it is a well hot day today here, you can't even stand out in the sun for too long, forcing me to cut short my digging up of weeds in my new little allotment plot. when i got it on monday (for free!) the groundslady was pretty skeptical about whether i would be able to grow anythign this late in the year, but we (me and tess, my co plotter) are thinking that some herbs will be hardy enough to survive the winter outside, and maybe also some pumpkins. i just have to work out how much manure and stuff to put on and where and when, and we are off. people in the plots next to us are growing peppers, tomatos, broccoli and all sorts of great things.
it is almost totally silent down on the allotments, which is a mindcalming change from the last few days, which have been mega hectic. as part of my UC and the bomb class, we had to do a 'creative project', either direct action, education or long term planning. so me and this girl raquel were the only ones that wanted to do DA, and decided to tie it in with a meeting of the regents, who are the uni of california's top brass (who will earn $$$ from contracts with weapons labs) and responsible for all sorts of social and environmental evils, aswell as being completely unnacountable and deaf to the students wishes. so on friday i visited raquel's turquoise camper van (there is a camper van park at the top of campus which seems the most ethical and community based living arrangement on campus, plus well cheap) to spray paint some masks and banners with 'UC nuke free' etc on them. while i was there this guy came who had been diving for like massive oysters (can't remember what they are called here) and would we like some? so we ate these oysters or whatever in fajitas with avacado and loads of salad and stuff, was delicious. they all cook communily there all the time and even have a communal BBQ, which is a far cry from the sterilised canteens that i have to eat in.
and we also went to a couple of tedious, frustrating meetings about the PLAN for what we were going to do when the regents came (first time in 12 years or something) which culminated in us deciding that we there were too many variables (viz no. or police, location, numbers of people, willingness of people to be human shields etc) to actually make a plan, so we all went home.
then the next day about 2 or 300 of us massed and marched to the building the regents were due to meet in. i had forgotten how much i feel at home in the demo situation. the idea was to not let them get into the building to have their meeting, because each person in the meeting only had 30 seconds to speak and the regents didn't listen anyway. the regents would be silenced liek we are silenced when it comes to their decision making. so we arrive at the building, everyone ( making lots of noise, and there are some speakers, then we hear the regents haven't arrived yet, which is good news, so we go to all the doors of the buildings but, alas, on one of the doors the police came and formed a human shield so the regents slipped in and we had missed our chance. so everyone grouped together and had more speakers, then everyone decided to not let them out of the building, so we formed a human shield around the building for a while, linked arms, but nothing seemed to be happening and everyone was sort of milling then the new plan was to just group up around all the doors, which we did, and then out comes a couple of coppers with the regents! so arms lock tight and a copper pushes me and shouts at me to get out of the way and i say 'no officer' and the wall stays strong and they retreat. the regents look passive, or try and pretend to be slightly amused by the situation (there are 4 of them here at this point, 2 more have got away). then everyone expects them to try to get out a different door, but 5 minutes later one of the regents, a bit tall grey haired man comes out like he has just been like 'a bunch of students cant stop me', and again it was me and my mate richie who were quick enough to get infront of them and then everyone linked onto us and the fucking regent leans down to me (he is very tall) and he is like 'excuse me, but i have a kid to be picked up from kindergarten' and i say to him 'well mate, if you are going to involve yourself in these types of things you are going to have to face the consequences' and he shoves me a bit more then they retreat again. but then the cops try and forcibly push us all out, waving batons, and riche gets pulled to the ground by 2 coppers and his tshirt gets ripped but then a mob of people drag him away from the cops, but then suddenly everythign has turned ugly and this girl adele, a slight build african-american anarchist was being dragged along the floor by a load of cops, so everyone dives in to try and grab her back but the cops drag her into the building, but keep the door open, and so a load of us charge at the door, and it is almost like a rugby scrum with 3 lines of cops and about 7 lines of protesters (i assumed the scrum position) pushing, and we were getting the better of it, and they were being forced back and back and we were screaming 'LET THEM GO! LET THEM GO!' and the cops started screaming GET BACK! GET BACK! and then BANG out come the extended batons and they start smacking people at the front, so a few people fall back and suddenly i am right eyeball to eyeball with this screaming copper and i am screaming at him and he is being pushed back and this lasts about 4 seconds until a shithead cop behind the cop i was pushing against gets out his mace and for a second i think 'wow, the line of the mace looks beautiful' and then suddenly i can't see and my whole face is burning like never before and i struggle back from the crowd and try and get some water in my eyes, and then people and cameras are crowding round and about 6 of us have been maced and suddenly all the energy has gone out of the demo because people are SCARED and shocked by everything.
so the mace really really hurt, it got in my contact lenses so i had to take them out which hurt even more, then someone in a suit brought a bucket of ice and there were terse thank yous and then suddenly i was feeling pretty chuffed that i had actually had a scuffle with an all-american cop and he had chicked out and pepper sprayed me. then eveyone was shouting 'calm down, calm down' and everyone sat down and discussed what to do next. most people were concerned for the 3 people dragged into the building by the cops, but then there was word that they had brought in riot police from berkeley (san francisco) who were massing in a nearby carpark. and then everyone really got quite scared and, to cut a long story short, a deal was done whereby we agreed to let out the 2 remaining regents peacefully and then our friends would not be arrested, only 'cited' (fined). soon after i couldn't see anything and was pissed off that noone wanted to continue to fight (surely the people arrested would not have wanted us to just give up, and be forced to bargain witht he cops, because we had the upper hand adn they were still inside!) and a few of us said we wanted to continue a sit down protest but everyone was like 'no you are jeapordising the safety of our friends!' and i was like 'this has shown that the regents don't listen, they just call in the physical authority of the state, this is the pivotal moment!' and everyone thoguht i was being stupid and insensitive, except richie who agreed. so we took a peek at the riot cops then i went to collect my long board (that isn't mine), IT HAD BEEN STOLEN, but just cos all the abovew had happened and i was still feeling a bit shaky i barely thought 'oh shit' and just walked home in silence (my MP3 player broke the other day when i crashed on aformentioned long board)
then yesterday it turned out i was on the front page of the santa cruz sentinal (http://www.santacruzphotogallery.com/gallery/protest) having my eyes washed out after being maced, with richie in the other photo (of the guy sprawled out among cops). Then in the evening i had my UC an the bomb class where most people thought the action was a bad thing! we had a heated but reasoned debate but i was very sad at the general attitude of the students. the thing is, the protest was a natural reaction to everyone being silenced and denied the right to be heard, so OBVIOUSLY people are going to be angry, and whatever happens after that is the collective decision fo the group, and if all these pacifist ney sayers had been there, and there were 2000 people instead of 200 then maybe things would have been different, but you just can't stay at home and then tell everyone after what SHOULD have happened. but we were accused of being a mob and fighting for the said of fighting and what were we going to achieve anywya? the sting int he tail is that one of the girls arrested has been charged with an offence that coudl put her in prison 'battery of a police officer', and she coudl be expelled, so all the people who wanted to negotiate with the cops have been sold down the river like they were alwasy going to be.
but met some proper anarchist types who have promised to show me to sights (but were well secretive). apparently most of the good punk shows happen in houses rather than venues, which is cool too.
the reason i had a long board not a bike htat got stolen is another annoying thing- we did our usual guerilla cinema then music on the beach thing on friday, met some people but then i got a puncture so we went back to this girls house to try and fix it, but she didn't have the right type of pump, so she gave me her longboard so max could tow me to the bus stop and i left my bike there, but when i went back the next day to pick it up i couldn't for the life if me remember where her hosue was, because i was too pissed the night before to pay any attention to where i was.... so until next friday (if they come to guerilla cinema again) i am bikeless, and have to explain to her that i got her longboard stolen... shit.
only other big happenings of the week is that i have been allowed to move out, with no excess fees or anything (except $80 for the keys i lost), in a couple of weeks. this is really good news, gets me out of the campus bubble, cooking my own food, chilling with wider cross section of people, allowed to play music in my own space, cheaper, own room, garden, bike to the beach before breakfast etc etc. i went to visit last night, there were loads of people there (even though only 4 other people live there) and it was all quite rowdy, but i think that will make a nice and exciting change from here, even though i will probably get a lot less work done. they have huge plants everywhere, one of them is into jigsaws, they make homemade lemon and ginger ice tea and have a cat called parker (i hope the namesake of the thunderbirds character). everything there is just much more like a home and less like a hotel. my flatmates were ok when i broke the news to them- giancarlo already knew (was probably part of the decision making process), edmund pretend not to hear me and i had told max earlier, so all ok. max is thinking of putting in a tranfer request to a different room too, i don't blame him.
i am off to santa barbara for the weekend, 4 hours south (and HOT apparently) for a conference about nukes, there is a woman from yorkshire CND speaking i think which is quite funny. hope it is not another talking shop waste of time, but from the people i know who are going i don't think it will be. but i need to eat before i go- got a taco in the fridge- so will go.