March 8, 2010

Embolism in California


Berkeley protest 880 2.jpg

I was stunned by the photos from Oakland last week.

The reaction to devastating fee increases and severe program cuts at the University of California produced such a visceral frustration and anger in these Berkeley students, it drove them to do something not just terrifically frightening but near-suicidal, which was to try and block the freeway.

The fact that students would respond to economic abuse this way produces extremely powerful symbolism. Excuse the metaphor, but as the State throws these students under the bus, the ensuing reaction is like a severe form of physical pathology — the student body, an extension of California’s educational arm, attempting to cut off a major artery.

Berkeley protest 880 4.jpg

(briefly revised – 10 am PST)

(photos: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images. caption: Oakland police officers take down a splinter group of protestors that attempted to block Interstate 880 following a rally for the national day of action against school funding cuts and tuition increases March 4, 2010 in Oakland, California. Dozens of protestors were arrested after they stormed the 880 freeway as students across the country are walking out of classes and holding demonstrations against massive tuition increases and funding cuts to college universities.)

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Michael Shaw
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