For the record: Nonviolence means active resistance! The point of nonviolent active resistance is to force an institution (e.g. the state, or the university) to reveal that it maintains its power through violence.

Nonviolence is: Camping out in trees to prevent development, Tearing down police barricades and pushing through a line of cops to bring food to those people in the trees.

The University authorized the cops to use pepper spray and batons against us. This is not because the University was trying to keep us safe and not because we were being violent. The University used physical violence against us because we refused to consent to the quiet ways that the University enacts violence everyday.

Some examples: The University is destroying ecosystems one building at a time, teaching a world view that leaves out or re-victimizes communities of color and other marginalized people, systematically pushing out radical faculty of color, and leasing out students and faculty to the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy to research and design nuclear and non-nuclear weapons.

Everyday, we consent to these violences by our silence and inaction. On November 7, en masse, a few hundred of us refused to consent to the expansion of this violent University. The University responded by stealing supplies from the tree sitters and surrounding them with a wall of police, then by beating, arresting, and pepper-spraying us as we struggled to bring food and water to the sitters.

I’ve been to the tree sit many times since then.

I had a spontaneous reading discussion circle that felt more like learning than school ever has. I camped out under the trees talking to new friends about the meaning of dreams. I walked through upper campus with some people who love it; they taught me about the history of the land and the Ohlone people who lived here not so long ago. I learned about how the Ohlone tended to the ecosystem and the plants they used for food and medicine.

Nonviolence is building an alternative community at the base of the trees with free food, frisbee games, fort building, friendmaking, quiet time without TVs or computers, where no one is in charge but every one is working or playing on the things that are important to them.

*Kate Flanagan*