcefully occupying a space that you don't have the right to, and depriving others of their lawful rights, is by its very nature a violent act.

You may support the cause and think the violence of the protesters is appropriate, and the response of the police was not, but it's simply not true to characterize this as a nonviolent protest.

I use the legal definition of violence, which includes "the use of force or fear to deprive someone else of their lawful rights or property".
 
 
+9 # Okieangels 2011-11-22 20:39
Anyone present could have stepped over that line of protestors.
 
 
+14 # Kootenay Coyote 2011-11-22 21:01
Quoting CharlesH2011:
I think you are all confused about the difference between violence and nonviolence.

The students began the cycle of violence by refusing to leave, and in some instances resisting being removed.

The act of forcefully occupying a space that you don't have the right to, and depriving others of their lawful rights, is by its very nature a violent act.

You may support the cause and think the violence of the protesters is appropriate, and the response of the police was not, but it's simply not true to characterize this as a nonviolent protest.

I use the legal definition of violence, which includes "the use of force or fear to deprive someone else of their lawful rights or property".


Who was deprived of lawful rights by the occupiers? The only loss of rights here was that of the occupiers to make their constitutionall y guaranteed dissent. Your logic is catastrophicall y flawed.
 
 
+14 # jon 2011-11-22 21:04
since when does a curfew, or any other local ordinance, trump the First Amendment?
 
 
-8 # CharlesH2011 2011-11-23 05:38
Since there are time, place and manner restrictions on Free Speech.
 
 
+3 # Cactusman 2011-11-23 12:16
But you're trying to morph it into violence. And it ain't that.
 
 
+19 # Texas Aggie 2011-11-22 21:18
Mark Twain once addressed this canard that the protestors who were sitting quietly were actually engaging in violence. His question was if you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a normal dog have?

The answer is four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it one, and calling passive resistance violence doesn't make it violence. To try to claim that sitting quietly is the equivalent of pepper spraying someone in the face or beating them with a nightstick is totally and completely dishonest. The only reason this particular "thought" has even entered the discourse is so that sadists can justify their conduct.
 
 
+13 # soularddave 2011-11-22 23:40
Quoting Texas Aggie:
totally and completely dishonest. The only reason this particular "thought" has even entered the discourse is so that sadists can justify their conduct.


And it doesn't fly; at least not in the minds of normal people. If the police response is WRONG, the protesters, by the process of elimination, ARE RIGHT (and everything each side stands for).

My mom & I sat in the living room and cried when the police, on TV, in Selma attacked the young protesters with dogs and billy clubs. That, there, determined forever, which side I was on.
 
 
-4 # CharlesH2011 2011-11-23 05:17
Since we're in search of the truth, it was actually Lincoln who said that, not Twain.

And let's be honest too about what the Occupy movement is all about... If the students at Davis would have had a peaceful lawful assembly, no one would have noticed.

But by provoking a response, it makes big news. That is what Occupy movements are designed to do--provoke responses. That is why protesters will defy authority, break the law, resist arrest, etc. whatever it takes to provoke a response, because it is the response that brings attention to the cause.
 
 
+9 # Capn Canard 2011-11-23 13:01
CharlesH2011, that is ALL PROTEST is trying to do. The protesters at UC-Davis were passive protesters and not actively agitating. Their presence was the provocation, and that alone speaks volumes re the MO of the Administration and POLICE. That distinction is vitally important.
 
 
+13 # Cactusman 2011-11-22 21:22
Two things: To hear the words of the protester who spoke in the 2nd video (who was pepper sprayed) no one was being forcibly deprived of anything. Some rules on camping and curfews were being broken, but it was a victimless "crime", and it's NOT violence.

More importantly, American Democracy is being occupied by a set of immoral sociopathic people who DO deprive others of voting rights, livelihood, income, a clean environment, and due process under the law, to list only a few grievances. They own the media, they have odious legal decisions that hold those with the most money are the most equal and have the loudest say (no "one person one vote" here), they control the energy sources and flow of money and food supply and transit networks, and they arrogantly run the place without regard to the chattel humans who get in their way.

The only way to get their attention and resist the corrals of pain and suffering they force us into is to occupy public space and become a nuisance. This is what OWS is about.

But it is NOT violent when you get in a bully's face and resist his efforts to demean and rob you of what little you've got. Stop trying to define it as something it's not.

Indian activist Vandana Shiva says, "Bad laws that aren't worth following need to be broken." And that's what we're doing. Reclaiming our power and rights!
 
 
+13 # jwb110 2011-11-22 20:04
If my taxes pay for the streets and the Universities and the Capitol in DC I have a vested ownership in those things. Every American owns the 1st Amendment.
 
 
+2 # CandH 2011-11-22 20:57
Why does it feel like I just read a "blame the victim" rant? And furthermore, that of a classist rant to insist that University of California students are superior in their methods, and Oakland encampments are not?
 
 
+6 # soularddave 2011-11-22 23:50
Sorry, the point was made that the violence at the Oakland docks was not supposed to happen, and that since it did, it set the movement there back a bit.

The Occupy encampments in Oakland have been exemplary. The point is that protesters must distance themselves from ANY violent activity - indeed, let the police cull them from the peaceful majority. The whole world IS watching, and they cheer on those who are protesting the larger violence that has been visited upon us all.

PS: take care of OUR injured Marine, please.
 
 
+5 # Scott Galindez 2011-11-23 00:04
I was not referring to the crackdown on Occupy Oakland. I was revering to the violence on the night of the general strike...The police laid back that hole day, but then a small group decided to squander the momentum by choosing to be violent.

Most of Occupy Oakland were victims of police violence, but those who were violent that night were not.
 
 
+1 # Scott Galindez 2011-11-23 07:28
Also if it was palm springs and not Oakland I would have said the same thing. It was not about class...care to red bait me next?
 
 
+3 # CandH 2011-11-23 09:46
Only 1400 symbols to cover a complex topic. So I'll try:

The MSM focused on OO as "violent" (broke windows.) Why? To cover the 17 different police agencies asses for overkill and excess cost$ and force on repeated occasions, including beating innocent human bystanders to a pulp. That's the only reason. For instance, there were a few "violent" protesters in NY, SF, LA, Seattle, Denver, etc, etc, but the M$M focuses on OO, precisely and totally because the excessive police response there need$ cover. This has been an ongoing problem with the local M$M collusion and Oakland police for decades.

And it is always about class and race in Oakland--specif ically the excessive brutal repeated predominantly white/male police response to the people of color in Oakland. Ask the people of Harlem NY, when victimized by police, if it's about anything other than class and race there. It isn't.

So here's the point: the M$M crafts this message that Oakland is "violent," vast #$ of police crackdowns, and over decades and decades, a police $tate ensues there as a consequence. And then the nat'l M$M rinse/repeats when it can, and the cycle continues indefinitely. Don't fall into the M$M/FoxNews messaging trap--that's all.
 
 
+3 # CandH 2011-11-23 10:00
Which also leads to the issue of Agent Provocateurs by the police and FBI, etc, to enhance their crackdown effort$, creating the rinse/repeat cycling of a notorious police $tate happening in Oakland that I spoke of. (BTW--It's hard to see it if you haven't directly experienced it for yourself over a prolonged period of time. I have.)
 
 
+1 # Scott Galindez 2011-11-23 17:54
I was one of the organizers of the pentagon protest in 88...Daniel Ellsberg and I compare arrest totals when we see each other.

I have not experienced Oakland but have faced pepper spray, tear gas and rubber bullets. I have been assaulted by the police too..

More than once after another protester threw a rock and ran away.

There are agent provocateurs for sure, but we are also in denial if we dont acknowledge that there are elements of our movements that instigate violence.

I was only using that night in Oakland as an example of how momentum was slowed. Oakland had huge momentum and it was squandered by tactics.
 
 
0 # CandH 2011-11-23 20:13
Quoting Scott:
I was only using that night in Oakland as an example of how momentum was slowed. Oakland had huge momentum and it was squandered by tactics.


I believe whatever tactical adverse elements are present are predominantly (say >95%) Agent Provocateurs, whether from law enforcement, co-opting groups, or opposing groups. Focusing on the
 
 
+2 # Bodiotoo 2011-11-23 20:45
Civil non violent resistance is the essence of how the whole thing can change. Scott, I attended the New Have anti war rally May 1st, 1970...struck by an officer some 25 miles away whne I went home...he commented "We don't want any trouble etc. That weekend in New Haven it was FBI agents that started the rock and bottle throwing that set off the police riot. Those kids at DAVIS did the right thing, the movement must remain peaceful...it needs to grow. I only pray we do not have another Kent State.
 
 
+7 # Brewsir 2011-11-22 21:03
If the violence of pepper spray is deemed to be legal and if it does, in fact, sustain tis identity then some laws need to be brought into the realm of reasonable. Marriage between people seen to be white and others now described as black was once illegal in the USA (many States). Incidentally, children under the age of ten were once fodder for profiteers. I can go on and on. 'tis not about archaic and vicious "laws". This episode is about extreme cruelty by persons whom allege to serve and protect or something like that.
 
 
+9 # walt 2011-11-23 06:39
The powers that keep the country wrapped in corruption are looking desperately for a reason to dismiss all "Occupy" protesters and do them harm.
Remaining non-violent is at the heart of success. We have everything to gain!
 

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