As the nationwide March 4th protests against cuts to public education grow near, groups around the state are trying to get the word out. In Berkeley, UC students plan to hold a rally at noon and teachers in the Berkeley Unified School district plan to march on Martin Luther King Street after school lets out. There will be rallies in San Francisco, Sacramento and around the state.

After violence erupted at UC Berkeley on February 26, many people are concerned that the March 4 protests will grow violent. Some think direct action is necessary to underscore the seriousness of the threat to public education. Others think it will detract from the message.

A group that runs the blog Occupy California released this high quality video of last week’s disturbances at UC Berkeley and it shows students dancing in the streets one minute and overturning dumpsters the next. The narration on the video makes a direct connection to cuts in education with the violence.

As the narrator puts it, “When the conflict spreads beyond the university and its sanctioned student groups, when people become involved on their own terms, when a dance party becomes a protest becomes a party again and then transforms into a riot and back into a party. This is the coveted mass movement where people question thier roles and identities as students, as street people, as jocks or as activists.”

I didn’t quite understand the anonymous narrator’s line of thought, or argument, but this is a interesting video that provides the best snapshot yet of what happened on Friday, Feb. 26.

Frances Dinkelspiel

Frances Dinkelspiel (co-founder) is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California,...

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  1. The message is clear, not muddled: you are looking at a generation and a class within that generation that is feeling hopeless and sees no out and chooses non-directed confrontation. The political message of the action, if you insist that there has to be one, is roughly “f- it. this is all bs. f- off, cops. f- off, everyone. we’re screwed and if we’re going down, then so are you.”

  2. I agree that the narration and art direction are verging on the pretentious and that the message is more than muddled. The footage, while not raw, does at least provide an insight into what went on that night, though.

  3. The narrator’s ‘theme’ is as unfocused as the goals of the ‘rioters/partiers’. The website and the video’s narration suggest that ‘Occupy California’ are more interested in promoting anarchism than anything else. Perhaps someone’s read Guy Debord and taken it a bit too seriously. Not Berkeley activism’s finest hour, but perhaps that’s the point.