A short piece on the response of police to the wave of occupations at the University of California in Fall 2009.
Should you make a move from protest to resistance, you will be brutalized, arrested, destroyed.
That is the message sent by the police attack upon two students outside the second UCSC occupation on October 15. Carrying a picnic table toward a building with the best intentions—to wedge a stick into the maw of capital—they were pepper-sprayed without warning. One of them, cuffed, arrested, and thrown in a cruiser, now faces suspension.
What could be less surprising? There is no difference between the treatment of these students by the cops and the treatment of all students by the administration, an assault on lives in deference to already-falsified expenses. Our lives are permanently under attack, and the beatings will continue until we convert the crisis we are into the generalized revolt we must become.
Why have students begun to barricade the doors of buildings that we claim as our own? To carve out material spaces of resistance and emancipation. To do so requires us to make explicit the state of siege under which we live, to exteriorize the locks and chains by which it compels assent. This teaches us that these emancipated spaces can only exist outside the law, inside the barricades. The students inside the building evaded arrest; the students outside the building were attacked and detained. The spaces in which we are free are those that we take and hold by force. That is the hard lesson we all have to learn.
Some of us are learning it more quickly than others. Let there be no end of generosity toward comrades who are punished for their courage rather than for their complacency. Our support for those willing to act will be material, immediate, and unyielding. Networks of mutual aid will be essential.
Though we have no interest in theatrical protests intended to court police crackdowns, we know that as the movement becomes more militant the brutality of the police and the punitive character of the administration will not cease to make itself evident. In the confrontation between property and people, the police are agents of property, poorly paid to protect the rights of things. As long as they refuse to act in solidarity with other exploited workers, they can only protect the sanctity of walls, dumpsters, and picnic tables while attacking anyone who might challenge the logic of their own exploitation. We must sustain our militancy in the face of their attacks, and our support for those targeted.
This arrest is the first aimed at student resistance on UC campuses this year. We know there will be more. How could it be otherwise, so long as the absolute antagonism between oppression and resistance continues to clarify itself?
For the soldiers of property: nothing but contempt.
Demand nothing. Occupy everything.
Research and Destroy
18 October 2009
Originally posted: October 18, 2009 at Research and Destroy