On Friday night, students at the University of California at Berkeley rioted to protest budget cuts and tuition increases. Several local businesses were damaged; a Subway was firebombed. There was also “dancing in the streets.” Another Day of Action is set for Thursday, March 4th.
A planning meeting was held yesterday. (Thanks to reader Beth Wolk for the tips.)
“We’re all here now, Brian. The Berkeley Anarchists Alliance already passed out agendas to everybody.”
“Good,” said Brian. “OK, everybody. Let’s take our seats. First, Amisha has a report from Thursday’s demonstration.”
“Thanks, Brian,” said Amisha as she turned to the crowd with her fists thrust forth. “Wohoo! We taught those who teach us lessons a major lesson!”
Amisha was encouraged by various shouts and exhortations. Somebody yelled, “They don’t know who we are!” Amish said, “The good news is that we destroyed a Subway with our firebomb, plus broke windows on over six other businesses. Capitalism is in its death throes! All these evils corporations—and all corporations are evil—all they can do is to take. This time we took from them!”
Several flashes lit up the podium. “That reminds me. I have pictures on my iPod of when Kevin organized the pizza throwing at the police. Marza has set up a Facebook page where everybody’s pictures are uploaded. And don’t forget the After-Riot party at Starbucks later tonight when we’ll celebrate our victory and go through the photos. Good luck on Thursday, everybody!”
Amisha stepped down. The mood in the room was ebullient. Several people were sharing photos they had taken on their smartphones. As Brian was retaking the podium, somebody showed him one. He mock winced and laughed as he addressed the crowd.
“OK, people. The pizza throwing was good, but maybe next time we could go with the rocks as we had originally planned. Dana just reminded me,” Brian smiled and indicated the fellow who showed him the picture, “of what pizza sauce does to Nike Shox Sayas. They’re not cheap!” Everybody laughed.
“Besides, I was sure I saw one of those fascist police eating one of the pizzas!” More mirth. Somebody shouted, “Let them eat rocks!” This was answered by, “We’ll bust their teeth!” and similar commentary.
“I’m sure we’re all feeling good about what we accomplished. But now we have to ensure the details for the upcoming Day of Action are settled.”
Brian glanced over his agenda. “The first thing we need to know is why we’re doing this. They’re trying to take our education away!” Applause. “If these budget cuts are approved, we’ll no longer receive the free money and tuition that we deserve.” Stronger applause. Somebody began passing out Anchor Steams. One made its way to Brian, who took a sip before continuing.
“These educators and politicians just don’t understand what we already know. They don’t know anything. They should be shown that everybody is equal. They need to be forced to see that if we’re not given free or reduced tuition then we can’t be given our degrees.
“Now, I’ve already been told that the Berkeley Lesbian-Gay-Transsexual-Transgendered-Transspecies Legion will be at Thursday’s Action with their award-winning puppet show. The African-American Separate But Equal Alliance will be there to make sure the media knows that the people in power are racists. And this will surprise you. A delegation of Radical Progressive Professors will be there on our side!”
The crowd politely applauded. The gesture of the professors was appreciated, but some disliked spoiling the purity of the event with academics. They were part of the problem, many felt. Some professors, after all, still insisted on holding students to the outmoded hierarchies of white male, patriarchal capitalism with its insistence on logic, evidence, and quantitative measures of ability. It was rumored that some even refused to give all their student As!
Still, it was a good sign that professors were finally seeing the truth. As this realization spread, the applause grew louder and more insistent.
Brain spoke. “Thank you. OK. Have I forgotten anything? Oh, right. Remember to bring bandannas and hats—Artie over hear got a box of them from Walmart.” Artie waved. “You can’t be too careful, so wear them especially if you’re going to go up against the police.” He took one from a box and held it up as if it were a flag. “This time we’re really going to show them who we are!”
He allowed the cheering to subside. “Remember. We want to avoid violence if we can. But if these fascists try and stop us, then it’s their own fault if somebody gets hurt.” Brian raised his clenched fist. “To our victory!”
The meeting ended. See you Thursday.