Mario Savio Remembered and a Poet Beaten at Occupy Berkeley

Robert Hass, UC Berkeley professor and poet, and former Poet Laureate of the U.S., found himself facing a phalanx of Alameda Country sheriff’s deputies at the Occupy Berkeley encampment in front of Sproul Hall – the same Sproul Hall where the Free Speech Movement started in the 1960’s. Hass’s account of what happened next appears in today’s New York Times:

Poet-Bashing Police

LIFE, I found myself thinking as a line of Alameda County deputy sheriffs in Darth Vader riot gear formed a cordon in front of me on a recent night on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, is full of strange contingencies.  The deputy sheriffs, all white men, except for one young woman, perhaps Filipino, who was trying to look severe but looked terrified, had black truncheons in their gloved hands that reporters later called batons and that were known, in the movies of my childhood, as billy clubs.

Floating tent (Berkeley-18Nov11)

And Robert Reich (also a UC Berkeley professor) last week on the steps of Sproul Hall—the Mario Savio steps—gave an impassioned speech on democracy and free speech:

And, pace Supreme Court: that’s free speech, not moneyed speech.


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