Thanking them for not wanting you dead

Thanking them for not wanting you dead
Photos by Joey Scott

The insane escalation of police force against peaceful campus protestors continued last night around the country. That includes at UCLA where police seem to still be attempting to clear the encampment as we speak. The school newspaper The Daily Bruin has been providing continual updates which you can read here.

As of 3:30 a.m., some protesters are on the ground in the encampment with zip ties around their wrists, surrounded by officers. Daily Bruin reporters have identified at least one UCLA professor who has been detained in the encampment.

[UCLA professor Graeme] Blair said in a texted statement sent around 3:45 a.m. that student protesters were “violently dragged” from the encampment by CHP officers. He added that some students were visibly injured, and stun grenades were used while officers also pointed guns loaded with less-than-lethal rounds at students – both of which faculty present have demanded officers cease to use.

“Their blood is on Gene Block and the UC administration’s hands for a series of catastrophic decisions over the last two days,” Blair said in the statement. “It did not need to be this way.”

Police continued to detain protesters in the encampment as the clock struck 4 a.m., marking one week since the initial erection of the solidarity encampment by the UC Divest Coalition and Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA.

Bravo to these student reporters and the many others at Columbia and elsewhere. May you never get subsumed into the corporate media and have your sense of justice dulled by neutrality or ambition.

But on Tuesday night something different happened at UCLA. Police and campus security stood by while counter-protestors menaced and assaulted the students. Joey Scott was on hand and has filed a dispatch describing what the scene was like which you can read below.

Scott recently wrote for Hell World about his attempts to get the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department to release footage of themselves killing a 15-year-old girl they were meant to be rescuing.

Maybe they thought the world would shrug and move on
Seeing atrocities committed every day for months now is seriously fucking me up. Lucky me safe at home. Worse is seeing so many people, including our government and media, either denying that it’s happening or saying that it’s good that it is. Or necessary. Some might go so far as

He was also on hand over night last night and sent this short update.

"Exactly a week since the encampment went up, several hundred militarized police have broken into the encampment. They waited until 3 am to lob flash bangs and fire less lethals into the crowd to make arrests. It took multiple attempts as students pushed back police several times, shouting 'free Palestine' each time police retreated. Arrests have already begun of students and faulty inside the encampment."

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Dear God this shit is gonna make me cry. Imagine finding out that somewhere across the world the country arming your killers has some number of people who do not wish you dead and taking some small solace in that. Thanking them for not wanting you dead.


Remember when these beautiful little babies all likely dead or maimed or orphaned by now held a press conference in November outside of al Shifa Hospital?

"We want to live, we want peace, we want judgement for the killers of children. We want shelter, food and education, and we want to live as the other children live."

Look at the main boy. With his very good English. Being the brave one for the rest of them.

And all the little girls in pink. It's a fucking arrow into your heart.

The worst part is that I’m sure they hoped it might work. Who would bomb these babies with any shred of humanity left in them?

Joe Biden looked them all in the eye and said: No, I don't think you will live as the other children live. This needs to happen for some reason. This needs to keep happening every day.

"What you want Trump to win?" I hear people say regularly.

I don't know man maybe we have it coming.

At long last.

People are allowed to express all kind of weird religious views please just let me be briefly Catholic ok?

Hey check this out: Protesting for good causes is good and protesting for bad causes is bad. Simple as. Occupying a campus building to pressure your school to divest from the military industrial complex and to register your horror over our country's dogged complicity in an ongoing genocide is an unequivocal good. Reasonable people can disagree about this you might be thinking? No they can't! Finding moral clarity on this matter is one of the easiest things a person could ever do.

"These campus protests are a lot like January 6" I've seen a number of the dimmest bulbs in a media class almost entirely populated by the worst liars on the head wound ward say and that is just not true. January 6 was a protest about something fake for the cause of something bad.

If on the other hand an election had actually been stolen then storming a government building would be good because the cause would be good.

I know I say this all the time but you do not have to temper your moral instincts to project an aura of fair play to your enemies. They will never return the favor.

Every single evil American loves Israel because they are this weird mix of our horrific past, crumbling present, and dystopian future. They pine for it and relish it and long for it all at once.

Yet they keep trying to make “horrified by the massive daily war crimes of the apartheid state of Israel” a synonym for antisemitic because it has always worked for decades but it’s breaking down at long last. My god are they going out screaming and pissing and shitting over it though. By they I mean our entire media and capitalist class and 99% of our elected officials. Like this bill passed yesterday by the House.

You do not have to pay any credence to this argument however because it is a lie and you know it is and that is that.

Meanwhile it's still so cool that the first question on every job and college application in the near future is going to be:

Do you believe in the benevolent state of Israeli’s inalienable right to massacre as many Muslim men women and children as they like without limit in perpetuity?

[ ] Yes
[ ] I’m an antisemite

Oh wow did some college kids say something vaguely hypothetically violent? How many bombs are we sending them? How many tanks do they have?

Listen to me if you are in the media and you think antisemitism is coming from the anti-genocide left and not the Biden and Trump and Netanyahu fascist partnership you have a dog's brain and you should be sent to run around in Kristi Noemi’s gravel pit.

Did you see the whole thing with the NYPD presenting a bike chain they found after beating in the heads of the kids at Columbia and tossing them down stairs and shit yesterday? They were so proud of it these cops. Evidence of "outside agitators" in the midst. As if it were a suitcase nuke. Never mind that there is one very obvious reason why college students might have access to bike chains if you stopped to think about it for one second. Never mind that it was one that the school literally sells themselves.

It was exactly the kind of shit Israel does when they hold up a Hitler coloring book or whatever that they obviously planted in a child's bedroom that they're about to bulldoze and stole all the underwear and socks from. Or when American cops stand there all proud behind a table with an eighth of dirt and the stupidest oldest gun you've ever seen.

And this too. Come on man.

Look at that shit. Braver than the troops at Iwo Jima. Never mind that the governor of New York raised an Israeli flag at the governor's residence in October. Why is one more offensive than the other?

A timely reminder from the Lockdown book about "outside agitators":

And this from a Hell World back in January seems relevant still:

Traffic that you’re not even sitting in
Almost was good enough
It's been heartening to see so many ongoing protests around the country including one that shut down the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday. Naturally protests like this are always going to be condemned in the harshest terms by the right but I'm also seeing a lot of the same type of very concerned handwringing about proper tactics from centrists and squishy liberals that we saw during the Black Lives Matter marches. Maybe you've even thought something like this yourself. Getting annoyed about traffic that you're not even sitting in!

The truth is that no matter what your cause is and no matter what you do there will always be people saying that you're not protesting the right way. That your slogan needs editing.

Worse than that a lot of them will pretend that they would of course have been sympathetic if only you had your proper protesting papers in order. If you weren't (hypothetically) inconveniencing some (imagined) victim they claim to be speaking on behalf of.

Once you see this in action you can't help but notice it everywhere. People feigning at potential solidarity with a cause or issue yet outsourcing their own actual but concealed personal disagreement with it to other people. "The average voter won't like this" etcetera. It's a kind of political ventriloquism.

Please do not do this. Do not force a mule to smuggle your sincerely held beliefs across the discourse border for you. Just say what you believe.

This World Belongs To You 

by Joey Scott

The sound of babies crying blared across the quad from portable speakers. The crying was interspersed between air raid sirens and a song playing on repeat celebrating the destruction of Palestine. Zionist counter-protesters taunted and shouted at the encampment from the other side of metal barricades. 

Suddenly the counter-protesters attacked. Metal barricades were turned into projectiles as they launched them into the encampment. Those without a metal barricade or weapon in their hand ran in to rip down Palestinian flags and the plywood barricades that had been erected in front of the encampment. One of them screamed about doing “another Nakba.” The security teams paid by the university to keep the two groups separated fled into a neighboring building and locked themselves inside. 

Bear mace filled the air. My throat tightened as it wafted over to me. My eyes watered and my group scattered, all of us coughing while trying to regain our breath. The pauses and dispersals between the masked attackers’ use of bear mace gave temporary reprieve from the violence. 

The UCLA encampment had begun six days before. It has held strong longer than other encampment across the country. USC, just 16 miles away from UCLA, barely made it a day before LAPD violently swept them up. 

The group’s demands from the university are clear: divest, disclose, abolish the police, a ceasefire, and a boycott of Israel. They are well articulated in their public statements

The UCLA administration put out signs on Tuesday stating the encampment was unlawful and that students should disperse. Ten hours later the encampment was besieged in a coordinated attacked by masked vigilantes. 

The encampment has faced harassment and threats by pro-Zionist counter-protesters since the first day it was erected. All week the people inside the encampment have experienced vile comments hurled at them through megaphones ranging from anti-Arab to homophobic to misogynistic. Days before the attack on the encampment, a pro-Zionist rally was held nearby. The $93,000 raised by sympathetic donors (like Jessica Seinfield and notably unhinged wife guy Bill Ackman) went to erecting a massive LED screen and stage. The ADL’s Johnathan Greenblatt made an appearance decrying campus antisemitism, which his organization has redefined to include any statements or rallies related to Palestine. 

Since then, the energy surrounding the protests has grown more adversarial. The past several nights counter-protesters have tried to climb into the encampment, yet students fought off the attacks by men with covered faces. Finally we found some of those outside agitators you hear so much about. Counter-protesters have continued to blare sounds and music as a form of psychological warfare all hours into the night and early mornings. Encampment participants adapted with ear plugs and music of their own. 

On Tuesday night students inside the encampment held their own amidst waves of attacks. Plywood nearly 8 feet tall shielded most of the students from attacks. Handmade shields and umbrellas filled the gaps. The college kids clearly read up on their siege defense tactics. 

Behind the plywood barriers, I watched as medics flushed blood and bear mace off each other. A student on some steps nearby cried between breaths. The pain of the pepper spray and stress of the situation had sent him into a panic attack. 

Fireworks were lobbed at the encampment by the masked group, blowing up directly in front of people. In one instance, a limp body was carried out in a makeshift gurney from the encampment when a person in a mask threw a mortar firework round at them. The explosion’s radius covered the entire lawn, hitting fleeing protesters. 

For three hours the violence went on unabated. Back and forth the counter-protesters tried to break in. Some ran at full speed at the barricades only to bounce off and fall on their ass. Anything that could be thrown was thrown. All the while the LED screen played a pro-Zionist slideshow.  

Eventually pallets from the encampment’s barrier were broken apart by counter-protesters and the debris was wielded like wooden batons and swung at anyone or thrown into the encampment. Metal poles were swung indiscriminately too. There were moments of open hand to hand combat, stopped only by a blast of bear mace. Several people were knocked to the ground and beaten. Someone had a high powered laser pointer they were pointing at people’s eyes. 

In total, twenty five people from the student encampment were hospitalized following that night’s attack. 

At 2 am, California Highway Patrol and LAPD showed up to stand around while the encampment still faced attacks. Nearly a half an hour later, the police pushed the counter-protesters out of the campus. They arrested no one. Instead, police allowed the counter-protesters to leave without incident. 

The police aren’t arbitrators of de-escalation, but their absence here felt intentional. The university instead outsourcing sweeping the encampment to a group of vigilantes. The school must have thought that if these unofficially deputized disruptors weren’t successful, at least the violence they started would give enough reason to sweep the encampment. As of Wednesday afternoon multiple police agencies were on campus and classes have been canceled. 

The “both sides” framing has already plagued the news coverage of the incident that night. “Clashes” are being used to describe one-sided vigilante violence that is corroborated with video evidence. There was one group of instigators that night. There was only one group responsible for the violence. They were the ones able to go home without incident. They’re the ones who will come back. 

For the past several weeks pundits and journalists have been sweating in agony trying to figure out why students are occupying campuses across the country. Images of protest violence interspersed with news about mass graves outside of a bombed out hospital in Gaza. Is it any wonder why the students are mad? 

The student activists’ closest allies, the liberals, continue to warn of the dark possible future should Trump be re-elected next year. A future of fascist street violence, police repression of social movements, and fewer rights. The student activists know that future is already here and it’s happening in front of our eyes.

“Who keeps us safe? We keep us safe!” was shouted by students all night from within the encampment. Their shouts a recognition, not a resignation, of their power. 

Josiah Royce’s quote “The world is a progressively realized community of interpretation” is engraved above a doorway outside Royce Hall. 

A realized community currently sits outside its doors, waiting to be removed by police force. All for protesting against genocide. 

Joey Scott is an independent investigative journalist and documentary photographer based in Los Angeles.