This fall’s wave of “Occupy” actions centered on the Occupy Wall Street encampment in NYC has drawn on many recent movements for inspiration, from the Arab Spring to the mass uprisings of Greece and Spain to the last few years’ campus occupations and street protests in Britain and the occupation of the Wisconsin state capitol in Madison.
But to anyone who has been focused on American student organizing in the recent past, “Occupy ________” has until recently meant one thing above all: California.
Since the fall of 2009, student activists in the University of California and Cal State systems have staged dozens of demonstrations and actions, many of them culminating in occupations of campus buildings. Well over two hundred students have been arrested.
The OccupyCA movement has evolved over time, and has tended to differ in some significant ways from its Occupy Wall Street successors, but it has provided a spark to American student organizing from the early days of the current economic crisis and has offered a clear example to OWS.
And now it’s getting rolling again.
This Wednesday, November 9, students and staff at UC Berkeley will be launching a two-day walkout and establishing an OWS-style encampment on the Berkeley campus. Berkeley has been the epicenter of the OccupyCA movement, and Wednesday’s action marks a milestone in the development of OWS — particularly given the importance of Occupy Oakland, just down the road, to the movement in recent weeks.