Recent events and a rather long bike ride (yes, yes, I do ride a bike) while listening to the new Lil Wayne rock album that is growing on me, got me thinking about something that has been bothering me for a while.
A "beef," let us call it, has been brewing for some time between anarchists in Santa Cruz and Modesto. I've probably done more to create this than anyone, but it hasn't just been me, but it's definitely been almost all initiated from anarchists in Modesto. With infiltration and repression against anarchists growing, and with a desire to not split the segments of anarchism that are interested in creating a anti-Left, anti-political, and insurrectionary milieu in the US, I thought I'd try to put this baby to bed and lay my crimes bare.
First, I want to say that I was/am highly influenced by anarchists in Santa Cruz. Probably the most highly influential anarchist project coming from the city in the post-Killing King Abacus and Willful Disobedience period was Quiver Distro. I remember getting packages from them with texts and zines that I had never heard of or seen before. In the days before zines were largely uploaded and shared via pdf form (god I feel old), zines were largely traded via mail and through hand to hand contact. Probably one of the most influential pieces from Quiver that I ever received was the text by Wolfi, "Autonomous Self-Organization and Anarchist Intervention: A Tension in Practice." This was one of the first texts at this time that presented insurrectionary ideas that made any sense to me; and also included a critique of class and social struggle that was to the point and included some useful historical references. It might be said that Quiver pushed me towards insurrectionary ideas, as well as they did for so many other people, which lead me to where I am today (someone reading smacks palm against face now...hahaha, yes!). I remember thinking during the mini-riot in Santa Cruz when the tree sit against the UCSC LRDP expansion began, as people threw punches at cops, took space, while liberals waved peace signs and stood around like idiots, "All those photocopies paid off."
Fast forward several years, as various relationships lead me to spend more time in Santa Cruz. Spending more time there put into perspective for me how "different" the scene in Modesto (where I am from) was compared to Santa Cruz, some good and some bad.
Anyway, this beef right. Based largely on:
1.) Blackbird RAUM not wanting to play at an Anarchist Cafe in Modesto (which are all outside and directed at people on the street) after they came and played there in 2005 at a similar engagement. I think this put some people off. When Firehouse 51 opened, someone (not me) wrote in the announcement that, "bands could play, except Blackbird RAUM." I must admit, I did think it was funny, but I also understood the post to be problematic in that people would see it as an attack on them and not as the joke that it was supposed to be. For the record, we do want the band to play in Modesto, and through various channels we've been asking them to do a benefit for Modesto Needle Exchange or possibly playing at Firehouse 51. We have not hard feelings toward the band and I would consider any differences that we had in the past in the past.
2.) "The banner" at the Santa Cruz Convergence. This again started as a joke. It was my idea. It started as, "Hey, wouldn't it be funny to have a banner that said, 'We've come for your trust funds!' at the convergence?" Everyone thought it was really funny. At this time, right after the Modesto water dumping against the RCP shenanigans, and when people were probably feeling like they were the shit, (and we are), I knew we were feeling cocky. I think engine summer summed it up best that it was something like, "We're the real proles, all you rich kids give us your money." I won't lie, that was what we wanted to say. I not going to state that we meant it just as a joke. All I can say is that we hope that you only respond with the same vengeance. I am sorry if you're feelings got hurt.
3.) A poem I wrote for a poetry zine. Only probably like 5 people know or care about this, but the last poem in my first poetry zine, "Heartless," I wrote during one night while in Santa Cruz when I was really drunk and not wanting to be there, I think might have turned some off. I had had an intense conversation with another comrade about class composition in Santa Cruz that day, and I wrote a pretty harsh poem using Santa Cruz as inspiration, but wanting to use it to make a bigger point about how I saw the importance (personally to me) in the distance between those of us with anarchism in regards to class. Here's a taste:
While you were dropping out of college we were applying for financial aid.
While you were vowing to never work we had already been working for years.
While you were going straight edge we had friends die of drug over doses.
Now you want to come to our town town because you think that we are the shit?
Now you want to learn from us because you think we are interesting?
Now you want to hang with us because you think we have something to offer you?
Pretty brutal. I can see that if someone read that, especially if someone handed that to them and said, "Hey, crudo wrote this about Santa Cruz," that they would probably be pissed. While I used it as a reference, I wasn't speaking to it specifically. Sorry if you think I want to kill you and steal your forest squat. I don't. (I will take the car in front of your house in Mountain View or money - seriously, we need that shit).
There's probably more, but that is all I can think of of any substance or that I care to comment on. Upon writing this, I find it problematic that it may appear that I'm trying to justify my actions by stating, "I was drunk," I was joking," etc. I guess I can't do that. Trying to break these class stereotypes right? Anyway, I did all of these things knowing what I was doing. I may have been joking, but I undertook or participated in them knowing that there would be reactions from other people that I do care about (and other proletarians that might be offended) and in doing so, I apologize. There are bigger fish to fry and other things to go after. You will not find me walking into SubRosa anytime during an event with the crew screaming, "Get out! This is an eviction! All middle class people have to leave!" Although...hahah, just kidding.
I realize that posting on a blog is probably one of the worst ways of communicating this information, but I know that people from Santa Cruz do read this, so...here it is. I hate rumors. I hate shit talking behind people's backs. I've always been (or tried to be as much as possible) straight with people when the ask me what I think, and want to continue to do so. A comrade recently commented to me that Modesto and Santa Cruz offer so many things to learn from and many things to take away from, both good and bad. The class and racial differences between both cities are vast, but I believe that comrade's sentiment to be true, and I look forward to spending more time in Santa Cruz with good comrades.
Perhaps the next time you see us, your only banners will read, "We've come for your meth labs!" Please, take them.
I am an asshole and a classist fuck. But, I do want to squash the beef. Goodnight.
PS - For dramatic effect, watch this video.