A hint to some folks in Santa Cruz: violence begets violence

Originally published at The Benfell Blog. Please leave any comments there.

I haven’t been to SubRosa but it sounds like a really, really cool place. Apparently, however, members of the “law” enforcement community blame this operation for some recent mayhem in downtown Santa Cruz and a report came out that they had “visited” SubRosa. Now this from SubRosa itself:

Four armed deputies visited SubRosa Wednesday May 21st. They allegedly wanted to talk to SubRosa staff about “worker’s comp issues.” One of them was an inspector from the Santa Cruz District Attorney’s Office. SubRosa was closed at the time.

Beyond this unsuccessful visit, SubRosa has not had any contact with law enforcement. SubRosa was not raided, and our door was not broken. We did not, and do not call the police.

SubRosa is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, and has no paid workers and is an all-volunteer space. SubRosa has a business license to operate in the City Of Santa Cruz. SubRosa is in compliance with all city and county fire codes, zoning requirements, entertainment permits, health codes, workers compensation, and sales tax requirements. No workers comp claims have been filed, nor have we been contacted by the Division of Workers Compensation.

I have seen a number of published claims of credit for vandalism, typically directed at fast food establishments or bank branches in Santa Cruz. I do not know and am in no position to verify if these reported actions have even occurred.

But assuming the veracity of these latter claims, those responsible for them and those responsible for the destruction on May 1 should consider the cost of their accomplishments. Did they have enough or attract enough support to mount a credible uprising? Did their bravado impress anyone outside their own small clique? Can they point to any evidence whatsoever that their deeds have hastened a revolution or even brought any substantial relief to any oppressed persons? Is there even any evidence that their “message” has been understood?

Anarchists already know that cops are authoritarians who serve an elite primarily composed of wealthy white males that passes laws principally against everyone else. We did not need Professor Gates’ experience in Cambridge last year to understand the meaning of “disorderly conduct.”

That cops are stupid does not rationalize stupidity in return. And even if it did, these vandals have failed to weigh first, that any act of violence is in fact an authoritarian, anti-anarchist act; and second, that such actions reinforce a violent stereotype of anarchists that leads common people to see us not as their defenders but as criminals who threaten their safety. So I’m feeling a need to hear again from those who seem so fond of broken glass just how it is they are doing any good whatsoever.

Author: benfell

David Benfell holds a Ph.D. in Human Science from Saybrook University. He earned a M.A. in Speech Communication from CSU East Bay in 2009 and has studied at California Institute of Integral Studies. He is an anarchist, a vegetarian ecofeminist, a naturist, and a Taoist.