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(en) US, Santa Cruz, Media: Anarchists lose lease with peace group

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 20 Jul 2004 13:20:40 +0200 (CEST)


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A group of anarchists has just lost its lease at the
nonprofit Resource Center for Nonviolence.
Group members claim they’re having to move because of their counter-cultural
bent, as well as a RCNV staff member’s concern about "our smell."
But staff at the resource center say the group simply wasn’t living
up to the terms of its lease and was not a good fit. For the past four
months, the Santa Cruz Anarchist Infoshop had been leasing a 12-by-15-foot
space at the resource center, whose staff workers travel the world to promote
nonviolent forms of protest and resistance. But RCNV staffer Bob Fitch said
the lease arrangement with the young anarchists was just not working out.

"We rented to a young man who asked me, ‘Can we use this as a
bookstore?’ " said Fitch. "I told him we’re very flexible about
any use that conforms to the contract. But their use did not conform.

"I met some wonderful young people there," he added. "But there is a
real absence of continuity of management. That much I can say."

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The anarchists had been paying about $200 a month for space to house
its anarchist-oriented lending library, " ’zines" and books for sale,
free tea, computer access and a display of locally foraged herbs.

Fitch, a longtime peace activist who once worked for farmworkers’
labor rights activist Cesar Chavez, said there were behavioral problems
and "nonconformity with the contract." Also, he said other renters at
the Broadway location had complained.

The group holds meetings that they say focus on "anarchist theory and
analysis towards inspiring direct action with a radical anti-authoritarian
critique of the existent social order."

Wes Modes, part of the collective, praised the RCNV for "the great
things they do for the community." But he’s concerned the
anarchists’ collective faced unfair backlash for the "nonconformity"
of some people who hang around the Infoshop.

The anarchist group maintains that one of the given reasons for losing
the lease was a concern that the group’s presence, and "our smell,"
was making it hard to rent adjacent space in the same building.

Modes said the collective still hopes for a resolution.

He said the mostly young group members are "really good, well
mannered, super-responsible ... the only thing that makes them
different and possibly challenging is that they are very much
unconventional."

They live outside the system, Modes said, and some are "non-renters,
train hoppers, Dumpster divers. That makes some people
uncomfortable."

The city’s mayor, Scott Kennedy, is also an RCNV staffer but said
this week that he hadn’t heard about the lease-loss flap.

Contact Dan White at dwhite@santacruzsentinel.com.


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