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Santa Cruz Indymedia | Arts + Action

Last Night DIY Parade, 2008
by pyr8
Saturday Jan 3rd, 2009 12:30 PM
Santa Cruz, California's Last Night Parade of December 31, 2008
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last-night-2008.flv (15.7MB)

6:40

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by Robert Norse
Tuesday Jan 6th, 2009 10:01 AM
Nice video and photos--as far as they went.

While there were some nice shots of the parade, there was no follow-up recording the shortened street party that took place (and has taken place every year) in front of the Cinema Nine.

Both this year's and last year's events not only featured the parade itself that subsequent street party where a drum-and-dance circle celebrated in the street. Folks chalked the sidewalk, threw shoes at a coffined effigy of President Bush, and made merry.

Back in early October Whitney Wilde (whom the Sentinel and KUSP interviewed as "spokesperson" for DIY) was repeatedly threated with citation and/arrest for her traditional artchalk event in front of O'Neill's by Officer Dan Forbus and companion. Two officers stood there surveilling her for an hour and their police car blocked a line of traffic (see http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/10/04/18542837.php )

On that same occasion, David Espinoza got a $100 plus ticket for drawing three concentric 6" circles in one square of the sidewalk during that absurd exercise of police authority (initiated by the First Amendment-free management of O'Neill's).

At the DIY, to avoid ridicule and riot perhaps?, police didn't crack down on the chalkers.

However, cops ostentatiously involved themselves though there was no public safety or health problem whatsoever. There were, of course, the absurd "triple fine" zones. Then we had police videoing peaceful celebrfants--seemingly violating the "no political surveillance" lessons of DIY several years ago where there was a major scandal from Deputy Chief Kevin Vogel's undercover operations and Mayor Mathews' rubberstamping of that action.

True, police were out in smaller numbers (at least early in the evening), but as the evening progressed (and there were still no crowds), there seemed to be a police officer or three every half block. Huge klieg-lights were set up and maintained--even during the hours after parade folks had left and there was normal traffic on the Pacific Avenue sidewalks (and none in the street).

Sgt. Bush ostentatiously videotaped the street party in uniform going through the crowd--angering individuals, who wondered why their taxpayer dollers were being so spent. It seemed a deliberate attempt to discourage and disperse the event (which was largely successful along with the klieg lights). When I asked Bush why he was taping, he replied "Just following orders." When I asked him what illegal activity he was filming, he said, "blocking the street". When I continued, "then why aren't you making arrests?" He was silent.

You can review this exchange as well as other interviews on 12-31 at http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb090101.mp3 and http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb090104.mp3 . Download and skip through the audio file to find the interviews.

It was also pointed out to me that this year's DIY was much more of a coopted spectator sport--with (welcome but passive) crowds of folks lining the sidewalk to wave at the parade and then rapidly dispersing. Many parade members themselves, including the political Women in Black and WILPFers left soon after the parade ended. There was no Trash Orchestra playing (at least one of its members faces bogus charges for defending the Wednesday afternoon Drum Circle September 17th).

The street party event was ended much more quickly than last year's. Admittedly there was less visible police presence. We did not witness the ludicrous spectacle of half a dozen firemen and a dozen cops converging to hose down one fire barrel in the middle of the street as we did last year.

My stickercar vehicle, sporting Copwatch signs, with a black homeless activist and a Free Radio Santa Cruz newbie sitting on the hood, did get dozens of thumbs up and compliments (as well as a number of quizzical looks). For some reason, the video, makes no record of it.

Copwatch videoed Sgt. Bush videoing everyone else. We heard complaints about that behavior. But few other complaints during the few hours we were there.

The Wednesday Drum Circle was also successfully resumed after last week's police dispersal.

However police are still giving out plenty of citations selectively on Pacific Avenue targeting their least favorite folks. Call Copwatch at 423-HUFF to report, or try the Free Radio on-air line at 427-3772 if you see something particularly bad.

And the Wednesday Drum Circle in Parking Lot #4 at the Farmer's Market may well still be a police target come January 7th. It's sad we have to waste our time on this kind of monitoring but there is persistent well-financed pressure to shut down street culture downtown.

by Git over it
Tuesday Jan 6th, 2009 4:36 PM
Robert,

It was a fine night. Little to no arrests, violence, or hassles. People had a good time and went home.

Why not enjoy it for the success that it was? I mean, what exactly is your complaint? That you personally feel there were X cops too many? Or that you don't approve of the fire departments decisions in regards to how they fight a fire; like maybe they should check with you first to determine what is an appropriate response and what isn't?

You are truly jousting at windmills here.