by Steed Dropout
Dec. 15, 2014


Day 7, Cal Berkeley Black students--historic march through the affluent Elmwood District. Photo by Ted Friedman.

One week of protests do not a movement make. Unless this week’s protests have DNA from the long-running occupy movement of 2012–which first roused long-silent Cal Berkeley students to renewed activism.

This reporter has logged at least 30 miles walking with protestors as a photo-journalist.

Back were leader-less marches, as in Occupy2, and a free-flowing game plan. Some nights, decisions to turn left or right, to take a highway, or to retreat–just sort of happened.

Saturday, the protest fizzled at the I-80 on ramp, but Monday, a student-dominated protest found its way around police and onto the freeway.

This was not the first time students had shut I-80. They shut I-80 several years ago to protest fee-hikes. Fee-hike protests, recently, gave way to national interests–Ferguson and Staten Island.


Occupy1, 2012, brought national attention to what had been obvious since “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”–income inequity was out of control. Bank crooks owned government.

We’ve had several years to assess the influence on government or wealth by Occupy. Zero results. Bank crooks not named Madoff thrive.

It’s too early to assess Berkeley’s on-going Occupy Cal. But here’s what must happen for Occupy2 to gain traction, historically. The justice department, recently promised a special investigation into police tactics. That’s in the pipelines. Is there anything else continuing protests could achieve?

As in Occupy Berkeley, religionists stepped up with their own protests, which answer to a higher authority. Berkeley’s last two protests have focussed on “Black Lives Matter,” which, at best, is a slogan–possibly a prayer.

Departments, like Ferguson’s will have to improve diversity in their ranks. Will they? Time-will-tell kills off continued public attention.

Berkeley’s combined university and city police are the most diverse in the world, but in Berkeley’s last mayoral debates, Berkeleyan’s were surprised to learn that Latinos, Asians, and Pacific Islanders were under-represented.


Would it be impertinent to ask what Occupy2 can do for blacks? Especially since social scientists are struggling, against all odds, to establish data that supports a conspiracy of over- aggressive police response to black crime.

Certainly Americans noticed the race of the dead men–always called un-armed black youths. Those images say more than a thousand protests.

Older Berkeleyan’s, who sometimes joined the students–carrying Black Lives Matter signs–signify white support, especially day seven, which was “faith-based” (organized by mostly white clergy). Black lives matter in Berkeley which has seen its black population shrink from 35% to less than 8%.

Occupy1 was short on proposals for change and its descendant, Occupy2, has, like its parent, avoided making demands. Occupy Berkeley, 2012 (don’t confuse with Occupy Cal) held workshops which sought to produce actions, but mired down in occupy protocols.

Photos from a week of protests:

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