SubRosa under attack for being an anarchist space

SubRosa needs your support– and I don’t mean financially, this time. We are getting blamed for the May Day dance party that resulted in broken windows in downtown SC. Individuals involved with SubRosa are having their physical well being threatened. People are using what was a huge dance party with a few acts of vandalism as an excuse to attack SubRosa and anyone in any way associated with it. There are accusations that SubRosa organized the May Day event, that the event started at SubRosa and a ton of other things that aren’t true. SubRosa had nothing to do with the event, except that there were fliers for it here, as there were allover town and allover the internet.

This is a time for us all to band together, to show support and solidarity with each other in the face of a police state that has always blamed anarchists for everything destructive, while actively trying to prevent people from exercising creativity that would create alternatives to capitalist relations. The people who make this town a fantastic place to be are far more important than the walls and windows of businesses that suck our souls away for their profit.

Most of the accusations leveled at SubRosa are coming from two places (which may actually be the same place). One is Take Back Santa Cruz, a group of white, upper-middle class, vaguely conservative people who wrote an almost completely inaccurate email to its email list conflating every DIY community event in Santa Cruz with the May Day vandalism. The other source of misinformation comes from the ever virulent Santa Cruz Sentinel online forums. There is a lot of inaccurate information posted there, partly due to inaccurate reporting in the Sentinel’s article and partly due to a bunch of ignorant jerks who get to write whatever they want without having to sign their name to it. A lot of the comments have been incredibly racist, and incredibly violent, calling for doing injury to SubRosa collective members, and even posting their addresses, or, even more offensively, blaming the vandalism on illegal immigrants, which just shows you the true ignorance of the people posting.

It seems incredibly ironic to me that people who are so appalled by “violence” done to buildings would call for physical harm to be done to real people.

This town does not just belong to the rich, the white, the business owner. It also belongs to the artist, the street musician, the worker, the homeless. It also belongs to the anarchist and the anti-authoritarian. We live in a place where business owners and the police try to control our every move, where you can sit, what you can say, and they give us nothing in return, telling us to move along so that the rich tourists who come to spend money won’t have their pure eyes tainted with the sight of our ragged clothes.

The SubRosa collective has created a space that challenges the commercialism and rampant capitalism of downtown Santa Cruz, and we have tried to balance that with setting boundaries towards people who come in to our space to create a safe and welcoming atmosphere for people to share ideas and create friendships and alliances. It isn’t easy and we do struggle with maintaining a space that feels positive for us all to be in. But the people who frequent SubRosa do not deserve less respect just because they don’t have a lot of money or drive fancy cars.

Let’s continue to show solidarity and support for each other and plan community events, because that is what actually makes this town worth living in.


11 responses to “SubRosa under attack for being an anarchist space

  1. Sorry to hear this. One of our friends dropped by your place last year and liked it, brought back some lit to Scotland.
    Hope it goes well.

  2. “But the people who frequent SubRosa do not deserve less respect just because they don’t have a lot of money or drive fancy cars.”

    No one cares about your financial status. The reason SubRosa is being targeted is because of their affiliation or perceived affiliation with the anrachists who destroyed property Downtown.

  3. Nick Hafflinger

    If you’ve ever been in a mob that’s turned into a riot, you learn one thing. No matter what the original intention of the gathering, or even the first rock, it turns into chaos. If you’re lucky, nobody gets hurt… it all seems like great fun until someone you know gets seriously hurt, like your kid…

  4. As one of your supporters, I would suggest that you grab this one by the horns before it spins out of your control completely. This entails taking a stance more nuanced than “it wasn’t our fault and y’all are ignorant hypocrites.”

    You can’t just dismiss this one away. If you are determined to build a community, now is the time. The counterproductive antics of May Day did more harm to you and yours than anyone else in town – doesn’t it seem like that’s a logical starting point for the present discussion *within* the community? And if so, in the spirit of sharing, why not make the discussion open? It could be a positive, galvanizing event.

    Anyway, I really do hope for the best. I like what you do for this town a great deal. It’s because I’d like to see you thrive and provide for what’s left of santa cruz bohemia that I’m asking you to cool it a little. Nothing good can come from making your stand atop the temper tantrum of a few jerks.

  5. What makes you think the vandalism that took place on May 1 was done by Anarchists and not Police agent-provocateurs? Check out this example of how undercover police start a riot:

  6. Regardless of who actually carried out the destruction, I think we anarchists should respond publicly. I am going to write an open letter to the people of Santa Cruz and I’m hoping to get other anarchists to sign on to it. If anyone out there is interested, pop me over an email (

  7. I’m sorry SubRosa. Let me quote you here: “The people who make this town a fantastic place to be are far more important than the walls and windows of businesses that suck our souls away for their profit.”

    The people who make SC a fantastic place INCLUDES the people who owned those businesses — many of which were small local businesses, all of which employ people in town so they can afford to live in this town!

    If you want the accusations to stop you might consider coming out STRONGLY AGAINST the violence that occurred downtown instead of continuing to call it “a few acts of vandalism”. 18 storefronts is not “a few”.

  8. I agree with Sheryl. That part of your statement is really messed up. What’s beautiful about santa cruz is it holds all kinds of people. Who are you to say who makes our town fantastic and who doesn’t? It’s an immature, high school mentality to put people into neatly labeled boxes and judge them. Those were many small businesses that are barely making it. Go read the sign outside of the Velvet Underground. THAT message of understanding, compassion and forgiveness is what makes Santa Cruz fantastic!

    Also, of course people are more important than windows..was someone saying “it’s either the windows go or you go?” Pointless misguided destruction is all it was. No furthuring the cause, no productive end. Plus, all those windows have to be replaced..not very eco conscious.

  9. Pingback: So much going on in anarchism… » Birds Before The Storm

  10. hey everyone
    i wrote this. i want to be really clear that this was not a collective statement. also, i wrote this in the wake of having close friends of mine who had nothing to do with the may day events receiving death threats. I apologize if it comes off as insensitive, but i was really upset at the fact that people in response to vandalism against property were calling for violence against people merely for their politics.

  11. Pingback: Rad Geek People’s Daily 2010-05-06 – Rad Geek answers your questions (Cont’d)

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