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The Santa Cruz May Day Riot
by Steven Argue
Friday May 7th, 2010 3:10 AM
With the expanding crisis of capitalism and its growing unemployment, murderous wars of aggression, funding funneled to the repressive state apparatus and war instead of needed social programs, and the ever growing destruction of the planet through global warming; there will likely be more actions like the May Day riot. Likewise, the involvement of the local petty bourgeoisie through organizations like the Downtown Association and the City Council in promoting repression against the poor, opposition to a higher minimum wage, opposition to rent control, support for political oppression, and support for brutal cops will likely keep big and small businesses targets of this type of rebellion. Rather than supporting ratcheting up the repression, the petty bourgeoisie would do well in reconsidering what side they have been taking in the class war.
(Photo: Locked Door of SubRosa due to Death Threats, Photo by Liberation News)

The Santa Cruz May Day Riot

Righteous Anger versus Liberal Hypocrisy,

Vandalism versus Working Class Strike Action

By Steven Argue

On May Day there was a dance party organized in the streets of Santa Cruz to celebrate International Workers’ Day. After the dance party, a group of 250 people moved down the street and some of them, wearing masks, broke windows at an estimated 18 downtown businesses, spray painted graffiti, tried to start fires, and caused an estimated $100,000 in damage. In addition, a squad car of a cop who responded was reportedly pelted with rocks, surrounded, and paint was poured on the hood.

Coverage in the corporate media has been extremely bad, with reporters unable to get even the most basic facts right. A number of newspapers claimed, as the San Jose Mercury News did, that the action happened as “a large group of protesters demonstrating at a May Day rally for worker’s and immigrant rights downtown broke off into a riot…”. This is false. It was a dance party with a group of people breaking off to riot under anarchist slogans. Other corporate newspapers and stations did the same, the Star Telegram ran the story under the false title, “Immigration march turns violent”, AP repeated similar lies under the title, “Calif. immigrants' rights march ends in vandalism”, and NBC News reported “Santa Cruz Immigration Protest Turns Violent”.

Inspired by the lies in the corporate media Hot argued, “Tea Parties have been held in various locations for well over a year, and none of them has turned violent at all. Arizona passes an immigration law a week ago, and already we’ve had one Leftist demonstration result in violence, calls for the overthrow of the US, and rioting”. Ironically they then go on to complain about the bias in the “liberal” media.

The corporate media used the vandalism at the action to smear the very successful events held across the nation in favor of the rights of immigrant workers in the wake of Arizona’s racist law that scapegoats and hurts immigrants. The law authorizes officers to pull over, question, and detain anyone if they have a “reasonable suspicion” to believe they are in this country without proper documentation. This not only creates a police state for immigrants, it also legalizes racial profiling. There were at least 70 protests for immigrant rights on May Day with at least 50,000 people in LA, 25,000 in Dallas, 10,000 in Milwaukee, and 10,000 in Chicago, but Santa Cruz’s May Day riot was not one of them.

Hundreds of people showed up at the successful May Day Rally for the Rights of Immigrant Workers held in Santa Cruz’s neighboring city of Watsonville. At that event a Liberation News flyer pointed out the need for more militant tactics, but not the tactics of the type employed at the Santa Cruz riot. The second expanded version of the flyer stated:

“While there is a boycott of Arizona that has started as a result of this law, and Liberation News does support that boycott, we think it would be far more effective if the working class carried out a general strike demanding repeal. To do so will likely take breaking the unions from the Democrats, to stop squandering our dues on the political campaigns of Democrats, and to break with their pro-imperialist “America first” ideology which ties us to our exploiters instead of inspiring united working class action against our common class enemies, the capitalists. Instead, we favor internationalist and multi-racial working class solidarity in action and advocate putting our union dues into strike funds where we can rely on our own power for political and economic demands rather than relying on our class enemies in the Democrat Party for reforms that, if they come at all, only come under the most extreme situations when the working class is strong and militant.”

Likewise, this type of working class strategy can be counterpoised to the desperate types of tactics employed by the anarchists in downtown Santa Cruz. When the working class moves as a class we can shut down production causing far greater losses for the bourgeoisie than riots. In addition, strike actions have the potential of a far higher respectability in the public’s eyes. While the anarchists did hit the bosses in the pocket book, and this is the right idea, these anarchists, however, are thinking way too small.

Newton’s Third Law teaches us that in physics every action has an equal opposite reaction. This is not a law of politics, but it still often applies. Santa Cruz has suffered for decades under a city government that sends out brutal cops to harass and intimidate political activists and the poor, opposes an increase in the minimum wage, opposes rent control, has kept it illegal for homeless people to sleep at night, and routinely destroys the property of the homeless. The bosses of those cops are the local City Council. And behind the cops and city council, supporting both the politicians elected to that City Council and the brutal and discriminatory Santa Cruz cops are the businesses of Santa Cruz —both the big bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie— who belong to the rightwing and virulently anti-homeless Downtown Association.

Our people are disillusioned. They’ve become disenchanted. They’ve become dissatisfied, and in their frustrations they want action. On May Day the widows of those businesses that have conspired against the poor shattered and graffiti was spray painted on their walls as people rioted downtown. The chickens had come home to roost.

While Liberation News does not consider what was done to be effective tactically in reaching out to the community and educating them of our leftist demands and building the kind of movement that can do more effective actions like general strikes, we recognize that it is an unjust system that is building up the tinder box that blew-up on May Day and we do not consider what was done to have been any crime against the working class.

Nor is the destruction of property “violence”. The true violence in Santa Cruz County is being committed by cops and military recruiters who send people out to kill in the imperialist occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, with the U.S. aggression against Iraq having already killed 1.2 million people. That’s violence. Cops destroying the property of homeless people, like blankets and sleeping bags, is also a virulent form of violence that can kill homeless people on a cold night. Hell, the Santa Cruz police have even gotten away with a few cold-blooded murders of homeless people like John Dine and the people they beat to death in their sleeping bags during “Operation Code Blue”. Who knows how many other unsolved murders of homeless people were carried out by the Santa Cruz Police and / or covered-up by them due to their murderous political agenda?

Arrested by the Santa Cruz Police and charged with “felony vandalism” is a black homeless man named Jimi Haynes. While appearing in court under infamous Judge Atack, Jimi Haynes found his bail raised from $5,000 to $105,000. Judge Atack is well known by Santa Cruz activists and defense lawyers for his contempt for leftists and acting as a prosecutor from the bench. There is no possible way Jimi Haynes can get a fair trial in Judge Atack’s court room. Whether or not Haynes did what the police claim, Liberation News blames this unjust system for what happened, we do not support throwing Jimi Haynes to the wolves, and we do not support this prosecution under a system that will not give him a fair trial. Free Jimi Haynes! Remove Judge Atack from the bench!

Also arrested was another homeless person on the UCSC campus named Thomas Williams who police claim was covered in paint that they think is connected to the graffiti. They also claim he resisted arrest, a routine charge that police level against their victims after brutalizing them. Showing that the police have no case, in his preliminary hearing no charges related to the May Day demonstration were leveled, but a charge of drunk in public and resisting arrest remained. Free Thomas Williams! Jail brutal cops!

At the request of the Santa Cruz Police an extremely violent force has been brought into Santa Cruz to investigate the riot with the goal of jailing more people instead of correcting the injustices that caused the riot in the first place. This force is the FBI, America’s political police. In the 1960s and 70s, the FBI, working with local police departments, liquidated the Black Panther Party through the murders of 39 members, including the police shooting of Fred Hampton in his sleep after an FBI infiltrator drugged Fred Hampton’s drink to make sure he was sleeping when they carried out their extra-judicial execution. The FBI also liquidated the Black Panthers through political frame-ups such as that of Geronimo (Ji Jagga) Pratt who was finally exonerated (i.e. found innocent) after 30 years in prison. Other framed Black Panthers still sit in prison and Black Panther Assata Shakur lives in exile, granted political asylum by Cuba, but with a one million dollar bounty put on her head by the New Jersey government. Do not talk to the murderous FBI or their local cop buddies! Free all framed former Black Panthers including Mumia Abu Jamal and Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald!

Likewise, the Lakota, on the Pine Ridge Reservation in North Dakota, who supported the culturally and politically nationalist American Indian Movement, faced brutal counter-insurgency tactics complete with FBI armed and trained death squads that murdered 61 political activists and their families on the reservation between 1973 and 1976. As part of that terror war against America’s first nations, American Indian Movement member Leonard Peltier was framed by the FBI and remains in prison to this day. FBI murderers out of Santa Cruz! Free Leonard Peltier!

At the same time that the “leftist” Santa Cruz City Council has invited the mass murdering political police of the FBI into Santa Cruz, they have now also overturned their 18 year ban of La Migra from entering Santa Cruz by inviting the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) into Santa Cruz under the guise of fighting gangs. Put any pretty gloss over it they like, anyone who has watched horror movies knows what happens when one invites vampires into their house. ICE Out of Santa Cruz! For a general strike against Arizona’s racist anti-immigrant law!

Despite lacking any real evidence, the anarchist SubRosa Café has become a target of blame for the vandalism in the ideological diatribes of the corporate media as well as by the bourgeois “leftist” Santa Cruz politicians on the city council and the rightwing law and order “community” group, “Take Back Santa Cruz”. SubRosa Café is a coffee shop —$1 per cup and no hassles for spending no money— and also serves as an anarchist info shop and library as well as a meeting place for various community groups.

On May 4th KION channel 46 made the claim that prisoner Jimi Haynes is an “employee” of the SubRosa café. Yet KION is so removed from the truth that they missed the fact that SubRosa doesn’t even have employees. Instead of being employees, the people who work at SubRosa are unpaid volunteer members of a collective. KION’s basic ignorance of that fact further corresponds with the fact that Jimi Haynes was not even a member of the collective.

Also trying to blame SubRosa was the rightwing corporate owned Santa Cruz Sentinel (part of capitalist Dan Singleton’s MediaNews newspaper empire). They claimed that SubRosa aligned themselves with the May Day actions in SubRosa’s online statement that says:

“This is a time for us all to band together, to show support and solidarity with each other in the face of a police state that has always blamed anarchists for everything destructive, while actively trying to prevent people from exercising creativity that would create alternatives to capitalist relations. The people who make this town a fantastic place to be are far more important than the walls and windows of businesses that suck our souls away for their profit.”

One does not even need to agree with the actions at the May Day riot, or even be an anarchist, to agree with SubRosa’s statement, yet the Sentinel found it somehow incriminating. And they practically ignore SubRosa’s complete denials of involvement in the previous paragraph of their statement, which the Sentinel failed to print. That paragraph says:

“We are getting blamed for the May Day dance party that resulted in broken windows in downtown SC. SubRosa had nothing to do with the event, except that there were fliers for it here, as there were allover town and allover the internet. Individuals involved with SubRosa are having their physical well being threatened. People are using what was a huge dance party with a few acts of vandalism as an excuse to attack SubRosa and anyone in any way associated with it. There are accusations that SubRosa organized the May Day event, that the event started at SubRosa and a ton of other things that aren't true.”

While failing to condemn the death threats against SubRosa collective members, Santa Cruz mayor and fake self-proclaimed “socialist” Mike Rotkin said of the statement, "If you want to disassociate yourself from this stupid violence, you need to disassociate yourself. They should condemn what happened." Unlike Mike Rotkin, Liberation News stands in solidarity with SubRosa’s First Amendment right to say whatever they like in regards to the action and condemns Mike Rotkin’s demands for a loyalty oath to the downtown merchants that, unfortunately, Mike Rotkin took his loyalty oath to long ago in order to enter the Santa Cruz City Council.

Mike Rotkin’s escapades have included support for anti-homeless laws, support for police repression against activists —including support for the arrest, beating, and three day jailing of this activist when I was distributing literature—, and many blatant lies; including his lies regarding the movement for a higher minimum wage. When this author ran for City Council in 2000 and 2002, Mike Rotkin claimed that the part of my platform that called for a higher minimum wage was impossible because cities cannot set their own minimum wages. He added that if municipalities could do that, the Santa Cruz City Council would have done it long ago. Yet, this was a blatant lie on every level, municipalities can set minimum wages, and when a higher minimum wage was petitioned on to the Santa Cruz ballot, Mike Rotkin campaigned against it. A well funded campaign backed by local small businesses and fake “socialists” like Mike Rotkin defeated that measure. Double the Minimum Wage! Throw Mike Rotkin Out of Government! Boycott Rotkin’s UCSC “Marxism” Classes! As an alternative, Liberation News declares our intention to teach legitimate classes on Marxism at the Santa Cruz Free School if we are allowed.

Blame directed at SubRosa has also been leveled by “liberal” vice mayor Ryan Coonerty. He is another one of the hypocritical “progressive liberals” on the Santa Cruz City Council who has supported the city’s brutal police and anti-homeless laws. Of SubRosa he stated, “If they're not involved, I'd like to see them help clean some of the glass up, and helping the businesses that were affected. That's the least they could do.” This is suggesting that SubRosa had some blame in what happened and needs to somehow make-up for it. If anything, it is the anti-poor and anti-working class policies of the likes of Ryan Coonerty and Mike Rotkin that caused the riot, not the SubRosa collective. Besides being vice mayor, Ryan Coonerty is the owner of Bookshop Santa Cruz. Boycott the Bookshop Santa Cruz! Break with all Democrats! No support to the “Progressive” Democrats of the Santa Cruz City Council!

Instead of addressing these problems, “leftist” mayor Mike Rotkin has decided to put one million dollars into the police budget to hire eight additional Santa Cruz cops. Meanwhile, Rotkin and his ilk are attacking city workers with cuts in pay and cuts to various needed departments due to the economic crisis of capitalism and the city’s falling income coming from regressive taxation. Regarding more cops, Mike Rotkin even admitted, “We have no idea how we are going to pay for it.” Yet, there are far too many cops in Santa Cruz and much of the time they spend on the job is spent harassing homeless people with a multitude of laws that include making it illegal for the homeless to sit on the sidewalk, sleep at night, or lean against a building.

As a result of these unsubstantiated accusations, SubRosa has become the target of multiple death threats. Apparently due to the threats, SubRosa has been closed for the last few days. Instead of closing, and since the Santa Cruz Police have repeatedly refused to protect the basic democratic rights of the left, Liberation News advocates the formation of armed workers’ defense guards to give SubRosa the defense they need in the face of these proto-fascist threats. Our members have agreed that we will actively participate in any such units if SubRosa accepts our offer.

Trying to discuss the situation with the Santa Cruz City Council, but excluded from the discussion by the Santa Cruz City Council, was “The Board of the Hub for Sustainable Transportation”. The Hub for Sustainable Transportation is a nonprofit umbrella with member organizations: the Bike Church, People Power!, Green Ways to School and PedEx. They also rent space to important independent projects: The Computer Kitchen, SubRosa and The Fabrica sewing collective.

Yet, invited to the meeting were the vast majority of downtown Santa Cruz businesses that are members of the rightwing anti-homeless Downtown Association, of which a large number of Santa Cruz businesses are members. However, “The Board of the Hub for Sustainable Transportation” was specifically excluded from this meeting on the basis that they were not members of Downtown Association. Perhaps that slap in the face will help individual members reconsider the endorsements that they gave to individual candidates on the Santa Cruz City Council. Nothing could be clearer in terms of who really runs Santa Cruz; the Santa Cruz City Council is not even interested in the voices of businesses that are not part of the Downtown Association’s brown-shirt anti-homeless organization.

With the expanding crisis of capitalism and its growing unemployment, murderous wars of aggression, funding funneled to the repressive state apparatus and war instead of needed social programs, and the ever growing destruction of the planet through global warming; there will likely be more actions like the May Day riot. Likewise, the involvement of the local petty bourgeoisie through organizations like the Downtown Association and the City Council in promoting repression against the poor, opposition to a higher minimum wage, opposition to rent control, support for political oppression, and support for brutal cops will likely keep big and small businesses targets of this type of rebellion. Rather than supporting ratcheting up the repression, the petty bourgeoisie would do well in reconsidering what side they have been taking in the class war.

While Liberation News understands that a system that keeps kicking people when they are down is bound to create a reaction, we also see this action as having been generally counter-productive. Our perspective is towards building a workers’ party that fights to overthrow the current leadership in the unions to make the unions a fighting instrument of the working class. In the course of that struggle we seek to build self-confidence in the working class coupled with a vanguard party capable, with a rebellious working class, of carrying out the workers’ revolution for real with the establishment of an egalitarian socialist society with workers’ democracy, full employment, housing for all, healthcare for all, and production carried out for human and environmental needs rather than profit. Join us.


This statement was unanimously adopted, after vigorous debate and a number of corrections, by the democratic vote of the Liberation News collective (i.e. the Revolutionary League for a Workers’ Party) and by the Defense Committee for Political and Class War Prisoners. We discussed in detail the fact that we would potentially be blamed for what happened as other groups have unfairly been, despite our opposition to the tactics used, but decided that working class solidarity and programmatic clarity was far more important than throwing our anti-capitalist comrades to the wolves, and we decided on this despite our revolutionary socialist opposition to the ideology called “anarchism”.

In addition, the Defense Committee for Political and Class War Prisoners has also decided to take up the case of Jimi Haynes, without deciding at this point whether he is a class war prisoner or political prisoner, and pledged itself to put $15.00 on Jimi Haynes books per week. Upon that decision, the group immediately added $15.00 to Mr. Hayne’s “books” on May 5th. The money he receives can be used to buy writing paper, stamped envelopes, coffee, additional food, as well as a few other things he may need to break his isolation and make life more tolerable while sitting in the hell hole of Santa Cruz County Jail. Supporters of our organization in jail are also instructed to give Jimi Haynes all of the highest protections we offer. With respect, other organizations, whether political or gang, are asked to issue similar decrees to their members.

Those wishing to write Jimi Haynes can reach him at:

23542 Jimi Haynes
Santa Cruz County Jail
259 Water Street, Santa Cruz

Funds for Jimi Haynes’ “books” can be dropped off at the Santa Cruz County Jail at 259 Water Street, Santa Cruz (with a draconian $3.00 charge per donation) or sent to “The Defense Committee for Political and Class War Prisoners” P.O. Box 3020, Santa Cruz California, 95062 with checks payable to the “The Defense Committee for Political and Class War Prisoners”. If you want funds to specifically go to Jimi Haynes, mention that with a note and 100% of your contribution will go to him.

Liberation News was somewhat dormant for a period of time, partly as a result of ambiguity regarding a few other socialist tendencies, but is now reinvigorated as a revolutionary socialist tendency that has no confidence in anything regarding the ruling class and their political parties, whether they be Democrat or Republican, and no confidence in any other American socialist tendency either. The Liberation News collective is also about to release a print version of our paper for the first time in a number of years. Funds for Liberation News flyers and the upcoming regularly printed newspaper can be sent to the Revolutionary League for a Workers’ Party at P.O. Box 3020, Santa Cruz California, 95062 with checks payable to the” Revolutionary League for a Workers’ Party”. A printed financial report of all expenditures will be made to all donors.

Those wishing to enquire about joining the Revolutionary League for a Workers’ Party or attending the next meeting of the group should e-mail Steven Argue at steveargue2 [at]

Anyone wishing to subscribe to Liberation News can do so for free online at:
§You left off a digit, zero
by Sheriff Wowak Saturday May 8th, 2010 8:37 AM
The identifying number for inmate Jimi Ray Haynes is S-235420. By my decree, the Santa Cruz Sheriff's Office is ordered to provide him with all of the highest protections we offer. With all due respect, Phil

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Seriously
Friday May 7th, 2010 6:32 AM
Per you, Jimmi had nothing to do with Subrosa, apparently didn't even do the crimes, and turned a dime on Subrosa.... but here you are raising money to bail him out.

It's touching.
by --
Friday May 7th, 2010 7:04 AM
With the information given by the courts, I wouldn't decide yet that Haynes turned on SubRosa. Wait for more testimony and interviews with him. He sounds like he's a poor, slightly troubled guy who had been hanging around downtown for a few months, and probably had sat at the courtyard. Who knows - maybe he even could use medical help for mental health.

In any case, I compare the ordinary weekend theft and destruction that would happen on my streets in Berkeley, Oakland with the book being thrown against that guy. When people get their car stolen in parts of the Bay area (an expensive loss, equivalent to a window perhaps), did you know that the police recovering the vehicle after a joyride might not even bother calling you at your phone registered at the DMV, or use the whitepages. You just get a form a week later in the mail, and get to go pay $65/day plus $275 towing fees to the city of Oakland. There is no consistent law enforcement behavior around the bay against high that police want to aid crime victims and consistently treat the criminals
by dismayed by punks
Friday May 7th, 2010 7:15 AM
You should get yr facts straight. Ryan Coonerty is NOT the owner of Bookshop SC. His sister is. She and Bookshop have nothing to do with this.
by Steven Argue
Friday May 7th, 2010 10:09 AM

What was meant is that the Coonerty family owns bookshop Santa Cruz, including Ryan's father who started it. Their family has been a consistently anti-poor and reactionary force in Santa Cruz politics.

As the Bookshop states on their website, "We also holds [sic] strong ties to the community with original owner, Neal Coonerty, currently serving as a Santa Cruz County Supervisor and son, Ryan Coonerty, serving as a Santa Cruz City Councilmember and former Mayor."

As far as we can see, at this point, whether or not Jimi Haynes turned a dime on SubRosa is based on reports in the corporate media, the same media that can't get any of their "facts" right on any of this. Clarification is being requestd from him, but those reports, reports that sound false, are not enough to throw Jimi Haynes to the wolves.

by Seriously
Friday May 7th, 2010 10:12 AM
I find it rather interesting that you tell me not to suppose or believe anything until I have definitive facts, but then you quickly offer up a string of theories and possibilities regarding Hayne's conduct, mindset, and mental health. So you can predict but I shouldn't?

And secondly; there's no comparison, in my opinion, between a window being broken or a car being broken into vs. 18 businesses and $100,000 in damage, done in front of hundreds as a political statement...of stupidity.
by Auntie Imperial
Friday May 7th, 2010 10:41 AM
Your caption by the picture of SubRosa's gates is incorrect and misleading.

The gate was not closed DIRECTLY due to threats, but due to understaffing, an ongoing problem for a facility that does not pay employees, but subsists solely on volunteers. Either no staffer was available for the shift (a relatively common occurrence lately) OR it may be due to the sentiment that, until the threats desist, there should be more than one staff member to a shift.

Again, leading to under-staffing.

I hope this clarifies the situation, because I know YOU can't and won't.
by Razer
Friday May 7th, 2010 10:53 AM
"What was meant is that the Coonerty family owns bookshop Santa Cruz, including Ryan's father who started it. Their family has been a consistently anti-poor and reactionary force in Santa Cruz politics."

This is only true in a historical vacuum. Neal Coonerty WAS a supporter of the Santa Cruz Open Mic at the art center theater years ago. He was quite generous, and most of the musicians were homeless and/or poor.

Time do change, and the Coonertys are operating under a different social dynamic now, but you haven't gotten a bit less stupid since you punched that cop a few years ago "Defending" a woman (did you ever consider women are capable of defending themselves sexist ass?) at a local demonstration
by Steven Argue
Friday May 7th, 2010 11:25 AM

In power, the Coonerty family has consistently supported anti-homeless laws and barred some homeless activists from even entering their store.

As for false accusations of sexism in my punch to Officer LaFavor's face when he was brutalizing a woman with a child in her arms, you obviously don't have a clue. The Citizen's Police Review Board even ruled that he was using excessive force and what he was doing was endangering the child. As a result of my action she and her child escaped further injury and harm. When the police violently attack a peaceful demonstration like that, as they did, it is our right to defend our fellow protesters from harm. My actions at that May 22, 1999 protest against the bombing of Yugoslavia and against the Democrat Party who supported the bombing were consistent with the morals of all but the most hardened supporters of police repression.

by John Thielking
Friday May 7th, 2010 11:37 AM

You say that The Hub For Sustainable Transportation was excluded from the meeting. Yet one poster reports that people from the Bike Church were admitted and allowed to speak. This factoid (if it is true) tends to tear down the wall that you are building between activists and the DTA. See the post below copied and pasted from

No Brown Act violation
by Attended
Wednesday May 5th, 2010 11:42 AM
I'm happy to report that there was no violation of The Brown Act. There were only three council members in attendance. So I guess we can cross that one off the list. I'm sure that's a relief to everyone.

What was also great is that a few members of the Bike Church were there, despite them not being DTA members, and they were treated with respect, fairness, and their opinions heard. Not only heard, but actually applauded upon conclusion. No SubRosa bashing was voiced at all. All in all it was a group of downtown business owners who wanted some more information about what happened. No demands were made to "get" anyone, or condemn any specific group. No directives were given. That's about it.

Oh, one more thing. Many people were very respectful about the public and their ability to hold peaceful gatherings.
by Steven Argue
Friday May 7th, 2010 11:51 AM

According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel:

"Micah Posner, a member of the Santa Cruz Hub for Sustainable Transportation, which leases space to the SubRosa Cafe, was asked to leave Wednesday's meeting along with several others from the Hub because they are not members of the Downtown Association." From:

Even if it is true that some others got to stay, there was still some exclusion.

by Steven Argue
Friday May 7th, 2010 12:35 PM

Thanks for the clarification

Sorry for jumping to conclusions. It was extremely unusual to me that SubRosa was closed each time I stopped by this week, something that had never happened any other time I've gone there except when there have been staff meetings and a sign explaining that. We meant to clarify this issue before putting out the article, but I forgot to do it.

Still, I think the caption is fundamentally correct. SubRosa being closed, despite your denials, is still directly linked to the death threats since, by your own admission, volunteers are seeing a need to double staff the cafe as a result of the threats and that extra staff hasn't been available.
by Bernard G.
Friday May 7th, 2010 12:48 PM
"Prisoner of the Class War" sounds much better then "burglary probation viloation hold".
by Steven Argue
Friday May 7th, 2010 1:01 PM

OK, only one representative was allowed to stay. Thanks for that clarification as well. Do you know if this was how other businesses were treated? Were businesses in the Downtown Association that had husbands and wives show-up forced to keep only one representative? Who chose that Micah Posner was not allowed to be present?

As for budding out, I won’t do it. I’m here for the revolution that anarchists claim to be for, yet usually put themselves on the other side of the barricades by supporting bourgeois governments and their “liberal” representatives instead. Despite big talk about revolution from many anarchists, you rarely have any clue as to how to go about doing it. As Fredrick Engels pointed out in 1873:

"As soon as they were faced with a serious revolutionary situation, the Bakuninists had to throw the whole of their old programme overboard. First they sacrificed their doctrine of absolute abstention from political, and especially electoral, activities. Then anarchy, the abolition of the State, shared the same fate.... They then dropped the principle that the workers must not take part in any revolution that did not have as its aim the immediate and complete emancipation of the proletariat, and they themselves took part in a movement that was notoriously bourgeois. Finally they...sat quite comfortably in the juntas of the various towns, and moreover almost everywhere as an impotent minority outvoted and politically exploited by the bourgeoisie."

by Steven Argue
Friday May 7th, 2010 1:18 PM

Bernard G. says, ""Prisoner of the Class War" sounds much better then "burglary probation voilation [sic] hold"."

Yet, he is charged with felony vandalism connected to the riot. If these charges are real, which is not certain, this would make him a class war prisoner.
by tom
Friday May 7th, 2010 2:35 PM

what gets me is how timid the anarchists are in speaking out for jimmy

they organize an event like this that a poor and homeless black guy gets swept up in and they have nothing to say in his defense

says to me don't go into battle with an anarchist

we need more of this clarity steve gives
by Razer
Friday May 7th, 2010 3:03 PM
"As for budding out, I won’t do "

Of course you won't... Useful (to the police state) idiots never do.

by unlike socialists
Friday May 7th, 2010 4:33 PM
"The anarchists" have not spoken up FOR or AGAINST Jimmi. SubRosa issued a statement clarifying their non-relationship to them. In fact, "the anarchists" have not spoken at all. There is no such group. There are people, individuals, with a similarly shared philosophy who often disagree on tactics. The people who broke windows downtown have not spoken up at all. No statements, manifestos, clarifications, communications, or claims of responsibility have been issued.

Perhaps they are happy enough to let their more public-facing comrades bear all the heat.

Consider the possibility that the anarchists you've heard from do not represent "the anarchists."

And Steven, really, no need to get all factional on us. By all means, have revolutionary zeal, but no need to jump on the other side of the Anarchist witch hunt band wagon. I wouldn't take Fredrick Engels' word as to how the anarchists handled themselves at the International. Shall we look up what Mikhail Bakunin had to say about the socialist at the First International?
by curious
Friday May 7th, 2010 8:46 PM
can you clarify what the "Revolutionary League for a Workers’ Party" is, what its politics are (positions/strategy/sources/inspirations), what it proposes to do (other than put out a newspaper)?
by Razer
Saturday May 8th, 2010 6:52 AM
...he might even be a 'worker'.
by Steven Argue
Saturday May 8th, 2010 11:09 AM

"Razer" has a lot of nerve, taking the side of the police state on all matters in this thread, including the police attack on the May 22, 1999 protest against the Democrat Party's support for the bombing of Yugoslavia, and then claiming I'm the one useful to the police state. Al she need do is look in the mirror to find that guilty party.

And after that reformist "anarchist" nonsense supporting the repressive Santa Cruz police state, I think the quote from Fredrick Engels was a perfect summation of “anarchists” who join sides with the bourgeois government against the workers’ movement.

by Steven Argue
Saturday May 8th, 2010 11:13 AM

Sheriff Wowak, thanks for the number correction.

On the nonsense of the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s department giving Jimi Haynes “protections”, I’ve had my experiences with the kinds of protections they give. Besides keeping me in solitary confinement for many months because they “deemed me a threat in potentially organizing against authority”, they are also brutal and I suffered a number of beatings from them, one was when they were trying to get me to stop writing, they put me in handcuffs, repeatedly slammed my head against the wall, and twisted my wrist over and over again so that I couldn’t write any more. Zamora, one of the ones that did that to me, got promoted afterwards. Still got that guy working there Sheriff Wowak?

When they finally did let me out of solitary, due to protests outside the jail and publicity, they immediately put me in with the white power Nazis who I told them were my enemies, even giving specific names, when they booked me and asked me if I had any enemies. Fortunately there were plenty of Mexicans and Central Americans on my side. So yeah, I know the kinds of protections the Sheriff’s department offers prisoners.

by Perspective
Saturday May 8th, 2010 6:49 PM
"With regard to discussion of warfare (and other subjects), Steven Argue is hopelessly inflexible. You'll never get him to change. He wants homeless sleeping on the street, and will never concede that this might be not be the best idea.

Those he wants on the city council are unelectable. why is this?

He cannot conceive (or will not concede) that there could be any shred of good in any war he decides to oppose. At the same time, perhaps not surprisingly, his protests are often sound war-like. Why is this?

I think the guy's probably, deep-down, at least to some extent, sour grapes and jealous of those who have made it in society.

It should be said that soem aspects of his knee-jerk defense of all that is fringe and anti-government might sometimes be valid. But, I will guarantee you, he is not coming from deliberationa nd wisdom, but from just a knee-jerk mindset. Do not count on him for a fair hearing. Do not count on him to deeply contemplate both sides of a situation. He is hard-wired to blindly throw darts on behalf of an anti-government agenda, and if one of those darts actually do some good, that doesn't mean that what he is doing is wisdom-guided. Be very surprised if he gives a balanced viewpoint. You will have found a four-leafed clover if you hear him say, "but on the other hand, at least in some ways, what the government is doing is good and wise." Never will he do this.

Don't expect an accurate picture form Steven Argue.

Take him not with a grain of salt, but with a rock of salt.

but don't listen to me. Let him speak for himself

links to Steven argue info:

Steven Argue on Homeless Activists Running for City Council "

(The above, written 5 years ago, strikes me as eerily accurate as I try to digest Mr.
by and why we're unelectable
Saturday May 8th, 2010 7:23 PM
Why are we unelectable? How come no anarchist group has rejoiced or rejected the the May 1st actions in Downtown Santa Cruz. How come we're fighting for chaos?

These questions, the questions at root in the vast majority of comment posts here, on Santa Cruz Sentinel, on Fox News and across the popular media and the popular mind set all have their roots in common widespread misunderstandings and assumptions about what anarchy means, what an anarchist wants, and the possibilities that anarchy holds--and has held in times past--for humans, for animals, for the earth and for a deeper ecology.

Anarchy is self determination, anarchy is having not just the ability to decide how your life is going to be governed but not having the ability to decide how others will. This puts anarchy in direct contradiction to the images often proclaimed as anarchy. People being murdered in the streets, warfare, the like. How could an anarchist under pure anarchist ideals--an anarchist acting as an anarchist--take a life? Impossible.

How could someone committed to living in a way to opportune all others with the ability to live their own lives how they see fit run for City Council? Impossible. It couldn't happen.

Just like how one group couldn't speak for another's actions.

What is being missed is that anarchy is not chaos, in the popular sense, but symbiosis.

It is not until you understand this simple truth that your comments will be intelligible.

by Truly curious
Saturday May 8th, 2010 7:56 PM
How do you portray your/their/anarchists tactic of busting out my windows as "symbiotic"?
by for anyone
Sunday May 9th, 2010 4:38 PM
I can't speak, for anyone but myself, which is the point being made above. Personally, when I first heard about the actions taken on May 1st, I was excited because I thought that people came together to tear down the infrastructure oppressing everything but the bank accounts of the bourgeois, the cops, and the banks which keep their pockets padded with the labor of us all (including you, the business owner).

But upon closer analysis of the May 1st actions it became clear that it was seeded by the FBI, to break up local activist movements and usher in more of a police state (of which, it has already, within one week, done both). Funny, though, how the SCPD picked up two street people unconnected to any radical scene in Santa Cruz.

So you know, a tree falls in the forest, fungus breaks it down, nourishes the soil and new growth comes. Surely you're upset because your windows were broken, I would be too and it is completely understandable and acceptable that you're upset. I also assume you're writing from the one local business who had their windows broken, and that must be even compounding your anger, as you've watched the DT culture be destroyed by the corporate culture which has been slowly displacing it (and your business) and now you have people smashing your windows.

I don't think that last Saturday's actions were fueled by anarchist ideals--see my last post--and I'm not about to try to claim or identify or defend them as such, but I do plead and ask you to, for one minute, and put your anger aside and think about the possibilities that do exists and how capital is strangling those possibilities. You, I, everyone, the Earth, we all have so much potential, so much beauty, that wants to be exposed, and it does from time to time, but we're going to have to fall that tree and let those possibilities flourish in the decomposing husks of a corrupt economic empire.
by Willis
Sunday May 9th, 2010 9:58 PM
No amount of raging against capitalism or ad hominem attacks against the mayor can excuse the vandalism that took place on May 1.
by Steven Argue
(steveargue2 [at] Monday May 10th, 2010 12:50 PM

Revolutionary socialists run for office to discredit and destroy the current ruling system, which is a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie over the working class. On the Santa Cruz level the class base of the government is a little peculiar in the fact that the petty bourgeoisie takes a leading role along side the big bourgeoisie in leading the oppression and exploitation of the working class and poor.

We also run for office to promote alternatives to this system and recruit to our movement at a time when many more people are open to talking about political choices. I ran for City Council knowing that I would not be elected under this undemocratic system where politicians are dependent on major money donations and the backing of the corporate media. Still, I got nearly 3,000 votes (nearly 15% of the vote) and this was at a very small fraction of the campaign expenditures of my opponents and with extremely hateful and biased coverage in all of the corporate media including the Santa Cruz Sentinel and the San Jose Mercury News against my campaign. These results were good and showed a lot of success in me promoting my message; a message that included the fact that the working class and poor have no friends on the Santa Cruz City Council, we have no friends in the Democrat Party, we have no friends in the corporate media, and alternatives to all need to be built including a labor movement that puts our dues into strike funds rather than giving them to the Democrat Party.

In addition, portions of my platform made it on to the ballot separately later, including the successful 2006 ballot initiative that attempts to force the city government to make the enforcement of marijuana laws the lowest priority. Another portion of my platform that made it onto the ballot was the 2006 ballot initiative to raise the city’s minimum wage. While that initiative wasn’t nearly enough, and was still defeated, it did expose current Mayor Mike Rotkin and Vice Mayor Coonerty as being so anti-working and anti-poor that they campaigned against the measure. This was another, of many, clear indications of the need to organize against, and not for, the current ruling liberal establishment in Santa Cruz.

On a national level, the same Democrat Party of the Rotkins and Coonertys is carrying out mass murder in Iraq and Afghanistan, opposed to the only health care models that could work, single payer and socialist health care, doing nothing of meaning to stop the planet’s destruction through global warming, supporting massive give-aways of our tax dollars to the richest financial capitalists, has carried out a coup d’etate in Honduras that has brought back the death squads, and is clearly the other ruling party of war, imperialism, and capitalism.

Without building a socialist movement that mercilessly exposes the Democrats and Republicans for what they are on a national and local level, and without building a movement that seeks real direct actions like general strikes, we are otherwise left begging the Democrats for mercy. So this is what it boils down to, hope for change amongst liberals lies in gaining mercy from a system that has no mercy. No wonder most left leaning people see no hope for change. In stark contrast, hope for change amongst revolutionary socialists is in building a working class movement so strong that it conquers our demands.

by No thanks.
Monday May 10th, 2010 6:49 PM
I've read the history books, and hope the authentic socialist stay in them.

Steven, don't tie yourself to the ancient, I mean authentic socialist. They're the ones now sitting as bureaucrats in Greece. Sure, they may have thrown a molotov or two in their day, but the socialists are the reproduction of capitalist ideals and motivations under a new cause, a new flag.

I don't want your flag, I don't want any flag, unless that flag is a wick with which I'll ignite the possibilities of a future.

Socialism, along with God and the State is dead. Stale politics are our coffins.

We're only limited by our imaginations.
by Steven Argue
Monday May 10th, 2010 11:34 PM

George Papandreou in Greece isn't any more an authentic socialist than Mike Rotkin is here in Santa Cruz. They are merely Social Democrats. Social Democrats of this variety are in reality capitalist politicians. They administer the capitalist state and do not call for the overturn of capitalism. Their leaders use toned down socialist rhetoric to fool workers and other progressive minded people into supporting them while the leaders get cushy jobs in the unions or capitalist government offices. In these offices they promote an agenda of class collaboration, masking the fact that they are betraying the interests of the working class with false arguments about the common interests of workers and exploiters and arguments about what the situation is rather than struggling for what the situation should be. Examples of these types of “socialists” who are actually capitalist politicians include Eduard Bernstein, the father of the ideology of this betrayal of Marxism Germany, former SPD Prime Minister Schroeder in Germany, George Papandreou in Greece, and Mike Rotkin on the Santa Cruz California City Council.

It was this same Social Democratic movement that voted in their parliaments across Europe for entry into the First World War, joining with the capitalist class in slaughtering many millions of people in a war that only represented the interests of the capitalists; a war that was fought under similar Tsar, Kings, Kaiser, and president to expand imperialist holdings of capitalist countries. Those parties had become, and remain, merely new bourgeois parties supporting their own bourgeoisies' imperialist aspirations instead of fighting for socialism.

Splitting from the social democrats on these key questions waere powerful revolutionary socialist movements that promoted many successful insurrections against fighting amongst the troops. In Germany this movement was led by Karl Liebnecht and Rosa Luxemburg who nearly led the working class to power. And in Germany the social democrats murdered Karl Liebnecht and Rosa Luxemburg to smash the fight against the war, smash the fight for workers democracy, and smash the fight for socialism. So much for the "Social Democrats" being either democratic or socialist.

Eduard Bernstein was a Social Democrat who was part of the capitalist government that murdered Luxemburg and Liebnecht. He had joined the other side, yet pretended he was for some form of slow transition to socialism, that the class struggle was no longer important, and is a darling of many “socialists” who claim to be pacifists. Yet Bernstein only a pacifist when it came to fighting the enemies of the working class, when it came to killing legitimate socialists for the capitalists, he was part of the team. Bernstein was among those early SPD leaders who were happy with their new jobs as capitalist politicians, kept the peace for capitalist exploitation by murdering the socialist opposition. About 20 years before this happened, Rosa Luxemburg debated against Bernstein’s betrayal of socialism in her 1900 work:

Reform or Revolution

Today, the Social Democratic parties in Europe continue to represent the capitalist class and, with the decline of capitalism, they have been leading the austerity drives against the working class in every country where they have power.

Against the corrupt Social Democracy, and against political counter-revolution of Stalinism in the USSR, the ideas of legitimate revolutionary socialism were instead carried forward by people like Luxemburg, Liebnecht, Reed, Cannon, Lenin, and Trotsky.
by Auntie Imperial
Tuesday May 11th, 2010 7:12 AM
Since the CENSOR was kind enough to take my comment down the first time, I'll repeat it... and elaborate on it.

WITH the notation that censorship is unbecoming an open forum such as this.

I'm responding to a joker that could only be described as an "Anarcho-Fascist".

No thanks said: "I don't want your flag"

That's nice... are you going to ENFORCE THAT on me too, Fascist.

"I don't want any flag, unless that flag is a wick with which I'll ignite the possibilities of a future."

What if that flag's ignition destroys the possibility of a future. Ask Che', oh right he's dead, because he got arrogant (PER Fidel) and forgot the basic precept. You can only do what the masses you are organizing will allow.

The masses LIKE their flag currently and 'igniting' it won't change their mind.

If you do that anyway you and your friends are FASCISTS, just like most of the do-nothing US political 'vanguards' that ever existed. I've seen a few. None exist anymore. There's a reason for that. Most bcame corporate hacks or write meaningless polemicals now days like Steve Argue. You'll be no different

"Socialism, along with God and the State is dead. Stale politics are our coffins."

Are you speaking for me? You use the word "Our" as if you speak for someone besides yourself or have a Tapeworm. Fascist if the former, seek medical help if the latter.

"We're only limited by our imaginations"

Imagination IS NOT required to throw a rock.

As a matter of fact Imagination interferes with mindless vandalism. There are so many more effective things to do

Hope you grow up someday. But I seriously doubt it.
by Steven Argue
Tuesday May 11th, 2010 8:23 AM

Auntie Imperial, your rants are rather absurd. There was absolutely no hint of fascism in the response by "No Thanks".

While being anti-socialist is one of the symptoms of fascists —revolutionary socialists were, after all, the first rounded-up and murdered by the Nazis— the criticisms made of Papandreou and their ilk by "No Thanks" were from the left, not from the extreme right. Those were also criticisms that I generally agree with, minus the important disagreement with throwing out the entire idea of socialism. As I pointed out above, Papandreou, Rotkin, Bernstein, and their ilk, do not represent legitimate socialism, they instead represent the bourgeoisie. But Auntie Imperial seems rather attached to the Papandreou's of the world and full of hate for those of us who want to fight back against their capitalist system.
by is a good thing
Tuesday May 11th, 2010 8:31 AM
"WITH the notation that censorship is unbecoming an open forum such as this."

Indybay is not an open forum, it is a MODERATED website for NEWS.
by Auntie Imperial
Tuesday May 11th, 2010 10:02 AM
...and my original comment: "Imagination IS NOT required to throw a rock."

Somehow required that?

by of moderation
Tuesday May 11th, 2010 10:11 AM
You can review the editorial policy. If you have a question, you can send an email to: sfbay-web [at]
If a comment is hidden, then an editor likely felt it was a violation of the editorial policy or points of unity, off-topic, or flamey.
You are welcome and encouraged to publish here, but it's not your right to post anything you want. Please do not reply to this comment, as your reply will likely be hidden.
by Razer
Tuesday May 11th, 2010 10:45 AM
I think the point Auntie is trying to to make is that random rationalizations of WINDOW SMASHING AFTER SOME BOZOS USURPED A COMMUNITY EVENT (assuming, probably wrongly, that the people who did it weren't police or business community/Take Back Santa Cruz' agent provocateurs) deserves that sort of response.

You understand the word 'community' means more people than some myopic twit posting inflammatory to the rest of the community-at-large slogans and exhortations with no basis in reality?

...or do you?
by Steven Argue
Tuesday May 11th, 2010 11:50 AM

All you, Auntie Razor, have proposed in this thread in terms of unity is unity with an oppressive police department and city government while even posting a threat against me. In addition, you have gone so far as to give support to the violent actions of the Santa Cruz Police against the May 22, 1999 protest against the U.S. bombing of Yugoslavia.

You have the nerve to attack those of us who know better with great venom and then to speak of “unity”. Obviously you are opposed to actual unity. When the question of unity comes up, it always essential to ask, unity with whom and for what purpose? From what you have presented here, unity with you equals the defense of the status quo.

by frmrSCprotestor
Tuesday May 11th, 2010 12:26 PM
The Santa Cruz Downtown Association, for decades now, has sought to privatize the sidewalks and streets of the downtown Santa Cruz area (without paying for them) by turning it into a zone of restricted freedoms, where the "freedom to shop" is the only right universally recognized by merchants. Many of the Downtown Ordinances are obviously unconstitutional (violating rights of free speech and association); some of them violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1992. The City of Santa Cruz needs to be reported to the relevant United Nations Committees (reports are mandatory under the above treaty) for violating the rights of its citizens and visitors. Furthermore, the ordinances are selectively enforced, in violation of the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution (the "Equal Protection" clause.) One former Santa Cruz Mayor was actually quoted in the Sentinel as saying that he "hoped" the Downtown Ordinances were being applied selectively.

I moved out of Santa Cruz some years back and have been living in cities where there are few ordinances controlling sidewalk behavior; the relationship of the merchants (and the police) with the populace is much closer and less adversarial. You reap what you sow.

The Downtown Assocation should purchase the streets, sidewalks, landscaping, and utilities from the City - they can then set up barricades and armed guards on the entrances to their new enclave, letting in only people with Platinum credit cards or more than $100 in cash. The City can solve its budget problem that way and the lovely, sweet merchants will be forever happy with their pre-qualified customers. Everyone else can go shop in Capitola!

by Steven Argue
(steveargue2 [at] Wednesday May 12th, 2010 10:59 AM
I discussed some of these issues further on Free Radio Santa Cruz on May 11th. The show that brought me on is called Free the Land, hosted by Coral Brune and Free, it's on Tuesday nights from 8-10. Here is a recording of the show: [at]

Free Radio Santa Cruz just celebrated 15 years of being an unlicensed, community supported radio station on March 27th. People can listen in at 101.1 FM in Santa Cruz or listen to it anywhere else at:
by Kudos
Thursday May 13th, 2010 11:06 AM
I caught your interview. Thanks Free Radio, Steve, Coral, the other host and callers for an interesting and thought provoking exchange.

I wanted to make a point of thanking you and others for expressing some compassion, concern and even help for those arrested like Jimi Haynes and not jumping to conclusions and assumptions as some have. It shows a genuine sense of unity, compassion and common sense that is very much needed.

by Citizen
Thursday May 13th, 2010 11:36 AM
The Bookshop Santa Cruz is a family run biz. I don't care who it says the owner is on paper. Worming through bowls of City and County politics for decades, the Connerty family and the Bookshop Santa Cruz has held more power in the shaping of downtown than any one person or biz ever. From the seats of Mayor, City Council, and County Supervisor, the Coonerty agenda has been in action for far too long putting biz interests above human interests, championing and supporting unconstitutional law after law under the banner of liberalism.
by frmrSCprotester
Friday May 14th, 2010 9:47 AM
Before they were eradicated by European disease, slavery, and murder, the Native Americans in the Santa Cruz area made their homes ABOVE the flood plain of the San Lorenzo River. That geological feature is most apparant if you go west on Laurel from downtown or south along Water St. - you will encounter the steep rise associated with the limit of the flood plain.

Then stupid, greedy white people came and built homes and businesses in the flood plain. After some serious floods, they built even more homes and business after putting up some levees and installing big pumps. Then there was an earthquake (not even a very large one, compared to the potential) after which they built even more homes and businesses.

So in the long run, maybe even within decades, the Downtown is doomed to suffer another catastrophe and $100,000 of insured window damage will be nothing compared to $100's of millions in uninsured flood and earthquake damage.

Can you spell "tsunami?"
by soul of man
Saturday May 15th, 2010 3:43 PM
For centuries the dichotomous rhetoric plays ping pong. And nobody appreciates their opponent, they just want to win. It becomes all about winning, so becomes harsh, violent, without the nobility of the dignified, just masked and uniformed factions full of hate. Repetitive slogans fly with exclamatory punctuation on the punctuations. All for what? The discontent who remain staring through bars on both sides of the horizon, chasing the setting sadness filling the atmosphere. Who will stop, rest their head in the sands, awake to love the time and make what they love come to life?
by cools
Thursday Jun 17th, 2010 12:10 AM
Conflict is always inevitable!