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Tako Tuesdays: A Proposition from a Berkeley Tree-Sitter

Because the enemy of my enemy is my stinky friend with sticks in their hair.

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

So as many of you know, I live in Oakland, CA, an Uncle Rico toss of the pigskin away from Cal's Memorial Stadium. In fact, more of life has been spent rooting for the Golden Bears than rooting for the Ducks. When they aren't playing Oregon, I'll put on my blue and gold and go cheer for the sturdy Golden Bears; I watched Oregon-Virginia on my phone while in the stands for Cal-Portland State, and the juxtaposition was fantastic. So because of my Berkeley roots, I've met some people and made some connections. And I may or may not owe this guy a favor, and he asked me to post this here. So, here we go.


Greetings my webbed-footed friends,

My name is Terry Andrew Kokopelli, but you may call me Starlight. I have been an activist throughout the world, speaking up for the voiceless, standing up for those without the strength, and living outside a lot. I've been tear-gassed, beanbagged, ziptied, arrested, and sprayed with a hose. That last one wasn't so bad; I'd been squatting in a historic old building that was to be torn down, and it had been a while since running water had hit my skin. The life of a professional protester is fraught with danger, the threat of evil big-government tyranny always hanging over all of our justice actions. And no act of corporate treachery compares to the atrocities committed by the University of California against a grove of oak trees.

I spent parts of eighteen months high above the Berkeley streets after the university proposed to build a new "high-performance" athletics center next to their football stadium. In order to build this super-exclusive rec center, available to only a few hundred students that are ALREADY IN SHAPE, workers would need to cut down dozens of trees, including several live oaks. Can someone tell me what a bunch of college students, who play sports for a scholarship, need with ANOTHER gym? Especially one that would mean cutting down a few dozen defenseless trees whose only crime was being grown near fascist bureaucrats. Golden Bears? More like Golden Pigs. And apparently the center couldn't be built anywhere else because that would make it too far from the football stadium. I'm sorry, I wasn't aware that young and healthy college students, who spend hours every week sculpting the bodies to go make money for the Man, can't walk another 200 yards to get to their football field, which is artificial - just like the facade of education in this country.

They tried everything to get us out of the trees; they put up fences and cut off our food supply, came into the trees and took our supplies, and got judges to tell us to leave. We stayed, yelled, and threw feces at anyone who tried to stop us. You know, handling things like adults. And sure, we were using propane stoves in highly flammable trees, and we would occasionally punch a cop. But we were out there, doing what is right! Sadly, our resolve eventually wane, and in the face of criminal charges and the Stockholm syndrome of craving the need to throw excrement at passers-by, we relented. Typical big government tactic, to use things like the legal system to get their way. Cheap, and practically dictatorial. But the memories of those oaks will not be forgotten.

And that's where I need your help, Oregon Ducks sports fans.

You live in the Pacific Northwest. It's the land of wilderness, of Lewis and Clark, and of radical environmentalism. The state of Oregon is filled with lush foliage both deciduous and evergreen, and there are very few places on Earth more naturally beautiful. And here's the kicker; your new basketball arena (which, by the way, was not built on top of a Native American burial ground or a grove of century-old trees or anything like that) has a slogan on its floor: "Deep in the Woods". What if Cal had its way? They'd take those trees right off your basketball floor, and then what would you have? You'd have oppression, that's what. The majestic forest is the opposite of oppression; it is expansive, and filled with wonder. Ducks need trees like these fallen oaks to build their nests and to hatch their ducklings. It's a symbiotic circle. It's a beautiful thing.

So join me, Oregon Ducks sports fans, in rising up against these fascists down in Berkeley. Cast away your worldly possessions, grab a walking stick, and take to the STREETS! We're kindred spirits, you and I. Surely your school isn't controlled by corporate bigwigs, funneling money into programs like business and marketing to create the next generation of money-grubbing big shots. You belong on the side of equality, love, and kombucha. Let's go deep in the woods together, and chop down injustice!

Terry Andrew Kokopelli


Well, what do you think? Is the forest filed with wonder? Personally, I think there are more wolves in the forests than wonder. Like, seriously. Packs of full-sized wolves. And potentially Sasquatch.