Published on: www.HowlRound.com (February 2012).
“At noon, on November 15, 2011, a small group of Brooks Brothers-clad protesters marched into a massive Occupy rally on the UC Berkeley campus to host an exclusive VIP-luncheon. Members of the UC Movement for Efficient Privatization (UCMeP) laid out planters, bamboo stakes, red-velvet tape, and a pink princess play tent to mark off a private space. At first, it was hard to convince Berkeley’s overeducated hippies to join our ‘mockupation’ and imbibe with us. Thousands had converged that sunny November day to protest privatization, the increasing financialization of our everyday lives, and the adept team of ‘crisis managers’ that had so gently ‘nudged’ students and faculty who assembled peacefully the previous week to pitch a few freedom-hating tents. Before long, however, the lure of luxury became too strong: we collected a great number of pledges and debt-certificates to help ensure and expedite the end of our rights to public assembly and to public education. It seems the crostinis were just too tasty.“
A Look Inside UCMeP
“I have been living and working in Berlin for the last few years; working on projects that have been helping me to think about and explore the relationships between the public art we make and the public institutions within which we are enmeshed. Much of this work has come into focus in the midst of the many upheavals we have seen: Cairo, Tripoli, Madison, Occupy Wall Street, and beyond and beyond. Upheavals in which many of our (formerly) public institutions — and other institutions we have come to rely upon — have come under scrutiny for letting us down, for abandoning us, for capitulating to the violent logics of neoliberalism, for casting us into precarity without our permission. In November 2011, I had the opportunity to spend time in a number of different places across North America. Subsequently, and as an attempt to make sense of some of my experiences, I published a reflection on HowlRound. As I traipsed back and forth, from Boston, to the Bay Area, to Montreal, and New York, Occupy was on my mind most of the time. It was the specter (or not so spectral presence) presiding over almost every dinner (and breakfast and lunch) conversation I had on my trip. And the conversations were indeed varied.”
R. Reich’s New Comedy
UCViP’s Mockupy Luncheon was featured (very) briefly and (quite) unexpectedly — for obvious political reasons — in Robert Reich’s new comedy about America’s ever-expanding society of agile social climbers.