Well, I suppose the fear mongers and the conspiracy theorists are so nuts they've gotten themselves on television. Like the birthers, it seems, our claims over the past year that police in both Olympia and on Evergreen's campus have continually trampled the rights of anti-war protesters (and artists), and that higher administration officials at the college have been complicit in our mistreatment--we've been so high pitched that the Military, the FBI, Homeland Security, Immigration, national media outlets, and, yes, Amy Goodman, have all taken notice. I suppose if you speak loud enough... Wait, no, it turns out that there is shock, dismay, and resulting silence in the face of a stark reality, one that surprises (and thus is taken as "newsworthy") only those who haven't protested, say, in the past twenty years: we've been blacklisted, spied on, and more! Good thing my last name is hard to spell.
While I was teaching in New York, anti-war protesters, including members of the Evergreen community, found out, through a freedom of information act request, that "John Jacob" isn't a member of SDS. No, he's a military spy. Remember when I wrote an open letter to the Olympia community (see below) in reference to student protests and political theater? Many faculty thereafter responded, the vast majority echoing my sentiments, though with much more grace and eloquence. A few kind of sucked. To remind you of those responses, here are some:
"The street theater of May 13 clearly disturbed some people enough to call the campus police. There were enough calls that the campus police were compelled to write to the campus about it. Calling the campus police, I assume, was not done frivolously or lightly."
--Nancy Koppelman, member of the faculty
"As so many of you rattle on (cue the music, we could all sing along) with all your clever arguments about rights and political theater and witch hunts and talking horses and police states, I'm having a very hard time finding any moral center to the conversation."
--John McClain, Evergreen administrator
Freedom of expression along with free speech and individual rights guaranteed by the constitution is something we all value. My officers are extremely sensitive to these issues on our campus. We show a great deal of care and patience in this area to make sure we don’t violate these rights."
--Police Chief Ed Sorger
I'm going to keep this short because there's nothing more that I can write that isn't covered by Amy Goodman and the AP (links below). Suffice it to say that, Nancy: I'd be curious if you were or are curious about who called campus police. I don't hold your position that it is safe "to assume" that such calls aren't "frivolous" or worse. And John, you can take your moral center and shove it. Please wait for me to cue the music; I'll make sure to make "clever arguments" about "police states" and "talking horses" while you insert hole A back into hole B, from whence the sheer vacuity originated. And Ed: I now understand what you mean by taking constitutional rights seriously. Thank you for the clarification.
Amy Goodman's Report, "Democracy Now! Broadcast Exclusive: Declassified Docs Reveal Military Operative Spied on WA Peace Groups, Activist Friends Stunned"