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Sunday, Apr. 15, 2012 at 7:45 PM
The “Banker's Dozen” were served with arrest notices one month after the U.S. Bank on UC Davis campus closed its doors for good, following weeks of protests against the university's privatization, its collusion with corporate profiteers, and the banks' role in increasing student costs and student debt. Twelve people are now threatened with 11 years each in jail and one million dollars in fines for a conspiracy to sit down. Privatization and austerity continue, more unpopular than ever. The university's policy of criminalizing dissent to protect and impose its policies continues, as it must in the face of increasing resistance.
This website provides news and statements; dates for things like court appearances and benefits; contacts; press materials; and information on how you can help the Banker's Dozen—and how you can help fight austerity and privatization. That struggle continues too.
original image ( 1000x300)
Statement made at UC Berkeley Press Conference (9 April 2012)
We all know that banks love students. Banks love student loans, the only kind of debt you can't default on. People over 60 owe billion in student debt, total student debt exceeds trillion. Banks foolishly believe that these loans will all be paid back, and in this hope have created financial instruments that further profit from these loans. It is not going to work, but banks will still take plenty from us because, if we do not pay in cash, our wages, health care, and social security (should we have any of the three) will be garnished.
Last year, UC Davis and US Bank entered a relationship. The deal was that US Bank would provide some money each year to UC Davis, an amount based on how many students opened up accounts with US Bank, in exchange for Davis leasing an office to the bank in the Student Union and issuing new student ID cards, ones with a US Bank logo, that could be used as debit cards. This is a deal that benefits both sides, US Bank gets a captive group of possible customers and UC Davis gets some cash. The only people who do not benefit are the students. The logic of privatization is most clear when a student ID card is branded by its corporate sponsor. The money paid by US Bank to UC Davis is simply tuition by another name. Rather than call it tuition, they call it rent. But for US Bank this money is profit from student debt and for the University it is the financial benefit of privatization. It is a vicious cycle. The UC raises tuition forcing students to take on more debt, and students purchase more debt a portion of the profits of which go to the University. No one can be unclear about what this means, this University is not a site of disinterested learning or even one of strategic consideration of how to get the right degree for a future, well paid job. No, the University is a place to accumulate debt, to sell the value of future labor. The students are not the driving intellectual and cultural force that will graduate to participate in a thriving economy, they are wage slaves who will be deprived of much of their future wage in order to earn the right to a wage.
Protest of this deal met with what seemed like administrative silence. Unlike the notorious pepper spray incident of November 18th, no spectacular violence occurred—until the last two weeks.
At this point, the University announced that it had referred six cases to the Yolo County District Attorney, who increased the number to twelve cases. These individuals were to be charged with twenty one misdemeanor counts, adding up to a possible eleven years in prison.
This tactic is being used at Berkeley as well as elsewhere: retroactive criminalization. Truly the banal violence of the courts system. No batons, no pepper spray, just letters in the mail and time in prison. This type of violence cannot be photographed and circulated on the web to raise ire. But this violence is, in many ways, more terrible than the physical violence of the riot cops.
In the process of privatizing public education, the University will have to enforce its policies with the means available to it. For the past several years this has predominately meant riot cops. Now the use of courts has increased in this mix. As a friend said, it is like that show Law and Order was all about fucking over students.
We have to understand that this level of repression is serious and heavy handed. So frequently I am asked by friends, why do you think the UC is treating protestors so harshly? To be frank, I think it is because the University may better estimate our power than we do. This question assumes that the protestors can not really end the process of privatization (or even reverse it), and so draconian repression is excessive. Let us challenge this assumption. Perhaps this repression is because we are potentially so powerful, because the University accurately estimates our potential power. Let's actually be that powerful.
From the How to Help section of http://davisdozen.org/
Call, fax, or write the Yolo County D.A. and ask him to drop all charges:
District Attorney Jeff W. Reisig
301 Second St
Woodland, CA 95695
Call or write Chancellor Katehi, demanding that she immediately cease the criminalization of protest on the Davis Campus:
Chancellor Linda Katehi
Offices of the Chancellor and Provost
Fifth floor, Mrak Hall
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
Come support us at our arraignment on Friday 27 April, 2012 8:30 a.m.
Yolo County Superior Court, Dept. 9
213 Third Street
Woodland, CA 95695
As to the DA, when you call, you can say you are a California taxpayer, voter, native and want the charges against the 12 people for the US Bank protest. If they let you, you can add that you want all California schools to be public and free from preschool through university, paid for by increasing the progressive income tax on those who make over 0,000 a year, and that all student debt that exists today should be paid by the US government and never allowed to exist again.
As to Chancellor Katehi, please tell her to resign. The pepper spray report proved what we all suspected: that she has no business being Chancellor.
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