An open letter to administrators: I’m outraged by the continued employment of force to prevent (un)Occupy Albuquerque from using Yale Park.

Public space belongs to everyone. While I grasp the merit of permits, the UNM administration as a whole has repeatedly shown that it values tyrannical authority over the very bodies of human beings such as myself.

Back in October 2011, UNM police officers kidnapped me for standing in the grass at Yale Park and deposited me into that particular horror of modernity known as the prison-industrial complex. This process involved considerable injury and pain, both corporeal and psychological.

Officer Guadalupe Guevara’s threat to find me out of uniform and show me what violence really is demonstrates the absurdity of the idea that the UNM police protect students. I now live with the knowledge that the threat could be fulfilled at any time: There’s no safety for me on or near UNM campus.

I and many other members of (un)Occupy, as well as the broader Occupy Wall Street movement, believe in direct democracy rather than the existing order of elite dominance, bureaucracy and mechanistic disciplinary violence via the police.

I reject the authority UNM claims over the physical space of this campus. The administration has no legitimate right to send armed thugs to intimate, kidnap and hurt us based on a dispute over space.

I respect the principle of collective decision-making and readily accept that we should collaborate with the entire UNM community, but on the basis of equality and freedom instead of authority and coercion.

If violence has any legitimacy at all, it’s only when wielded to prevent or terminate other violence or oppression. Arresting someone for standing or sitting in the park without a permit does not qualify; resisting a kidnapper would.

I demand an immediate end to police violence to control space on UNM campus. This goes for both protesters and homeless folks. I invite the administration to learn to resolve disputes without resorting to the iron fist.

I know this will require a profound transformation and I look forward to the process curing the sickness of disciplinary society. Don’t let the messiness of direct democracy scare you; it’s still much prettier than a prison cell.

I hold each one of you personally responsible for your support of a system that brutalizes me and my comrades on a daily basis. To the extent that you labor from within to stop the force and terror — if any of you do — I commend that and would like to see more of it. Absent such subversion, I can only await the campaigns of restorative justice that will follow from successful revolution in this land and advise you to contemplate the implications of your actions.

I doubt my intellectual arguments and emotional appeals will significantly influence you, but I choose to make the attempt regardless. I understand this world runs on power; alongside this communication comes organization to materially resist the UNM administration’s dominion over this campus.
Expect to see changes.

Benjamin Abbott
UNM student