As I hit 'publish', the 25,000th signature has just been affixed to the online Change.Org petition calling for the resignation of UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi for the part she played in the pepper-spraying of peaceful students acting in civil disobedience.
This is a pretty amazing number. As far as I can tell, there aren't many Change.org petitions which get that many signatures so quickly (it's been a little more than a day since clarknt67, aka Scott Wooledge, put up the petition).
That said, I doubt whether it will have much effect. The Chancellor will or will not resign out of a sense of shame (although she appears to lack any) or because she is forced out, not because 50,000 random people decide to sign an Internet petition. Still, it's interesting to be part of and watch the petition go viral.
Now compare this phenemenon to Wisconsin. In a state with a total of about 5,000,000 people, after five days of collecting more than 105,000 cheeseheads have signed the petition to recall Scott Walker -- more than 2% of the population. Signing a real petition is a lot more difficult than signing an online petition -- for one, you have to have an encounter with a signature gatherer, and you have to be eligible to sign. Anyone can sign the Change.org petition.
This is where the real work of the 99% is taking place. The #Occupy protests may serve as a powerful catalyst, but it's not unless people like those in Ohio and Maine, who turned back odious legislation, and those in Wisconsin, who are willing to "go to the mattresses" again and again to restore sanity to their state government, are willing to step up that the politicians are going to change what they do -- not just what they say.
Let's hear it for the UC Davis students who remained peaceful despite all that the police did. And let's hear it for all the peaceful #Occupiers who are trying to catalyze the 99% into taking back their country. But let's really hear it for the people out there on the ground, in the snow and the sleet, gathering signatures to effect the change that is so sorely needed.
11:21 AM PT: Diary with lots of info on the UC Davis disaster
11:33 AM PT:
The US Congress and the Department of Agriculture have collectively agreed that pepper spray, an inflammatory agent commonly used in riot control and personal self-defense, is now publicly recognized as a member of the vegetable food group.
1:02 PM PT: Petition now at 27000
1:13 PM PT: Good to know.
TimothyS Tim Shorrock
My bro-in-law, teaches at UC Davis, about the gassing: "Everybody is furious about it...Local paper full of letters expressing anger."