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Graffiti and Broken Windows on Pacific Avenue
by ~Bradley (bradley [at]
Sunday May 2nd, 2010 5:48 PM
On the night of Saturday, May 1st, Occupy California provided breaking news coverage of an event that began as a large dance party at the clock tower in downtown Santa Cruz, roved through the streets, and eventually morphed into a small number of people breaking storefront windows, mostly at corporate chain stores, though not exclusively.

I was not at any portion of the event on Saturday, so I do not have photos from that night. The following photos were taken in the late morning of Sunday, May 2nd, as the graffiti and broken glass were being removed.
These articles, listed for reference, discuss the situation further.

Dance Party Ends in Window-Breaking and Police Clearing Pacific Avenue 20 Minutes Later
by Robert Norse

video-Santa Cruz Riot of May 2010
by Prescott

Street Party Turns Violent – Santa Cruz Riot of May 2010

** For background information, the following article is being reposted from Occupy California:

May Day party gets underway in Santa Cruz

SANTA CRUZ, Ca. – A dance party to celebrate International Workers’ Day in Santa Cruz morphed into a black bloc as it traveled through different parts of downtown with hundreds of participants and observers. As the crowd swelled to over 350, torches and flares were lit. The crowd zig-zagged through different side streets, eventually ending back on the main street downtown (Pacific Ave). As the crowd marched back to the clock tower, windows of corporate chains and bourgeois shops were smashed. Police presence was scarce; early on, one police car drove into the crowd to disperse it. Instead of leaving, the dancers stepped around the police car and threw paint on it. Only after the crowd voluntarily dispersed did any police appear.

10:35pm: A torch mob of about 300 people is headed down Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz, with hundreds of observers following. More info to come.

11:00pm: Graffiti: “Brick by brick we will bring it down”; “Destruction is the New Pink”; “Destroy the Destroyers” and others.

11:15pm: Several expensive “hipster” stores, corporate chain stores, and bourgeois shops that cater to tourists had their windows smashed.

11:20pm: It’s scattering, with only 2 cop cars nearby.
by ~Bradley Sunday May 2nd, 2010 5:48 PM
by ~Bradley Sunday May 2nd, 2010 5:48 PM
by ~Bradley Sunday May 2nd, 2010 5:48 PM
§Cleaning Borders
by ~Bradley Sunday May 2nd, 2010 5:48 PM
by ~Bradley Sunday May 2nd, 2010 5:48 PM
I'm not sure if there was any graffiti here or not...
§Dell Williams
by ~Bradley Sunday May 2nd, 2010 5:48 PM
by ~Bradley Sunday May 2nd, 2010 5:48 PM
§Glass Removal
by ~Bradley Sunday May 2nd, 2010 5:48 PM
§Peet's Coffee
by ~Bradley Sunday May 2nd, 2010 5:48 PM
§Pacific Wave
by ~Bradley Sunday May 2nd, 2010 5:48 PM
Why don't politicians clean this shit up?
§Spare Change?
by ~Bradley Sunday May 2nd, 2010 5:48 PM
§Destory What Destorys
by ~Bradley Sunday May 2nd, 2010 5:48 PM
§Jamba Juice
by ~Bradley Sunday May 2nd, 2010 5:48 PM
§Clock Tower
by ~Bradley Sunday May 2nd, 2010 5:48 PM
§Sorry, No Smoothies
by ~Bradley Sunday May 2nd, 2010 5:48 PM
§Shattered Glass
by ~Bradley Sunday May 2nd, 2010 5:48 PM
§American Apparel
by ~Bradley Sunday May 2nd, 2010 5:48 PM
§We Are Nothing
by ~Bradley Sunday May 2nd, 2010 5:48 PM
§Una Fiesta
by ~Bradley Sunday May 2nd, 2010 5:48 PM
§Armed with a Pen
by ~Bradley Sunday May 2nd, 2010 5:49 PM
§Urban Redesign
by ~Bradley Sunday May 2nd, 2010 5:50 PM
by ~Bradley Sunday May 2nd, 2010 6:02 PM
This person, who I do not know, made more than one effort to photograph me. This was after he inquired about me taking photographs of the graffiti and broken windows. I confirmed to him that I was taking photos of the damage, and asked him who he was taking photos for. He said for himself as he was trying to take a photo of me, but I went in the other direction. The first time was at the corner of Pacific and Locust. This second time, shown in the photo above, we were on the sidewalk of Pacific Avenue.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Andy
Sunday May 2nd, 2010 7:55 PM
If the 'Investigator' taking photos of Bradley has Bradley's pic up on his blog somewhere online.

In any case, breaking windows and taking an marker to buildings, way to problem solve.
by Dan
Sunday May 2nd, 2010 8:25 PM
I find it odd that people who decry war, imperialism and other forms of state violence take it upon themselves to commit violence and vandalism such as this. While you might disagree with the amount of corporatism on display, I am sure that we would all decry this happening to us at their hands in our homes. I certainly don't see this as a means to the end of a more open, accountable society in the future.
by freedom fighter
Sunday May 2nd, 2010 10:32 PM
... clear away the shit, before you can have a free, equitable, open, and accountable society.
by -
Monday May 3rd, 2010 7:23 AM
The people who committed these acts of violence are clearly capable of behaving as oppressively as any corporation or person they decry. Their ideology would probably allow them to rationalize worse acts -- perpetrated against people, not just buildings. This is why radical fundamentalism of any sort is dangerous. And I am under no delusion that my comments will sway any of the anarchists. Like any fundamentalist, they are beyond logic or the ability to sense the pain their actions cause. Though they claim anti-authoritarianism, in reality they want to tell everyone else how they must live. They are our Taliban-in-waiting, the new thought police.
by Auntie Imperial
Monday May 3rd, 2010 8:26 AM
Word to the wise.. The only people who truly gained from the property destruction were the insurance companies who'll raise the rates now, and the glass companies (Do you REALLY want to put $$$ in the pocket of Libby-Owens-Ford?).

The Block party itself was the most AWESOME community building activity I've seen in years around here... The other community building activity that has been ongoing in Santa Cruz is the now under-siege Santa Cruz Farmers Market drum circle, recently forced to move across the street where a police delivered 'compromise' solution was offered last week... "Go Away".

Wednesday... 3ish

What followed the party, IMO, on a true-cost socio-economics scale, was a *net negative*.

Discipline yourselves... You MUST learn... Violence and property destruction has it's time and place.

That's all I have to say about this particular occurrence


A few years ago, after the homicidal stabbing of a local bar patron across the street from that business, a business I was working within eyeshot of...I spoke with the owner, whom I used to work for quite a few year ago when she owned the Swan restaurant on the MALL (R.I.P.)

The conversation went like this:

"Sue (her name before it changed), I've been meaning to talk to you about that surly crowd hanging out outside. I see it every night from where I work and you REALLY need to get some security people who know what they're doing... Not just some over-sized 20somethings who can read IDs"

Her response was stunning, and illustrates the HYPOCRISY of painting the Block Party as a riot because of a few individuals using it as a cover for their own activities.

She said: "It didn't happen on MY property!"

Well, the property damage and destruction DID NOT HAPPEN during the block party.

Peace... Out.
by Sum Dim
Monday May 3rd, 2010 8:31 AM
I don't approve of these acts, but I figure they're no worse than the acts of the DTA.

Fuck the DTA!
by wer
Monday May 3rd, 2010 9:18 AM
The photographer at the bottom looks like some sort of maoist. Was he selling newspapers?
by .
Monday May 3rd, 2010 10:10 AM
The high anxiety, conspiracy theory crowd over at the website for the Alex Jones website is reporting that this was a large pro-amnesty march.

They like to call vandalism at any political event a 'false flag', which is part of the master scheme to scare the public into giving up civil liberties so that Obama can put the Patriots in work camps on an earlier timeframe.
It is worrisome that so many comments over at the Sentinel go along the lines of "damn illegals, go do that in your own country".
by Auntie ImperialVV
Monday May 3rd, 2010 10:20 AM
TeenageImmigrantWelfareMothersOnDrugs did this.

..and they're houseless, cigarette smoking, wireless users too!
by Bob Dobbs
Monday May 3rd, 2010 11:12 AM
"I don't approve of these acts, but I figure they're no worse than the acts of the DTA. Fuck the DTA!"

15-20 years ago I watched a Hispanic guy put some money in a newspaper rack and buy a Sentinel. Before he could let the slam door close, a kind of classic long-haired Santa Cruz revolutionista of grad student age stuck his hand in and pulled out one for himself. "It's okay," he told the Hispanic guy, "because it's the Sentinel."

The revolutionista had a two-year-old child riding on his shoulder, probably his kid. I kinda wonder what kind of situational morality the kid learned from Dad over the years, and how he turned out.
by Auntie Imperial
Monday May 3rd, 2010 11:29 AM
The same situational 'morality'... ETHICS actually, as exhibited by the Downtown business community. Whatever works for them... and it ISN'T working, and IT HASN'T worked since their corrupt attempt to turn a downtown street into a STERILE shopping mall with NO UNIQUENESS.

I'm not saying that's what's been completed... Just what they are continually attempting to do, to the detriment of Santa Cruz' community at large.

What you are seeing is the END RESULT of the social policies needed to gerrymander that.
by Innocent Bystander
Monday May 3rd, 2010 12:43 PM
While I don't necessarily disagree with the motives behind what happened Saturday night, what you pseudo-anarchists fail to realize is the vandalism (and veiled threats of further vandalism) will now bring the already out of control police in SC down full force. You think it was bad before? Wait until the smoke clears.

All the pseudo-anarchists succeeded in doing was providing justification for the police and city government to step up their attacks on personal freedoms and attacks on people who "look poor" or "look homeless" or "look the wrong color", etc...

Do the window-smashers really think they hurt the businesses they attacked? Did they ever hear of insurance? This won't make the slightest impact; it will not drive the businesses away... if anything, it'll open the door for MORE big business and chain stores to come in as the small local businesses flee in terror. Why will they flee in terror? Because they *won't* have the same financial and legal resources as the MegaCorps if this happens again. The locals will be hurt, not the big boys. At this rate, we'll end up with a Walmart on Pacific Ave...

Good luck ever getting another street party of ANY kind organized again. You shot yourselves in the foot (yes, I KNOW the organizers and vast majority of participants in the party had nothing at all to do with the vandalism, but the pseudo-anarchists are opportunists and hijacked an otherwise legit event for their own ends, and it'll probably happen again).

Meanwhile, the progressive activists and good folks over at SubRosa, the Farmers' Market drum circle crowd, etc... can look forward to even more police infiltration, suppression of dissent and attacks on individual personal liberties. Nice work, guys... real nice.

I'm also opposed to the "cleansing" of Pacific Ave (and SC in general) and I'm as anti-capitalist as any of them, but this will NOT solve our problems. Get your heads out of your asses.

Very depressing...

by Reality
Monday May 3rd, 2010 1:25 PM
SO explain to me why this vandalism was condoned? While i believe in the motive behind a may day street march/party, you have discredited your cause by breaking shit. While you may have attacked corporate clothing stores and food distributors, you also attacked locally owned business. Have you realized that unionized workers were called at 2 in the morning to clean up your stupid anarchist acts? May day is a celebration of the worker not a reason to give them more work. And i know that there were only a handful of immature vandals, thos peaceful protesters keep it up, you have discredited the left/anti-capitalist movement. You have given reason for the sc police force to beef up and crack down. You are also a bunch of theoretical rich anarchists. YOu live off your parents money and pay rent for a house with a roof on it. Go squat in the forest and stay there u dirty scum of the earth.
by tilting at windmills
Monday May 3rd, 2010 1:45 PM
and you are lucky that they even let your sorry ass within city limits

it won't be long before all of the SC service workers live elsewhere and bus in for their day jobs

breaking windows is like tilting at windmills or talking to the wind (or perhaps spitting into the wind)

resistance is futile. life is getting squeezed out of SC and soon there will be no fun to be had there unless it involves spending hundreds of dollars. it's well on its way to being a slightly less affluent version of Carmel
by worser
Monday May 3rd, 2010 2:00 PM
the small town upper-middle class Euro-entitled vibe of Santa Cruz is less able to absorb the shock of such an incident, even though the damage is much less now than what it was last year in SF

Santa Cruz stands a chance of losing perspective and overreacting
by scientist
Monday May 3rd, 2010 2:33 PM
>>911 Truthers blame this on illegal immigrants
>>The high anxiety, conspiracy theory crowd over at the website for the Alex Jones website is reporting that this was a large pro-amnesty march.

Alex Jones does not represent the efforts to expose the truth of the 9/11 attack.

Jones is a media personality out for himself. Any type of racist or hype agenda he can ride on the coattails of, he will. Unfortunately, many racist Libertarians and conservatives also claim to be "truthers".

How would you like it if I used him to represent anarchists and described them as the "high violence anarchist crowd over at Alex Jones"?

You're being a tool of the mainstream media when you use what a MSM figure to attack the "conspiracy theorists". They are drooling over you when you do it. The last thing they want to happen is for any truth to be exposed.

Many who are not racist, or pseudo MSM self-absorbed screamers, do work to expose the unanswered questions with serious research and reporting and outreach.


Journal of 9/11 Studies
Peer-reviewed, open-access, electronic-only journal covering research related to 9/11/2001.

Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth
Association of architects, engineers and affiliates investigating the “collapses” of the WTC high-rises on 9/11/01.

9-11 Research
An attempt to uncover the truth about September 11th, 2001.

Scholars for 9/11 Truth & Justice
Scholars and supporters endeavoring to address the unanswered questions of the September 11, 2001 attack through scientific research and public education.

Don't undermine the efforts by making these broad and false claims.

This "trash downtown" event is making news everywhere, and the post I just saw paints a dark picture because of this:

"Investigators believe the methods employed on Saturday evening show that this was a methodical and coordinated attack," Santa Cruz Police said in a written statement. "Santa Cruz Police Department officers received two diversionary phone calls, both for shots fired including one with a man down, that were employed to divert police and fire resources away from the riot. Neither of those calls turned out to be real."

Good luck trying to spin this. The vast majority in SC shopping on the mall don't appear the least interested in being educated by the teenagers in black, no matter how meaningful the real message is. They aren't capable of hearing it. They will only hear it when their ATM card comes back out and their money is gone.

We're not there yet.

by (A)
Monday May 3rd, 2010 9:12 PM
fyi property destruction is not violence, what these corporations who have had there windows smashed do in other countries is violence. free trade is violence, serving meat and supporting the industries involved in murdering, testing on animals, selling the products and making a profit of the expense of not only the animals but the workers(not just in the USA but every wear NAFTA, g8, g20, IMF world bank members have a hold over is fucked)... so i don't see how braking a dam window is making such a fuss when no one was harmed

-in solidarity with the Santa Cruz anarchist <333
by Practical Activist
Monday May 3rd, 2010 9:42 PM
Yet again...the way to piss people off is to break windows and leave behind some graffiti.
by me
Monday May 3rd, 2010 11:41 PM
While 100,000's of immigrants take to the streets to push back against the racist Arizona law, the anarcho 12 years olds go a breaking things rampage in their little college beach town. Grow up. It isn't about violence vs nonviolence, it's about being relevant outside of your tiny insignificant subculture.
by student
Tuesday May 4th, 2010 12:31 AM
someone did something without the permission of the Leftist Internet Morality Brigade; we're all doomed!!!! now St. Obama Claus will never bring us social justice for christmas.

get your heads out of your asses. do you know what may day is? it commemorates a anti-capitalist riot in 1886. pacific avenue is the most expensive commercial real estate in the county, and its business owners are turning it into a big out door mall complete with its own private security force where its now almost impossible to legally hang out without buying anything. anyone who complains about violence against capitalist property without mentioning the daily violence of capitalism to the earth and all who live on it have shown what side they are on.
by Aun
Tuesday May 4th, 2010 8:30 AM international workers solidarity day.

Can you tell me what the Haymarket event was supposed to be in response to without looking it up?

Your view of it a a celebration of the Haymarket just indicates how little you really know.
by me
Tuesday May 4th, 2010 8:59 AM
You really stuck it to the man, breaking their windows and writing slogans on their properties. Your parents are really going to mad now.

And I never knew the Haymarket martyrs were ultra left declasse rioting whiners.

I always thought they were immigrant labor organizers who fought for reformist goals like the eight hour day, who were framed for a riot that the government agents provoked.
by (a)
Tuesday May 4th, 2010 9:31 AM
The haymarket martyrs were all anarchist organizers. There was an anti-anarchist witch hunt going on then too. It turns out reactionaries haven't changed much in the last 124 years.
by rear observer
Tuesday May 4th, 2010 10:57 AM
and these displays of vandalism were committed by, what, two people?
One with a green marker and one with yellow paint? Maybe more than a few bricks or rocks?
Who does this vandalism serve? Not the immigration issue.
Killing NAFTA would do that. Not local merchants. Smells like dead squid in the sun for a week.
by David
Tuesday May 4th, 2010 12:01 PM
"pacific avenue is the most expensive commercial real estate in the county"

Really? Where did you get that information? Rent on Pacific Ave is about $3 a square foot. Have you ever been to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Madison Ave in NYC, Michigan Ave in Chicago? Heck, even rents in Los Gatos and Saratoga, right over the hill, are three times more than on Pacific. We're talking about mostly local business owners on Pacific. And some of these owners are currently paying their workers more than they are taking home themselves under the current economic situation. And look at any of our neighboring communities. There are more locally owned business along Pacific Ave than you'll find in any downtown nearby.

Go learn something, Student. Your comment is uninformed and off target.
by student
Tuesday May 4th, 2010 12:39 PM
@auntie, yes i do know, probably better than you. 'working class' is often used in place of proletariat, but it doesn't mean 'the employed and their families' it means 'those who are dispossessed (don't own enough capital to live comfortably without working)'. the may 1, 1886 general strike for the 8-hour day was organized by revolutionary anarchists and communists because the industrial workforce of that time was being forced to work 10-16 hour days. 8 hours was not considered an acceptable amount of time to have one's life exploited by capital, but it was an improvement and millions of workers got behind the demand. anyway considering the vast restructuring of the economy since 120 years ago it's silly to pretend that may day now ought to look exactly the same..

@david, can you read? COUNTY not COUNTRY. beverly hills and saratoga are not in santa cruz COUNTTTTTYYYYY.
by The Ghost Of Albert Parsons
Tuesday May 4th, 2010 1:31 PM

It was a strike at International Harvester, a huge strike a la the Pullman strike.

Someone, most likely a provocateur, tossed a bomb injuring a number of police and demonstrators leading to A MASSIVE CLAMPDOWN ON ANYONE AFFILIATED WITH SOCIAL CHANGE.

...Sound familiar? It ought to... The person who the SCPD arrested was, if not a police agent, acting as a proxy for ongoing suppression, just as the provocateur who threw the bomb at the IH strike caused the destruction of the Internationalist unions, and so... much... more.

Get the drift putz? The guy they busted, who is already making false claims in court, is a police agent, witting or unwitting... nothing more, and needs to be isolated.. destroyed.

He's a transient well-known by the street people as an alcoholic, and he's destroying himself, so we won't have to worry about catching up with him later and burying him in a shallow grave somewhere in the SC mountains... He's doing it to himself, but he's doing damage in the interim
by student
Tuesday May 4th, 2010 3:46 PM
and if you leave that out, you are just plain wrong. also, according to paul avrich, over 40,000 workers went on strike on Chicago, not just at McCormick Harvester.

"Resolved ... that eight hours shall constitute a legal day's labor from and after May 1, 1886, and that we recommend to labor organizations throughout this district that they so direct their laws so as to conform to this resolution by the time named."

- Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions, convention October 1884, (via bbc)

albert parsons was an anarchist. you are niether a ghost nor an anarchist.
by .
Wednesday May 5th, 2010 4:33 PM
May day developed out of the Walpurgisnacht holiday from Europe - which was a pre-judeo christian spring festivals involving fire and driving out the demons of winter or something.

Similarly, the easter bunny/egg trees aren't mentioned in the bible. the winter timing of christmas (jesus being born in September??) arose from the winter solstice celebration. Santa Claus strongly resembles the god wodan, and a similar figure in the greek myths. Pretty much, the changing light cycle induces holiday feelings.
by Cut the crap
Wednesday May 5th, 2010 11:45 PM
Before you begin your next rant, you might want to read the original poster's comment a bit closer, or even just the line you yourself quoted:
"pacific avenue is the most expensive commercial real estate in the county"

I'm no geography expert, but I'm pretty sure "Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Madison Ave in NYC, Michigan Ave in Chicago" are not in Santa Cruz County.
by repost
Thursday May 20th, 2010 3:26 PM
By Simone Chandler Wed, May 05, 2010

Something happened on Saturday night in downtown Santa Cruz. There was a ruckus. There was a dance party. There was also aftermath—broken glass, graffiti on walls, police in riot gear.

There were circle-a’s spray-painted on businesses. And even though rebellious teenagers for the past 40 years have scribbled that symbol wherever they felt, it makes it easy for people to believe that all anarchists are evil and responsible for all the destruction and all the fear. And swept into this melee is SubRosa, an anarchist infoshop.

It must be their fault. The fact that SubRosa didn’t have anything to do with the event doesn’t seem to matter. That the only link is an arrested person who saw a flier at SubRosa. Of course there was a flier at SubRosa. There were fliers all over town. You can still see them on the telephone poles lining Soquel Drive.
This isn’t the first time anarchists have been blamed for the problems of society. In fact, the history of May Day is tied up in the demonization of anarchists. In 1887, four anarchists were hung in Chicago after being framed for throwing bombs at police during a protest. Three more were to spend six years in prison until pardoned by Gov. Altgeld, who said the trial that convicted them was characterized by “hysteria, packed juries and a biased judge.” The anarchists were a part of a massive strike that began on May 1, 1886, demanding an eight-hour work day.

SubRosa is pretty innocuous, really. It is based on values of self-responsibility, mutual support and free association. Like anarchism itself, it encompasses a wide range of perspectives. The shelves are filled with books espousing a variety of ideas, some in contradiction to each other. The room is filled with a variety of people, young people, old people. The volunteers spend their time and energy working to create a positive and family-friendly space.

Some of the people who frequent SubRosa are homeless. SubRosa is the one place in town where you can sit down without having to pay for anything. You can’t sit on Pacific Avenue, not with all the statues and parking meters and downtown ordinances. Not with all the business owners who don’t want you anywhere near their stores if you aren’t going to buy anything. Not with all the downtown hosts who walk up to you, shake their head and move you along down Pacific. They point you to the block where SubRosa is; the downtown hosts don’t go south of Laurel.

In the atmosphere of downtown Santa Cruz, where there is so much conflict between so many haves and so many have-nots, May Day’s eruption doesn’t seem so out of place. The homeless and other “undesirables” are constantly being forced off Pacific Avenue, and it comes as no surprise that some of them stood up and pushed back against the city that rejected them.

But really we don’t know what actually happened on May Day. There were hundreds of people there, but no one can stand up and say “I was there. I was a part of this.” Because to do that is to throw yourself into the maelstrom of accusation, is to label yourself a criminal even if you never picked up a rock or held a can of spray paint. “Known anarchists” who were safe at home in bed are now having their names posted on the internet, being accused of planning the whole thing. It doesn’t matter that they were in no way involved, because an accusation is a very powerful, very dangerous thing.

Simone Chandler is a member of the SubRosa collective.