Struggle Against Sleeping Ban Becomes a Matter of Survival at City Hall

For the last 10 nights since the Winter Shelter program ended (a month earlier than Berkeley’s or Salinas’s), some of its refugees have been camped at City Hall, spending their nights and some of their days there as well.


Some are arrayed just outside the offices of Mayor Cynthia Chase and the same Council majority that kept sleeping a crime in a Council vote last spring.

I’ve written a flyer or two about the issue & distributed it at “liberal” activist gatherings like the Indivisible rally Saturday. So far no Indivisible groups have expressed interest in the 1000-2000 unsheltered or protesting local Trumpism here against our own poverty refugees.

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Survival sleeper Lawrence MacGregor reports police and security thugs driving disabled and elderly sleepers out from under the eaves of City Hall into the rain over the weekend. Another sleeper reported police and rangers following the sleepers across the street to the Civic Auditorium overhang where they then sought shelter–and driven from there. Both structures are vacant at night.

All bathrooms remained closed late at night; the City Hall bathrooms (apparently on the order of City Manager Martin Bernal) during the day as well “for vandalism” (though they seemed to work well enough when “respectable” groups were meeting in City Council chambers.

Video of the April 6th police expulsion raids is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVvpZ5RE9FI&feature=youtu.be .

Monterey County Union of the Homeless videographer Wes White’s video of the April 11th Memorial for Michael Mears–who reportedly died of hypothermia–is posted at https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=Santa%20Cruz%20Freedom%20Sleepers .

Freedom Sleepers will be meeting Tuesday night in front of City Hall at 7 PM to discuss preparations to support a May 9th mega-demo against the Sleeping Ban as well as support for the nightly Survival Sleepers. The meeting will follow a 6 PM meeting on the 2nd floor of the Main Public Library around the Homeless Crisis.

There will also be a free showing Wednesday April 19th up at UCSC at the Kresge Seminar Room #159. Featured will be Brent Adams’ “Out of Sight, Out of Mind”, Israel Dawson’s “Freedom Sleepers”, and Rebecca Gourevitch’s “Holding Out”.

Freedom SleepOut #93 will go from Tuesday afternoon until Wednesday morning–the public is invited to drop in, stay awhile, bring blankets, sleeping bags, and video devices to film and post what the City is seeking to hide or ignore–the abuse of homeless people at the very seat of government.

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Following Fast and Fancy City Council Footwork, Freedom Sleepers Return for 86th Time Tuesday February 28th

Date Tuesday February 28  Time 4:00 PM – 4:00 AM

Location Details Dodging raindrops and rangers, the nimblefooted Freedom Sleepers continue their relentless quest for sanity and justice outside City Hall on Tuesday night. Food usually arrives in the late afternoon, and coffee the following morning. The protest runs from Tuesday afternoon through mid-morning Wednesday. Come early Tuesday afternoon if you want to raise your voice at City Council. Bring video, warm bedding, and good humor to deal with the cold night and the city’s paid nightmare providers.

Event Type Protest  Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse)

BATHROOM BARRICADE LAST WEEK BY BUREAUCRAT BADGIRLS
The City Council bathrooms are regularly closed and locked during Freedom SleepOut’s (perhaps to enable to the City to yowl about “urine and feces” being left outside?)> But last week, Freedom Sleepers last week reported even during regular business hours, Assistant administrator Bonnie Bush refused to open the bathrooms, even for a disabled patron, who then relieved himself on a wall. Bring your own catheter or colostomy bag.

MISSION ST. LOCKOUT OF UNHOUSED PATRONS
Julie Shaul and other report what may be an organized crackdown on homeless folks trying to use the laundromat to clean and dry rain-soaked clothing and bedding. Safeway and nearby shops have reportedly removed or walled off outdoor seating. Other businesses such as MacDonald’s are becoming vehemently abusive towards “loitering” customers.

HOMELESS (LACK OF) SERVICES CENTER STRIKES AGAIN!
POVERTY PIMPS DENY HOMELESS WOMAN HER MAIL AFTER SHE WALKED OUT WITH A GRANOLA BAR
Food Not Bombs activist Kim Argula reported being refused access to her mail after she picked up a bar and a bag of chips from a table which looked open to homeless folks. “Denise”, the sharp-tongued poverty pimpstress who confronted her, then “banned” her and called the police even as Kim walked away. Mercifully, the officer responding declined to handcuff the hungry mail seeker and haul her away.

“Bucks for Bums” Boss Phil Kramer subsequently allowed Kim mail access to mail–provided she stood on the sidewalk across the street from the famed “Homeless Services Center”.

Homeless folks are now banned from parking their cars on Coral, Fern, and Limekiln streets with 24-hour Permit-required signs posted along all three.

The Homeless (Lack of) Service Center [HLOSC] has excluded all but a fraction of the homeless community from its breakfast and dinner meals in spite of a $3 million budget and much donated food. The massive cutback in HLOSC services prompted the first Freedom SleepOut on July 4, 2015.

GET THE BAD NEWS DIRECTLY FROM COUNCILMAN CHRIS
9 AM-10 AM: Councilmember Chris Krohn has a pre-Council huddle with members of the public at the Cafe Pergolesi 418 Cedar St.

NO RELIEF FOR TENANTS
Sometime after 2 PM: Tenant activists have asked those supporting renter protection and rent control to come to the afternoon session to speak on Item #17, which grants $10,000 to gab about “affordable housing” without any mention of key renter concerns or inclusion of renters as a primary participatory group.

A BRIEF CHANCE TO SPEAK IF YOU DON’T MIND WAITING 3 1/2 HOURS
Oral Communications: End of the Council’s afternoon agenda (historically 5 PM, but now at a time uncertain–perhaps to discourage speakers who have to wait through the whole afternoon not to miss it?). The period when the Mayor cuts you off after 2 minutes of struggling to make the community aware of issues NOT on the agenda.

RESOLUTIONS AND RABBLTY-BABBLE, BUT NO DOCUMENTS & NO ACCOUNTABILITY
7 PM: City staff returns, after twice delaying a resolution and ordinance banning SCPD collusion with DHS/ICE raids against undocumented immigrants.

The agenda packet includes no documentation of the actual communications between the SCPD and the DHS/ICE. Vogel of the SCPD says one thing and Schwab of the DHS says another (See http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/social-affairs/20170223/feds-santa-cruz-police-trade-jabs-after-february-gang-busts)

Bring your blankets and sleeping bags into the chambers to see if either the SCPD-subservient Council or their “liberal” critics will physically support Sanctuary for and stop busting Santa Cruz’s homeless population–documented or undocumented. That’s what the Freedom Sleepers are all about.

SLAMMING THE BOOK CLOSED ON SCPD’S ARLT KILLING
Missing from the agenda is any follow-up to Vogel’s closed-to-alternative-media press conference 2-16 exonerating Officer Eric Bailey for the slaying of Sean Arlt last October.

The D.A.’s report and the witness’s accounts have not been released.

There has been no indication of any change in SCPD’s “shoot to kill” policy nor have other questions raised by the household that called the SCPD to restrain Arlt. (https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/02/16/18796574.php?show_comments=1#18796828).

TALK BACK ON TALKABOUT TALK SHOW WEDNESDAY NIGHT
Broadcaster John Malkin will be interviewing witnesses and relatives in the law enforcement killings of Sean Arlt and Luke Smith on KZSC (88.1 FM) at 7 PM Wednesday 3-1. Call in at 459-4036.

VIEW AND LEAVE COMMENTS AT https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/02/27/18796875.php.

 

Video Shows SCPD Blocking Media from Sean Arlt Killing Press Conference

Video Shows SCPD Blocking Media from Sean Arlt Killing Press Conference

by Wes White and Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com)
Thursday Feb 23rd, 2017 2:36 PM
https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/02/23/18796773.php

Activist Wes White documents the exclusion of alternative media from the SCPD’s 2-16 Press Conference. There SCPD Police Chief Vogel announced that Officer Eric Bailey was the killer of Sean Arlt, who, police say, approached them aggressively with a metal rake back in early October. The only evidence presented was Vogel’s account, some partial audio, and a partial obscured video that had no recognizable figures in it and ended ten minutes before Arlt died.
Wes White came over from Salinas to film the two press conferences (by D.A. Jeff Rosell and Police Chief Kevin Vogel). He was admitted to the D.A.[‘s conference, but subsequently denied entrance to the second held at the Police Department’s “Community Room”.

Also excluded were Robert Norse (a Free Radio Santa Cruz broadcaster), John Malkin (a reporter with Good Times and KZSC) as well as Food Not Bombs activists Keith McHenry and Abbi Samuels.

The video and audio shown by police give no clear picture of Sean Arlt’s approach to the four police officers. There was no offer to release the D.A.’s investigation or the original police reports.

The few media present at Vogel’s press conference asked very few questions. That section of the video (shown at the closed Press Conference) and subsequently posted on the SCPD’s website and Santa Cruz Indymedia) can be seen at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/02/16/18796574.php?show_comments=1#18796590. Questions begin 57 minutes into the audio file and some are unintelligible. It is unclear which media were allowed into the room.

Wes White is a video-journalist, recent candidate for Salinas City Council, and co-founder of the Monterey County/Salinas Union of the Homeless. His video of the SFPD Press Exclusion is at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGnW82WWpww&feature=youtu.be .

Norse’s audio of the D.A.’s press conference plus some commentary is at http://radiolibre.org/brb/brb170216.mp3 (15 minutes into the file).

Commentary outside the SCPD Press Conference which he was excluded from is at http://radiolibre.org/brb/brb170216.mp3 (1 hour and 4 minutes into the file).

Freedom SleepOut #85 To Face Wettest Winter and Squad Cars at Midnight?

 Date Tuesday February 21

Time 4:00 PM Tuesday9 AM Wednesday

Location Details Back again to City Hall–still the dark center of Sleeping Ban law and enforcement under City Manager Martin Bernal and the Watkins-Terrazas City Council. Determined activists and a crew of homeless folks will be huddling beneath the eaves of the buildings at City Hall until being driven out into the rain , wind, and cold. Just looking for a night of community and relative safety from the Sleeping Ban, they’ll be in sleeping bags, under tents, in vehicles, whereever they can, hoping to spark conscience from the broader community. Food Not Bombs and Joe Schultz will feed. Protest goes, as ever, from mid-afternoon Tuesday to mid-morning Wednesday.

Event Type Protest

Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse)

Email keith@foodnotbombs.net

Phone 575-770–3377

FIGHTING TRUMP EVERYWHERE BUT NOT LOCAL TRUMPISM IN SANTA CRUZ
Protests against Trump across the state and nation have failed so far to catalyze any local protests against Trumpism in Santa Cruz. Particularly concerning the most basic civil rights of our own refugees who face sweeps, property confiscations, harassment, and the nighttime Sleeping Ban–all measures designed to drive them out of town and out of sight.

Folks at a recent Black Lives Matter protest in Capitola this Saturday did seem sympathetic to concerns that SCPD policies impacting black folks, immigrants, and just ordinary folks were also a matter of serious concern regarding homeless folks. See “Community Support for Black Lives Matter in Capitola” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/02/18/18796619.php

POLICE SWAMPED PROTEST WITH FLEET OF VEHICLES LAST WEEK
Freedom Sleepers return this Tuesday fresh from the harsh memory of massive police response against last week’s protest on 2-14.

During that protest, eight SCPD squad cars showed up to arrest activist Maxwell Green in the dead of night ( https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10154889337533820&set=pcb.10154889337793820&type=3&theater ).

SUDDEN POLICE INTEREST IN MAXWELL GREEN
Though Green spoke earlier that day at City Council and could have been served with a citation at that time, the city’s uniformed gunmen showed up at midnight in absurdly disproportionate force, frightening other sleepers there.

Green was charged with 184 (a) willfully obstructing an officer. He will be arraigned in Judge Denine Guy’s court on Mar 16th at 8:30 a.m. The “obstruction” incident allegedly happened over a month ago on 1/18 with the complaint and warrant suddenly issued on 2/15; right after a city council meeting when Green publicly denounced Councilmember Richelle Niroyan. Niroyan authored a failed RV nighttime ban, leading to a caustic exchange between the two of them that homeless-aphobic city staffers may still be trying to patch up behind the scenes.

Green is a mainstay of the Freedom Sleeper protest, who works and lives in Monterey, and regularly commutes to defend the rights of the Santa Cruz homeless here.

FOOD NOT BOMBS EVENTS
Food Not Bombs [FNB], which regularly feeds the Freedom SleepOut’s, is facing harassment from reactionary neighbors, who ban the organization’s street food and literature tables.

FNB will hold an Emergency Meeting 2 PM Friday 2-24 at India Joze 418 Front St.
They also urge folks to sign a petition to Mayor Cynthia Chase urging the City respect the right to share food: Sign it at https://www.change.org/p/cynthia-chase-support-the-right-of-food-not-bombs-to-share-free-food-info-and-ideas-in-public-spaces?

FNB co-founder Katzemjammer Keith McHenry also announced “Direct Action to Fight Fascism” Presentation at 612 Ocean St., Resource Center for Non-Violence 6:30 PM Free to all.

ANTI-VIOLENCE ADVOCATES DEMAND RELEASE OF D.A.’S REPORT
Homeless folks are another minority that faces police harassment and violence.

Activists pressing to end police violence are demanding the release of the police reports and the full D.A.’s investigation in the killing of Sean Arlt. In a quick closed-to-the-public press conference, Chief Kevin Vogel announced D.A. Jeff Rosell’s finding exonerating the killer–Officer Eric Bailey.

There has been no change in the SCPD’s “shoot to kill” policy, nor were details given of how close Arlt was to Bailey when Bailey shot him dead in October. The D.A.’s “investigation” has taken 4 months, and now Vogel’s SCPD announces it will “investigate” further. Meanwhile the witness accounts and the D.A.’s report remain under lock and key. The “Official Story” can be seen on line at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/02/16/18796574.php?show_comments=1#18796616

JOIN THE FREEDOM SLEEPERS
Bring lots of rain gear, blankets, and “protective” video equipment to the protest. Heavy rains may not deter police and ranger attacks on those sheltering themselves at City Hall. But documenting their behavior may awaken the community to the menace of local Trumpism against the poor.


TO COMMENT GO TO https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/02/20/18796677.php.

 

Justice For Sean Arlt, Luke Smith, & John Dine!

Justice For Sean Arlt, Luke Smith, & John Dine!
by Revolutionary Tendency
Hold the Santa Cruz Police and Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Department accountable for their crimes.
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Justice for Sean Arlt, Luke Smith. and John Dine! 
Fire, Prosecute, and Jail Deputy Chris Vigil, the Murderer of Luke Smith! 
 Release the Audio and Video of the SCPD Killing of Sean Arlt! 
Prosecute and Jail SCPD Officer Connor Carey for the Murder of John Dine! 

Saturday, December 17th and Sat. Dec. 31st and every Saturday (except Dec. 24th) until we get justice. 
1:30 PM 
Santa Cruz Clock Tower (at Pacific Ave. and River St., Downtown Santa Cruz, California) 

Justice for Luke Smith! 

The Santa Cruz Sheriff’s department shot and killed 15-year-old Luke Smith with an AR-15 assault rifle. The police also unleashed an attack dog on him and he attempted to defend himself from the brutal dog attack using a very small knife. This shooting was an unacceptable use of force against Luke Smith as he laid on the ground at a distance where he posed no immediate threat to any people present. We demand Luke Smith’s murderer, Deputy Chris Vigil, be fired from the Santa Cruz Sriff’s Departmenr, jailed, and prosecuted for the crime of murder. 

Justice for Sean Arlt! 

Another man recently killed by cops is Sean Arlt. The Santa Cruz Police claim they killed Sean Arlt to prevent him from attacking them with a garden rake. They also say audio and video back their story. We say prove it. Release the audio and the video NOW! We are outraged at the stonewalling by City Manager Martin Bernal, Police Chief Kevin Vogel, Mayor Cynthia Mathews, and the entire Santa Cruz City Council–allowing the police to withhold the video and audio of the incident and the name of Arlt’s killer. Even if the police version of events is true, which we in no way assume to be the case, we ask why four cops could not subdue Sean Arlt without shooting him in the head and chest. Why weren’t tactics of de-escalation used? Why didn’t police use less lethal force like a Taser or aim for his legs? Yet, until the audio and video is released, we don’t assume that the police are telling the truth about anything. As far as we know, there may not have even been a rake involved. 

We are also outraged at the corporate media’s coverage, taking the unproven allegations of the police as fact. For instance, stories that identify Sean Arlt as “the man who attacked police with a metal rake” should insert the word “allegedly”. Until the police release their evidence, all we have is an unproven allegation by the police. The corporate media show their blatant bias by treating unproven police claims as fact. 

We are reminded of the Santa Cruz police murder of homeless activist John Dine in 1997. The police falsely claimed that John Dine was pointing a toy gun at them, but all independent eyewitnesses contradicted this lie. Some eyewitnesses were so outraged that they became activists on the issue. John Dine was, however, murdered by the Santa Cruz police with complete impunity.” 

We must be very careful not to get sucked into circulating police lies and propaganda as fact. In the case of John Dine, the eyewitness evidence is clear. John Dine never pointed a toy gun. Instead, the police murdered him in cold blood and lied about the entire incident. Everyone who circulated the “toy gun story as fact” scenario, even if it was with arguments about better “mental health training for police”, or whatever, were actually circulating police lies and propaganda as fact. In the police killing of Sean Arlt, ever since he was killed on October 16th, 2016, all authorities have suspiciously refused to release any real evidence while at the same time making unsubstantiated claims about a rake. Anyone who treats police claims of a rake in Sean Arlt’s hands as fact, no matter what their arguments may be regarding lethal force or mental health, are still circulating unsubstantiated police propaganda. 

These protests are sponsored by the Revolutionary Tendency and Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom with participation and support from Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs, Luke Smith’s mother, and food and/or coffee are sometimes provided by Joe Schultz of India Joze. 

For some mainstream media coverage of one of our past protests on these issues check out the following KION Coverage: 
http://www.kion546.com/news/memorial-held-to-honor-locals-fatally-shot-by-police/196370776 

Let’s keep up the heat! Come back out Sat. Dec. 17th at 1:30 at the Santa Cruz Clock tower (River St. and Pacific Ave.) and every Saturday until we get justice. 

***UPDATE and CONTACT INFORMATION*** 

To contact the organizers of these events, including to officially endorse and/or get more involved: 
E-mail the Revolutionary Tendency at steveargue2 [at] yahoo.com 
 Or call Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom (HUFF) at (831) 427-HUFF 

Join our Facebook event page and send invitations to invite your Facebook friends to join the event: 
Justice For Sean Arlt and Luke Smith! 
https://www.facebook.com/events/231141847322298/ 

For alternative media sources, meetings, and discussions from the organizers of this demonstration, check us out the following: 

Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom meets every Wednesday starting at 11:00 AM at the Subrosa Café at 703 Pacific Avenue, downtown Santa Cruz. 

The Revolutionary Tendency sponsors online discussions on the fight-back against murders by police, join us at: 
Labor & Revolutionary Action to Jail Killer Cops 
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1737865853149386/ 

For e-mailed written updates from the Revolutionary Tendency, subscribe free to Liberation News 
https://lists.riseup.net/www/viewmod/liberation_news/16020efce2d0b070cfab2d5e320282c7 

For stationary written updates from the Revolutionary Tendency, check-out our Facebook page at: 
https://www.facebook.com/RevolutionaryTendency/ 

For live radio updates from the Revolutionary Tendency, listen-in to Steven Argue’s program, Liberation News, every Saturday starting at 4:00 PM Pacific Standard Time and going to 6:00 or 7:00 PM, depending on the Saturday of the month. Just click the Free Radio Santa Cruz URL for the live-stream at that time below. 

Free Radio Santa Cruz livestream 
http://freeradiosc.radio.net/ 

For written updates from Homeless United For Friendship and Freedom (HUFF) check-out: 
http://www.huffsantacruz.org/ 

For live radio updates from Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom (HUFF) check-out Robert Norse’s show Bathrobes Pierre’s Broadsides every Thursday 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM and every Sunday 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM Pacific Standard Time. Just click the Free Radio Santa Cruz URL for the live-stream below at those times. 

Free Radio Santa Cruz live-stream 
http://freeradiosc.radio.net/ 

For related articles, see: 

Here is an in-depth 4-part series of articles from the Revolutionary Tendency that provides detailed analysis of the fight against police murders and police repression in general: 

Murderous Cops, Liberal Snake Oil, & Revolutionary Solutions 
 by Steven Argue 
http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/222482/index.php 

Justice For Sean Arlt and Luke Smith Community Events Deleted 
Indybay Censorship, Sabotage, and Defamation 
by Steven Argue 
http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/224482/index.php 

I Never Called For “Community Control of the Police”

Indybay Censorship, Sabotage, and Defamation
by Steven Argue
In organizing “Justice for Sean Arlt and Luke Smith protests, the Revolutionary Tendency works in a non-sectarian manner with protest co-sponsor Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom and with participation and support from Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs, 15-year-old Luke Smith’s mother, Luke Smith’s class mates, and with food and coffee provided by Joe Schultz of India Joze. As these are grass-roots community events, one would think that the “non-hierarchical” censors at Indybay could look beyond their unexplained and seemingly irrational hatred, censorship, sabotage, and defamation of these community events demanding justice for Sean Arlt and Luke Smith. Yet, this is not the case.
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Indybay Censorship, Sabotage, and Defamation 
I Never Called For “Community Control of the Police” 
By Steven Argue 

Indybay, a supposed leftist alternative media source providing self-publishing for the people, is censoring posts for community organized events that are protesting the police and sheriff killings of Sean Arlt and Luke Smith. Here is a link to one of several of these postings that have been censored. The following link, which would otherwise be to that event, shows how almost all of it has been deleted and the rest has been crossed-out (that is, it shows that, unless Indybay censors have since rerouted the link, as they have done in the past): 

Justice for Sean Arlt and Luke Smith! (Censored) 
https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/12/11/18794581.php 

The full text of what Indybay has censored, a protest being held Sat. Dec. 17th in Santa Cruz, can be found at the following Facebook event page description. We encourage people to sign up and invite your Facebook friends. 

Justice for Sean Arlt and Luke Smith! (December 17th Facebook page) 
https://www.facebook.com/events/231141847322298/ 

For some mainstream media coverage of one of our past protests on these issues check out the following KION Coverage: 
http://www.kion546.com/news/memorial-held-to-honor-locals-fatally-shot-by-police/196370776 

After December 17th, there will be continued actions. We have been doing these protests every Saturday at 1:30, but will skip Christmas Eve on the 24th. Past events on this issue were also censored by Indybay, and we expect this to continue into the future. People can get updates on these events by subscribing to the following site: 

Liberation News (Internationalist) 
https://lists.riseup.net/www/info/liberation_news 

For those who are unfamiliar, Indybay is part of an international network of other regional sites that go by the name “Indymedia”. Indybay is a site that claims to provide open publishing “support for local, regional and global struggles against exploitation and oppression.” They also falsely claim to be “organized along anti-authoritarian principles of open and transparent decision-making processes, including open public meetings; a form of modified consensus; and the elimination of hierarchies.” It is on these premises that they obtain donations from the communities that they supposedly give voice. 

It has, however, become clear that Indybay’s promises are not reality based. Despite the false claims of Indybay, their hierarchy is presently censoring notices of important community events calling for “Justice for Sean Arlt and Luke Smith!” Despite their claims of “transparency”, they are carrying out these acts of censorship without any explanation to the community and organizations they have censored. As bad as that censorship and lack of transparency are, this gets far worse and more malicious. 

Indybay Sabotage and Defamation 

In addition to Indybay censorship of the “Justice for Sean Arlt and Luke Smith!” events, when one of the event postings was removed, the widely-circulated URL link to that specific censored posting was redirected by the Indybay censors to a different event that had already occurred in the past. This act of sabotage against a widely-circulated link likely confused some people and prevented them from attending our event. 

Not only did the censors at Indybay redirect people to an event notice that one would need a time machine to attend, the event posting that the Indybay censors redirected people to falsely states that the piece is written “by Steven Argue”, when in fact I had no hand in writing it at all. Furthermore, I oppose the demands that were put down in that writing in my name and find them extremely embarrassing. That event posting also fails to include the central demands of our protests. Yet, the “anti-authoritarian” Indybay censors have deleted my comment section postings stating I am not the author as well. In the statements that they delete, I have attempted only the most basic clarification by saying nothing more than, “I did not write the above post, despite being attributed as the author.” 

The redirection of this URL by the Indybay censors combined with the deletion of this elementary clarification can then only be seen as a malicious defamation of both me and the community protests I represent. This redirected link was widely distributed locally, nationally, and internationally. For some of us involved who take our program and demands very seriously, associating our name with what we do not support is a serious act of defamation that tarnishes our image. The deletions by the Indybay censors of my attempt to simply say that I did not write that post makes clear that these acts of censorship, sabotage, and defamation were carried out, and continue to be carried out, with the upmost malicious intent. 

The date of the event at the redirected link was December 3rd, but my deleted event posting was to occur on December 10th. An event on the same issue had been held on December 3rd, as these protests are being held weekly, but clearly that event had already happened. It was a fellow activist who posted that Dec. 3rd notice before that event occurred. He mistakenly posted his embarrassing demands in my name due to two innocent facts. First, he wanted to credit me and not himself as a central organizer of the event. Second, he felt rushed to get the post up himself as I was busy working out of town for a couple of days. 

If not for the redirected URL of the Indybay censors, however, this problem was otherwise corrected soon after the posting for Dec. 3rd event. I made clear, and the other activist in question accepted, that both I and the Revolutionary Tendency never wanted to be associated with those demands ever again, nor should those be put forward as the demands of the protests we are organizing. Fact is, it is likely that nobody would have ever looked at that Dec. 3rd posting ever again were it not for the censors at Indybay deleting our notice for the December 10th event and redirecting those who clicked that URL to the obsolete December 3rd posting. This brought back an otherwise resolved problem due to the fact that this sabotaged redirected link, just before it was sabotaged, was widely distributed locally, nationally, and internationally by Liberation News and the Revolutionary Tendency. 

Unfortunately, Indybay is now opposed to the simplest acts of common decency in allowing individuals and organizations the most basic right to our own words without the libel of misquotes that they are currently promoting against us. As a result, I must now also respond to the demands that they are falsely promoting as my own words. I have three main fundamental differences with the posting under my name. The first two are specific to the demands that I think need to be raised in the Sean Arlt and Luke Smith cases. The third is a demand raised in my name that I view as a fundamental violation of my political ideology. 

Libel Number One: Police Claims of a Rake 

First. the post falsely attributed to my name states, “Lethal shooting is NOT a necessary response to individuals carrying a rake…”. This fails by omitting one of the most fundamental questions, the fact that the police have never backed-up their claims that Sean Arlt even threatened them with a rake. We will not know whether or not there is any credibility to police claims that Sean Arlt ever threatened anyone with a rake until the audio and video is released which police claim backs their story. I am strongly opposed to all statements that concede a rake was involved as this one did. All flyers and notices actually written by me before and after that posting made this clear. Here is an example still found on current flyers:

“The Santa Cruz Police claim they killed Sean Arlt to prevent him from attacking them with a garden rake. They also say audio and video back their story. We say prove it. Release the audio and the video NOW! We are outraged at the stonewalling by City Manager Martin Bernal, Police Chief Kevin Vogel, Mayor Cynthia Mathews, and the entire Santa Cruz City Council–allowing the police to withhold the video and audio of the incident and the name of Arlt’s killer. Even if the police version of events is true, which we in no way assume to be the case, we ask why four cops could not subdue Sean Arlt without shooting him in the head and chest. Why weren’t tactics of de-escalation used? Why didn’t police use less lethal force like a Taser or aim for his legs? Yet, until the audio and video is released, we don’t assume that the police are telling the truth about anything. As far as we know, there may not have even been a rake involved. 

“We are also outraged at the corporate media’s coverage, taking the unproven allegations of the police as fact. For instance, stories that identify Sean Arlt as “the man who attacked police with a metal rake” should insert the word “allegedly”. Until the police release their evidence, all we have is an unproven allegation by the police. The corporate media show their blatant bias by treating unproven police claims as fact. 

“We are reminded of the Santa Cruz police murder of homeless activist John Dine in 1997. The police falsely claimed that John Dine was pointing a toy gun at them, but all independent eyewitnesses contradicted this lie. Some eyewitnesses were so outraged that they became activists on the issue. John Dine was, however, murdered by the Santa Cruz police with complete impunity.” 

We must be very careful not to get sucked into circulating police lies and propaganda as fact. In the case of John Dine, the eyewitness evidence is clear. John Dine never pointed a toy gun. Instead, the police murdered him in cold blood and lied about the entire incident. Everyone who circulated the “toy gun story as fact” scenario, even if it was with arguments about better “mental health training for police”, or whatever, were actually circulating police lies and propaganda as fact. In the police killing of Sean Arlt, ever since he was killed on October 16th, 2016, all authorities have suspiciously refused to release any real evidence while at the same time making unsubstantiated claims about a rake. Anyone who treats police claims of a rake in Sean Arlt’s hands as fact, no matter what their arguments may be regarding lethal force or mental health, are still circulating unsubstantiated police propaganda. The protest notice falsely attributed to me, by failing to question police claims of a rake in any way, submits to this police propaganda in a manner that I strongly oppose. 

Fire and Jail Deputy Chris Vigil! 

My second objection to the post that is wrongly attributed to my name, and promoted by the Indybay censors, is that it fails to call for the criminal prosecution of Deputy Chris Vigil on charges of murder for shooting and killing Luke Smith. At the time that Deputy Chris Vigil opened fire on Luke Smith with an AR-15 rifle, fifteen-year-old Luke Smith was at a safe distance and, despite holding a small 4-inch knife and being high on LSD, clearly was no immediate threat to anyone. This shooting by Deputy Vigil was, as a result, an act of murder. We call for the immediate firing of Deputy Chris Vigil and his prosecution on the charge of murder. The notice posted in my name also failed on these most basic of demands in a manner that I would have never done. 

Community Control of the Police? 

My third objection to that post that is wrongly attributed to me is the fact that it states, “We will be speaking out demanding strong changes in local law enforcement to establish real community control over the armed agencies.” Yet, I have been active against police brutality ever since I was a young teenager in the 1980’s, but I have never once, including now, supported demands for community control of the police. 

My first stand against police brutality was when the police handcuffed and shot Hal Saran Scott in the head right near my high school in St. Paul, Minnesota. As usual, the police got away with murder. In that case, they did it by intimidating eyewitnesses into silence. I continued to stand-up to the police, including leading a walk-out of hundreds of students at my high school, St. Paul Central, demanding the police be removed from our school and our doors be unlocked. I soon became a victim of false arrest and brutal police beatings myself, but was backed in my struggle for justice by the Inner-City Youth League, American Indian Movement, Young Socialist Alliance, Progressive Student Organization, and the Socialist Workers Party. 

Yet, never then, and never in my decades of experience standing up to police violence since, have I ever supported the demand of community control of the police. My organization, the Revolutionary Tendency, holds the same position. The reason is simple. We refuse to lie to the people. It is our opinion that community control of the police will only be won through proletarian socialist revolution that smashes the capitalist state and establishes a new police force representing working class interests. No reform of bourgeois police forces will do this and, in our opinion, any real community control of the police under the capitalist system is a pipe-dream. As revolutionary socialists, we are not going to lie to the public, selling them some snake-oil prescription that somehow democracy and community control of the police is possible under the capitalist system. 

Under our current system, the purpose of all bourgeois cops in the United States is to defend the established bourgeois order of exploitation of the majority by the wealthy capitalists who actually own this country and its politicians. That is to say, the purpose of the bourgeois cops is to serve and protect the rich while oppressing and terrorizing leftists, poor people, Black and brown people, and the working class in general. This includes the police carrying out orders to make sure that actual working class democracy does not come to the USA. Likewise, all Santa Cruz cops are required, unless they quit, to uphold the city’s discriminatory laws against homeless people. Cops throughout the United States play the role of slave catchers in the mass incarceration of the poor by enforcing drug laws. In addition, even the supposed “good cops” of myth are silent when other cops make-up charges, frame people, use excessive force, or murder people. Likewise, to keep their jobs, cops in the Bay Area and everywhere else in the United States carry out other political orders from their superiors to oppress leftists, protests, and strikes when this is deemed necessary by the ruling class. Brutality, murder, and other crimes from these cops is also generally allowed with impunity because this maintains a loyal police force willing to do the dirty work of the bourgeoisie. We cannot tell a lie. Community control of such forces, whose main purpose is to oppress our communities, is about as absurd as demanding an anti-racist KKK. It runs counter to their entire purpose and reason for existence. 

The oppressive and brutal role of the bourgeois cops is a central component of the capitalist state itself. The capitalist state is at its heart its cops, courts, prisons, and military. Any study of history and international current events shows that the role of the capitalist state is one that is universally so entrenched in preserving capitalist injustice that it cannot be transformed into the opposite of its current role and become an instrument of the working class under any reforms that supposedly bring “community control”. 

Karl Marx also observed and correctly argued these points in a piece on the Paris Commune written in May, 1871, where he supported a declaration of the Paris Commune stating, “They have understood that it is their imperious duty, and their absolute right, to render themselves masters of their own destinies, by seizing upon the governmental power.” Marx backed this declaration of the Paris Commune for the smashing of the capitalist state saying, “the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery, and wield it for its own purposes.” Marx listed components of that capitalist state at that time in France to include “its ubiquitous organs of standing army, police, bureaucracy, clergy, and judicature…” 

During the Paris Commune, much of the French military had disintegrated, but the Paris Commune didn’t raise its own standing army to thoroughly abolish the old order and defend the working-class revolution. As a result, the Paris commune was eventually crushed by a motley mish-mash of counterrevolutionary troops slopped together by the French bourgeoisie. With the victory of the counterrevolution, around 20,000 communard men, women, and children were slaughtered. Vladimir Lenin cited this as an example of how the “bourgeoisie will stop at nothing.” Another lesson not lost on Marx and Lenin was the need for the working-class revolution to establish a strong professional standing army and police force of the workers’ state capable of defeating the capitalist counterrevolution. 

I agree with Lenin and Marx. The capitalist state, including its police forces, cannot be reformed. They must instead be smashed and liquidated in a proletarian socialist revolution. It is only through such a seizure of power by the working class, establishment of a workers’ state, and the establishment of a planned socialist economy through the total expropriation of the bourgeoisie, that the new police force will cease to be instruments of brutality and oppression for the wealthy capitalist class. While police oppression and brutality have also been carried out on behalf of privileged bureaucratic rulers in deformed socialist workers’ states, it is our position that unlike capitalism, this is not inherent in the socialist system and can be curtailed through establishing legitimate institutions of workers’ democracy and workers’ debate, eliminating bureaucratic privileges, and fighting to build socialism on a world scale. 

It should be added that despite our recognition that the socialist systems established after Stalin took power had the deficiencies of bureaucratic privileges, a lack of real workers’ democracy, and police abuses, we also don’t back western imperialist lies against these systems either. Every socialist revolution, through their planned socialist economies, brought major advancements in education, employment, healthcare, housing, development, and women’s rights while some also brought substantial advancements for oppressed nationalities and the environment as well. 

Within this context, not all police measures of these deformed workers’ states have been wrong, despite what western imperialist propaganda would have us think. For instance, before the Cuban Revolution of 1959, the U.S. backed capitalist dictatorship of Batista murdered 20,000 people. After the revolution, the Castro leadership executed a few hundred of these torturers and murderers, including brutal cops that would have never been brought to justice under capitalism, like Santa Clara Police Chief Cornelio Roja. Likewise, Cuba has since jailed people who have violated the law, including 75 co-conspirators in 2003 who were proven in court to be part of a CIA plot of destabilization. While criticizing some legitimate problems that occur in socialist Cuba, we also answer Yankee imperialist lies that portray legitimate acts of self-defense and punishment as repression no different than that which is dished out by the capitalist states. The people of Cuba, on every level, are far better off today than they were under the U.S. imposed mass murderer Batista and we support their right to defend those gains from imperialist attack and internal capitalist counterrevolution. 

For the sake of unity in the fight against police brutality in Santa Cruz, California, however, we have been happy to drop the debate on “community control of the police” versus “proletarian socialist revolution” in favor of working unity to demand justice for Sean Arlt and Luke Smith. In this manner, the Revolutionary Tendency works in a non-sectarian manner with protest co-sponsor Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom and with participation and support from Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs, 15-year-old Luke Smith’s mother, Luke Smith’s class mates, and with food and coffee provided by Joe Schultz of India Joze. As these are grass-roots community events, one would think that the “non-hierarchical” censors at Indybay could look beyond their unexplained and seemingly irrational hatred, censorship, sabotage, and defamation of these community events demanding justice for Sean Arlt and Luke Smith. Yet, this is not the case.

Continue reading

Rally for Justice in the Arlt and Smith Killings 1:30 PM Saturday at the Town Clock

Another week has passed with no response from Chief Vogel’s SCPD releasing the video and audio of the shooting of Sean Arlt, and no response from Sheriff Hart’s Deputies regarding full disclosure of all video/audio surrounding the savaging (by police dog) and killing of Luke Smith.

There has been no action from either the Santa Cruz City Council or its Public Safety Committee regarding any change in the “shoot to kill” and “withhold from the community the documentation” policies of Vogel.

Nor has the Board of Supervisors made any attempt to rein in the Sheriff’s department or to investigate Smith’s killing.

The D.A.’s office is still supposedly “investigating” the Arlt and Smith killings.

Arlt was shot dead confronting at least 4 police offiers on October October 17. see http://www.ksbw.com/article/santa-cruz-police-knew-sean-arlt-had-mental-illness-family-says/6947949 /

Smith was first mauled and then shot by rifle while surrounded by 11 law enforcement officials. All this is according to the acknowledgment of the agencies involved.

Some selected clips of the Smith shooting can be seen at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/article/NE/20161121/NEWS/161129933 . There is news commentary and sheriff
http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/11/22/santa-cruz-sheriffs-office-footage-shows-15-year-old-fatally-shot-by-deputy/ .

Activists are calling for the firing and prosecution of the Deputy Chris Vigil and the release of the evidence in the Arlt case.

More info about the protest at https://www.facebook.com/events/231141847322298/ .


TO MAKE OR FOLLOW COMMENTS, GO TO: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/12/16/18794738.php

Sleep Protectors Gather for Freedom SleepOut #74

Sleep Protectors Gather for Freedom SleepOuit #74

Date Tuesday December 06 Time 4:00 PM Tuesday9:00 AM Wednesday

Location Details On the sidewalks near City Hall, barred from taking shelter under the eaves in the rain, protesters will spend the night outside, under tarps, perhaps with a tent or two, and in nearby vehicles.  For nearly a year and a half, a small community of housed and homeless have demanded an end to laws criminalizing survival sleeping and other life-sustaining activities. Watchers, well-wishers, blankets, and visitors welcome!

Event Type Protest

Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse)

Email keith [at] foodnotbombs.net

Phone 575-770–3377

SHELTER SHUFFLE FOR THE FEW; WIND, RAIN, AND TICKETS FOR THE MANY
As temperatures dive below 40 and winter approaches in earnest, city and county authorities are providing $360,000 worth of nightly shelter for 50-75 people at VFW Post No. 7263 at 2259 7th Ave. in Live Oak. The mini-program (considering there are 3000+ unsheltered in the County) will expand to 100-125 in January with the opening of the Salvation Army building downtown at 721 Laurel St. –unavailable during a cold December because it’s being used for “fund-raising” activities.The usual NIMBY (Not-in-My-Back-Yard) approach is evident. The pick-up site is several miles from the 7th Ave. shelter. Clients are banned from walking or driving to the shelter. In-take worker Steve Pleich notes folks will have to go through an initial questioning process (5-10 minutes), presumably to satisfy the Take Back Santa Cruz-minded folks as well as provide data for more grant-grabbing activity.

Old-timers remembered when you got sheltered if you showed up. Not any more.
Meals will be provided for the few that get into the program, but the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center (a “supporter” of the Winter Shelter program) has made no move to restore the open meals that were its historic responsibility abandoned in June of 2015.

Run by the Association of Faith Communities, the AFC bosses may not require users to be present every night or be kicked out of the program–which they do regularly at their year-round 20-person shelter program that moves from church to church. Boss Debbi Bates reportedly excluded several women from the smaller program because they took Tuesday nights out to join the Freedom Sleeper protests. Bates now heads the far more costly $360 grand Winter Shelter.

Read the Sentinel’s sunny shelter spin at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/opinion/20161205/editorial-dec-6-2016-providing-shelter-in-the-cold-holiday-season & http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/social-affairs/20161129/new-santa-cruz-winter-shelter-site-opens-thursday?source=topstoriesrot

Also due to open at least for a night or two later this week is the Warming Center with downtown pick-up’s at Pearl Alley. Call 211 or (831) 234-9848 for more info.

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Flyer for 1:30 PM Saturday December 3rd Protest at the Town Clock: No More Police Shootings . Remember Sean Arlt and Luke Smith. [1 Attachment]

[Attachment(s) from Robert included below]

Download attachment for the PDF.  This is the text of the flyer.  Contact HUFF at 423-4833 for more information.

 

Aren’t Two Shootings Enough?

Remember Sean Arlt & Luke Smith

Come to the Town Clock

Saturday December 3  1:30 PM

  • End the “Officer Safety” excuse for Lethal Force
  • Replace the Chief and the Sheriff
  • Establish Real Community Control of Police
  • Prosecute Reckless or Abusive Police Behavior

End Uniformed Attacks on the Poor & SCPD Stonewalling !

Use Your Cellphone:  Monitor Those Armed With Guns, Tasers, and Color of Law

Flier by Norse of HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) 831-423-4833 www.huffsantacruz.org 309 Cedar St. #14B 12-2-16

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Attachment(s) from Robert | View attachments on the web

1 of 1 File(s)

Arlt and Smith Killing Demo 12-3.pdf