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Fascism and pacificism at 420
by green anarchist
Tuesday Apr 21st, 2009 3:53 PM
An encounter with violent fundamentalists at UCSC 420 prompts questions about pacifism and politics...
420, we know what it's all about, yes, yes, free the herb, f'sho. It was nice to read R. Norse's expressed hope for the gathering to turn into some kind of political demonstration against the racist, classist drug war, against fascist laws on bodily experience and medicinal plants, against the police and the ruling class entirely. Of course, as to be expected, nearly everyone was just out to party, and way too stoned besides. But the comment had left me with a thought that i might see some absurd, violent, hypocritical vein of Santa Cruz political reality exposed at the event, and i wasn't disappointed.

I was expecting it to come from the bureaucrats and cops, and of course, the "state of exception" was in force with limited bus service in the afternoon, uniformed cops posted along a widely dispersed perimeter, administrators telling people they couldn't sit down in Porter Meadow because it was a "non-sanctioned" event. But there were also 4 out and proud Christian fundamentalists, all of them really burly white dudes, standing in the middle of the meadow with huge signs and rhetoric threatening eternal torture for pot smokers, queers, and pretty much all us "sinners."

This probably sounds like an absurd encounter to begin with and it was. What are a bunch of stoned as fuck young people going to do when confronted with something like this but laugh? Unfortunately that's the weed talking and doesn't reflect the reality of fascists as real people who are a real threat to us, and a lot more is at stake than weed or some imaginary afterlife. (More on that later.) Some people tried to argue and reason with them which is also ridiculous. Fortunately a few people chose to express their feelings more directly, with spit and one person trying to run off with the sign which provoked a violent response from its holder. So much for turn the other cheek eh?

Unfortunately, conditions weren't right for a brawl with 4 dudes who were built like cops, not hella stoned, and totally hating us. Not only was pretty much everyone else really high, there was hardly anyone who had our backs, instead preaching "peace" which means "peace with fascism." For instance, after the sign-grabbing incident i heard one dreadlocked and flowingly-garbed individual whine, "Stealing is VIOLENT, they have the right to free speech!" Indeed quite a few people i mentioned the situation to responded "we should just ignore them and stop giving them negative energy to feed off, and they'll disappear."

How fucking high do you have to be to actually believe that?

Fascists are real. They are really our enemies. Groups like the Minutemen, the Tea Partiers, and other patriotic and fundamentalist Christian groups are fascist infrastructure in waiting. Given the right circumstances - say, further economic downturn and a sharp political turn to the right in this country - these volunteers could become state auxiliaries. In fact, in some cases they already fulfill this function by spying on left and radical activists and passing info to the police. In Greece, where social momentum against authority and capital has torn apart the facade of social peace with attack from the exploited and excluded classes, fascist vigilantes are working openly with the state. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, white supremacists with guns terrorized black New Orleanians while the police kept relief workers out.

So it goes. These people are getting ready, for collapse, for conflict, for civil war. So should we. Because we can't just think them out of existence and because when the chips are down we are going to see whose really done their homework.

--a stoned ewok

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by ex-resident
Tuesday Apr 21st, 2009 4:36 PM
Formed a mob and crucified the Christian fascists? Made flaming necklaces out of stems and hung them around cops and UCSC administrators' necks?

4/20 at UCSC isn't a political event by nature. Go ahead and decry the complacency of UCSC students all you want on all other matters, but if you're expecting some groundswell of insurrectionary zeal on 4/20, you are seriously kidding yourself.
by Robert Norse
Tuesday Apr 21st, 2009 5:23 PM
Thanks to Green Anarchist for mentioning my article as a stimulus to further discussion.

I appreciate the concern with the fascist Drug War (and "fascist" is really an appropriate label here). Still I tend to look on geeks with signs as evidence of political life (even jock fundamentalist geeks with stupid signs). Maybe it's exposure to ACLUish legalisms when I was younger.

If they weren't students, the sign bearers were iimplicitly violating and challenging the September Regents regs (perhaps even if they were students, given the restrictions in Porter Meadow). Anybody know the current status of those rules?

It's the armed authorities and funded bureaucracies that need to be confronted, the court and prison system that daily jails poor people for economic crime and "drug war" crime that needs to be torn down. Folks don't have to wait a year to do it either.

Roger Mentch of the Felton Hemporium is in jail again over in Santa Clara County and faces 8 years in jail for selling medical marijuana to some state narc.

Rather than fast-forward to the prospect of Minutemen auxiliaries, today we can visit our green-shirted sheriffs or the tall amiable D.A. Bob Lee in the County Building--or their highly-paid black-robed pals in the court system one building over.

If anyone has any pending cases locally (and I'm sure there are numerous ones), please post and let the community know.

by deanosor
(deanosor [at] Wednesday Apr 22nd, 2009 1:24 AM
I understand, folks, it was a party. But i don't know about you, but where i grew up if party-crashers came to my party they were escorted out. These people who came to the event were there to harass the people there. And no, we shouldn't end up like cops, but we shouldn't allow fascists or near fascists to come into our space, which happens to be the entire world. With the economic crises amongst other things, the fascists and like minded people are testing the world to see where they will be supported or at least not attacked. We should not let let them.

And yes the government is the nmain oppressor. Altho the govenrment is getting discredited very very quickly, especially in places like Santa Cruz. So there comes along a junior auxiliary who at times might even make themselves into rebels. But be careful. These "rebels" have a message of hate, They hate uppity and independent women. They hate queers. They hate stoners. They hate anybody who isn't white. And they hate radicals and any other people who believe that the world can be a better place. And this is where your ACLU idea falls apart. They act on their hate like the Klan or the Nazis. In Santa Cruz who were the "troll-busters" a couple of years back, if not people who were independent of the government who beat up homeless people?
Don't lt fascist ahve the streets or the halls of govenrment.
by ~Bradley
(bradley [at] Wednesday Apr 22nd, 2009 10:39 AM
The Christian fundamentalists were not the only people co-opting the 420 celebration. There were also 'non-profit' capitalists (the folks who set up the tent in the meadow to sell soda pop, candy bars, and other other junk food) as well as people passing out flyers to "Celebrate Israel's birthday."

I feel that people should not bring the following items to Porter Meadow on 420:
  • Money
  • Items for sale
  • Flyers
  • Plastic
  • Glass bottles
  • Aluminum
  • Candy / Wrappers
  • Large structures
Keep the Meadow Green, Leave No Trace!
by Turnabout fair play
Wednesday Apr 22nd, 2009 4:49 PM
So fighting the power and free speech is A-okay when your sticking it to the man....but when those tactics get used against you, it's no fair?

Having a protest sign if you wrote the message is okay, but having one held up against your function isn't?

I especially like the comment about "our space, which is the entire world". Hilarious pomposity and smug self-satisfaction!!

(Robert, you might want to rethink your statement about "if they weren't students then they were in violation". Probably half the people at 420 weren't UCSC students.)
by Robert Norse
(rnorse3 [at] Wednesday Apr 22nd, 2009 6:25 PM
I expressed my concerns about restrictive campus rules in more detail at:

However most of my info comes from the now probably out of date Good Times article at .

If anyone has any new info on this situation (Calling John Williams...) please post or call my radio show 6-8 PM Thursday on 101.1 FM at 427-3772. (Also Sundays 9:30 AM to 1 PM).
by (posted by) Robert Norse
Wednesday Apr 22nd, 2009 6:28 PM
UCSC attempts to interdict the 4-20 event with impromptu regulations:
by Ask Robert
Wednesday Apr 22nd, 2009 7:11 PM
In advance of the 4/20 gathering, Robert posted on Indybay:

"Freedom of speech and freedom of assembly (as well as the right to privacy) are regularly at stake whether the event is a formal protest, a concert, or just a celebration."

But post-event, when someone dared to show up with a differing opinion, Robert proposes that their speech and assembly was illegal (OH MY! Illegal!?), and tacitly proposes that regulations be reviewed and enforced:

"If they weren't students, the sign bearers were iimplicitly violating and challenging the September Regents regs (perhaps even if they were students, given the restrictions in Porter Meadow). Anybody know the current status of those rules?"

In a word? Typical.

by Robert Norse
Thursday Apr 23rd, 2009 8:00 AM
Sorry if this comment is a duplication.

Actually I was writing that I'm glad students and non-students alike were celebrating (and some protesting) in violation of both the September regent regs and the more recent ad hoc anti-4-20 rules.

I only wish there were more protest more than once a year and that it focused on the perps--the police, the D.A., the jail, UC authorities, etc.
by g (a)
Friday Apr 24th, 2009 1:24 PM
for the record i didnt say anything about free speech. rights a bullshit liberal concept which requires the strong hand of the state to construct and maintain them. fascists are our enemy, period. anyone who doesnt understand that needs to put down the bong and read a fucking history book or something. they dont disappear if we ignore them any more than if we respect their rights.
by onlooker
Saturday Apr 25th, 2009 9:29 AM
I don't understand what the whining about the Christians is about. I understand from this article that there was evidently a double-standard (non-students coming to the event were not allowed by UCSC, but these interlopers with Jesus signs were), but I also don't understand the seeming shock and surprise that someone would react violently to spit in the face (?).

However, as a former Santa Cruz resident while in my early twenties, I can remember this kind of smug and naive self-centeredness. I think I was the one who called the cops when the loggers were logging near our treesit (somehow I was surprised?)

For me, there is a balance between being upset at the state of affairs -- there is a lot of injustice on display at almost every turn in our world -- and taking some time to think about actions. I neither condone nor support spitting at someone or stealing a sign, but we should be prepared to take what comes from any action. Just my opinion.