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How Students Landed on the Front Lines of Class War

Posted on Nov 22, 2011
Joe Wolf (CC-BY-ND)

By Juan Cole

The deliberate pepper-spraying by campus police of nonviolent protesters at UC Davis on Friday has provoked national outrage. But the horrific incident must not cloud the real question: What led comfortable, bright, middle-class students to join the Occupy protest movement against income inequality and big-money politics in the first place?

The University of California system raised tuition by more than 9 percent this year, and the California State University system upped tuition by 12 percent. The UC system is seriously contemplating a humongous 16 percent tuition increase for fall 2012. This year, for the first time, the amount families pay in UC tuition will exceed state contributions to the university system.

University students, who face tuition hikes and state cuts to public education, find themselves victimized by the same neoliberal agenda that has created the current economic crisis, and which profoundly endangers democratic values.

The ideal that California embraced in its 1960 master plan for higher education, that it should be inexpensive and open to all Californians, is being jettisoned without much debate. The master plan exemplified the thinking on education and democracy typical of Founding Fathers such as Thomas Jefferson. In 1786, Jefferson wrote from Europe to a friend:

Preach, my dear Sir, a crusade against ignorance; establish and improve the law for educating the common people. Let our countrymen know that the people alone can protect us against these evils [of tyranny], and that the tax which will be paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance. …


Square, Site wide
That is, Jefferson believed that the alternative to publicly funded education was the rise of an oppressive oligarchy that would manipulate the ignorant majority.

While the bad economy and the peculiarities of California governance have provoked the state’s budget crisis, the defunding of public higher education has unfolded progressively across the country for two decades. From 1987 through 2007, state support declined by about 9 percent overall per student across the United States; for the flagship research campuses, the decline was around 13 percent. The last three years have seen especially deep cuts. 

The increasing privatization of higher education is part and parcel of the neoliberal agenda, which seeks to subordinate everything to soulless markets. As Henry A. Giroux writes: “In England and the United States, universities and businesses are forming stronger ties; the humanities are being underfunded; student tuition is rising at astronomical rates; knowledge is being commodified; and research is valued through the lens of an audit culture.”

Market fundamentalism is notoriously more interested in process than in outcome, in “efficiency” than in higher ethical values. Those who might applaud the end of the state universities and their transformation into private institutions neglect their essential role in the formation of cultural capital and in promoting social mobility, not to mention in keeping America strong against global competitors (the number of Ph.Ds produced annually is a common index of competitiveness).

The assault on publicly funded higher education is wrapped up in the discontents that provoked the Occupy Wall Street movement. Inexpensive state universities are central to the ability of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to move up in the world. The United States used to be known as a society where those at the bottom could hope to get ahead, and where being born with a silver spoon in your mouth was no guarantee of lifetime prosperity. Now, upward mobility has gotten harder, the rich more often stay rich, and Europe is the land of opportunity. European state support for institutions of higher education is key to that mobility. The United States of America, born in a rejection of an aristocracy by birth, is increasingly a land of hereditary oligarchs.

Not only is a more rigid class structure implied by the decline of public support for state universities, but more fixed race boundaries are, as well. State universities are the most important vehicle for minority students in attaining a degree. While 800,000 minority students attend public universities, fewer than 200,000 can be found on private campuses. If the state universities become as expensive as the privates, the impact on minorities could be severe. It should be noted that the choices made by California are not “natural” or “inevitable.”  Maryland dealt with the recent crisis in a progressive way by freezing tuition and raising the corporate tax rate to create a Higher Education Investment Fund. 

Why have so many state legislatures betrayed their original commitments to American education? Some have preferred to keep state taxes on the wealthy and on corporations low rather than to keep up with demand for places at state universities. Others have different priorities.

A year and a half ago, then-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger complained that California was spending nearly 11 percent of its budget on prisons and only 7.5 percent on the university system. He noted, “Thirty years ago, 10 percent of the general fund went to higher education and 3 percent went to prisons.”  The spike in penitentiary spending is artificial, and does not reflect crime trends. Since the early 1990s, crime in the state has fallen, whereas the prison population has skyrocketed.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 30, 2011 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

heterochromatic, November 30 at 11:23 am:

Ana—what I’ve been trying to say is that the free speech and assembly rights of the public shouldn’t be in conflict with property rights because those rights of expression are non-existent when it comes to private property. ...

That’s what I’ve been trying to point out—you apparently believe that the rights of property defeat all other rights.

In the case of Occupy Wall Street, Broad Street in front of the New York Stock Exchange, Broadway, and Liberty Plaza also turned out to be ‘private property’ even though they are nominally public space.  So, in effect, you’re saying that the rights of expression and assembly mentioned in the First Amendment don’t really exist in any meaningful way.  (In that case one has to wonder what the authors of the First Amendment were doing taking the trouble to write it down; but I digress.)

Do you have some kind of case to make for this arrangement, or do you just consider it to have been handed down by the gods or inscrutably given by nature, or something like that?

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By heterochromatic, November 30, 2011 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

Ana—what I’ve been trying to say is that the free speech and assembly rights of
the public shouldn’t be in conflict with property rights because those rights of
expression are non-existent when it comes to private property.

the speech and assembly rights pertain to “the public square” and are not
properly exercised just anywhere.

Should the public, through process of law, declare that private property is to be
ceded for speech and assembly purpose ...then property rights would be
subordinate, BUT they prevail before the whim of a few self-appointed
representative protesters.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 30, 2011 at 11:53 am Link to this comment

heterochromatic—OK, let’s qualify ‘property rights’.  We won’t say they’re ‘absolute’.  But you have implied (unless I’ve misread you) that the free-speech and assembly rights of Occupy Wall Street do not suffice to overcome the property rights of the people who own the big buildings in the Wall Street area, the open areas between them, and the streets, which are ‘owned’ by the city which in turn is ‘owned’ or at least controlled by people like Bloomberg and his friends—the already rich and powerful against whom OWS was trying to protest.  So what does overcome these rights?  On the other hand, what rights do people like OWS have to protest against ‘Wall Street’?

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By heterochromatic, November 30, 2011 at 9:24 am Link to this comment

BTW, dog—-the bonus army link was good.
  here’s another one..

~~~~~~Army Chief of Staff and Major General Douglas MacArthur watched a
brigade of steel-helmeted soldiers precisely align themselves in a straight four-
column phalanx, bayonets affixed to rifles. He nodded his head in satisfaction.
Discipline was wonderful. Up ahead, Major George Patton kicked his heels against
his mount, and the big horse reared forward to signal a line of cavalry. The riders
drew their sabers, and the animals stepped out in unison, hoofs smacking loudly
on the street.~~~~~~

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By heterochromatic, November 30, 2011 at 9:19 am Link to this comment


if Zuccotti Park is Occupied by a small group for 24 hrs per day and for week
after week….is it any longer public space?


~~~~~There’s your concept of absolute property (bolded).  I am trying to get
you to justify this concept.~~~~~

you keep sticking that modifier, absolute, onto my insistence that property
rights exist and you can not justify that little trick….Gimme a break with that. I
do assert property rights, but never say that they’re absolute….never will say

between the two of us, you’re more the one who is an absolutist…you have a
belief that there’s an absolute right to speak and assemble and protest that
trumps the rights of the public to retreat from the assembled protesters and to
be left to their privacy…..

I think that I can get in my car and drive home. you think that you can block the
street so that I may not.

I think that I can take my sandwich and quietly munch in Zuccotti Park. you
think that I can’t sit on the bench and eat because you’ve filled all the benches
with your buckets of rocks.

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By heterochromatic, November 30, 2011 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

PatH~~~~Peaceable is a word, nothing more, and as a word its definition is in the
eye of the beholder. ~~~~~~

that’s about as crazy-assed as anything you could write….....if there’s no
necessary agreement as to the meaning of words, there is no law and there are no
real agreements between people.

war is peaceable.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 30, 2011 at 8:48 am Link to this comment

heterochromatic, November 30 at 7:19 am:

Ana~~~~~“Clearly, if people have a right to protest, they have a right to the space in which to protest.  That space must be appropriate and pertinent to the thing protested and the persons to whom the protest is made.”~~~~

‘They have a right to space, but not to ANY space of their choosing.  They have a right to their own space or to public space…..They do not have a right to assemble on and intrude upon other people’s space’.

There’s your concept of absolute property (bolded).  I am trying to get you to justify this concept.  Also, you might want to explain why the streets of the Wall Street area, especially Broad Street and ‘Zucotti Park’, are ‘other people’s space’ with regard to the exercise of the right to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances, when legally speaking they are public space.

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By heterochromatic, November 30, 2011 at 8:19 am Link to this comment

Ana~~~~~Clearly, if people have a right to protest, they have a right to the space
in which to protest.  That space must be appropriate and pertinent to the thing
protested and the persons to whom the protest is made.~~~~

They have a right to space, but not to ANY space of their choosing.  They have a
right to their own space or to public space…..They do not have a right to assemble
on and intrude upon other people’s space.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, November 30, 2011 at 4:42 am Link to this comment


This particular blog is about the campus.

Peaceable is a word, nothing more, and as a word its definition is in the eye of the beholder. 

Peaceable protest is an oxymoron.

Non-violence is a description of a course of civil action, It may be non-peaceable by the definition of others but it is by its very definition is non harmful to others.

Those who protect and serve have crossed this rubicon by becomming violent on those they are sworn to protect. 

As was the case in the late 60’s and early 70’s here in Washington DC this action by the local governments may blow up in their face and become the event where all the other founding amendments of the bill of rights are called upon.

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By ardee, November 30, 2011 at 3:19 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, November 29 at 7:59 pm

A well stated and well reasoned post. Thanks for it.

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blogdog's avatar

By blogdog, November 29, 2011 at 10:54 pm Link to this comment

getting ‘...booted…” from a park, could be worse:

Bonus Army
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bonus Army Conflict

Date   July 28, 1932
Location   Washington D.C., United States of America
Result   Bonus Army dispersed, demands rejected
Bonus Army   United States Army
Commanders and leaders
Walter W. Waters
William Hushka †
Eric Carlson †  Herbert Hoover
Douglas MacArthur
Dwight D. Eisenhower
George S. Patton
17,000 veterans
26,000 others   500 infantry
500 cavalry
6 battle tanks
800 police
Casualties and losses
4 dead; 1,017 injured   At least 69 police injured

The Bonus Army was the popular name of an assemblage of some 43,000 marchers—17,000 World War I veterans, their
families, and affiliated groups—who gathered in Washington, D.C., in the spring and summer of 1932 to demand immediate
cash-payment redemption of their service certificates. Its organizers called it the Bonus Expeditionary Force to echo the name
of World War I’s American Expeditionary Force, while the media called it the Bonus March. It was led by Walter W. Waters, a
former Army sergeant.

Many of the war veterans had been out of work since the beginning of the Great Depression. The World War Adjusted
Compensation Act of 1924 had awarded them bonuses in the form of certificates they could not redeem until 1945. Each
service certificate, issued to a qualified veteran soldier, bore a face value equal to the soldier’s promised payment plus
compound interest. The principal demand of the Bonus Army was the immediate cash payment of their certificates.

Retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, one of the most popular military figures of the time, visited their camp to
back the effort and encourage them.[1] On July 28, U.S. Attorney General William D. Mitchell ordered the veterans removed from
all government property. Washington police met with resistance, shots were fired and two veterans were wounded and later
died. President Herbert Hoover then ordered the army to clear the veterans’ campsite. Army Chief of Staff General Douglas
MacArthur commanded the infantry and cavalry supported by six tanks. The Bonus Army marchers with their wives and children
were driven out, and their shelters and belongings burned.

A second, smaller Bonus March in 1933 at the start of the Roosevelt Administration was defused with promises instead of
military action. In 1936, Congress overrode President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s veto to pay the veterans their bonus years early.

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By heterochromatic, November 29, 2011 at 9:21 pm Link to this comment

PatH—-you haven’t heard me mention the campus.

I agree as to it being a different kettle of fish
than Zuccotti Park.

And indeed civl disobedience is nothing new.  What is
new is saying that the public’s right to compel civil
obedience is not legitimate.

Practice civil dis and take the trip to jail and then
go to court to plead not guilty if you think you have
a case.

Don’t expect to camp in Zuccotti Park and then cry
when you get the booted out more than a month later.

And don’t spout bs about how mean the cops were ....
you don’t get to stay because you’re NON-VIOLENT.
Being non-violent is only a part of the
package….the word is PEACEABLE.

different standard entirely….get a legal

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 29, 2011 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment

My theory about the requirements of the First Amendment are as follows—sorry about the repetitiousness.

Clearly, if people have a right to protest, they have a right to the space in which to protest.  That space must be appropriate and pertinent to the thing protested and the persons to whom the protest is made.  It could be either physical space or media space.

Arguing from results, we can observe that previous protests against ‘Wall Street’ (there have been many in the last several years) were not effective at reaching the public, in part because they were kept out of sight, and in part because the corporate media—owned and operated by the same class of people who constitute ‘Wall Street’—did not wish them to be noticed.  Indeed, the occupation of Liberty Plaza would not have been noticed either had it not been for the famous attack of Officer Bologna.  Most demonstrations are forced into areas where few will observe them or get any information about what is being protested, and are not reported.  It is obvious that the state has learned how to neutralize ordinary demonstrations.

The proof of this can be observed in the fact that many who joined the occupation after it started had never heard of prior demonstrations and indeed seemed to be largely unaware of any radical critiques of capitalism.

The success of the state in suppressing or deflecting public dissent ironically extends the scope of the First Amendment to such acts as the temporary seizure of public space.  A good example of this were the Greensboro sit-ins.  Under property-dominant theory, Woolworth’s had a legal right to exclude any persons they liked from their premises, including especially persons of apparent African descent.  Many public businesses throughout the South had been picketed to no effect.  The pertinent protest, therefore, was to enter the premises and sit at the lunch counter in defiance of Woolworth’s property rights.  So also Mrs. Rosa Lee Parks’s refusal to move to the back of the bus.  If property rights defeat free-expression and protest rights, these people were wrong.  If they were not wrong, then property rights may not be used to suppress effective protest and dissent.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, November 29, 2011 at 5:33 pm Link to this comment


Now who is the private landowner and property taxpayer for UC Davis again? If they are tax exempt then F’them they are fair game.  Subsidies given by the taxpayers and students gives those protesters the right to protest as long as it is non-violent.  I don’t see a counter protest anywhere which is also a right.

As for Occupy Wall Street, the street is publically owned and maintained as is the Park where those protesters wish to camp.

Civil disobedience is nothing new, Ghandi stated that it is a moral imperative to defy and disobey unjust laws and I happen to agree with that as a taxpayer, voter and juror.

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By heterochromatic, November 29, 2011 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment

ardee…..where’s the infringement ......I didn’t notice any right to pitch camp on
other folk’s property in your Constitutional excerpt.

here’s the entire First…....

~~~~~    AMENDMENT I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of
the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the
government for a redress of grievances. ~~~~~~~~

which has never been construed to mean that speech must be entirely
regulated….or that acts are not different than speech.

actions ARE different than speech and any junior high kid can explain the
difference to you.

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By ardee, November 29, 2011 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

I trust , oh chromatically challenged one, that you are now finished pissing on our constitution.

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By heterochromatic, November 29, 2011 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment

Ana,,,, if you’re interested, Bruce Ackerman, a pretty well-known authority, tries to
make a case for Occupy under the !st Am…..he can’t quite…but he makes a good
stab at it.

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By heterochromatic, November 29, 2011 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment

if there was no public place to express themselves, then we might have a
problem….but there are such places, and additional places are available by
applying for a permit. or by securing permission to use private space.

There’s a great deal of public space in NYC, I believe that I linked to the Parks
Department declaration that parkland is 15% of the city’s area.

you’re fudging by trying to postulate that there is no space and that’s not true…As
well, you’re trying to avoid the distinction between gathering for a public
demonstration and gathering for an endless demonstration….peaceable assembly
and petition isn’t endless occupation.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 29, 2011 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment

heterochromatic— I think you’re contradicting yourself with respect to certain situations, such as the one which has been the case in the Wall Street area.  People can’t express themselves without having a place to stand where they can be heard.  If there are no such places de jure, then those who want to express themselves have to create them de facto or consent to being suppressed.  (Unconstitutionally suppressed.)

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blogdog's avatar

By blogdog, November 29, 2011 at 11:43 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, sorry for any confusion - no ‘condemnation’ in my posting, just the
facts ma’m

as for the point of the reply, vis-a-vis ‘land ownership’ - agreed, most North
American Indian cultures view the ‘proper’ human role not as ‘owner’ but
respectful user and steward - nevertheless, hunting and cultivation territories
were certainly maintained and fought over

legally binding ‘ownership’ documents (treaties / secessions) were, of course,
drafted by Euro-Americans, who then so frequently violated their terms, most
had to be redrawn, many numerous times, or simply scrapped in the face of
wholesale annexation, e.g. The Indian Removal Act of 1833, later held as
unconstitutional…  to no avail

as I’ve pointed out in other postings, never trust hegemons

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By heterochromatic, November 29, 2011 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

yes dog, and we hold that the seizure of land in such manner to have been

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By heterochromatic, November 29, 2011 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

Ana~~~~ thought that I had answered, but what the heck…..

I DON’T think that property rights trump all other rights and never have thought

But there isn’t a problem with competing rights here because there is no right
to occupy other people’s property.

The right to peaceably assemble and petition the government does not entail
taking over other’s property for such purpose with neither consent nor
recompense nor responsibility.
The rights of assembly and petition aren’t trampled upon by holding that
peaceable assembly and petition must be performed “peaceably” and in
accordance with the usual regulations on public conduct.

First amendment rights of individuals don’t extend to trampling all other rights
of all other individuals at the discretion of individuals….

That’s the recipe for no rights

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 29, 2011 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

blogdog—It’s easy to condemn the theft of land from the Indians while preserving and using the effects of that theft.  But the notion that the land belonged to the Indians actually reinforces concepts of property in real estate which the Indians did not always go along with.  A classic case was the supposed purchase of Manhattan for $24 worth of glass beads and other costume jewelry—the Indians who ‘sold’ the land probably didn’t own it or even have rights to it.  A typical New York City real estate deal!

To me, the interesting thing in the present case is that people who want to protest the power and misdeeds of the financial industry and the elite it serves are not allowed to be anywhere to do the protesting if it inconveniences those they are protesting against or the authorities who service them.  This effectively means the property rights of the elites defeat the rights of expression and assembly of the First Amendment.  I am questioning whether that is a justifiable arrangement.

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blogdog's avatar

By blogdog, November 29, 2011 at 10:43 am Link to this comment

RE: “...the right to occupy others’ land…” a long history in America… e.g.

Indian Land Cessions in the United States, 1784-1894
United States Serial Set, Number 4015

The Schedule of Indian Land Cessions comprises 709 entries with
links to the related map or maps for each entry. The tables and essays are
available in both searchable text and page images and the maps are available in
images. Due to the complexity of information presented in each entry, it is
strongly recommended that users print out both pages of a table entry for
comparison with the related map.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 29, 2011 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

heterochromatic, November 29 at 7:15 am:

‘ardee~~~~~ perhaps you can explain where the piss is .....

try finding the right to occupy others’ land in any of the amendments…’

I’m glad you brought this up.  Some time ago (it seems) we were discussing something similar and I asked you why you thought all property rights defeated all other rights.  Either you didn’t answer the question, or I missed the answer.  But now we can revisit it.  Hopefully it won’t be necessary to retrace too many, or indeed any, steps.

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By heterochromatic, November 29, 2011 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

ardee~~~~~ perhaps you can explain where the piss is ..... 

try finding the right to occupy others’ land in any of the amendments…

Report this

By ardee, November 29, 2011 at 3:52 am Link to this comment

heterochromatic, November 28 at 10:27 am

Perhaps when this worthy poster is finished pissing on our Bill Of Rights he can then claim the duty of determining just who is entitled to them and under what circumstances.

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By heterochromatic, November 28, 2011 at 11:27 am Link to this comment

The Bill of Rights is as disrespected as always and interpreted by all in perverse
ways .

there is no way that the Rights cover some of the stuff that the various Occupiers
do just us some of the cops will violate some of the actual Rights.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, November 28, 2011 at 4:24 am Link to this comment

{quote] more people sprayed, fewer shot and killed is the trade-off.

Some trade off, the bill of rights is the item being traded.

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By heterochromatic, November 27, 2011 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment

——It is evident that when police have non-lethal
weapons they are more prone to use them…—-

quite true. more people sprayed, fewer shot and killed
is the trade-off.

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By ardee, November 27, 2011 at 4:43 am Link to this comment

objective observer, November 23 at 10:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

are these commenters who call for “revolution” really REALLY prepared for what that means?

The real question, as unearthed by this comment, is whether you understand the various meanings of the word ‘revolution’ and why you choose to ignore the fact that people have, over and again, stressed the need for a peaceful revolution?

“objective” observer? Well, no.

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By Raymond Peringer, November 26, 2011 at 11:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This event ranks high in the pantheon of abuse of authority. Pepper sprays were issued to the sub-literate police as a weapon of defence not attack. These overweight cops are simply too lazy to do what they are over-paid to do - remove the students physically. I hope lawsuits will soon follow.

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By gerard, November 24, 2011 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment

Not One More, Nov. 23—“Cops (and military) have always been the enforcer for the corporate elite.”
Interesting to think about why—and if we are ever going to change it, such thinking is needed:
  Cops and military suffer through military training, which is rigid. Everyone must follow orders. Don’t try to change anything. Thinking is discouraged. Realizing what you achieve in the end is discouraged. 
  Corporate elites do not want any changes to be made because they have things fixed like they want them—to their benefit.  If you don’t want change, and you feel that change is being promoted, you hire people who are trained not to change, not to think or question, not to do anything different.Just follow their training, automatically.
  After God only knows how many years of this sort of action/reaction, which keeps out innovation and improvement by force, the only way out of the trap is possibly to retrain cops.  If they had a broader education, a more realistic education considering human nature and its complexities, they would give up the simple-minded response to change, would think for themselves whether suggested change might be a good idea, and if so, then act to protect the changers.  There is no reason why this couldn’t happen, once the decision was made. (It is worth noting that some of them, when confronted by Occupiers, admitted that they, too, are part of the 99% (Probably the first time in history!) Habit and tradition perpetuate mindless, injurious, inadequate responses.  Habit and tradition is you and me, too, not just the cops, because we accept violence rather than work for intelligent changes. When we are kids we are taught to squash bugs.  When we grow up we are very apt to squash people.  Different, but not much.

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By blogdog, November 24, 2011 at 10:25 am Link to this comment

RE: are these commenters who call for “revolution” really REALLY prepared for what that means?

good question - seems virtually everyone called for so-called ‘revolution’ in Libya and is doing the same for Syria - if the horror is for others…

before it becomes a done deal in Syria, I recommend looking closely at Libya - the al qaeda-led military rule cannot keep rival brigades from killing one another, butchering citizens by the thousands, raping and looting by the thousands. detaining thousands with virtually no process and torturing many, not to mention the thousands perished in NATO bombing or with homes damaged or destroyed—all in all, a hundred times more abuse than the Gaddafis are even accused of having done

not surprising, the ruling faction is barely in control - popular support is very low and the Libyan Liberation Front is gathering force in the Sahel, determined to kick out NATO’s mercenary occupiers

probably a decade or more of civil war - after only 4 years the US was devastated - nevertheless, the Empire is planning this for a number of nations - NATO is all about failing states - expect more aggressive agitprop to sell it to the UN and the citizenry of NATO member states to fund it

the sales job includes not only the MSM but the so-called progressive media - e.g. Democracy Now - DM shilled the agitprop on Libya dutifully and is now onboard for Syria

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, November 24, 2011 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

It is evident that when police have non-lethal weapons they are more prone to use them against demonstrators, in this case those exercising their constitutional rights.

As is the case with tasers,  the police only need a chance to pause and the non-lethal weapon is used, the police are required to observe rules surrounding the use of deadly force when they draw their guns and it actually requires them to ‘think’ before they act on that form of aggression.

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By MossyOak, November 23, 2011 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

To Jim Yell, who wrote: I keep hearing this charge of Neo-liberalism and don’t understand it. The push for deregulation, the push for incarceration way above the severity of the crime, this comes from right wing politics.

You are confused because you don’t know the meaning of the term neoliberal. It’s not about left/right/conservative/liberal.  Read The Shock Doctrine or visit Naomi Klein’s website and get up to speed.

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By objective observer, November 23, 2011 at 11:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

are these commenters who call for “revolution” really REALLY prepared for what that means?  the complete and total collapse and anarchy that will follow?  the blood, pain and horror that will entail?  do these commenters have the intestinal fortitude to actually pull a trigger (if they know what one is) on another human being who happens to disagree with their point of view, to save themselves and/or a loved one?

defund pepper spray, el al?  lead hollow point bullets are sooooo much more humane.

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By amongthepeople, November 23, 2011 at 6:53 am Link to this comment

I originally posted this comment on Truthdig’s Occupy
Wall Street Dig:

If you’re a STUDENT JOURNALIST and you’re into #OWS,
you should go to and click the youth
power ad banner for the sake of unity.

Be prepared to think in terms of the 100% and not just
the 99% because the youth power movement is practical
and determined to succeed fast where divisive movements
struggle indefinitely.

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By ardee, November 23, 2011 at 4:09 am Link to this comment

HeckuvaJob, November 22 at 6:15 am

So, do you write for SNL? You cannot, I am certain, see how unintentionally hilarious is your response to my words.

Yes, seriously. The young are always the most radical, the most willing to take major steps and major risks. And, as I noted, it has always been this way.

You seem to be another poster with nothing to say yet always saying it.

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By Not One More!, November 23, 2011 at 12:58 am Link to this comment

Cops (and military) have always been the enforcer for the corporate elite.

The irony is that they are paid for with our tax dollars, while the largest corporations don’t pay any taxes.

so it goes

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By blogdog, November 22, 2011 at 11:22 pm Link to this comment


Police Brutality in America
by Stephen Lendman
Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Despite Congress passing the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement
Act, Congress has consistently failed to fund it. Further, the legislation doesn’t
require local police agencies to keep records, nor does it criminalize police
violence and excessive force as human rights violations.

Across America, daily incidents occur, one of many the cold-blooded January 1,
2009 murder of Oscar Grant - unarmed, offering no resistance, thrust face-
down on the ground, shot in the back, and killed, videotaped on at least four
cameras for irrefutable proof. USA Today said five bystanders taped it.

His killer: Oakland, CA transit officer, Johannes Mehserle, tried for the killing,
the jury told to consider four possible verdicts - innocent, second-degree
murder, voluntary manslaughter, or involuntary manslaughter, jurors deciding
the latter.


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By heterochromatic, November 22, 2011 at 6:47 pm Link to this comment

Rhetorical over-kill,    gerard

—-“The number of deadly police-involved shootings in the city is on the
According to statistics released Tuesday by the New York City Police
Department, there were eight people shot and killed in 2010, or 33 percent
fewer people compared to the year prior.

Another 16 people were shot and injured by police officers in 2010.
The statistics also show NYPD officers only fired their weapons 92 times in
2010, a 13-percent decline from the previous year.

This is the lowest number of deadly shootings since NYPD began keeping the
statistics back in 1971, when 93 people died of police-inflicted gunshot
wounds and 221 people were wounded.”

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By gerard, November 22, 2011 at 6:37 pm Link to this comment

When I was growing up a thousand years ago, half of Pittsburgh would have been dead if police had been as armed and as edgy as they are today.  As it was, practically none of them had guns, or face shields, or cans full of half-deadly chemicals. Somehow the city cops got through fires, floods and horrendous strikes without anti-personnel regalia. They had a few horses for parades, but no masks,no helmets, no dogs, no motor cycles, no sound cannons.
  Once a preacher, attempting to remonstrate with an angry striker, pointed his finger at the steel-worker, who promptly bit it.  That made all the papers.  (I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to do the same thing when Mr. Bush came off with that sententious “Make no mistake about it!”
  Not to treat such serious matters lightly, for today’s police behavior is horrendous, but comparisons with the past clearly reveal the authoritarian over-kill we have to deal with today.

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By heterochromatic, November 22, 2011 at 5:16 pm Link to this comment

great thinking!  no pepper spray! just nightsticks and guns

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By PatrickHenry, November 22, 2011 at 4:48 pm Link to this comment

It has become obvious that we need targeted budget cutbacks toward anti-public weapondry like pepper spray, tasers and the other gizmos every police department needs these days.

We have too many police where we don’t need them.

Mayberry RFD doesn’t need its own SWAT team.

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By heterochromatic, November 22, 2011 at 4:17 pm Link to this comment

endocrine titration mills?

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By RayLan, November 22, 2011 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment

The endoctrination mills demurely referred to as universities have becoming anything but forums for free thinking and independent research. They are funded and led on the short leash of corporate-owned government administered policies for the greater development of the capitalist totalitarian state - (dept of defense etc..)

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By BrilliantBill, November 22, 2011 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

How Students Landed on the Front Lines of Class War?

Cole must be paid by the word. Lots of blah, blah, blah, but he never says the obvious damn answer.

Students are the thinking ones who realize they’re going to have to change things in order to have a future in the country and world. It’s that simple. It’s about hope for a future.

If I’m 20 years old and piling up debt to pay for education, what’s on my mind? I want a clear path to a decent life where I can do meaningful work and pay back the loans in a reasonable time without ruining my life. What do I see?

I see no decent jobs, a government that itself is tenuous because of an economy wrecked by greed, irresponsibility, war and lawlessness. I see a world where the sum of your value is what you have and what you can acquire by almost any means, fair or not. No one cares about you or your potential or your education. I wonder how I raise a family in such a world. How do I even survive? Will it all fall apart before I can even hope to get something established?

And then “Occupy” appears and says, “You’re not alone. There are lots of us, and we all want what you want. We all have the same hopes. We all have the same fears. Maybe if we get together, we can ensure a decent future.”

That’s how students landed on the front lines of a class war. Geez, Cole, if you want to pose questions, at least know the answers—any good law school student knows that. Next time, call me before you write something; I’ll let you in on the big secrets you apparently don’t know.

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By Joseph Couture, November 22, 2011 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment

It seems that despite all the cutting back everywhere, there is enough suffering to go around for everyone.  In one case, a young family torments a life they find meaningless before snuffing it out.  In another, a homeless man gives up hope of
anything any better.

But a few brave souls have decided to carry on and find a way.  Read about it all here:  “Preoccupied In Hell” and “Cruelty: Great Fun for the Whole Family”

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By Outraged, November 22, 2011 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

This is a must see (if you haven’t already). Amazon
is getting all kinds of “reviews” for the pepper
spray it sells.  This is just one (there’s pages):

“I used to have to exert my gray matter or work my
mouth to keep people from saying anything I didn’t
want to hear. Now I just shake and aim Defense
Technology’s 56895 MK-9 Stream Pepper Spray, and half
the time I don’t even need to depress the trigger! My
teens and my dog all go silent when I merely lift the
can—no more claims that I’ve suppressed free speech
when they quake in fear and CHOOSE to be silent! Not
just for intimidating students—it works on crabby
old people, too!

I didn’t give it five stars because it didn’t come
with a holster.”

Check it out.

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By gerard, November 22, 2011 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment

I started out seriously and sincerely trying to explain to hetero—- the relation between schools and prisons, but .... gave up because it’s complicated, can’t be done in a paragraph or two, and anyway would probably be a waste of time.

Another thought struck me when I looked again at the picture.  For those who “get” it - Que Seurat sera!

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By heterochromatic, November 22, 2011 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

Cole raises an excellent by advocating continued support for public education at
the University level, but padding it out with crap about California’s penal system
being somehow really related to tuition hikes is not excellent.


Fred Drum—- students aren’t supposed to be a large voice in directing the
operations of universities,  the students are there to learn from more experienced
and better informed folks.

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By Dorothy, November 22, 2011 at 11:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The money in higher education is being funneled directly to the administrators,
shamelessly!  I work at a community college and the President of our college has a
base salary of $315,000.00!!!!!!  She subsides her meager income by traveling
around the country (paid for by the college) giving speeches.  Again, I work at a
mid size community college.  All members of the administration are making 6
figure salaries.  They continue to raise tuition and line their pockets.  The
community and students need to take a more active role and put pressure on the
Board of Directors and the administration to prevent such outrageous salaries. 
There is just no rational reason why the president of a mid size community college
should be making more than the President of the US.  Universities are a perfect
example of income inequality at its best.

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By Anthony Look, November 22, 2011 at 11:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The face of OWS nationwide is the face of our energized youth. They are the ones in the forefront being pepper sprayed, being injured and hospitalized, being jailed. Their future is the investment that they are fighting for, their idealism is the drive that gives hope to America. The darth vader tactics especially of the NYPD are further amplified by the direct and calculated assault on the press and media. The Bloomberg’s of the world, the Republicans, the protectors and puppets of the 1% have crossed a line that has given rise to a force that has not been seen since the 1960’s. The year 2012 will go down in history when the facist rich made their attempt to control the middle class and subsequently lost (like in the 1960’s) and it will resonate for at least half a century. Bring it on!

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By balkas, November 22, 2011 at 11:05 am Link to this comment

thanks for your compliment.
i do not recognize the category “stupidity” for people or biota. at least
some people in the world avoid calling or thinking of people as being
so, what are we, then? well, i don’t know and i will never know nor anybody
else and if we wld live on this planet forever.
what we do know is that people [like pavlov’s dog] can be trained/taught to
behave/think as their ‘teachers’ want them to think/behave.

unfortunately, in almost all countries, the ‘teachers’ are sacerdotal,
plutocratic classes teaching people to reject own rightful inheritance.

which wld include also the most fundamental right: RIGHT TO KNOW.
if we wld obtain at first just this one panhuman right, we wld have solved
many problems we face today.

i leave the RIGHT TO KNOW undefined. i also evaluate it as undefinable;
i.e., it cannot be further elucidated. in other words, we’ve come to rock
bottom and there is no need to go on digging deeper.

one of the clero-plutocratic ‘teaching’ is that we must compete against
each other and in every important aspect of living.
surviving, includes peace [on intrapersonal, interpersonal, interethnic
levels] trusting each other, fearlessness, safety, security, etcetc requires
that we compete for each other and for oneself.
now we know why schooling is mandatory; it being really a kennel for
training children to become serfs for a life time.

but, it seems, there is now an awakening in u.s and interruption of the old
process of rendering butiful [in body-mind] humans helpless, blindly
obedient, and acting against own interests.

it’s best to tell one and all that they are ok and to say to them: all that is
wrong with you is that you’ve been had.
and i had been had several thousand times. tnx

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By Anarcissie, November 22, 2011 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

The conflict over tuition hikes is sort of interesting.  One needs to remember that a major function of the education industry, especially at the college and vocational school levels, is to serve as a class filter.  People are told that, regardless of what they know, learn, or can do, they must get a credential from a official institution before they can get a ‘good’ job, that is, a job with a certain degree of class status, and probably one where you don’t have to get your hands dirty.  That which is actually learned in higher education may be of no practical value whatever; it’s the credential that counts.

We are now in an era when the economy of the United States, possibly of the entire West, is contracting.  This is not because of offshoring or banker malfeasance; it’s a natural outcome of capitalism and will continue until some kind of breaking point is reached, when it will be followed by war or some other catastrophe.  During such a period, class distinctions are sharpened because there are fewer class benefits to go around.  Students experience this sharpening as tuition hikes and intensified discipline and surveillance.

One way some of the pressures and difficulties of general decline and intensified class struggle are offloaded onto these same students is through debt.  However, we have reached the point where the debt loads now being incurred cannot be paid back.  One meets unemployed graduates—no income to speak of—with tabs of 20, 30, 40 thousand dollars.

I’m sorry to say I don’t see a quick fix for these problems, at least not for those who want things to be the way they were in the good old days.  More radical solutions are indicated, but we will not hear about these from establishment liberals like Juan Cole.

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By Jim Yell, November 22, 2011 at 9:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I keep hearing this charge of Neo-liberalism and don’t understand it. The push for deregulation, the push for incarceration way above the severity of the crime, this comes from right wing politics. Unfortunatley the Democratic Party is full of Trojan Horse Democrats, of which Obama is one. That is on the outside they identify themselves as Democrats and at the very lest Progressives, but use their positions to bring to fruition Republican Right wing talking points.

I sometimes think the de-bunking of Jefferson’s private life was a device of a larger plan to divert American’s away from the actual theories of government put into practice by our Democracy. People forget that there was a minority of very rich in the late 18th and 19th centuries who wanted us to be ruled by a King, in fact an active group tried to get Washington to be that King and Adams tried to grasp Kinghood in actual fact if not the title. So we can not be passive as we watch Corporate and Religious groups try to pre-empt our Democracy. We are living in very dangerous times and gangsterism shown by our security forces is not making the future look very good.

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By mrfreeze, November 22, 2011 at 8:42 am Link to this comment

balkas - You sweet person…....I’m afraid you underestimate the stupidity of the American people. They don’t look at anything these days as a “benefit,” only costs…..never about how we can do “big things” again…only about “starving the beast.”

We are now reaping the bullshit we’ve sown.

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By balkas, November 22, 2011 at 7:58 am Link to this comment

i trust that juan is telling it to us as it is. i live in canada; so, i do not
know much about administrative/managing part of schooling in u.s.

i’d just like to posit the notion that the socalled free [or ‘free’] education
wld never be moneys wasted or in end cost taxpayers a red cent.
actually, i expect that the educated students wld more than backpay all
the costs of their decennial education.
now, let’s not call this a name, such as socialism, capitalism,
americanism, jesuism, mahammedanism, communism, hindiism or any
ism. tnx bozh

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By Tom Degan, November 22, 2011 at 7:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There’s a mighty wind a’blowin’ boys and girls.

When people have been subjected over long periods to injustice, it’s only a matter of time before they revolt. Revolution is not something that can be swept away by think tanks or police riots. It’s a bit more complicated than that. Revolution-in-reaction-to-human-cruelty is as natural as the sun rising in the eastern sky. All the king’s pepper spray and all the king’s soldiers can’t stop a rising sun either. Try it sometime.

The comedian-turned activist Dick Gregory once compared revolution to a boiling coffeepot. When the pot starts to boil, it protests by making a whistling sound. It is giving us a fair warning and a choice: We can wisely take that pot off the fire, or we can plug up the spout that’s making all that hideous racket. If our choice is the latter, eventually that pot is going to explode, burning everybody in the room.

The people who are now in the process of occupying this once-great nation can be likened to that boiling coffeepot. They are sending the “rulers” of this country a clear and unmistakable warning: Give us economic justice or be prepared to live with permanent civil unrest. Here’s another pearl of wisdom courtesy of Dick Gregory:

“Repression is more detrimental to the ones who are doing the repressing than it is to the ones who are being repressed.”

Something to think about. They tried to repress this movement with pepper spray - but they have merely strengthened it - tenfold. The ground of the planet earth is littered with the graves of regimes and ideologies that fell of their own, bloated weight. The times they are indeed a’changin’. Get out of the way or get rolled over.

Tom Degan

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By Fred Drumlevitch, November 22, 2011 at 6:56 am Link to this comment

With regard to higher education, I’d like to repeat a point I recently made in a comment at the RealityChex site, and further expand on it.

This point that I have not seen made anywhere concerns adequate student representation in public college governance, of relevance to financial matters as well as to more general issues of institutional governance: Students, through tuition charges, are contributing an increasing share of public college operating costs, yet have virtually no say in operation or spending decisions, while state-government-appointed boards continue to make those fundamental decisions.

For example, at the University of Arizona in Tucson, if I recall matters correctly, state taxpayer support has declined to about 20% of total operating costs, while student tuition supposedly accounts for about 25%. (Presumably research grants, endowments, and donations account for the rest). Yet the governor appoints eight members of the Board of Regents, and the governor and state superintendent of public instruction are themselves two additional regents, ex-officio. There are only two student representatives, and one of them is non-voting.

The situation for the students is tuition without equitable representation, analogous to taxation without representation. Students should have a significantly-increased voice in the governance of their public higher educational institutions, just as the general populace should have real opportunities to effect the governance of this nation.

The need for a strong student role in public university governance is all the more apparent when one considers the general wimpiness and lack of effective pushback against cuts that is shown by university administrators, and most notably, by university presidents and chancellors. Oh, these top functionaries will make a few half-hearted protestations, but in the end, they seem to not want to jeopardize their bloated salaries. I can’t recall a single instance of a public university president/chancellor demonstrating a publicly-vocal pit-bull attitude in defense of affordable quality higher education, willing to make a large public issue of the absurd priorities of brain-dead right-wing state governments. If their wimpiness is not solely from personal self-interest, perhaps their go-along, get-along attitude is rationalized as a tactical decision made with the hope that things will be better the next year. News flash: Things will not be better next year, and keeping silent is a recipe for being perpetually shat upon. The 99%, students and non-students, are finally beginning to understand that.

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By David J. Cyr, November 22, 2011 at 6:38 am Link to this comment

A people’s presidential candidate, Jill Stein, started her campaign speaking to students:

Voter Consent Wastes Dissent:

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By HeckuvaJob, November 22, 2011 at 6:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ardee, so as a counter to Juan Cole’s “trite, obvious
and stale conclusions” you offer the following: “As
to student involvement in revolutionary actions, it
has always been this way.”


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By D.R. Zing, November 22, 2011 at 5:41 am Link to this comment

These two paragraphs kind of grab you by the short and curlies and
won’t let go:

“Nationally, the emphasis on supposed law-and-order issues and the
epochal mistake of a ‘war on drugs’ that has criminalized a largely
inoffensive and medically useful substance like marijuana have gone
hand in hand with a militarization of law enforcement. That is, the
defunding of higher education in favor of an enormous gulag dovetails
with a rise in the paramilitary repression of the population as one
of America’s premier industries.

“Not only are UC-Davis students being hit with massive tuition
increases to pay for the penitentiaries and their policing, they are
also being treated like unruly inmates by a militarizing police
force. In the meantime, the country is taking giant strides toward
the future Jefferson feared, of poorly educated citizens at risk of
being manipulated by rising oligarchs.”

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By ardee, November 22, 2011 at 3:54 am Link to this comment

I confess to having never been much of a Juan Cole fan, especially regarding his “expertise” in Middle East studies.

This article seems filled with trite, obvious and stale conclusions. As to student involvement in revolutionary actions, it has always been this way.

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