This interview questions John Foran on the aims, objectives, and obstacles in the Eco Vista project, a project working towards transitioning Isla Vista into an ecologically homeostatic community. The interview was a group one, conducted by Alex Proksch, Natalie Chen and Bianca Costa.
Okay, why do you want to establish the Eco Vista community?
Yeah, sure. The goal of Eco Vista is rather, uh, ambitious. When we started out five years ago, we put it as turning Isla Vista into Eco Vista in this decade, the 2020s along the lines of something like an eco-village or which has no strict definition. Lately, we are aligning ourselves with what’s called Just Transition and Green New Deal work among activists in their communities. All over, just transition is another word for making the transition transformation of a community. Uh, so that it’s ecologically, uh, in line with what the climate science tells us is required, um, with respect to everything and energy transportation, um, and land use. Um, and just the just part is that this has to be based on the principles of environmental justice, which means that in the community, the, uh, we, we want to have the leadership and participation of, uh, those residents who are most affected by social injustice of all kinds, actually, whether it be economic, whether it be due to the environmental, the impact that’s happening around the world and so forth.
So what we’re talking about is a full system. Systemic alternative is the lingo and sociology that I work with and a green new deal. Of course, uh, there are many versions of the green new deal, but it’s a, um, ambitious and progressive, uh, it’s a name for a proposed legislation at the national level to achieve some of these goals. And that of course, was performed by Alexandria, Ocasio, Cortez, and Marky and the Senate. Um, and it, you know, Bernie Sanders had a very elaborated, greener deal, uh, with numbers and, uh, like 50 pages of, you know, the details when he was running for president and all over the country, communities are trying to generate a local green new deal. So, uh, we’re involved in a project for a local green new deal that we are launching as a kind of wide consultation with the residents, all the residents we can reach in AR Vista to see what they identify as the problems for their lives, living in Arla Vista and what they would like to see instead, and what their ideas are about the future and their wellbeing.
So, um, all of those things are part of the goal, the ambitious goal of in a reasonable least short period of time, a handful of years putting is Vista on track to become, uh, a community that is again, ecologically based, um, where everybody is, uh, receives the, has their needs met to some to degree that’s possible. Um, there’s a vision that there would be all kinds of jobs here that would be good for the environment, of course, and, uh, good for folks who are looking for jobs. So it’s some asset undertaking and it has to be done in consultation with the whole community. And EVI is a very small organization, relatively speaking with limited capacity. Um, and it has to be done through Alliance with existing community organizations of which there are many who trend in the same direction. So we are embarking on that process literally in the spring quarter.
What do you feel is the most pressing environmental justice project for Eco Vista?
Yeah. So hopefully these all have some bearing on environmental justice and foundations in it. Um, the most salient projects of eco Vista so far, certainly one would be the food forest in a sterile park. Um, that’s been created in the past year by a small group of very dedicated people working also with the Isla Vista recreation and park district, which has sort of jurisdiction over all the parks. Um, that’s the most visible project and it’s, it’s small. Everything we do has to sort of be within our means. Um, but the, the hope is that it becomes a model for other projects or that it’s a project that can continue to grow over time. Um, the community plan is the name for the, uh, process. That’s about to start consulting as many individuals and organizations as we can to create a document that is sort of a, a report of what the community wants and you know, what the problems are and how the community wants to solve it.
So that’s not something visible to the eye yet, but that’s gonna be a major campaign involving a lot of people. We hope volunteers can do it. Uh, we’re using something called the house party model for that, which is simply, uh, sitting down with your neighbors in a small group or your friends as few as three or five people. And going through this conversation about, you know, what are the obstacles to living here? What are the challenges to living here? What could be done about them and doing many of those house parties will eventually generate hopefully hundreds of, uh, people’s inputs into what they’d like to see here. So that will all get put together in a report somehow, um, that will serve as the basis for, you know, some kind of visionary, holistic, transformational, um, a number of projects that will come out of that.
So we’re kind of on one year to do that process. And then if it succeeds after that, a whole number of actual projects on the ground will come out of that depending on what people want and what they can do. So I would say the food forest, uh, is a modest, but real step toward, uh, dealing with some of the, um, food, um, in the direction of food sovereignty in food self-sufficiency. Um, and the community plan is a sort of comprehensive bottom-up, uh, process to, to have a, a detailed vision of how to bring about this big transformation. Um, those are two very important projects that are going on. The third is, uh, we just recently opened a community. Well, we haven’t even launched it to the public yet, a community center, um, a physical space, uh, on par road that we hope to open to the public in April as a, uh, community center, a place for organizations to host events, a place for, um, evenings, uh, of culture, whether it’s open mics or music or any other number of things that people will bring to it.
Um, and a physical place where people can sit and be with each other during the day, hopefully over a coffee. It’s actually in the space of the former coffee collaborative, which was a, a well-loved institution in IBM, uh, the whole community and followed by campus point, which operated there as a cafe for two years or a year before the pandemic shut everything down in that space. That’s been emptied, uh, for a while. So we’re jumping in and trying to use that as a space, again, to do outreach to the community, to, uh, be of service to the community, um, and to build a kind of denser network of people who are basically aligned with these values. I would say those are the three big projects. I can also name the E Vista club. That’s a, uh, launch to be happening. Hasn’t happened yet, but there’s planning for, uh, the club to be an organized student group on campus, which will kind of involve students in a, um, in a way where there might be resources and they can organize their events through that.
And as you know, Natalie, uh, the Zen is a publication. Um, I guess our website is a kind of major project too, because on the website, you can find information about all, most of these projects, you can find issues of the Zen called the radical C at the end about roots. Um, and we even have a so-called E eco vistas climate justice press, which publishes free books, including fiction analysis of, uh, the problems that we face and some possible solutions and poetry, and even a children’s, those can be found on our website in that space. So I’d say that’s like five things maybe.
How do you think about grass-root environmental, uh, organizations will impact the public perceptions and participation on environmental justice?
So how do, um, environmental justice and social justice organizations, how might they make an impact? How are they making an impact? Uh, yeah. How do they reach out within the community to raise awareness? Um, well, by doing some of these things, that’s how E ego Vista is thinking about it. And there are many we’ve discovered and what most people know if they scratch the surfaces. There’s a, a rich network of community organizations, including, you know, official governmental elected bodies, like this community service district and the rec park district, including, uh, organizations that serve young people, um, Ivy youth project, the St. George project, um, uh, know bombs, which is trying to offer free meals, uh, nutritious meals to the community on a regular basis. Um, that list goes on and on. So all of these organizations sort of are throwing their best ideas around all of this.
Um, there’s like no one model or a way to do it. Uh, and I think it has to be a network, a coalition of forces to, to do it all. Um, so that part’s important and yeah. How do you raise awareness if that was the question you have to work at it, um, and we’re doing it along with other organizations. The best we can. The idea though, is that this will grow, become more visible and more vibrant and more attractive to people to participate in all of this. And, um, we’ll get to the point where big changes can be affected. Somehow. I don’t have a roadmap, nobody has a roadmap for that. Nobody’s in control of that process. And that’s why it’s interesting, cuz we’re gonna learn from each other by doing things together.
In your opinion, what is something you feel we would need to pay extra attention to and something that might slip to the rug if we didn’t know, and how to incorporate those into our social enterprise.
Course. Um, the food issue is probably, you know, right up there as the leading issue in a community like is Vista the, the sort of obvious number one is the housing crisis. Um, and that affects food security too, because if you’re spending all your money to have a place, you have less money for everything else and food is the next priority. And maybe it’s the first priority. In fact, some people can’t afford housing because they have to devote limited resources just to food. So there’s obviously a problem and you probably know that there have been studies of food insecurity across the UC and shocking number of UC undergraduates. Um, we don’t have, uh, food security. Um, you should look for those. So you got the problem for sure. And hopefully you’re talking, you have a very specific idea, a new kind of social, socially responsible startup to address, to offer free food.
That’s awesome. That’s like what could do better and to have that in the community and to have that at scale, um, the people that are doing that with a different model is food, not bombs first and foremost. Um, and they have the perhaps, I mean, it sounds to me like you’re gonna need a tremendous amount of capital, uh, to do anything, to make this work, not to do anything. So that’s the first obstacle I foresee for you. And that’s a common obstacle, all groups trying to do good work in a community. Um, these wonderful ideas are there, but realizing them is a challenge that is beyond the obvious means that we start with, so you have to do some fundraising, you have to find the, you know, sort of chicken and egg, um, the project, if you set it up, will the funding you need to do what you want to do in is Vista.
So you’re gonna need partners, maybe existing, you know, social entrepreneurs, um, to pitch this too. And so one way to make it work for you is to go into the community, the broader community of Santa Barbara, which Ivy is part of and, um, take a look at organizations that Hey, you could be interested in the idea. And then beyond that, you know, look for, uh, foundations and sources of funding, where you could propose this to. So you might have the workings of a kind of, um, funding, uh, proposal. And we have some experience in that world, not a lot of success, but we’re kind of ourselves at the point where we are trying to raise funds for, to pay organizers really, rather than all this voluntary work that people have put in their heart and soul into. Um, and also a model where, uh, people who became active in Eco Vista, the vast majority from have been young people who will graduate either from city college or, uh, UCSB and move on is for people that, you know, get the, the bug to stay in the unity and try to realize this, any of these projects for them to have an opportunity to afford to do that.
That’s where we get into how interconnected everything is. A circular economy is the idea that, um, somehow we can generate, create work with others to start up, um, enterprises for organizers and activists to do the good work and get the compensation they would need to live in the community and other chicken in problem. So, um, and then the other, uh, obvious solution is to just grow the food yourself, which is a great solution. Uh, you have to take that to a lot of scale. There’s, you know, there’s always been a vision that in Isla Vista, there could be more gardens, public gardens, private gardens, um, free gardens, and UCSB is involved in doing some of that work. So the greenhouse garden project is kind of asked, uh, little farm of small plots, uh, beyond the stadium. Um, that too, I would, uh, say, look in at UCSB the resources were around food and student, um, internship paid internships because in the office of sustainability, there are some great people like Katie Maynard, um, who work specifically to find funded internships and who is, uh, direct, involved the number of those projects to do with food.
So hopefully, you know, about Katie, if not, I can introduce you, um, and Mo Lovegreen, who is sort of on the, uh, facility side of making Eco Vistas, more carbon-neutral around sustainability in this traditional sense. Um, so what it is is you have to map, or you could map this mosaic of, of partners and resources. And in that way, you don’t have to do this on your own with no resources cuz you can’t. So the step you’re taking is the first big step, which is to come up, as you say, with an idea that works and then, um, and making that idea a reality in all these other ways, by collaborating, by sharing what you have to share, um, by learning the lay of the land, literally. Um, so yeah, there’s a tremendous interest among students and in eco Vista as well to, to actually grow food, to have gardens, um, and we need creative ideas so that there are more gardens and more opportunities to do that.
Um, and like everything else, the, the beauty of it is not only the outcome of having food, but it’s all the skills that people acquire along the way and all the relationships that are built because those ultimately become the basis for scaling things, um, doing the same in other communities, if you leave on the Vista and graduate and so forth. And E ECOS has kind of looked at it that way, you know, the availability of students who are passionate about this, we are lucky to have, um, but they are passing through in two years, three years. And what you have to do is turn that into a plus, you know, and by doing things that teach skills and inspire people, and there’s a learning process that everybody will take with them and fan out all over. That’s taking things to scale as well. And that’s, we need to do these, not just things, not just in our Vista of, but everywhere. And so the good news is that there are networks on so many of these issues all across, at any level, the county, uh, the central coast, California, nationally, globally, um, to engage with and learn from and do things together with. So I don’t know if that’s, that’s sort of a loose kind of strategic vision, that’s all over the place. So a few tips learned by trial and much error so far on this journey.
I also was wondering, um, you know, this has been in the process for five years, have you guys gotten funding? And right now, what requires funding and what can be achieved without money currently?
Exactly. So for four of those five years, we wrote no grant proposals other than getting small amounts of money, uh, from office undergraduate research to do projects, which were all called EVI. Um, but there was no other funding available. And so it was very DIY, very volunteer centered, you know, put in what you’re able to, nobody could be required to do things that would jeopardize, you know, their time or their success in school or, you know, so we just kind of loosely made things up as we went. And that’s the website you see is largely the result of those three, four years of work. There’s one document called the holy catalog under the climate justice press, which brings together a lot of writing that was done in that early period, um, of all kinds. And I would recommend that as a kind of something we did with no budget.
Um, and it’s only in the past year, literally since the beginning, January of 2021, that we decided to make a concerted effort to understand how to raise funds, to identify the foundations, to apply to and to do that. And so last year we made a number of applications to fund the community plan, um, to get that off the ground and to pay a small number of people for part-time work on that, to launch it, not having had success so far. Um, we’re launching it anyway. Um, but we continue to look for funds because the principle is as articulated. If the ideal is when you’re able to support yourself doing this good work. Um, so we’re taking baby steps in that direction. I would say if you add up all the grant proposals we did last year for that, you know, I am speaking together about many, many, uh, opportunities.
If we had got them, we’d have well over a hundred thousand dollars, which could, you know, keep a lot of people working on this until it ended in the report we’re trying to do. And, um, in the process, you know, we made relationships with foundations. We learned, I don’t know, we learned about what a grant proposal has to look like. We got feedback from, uh, certain of the organizations that liked what we did, but didn’t think we were able to do it, um, or didn’t have the resources or the plan wasn’t really there. So that’s all helped us both on doing that, that the community plan, which will begin as beginning literally now, and, um, making better fundraising proposals until eventually we have success. And that’s the hope. Um, so it’s a shoestring operation, um, that has survived because of people’s passion and what they’re gonna do on a volunteer basis.
And, uh, we know that to make it solid and self-generating, and regenerative is an important word, um, in this work that many organizations draw on, um, we have to find a funding model. So the collab is a bet that we can do things in that activity that raise enough money to pay the rent for it, to pay the people working there and to create a beautiful space, uh, to benefit the community. And it is by no means certain that that’s going to become possible after a certain initial effort. In this crucial we’re in, we’ve done three, two months and we hope to launch next month and then we’ll see how that goes. I don’t know if that’s much of an answer. I can’t even remember the question.
I’m curious about your personal views about what the central obstacles are to achieving this transition in regards to both culture and material structures that exist in Isla Vista in regards to say, UCSB and the state. And generally, I mean, there’s so much infighting on the left, what might be called identity politics. And you touched on funding and like the struggles that, um, have come from that aspect, but how do you see that relating to the cultural dynamics at play in Isla Vista?
Sure. Okay. It’s a huge question, you know, pointing to the issues involved in thinking about it. Um, first off there is, there’s no answer. We don’t know what’s going to happen during this process. And the crises that we face are on an existential level that are making life worse by the day for more and more people. And that is intertwined, of course, right? The climate crisis is kind of the timeline that we have to make things happen by. And we have to do this in, in an economic circumstance that just generates inequality. We have to do it in the existing parameters of racism and patriarchy in the society. And these are global problems. Um, we have to do it in conditions of a pandemic. Um, we have to do it in, uh, what I call cultures of violence, which permeate communities and families, but really go all the way to the geopolitical level as we’ve seen.
Um, so it seems what I’ve learned from 10 years and, you know, as a participant, uh, and observer of the global climate justice network of movements, we call it the global kind justice movement, but it’s not a movement. It’s a network of any movements, um, is that you have to build, you have to build a dense, you know, community dense, meaning more people participating, uh, more people collaborating and the, uh, trade-off is, you know, people…tend to be committed to their way of doing things. So you have to find people that are open to that collaboration across all kinds of, of differences, of strategy, of issue, of, um, you know, purpose. Um, and that’s true right down to the local level. So it’s important to the way I’ve always thought about E ECOS is that it is open to every community member potentially asking for a future that has aligned with what we call our values and our mission statement.
Um, and it’s an open invitation. Uh, these things don’t grow by themselves, especially if you’re starting small. Um, you both understand the necessity for working with others and the value of that. Um, even if you lack the capacity to do everything that you would like to do, I don’t think we have a strategic plan that puts all that together. We are sort of by experience, trying to figure out ways to do that. And the trend, I think for E eco Vista is that it is grown in different ways. It’s not just in numbers or visible projects, but it has deep, we have deepened our understanding of, of this work. And yet we’re still very much at the beginning of it or the, you know, trying to get to the middle. And I think some of the things I’ve been talking about are the ways to do that.
The, um, working with other organizations and working within the community for the community, um, that’s the model I see. Um, and there you deal with all kinds of inequalities, all kinds of, you know, adversaries, actually the, the landlords U C S B itself, the county, um, and then the systems. So, uh, there’s no guarantee, there’s no guarantee in, in terms of confronting the climate crisis, you just have to, uh, wake up to it, uh, examine yourself and what you think you can do. And in the process learn by doing, and working with others. It’s very general, but that’s a kind of, that’s kind of the, uh, the frame I take, you know, to activism. And I think there’s a spiritual dimension to it too. I think you have to be kind of, you don’t have to be, but it helps if, you know, things align if the way you do things aligns with, you know, your deepest, most positive understanding of, uh, some, some weighty, uh, matters also with no answers.
Like, you know, how do we relate to nature as part of nature, that’s screwing with nature. Uh, how do we get out of that? Um, what are the ways to, to think about doing that? Because we’ve dug a hole so deep that, um, we better find some ways to do things better than we’ve done in the past. Who is that? We, I mean, I, I think starting locally is, is good because you actually have to work with other people to see what can be done and you see, you know, how that works and doesn’t work, but also networking with others and realizing that nobody’s alone in this, no community is alone. Um, that there’s plenty of like-minded communities doing amazing things. There’s, as we say, a blurry versus systemic alternatives already in motion, there’s a dense network of social justice organizations and climate justice movements doing this work.
Um, so maybe, you know, maybe the pandemic and the technology that’s allowing us to meet over zoom. I really doubt it because we’ve scheduled a meeting on campus with however many we started with, um, to do this. I don’t have time to do that myself. So we’re doing it in my office hours. Uh, and we’re lucky no one has come so up to Sophia. Who’s coming back in a minute. So obviously Alex this is a conversation we can continue to have happy to do that and happy to, you know, make the connections, any of you want to other, uh, people working in eco Vista, uh, or who are more directly working on the food question than I am. Um, and working with others and so forth and so on.
I really appreciate it, this was all effectively a conversation starter which has provided a lot of content that is a guiding force of some kind for moving forward beyond just academic projects. So, thanks.
Yeah. Nobody can, you know, be content with work anymore if it’s not out in the world in a non-academic setting.
KCSB interview with Bill Allen, Rashidi, Jim Trotter, and Steve Plevin.
Allen: [00:00:04] Allen.
KCSB: [00:00:04] And then what’s your status legally? I guess you were arrested during Reagan came to down, and what’s happened to you since then? Have you been bothered by the police?
Allen: [00:00:14] Consistently. The state, status legally is that I have three trials coming up, one on the 21st of May, which is the raid-, no, it’s the, um, Isla Vista disturbances, in which I’m accused of breaking most of the windows in Isla Vista for January or February 24th, I guess it is. Then I have another trial on the 31st. And that’s where the Reagan demonstration, which we were accused of initially disturbing the peace. And then after, after the arraignment, at the arraignment, they tacked on two other charges of inciting a riot and vulgarity against a police officer, which is their trip. You know, I mean, they keep adding and and and harassing. And then on June 8th, we have the Santa Barbara 19 or now 20 trials since I’ve been consolidated in that. So I have a lot of court things going on.
KCSB: [00:01:11] They can’t put all this together into one trial?
Allen: [00:01:15] Oh no, there are separate charges every day.
KCSB: [00:01:17] How can you afford the court fees for three separate, three separate trials?
Allen: [00:01:21] I can’t. There are people who’ve helped out. We’ve helped out some people in the past and are helping people out now and people are helping us out.
KCSB: [00:01:27] Well, who’s going to open your defense?
Allen: [00:01:32] On campus, the, for the Privilege and Tenure thing that people at, uh, conducted their defense were Richard Wasserstrom, who’s a Panther UCLA lawyer for the Los Angeles. And Leon Letwin, who’s also in UCLA law school with Wasserstrom. And that hearing is completed, the disciplinary hearing, and they still haven’t received a transcript of some 900 pages of transcripts, and only about 480 were done on Tuesday or [unclear] Tuesday in the Isla Vista militia mischief or whatever the thing is. John Sink is defending me and for the campus demonstrations of Santa Barbara twentieths, John Sink and Roden. And then I’m not sure who’s going to defend me for the, for the Reagan demonstrations.
KCSB: [00:02:29] What about your suspension by the chancellor? Is that still in effect, or have you had your final hearing on that?
Allen: [00:02:35] Well, I’ve had the hearing, as I said, on the discipline, but they haven’t come up with a decision yet as to what the, what the discipline should be.
KCSB: [00:02:43] So you’re still waiting on that.
Allen: [00:02:45] Right, and we’re also anticipating another hearing, the Privilege and Tenure Committee, as to the violation of my privileges that I mentioned earlier.
KCSB: [00:02:53] And you appeal, what was, what’s the final appeal or at what stage of appeal are you now then?
Allen: [00:02:59] Well, I, we’re waiting for the Privilege and Tenure Committee to reply as to our request, which was made a week ago Sunday for an opening again of the, of my, of the hearing on the violation of my privileges.
KCSB: [00:03:14] If I can, I’d like to ask you some things about the Academic Senate. Do you think there’s a possibility that there’ll be some real reforms in the [unclear] if the current student pressure’s kept up?
Allen: [00:03:25] Oh, for sure. I don’t, I don’t see any other alternative. I think the Academic Senate is, is just being pompous at this point, just being incredibly arrogant. You know, I mean, like, they must realize that students are not going to let up on that pressure. I mean, no matter how much repression that they’ve, they’ve brought down this year, the same kind of stuff is happening on every campus.
KCSB: [00:03:45] What kind of faculty support do you have? I noticed the Academic Senate meetings I went, there were a few people, you know, that seemed to be pretty vocal, but what percentage would you say?
Allen: [00:03:55] Oh, really low. This is a very conservative Academic Senate. I mean, this Academic Senate is more like dinosaur, like a dinosaur than any other Academic Senate in the system. I mean, it’s more conservative than UCLA and UCLA is just, I mean, like a lethargic mass, you know.
KCSB: [00:04:14] Who’s being vocal in there right now? I know, I know Richard Harrison’s come otu with a few, a few statements.
Allen: [00:04:22] Well, there are a number of people that have been, you know, fairly vocal over a long period of time on the left side, the right side is much more vocal. And that’s, you know, led by Harry Girvetz, who was supposed to be the bastion of liberalism but, you know, it’s just very conservative, and Andron, who is just completely out of phase with reality. I think that that faction is much more significant in the academic sense here and deserves a lot more, more, press. I mean, they’re the people that are doing all the things in the Academic Senate. No one else gets a chance. They’ve got so much time, and they’ve had it since it was a ci-, since it was a state college. Most of these people that are are powerful on this campus are holdovers from when this was, you know, just a mediocre state college. And that’s why, you know, you get this sort of attitude of just incredible conservatism.
KCSB: [00:05:17] How do you feel about the tenure system in general? Should it be scrapped altogether or revised or what would you propose?
Allen: [00:05:22] I think it should be scrapped. I think the tenure system is is just a poor excuse for some kind of refuge. You know, security. I mean, people build up a kind of specialization in their field, publish, you know, generally a lot of crap, but volumes of it and and then, you know, hide behind the tenure system. So they never create. They never produce. You know, it’s a, it’s really a bummer system, I think, all the way through.
KCSB: [00:05:56] We’re going to take telephone calls, questions if you can phone the minute nine six one two four two four, and we’ll have the questions brought in to us here. All right, well, Rashidi’s here with us and he’s got a trial going on a lot too, so could you rap about that for a few minutes? What’s the story, what are the charges, and how the trial is going?
Rashidi: [00:06:17] Well, the jury came in this morning and I was convicted of, on two counts. The counts were obstructing, no, counts were disturbing the peace, obstructing the pig and battery on a pig, and I was convicted on the obstructing and resisting and on the battery, and I have to go back for sentencing on May the 20th.
KCSB: [00:06:45] This was during the Reagan coming-.
Rashidi: [00:06:47] Reagan demonstration.
KCSB: [00:06:47] Were you arrested in any other, in IV or, first time or second time?
Rashidi: [00:06:55] Well, in addition to that, while I was in court, you know, right after, I think it was Monday, I went up to court. The two sheriffs who were testifying against me, well we weren’t sure if [unclear] Santa Barbara policemen arrested me again after court on a charge of grand theft, which was a warrant which was put out by the UCLA police department on two counts. Now, this is something that is utterly ridiculous. They haven’t, still this, as yet, have not informed me of what I’m supposed to have stolen or when or anything, and I’m supposed to call down to the Los Angeles court and find out what this is all about. In addition to that, in one incident, which I would like to tell about is last Tuesday. Last Tuesday night, I was walking home about two o’clock and I was stopped by two Santa Barbara Sheriffs, and when they first stopped me they, the one on the passenger side said, Rashidi, what are you doing out this late at night? Don’t you know that there are people who would like to catch you out at night and off you? You know, and emphatically, you know, and he said it’s about two or three times, you know, then they said, well, can we search you, you know? And I said, well, do I have any choice? You know, so they got out and they searched me. Then one of them started looking around on the ground with a flashlight all around the area and he came back to me and said, you threw this. He came with a red pill and said, you threw this down. I saw you make a furtive movement and you threw this down. And they said, well, we can arrest you now or you can go down and talk to Sergeant Briganti. And I said, well, you know, I didn’t want to be arrested, so, you know, let’s go talk to Briganti. So they took me down to their station, their headquarters they had over in Devero, and they took me off in this little room and they said, well, we’re not gonna arrest you, you know, we just want to talk to you. And they went through this long rap, and in essence, what they said was that, you know, they made this appeal to me, you know, well, you’re an intelligent guy, you know, you’re a good guy, you’re going to make it, graduate, and you’re going to be going and getting a job and blah, blah, blah. And, you know, there’s no reason for us to be fighting each other, you know, with some of these other these white guys, you know, who are really insane, they’re crazy. They just want to cause trouble. You know, we really got to get rid of these people, you know, so why don’t you just stay out of it? You know, and this, they rapped with me for about half hour, 45 minutes.
KCSB: [00:09:44] What was your response to that?
Rashidi: [00:09:46] Well I, well I told them, as always, they’ve made mistakes like that before, you know, that they are good dudes, you know, and I like them and we believe in the same things, you know, and, well, you know, naturally I wasn’t going to be belligerent, you know, and cuss them out or anything like that ’cause there was nothing but pigs in the building and, you know, they had me surrounded. I was in a little room and there was about 10 of them waiting outside. But I mean, I told them, you know, what I thought, you know, and then the two pigs who were really picking me up took me back to where, where they originally picked me up, and they parked, turned off the lights, and then they both got out on either side of me and, and one said, well, you know, no more games, you know, we’re this serious business from now on, you know, you’re an intelligent guy, you know what we mean, you know, that type of thing. And I, you know, took it as a threat, you know, I think that the, this is what was meant by, also previously, you know, in the building, I didn’t mention this. They said, well, Rashidi, what do you think’s going to happen, you know, and I said, well man, I said, I can’t say. It all depends if you guys rip someone else off. I feel like, I think if you kill someone else that there’s going to be a lot of shi-, crap, you know? I’m not supposed to say that, you know. In Isla Vista, and they said, well, if you guys keep doing what you’re doing, I think that’s what’s going to happen. And I said, well, you know, we’re right and we’re not going to stop because you guys are wrong.
KCSB: [00:11:17] Well, Jim Trotter also ran into trouble with the police department in the last few demonstrations. I wonder if you could tell us about that.
Trotter: [00:11:23] Well, I was charged by the grand jury with three counts of felony, arson, battery on a peace officer and interfering with an executive officer in the line of duty. And I was acquitted on all three counts by a jury trial in the superior court. And tomorrow I have disciplinary hearings with Dean Reynolds and the conduct committee or some such thing about events that took place on February 12th, which was a demonstration in front of the administration building in which several people got clubbed and things, and I’ve been charged with violations of the new student code that you can’t do anything, oh you know, the very elaborate one where I was charged with disru-, interfering with the operation of the university or something, and that was when the university had closed down the administration building and had the police out there, yet had not declared the building closed. So that’s the-
Allen: [00:12:23] That was the day that I went [unclear].
KCSB: [00:12:28] I remember when William Kunstler was on campus, he was talking about the jury and the judicial, judicial system in general. And he said, you know, in theory, it’s an equitable system and the jury system is as goody-, good as any if justice is done equally. What are your impressions about, all three of you, about the, about the judicial system [unclear]?
Allen: [00:12:47] I’d like to have had you seen Rashidi, I mean. Like, there, first of all, there were nine senile old ladies. I mean, that, you know, had never been sexually satisfied in their life, no way that they could have been, I mean, thin lipped, you know, and just flat foreheads and, and then three guys there. One was about maybe in his late 30s, early 40s, and the other two were like, you know, retired guys. I mean, you’re supposed to be tried by your peers, you know, and the average age of these people must have been in the late 40s, early 50s. Like, that is not, you know, those are not his peers. Those people don’t have the same lifestyle, they don’t have the same attitudes towards things. They’re more concerned with, you know, preserving their status quo, even though it’s ugly and unsatisfying to them. God, it was this ugly-, there’s no way that those people could find him guilty legitimately. They cannot possibly be a legitimate jury.
Rashidi: [00:13:46] You know, it would, what he said, you know, like, I defended myself, you know, on this particular charge, on these charges. And the first thing that I did was objected to the constitution of the jury, because first of all, of the people that were there, you know, available for selection, there was not one black person, first of all. There were a couple of young people, but the defense automatically exclude those when [unclear], you know, their policies automatically exclude any student or, or any black person or, or any young person, you know, because they feel that they’ll be sympathetic. And being there’s, by the jury commissioner’s own testimony, only one percent students that are chosen for the entire, the entire year, you know, serve on a jury. They’re very easily-, they get seven, they can eliminate seven people in a municipal, you know, a misdemeanor trial and 14 in a felony that it’s impossible for a student to get another student or almost impossible for a student to get another student on a jury so that the average age of jurors by the jury commissioner’s own testimony, really under this case, is 47 to 68 years old, and for the most part, retired people. And I mean, in my case, it was just ridiculous. You know, the pigs who testified contradicted each other. I had reputable witnesses. I had Kief Dotson from the news press who testified on my behalf. I had Catherine Peak, who’s lived here 50 years. I had Officer Becento who’s a sheriff, you know. Although he didn’t see the incident, he testified as to what I was doing there that was not try-, kinda-, trying to cause any trouble. And there’s just no way, you know, and, and, and, and the prosecutor handed down this thing, this rap about law and order and how these people, it was their duty to prosecute me, their duty to find me guilty to stop all these demonstrations, you know.
Allen: [00:15:54] Because it’s cost them tax dollars.
Rashidi: [00:15:56] Yeah. And, you know-
Allen: [00:15:57] That’s the thing they’re into, right.
Rashidi: [00:16:02] And they…thirty five that I, there’s no way they could have convicted me, but they did.
KCSB: [00:16:08] Can we ask you, Bill, about the events in Isla Vista and what you think about violence in general against, the difference in violence with-, against people and against property, and what’s your thought at both the burning of the bank and the police violence on the shooting of Kevin Moran?
Allen: [00:16:26] Yeah, well, I think there is a, you know, distinct difference between violence and sabotage. I’m going cough. I think that the acts of, of collective sabotage against the bank on the 24th of February and the 25th of February and again this last month, were, were acts that were actually, were, were clearly acts against property. They weren’t against people. In no case was any, was any person fired upon unless somebody had, had fired upon them first. In other words, in, in no case, that I know of in Isla Vista, were the pigs attacked until after they attacked first. And every case, they committed some brutal act and then people retaliated. And, you know, I think for all intents and purposes, what happened in Isla Vista is, is a direct result of an overzealous, ugly police force, I mean, that, that wants to see, you know, a lot of shit going on in Isla Vista, because that’s exactly how, that’s ex-, h-, that, sorry about that, that’s exactly, you know, how they’re going to bring this thing to a head and completely quash any kind of, of significant social change. And th-, and they’re so effective at it, man. Like they, they had the [unclear]. You saw what they did the last time with Operation Wagon Train, a sneak attack on a group of students, man, as if they were Vietcong, you know, like those are the kinds of sneak attacks that they have in Vietnam. Exactly. You know, and those are the kind of sneak attacks that they, you know, that they impute that the Indians used to have, even though it’s clear that the settlers had a lot more attacks on the Indians than the Indians had on the settlers.
KCSB: [00:18:19] Now, what about the main difference between the last demonstrations and the ones were part of the bank was burned, but quite a number of students have come out and said they’re against violence and were trying to defend the bank, one of them being Kevin Moran?
Allen: [00:18:30] Yeah, I think that, that what happened there was, was that there weren’t very many people that I knew that really were hot to have a riot on the, in this last riot kind of situation. I don’t think anybody was, was turned on to see any more kinds of rioting going on in Isla Vista. You know, several of us went down to, to talk to Jerry Rubin and attempt to, to get him to come up here and just be in the park, in that, you know, we felt that it was important that, that he come, but it was also important that, you know, that we show that there was a sense of community in Isla Vista starting to develop, and that that sense of-.
KCSB: [00:19:06] Was Rubin actually here that day?
Allen: [00:19:07] Well, if he is, if he was, he was in a good disguise because I didn’t him there. And, and, and the riot that ensued, you know, after Jerry Rubin was here, was not because, you know, Jerry Rubin didn’t come. I think most of the people felt somewhat disappointed that he didn’t come, but what happened effectively, it seemed to me, is that, is that the police desperately wanted a riot, you know, and when all of those people were standing on the steps of the bank on, on Thursday night, it was clear that nobody was going to go out and throw a Molotov cocktail at a, at a bunch of liberals and conservatives standing on the bank trying to protect it. I mean, nobody was going to do that, you know, and it was over effectively. And yet the police had to come in. They felt compelled to come in. And the next night, the same thing happened, you know, it seemed to me. The fire had been put out and nobody was going to, I think, run up and throw another Molotov cocktail at those people standing there.
Rashidi: [00:20:02] You know, I think, in terms of, you know, you know, all this tal-, talk about violence, you know, which mainly, all the people who talk about it in the Academic Senate, the Chancellor, you know, they alwa-, you know, they always refer back to, you know, that damn bank, you know, or, you know, something of this sort. They try to play down, you know, the fact that Kevin Moran was killed by a pig. You know, they play down the acts of brutality that were committed against the people in the community. They play down the acts of brutality that instigated the whole thing, you know, and, and-
Allen: [00:20:37] You know, nobody talks about this guy getting hit with a police car. Nobody talks about the nine people who were shot, you know, one of them now dead. And yet, you know, we keep hearing this thing about, you know, people out, you know, out against violence, you know? Well, most of the people that I know that are fairly radical on this campus were against violence, and I too, and, and to some end, they were trying to build barricades so the police didn’t swoop in and kill people like they finally did. I mean, they were, people were left merciless. They were left right, you know, in the hands of the pigs when they swooped in.
Rashidi: [00:21:11] And, if I could, yeah, I, I, I, you know, personally hold, the, specifically the Academic Senate, the Chancellor, you know, and number of other people on this campus who, and, you know, in Santa Barbara, who have consistently resisted change. I think they are responsible. You know, I think that the people who are engaging, you know, the small, who’s engaging in, you know, the real daring acts, you know, were reacting out of the, the, the, I mean, from legitimate, let me word the le-, legitimate emotions. I mean, they were frustrated because every time they try to get anything done, they’re constantly, you know, they just spit in their face, you know, the Chancellor just, just, just said, to hell with student voice. You know, the people in Santa Barbara said to hell with you people, you’re out of this control, and how do they expect people to react? This people reacted normally. They were frustrated. And, you know, they taught me in psychology, frustration leads to aggression, and this is something that they knew was going to come about. And I thin-, you know, I think Cheadle’s responsible and I think that he ought to be hunged for it.
Allen: [00:22:16] I’ll tell you, if there were-
Rashidi: [00:22:18] Mmm hmm. And the Academic Senate.
Allen: [00:22:18] If the grand jury were-
Rashidi: [00:22:18] You can bet.
Allen: [00:22:18] -composed of Isla Vista residents, I’ll tell you who the people that would be indicted would be. It’d be Cheadle and Varly and Evans and Reynolds and Webster and Buchanan and all the rest of those, those people, Mayor Firestone, county supervisors-
Rashidi: [00:22:35] Yeah, and I think also those people, you know, the students who didn’t, like, you know, for a long time-.
Allen: [00:22:40] And Ronald Reagan.
Rashidi: [00:22:40] -the whole, the whole thing that, that we were trying to say was like students, let’s get together and let’s show them that we’re all together and we all want change. People are so apathetic. They wouldn’t come out. You know, a lot of them wouldn’t come out. 8 thousand, yes, you know, 8 thousand came out for a while and then, you know, they started to, drifting off, you know, and then pretty soon was left, maybe 500 people still struggling for change, and the rest of the people said, to hell with it. You know, I think if they had all come out and got together and, and shown that they were behind change like they say they are now, you know, when all these things have happened, like has been killed, people have been shot, and things have happened. You know, if they had come out and showed that there was student support, and we had exercised student power, real student power, like the BSU’s been calling for, ever since we started this whole thing with North Hall. We always related the things that we were doing to the larger issues of student power. If you check back on the records, and our statements always been related to students should get together. But they didn’t, you know, and now they all sorry, or mad, or whatever, but when they could have got off their asses and done something, they didn’t, and now they want to come and condemn those people who had guts enough to do something and to beat and to defy that illegitimate authority that’s oppressing them and oppressing all of us.
KCSB: [00:23:53] We’ll be back to this discussion with Jim Trotter, Bill Allen, and Rashidi in a few moments after election coverage from KCSB FM, Santa Barbara.
Rashidi: [00:28:27] So therefore, you know, I mean, that’s the whole thing that they’ve been running down on Black, you know, Chicanos, that, that we’re irrational, we’re emotional. Yeah, you know, and, and-.
KCSB: [00:28:36] We’re back, back on the air with Rashidi, Bill Allen, and Jim Trotter, talking about the violence in the streets-.
Plevin: [00:28:43] Steven Plevin.
KCSB: [00:28:43] And Steve Plevin also, excuse me. I think we got a telephone question? Yeah, this is for Bill. Where do you stand on issues such as the Goleta Slew and other conservation issues, or do you have time for such concerns, in light of your present predicament?
Allen: [00:28:57] Oh, yeah. I think that there was a statement recently by the Chancellor, and I think it’s an outgrowth of what’s happened here, and that is that they’re not going to touch the slew now. A lot of things have been saved, you know, since we started demonstrating and putting our bodies on the line out here. One of them was Rexroth, and the other one is the slew, and so some good things have happened. I’m very much, you know, more concerned with ecology than, than it would appear in the last two or three months. Some people may remember that like three months ago in a day we said in its terms, we [unclear] on the oil. That was the day before the demonstrations started here. I would like to see people really getting militant about ecology. And I’m not, you know, I’m not really mincing any words. I’d really like to see ’em get it on against the kinds of polluters and exploiters that, that corporations are in this country.
KCSB: [00:29:44] You don’t think the environment issue is a cop out then, like a lot of people do, taking-
Allen: [00:29:49] No, I just think it has to be put in political perspective, man. It’s a political problem right now because the major exploiters and, and the major polluters and, and those people concerned with, you know, increasing their consuming base, which is basically an exploitative kind of trip, are the corporations in this country. And they’re so good at it, man. I mean, they’re just, they’ve got all the technology that they need to destroy the Earth to turn it into one agrobusiness garden kind of environment, you know, and smooth out all the regularity, I mean all the variability, just like they’re, they’re cutting off all the cultural variability.
Rashidi: [00:30:26] They like to pave the world.
Allen: [00:30:27] Right on.
Rashidi: [00:30:27] Just have the whole world-
Allen: [00:30:28] And they’d like to have the whole world culturally middle class, which it means that they’re going to consume for creature comforts, and it’s just, I mean, that’s their, their scheme of the world, you know.
KCSB: [00:30:38] Well, I’d like to ask Rashidi about that. There’s been some talk, I understand, from Black leaders in the East and they’re saying that ecology is a cop out and isn’t the real issue and that that should be put secondary and fighting racism first. Would you go along with that?
Rashidi: [00:30:51] I think that, the, what most of the Black leaders are saying and what my side down in the Black Panther Party out in UCLA said, you know, today is that, and like, you know, I’ve been here in Isla Vista, you know, for over a year, you know, like I’ve gotten out of the, you know, the environment, you know, of living, you know, in the ghetto, you know, and that people are there-, people there are concerned with much more basic personal things, you know, like eating, you know, like working like, you know, pigs constantly, you know, I mean, I mean like here, you know, we have harassment, you know, and it’s, and it’s, and it’s intolerable, you know, because the people aren’t used to it, you know, to that extent like in the Black community, at least once a week, like a young Black person is ripped off by a pig, you know, and, and, you know, it’s, you know, justifiable homicide. And these are things that these people are concerned with. The thing about ecology is, I think that [unclear] a lot of people do use it as a cop out. A lot of people, like Nixon, you know, got behind it, you know, and Reagan even said that, you know, that bull sh after he came out and said this thing about, we have to find a happy medium between progress and preserving natural resources, you know, and that a lot of, I think a lot of people are into it, you know, as a cop-, I, you know, as something that, that, that, that no one can condemn them for, you know, and yet they can still say that they’re trying to, you know, to help, you know, but I think there are a lot of serious people. I think Bill’s serious because I seen him, you know, put his own body on the line, you know, his own self, his who-, his own career, you know, risk going to jail, you know. I think if people are concerned enough to get at the cause of it and point out who’s doing, like you know, these corporations and then tie that in, you know, to their exploitation of the ghetto, the exploitation of, of the students here, the exploitation of the entire world, then they’re really on the right track, but if they’re only talking about preserving their own environment for their own personal enjoyment, you know, then I say, to hell with ’em.
KCSB: [00:33:07] Well, if I can give you just one specific case, I know in South Carolina, they’re trying to put a factory [unclear] Head, I think it’s called, and the choice there is whether they’re going to put in this factory and pollute the Bay or whether the factory will be put in and it will give jobs to a large number of Blacks who are in the poorest county in the United States. How do you make a choice like that?
Rashidi: [00:33:28] Well, I really couldn’t, you know, not being here, not knowing the specific situations that they’re confronted with, you know, all Black people are not necessarily working for the good of, you know, the entire world to give the community or whatever. You know, they’re Black capitalists who only care about making money. You know, I’d want to find out if those Black people have some interest in that factory being built, you know, but I think that the important thing is that if technology is used correctly, you know, I think, and I think me and Bill at times disagreed on this and [unclear] other, you know, the radicals, to quote white radicals in quote, you know, that I think that technology can be used to increase, you know, people’s lives, and to better people’s lives, but as long as it’s under control of the corporations and not in the hands of the people that, you know, that we’re just going to keep polluting, and, you know, none of us are going to have any place to live. I think Trotter, you know, really is more into that to me. I like-.
Trotter: [00:34:44] Well, the whole, the whole ecology movement, the whole concept of ecology is, is ultimately a very revolutionary concept. There’s no way to deal with the problems without having a revolutionary perspective, because ecology is a, is based in scientific fact that demonstrates that the whole world is one global sphere and that internationalism is the only possible solution to these problems. You can’t have specific national interest or local interests.
KCSB: [00:35:09] You’re probably aware of what happened to the Honeywell Corporation’s stockholders meeting yesterday, which was disrupted by a lot of people, young people who’ve held proxies, and [unclear]. Do you see this sort of thing happening in the future?
Trotter: [00:35:22] Yeah, I personally know several friends of mine whose parents are very wealthy that are buying stock in, in corporations designed to end pollution, or clean up pollution, or are using their stocks in whatever way they can. It’s a very minimal type of effort because using, trying to vote in non pollution measures, say, in a stock-, in a board meeting is almost contradictory because you’re going to vote yourself out of your profit. Our pollution is some of these profit is, you know, as a little slogan goes, and it happens to be very true. There’s just no, there’s no question about the reason that there is pollution is because it is in the interest of a capitalist class to, you know, to sluff off that duty. They have a social duty because it’s not enforceable.
KCSB: [00:36:09] Probably the major issue of last month’s regents meeting was moved by Regent Dutton to have the university’s seven million dollars worth of General Motors stock. The proxies for that being used to fight for some reforms of GM, and this, this failed do you have any comment on that?
Allen: [00:36:26] Can you repeat that?
KCSB: [00:36:26] Last, last month regents meeting, one of the biggest issues was how the university would vote their stock in the upcoming General Motors stockholders meeting.
Allen: [00:36:40] Yeah.
KCSB: [00:36:40] The university holds seven million dollars worth of GM stock and there was a move on to have the stock used to put some pressure on some reforms in General Motors, and this failed.
Allen: [00:36:54] Where did it fail, the Regential level, or-
KCSB: [00:36:56] The Regents.
Allen: [00:36:56] They, they refused to. Well, sure, you have all the biggest capitalists in the state, I mean-.
Trotter: [00:37:02] They did a lot to tear down the image of the University as a liberal vehicle for reforming society when in reality, it’s the University of California that produces all the nuclear warheads that the country uses; it’s the University of California that won’t vote for reform in the, the largest producer of air pollution, and it’s stripping away all of the facades that the University has been trying to maintain over the past few years while all the disruptions have been going on. They’ve been trying to say, we’re working for social change; we’re trying to improve the environment; we’re trying to improve people’s lives, but when it comes down to the vote, they’re not. They’re not interested in that. They’re interested in their own profits and this is, this is the kind of issue we’ve been talking about now for a long time, and people are going to start seeing it in a real sense when they see how these votes go.
KCSB: [00:37:45] Well, we have environmental problems a lot closer to home right out in Isla Vista, so I wonder if each of you could give an idea on how you can make Isla Vista a decent place to live? How can they clean up this community?
Allen: [00:37:55] Yeah, I think we ought to shoot for, on Isla Vista, a program where we do away with cars in Isla Vista completely. I mean, if it’s going to be a student [unclear], let’s turn it into, as utopian a one as possible? To that end though, we might do is have just emergency lanes running down the streets that presently exist and, and have those emergency lanes on any bike lanes and, and the rest of the street be torn up and turn into organic gardens. And it could happen, like people are starting to plant all over Isla Vista in vacant lots, you know, and there, there seems to be a lot of energy towards functional kinds of things like that Isla Vista. I mean, you know, a lifestyle that people are starting to evolve is, is not just a communal one for sex and, and leeching off of people, you know. It’s one in which people can start living real lives in which they, you know, can control some of their own subsistence, hopefully all of it eventually. In addition to that, I think that, that, that they ought to put a limit like the, that limit being right now on, on any more building in Isla Vista. No more building should go up there. There’s too many people already, and they ought to turn some of those vacant lots that the realty companies own that they can’t build on anymore anyway if we put the limits on; gotta build at least one of them into a daycare center to give some of the women in Isla Vista some liberated time. And then I think we ought to, we have to think about getting some of those merchants who have been gouging the people for years now to start contributing some money to, say, a breakfast program for some of the kids on Isla Vista and, and in some of the Goleta ghettos down here where the kids certainly don’t get very good meals. And I think that we ought to start evaluating exactly how much longer we’re going to permit the kind of rent gouging and the kind of inflated market prices and the kinds of inflated gasoline prices to persist in Isla Vista. So I think that, you know, that the best way to get any kind of sense of community out there is to start turning the place into something that, that people really want to live in, you know, instead of, that people just want to be transient in, you know, and that people are willing to put up with because they’re getting a quote education so they can fit within the system again.
KCSB: [00:40:05] I got a fact from a listener. He says that the ecology problem exists from a consumption economy supported by advertisement. If advertisement were outlawed, would it help the ecology movement?
Trotter: [00:40:18] It certainly couldn’t hurt the ecology movement, but the single biggest problem is not necessarily just advertising, but the fact that people, you know, have to live a certain type of lifestyle in this country to survive. I mean, you know, people that live in, especially in Isla Vista kinds of situations, where you’re, you’re really dependent on grocery stores for your source of food and the fact that the energy necessary to supply, say, a TV dinner, you know, go to the icebox, open the icebox, take the [unclear] out, put it in your oven, and prepare that. The energy necessary to do that in this country is, is, is in fact the real manifestation of imperialism. The United States uses 54 percent of the world’s resources and it’s only five percent of the world’s population. Those resources are used to accomplish acts just like that, to open your door, to prepare a TV dinner, to drive your car, do all these very highly technological processes that require energy that is deprived in the other 95 percent of the world’s population.
KCSB: [00:41:15] Would you go along with Jerry Rubin’s idea of having planning in the morning and farming in the morning and playing music in the afternoon and then making love at night?
Trotter: [00:41:24] That’s definitely, that’s not just Jerry Rubin’s idea. Buckminster Fuller advocates, you know, the same thing-.
Allen: [00:41:28] Tribal people all over the world have been doing it for thousands of years and digging it. I mean, it’s just, I’ve lived in that kind of environment, and it’s hip.
KCSB: [00:41:37] I’d like to get into a few questions concerning the student elections that are going on right now, at least the votes that are being counted. One question that we asked the candidates last Sunday night and might be worthwhile asking you is the fact that a couple of years ago, most radicals on campus and minority groups were condemning AS government as being totally ineffective. And this election at least, we’ve seen a lot of minority groups and radical, radical individuals seeking office. Can you explain this, the change?
Allen: [00:42:05] Let’s wait and see the results.
Rashidi: [00:42:07] Well, I think that the reason that, I know, you know, before last year, you know, we got into it, we pointed out to people that the student, the student government really didn’t have any power. The administration really didn’t listen to them. You have people like Paul Sweet, you know, in there who, who basically were administration boys, and this is the type of people that, you know, were in there. And the reason that I think that we became involved was to force the administration to deal with the question of whether students had any power or not, or they were gonna listen to students or not, and I think that this year, you know, they showed that they wouldn’t. And I think that most of the people who are running this year who, you know, have labels on, you know, whatever side you want to label them, you know, are dealing with this question and the whole thing, the whole reason is to bring it out to the students, you know, that they will not listen to us, you know, and that the present system is ineffective and that there is no power whatsoever in the hands of students. People like, Taz Do, you know, and Perry, you know, we talk about getting lawyers, you know, and things like this, you know, that is not going to work, you know, and it’s obvious and I don’t see how after the, the, the, the way that the administration has acted, the statements that they’ve made, have you been reading the things they made in the news press, you know, about the students? You know, how we are distorting issues, you know, while they’re the ones that are distorting issues, how the Academic Senate has been con-, they just completely ignoring. They have just said, to hell with you. You know, and people have been really reading what they’ve been saying, you know, and I think this is a thing, And students are going to have to realize that because as long as they think that that student government, you know, as it presently stands, is going to bring in some results, it’s just going to be going down a blind alley and eventually, it’s going to happen, you know, because people’s awareness, you know, you know, like the awareness today is much more than it was last year at this time, and it’s going to be at a higher level at this time next year. You know, eventually they’re going to realize that this present system, you know, is, is just not one that’s designed to give students any voice. You know, the university wasn’t built that way and it wasn’t the students, you know, the way the system was set up, students weren’t, you know, it’s a game, you know. They let the students play around here with their little money, which they’re now trying to take back, you know, and I personally think that they financed this move to take away, you know, to do away with the student funds you raise, and then this propaganda thing they’ve been running, you know, about where this money is going, you know. I think if the issues are made clear to students that keep that, but I think that’s the reason people have become involved, you know, because they, the people who were n-, were on there before were not even attempting to really articulate truly, you know, the grievances of student issues, but they wanted to be, you know, quote, responsible, end quote. And that’s another thing that I’ve, you know, had experience with in the Black community, you know, the responsible Negroes, the house niggers, we call them. And you got a lot of house nigger students, you know, one in particular, you know, I won’t mention, you know, on that committee that they put me and [unclear] on, you know, after Bill’s thing, you know, to, to investigate, for student input into departments, you know. We resigned because we knew basically that the committee did not have any power whatsoever. There was one student in there who is now working for the administration who called various other student members and told them, well, you know, you ought to stick on this committee because, you know, like, it’ll be really good for you. You know, you’ll make a lot of good contacts, you know, and basically they’re selling out student interests, you know, you know, their, for their own personal gain and not there to, to, to, to see the students really get a voice. They’re there because they’ve been handpicked by the man, you know, and there are a number of students in these positions. And, and that’s the type of thing we’re going to see through. That’s the kind of thing we’re going to have to deal with, you know.
KCSB: [00:46:04] From the earlier election returns from the UCEN, where they’re counting the ballots from the student elections, it looks as if the more moderate candidates are building up a sizable lead. Do you interpret this as a sign of, some sort of student backlash to what’s been going on, this, the radical, well, I don’t know what you want to call-, the office holders that we’ve had, and the disturbances in Isla Vista?
Allen: [00:46:25] Yeah, I don’t think there were too many radical officeholders. There were, you know, some that supposedly are-.
KCSB: [00:46:37] If you could call him-.
Trotter: [00:46:37] The part of the, the moderate upswing in candidates, I think is not necessarily due so much to a backlash; the backlash is probably a benefit than more the number of people who voted, you know, a more conscientious student body. I’ve forgotten how many s-, they’ve estimated voted this time, but it’s more, much a significant greater number than last time. But the fact that in the last year, student government has been so insignificant, so totally insignificant, that only, like the fraternity and established traditional organized groups have any kind of power to win those seats. And last year, those people who can see themselves as radicals or were in groups such as that, had an organizational base in which they could, you know, run for office and won. And this year, people have learned that organizations’ how it’s done, and the more moderate elements are better, are more organized now. And it represents their organization because I don’t think the student body has become any more backlashist than it ever was. It’s still basically progressive.
KCSB: [00:47:30] Will the campus be a swing towards conservatism while people try and control El Gaucho and groups such as Asia and the Radical Union.
Trotter: [00:47:38] Any depth of, any organization that finds itself in a structured power situation like this is inevitably going to try to take control of El Gaucho and whatever media things they can.
Rashidi: [00:47:48] And I think a lot has to do with fear, you know, how the students are afraid of, you know, of the man coming. I think KCSB is afraid, you know, that the man is going to come down on them again. I think that what happened to KCSB was just, you know, inexcusable, and I, and, and the response that came from KCSB in regards to what happened, you know, I remember-
Allen: [00:48:13] It was lukewarm at best.
Rashidi: [00:48:16] Yeah, when they tried to play that album, and went [unclear] when they just called and told you not to play that album, you know.
Allen: [00:48:22] And that’s amazing, you know, I remember that, man.
Rashidi: [00:48:23] What, what i-, what is this man, you know, and people, you know, still make justifications, you know, they said, well, we don’t underst-, you, you guys said, I said, well, we don’t understand because we were so responsible, you know, and we were really being good guys, and you cut us off, you know.
Allen: [00:48:36] They were being, you guys were being less than responsible, I think, you know. Freedom in this country doesn’t mean, you know, freedom from responsibility. I mean, it means exactly that you have to be responsible and find out what’s going on and I don’t think this station has done.
Rashidi: [00:48:49] You’re supposed to be responsible to-
Allen: [00:48:50] I don’t think this station’s been objective.
Rashidi: [00:48:52] The students, you know, and not to, police about the show-
Allen: [00:48:57] Could you imagine what Beck would have done? Could you imagine what Beck would have done if they told us she had to stop publishing the papers? She’d have told them to get, get hosed, man. She would have published it anyway. She would have gone publish it any place, you know, on, on toilet paper, you know, and what you guys should have done has gotten another transmitter and transmitted, man, because you could have done it.
Rashidi: [00:49:17] That whole myth of, you know, objectivity, and what do you, I mean, what do you mean by objective? To me, it seems like with people usually, you know, what I mean by responsibility and objectivity, they mean you are using the official reports of the police departments, you know, or the official statement by the mayor. And then they say, well, you know, now we’re being objective, you know, and that’s bullshit because the, the, the sheriff, you know, has a definite point of view, you know, and obviously, if people [unclear] anti-student, you know, and I think that Becca’s positions, Becca’s position and the position of the El Gaucho this year has been pro student opinion, you know, I think most students do agree that there need to be change. They might all, not all agree on, you know, the tactics, you know, what they generally agree on the things that should be done. I think that that was reflected, you know, in the newspapers and, and she, many times I read in the paper myself that, you know, I thought that they weren’t militant enough. You know, I thought that they should have declared, you know, you know exactly, you know, where they were coming from, a, they did eventually, you know, what, from the get go, they tell exactly where they’re coming from and, you know, explain all this, you know, and ran it down, you know. What she asked for, peop-, you know, if you don’t agree with me, come on in and write your own article, you know. You know, and people didn’t, you know. So like basically, you know, they were just jiving and they, I don’t know if they’re just, if they’re still so hung up in the authoritarian shit that they went through with their mothers and fathers or what, you know, I think I’ve been in this authority, but you got to recognize that you are a human being, that you have a mind, you know, and that you are legitimate in yourself, you know. No one has to give them, you legitimacy. You’re responsible, you know, you are responsible yourself. You make yourself responsible. You’re responsible to whatever you believe in, you know. But, uh, you know, I think that’s just, you know, that whole argument, you know, objectivity, you know, it’s just, and you know, so-called factual reporting, just like, OK, if, if someone said, well, you know, the pigs shot Kevin Moran, then people would say, well, that’s an irresponsible statement, you know, it’s true. You should have said, well, Moran was killed. And then, that’s one fact, OK, we know he was killed. OK, another fact, at approximately [unclear] of the time, a policeman said that his rifle accidentally fired, you know, and the sheriff even admits that, you know, you see what I mean? I mean, and then you might say, well, the sheriff before that there were snipers, and we all knew that there was no snipers, see, I mean, you can just completely distort what went down, you know, see what I mean? But, you know, I think that’s just, you know, totally bullshit. I think what these people mean by objectivity is they want a pro establishment, pro police, pro authoritarian trip going down in the El Gaucho, you know. And I think that, you know, I just keep remembering, you know, a statement that the guy, that, that day, we had one of the rallies, got from Berkeley. He said he was trying to figure out when this fascism began, you know, when can you actually say that there’s fascism, and he said, that he figured out that it’s when the people succumb to the authoritarian trip. They succumb to the oppression. When KCSB says, OK, the sheriffs are wrong, they’re denying our constitutional right, but we’ll go out there anyway, you know, and that’s when fascism is in. And, you know, when people say, well, they’re pissed off at us, you know, and even though we’re right, well, we’ll be responsible, what they consider responsible and we’re right with they agree with, you know. If the Santa Barbara News Press is responsible, you know, and you know where they’re coming from, they’re considered responsible, you know, and you know what they are?
Allen: [00:53:05] They’re supposed to be one of the best papers on the coast. I hope you never-.
Rashidi: [00:53:09] I hope you never become responsible. That’s what being responsible means, because they’re responsible to the sheriff, they’re responsible to the mayor. You know, they’re responsible to-.
Allen: [00:53:17] The oil interests, man.
Rashidi: [00:53:18] Damn right. You know, that’s who they’re irresponsible to.
KCSB: [00:53:21] Ok, well, thank you very much. We’d like to thank our guests tonight. Steve Plevin, Jim Trotter, Bill Allen and Rashidi. Following this program will be the news. Our guests next week on this program should be the president elect of the Associated Students and the administrative and executive vice president select. This is KCSB FM from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
KCSB: [00:53:45] The opinions expressed reflect those of the speaker and not necessarily those of KCSB, the Associated Students or the Regents of the University of California. Responsible representatives of opposing viewpoints are offered reasonable opportunity to respond, address requests to the general manager, KCSB, University of California, Santa Barbara.
[KCSB.4.29.70 Allen/Rashidi interviewed, Proposal for Black & Chicano Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, KCSB Audiotape Collection 1969-1970, SBHC Mss 58, Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.]