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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: San Francisco | Police State and Prisons
San Francisco Turns Fascist - The First Day of the Nudity Ban
On February 1st, the first day of the public nudity ban in San Francisco, 4 body freedom activists (George Davis, Gypsy Taub, Trey Allen and Danny DeVero) got arrested while exercising their 1st Amendment right at the steps of the City Hall. The arrest was not only a blatant violation of our constitutional rights to free speech, but of the anti-nudity ordinance itself, according to which nudists activists were supposed to get cited, not arrested.
SAN FRANCISCO TURNS FASCIST - THE FIRST DAY OF THE NUDITY BAN
by GYPSY TAUB
Watch the PROTEST VIDEO HERE
On February 1st, 2013 we staged a protest against the San Francisco nudity ban. It was the very first day that that the ordinance criminalizing the human body was enforced and we were ready to let everybody know what we thought of it.
We came to the steps of the City Hall. Sheriff’s deputies came out and told us that we were welcome to use the steps. In the past they only allowed dressed people to use the steps and we had to stay on the sidewalk. But this time was different. They actually put lines of orange cones on both sides of the steps and told us that we just needed to keep the sides clear to let people walk past us on the stairs. The sheriff’s deputy told us that we were welcome to have our protest, that they respect our first Amendment rights, our rights to free speech. He said they would not arrest us, but that the police might, and that they had nothing to do with the police. We thanked them and started our protest.
It was quite chaotic. I got naked and so did George Davis. Trey Allen whom I had never met until that memorable day, also got fully naked right away. I had written on the front of my body: “War is obscene, not my body”. I suggested that Trey also write a political statement that he believes in on his body. He liked mine and asked me to write it on his back, so I did.
At one point our European friends Natty Delphine (from Germany) and Danny DeVero (from Norway) joined us. Natty was topless and almost nude. She was wearing a nice strap on cock. Danny was naked in the beginning of the protest, and later put on a fishnet thong.
There were probably at least 60 people at the protest. Some of the nudists didn’t want to get arrested and attended the protest dressed. There were at least a couple dozen media reporters if not more. It was hard to say who was a participant, who was an observer and who was an independent media representative, because a number of our supporters showed up with cameras, and since most people were dressed it was hard to tell who was who.
It was clear though that the vast majority (if not every single person) in that beautiful mixed crowd were passionate about body freedom one way or another.
I spent quite a bit of time doing interviews – which I love doing. I am so deeply grateful to the news reporters who spread our message to the farthest corners of our planet, to places we have never been to before. More than anything, I appreciate them as human beings. It is such a pleasure to see their beautiful faces and to answer their thoughtful questions. I know that most of them feel the same way we do and truly support us from the heart. It is clear from their reports. A good number of reporters have expressed their personal support for our message and their appreciation of our activism.
It’s so great to have their help. I certainly can’t afford to hire professional photographers and videographers of that caliber, neither do I have the capacity to give our protests worldwide coverage.
I was very happy with the media reports that were made that day. Many publications quoted me saying that “In a society that is repressed and crazy, where war is glorified and at the same time human body is criminalized, nudity becomes a political statement.” Some video news clip continued showing me say: “ If nudity is not political, then why are they throwing us in jail? What are they so worried about?”
I can see how media reporters can relate to our anger about being silenced and having our freedom of speech taken away. To a truthful reporter free speech is very dear and near, it’s their passion in life, it’s why they became reporters. I am sure most of them, especially the ones who work for the mainstream media, are intimately familiar with the oppression against free speech. I am sure there were many times when they weren’t allowed to write or to show what they wanted to.
When I was reading the news reports later, it looked like the journalists took our side and almost staged their own protest against the violation of free speech. They couldn’t have chosen a better quote from me. During the Iraq war protests the media (unfortunately) never really quoted any strong statements against the war. I was really impressed that they chose to quote my radical statement against the war. I am really grateful for that.
A bunch of police showed up (at least a dozen) and started telling us to get dressed. They said we had 15 minutes to get dressed, and that if we didn’t get dressed they would give us citations. I told them that we were exercising our 1st Amendment right, our right to free speech. Talking to that officer was like talking to a brick wall. He just kept repeating like a broken record: “You have 15 minutes to get dressed.” I did finally manage to get a reaction out of him when I said: “You are violating our constitutional rights. You swore to protect the constitution. Or did you forget?” He said: “No, I didn’t forget.” Then he started explaining that an ordinance was passed against nudity. A number of people said in unison that the ordinance was illegal. The police left and were gone for about a half hour.
George Davis started the rally by announcing his candidacy for District 8 Supervisor. His full speech is attached at the end of this article. I really enjoyed listening to his speech. I was also taking a few photos and trying to coordinate the filming of the video by 2 friends and body freedom supporters.
When George was done with his speech I started mine. My speech is posted at the end of this article. I only got to read about a quarter of my speech when a bunch of cops showed up just as I was saying that our society was not that much better than a strict muslim society when it came to forcing people to dress a certain way. The cops were the best confirmation of the truthfulness of my words. They arrested me (Gypsy Taub), George Davis, Trey Allen and they even arrested Danny DeVero who had his penis covered, so technically he wasn’t supposed to be arrested nor cited. But Danny was arrested for his “big mouth”. Cops don’t like free speech, especially when it gets political. Danny was very verbal trying to defend us from the cops. He was also holding a sign in his hand – so it was very clear that he was engaged in political speech as he was arrested even though he wasn’t even in violation of the ordinance.
The crowd was yelling at the cops: “Shame! Shame! Shame!” and “Fuck the SFPD! “( many times) Someone was talking about crack being sold right around the corner and the cops harassing us instead. “This is not democracy, this is hypocrisy!” – someone yelled. It was a riot! You have to see the video, describing it in words doesn’t do it justice.
We were thrown in the police van and taken to a nearby police station. We stayed in the van the whole time. They detained us for an hour. We spent most of that time cracking jokes. You can hear a recording of our conversations in the police van here: police-van-audio.mp3
I know many people felt really bad for us. I really appreciate their support and their loud protest against the police. But I also have to admit that I had a total blast. Arrest was exactly what I was hoping for. We needed to show the Judge that the Wiener Bill was unconstitutional. What better proof could we possibly get?
I would like to point out that I was not given an option of getting cited, which is what the police were supposed to do to enforce the ordinance. They weren’t supposed to arrest us. They were supposed to cite us.
Most of the officers were nice and made it clear that they were just doing what they were told to. At least one officer acted like an asshole though. He arrested Danny who wasn’t nude and grabbed his arm really hard. Danny is a very cute and very blatant drag queen. The officer who arrested him and handled him with such unwarranted hostility was probably a homophobe. It actually looks like a very clear case of discrimination against gays. I am not sure if it was the same officer or a different officer who put Trey’s handcuffs on way too tight. It looked like the hand cuffs were cutting through his skin. There were bright red marks under them.
This is how they treat peaceful non-violent people who didn’t cause anybody any harm, who just took their clothes off – nothing else. This is happening in San Francisco in year 2013, folks! This is not medieval England, neither is this the Nazi Germany. Or is it now? Perhaps, this is the Nazi San Francisco?
Jokes aside, the fact that if we do this 2 more time we will be going to jail for a year is no joke. Wake up, San Francisco! We have been taken over by the Nazis. They call themselves “moderate democrats”. They call themselves whatever word you want to hear. This is not who they are. They are not democrats, they are not real Supervisors – they are a fascist right wing minority who is here to rape us and rob us of everything we own and everything we believe in.
We can’t let this happen. San Francisco is OUR city. It is up to us to keep it clean. Keep San Francisco clean! Keep it clean from manipulative, underhanded, dirty politicians , keep it clean from the tyranny of a prudish small minded minority, keep it clean from the corporate puppet masters who want to turn us all into puppets, puppets without will, without soul, without spirit. They are here to take away our civil liberties, to crush our spirits, to destroy our culture, to enslave us all and to sell our city to the highest bidder. This is not a joke, folks. It’s time for us to take back our power!!!
SPEECH BY GEORGE DAVIS:
My name is George Davis. I am announcing my candidacy for San Francisco Supervisor of District 8.
Today, February 1, besides being Groundhog Day, is the first day that the San Francisco nudity ordinance is potentially enforceable. As far as I can tell, the law means, pardon my poetry . . . “A sock on the cock is legal, as long as one doesn’t spread-eagle.” Isn’t that ridiculous?
One of Sigmund Freud’s oft-quoted remarks is “Sometimes a Cigar is just a Cigar.” And by extension, “Sometimes a cock is just a cock.” It’s no big deal.
Many of you are aware of my work on Body Freedom issues. I have written 2 books — NAKED YOGA and WEAPONS OF MASS DECEPTION — now out-of-print. (hold up copies of books) I have helped edit the new book, Free Your Body, Free Your Mind! and have contributed 3 articles to it: articles on Free Body Culture Movements in Europe and America, the demonstrations against the San Francisco nudity ban, and the current status of public nudity around the globe. The book is written by 21 San Francisco Body Freedom Activists with over a hundred uncensored photo-images. Free Your Body, Free Your Mind! The book is available on Kindle at Amazon.com in eBook format for $5. We will soon have a print-on-demand version. All monies raised will go to body freedom legal fees and political action.
Many of you are also aware that I have, in the past, run for San Francisco political office on themes like freedom of expression, freedom from censorship, and opening parks for nude recreation. These are themes that are just as valid today as then. I ran for mayor of San Francisco in 2007 with a dozen candidates against Gavin Newsom. I frequently campaigned and debated candidates in the nude. Even though I got less than 1% of the vote and nobody remembered the name “George Davis”, the “naked guy” was the most remembered candidate except for the incumbent mayor. In 2010, I ran for Supervisor in District 6. (Due to redistricting, I now live in District 8 – the Castro, Noe Valley, Glen Park, and Valencia Street environs.) In that year 2010 the San Francisco Police Department issued directives to leave peaceful nudists alone— thanks to my campaigning, the work of other nudist activists, and letters from the Office of Citizens Complaints finding police harassment of nudists.
Previously, although public nudity was never illegal, the police tactic was to hope that nobody would fight for their rights. I have been cited 22 times, arrested 15 times, and never, ever tried and convicted for anything.
Today, I risk a citation again. By the way, this little freedom to express your real being through nudism belongs to everyone who can hear me right now, whether or nor you want to exercise it now or not. Six supervisors and a mayor just took away one of your freedoms — a simple freedom that on a nice day, some day in the future, you could relax and be clothes free in a public park or on a public thoroughfare if you wanted to. . . . Catch this: They took away your freedom on a Big Lie! The state is telling you that there is something wrong and unnatural with you and your body. They just legislated away your right to be yourself.
This is the kind of thinking that led to earlier discriminatory laws in San Francisco like the “Ugly Laws”. You were not allowed to be ugly in public until 1963. It’s true. Look it up. There were racially restrictive covenants on property sales, bans on interracial marriage, suppression of gays, and the sending of Japanese to concentration camps. These laws sound outrageous today, but they existed within the living memory of current San Franciscans. Someday, nudity bans are going to seem just as anachronistic and outrageous.
If you don’t think nudity laws are discriminatory, compare the concepts in these nudity laws with the concepts found in former discriminatory laws regarding early Christian martyrs, Jews, Gays, Blacks, Chinese, and women. You will then begin to understand our outrage. You should be outraged too, because each of you is fully qualified to be a nudist if you wanted to make that choice. Are you really willing to have that choice taken away from you?!
Let me lighten up and tell you a funny story. Can you believe who asked me to run for Supervisor of District 8? I normally don’t believe in Karma and Cosmic Justice, but in this case, I can suspend disbelief. Are you ready? Supervisor Wiener, himself. In September, the nudist activists: Woody Miller, Mitch Hightower, Rusty Mills and I met Mr. Wiener at City Hall over this legislation. We’ve always suspected that Mr. Wiener is under the marching orders of his big donors. Mr. Wiener arbitrarily rejected our suggestion that San Francisco adopt the European solution to the so-called “problem” of nudists congregating at the Castro Plaza — namely, to designate clothing-optional areas in city parks. I told Mr. Wiener that if he went through with the nudity ban legislation, I would run against him for Supervisor. Are you ready for this!? In front of 5 witnesses in his best George W. Bush imitation, Mr. Wiener snorted, “Bring it on!” OK. What’s the old saying? “Be careful of what you wish for. You might get it.”
We only need one vote to reverse this nudity ban legislation. How appropriate that it should be the District 8 vote.
Now, let’s talk about how Mr. Wiener operates and you can start thinking about if you want to keep him in office. I’ll start with the nudity ban legislation and then go into some other issues.
The nudity ban had little community support and was opposed by 5 of the 11 San Francisco Supervisors. Objective scientific data — a 2009 Zogby poll of San Franciscans — found that 63% of San Franciscans have no problem with nonsexual public nudity. The figure would probably be even higher today.
To push his nudity ban through the Board of Supervisors Mr. Wiener manipulated the supervisors and the public in a Machiavellian manner. He put out a statistic that 85% of the Castro Merchants say that nudists harmed their business. What a big lie!! Mr. Wiener called a meeting of the Upper Market Merchants association with about 250 members about the local public nudity. About 30 showed up, a few walked out in disgust at Wiener’s tactics, and a vote was then taken of the remaining merchants who were predisposed to favor the ban. From a street perspective, I guarantee you that nudists are a tourist draw and are good for business. If nudists harm the Castro business community, then why are commercial real estate prices and rents the highest in history now?
Mr. Wiener turned down proposals for citywide town meetings to “air” the subject. Public comment was called for on the nudity ban legislation in a City Hall hearing chaired by Mr. Wiener and 2 of his close cronies on the committee. 2/3 of the public spoke out against the ban. Yet, the committee voted a recommendation for passage. That was the only public input on the nudity ban.
Prior to Wiener’s drafting of the legislation, feminist-leaning activists got “breasts” dropped from the legislation. After the 1st draft: the “leather” community, who have worn “assless chaps” and leather jock straps on the street for decades, got “buttocks” removed from the legislation. Is this how sane people determine which parts of the body are natural and which aren’t?
At least 15 demonstrations were held against the nudity ban. Zero were held for the ban.
I guess this is how democracy works in Mr. Wiener’s World.
Now, on to other actions and inactions by Mr. Wiener:
Mr. Wiener voted down previously dedicated money for free bus rides for poor San Francisco youths.
Mr. Wiener has done nothing to provide affordable housing for the teachers, bartenders, policemen, clerks, and waiters who work here. He has worked for the approval of 200 sq. ft walk-in closet-sized apartments with $1600/month rent. I don’t think that’s what grownups are looking for.
Mr. Wiener organized approval for a millionaire’s condo project on Telegraph Hill with a variance for extra stories contrary to the City Planning Code and against the wishes of the Telegraph Hill Dwellers Association, the local Supervisor David Chiu, and the past local Supervisor Aaron Peskin. These are all people who live and work in the area and are directly affected by this project.
Mr. Wiener has failed to coordinate Public Works repairs of streets in his district, inconviencing many of the residents.
Mr. Wiener has worked to bypass the “condo” lottery policy which will ultimately remove many rental units from the rental marketplace.
I’d love to see an investigation of the Walter Shorenstein purchase of the Furniture Mart for the Internet company “Twitter”, with special tax breaks thrown in.
Mr. Wiener is working on legislation to fast-track building developments, bypassing neighborhood concerns and environmental reviews.
The rich must be very very happy with Mr. Wiener.
I personally hate and distrust politicians and their followers who take away the civil liberties of non-violent minorities. My European friends call people like that “fascists”, but this is America. No matter how true, we don’t use disturbing, inflammatory words like “fascist”.
So, as to not attack Mr. Wiener personally, let me tell you what other people say about him.
Aaron Peskin, former President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors says, “Mr. Wiener is intent on turning the clock back on San Francisco’s decades-long legacy of cutting edge legislation to protect consumers and the environment. He’s fundamentally a very conservative person.”
Susan Vaughn of the Sierra Club and community activist says, “It seems like everything he focuses on disempowers the voters and empowers the wealthiest 1%.” On the issue of trusting Mr. Wiener on his legislation, “We feel like we have to watch what he is doing very carefully.”
Ted Gullicksen of the San Francisco Tenants Union says, “Mr. Wiener made the decision that he was not going to be with the progressives and to ally himself with the conservatives and real estate people.”
Folks; your choice is clear.
If you want a secret, manipulative, treacherous Supervisor that represents the rich and not you – who is willing to trample civil liberties – who wants to make San Francisco boring and homogeneous like everywhere else. Then, you have your man.
If you want someone who represents the 99% of the people who live and work in San Francisco, if you want someone who believes in open and transparent government, if you want someone who values freedom of expression and diversity and all the elements that make San Francisco a beacon of light, creativity, and promise to the world — if that’s what you want, you now have a solid choice with me.
Vote for George Davis, Supervisor District 8
I approve of this message.
SPEECH BY GYPSY TAUB:
Dear body freedom supporters,
My name is Gypsy Taub.
Welcome you to the nudity ban protest on the 1st day that the nudity ban is enforced.
First of all, I want to say that we are not going to give up until this fascist legislation is defeated. The majority of the people of San Francisco are people of progress, and we are not going to allow this fascist back lash against our growing body and sexual freedoms to paralyze our city.
I would like to address the question:” Is public nudity political?”
Most people simply don’t have the necessary experience to truly understand how deeply political public nudity is in our society. But I guarantee you that every urban nudist on the planet does understand this. All you need to do is strip naked in the middle of a city and you will find out very quickly whether public nudity is political or not.
It’s really not that different from a woman in a strict Muslim society uncovering her face in public. Would that be viewed as political? Not necessarily in that suppressed society, but in the West where we claim to be free – sure, that would definitely be viewed as a political statement. It would be a threat to the moral structure of that society.
The sad truth is that we are not all that different from a strict Muslim society. We just want to pretend that we are. San Francisco just passed legislation where a person can go to jail for a year just for taking their clothes off. What is next? Burning at the stake?
How are we any better than a strict Muslim society? We attack people and even throw them in jail for a year based on what they are wearing or not wearing.
To say that public nudity is political would be an understatement. It is not just political, it is revolutionary. And that’s exactly what scares the establishment to death. That’s exactly why Hitler prosecuted nudist societies. That’s exactly why we have a 1 year jail sentence in San Francisco for taking your clothes off.
I also want to point out that almost all the latest reports in the media omit the fact that there is a 1-year jail sentence attached to taking your clothes off now. Most people around the world don’t realize how draconian this legislation is. And that’s exactly the way Big Brother wants it. Evil can only rule in the dark. Once you shed light on it, it loses its power.
I also want to address the political situation around the nudity ban and in general. As it turns out, we are up against a much bigger monster than initially believed.
I was shocked by the ruling against us and in favor of the nudity ban. But the most important thing I have to say today is that I am convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that Judge Chen did not produce that ruling. I repeat: this ruling did not come from Judge Chen.
If you want to discover this for yourself, watch the court hearing video and then read the ruling and you will see a stark contrast in every possible aspect. The Judge spoke in a very reasonable and intelligent way at the hearing. He did say that he is not convinced that nudity in itself is a political statement – but he also stated very clearly that individual rights are more important than opinions of the crowd. He also cornered the deputy city attorney by asking her what would happen if a nude person was holding a political sign. He also asked her whether her claims about nudists causing traffic accidents and any merit or were just speculation. In other words, the Judge was not by any means biased in favor of the city. Judge Chen was clearly coming from the position of defending the constitution.
In stark contrast with Judge Chen’s message and his civilized and thoughtful approach, the ruling is written with utter arrogance and ignorance, and it makes no sense. It is basically a bunch of nonsense dressed up in legal words. The ruling makes claims such as “the ordinance does not contradict the state law” and gives no explanation why. It sounds like it was written by the Military. That makes me wonder who really wrote it and what affiliation they have with the Military.
One more thing that almost no one is aware of that really convinced me that Judge Chen did not write the ruling is that a few days before the ruling came out the Judge ordered both sides to prepare for a mediation process. The City attorney was so against that idea that it took some serious efforts on our lawyer’s part to convince them to comply with the Judge’s order. So, let’s replay this for a minute. The Judge orders both sides to prepare for mediation and then just dismisses the case 2 days later. How much sense does that make?
I am sorry to say this, folks, but I have some very bad news for you all. We are not just dealing with a handful of corrupt Supervisors. We are not dealing with one corrupt Judge – in fact, the Judge is a good man. He was given a serious threat and simply removed from the ruling process.
We are dealing with crimes at the highest levels of government. We are dealing with a fascist shadow government that is terrorizing our city and our country, and frankly, the whole planet is being handled in a similar manner.
I want to say a few words about big media and its alarmingly strange behavior. On January 17 practically every media report about the hearing was totally biased against the nudists. The media distorted the Judge’s message to the point of unrecognizable. Everything he said in defense of our constitutional rights was omitted from most media reports. Out of dozens of reports the only truly sober and honest report that I saw was in Oregon Herald.
On November 20 when the nudity ban was first approved and people stripped naked inside the City Hall the news was reported all over the world. I did 2 BBC interviews that day not to mention many others. On the other hand, on December 4th when the nudity ban was finally passed and when people similarly got naked in response, the world media was dead silent as if nothing had happened that day. Short of a few local reports there was absolutely nothing reported anywhere else in the world, not in any big media outlets anyway.
Does that sound a little scary? Not only is our domestic media centrally controlled but so is the world media. And whoever is in control happens to be against public nudity to such a degree that they would silence world media and remove the Judge and write their fake ruling themselves. And then they turn around and say that nudity is not political.
Who gave them such power and who are these people? They lurk in the dark, we don’t know their names and don’t see their faces. Yet they have more power than a Federal Judge and they own the big media.
Why do they have such power? Because we look the other way and pretend that everything is OK. We need to wake up and unite and start seeing through the propaganda. Don’t be in such a hurry to accuse the Judge of betraying the people – it’s too easy to do. Think deeper - our enemy is much bigger.
I call for an independent investigation into the mystery surrounding Judge Chen’s ruling. We deserve to know the truth about that ruling. We deserve to know who really wrote that ruling. Think of all the other areas of San Francisco politics that are being handled in the same manner by the same group of tyrants.
We need to rely on our own power, on people power. We need to work together, educate, inspire, encourage and support each other as human beings and work together to uncover the lies and get rid of the tyrants. Big Media will not do it – they are owned by the tyrants. Obama will not do it. How can anyone expect one man to fix the outrageous mess that 250 million people created?
Who will do it? We will. Our power lies in our hearts and minds, in our love for each other and our courage to seek the truth and to pursue a brighter future. That’s what will pave the way for a society that is free of tyranny, free of hate and free of shame. Body freedom is a very important component of a free and forward thinking society. It is fundamental for emotional and spiritual health.
Let’s stick together and let’s stand our ground. An informed, fearless and caring community is unstoppable and unbeatable. Let’s wake up and get in touch with our power. We are all powerful. We just need to believe in our power and practice using it every day.
Let’s open our hearts and our minds! Let’s reach out to each other in the most human way possible, let’s support and empower each other. Let’s face our fears and get past them, let’s take action, let’s stand our ground.
Let’s turn on our love light and the darkness will stand no chance. Let’s do it together and let’s have fun while doing it. Together we can heal ourselves and transform the world.
And remember: body freedom is our birth right. Long live body freedom!