Tedious and infuriating

As a sort of follow-up to and confirmation of this post, Wendy Brown has circulated a snitty email condemning the alleged student violence that occurred at the UC chancellor’s house last month:

I will now give you my personal view of the arrests on Friday morning. In contrast to the peaceful and relatively responsible occupation during the week, some of the occupiers were planning a concert to which they hoped to draw a couple thousand people and which had no provisions for crowd control, fire regulations or substance controls. It could easily have resulted in anything from the whole building being trashed to kids being trampled to death. It was also likely to come into conflict with a final taking place in Wheeler Auditorium at 8 AM the next morning. The posters invited people to stay “until the cops kick in the door.” I don’t know what naivete or hubris or pure stupidity led the organizers of this event to imagine this was really going to happen. Frankly, between those plans and then the desperate cry to the faculty that went out to the faculty following the arrests — for bail, for assistance in reducing sentences, for rides back to Berkeley from Santa Rita, for retrieving backpacks from Wheeler, and for lenience on paper deadlines, I feel like we’re dealing with 10 year olds. It’s tedious, it’s infuriating and its wasting a lot of valuable time and energy while the greatest public university in the world is slipping away from us. It is also not lost on any of us that the number of students involved in this bullshit is remarkably tiny but that it has and will continue to drive away many other students who at one time were eager to become activists on behalf of the preserving the University of California. Indeed, what is striking in the anonymously forwarded garbage below is that there is not one mention of saving the university, only excitement about violence. The “cause,” if there ever was one, seems to have disappeared. (via)

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3 thoughts on “Tedious and infuriating

  1. I know I shouldn’t be shocked by this, or angry, really, but oh Wendy. She’s upset because the students were holding a party and the police weren’t invited to “control substances”?

    I also really detest the accusation that students participating in direct actions “drive away” other students, as if there aren’t sizeable numbers of students, faculty and onlookers chattering away constantly about how they all want to stop the cuts to UC in a “non-violent” way.

    Kinda makes me want to go and burn my copy of States of Injury.

  2. Those were the two things that bothered me the most as well. Also, it wasn’t just the fact and content of her email — which, as you say, and given her position, are not totally surprising — but the vituperative, condescending tone. I guess it’s one thing to disagree with the actions, but it’s another to be a scold in doing so. The children are having an unsupervised party and holding unauthorized protests. They’re betraying The Cause. Frankly, she comes across as a prig.

    I also found it interesting that, according to the Uncivpro article, during the occupation she was mediating with the administration and policing the protesters’ actions. I knew some faculty were doing that, but I didn’t know she was one of them. Since she’s a Foucaultian, maybe she needs a reminder of what Deleuze said Foucault was the first to teach us: the indignity of speaking for others.

  3. I think the absolutely unreflective complaint that people are insufficiently obsessed with ‘saving the university’ – the greatest public one in the world etc – is worthy of a certain amount of contempt.

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