Protesters at Prople's Park; by Isabel Atkinson

Introduction

“Occupy” movementreached Isla Vista the 5th November 2011, when roughly 120 people gathered at People’s Park, adjacent to a university-owned building known as Embarcadero Hall2. Despite the eventual contrasts with the local administration of the park and the Foot Patrol, the protest lasted few months, involving mostly UCSB students and stimulating a debate on the “we are the 99%"3 slogan in the local community4

 

Backgrounds

The Coffee Collaborative and Sam's to Go; by Paula F. (through https://www.yelp.com/)From the occupation in New York City's Zuccotti Park on September 17th 20115, the Occupy movement started spreading through different places around the globe6. The University of California had been as well highly involved in the uprising of the protests7, with some of the major campuses supporting the OWS movement8 (see Occupy Colleges9).  Locally, Occupy reached Santa Barbara October 8th 2011, when around 200 people started marching from De La Guerra Plaza10. The same day a new Facebook page appeared online, Occupy Isla Vista11 (OIV), showing support to the Santa Barbara occupation. Through the OIV page convenings were announced; the first one was held on Thursday 10th October at the Coffee Collaborative12 , followed by weekly meetings  (every Tuesday at 10 p.m. outside Sam’s to Go and Sundays at Little Acorn Park at 5:30 p.m)13 made up of mostly University of California Santa Barbara students, IV residents and some activists from outside14.  Meanwhile, on the 17th of October an article15 (from S.Begakis, a fourth-year political science major and president of UCSB’s College Republicans club) praising the figure of the “businessmen” (representative of the 1% in the Occupy’s rhetoric) opposed to the “mindless rabble of envious deadbeats” protestants of OWS, was published on the UCSB newspaper “The Daily Nexus”. Replays to such comment, while just a couple of days before Occupy global protests were staged around the world16, didn’t lack: the comment section of the online article became a dispute, few days later another article was published on the same newspaper titling “Democracy Is Nothing Without the Voices of the 99 Percent”17 and the Occupy IV facebook page cited as well the incriminated article.  After various meeting of the OIV, the date and place to start the Occupation were settled: Saturday, November 5th 2011, People’s Park. On October 24th the operation of a “flyering action team” starting on the 26th was announced on the OIV Facebook page and the flyers published (see images). One week later UCSB Campus joined the Occupy movement holding a teach-in regarding corporate control of the economy and media: “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”18. The event was encouraging the interaction between audience and speakers (Associated Students Director for Media and KCSB staff advisor Elizabeth Robinson and KCSB General Manager Eric Wolff, a fourth-year sociology major, emphasized the media’s role in the movement); the presence of the debate on Occupy on campus had a meaningful impact on the students19. Meanwhile, the debate was growing among people, on  November 1st a letter to the editor20 was published on “The Bottom Line” addressing the critiques encountered by M. Schirtzer (a fourth-year history major with an emphasis on revolutionary and conspiratorial history and participant in OIV) while conversing with the students on campus. There was some skepticism around students, but issues such as campaign finance reform, wealth inequality, or taxing the rich were being discussed.

 

Flyer from OIV Facebook pageOccupation and reactions

The rally began Saturday at 3 p.m. and featured musical performances, poetry recitals, workshops and featured speeches from several university staff members21. An estimated 150 to 200 demonstrators attended the event, though numbers dwindled in the later hours, with roughly 50 protesters remaining for the Occupy Isla Vista’s first General Assembly at 6 p.m.”22

On the 5th November 2011 he occupation of  the People’s Park had officially started. During the first General Assembly, a 16-point list of community agreements was drafted23. In an article24 published few days later on the Daily Nexus both the organizer Vikas Malhotra, a UCSB graduate student, and the Isla Vista Foot Patrol Lieutenant Ray Vuillemainroy talked about the importance of the cooperation between the protestants and the local authorities. Still, on the more informal OIV facebook page the occupiers were sharing their worries about the presence of police: indeed, according to the ordinance no. 2002-002 (Camping and sleeping ordinance) from the  Isla Vista Recreation and Park District sleeping in the park was  unlawful between half hour after sunset of one day and 6:00A.M25. In the first weeks of the OIV the protesters “erected one canopy, a dumpster-dived for food, created a People’s Library, designed “artivist” signs, played music and sang songs from dusk ’til dawn.”26  After few days, the I.V. Recreation and Park Board ordinance was reinforced, adding a last-minute revision to its November 10 agenda reading to rule the assembly of more then 10 people in the park during the night27. The protestors came to the board meeting in an attempt to voice their opinions on this matter: “We’re going to stay in the park even if this law is passed ” Simone Salmon, University of California Los Angeles graduate and Occupy participant, informed the members of the board and the public. “There is no number you can put on our first amendment rights.28 After nearly 10 days from the beginning of the occupation, between the 14th and the 15th November the first protesters were arrested29,30 for violation of the local camping ordinance31. OIV reacted to the first arrest gathering the same day by 5p.m. in front of the Isla Vista Foot Patrol office, “holding signs and chanting “No justice, no peace, we demand David’s release!” and “Occupy! Shut it Down! IV is the people’s town!”32 Meanwhile, on the 15th night an arson attempt on the Isla Vista Foot Patrol Station occurred; according to the SBCSD Public Information Officer Drew Sugars, the event wasn’t likely to be connected to the OIV protest: “There’s no evidence to suggest it was connected to the ‘Occupy’ movement — but we can’t rule it out,” “We have been dialoguing with occupiers since it started. They can go and protest and be there 24/7, they just can’t break the law or tent … but we’ve had good dialogue so far.”33

Protesters reacting to the first arrest; by Travis TaborekBesides the arrests and first conflicts with the local authorities, the occupation kept going; on the 16th November speeches and conversation groups were held on the campus for an “In Solidarity Event” between UCSB and Occupy34. Few days later, on the 19th November a UC-Santa Barbara human rights group organized an event35,36at the park in collaboration with the movement, the organizers of the event were threatened by the police with the false accusation that they did not obtain a permit for the event37, the OIV facebook page reported that two protesters were “kidnapped by the police” but later in the day a new post ensured that ultimately nobody was arrested38. The tensions with the police didn’t stop. On the 21st the Isla Vista Foot Patrol confiscated some of the occupiers’ belongings39 (shelter, blankets, chairs, signs, guitar40). OIV general assemblies moved from the People’s Park to a private space in Camino Pescadero41. According to the Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Drew Sugars, IVFP was working with demonstrators to prevent conflicts with authorities, he said in an article42 published on the 22nd November : “We’re trying to have daily dialogue and tell them what the rules are … we all need to follow the law,” Sugars said. “There have been a few arrests for camping but no major incidents. We can’t rule out that the attack on Foot Patrol isn’t related to Occupy … it’s certainly something we acknowledge.” On the November 28th students protested on UCSB’s campus both in solidarity with the Occupy protesters at UC Davis and Berkeley and against tuition hikes43; the OIV joined the protest organizing a documentary screening in the campus “Share the Occupie” . The general assemblies proceeded regularly through the month of December, with a break from 12/21/2011 to 01/24/2012 [from the facebook OIV page]. Occupy Isla Vista joined the Occupy Santa Barbara event“Our City Is Watching Festival”44 on April 7th.

 

 

Meeting at UCSB campus "In Solidarity event"; from V.Malhothra through "Occupy USCB" Facebook page
Chronology of events (timeline)

10/10/11 - OIV 1st organization meeting

10/26/11 - "Flyering action group"

11/02/11 - “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”campus teach-in 

11/05/11 - IV begins in People’s Park

11/14/11 - First people arrested

11/19/11 - UC-Santa Barbara human rights group organized an event at the park in solidarity with the movement 

11/21/11 - Destruction of the occupier’s canopy and belongings confiscated by Isla Vista Foot Patrol

11/28/11 - Students protested on UCSB’s campus both in solidarity with the Occupy protesters at UC Davis and Berkeley and against tuition hikes

12/19/11 - Park hours ordinance discussion

12/21/2011 to 01/24/2012 pause for Christmas Holidays (no Facebook page activity reported)

03/07/2012  - “Our City Is Watching Festival” Santa Barbara

 

Notes 

1 Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., "Occupy movement", Wikipediahttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupy_movement , accessed: 11/24/2019 

2 "Occupy Isla Vista began on November 5th at People’s Park, adjacent to a university-owned building known as Embarcadero Hall." from E. Feng and J. Gamma, "Occupy Isla Vista for the 99%", Solidarity, http://solidarity-us.org/atc/156/p3489/accessed: 11/24/2019

Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., "We are the 99%", Wikipedia,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_are_the_99%25 , accessed: 11/24/2019

4 "A word of advice to those who have not yet joined the Occupy Santa Barbara, Occupy Isla Vista, or any faction of the nationwide Occupy Wall Street movement: WAKE UP." from Allison McManus, Kellie Hinze, and George Blake, "It’s About You", Santa Barbara Independent, https://www.independent.com/2011/10/29/its-about-you/accessed: 11/24/2019

Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., "Occupy movement", Wikipediahttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupy_movement , accessed: 11/24/2019 

6 Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., "List of Occupy movement protest locations", Wikipediahttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Occupy_movement_protest_locations, accessed: 11/24/2019 

7 Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., "List of Occupy movement protest locations in California", Wikipediahttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Occupy_movement_protest_locations_in_California, accessed: 11/24/2019 

8 Noel Randewich, "Occupy movement inspires rise in U.S. campus activism", Reutershttps://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-protests-students/occupy-movement-inspires-rise-in-u-s-campus-activism-idUSTRE7AO15K20111125, accessed: 11/24/2019 

9 Occupy Colleges, "Occupy Colleges in Solidarity with Occupy Wall Street", Occupy Collegeshttps://web.archive.org/web/20120215032540/http://occupycolleges.org/, accessed: 11/24/2019 (through https://web.archive.org/ , set on date: 02/15/2012)

10 "All across De La Guerra Plaza on Saturday, Oct. 8, people were either setting up camera equipment, pitching shade tents, carrying cardboard signs saying, “We are the 99%” or talking among themselves in groups. " from Travis Taborek, "Occupy Santa Barbara Takes to the Streets", The Bottom Linehttps://thebottomline.as.ucsb.edu/2011/10/occupy-santa-barbara-takes-to-the-streets, accessed: 11/24/2019 

11 The page is still online: Facebook, "Occupy Isla Vista", Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/occupyiv/, accessed: 11/24/2019 

12  The Coffee Collaborative closed in March 2019 http://dailynexus.com/2019-03-06/coffee-collab-owner-passes-away-at-38-years-old/, a new coffee shop is currently opened there http://dailynexus.com/2019-06-28/campus-point-2-0/ 

13 Informations about the meetings are posted on the OIV facebook page: Facebook, "Occupy Isla Vista", Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/occupyiv/, accessed: 11/24/2019 

14 "Made up of mostly University of California Santa Barbara students, IV residents and some activists from outside, the Tuesday Oct. 18 meeting was the third convening for the Occupy Isla Vista Movement." from Eugene Won, "Organizers Meet for Occupy Isla Vista Movement", The Bottom Linehttps://thebottomline.as.ucsb.edu/2011/10/organizers-meet-for-occupy-isla-vista-movement, accessed: 11/24/2019 

15 Steven Begakis, "Selfish Protestors Unfairly Victimize the Honest Business Man", The Daily Nexushttp://dailynexus.com/2011-10-17/selfish-protestors-unfairly-victimize-honest-business-man/, accessed: 11/24/2019 

16 Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., "15 October 2011 global protests", Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/15_October_2011_global_protests, accessed: 11/24/2019 

17 Daniel Ouellette, "Democracy Is Nothing Without the Voices of the 99 Percent", The Daily Nexus, http://dailynexus.com/2011-10-19/democracy-voices-99-percent/, accessed: 11/24/2019 

18 Carissa Quiambao, "Campus Joins Occupy Movement", The Daily Nexushttp://dailynexus.com/2011-11-03/campus-joins-occupy-movement/ , accessed: 11/24/2019 

19 “Some students were surprised that the movement was on campus, and many remarked the Teach-In to be the first event that some had attended and were inquisitive and supportive of the movement. UCSB student Megan Sholty said she was “shocked that it’s reached the campus. It’s going to be historical.” from: Sarah Kreuz, "Occupy Isla Vista is Here", The Bottom Line, https://thebottomline.as.ucsb.edu/2011/11/occupy-isla-vista-is-here, accessed: 11/24/2019 

20 "More cynical people claim with self-entitled authority that the movement will not accomplish anything. The movement has already been successful in elevating the dialogue in D.C. and amongst the people. If one had proposed anything to do with taboo issues like campaign finance reform, wealth inequality, or taxing the rich – they would have been cast into the perennial Ron Paul isolation chamber. With people marching and mobilizing, these issues are now on the forefront of political debate." from Michael Schirtzer, "Occupy IV: Letter To The Editor", The Bottom Linehttps://thebottomline.as.ucsb.edu/2011/11/occupy-iv-letter-to-the-editor, accessed: 11/24/2019 

21 Links to some of the video reportages:

BambooifyYourLife, "Occupy Isla Vista opening day impressions, featuring the Rainbow Girls", Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Txh4OIbaWlw&list=PL5EC1ACCC75DF2E7E, accessed: 11/24/2019

BambooifyYourLife, "Professor Alice O'Connor @ Occupy Isla Vista 11-5-11 part I", Youtubehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1U17B-OcJI, accessed: 11/24/2019 

BambooifyYourLife, "Wasp Queen - SoulDarity (former Rancho Collective) @ Occupy Isla Vista 11-5-11", Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_62xWLIqoho, accessed: 11/24/2019 

BambooifyYourLife, "Professor Richard Flax @ Occupy Isla Vista 11-5-11 part 2", Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJmoySJCo9Q, accessed: 11/24/2019 

22 Brandon McCapes, "‘Occupy’ Movement Hits I.V.", The Daily Nexushttp://dailynexus.com/2011-11-07/occupy-movement-hits-iv/ , accessed: 11/24/2019 

23 "Roughly 120 people gathered for the first day’s kickoff event. Though fewer than half remained for that night’s General Assembly, it was our largest and lengthiest general assembly so far. In eight hours, we drafted a 16-point list of community agreements and ended our first GA at two in the morning." from E. Feng and J. Gamma, "Occupy Isla Vista for the 99%", Solidarity, https://solidarity-us.org/atc/156/p3489/, accessed: 11/24/2019

24 Brandon McCapes, "‘Occupy’ Movement Hits I.V.", The Daily Nexushttp://dailynexus.com/2011-11-07/occupy-movement-hits-iv/ , accessed: 11/24/2019 

25 The Board of Directors of the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District, "‘Amended and restated ordinance No. 2002-002.",  Isla Vista Recreation and Park Districthttp://www.ivparks.org/ordinances/Camping%20and%20Sleeping%20Ordinance%202002-002.pdf , accessed: 11/24/2019 

26 E. Feng and J. Gamma, "Occupy Isla Vista for the 99%", Solidarity, https://solidarity-us.org/atc/156/p3489/, accessed: 11/24/2019

27 "The I.V. occupation is located in People’s Park. The I.V. Recreation and Park Board added a last-minute revision to its November 10 agenda reading, “Consider establishing an assembly ordinance regulating an assembly of more than 10 people from sunset to sunrise in district parks.”" from Brandon Fastman, "Professors, Students, Launch Occupy I.V.", Santa Barbara Independent, https://www.independent.com/2011/11/10/professors-students-launch-occupy-i-v/, accessed: 11/24/2019

28 Jessica Stevenson, "Protestors Occupy Parks and Recreation District Board Meeting", The Bottom Line,  https://thebottomline.as.ucsb.edu/2011/11/protestors-occupy-parks-and-recreation-district-board-meeting, accessed: 11/24/2019 

29 "OIV’s First Arrest – An Update", Occupy Isla Vistahttps://web.archive.org/web/20120522230723/http://www.occupyiv.org/, accessed: 11/24/2019 (through https://web.archive.org/ , set on date: 04/22/2012)

30 Link to the video of the arrest: 

occupyislavistaucsb, "ishmael & mohamed arrest at occupy iv/ucsb", Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyD3xtt9h0o&t=39s, accessed: 11/24/2019

31 E. Feng and J. Gamma, "Occupy Isla Vista for the 99%", Solidarity, https://solidarity-us.org/atc/156/p3489/, accessed: 11/24/2019

32  Travis Taborek, "Occupy Isla Vista Responds to Arrest : Occupy Isla Vista Member Apprehended by IV Foot Patrol", The Bottom Line, https://thebottomline.as.ucsb.edu/2011/11/occupy-isla-vista-responds-to-arrest-occupy-isla-vista-member-apprehended-by-iv-foot-patrol, accessed: 11/24/2019 

33 Megan Meyer, "IVFP Endures Arson Attack", The Daily Nexus, http://dailynexus.com/2011-11-17/ivfp-endures-arson-attack/, accessed: 11/24/2019 

34 Links to some of the speeches:

occupyislavistaucsb, "Occupy IV/UCSB Nov 16 In Solidarity Event: Vice Chancellor", Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABeaUCiAcQE, accessed: 11/24/2019

occupyislavistaucsb, "Occupy IV/UCSB Nov. 16th: In Solidarity Event", Youtubehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94t6Sw_bX5I&t=131s, accessed: 11/24/2019

occupyislavistaucsb, "Occupy IV/UCSB Nov 16th: In Solidarity Event - Human Microphone", Youtubehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4bYwY8zTME, accessed: 11/24/2019

occupyislavistaucsb, "UCSB Budget Protests- 11/16/11", Youtubehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwyN-PxQnMA, accessed: 11/24/2019

35 Allison McManus, Kellie Hinze, and George Blake, "It’s About You", Santa Barbara Independenthttps://www.independent.com/2011/10/29/its-about-you/, accessed: 11/24/2019

36 "The Occupation gained even more momentum on November 19th, when a UC-Santa Barbara human rights group organized an event at the park in solidarity with the movement. " from .E. Feng and J. Gamma, "Occupy Isla Vista for the 99%", Solidarity, https://solidarity-us.org/atc/156/p3489/, accessed: 11/24/2019

37 "Police were quick to harass this event as well, threatening organizers with the false accusation that the organizers did not obtain a permit for the event." from E. Feng and J. Gamma, "Occupy Isla Vista for the 99%", Solidarityhttps://solidarity-us.org/atc/156/p3489/, accessed: 11/24/2019

38 "Alert: Mohamed and Eliot have just been kidnapped by police!" "Home sweet home! It stands no arrests, thanks everyone for sharing in the fun last night!" Posted on the OIV facebook page Facebook on the 11/19/2011 from Facebook, "Occupy Isla Vista", Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/occupyiv/, accessed: 11/24/2019

39 "Two days later, the canopy under which we’d all gathered for an entire two weeks was destroyed, and many occupiers’ belongings confiscated by Isla Vista Foot Patrol." from  E. Feng and J. Gamma, "Occupy Isla Vista for the 99%", Solidarityhttps://solidarity-us.org/atc/156/p3489/, accessed: 11/24/2019

40  "Police stole our shelter, blankets, chairs, signs, and even our guitar! They tossed everything into their truck which is now sitting at the IV foot patrol station behind a locked fence." Posted on the OIV facebook page Facebook on the 11/21/2011 from Facebook, "Occupy Isla Vista", Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/occupyiv/, accessed: 11/24/2019

41 "Though physically evicted from People’s Park, the occupiers have continued the movement in a private space, making plans to physically reoccupy the park at a later date." from E. Feng and J. Gamma, "Occupy Isla Vista for the 99%", Solidarityhttps://solidarity-us.org/atc/156/p3489/, accessed: 11/24/2019

42   Megan Meyer, "‘Police Investigate Additional Vandalism", The Daily Nexus, http://dailynexus.com/2011-11-22/police-investigate-additional-vandalism/, accessed: 11/24/2019 

43 Brandon Fastman, "UCSB Students Protest with Occupy Movement and Against Tuition Hikes", Santa Barbara Independent, https://www.independent.com/2011/12/01/ucsb-students-protest-occupy-movement-and-against-tuition-hikes/, accessed: 11/24/2019

44  Page of the event: Facebook, "Our City Is Watching Festival", Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/events/397663973578900/?active_tab=about, accessed: 11/24/2019

 

 

 

About the author

I’m Mariangela Cardone, a third-year anthropology major from the University of Bologna (Italy) currently studying at UCSB as an EAP (Education Abroad Program) student. I created this LocalWiki page as a project outcome for Professor Harold Marcuse’s course on Historical Methods. Particularly, in the course of the lectures we focused on the way Social Movements can be analyzed and how historians can study them through the use of sources.  For my project I chose to reconstruct the series of events that followed the rise of Occupy Wall Street movement in Isla Vista during 2011. I documented myself through online local newspapers, informations I could find on social media (Facebook, Youtube), interviews with some participants and websites created by the people involved. 

Contact infos

Professor Harold Marcuse: marcuse@ucsb.edu

Mariangela Cardone: mariangela@ucsb.edu