After police violence, UC Davis students plan large rally Monday

Following the widely-reported pepper spray incident which left multiple students injured, #OWS-affiliated students at UC Davis will hold a rally Monday, November 21, at noon.

I'm told that students from neighboring UC Berkeley and other campuses are likely to show in large numbers, and that organizers expect participation to be "in the thousands." Let's hope the response to their presence stays peaceful.


  1. Hopefully students will defend themselves if attacked yet again. I’m sick of this assault being one sided. You do have the right to defend yourself from harm, no matter who that person is. Stand up for yourself people.

    1. Fighting back against the police is playing right into their hands. Do you think the guy teargassing students would have generated the same amount of outrage had they fought back? Three edits to a clip and you would have had students attacking the police and the police defending themselves.
      Nonviolence was powerful before mass dissemination of video capable gadgets, but is infinitely more so now.

    2.  It’s incredibly short-sighted to say they should fight back. Right now, we have proof that police are going wild on completely non-violent, passive protestors, which makes their actions 100%, beyond any reasonable doubt, unjustified. It’s exposing the level of corruption and inhumanity in the system for all to see. If the protestors fight back, people will be able to claim that they attacked the officers, and may even twist that into “the protestors started it” by showing footage taken out of context. Liars and fascists will have been given a new tool to uphold their views, and you KNOW that the general public isn’t going to examine their claims skeptically.

      On top of that, what exactly do you think would happen if they did fight back against the cops? The cops would give up and go home, and everyone would be allowed to protest in peace? Violent action against cops would be met with brutal force- more pepper spray, rubber bullets, clubbing, even lethal force. Unarmed students are not going to win against armed, armored thugs. Even if they did, backup would be called in. The police have infinite resources, the students do not. Any student arrested could be charged with assaulting a police officer, a much more serious offense than… whatever it is they’re supposed to be guilty of now. The police officers would never get even a slap on the wrist, could not be sued for their use of excessive force, and would get lots of public sympathy (even more than they, inexplicably, are getting right now). Explain to me how this extra violence would benefit the students who were attacked?

        1. So you’re saying that, in this specific case, the police would have lost if the protestors got violent? The American public would, before the police could break up the protest and arrest everyone, have come to the rescue and overwhelmed the police by force? I somehow doubt that.

          We, as citizens, may outnumber the police, but unless all of us are on the protestors’ side and willing to run/drive/fly out there at a moment’s notice and physically battle cops to defend them, we can hardly be considered reinforcements in the context you’re talking about.

          1. H: Not in this specific instance, no. But I may be in the distinct minority in saying that the Ghandi route may end up eventually being ineffective, in which case we need to be prepared to escalate.

            Do you find it completely inconceivable that a huge number of people would be willing to physically overwhelm a group of cops if the status quo continues?

          2. I agree that it’s possible that it may be ineffective in the long run, though I really hope non-violent reform of the country is possible. But what I’m trying to say is, calling for violence right now (as ScytheNoire did) is a bad idea. A huge number of people might eventually be willing to overwhelm cops, but only if they’re not on the cops’ side.

            Non-violence at this stage seems to be doing a lot to expose just how corrupt and broken our police (among other institutions) are, and if violence is necessary in the future, it’s this sort of abuse against innocents that will inspire people to fight. If protestors get violent now, their support will evaporate, and I don’t believe there are enough people on their side yet.

            If you think that violent protests this early will accomplish anything positive in the long run, I’m not sure what to say except that I disagree.

          3. Nonviolence not only can win, I can’t think of a massive nonviolent protest movement that didn’t.  It’s essentially fool proof.

            Turns out, if you are willing to peacefully face the British bullets in India, the fire hoses in Alabama and, well, the Roman cross, you tend to win so huge that years later those who opposed you in every conceivable way have to pretend they loved you all along.  (See: The Roman’s co-option of Christianity and any time Glenn Beck likens himself to Martin L. King.)

            That’s because, around the world, the mammalian brain is in ascendance and the lizard brain is in decline.

          4. I think that what will be overwhelming — and what the Occupy movement is instinctively relying on — are the numbers of citizens who come to realize that what they are saying is true, that the level of response to their nonviolent action is suspicious and unjustifiable, and that how they are going about it is worthy of respect.  I think what will be overwhelmign is the number of people who grow to support the Occupy movement (even if they don’t actually join it) as a result. In short, I think the Gandhi route is exactly the way to go.

            If the police turn systematically lethal, well, that might be another story. I would hope that the number of people outraged and supporting Occupy would grow to unmanageable proportions without a need for any reactive violence. And I have enormous faith in the monkey-wrenching abilities of the Occupy (or suppporting) technorati to screw up the authorities’ coordination efforts if it becomes necessary.

  2. And, once again, the revolution comes with pizza!
    “Occupy UC Davis is accepting donations of pizza and tents for the rally on Monday. Those wishing to donate pizza can order some for delivery at Woodstocks, (530) 757-2525.”
    [via Occupy UC Davis]

  3. @ScytheNoire: They won’t defend themselves, and indeed they shouldn’t. This non-violence is much more effective at getting support, and at showing the police as the bad guy. Compare to random youtube videos of rioters throwing stuff at a line of police officers. Which one more clearly calls your support to the protesters?

      1. Until the “good” cops decide to make a stand against this kind of abuse and brutality, then I’m afraid that yes, ALL police are the bad guys.
        If I abuse or assault or even swear at a customer where I work it reflects badly on the WHOLE COMPANY. Also, I would be fired in a heartbeat. Seems like a reasonable policy to me.

  4. I think BoingBoing deserves a Peabody Award for their coverage of the Occupy movement. I’m absolutely serious.

    When Wired runs an OWS article, there’s a glut of posts from people who are mad because it’s not an article about technology (which I find laughably short-sighted and ironic).

    The online Reuters and AP feeds are incomplete, slanted, and gullibly following the party line of Official Statements, and the comments on them are sad because they’re reflexive bumper-sticker slogans from bulletheads regurgitating what they’ve been fed. While I don’t make a hobby of feeding trolls, it’s been a joy to slap down URLs from BoingBoing posts that irrefutably controvert the claims of people with the kind of sensibility that thinks Stephen Colbert is one straight-shootin’ news anchor.

    Thank you, Xeni. Thank you, BoingBoing. And please don’t let up.

  5. UC Davis students have done a good job so far in teaching us about free speech and democracy.  Really proud of my fellow Americans.  Best wishes to them.  Peace.

    1. Yes indeed.  Protestors have had a crucial role to play in this movement.  And for those who are called to a role of legislative action, have you considered running for office? is looking to replace Congress without corporate money.  The nonprofit has a specific campaign coinciding with the OWS movement, too,  This is the next step.

  6. Eric Smith, I understand your anger and share it. But I agree with Hanglyman and Alhazred that nonviolence is far more powerful in the long run. There’s an immediate pleasure (and danger) in retaliation, but nonviolence is a moral stance that shames the attacker and shows clearly who the initiator of the violence is. In a conflict that is ultimately political, physically fighting back is a tempting, but losing, strategy. Resist it. 

    You might want to read my blog entry about my take on the UC-Davis protestors:

  7. Well I hope you guys are right. Our side (the side of humanity and the other species inhabiting the planet) has certainly been taking a beating for the past two decades. I lost a lot of hope during the Bush years, when he pushed the Iraq invasion through against the very vocal disapproval of millions worldwide. The whole Bush White House residency was a sort of “Fuck you – we’ll do anything we want with complete impunity” that lasted for eight soul-trampling years.

  8. If  you saw the full video of the UC Davis protests, you would have seen how non-violence won. The students were able to take back the Quad, chanting “Whose university? Our university?” and eventually, telling the cops that *the officers* could go and ushering them off the Quad. It seems to me that the students won in the end.

  9. Nonviolence is absolutely crucial, and the movement gains support every time it protests peacefully and  is cracked down upon. That support will vanish the first time the protestors fight the police, and rightly so. When people see videos of cops brutalizing people who are _sitting down_, the question that hangs in the air is, “Why are they doing this?” The answer is different and obvious if the protestors fight the police.

    So, I applaud the UC and OWS protestors who have demonstrated nonviolence. It is working and I hope they will keep it up. 

  10. In other news:

    Chancellor Delores Umbridge of UCH (University of California Hogwarts) has announced a full investigation into the use of Cruciatus Curses on Occupy Dumbledore’s Army.

  11. Refusing to respond violently IS fighting back in the most courageous and effective way possible. In fact, one of the greatest dangers is that the anti-OWS 1% might effectively deploy enough agents-provocateurs to spark some violence, because it is just that which could discredit the movement in the eyes of the world.

    Stand true and stand together, people, and when the going gets tough, remember the bravery of these students.

  12. It’s good that Davis PD is finally getting some attention for their abusive tactics.   A Davis cop once “pulled over” my friend by running over his bike while he was on it.

    Also, for a small town they have a massive swat team,  yet the cops still come around to your house to solicit donations so they can buy more of that tacticool crap, to use on the dangerous students and migrant farm workers.

    Fascist little town, Davis.

  13. I say just kettle the police when they get out of hand. Surround them. Don’t close in, but don’t let them see a way out. Stay out of baton range. Keep your distance (watch your backs). But make them know that they are outnumbered, and that their safety is the crowd’s decision. People’s PA them that they’re surrounded, but they will be allowed to leave if they stop their violence.

    The UC Davis protesters deserve kudos for their handling of the whole Piking incident. I could see that turn into a a full on riot against the police (Police, media, and officials, please note: the difference between a riot & a protest involves violence. When the police are committing the violence, they’re the rioters, not the protesters.) I know my first instinct would have been to attack the police, so kudos to the protesters.

    Also, the silent treatment of the Chancellor was brilliant. Moving. Amazing.

  14. Every police officer that stood by and did nothing while the illegal act of tear gassing occurred (9th Circuit Court ruling on Headwaters case) is a bad cop and guilty of a failure of duty.  In other words, all of them.  They have a mandate to actively prevent a crime.  They should all be fired.

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