1. Thursday: Mock Deportation Protest
On April 29, Berkeley students, gagged and tied, protested Arizona’s recent immigration law. The law, which requires police to detain and question anyone in suspected of illegal immigration status. While the law essentially just enforces existing Federal law, it has sparked national controversy surrounding threats to civil liberties including national identification cards and racial profiling, as well as economic liberties including freedom of contract.
The bill’s controversy may become a core issue for candidates in the 2010 Federal election cycle – but it remains to be seen what effect Californian students intend to achieve by protesting the actions of another State’s legislature.
2. Yoo See T.P.?
They’ve been to his house, his classroom, and his lectures. Now, protesters against controversial UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo have gone to his bathroom. On April 20, artist Matt Cornell created toilet paper with the convention against torture printed on them and placed them in bathrooms in UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall. “Yoo helped turned human rights laws into toilet paper,” Cornell said of the professor who wrote memos for the Bush administration defining torture. No word on how many trees were needlessly tortured and killed to facilitate the protest.
3. Judicial Fiat
Justice Stevens’ recent retirement announcement will probably not shift the court’s overall ideological leanings given Obama’s judicial preferences. His appointments have included figures such as Goodwin Liu, renowned for both his lack of bench experience and his belief that “welfare rights” can and ought to be established by judicial fiat. As Presidents have demonstrated time and again, their legacy may be best characterized not by the “landmark” statutes and regulations of Congress, but by whom they place on the bench.
4. Our New Che Guevara
During his campaign for the ASUC External Affairs Vice President position, CalSERVE candidate Ricardo Gomez said, “I will use my grassroots and online organizing experience to bring all stakeholders together for strategic, creative, and organized collective action.” After his election by 32 votes, we are now beginning to see what goals he hopes to pursue with his “collective action” and needless to say they aren’t exactly what most students would consider unifying. In the first post on a new weblog started by the EAVP elect, eavp.wordpress.com, Gomez encourages students to draw inspiration from Subcomandante Marcos, a Mexican “folk hero.” Marcos isn’t any old folk hero though: he’s a self described Maoist rebel. He’s been described by some, including the BBC, as the “new Che Guevara.”
Further, in just the first few days of its existence Gomez has used the blog to promote issues far beyond the scope of Cal. He has attacked the new law in Arizona that allows police to question a suspect’s legal status within the state. “Joining a facebook group or changing your status alone is NOT ENOUGH,” he writes. Nowhere does he state the rationale for why this should be addressed by the ASUC. Probably because there is none.