These are from Wednesday, March 13th 2008, Sproul Plaza on the UC Berkeley campus.
Well, except this shot. This is just on the walk over - including these guys, the USMC protest, the two tree sits, and the item I'm actually covering that's five protests within about a half a mile all at the same time.
So here's the overview shot. Lots of students with signs on the steps, about an equal number were watching from where I was standing. Compare that to the typical turnout at the USMC center - code pink likes to say that the students are apathetic and don't protest... but could it be they just don't agree? They sure seem to show up when it's aligned with their views. Anyway, let's look at those signs.
Note a few things - one's that bit about underrepresented minorities. That's code for "not Asians". Note also what BAMN stands for - By Any Means Necessary. So you want to remove the SAT by "any means necessary"? Seriously? Violence? Murder? Revolution? Do you really think invoking Malcolm X is going to convince people?
The Spanish says something like "Equal Rights for Immigrants". When you interpet these signs, keep in mind that if you check their own website it's clear that they don't even think there really is such a thing as somebody in the country illegally.
Just in case anybody thought I was kidding about the name of the group.
The amazing thing is that the whole point of the SAT is that it measures merit and not privilege. It was a huge move away from legacy enrollments and subjective measures like interviews and moving to a meritocracy where it didn't matter what your background was, if you could score well on the test you got in, period.
Guess what school led this fight? Yeah, UC Berkeley.
The real issue is not that the SAT is bad - it's not perfect but it does people with disadvantaged backgrounds a whole lot more good than ill - the real issue is that they want to go back to the bad old days of letting in anybody from approved ethnic groups (and usually not worrying if they were capable of graduating or not since nobody cares about graduation rates, just student population).
The sad things about these events is that a radical group like BAMN which has a much larger agenda will just try a shotgun approach and see what resonates. And what student doesn't hate the SAT? So that's a hook that they can use to suck in students for their broader agenda, like the fact that they want California to be a "sanctuary state" with totally open borders with Mexico. And BAMN is a radical group - even groups who agree with most of their stated goals disassociate themselves from BAMN because they have a habit of intimidation, pulling knives on people who disagree with them, committing violence, and generally alienating the support of the general population.
If you want to know more about BAMN, their wikipedia entry is as good a place as any to start - be sure to read everything under "Criticism".
And of course there were 4-5 cops keeping an eye on everything. These things cost the college big bucks... wait, it's a public school, and I'm a taxpayer... they cost me big bucks. Damn.
More Spanish. "By Any Means Necessary" again. The use of Spanish is partially preaching to the choir and partially an intimidation thing. Historically it's backfired along with the use of Mexican flags (which have mostly vanished at these kinds of things).
Recognize this guy? You can see him in some of my other reports (about half way down that page) - he's a Communist with a lot of free time on his hands. Up on the top it says "What is Bob Avakian's New Synthesis?" I don't know, but Bob Avakian is the chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party. The bottom half is an anti-Obama rant.
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