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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

[guerilla-drive-in] GDI support

Dear Guerilla Drive-In Supporters,

Thank you for the support we have received over the last few days. Please continue to do what you can to support the project in any way you feel comfortable.

One supporter recently wrote a beautiful letter to the City Council. In it she details her childhood growing up in a family of heavy drug users, and points out that Santa Cruz also has a problem with drugs. She goes on to say this:

"So, here's the thing I don't get: Santa Cruz police are spending their energy busting the Guerilla Drive In while they show a locally produced movie? Seriously?!? Are we NUTS?!

I know, I know, they are anarchists and they don't believe in permits. ... Let's deal with the unpermmited events that destroy lives. Teenagers and women in this town are scared to leave their houses after dark because their friends are getting SHOT and you guys are approving a million extra dollars so SCPD can bust free public movies? I feel like I am living in a Kafka novel!

Furthermore, while it might smart a little to admit it, the Guerilla Drive In is an obvious ally to any effort to clean up our public spaces! Who else in town goes under the Soquel Bridge, cleans up debris and waste of all manners, and then does what some are referring to as "positive loitering" for several hours, shows a free movie, encourages people to get to know their neighbors, and then leaves the space cleaner than they found it at the end of the night? Everyone leaves happy and what would have been a junkie trading spot becomes a magical and totally family-friendly spot.

The response from a city council member was this:

"First, the city council cannot, for a number of very good reasons, direct the Police on which laws to enforce and when. If the law is that you can't be in the park at night, then the Police and the City Council don't get to decide that some groups are exempt from that law.. [his ellipses] except if they have a permit....Participants could be asked to donate $5 to cover some of these costs and it would be a positive event for everyone."

He then goes on to compare this free, fun movie even to the riots of May 1.

As a Guerilla Drive-In member, I take real issue with this. Besides being offended that GDI movie events are being compared to riots, I think he is clearly missing the point and the beauty of GDI. First of all, I have a problem with the unquestioned acceptance of the law that says that you can't be in the park at night without a permit. Part of the mission of GDI is to challenge these laws that make public places off limits at night. I have traveled in several different Latin American countries, lived in China for a year, and have friends in various European countries; the United States is the only country I have ever heard of that bans people from being in the parks at night. In Chile, Sundays are juggling days. People spend all day in the park juggling, watching jugglers, lounging, flirting, snacking, napping. As night falls, fire jugglers come out. Everyone has glow sticks and flashlights, and the park is transformed into a magical, glowing wonderland. Friends in Germany tell me that parks are the life-blood of the community, especially after dark, and even in China (Socialist, Big Brother China!) parks are where young people meet after dark for socializing and dating.

Imagine a world where parks were not threatening places where drug deals went down, but rather alive with activity: families having night-time picnics, lovers holding hands, friends star-gazing (or maybe fog-gazing). Isn't that world much better than the one that keeps us divided and afraid?

The other thing that really bothers me about his letter is the suggestion that the GDI collective should make people pay $5 for the privilege of seeing a movie. Our events are supposed to be free. That is the point. It is sad that in our country, there is no place to go out and be with friends after dark that does not involve commerce. You could go out for dinner or to the bar. You could pay $10 to see a movie or you could walk along and windowSHOP downtown. Even I sometimes enjoy doing those things, but it is a poor reflection on our society when those are the only choices. Do you remember being a teenager, wanting to get out of the house but having nowhere to go. You couldn't go to the bars, most restaurants and movies were too expensive, and you basically had the option to "bum around downtown" or take up space in a (smoky?) coffee shop. No wonder our youth are bored. No wonder they occupy their free time with parties (when parents are out of town).

For years, Guerilla Drive-In has been working to re-envision our community, bring together neighbors in a commercial free venue. It is sad and scary that a few people with too much power can, in a single swoop, challenge and undermine all we are striving for. Please continue to stand with us as we fight this madness.
You can help by doing any or all of the following:
  • Go to the next GDI and bring two friends
  • Write a letter to the city council telling them why you support us and implore them to support us as well
  • Write a letter to the SCPD telling them they have better things to do with their time.
  • Organize your own movie showing and invite us
  • Write to the editor of the Sentinel, the SC weekly, and the Good Times
  • Call the Sentinel and demand they write a story about our getting targeted
  • Talk to friends about how they can create more DIY opportunities
  • Organize more DIY events in public space
  • Support related projects who are also feeling the heat of the Anarchist Redscare 2010

A member of the Guerilla Drive-In Collective

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