Eyewitness accounts of UC Berkeley divestment debate

More on the incredible UC Berkeley divestment debate:

US Campaign Steering Committee member Sophia Ritchie writes from Berkeley:

“I write these words after staying up all night alongside many, many others as we awaited the decision from UCB ASUC senators as to whether they would overturn the veto on SB 118, calling on the UC to divest from GE and United Technologies, 2 companies profiting from Israeli war crimes. The original meeting which was to start at 7:30, was pushed back to a 10pm start and moved to a larger venue to accommodate the huge numbers of people who came out (at its height I believe there were more than 500 people). After hours of speakers, they finally moved into a vote. Not enough senators voted in favor of overturning the veto, due to abstaining votes the floor was opened up for further debate, filibusters were put in place, more speakers, confusion, drawn out attempts at “compromise” etc, etc. End result – the ‘real’ vote been tabled for another week and the veto still stands. 2:30, 4, 6:45….this went on and on. Despite the majority numbers of people who were in the room supporting the bill, it was so apparent how strong the intimidation tactics were in silencing some of the senators. I feel many things right now, tiredness, sadness, frustration, angst, which I could elaborate more on, but really it comes down to this: on tax day 2010, my money (our money) is going to continue being sent to Israel; the occupation, oppression and injustice continue and so, too, does our fight.

On an ‘up’ note the list of speakers was phenomenal and included a Skype call from Richard Falk, moving speeches by Hedy Epstein and Judith Butler and testimonial by many of my truly amazing peers. The action this afternoon was also very powerful.


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