Thursday, August 1, 2013
Human Rights abuse in itty-bitty Santa Cruz
* Santa Cruz city council censors, punishes critics who speak during public comments portion of council session [link]
* Santa Cruz ACLU ignores Human Rights Abuse against the poor, homeless [link]
* Santa Cruz attacking houseless people: [link]
* 'Code Blue' campaign of terror against homeless residents [link]
* Santa Cruz targets "Gangs", scapegoats lower-income communities [link]
* Santa Cruz attacks "Food Not Bombs" and other Human Rights advocates [link]
* Santa Cruz persecutes the "Santa Cruz 11", with Linda LeMaster, Ed Fry, Gary Johnson [link]
* Santa Cruz tortures political dissidents: An account by Steven Argue [link]
* Santa Cruz attacks independent arts, culture and artisan vendors [link]
* Copwatch: Santa Cruz [link]
* Freedom of Information Campaign organized by John Colby against Human Rights abuse in Santa Cruz [link]
* Retaliatory actions against Human Rights advocate John Colby [link]
* Cop Watcher in Santa Cruz shut down by private security guards (2014-07-31) [link]
* Robert Norse, People's Journalist of Santa Cruz, targeted for silence by repressive city council (2014-04-02) [link]
* Videos of Officer Azua harassing four young African Americans with intent to falsely arrest (2014-08-16) [link]
* Superhero attempts to address Human Rights abuse in Santa Cruz using a legal action which can be used anywhere else [link]
* Santa Cruz PD and racial profiling against African visitors [link]
* Santa Cruz selectively enforces "clutter laws" against people who are protesting or of lumpenproletariat status (2014-06) [link]
* Solidarity with Santa Cruz political prisoners, Defend against inhumane foreclosure business practices (2012-03-11) [link]
* Permanent Surveillance in Santa Cruz [link]
* Santa Cruz restricts peaceable public assemblies [link]
* Law that allows for Dissenters to get arrested for speaking to Santa Cruz City Council [link]
* Non-profit bike charity targeted for disruption by Santa Cruz City for alleged political motivations (2014-01-31) [link]
* UC Santa Cruz Police Attack non-violent students (2006) [link]
* Santa Cruz Sentinel newspaper photographer Dan Coyro is a police spy, and shows extreme hostility for advocates of education and democracy [link]
Note by Norse, 2014-08-08:
Some days ago I made a Public Records Act request for the guidelines and frequency of use of the SCPD re: chokeholds, tasering, drawing a gun, using it, and pepper spraying. I also asked the police to specify the officers engaging in these acts of force, who they used them against and the dates. The article referenced is in regard to the toxic use of force by another police department.
Our SCPD stonewalled on the specifics but gave me the following responses.
I asked " Do I understand that officers do not specifically note and their superiors review when they have drawn or fired their weapons, other than an incidental part of the report?" Jacqui Dreschler the Records Supervisor noted "Correct, the information would be contained in the narrative of the report."
In response to specifics Dreschler declined to provide any, other the following summary:
"Types of Force Number of Uses: Taser 39; Baton 4; Hands 6; Elbow 3; Knee 2; OC 1" during the period 2012 through 2013.
The actual Use of Force Police itself I include and is chilling in and of itself-
Santa Cruz has been a police state 'testbed' for a loooong time -
Santa Cruz was one of the first Police departments to get a rather elaborate associative database to 'play with', and is prominently mentioned in "The Iron Fist and the Velvet Glove: An analysis of U.S. Police", 1977. The Feminist bookstore in Santa Cruz sold it, used to be on Walnut was, before that 'mysterious fire' burned them out. You can download a copy of the book here [link].
2006-03 "Ten Minutes, Then Jail"
article from "Street Spirit" newspaper archives at "HUFF"
2001-12 "Some History of Blatant Political Repression in Santa Cruz, California"
by Steven Argue from "Liberation News" (subscribe free: [lists.riseup.net/www/info/liberation_news])
[Painting by Steven Argue: Brutal Pig as Carnivorous Beetle]
I’m reposting the following article, one that I wrote over ten years ago, because we are still dealing with most of the same issues it addresses today. These issues include police repression of left-wing activism in Santa Cruz, atrocious abuses of the poor, especially the homeless, in Santa Cruz, as well as the support of the Santa Cruz Green Party in backing those policies. The article was written in December, 2001.
The types repression suffered by Santa Cruz activists reported in this article, carried out by the local “progressive” government, have continued unabated to this day. This includes the latest outrageous government attacks on Santa Cruz activists Ed Frey, Gary Johnson, Linda Lemaster, Occupy Santa Cruz, and the Santa Cruz 11. For more on those cases, see “USA: Human Rights Activist Ordered to Six Months of Jail, More Repression Scheduled” the link is posted at the end of this article.
In addition, there has actually been a worsening of anti-homeless laws, including laws that make sleep by the homeless now punishable by serious jail time. This includes a new bill passed by the Democrat controlled California State Assembly that doubles the punishment under anti-sleeping law 647e, making sleep punishable by up to a year in jail. In addition, new Santa Cruz City laws passed by the “progressive” Democrats of the Santa Cruz City Council make repeat sleep offenses by the homeless punishable by up to six months in jail as well.
The role of Green Party of Santa Cruz in carrying out oppression against activists, reported in this article, fits with the Green Party’s recent successful actions to remove socialists from the ballot in Illinois. Santa Cruz history is useful in seeing some of the inherent problems with the capitalist Green Party and seeing the need for building a revolutionary socialist alternative.
Santa Cruz also has an informative history with a civilian police review boards. In response to police actions in Anaheim, the Freedom Socialist Party presidential campaign is presently pushing reformist illusions in creating a citizen’s police review board to reign in the abuses of the cops. Yet, as reported in this article, Santa Cruz experience shows that these boards don’t work. Over and over again we see that it is the most abusive cops that usually get promoted and who are only rarely prosecuted for their crimes, let alone fired. The police abuse us, not because they are rogue, but because they are following orders. Santa Cruz experience shows nothing changed under a citizen’s police review board. The Santa Cruz Citizen’s Police Review Board was set up merely to give the illusion that there was a proper channel within the system that could give people justice after we were abused by the cops. And that’s all it was, an illusion of a chance for police victims to receive justice where we never got it. Reformist illusions in such bodies need to be fought in favor of recognizing that abusive police are an inherent part of the capitalist system, and only the revolutionary overthrow of the capitalist state will end police abuses.
In addition, after my article, I offer some self-criticism on why my program at the time wasn’t enough. Because I did receive a large amount of support from the community at the time, I think this public criticism of my errors could be useful and informative for the struggles of today and struggles to come.
HOMELESSNESS AND POLITICAL REPRESSION, THE GREEN PARTY FAILS THE TEST IN SANTA CRUZ. (December 04, 2001)
By STEVE ARGUE
Green Party City Council Person Tim Fitzmaurice and "progressive" Democrats Christopher Krohn and Keith Sugar were swept into office out of a ground swell of opposition to plans for expansion of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in 1998.
At that time many had the illusion that these three were going to over turn the city’s sleeping ban (a city law making it illegal for the homeless to sleep at night), and confront the repressive nature of the Santa Cruz Police Department. Those illusions were soon shattered.
During Tim Fitzmaurice's past three years in office he has opposed lifting the sleeping ban. In 1998 the City Council was under public pressure to end the sleeping ban. At that time Fitzmaurice did support a successful measure that lowered the fine for sleeping outside or in a vehicle from $162 to $54. But Fitzmaurice voted with the majority on the council against lifting the sleeping ban. The vote was Sugar and Krohn for lifting the sleeping ban, Fitzmaurice, Biers, Rotkin, and Hernandez against.
This year (2001) when newly elected Council Member (D) Ed Porter tried to bring the issue of the sleeping ban up for discussion, (G) Mayor Fitzmaurice broke the rules of city hall by vetoing the discussion. Porter, in an Al Gore like fashion, did not fight the violation of democracy.
Fitzmaurice's stand against the rights of the homeless is in clear violation of the platform of the Green Party, which opposes anti-homeless laws. Because of this fact, Green Party member Robert Norse has pushed for the Green Party of Santa Cruz to hold Tim Fitzmaurice accountable. Yet, instead of the Green Party officially distancing themselves from Tim Fitzmaurice for his policies against the homeless they have demonized Robert Norse for criticizing their beloved Green Party mayor. Many of these attacks on Robert Norse are of a personal nature despite their clear political motivations.
It is the obligation of any political party to hold those they elect to power to the positions of the membership of the party. If a political party does not do so its political platform is only worth so much toilet paper. This has been the case of the Democrat Party for years. It is the case with the past three years of Green Party power in Santa Cruz as well. If the Green Party truly represented change it would kick Tim Fitzmaurice out of the party for his violations of party policy and violations of human rights, rather than defending him.
While nothing has been remedied, the anti-activist and anti-homeless nature of the Santa Cruz Police has been there since before the Green Party took office. In the 1980s the Santa Cruz Police, according to court testimony of fellow officers, carried out beatings of homeless people which they called “operation code blue” over their radios. What “code blue” meant was that officers were to arrive on the scene where they beat homeless people to death.
Sandy Loranger did jail time for feeding the homeless soup. When the judge offered her counseling instead of jail, Sandy Loranger replied, "If feeding my fellow man is a crime, I am beyond rehabilitation." Film footage shows activist B.D. was tackled and pepper sprayed by Santa Cruz Police when he was merely giving a speech for the rights of the homeless on a downtown sidewalk. In a similar manner, film footage shows James Cosner was tackled down and arrested merely for taping up a poster of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal to a downtown fence.
The repression and abuses have continued since the election of Tim Fitzmaurice, but the Green Party in office has done nothing to stop them.
One year before the election of Tim Fitzmaurice, homeless and anti-police brutality activist John Dine was shot and killed by Santa Cruz Police Officer Connor Carey. On television, the claim by Police Chief Belcher was that John Dine was pointing a toy gun at the officer before he was shot. Yet none of the many independent eyewitnesses backed up that claim.
Even the Citizen's Police Review Board (appointed by the City Council) recognized that John Dine was not pointing a gun. Yet the Citizen's Police Review Board (CPRB) claimed not to be contradicting Chief Belcher in their findings despite telling an entirely different story.
The CPRB's report stated that the shooting of John Dine was justified because he was reaching for what appeared to be a gun. Because of activism, too much of the truth had gotten out to the public for the CPRB to stick with Chief Belcher's version of a pointed gun, but the CPRB continued the cover-up with this new falsified version of events where John Dine is supposedly reaching for what appears to be a gun. The independent eyewitnesses refuted this CPRB version of events as well.
Some of the eyewitnesses had become so upset about the cover-up by the city government, DA, and the corporate media that they became activists in trying to get out the truth and punish those responsible.
The Santa Cruz Sentinel, one of the main corporate newspapers in Santa Cruz, however, continues to refer to John Dine as "a deranged man who was pointing a toy gun at police".
On November 12, 1998, the one-year anniversary of the police murder of John Dine, a protest of 100 people was organized demanding an end to the cover-up. Speakers at that event included newly elected City Council Persons Christopher Krohn and Keith Sugar along with myself. The following day, a photo of all three of us standing in front of the demonstrators was prominently displayed on page 2 of the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
That same day, November 13th, I was brutalized and arrested by Santa Cruz Police Officer Garner. The pretext for arrest was that I was selling newspapers without a license. Yet the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is very clear about protecting freedom of press. It states, "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." In fact, the city law, on paper anyway, also allows the selling of newspapers. Officer Garner's request for a license brings my arrest and beating to the level of absurdity because the city does not even have a license that it issues for selling newspapers in the first place.
Up until November of 1998 the police regularly harassed and at times ticketed those who distributed more truthful news than can be found in the corporate media. Those papers include the newspaper Street Spirit which advocates human rights for the homeless, various socialist papers, and the revolutionary unionist paper: The Industrial Worker.
I was released without charges after four days in jail and after being brutalized by arresting officers on the street, and also being beaten by sheriffs in the county jail. In addition, Christopher Krohn and Keith Sugar were criticized in an editorial in the Santa Cruz Sentinel for their participation in the November 12th demonstration. After facing that criticism, Krohn and Sugar shut their mouths about police brutality, including in the cases of John Dine and myself.
I, on the other hand, knowing that freedoms have to be fought for, was back out on the street selling newspapers immediately after my release from jail. I also spoke out on the radio, TV, and in the newspapers for freedom of press. As a result of my actions and other activists publicizing the case, the police have, for the most part, stopped violating the right of people to buy and sell newspapers in the City of Santa Cruz. The one exception I know of was in 2000 when I was once again threatened with arrest for selling newspapers. I refused to back down and eventually the police backed down instead.
My attorney, Kate Wells, and I have also filed a lawsuit in federal court for the City’s violations of the constitutional rights of the people of Santa Cruz to free speech. The attorney for the City, who works for the Green / Democrat City Council, is arguing that it is not legal to sell newspapers in Santa Cruz. A Federal Judge, however, has ruled that not only was my arrest a clear violation of constitutional rights, but that the way the City is trying to defend its actions now shows that it is City policy to violate constitutional rights. The City attorney's office, again under the control of the Green / Democrat City Council, is appealing the ruling and continuing to argue against the First Amendment Constitutional rights of the people of Santa Cruz.
Green Party City Council Person Tim Fitzmaurice along with Krohn and Sugar did nothing to defend freedom of press when I was arrested. In fact, Fitzmaurice's appointee to the so-called Citizen's Police Review Board, Green Party member Arne Leff, voted with the rest, saying that the police acted properly when they arrested and beat me for selling newspapers.
The Green Party of Santa Cruz moved further to the right in the 2000 elections in their opposition to freedom of press. They endorsed Arne Leff in his run for city council.
These are not small questions. They involve the protection, or not, of the most fundamental free speech rights. Freedom of press is difficult enough in America as it is without arrest because of the lack of advertising and accompanied low budgets that those who try to get out the truth have to deal with. John Dine can no longer pass out flyers or participate in protests to end the sleeping ban because he is dead. The fact that Connor Carey is still on the police force, serves as a powerful warning to other would be homeless activists that they may die for their convictions.
The silence of the City Council only helped to promote this repressive atmosphere. The City Council is the boss of the police through City Manager Dick Wilson, who they have the authority to fire. Repressive and murderous cops have to be taught that there are consequences for their crimes.
Other activists for the rights of the homeless have had their rights trampled by the police under the past three years of Green Party / Democrat Party rule in Santa Cruz as well. These have included James Nay who was arrested for writing things in chalk on the sidewalk opposing the sleeping ban, and David Silva who was arrested and given a psychiatric evaluation for asking City Council, "What's it going to take, self emollition to end the sleeping ban?"
Activist for the homeless, Robert Norse, was illegally arrested on September 19th and on October 3rd for circulating a petition at the Farmer's Market asking for an end to police harassment of musicians, artisans, and activists by the Santa Cruz Police at the Farmer's Market. The Farmer's Market is held in a publicly owned parking lot and, as a public gathering space, courts have ruled even on private property such as malls, that the First Amendment still applies. The need for Norse’s petition was partially inspired by the threat of police to arrest of peace activist John Theilking for a literature table he had set up on September 5th.
Judge Stevens later dropped the charges against Robert Norse in court along with dismissing the attempt at an injunction against him, but the arrests were another clear violation of the free speech rights of the people of Santa Cruz. These arrests have been coupled with the Green / Democrat city government's blatant fencing off of most of the areas that used to be used for free speech tables at the Farmer's Market.
Activists regularly pass out fliers, set up literature tables, and circulate petitions at the Farmer's Market for many causes. In 1999, rent control activist Bob Lamonica and activists for freeing U.S. political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal were threatened with ticketing and potential arrest by Officer Howes. Activists for both causes spoke out against the violation of their rights, and in the following weeks they defiantly set up literature tables and were left alone. While the outcome was good, the violent and arrest happy history of the Santa Cruz Police made these stands for free speech heroic.
Coupled with these blatant attacks on free speech is a constant low intensity warfare of harassment against human rights activists, the homeless, street artisans, and musicians. As the police often say to their victims, "this is Santa Cruz; we can find a law for anything." In 2000, Robert Norse was ticketed for sitting at the base of Tom Scribner's statue. Charges were later dropped when he produced a photo of City Council members doing the same thing. Activist K.C., who has attended a number of demonstrations, was ticketed for blowing bubbles, which the officer claimed were projectiles being thrown into traffic. That charge was dropped when it made the national news.
When dealing with the homeless, the police often illegally steal backpacks, vehicles, and identification. The police confiscations of identification have now become especially serious with the City’s emergency shelter program now requiring ID as a result of the National Guard Armory, who's building provides the shelter, now requiring identification to be admitted into emergency winter shelter. This is being done under the pretext of the "war on terror". In the summer, there is no emergency shelter in Santa Cruz except that which takes months to get into and only lasts one month. The new ID rule gives the police one more opportunity to victimize the homeless in the winter. The new rule also victimizes undocumented immigrants who may need emergency shelter.
Santa Cruz Police have stopped me five times under the manufactured pretext of jay walking, which carries a heavy fine. One of those tickets was thrown out of court and I was later arrested for another that I refused to pay. The police also took my car without legitimate legal pretext and arrested me that same day for watching, without intervening, the police hassle a homeless man. I never got my car back, but the charge for witnessing police misconduct and then becoming a victim of it myself was thrown out of court, after a tape of the incident made by activist and Free Radio DJ, Vinny Lombardo, was played for the judge. While this harassment was taking place, according to witnesses, a photo of me, drawn in wire rimmed glasses and a goatee, made to look like revolutionary leader Leon Trotsky, was hanging on the police station wall.
Emboldened by years of repression and harassment against the homeless, and getting away with repression against activists dealing with local issues, the Santa Cruz Police viciously attacked anti-war protesters on May 22, 1999. By Sgt. MacMahon's own admission in court, it was a lawful protest until the police intervened. The protest was against the US bombing of Yugoslavia. The target of the protest was a Democrat Party fundraiser where Congressional Representative Sam Farr (D) was giving a speech. Sam Farr had the nerve to vote for the war and then turn around and say on the news "Give peace a chance." Protesters were demanding an end to the war and exposing Sam Farr's real policies. Police brutalized protesters and five were arrested.
One of the main culprits in the attack was Officer David LaFavor. He had stated a couple years earlier to activist David Silva that it was his goal to clean the scum off of the streets of Santa Cruz. When asked who the scum were he listed the homeless, political activists, and street musicians. David Silva warned the City Council about Officer LaFavor at that time.
At the protest, the first person arrested, without reason, was Kao Ling Lao. The charge against her, Disturbing the Peace, was later thrown out of court. She was grabbed by police and taken through the crowd to a waiting patty-wagon. Angry protesters wanted to know what she was being arrested for and followed the police to the patty-wagon, which they peacefully surrounded, blocking its exit. As if to inflame the protesters to react with another provocation, the police then went after the only two people in the crowd who were carrying small children.
Videotape shows Officer LaFavor passing up other protesters and walking up to Julian who is holding her four-year old child. LaFavor immediately grabbed Julian’s wrist and put her in a pain compliance hold. A man with an infant was also grabbed by Officer LaMoss. Officer LaFavor then drags Julian around the patty-wagon and stops in front of me with Julian’s child screaming “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” in fear and Julian screaming in pain, her hand turned purple from the pain compliance hold. I demanded that LaFavor stop torturing the woman. LaFavor did not comply with my reasonable commands. I then used the force necessary to stop the crime he was carrying out; I punched LaFavor in the nose. Julian and her child were then able to escape.
Nassim Zarriffi stepped in against the other case of police child abuse that day, where he came up from behind and pulled Officer LaMoss's arm up saying, "You're hurting the baby". The baby was being pressed in between the arresting officer and the father and Nassim was concerned for the baby’s safety. After Nassim’s action, the father and child were then also able to escape as the police turned on Nassim Zarriffi. He was charged with Misdemeanor Assault on an Officer and Misdemeanor Resisting Arrest, I was charged with Felony Assault and Battery on a Police Officer and Misdemeanor Resisting Arrest. In addition, James Cosner and Vinny Lombardo were charged with Resisting Arrest. The arrested became known as the Santa Cruz 5 and gained support in Santa Cruz, around the country, and around the world.
Due to massive pressure demanding justice, the Citizen's Police Review Board found that excessive force was used against Julian that endangered her child, and excessive force was used against myself when I was arrested. Despite these facts, I was convicted in court due to the actions of a hostile judge, Judge Attack, due to the incompetence and hostility of my attorney, Ben Rice, and due to the conservative nature of the jury. I endured 7 months in the Santa Cruz County Jail where I was held in solitary confinement for much of the time, beaten by guards, and faced other abuses from authorities.
Officer Lafavor no longer works for the City Government. According to a source in the Santa Cruz City Government, LaFavor was given the choice of being fired or resigning. He has, however, after resigning, gotten a job in another police department. [In his wake at his new job, a women has called me telling me that she called the police about being the victim of a domestic dispute, but Officer Lafavor showed-up on the scene and beat her-up instead.]
Today, the slander against the May 22nd demonstration continues on the national TV show called "Great Police Chases." They have repeatedly shown falsified video completely out of sequence showing me punching Officer LaFavor, but removing the video of Julian and her child before the punch was thrown, replacing it with other video of Officer LaFavor. The show, after deliberately falsifying the events of the demonstration also mocks the protesters for being “pacifists”. Opposing America's unjust wars and bombing of civilians does not necessarily make one a pacifist. I’m certainly not one.
When I ran for City Council in 2000, the Santa Cruz Sentinel repeatedly referred to me as "the cop puncher" while other candidates like Arne Leff were referred to by their professions. In this context, Arne Leff would more appropriately have been called the “constitution crusher”.
Despite the clear video tapes showing the violence and abuses of the police, no member of the Green / Democrat City Council ever took any action on behalf of the Santa Cruz 5 nor the right to protest while we were being prosecuted. Fitzmaurice's silence can be contrasted to the decision of the membership of the Green Party to put out a statement demanding the charges against me be dropped and Officer LaFavor be fired.
Will the Green Party be hi-jacked nation wide by opportunist career politicians who protect the status quo while the majority of membership is unwilling to make any significant moves to hold them accountable? The experience in Santa Cruz suggests it will.
The unwillingness of the Green Party to seriously take on police abuses and anti-poor laws with their position of power reflects a petty bourgeois reformist outlook, rather than a revolutionary working class perspective. The program of the Green Party sees the petty bourgeois owners of small businesses as their counter-weight to evil multi-national corporations. It is an economy of small businesses that they see as their maximum program, a program where small businesses are the base of the economy. The reality in Santa Cruz is that most of these small business owners are the biggest proponents of anti-homeless laws and the culprits in paying some of the lowest wages that cause homelessness.
In opposition, I promote methods of class struggle against all exploiters who trample on the rights of the poor and working class whether they be big or small capitalists. I call for doubling the minimum wage. Any business that can't pay a living wage should be driven under. I call for rent control to curb the gouging of the landlords. I call for firing the city manager, the chief of police, and Officer Connor Carey as a first step towards curbing police abuse. I call for an end to anti-homeless laws. I call for the city employee's living wage to be extended to part time employees paid for with cuts in the six digit salaries of the likes of Dick Wilson. I call for the unity of working and poor people against the bosses and their government and call for an end to all racist, sexist, and homophobic policies. I oppose US wars to subjugate the people of the world to U.S. corporate interests. I oppose the degradation of the planet’s ecology for the profits of the capitalists. I support the people in organizing unions, strikes, demonstrations, alternative media, an anti-capitalist worker's political parties to take on the power of the capitalist system.
It is on this platform I ran for office while being homeless in 2000 and received close to 3,000 votes, and it is on this platform I may run again in 2002. This was very respectable given the fact that 3 of the winners only got around 8,000 votes and they did it with much more money. But whether I run or not, and whether I win or not, change will only come through all who are fed up with the system taking an active role in making change.
Additional points by Steven Argue, August 4, 2012 -
This was a plan of action. As pointed out, I knew it was unlikely that I would be elected, but thought it was worthwhile to use my campaign the expose the lies of the local City Council, police, courts, corporate media, Democrat Party, and Green Party. If I had gotten elected I would have used my position to further the struggle for justice by continuing to expose the lies of the ruling class, mobilizing the people against the institutions of the capitalist state, and fighting to make changes even when that meant introducing bills that had little chance of passing to expose where everyone really stood.
Honest politicians who tie ourselves to the needs of the proletariat have just about no chance of getting elected in America today. Not being elected was expected. A far bigger problem was that I worked hard in advocating this program without adequately addressing the need to build a revolutionary organization around it. To be fair, there was no adequate revolutionary socialist party in the United States at that time, and this is a problem I’m now trying to address with the building of the Revolutionary Tendency (RTSP).
In addition, here are some other key points where I think I needed to address the issues in a clearer more revolutionary manner:
1. I was correct in calling for the doubling of the minimum wage, despite the lies from City Councilman (and fake socialist) Mike Rotkin. He claimed that municipalities “can’t raise the minimum wage” and said of the city council “we would have done it long ago if we could have”. Later, other municipalities did raise the minimum wage and the issue was also put on the Santa Cruz ballot, but defeated due to the campaigns of the local petty bourgeoisie against it. At that time, Mike Rotkin was exposed as a blatant liar when he campaigned against raising the minimum wage, despite claiming in the past he would have supported it if it was legally possible for the city to raise the minimum wage. Rotkin, still a fraud, is no longer on the City Council but teaches a fraudulent version of Marxism at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC).
2. My call for firing Police Chief Belcher was, in part, to draw attention to the fact that the City Council did, in fact, actually have the power over the local repressive police. Instead of just advocating measures to change the police force starting with firing the chief of police, firing Officer Connor Carey, ending enforcement of drug laws, ending racial profiling, and repealing anti-homeless laws, I should have also more clearly advocated the need for firing the entire police force and starting over by hiring a new police force drawn from supporters of the proletarian revolution.
3. I was correct in advocating rent control, but instead of just advocating rent control, I should have clearly advocated the revolutionary expropriation of the land lords and bankers to provide everyone with housing at 10% or less of our income. This would immediately eliminate homelessness.
4. I was correct in advocating the decriminalization of marijuana and other drugs as part of ending this police state’s mass incarceration of the poor and working class, but I should have more clearly advocated the total smashing and abolition of the bourgeois courts and prison systems as they currently exist and the building of a proletarian justice system.
5. I was correct to advocate measures that would make Santa Cruz more bicycle and pedestrian friendly as well as advocating massive subsidies for public transportation to expand the bus system and make its services available for free. Yet, short of a proletarian revolution that nationalizes the oil, coal, auto, and gas industries on a national scale, eliminates their corrupting power over politics, and takes immediate actions towards slowing emissions that cause climate change, we are presently peering over an abyss of climate change that will cause millions upon millions of human deaths and could possibly spell the end of human civilization. Breaking with the oil politicians of the Democrat and Republican parties on a local and national scale is essential for our future, as is a proletarian revolution that puts the management of our economy and environment in the hands of the majority of people. Nothing short of a total break from capitalist politics offers any future for humanity.
Wealth and power are monopolized by a few capitalists in America. We do not live in a democracy. It is not through begging for fairness that the wealthy capitalists will share wealth and power with the majority. It is through instilling in the ruling class the fear that we will rise up and take the entire pie that we sometimes win a piece of the pie. The only way we have ever created that kind of fear is by seriously organizing for revolution to take the entire pie. And that is what we want. It is by organizing militant unions, effective strikes, and a political party seriously geared towards advancing both militant proletarian action and socialist revolution that both reforms and revolutions are won. These are the goals of the Revolutionary Tendency of the Socialist Party (RTSP). Join us.
Also, in Santa Cruz, join this coming protest for Ed Frey, see: "USA: Human Rights Activist Ordered to Six Months of Jail, More Repression Scheduled" (This is a current article with a flyer for the August 7th and 8th protest for Ed Frey attached at the end) [http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/07/29/18718520.php]
Also see the following articles from Liberation News: "City Council Passes Resolution Preventing Vigilante Justice Against Homeless (satire)" [http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/08/21/18442098.php]