I’ve been meaning to provoke a bit more discussion regarding the confrontation between police and protesters at UC Berkeley a couple of weeks ago (although I did post something on the matter before the Nov 20th occupation), but the demands of teaching and preparing for AAA’s have been forestalling my best intentions. On top of that, to be honest, i’m not sure what I think about it. I’m left, mostly, with a bunch of half-articulated questions. Aaron Bady, a graduate student in English at Berkeley has some reflections along that line over at The Chronicle of Higher Education:
Some sort of administration response to the occupation was inevitable, of course. But why was it necessary to direct police violence against the students outside Wheeler Hall? (In fact, the university has called for an independent investigation of police actions and the university’s own decisions that resulted in the police being called onto the campus.) The more the riot police surrounded Wheeler, the more students came out to watch. But the police treated that assembly of peaceful spectators like a clear and present danger, pushing and shoving back students whose crime seemed to be their very presence on their own campus. I cannot overstate how pointless and stupid it was. The police had marked off a perimeter around the building with crime-scene tape, and I have yet to hear the allegation that a single student ever tried to cross it. But when the police began to set up metal barricades, they ordered students to move back as they smashed the barricades into the front row of students. Students who didn’t respond instantly were beaten with batons; students who touched the barricades had their hands pounded with force enough to break bones.
In response to these questions Bady makes some gestures towards both Althusser and Weber and, while I think both are important routes to traverse, I think the tone in the passage above is probably the most appropriate–simultaneously critical and perplexed. How can we proceed and maintain its tenor?
Mad props to fellow Anthropolitician Brian Lande (socdeputy to ya’ll) who, along with some former colleagues of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, spoke out on KGO-TV (that’s ABC channel 7, to y’all in the Bay Area) against the systematic racial profiling practices that have become part of the department’s habitus…
You can see the full video after the break
An article in Time Magazine reviews the practice of siting people for using offensive language and gestures towards police officers. It is a nice and more general followup to the issues surrounding the arrest of Henry Gates.
A funny video that probably summarizes how most cops are responding to the Gates fiasco.
I know I had the gut reaction of, “They [the public, the media, academics, pick your filler] don’t know what it is like to do my job! But everyone thinks they can do cop work better than cops!”