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The Next Eight Minutes According to Lambert Strether: The UC Davis Occupiers Won

Lambert Strether ( and extremely good guy) transcribes the tick-tock of the brutal cop-driven attack on Occupy students at UC Davis video, and brings a counter-narrative to the already gelled ‘Online furor after police pepper-spray demonstrators at UC Davis’.  He writes today from Naked Capitalism.

It took one riot-clad cop twenty seconds to spray the seated students with an economy-sized can of pepper spray.  Lambert describes it as ‘rather as if he were spraying vermin’.  The casual body language of the cop is hard to not describe as psychopathically evil.

At minute 52, police start dragging and hauling away the ravaged students.

He follows the ‘Shame on you!’ chants to minute 6:09, where he begins a time comparison to Kent State and the 13 seconds in which National Guardsmen killed four students.

Then, at minute 6:12, a stunning thing happened; I’ll wager it will be discussed, analyzed, and speculated upon in detail; Strether believes it may become the gold standard for defusing brutal treatment by riot police.  The wild card, of course, is that it’s not known whether or if police were responding to orders through their (assumed) earbuds or not.

6:12 “Mic check! Mic check!” (hoarse, urgent) “Shame on you!” Shouting. (Frightening and amazing)

6:15 Three weapons raised horizontal.

6:20 [Kent State timer ends] “Mic check! Mic check! We are willing…”

Occupiers: “WE ARE WILLING…”

MC: “to give you a brief moment…”


MC: “of peace…”

Occupiers; “OF PEACE…”

MC: “so you may take your weapons…”


MC: “and your friends…”

Occupiers: “AND YOUR FRIENDS…”

MC: “and go.”

Occupiers: “AND GO.”

6:35 Policeman in front of line of weapons, now, holding two red cans, presumably pepper spray. Police faces behind visors puzzled.

MC: “Please do not return!”


MC: “We are giving you a moment of peace.”


MC: “You can go! We will not follow you!”

Occupiers: “WE WILL NOT FOLLOW YOU!” “You can go!” [confused shouting]

7:04 Occupiers: Chants, shouts, “You can go!”, “You can go!”, “You can go!”

7:11 And the police begin to back down the path. “You can go!”, “You can go!” “None of you is getting a pension!”

7:14 Now for the first time, the camera pans left to show who the police were facing: A loose crowd of students in hoodies and student gear, many of them holding cameras, chanting and shouting. No violent body language, no visible weapons.

7:20 Police still in a block formation, backing away.

7:45 Finally the police turn their backs on the Occupiers and walk down the path. Cheers. “Yeah!” (Somewhere military historian John Keegan says that in a rout, the first troops to flee are not at the front, but at the back of the column, instancing the collapse of the Old Guard at Waterloo. Notice that here, the first police to turn their backs and walk away are indeed those at the back of the column, and not those, weapons still partially raised, at the front.)

“Shame on you!” “Shame on you!” “Our university!” “Whose university?” “Our university!”

“Whose quad?” “Our quad!” “Whose quad?” “Our quad!”

8:13 and following: Can’t get this part clear, sounds like a call for a general assembly, the people’s mic still led by MC

Strether adds more on the police and the possibility that it may have been a set-up:

“The Occupiers displayed remarkable courage. They had already been pepper-sprayed, yet they faced down armored, paramilitary policeman whose weapons were raised and aimed at them. Does anybody remember Kent State? In thirteen seconds of shooting, four died. [Revise] The weapons used here mean that the stakes were not as high as they were at Kent State. However, to me, the police, though paramilitary and armed, looked stressed, unhappy, confused, and ill-led, if led at all. For example, at 5:07, having dragged the arrestees away, what were they hanging about for? At 6:35, why wasn’t pepper spray used again? At some point not visible in the video, the police car was driven away. Who was in it, and why did they leave? Above all, why such a massive presence for grand total of six (I count six) pup tents? The whole situation, to someone with a nasty twist of thought, could have the feel of a set up: Putting Cossacks into a position where the odds are good enough that they’ll end up opening fire on a few peasants out of panic, giving plausible deniability to some anonymous security thug seeking preferment (“bad apples,” “mistakes were made”)”

In other news, the National Lawyers Guild has made a FOIA request to discover info that might lead to discovering which agencies may have driven the concerted efforts of cities across the country to clamp down so viciously on Occupies this week. From Dave Lindorf:

“With Congress no longer performing its sworn role of defending the US Constitution, the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee and the Partnership for Civil Justice today filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) asking the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the CIA and the National Parks Service to release “all their information on the planning of the coordinated law enforcement crackdown on Occupy protest encampments in multiple cities over the course of recent days and weeks.”

According to a statement by the NLG, each of the FOIA requests states, “This request specifically encompasses disclosure of any documents or information pertaining to federal coordination of, or advice or consultation regarding, the police response to the Occupy movement, protests or encampments.”

The National Lawyers Guild (as well as the ACLU)  has been giving free legal help to many Occupies that have brought lawsuits against cities and states that have abridged their First Amendment rights…and worse.

“Give us grace and strength to forebear and persevere. Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind. Spare to us our friends and soften to us our enemies. Give us the strength to encounter that which is to come, that we may be brave in peril, constant in tribulation, temperate in wrath and in all changes of fortune, and down to the gates of death, loyal and loving to one another.”

~Robert Louis Stevenson~

(h/t: Robert Alexander Dumas)

They will not force us…they will stop degrading us

They will not control us…we will be victorious!

(come on!)

(cross-posted at

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