Blog Archives

March 10 – 16, 2021

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Music at the zoo, Cabrilho – the man and the college name, stop the daffodils, Surfer helmets and concussions, movies. GREENSITE…on International Women’s Day. KROHN…UCSC growth, a letter to the chancellor. STEINBRUNER…. CZU fire and rebuilding, eminent domain and the Soquel Creek Water District, Felton Quarry activity. PATTON…Resistance and Insistence. EAGAN…classic Subconscious Comics and Deep Covers. QUOTES… “City Growth”


BAY, HIGH AND MEDER STREETS. 1955. This is now the main entrance to the UCSC campus. Center ,near the bottom is UC’s Barn Theatre – now closed.                                                     

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email


MUSIC SOOTHES THE SAVAGE GERMAN BEASTS. Mike Rolland sent me this timely and perfect video of what happened when a pianist brought his piano to a zoo in Germany. There had been few visitors (covid) ,the animals were depressed, and…

CABRILHO BY ANY OTHER NAME! There’s a huge amount of interest in the name -and even the intentions – of the Cabrillo College institution, and even a Name Exploration Subcommittee in existence. They are staging three online events to take place in the next few weeks, to discuss community opinions on the name of our local college. Plus there’s the talk of building student housing for the college, which is very rare for a community college in California.

On March 18 at 6pm Dr. Iris Engstrand – a retired professor from San Diego – will talk on “Who Was Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo”. We can Zoom it here. My guess is that, being from San Diego, she’ll claim that Juan Cabrillo was Spanish (in the sense of born and raised in Spain) She claims to have proof from a book by Wendy Kramer that he was born there, and not in Portugal, as proposed in a book written in 1986 by Harry Kelsey. If you go to Wikipedia you’ll see that it presents both sides of his birthplace issue.

Next on the Name Exploration Subcommittee’s series is retired professor Sandy Lydon, who’ll talk on “How and Why Cabrillo College got its name”. That’s on April 15 at 6 p.m. I talked to Sandy and he’s got the full story on the local angle. Don’t miss this one; it’s full of surprises and area tidbits you’ve never heard.

To round it all off at 6 p.m. on April 22, there’ll be a student debate on “Should Cabrillo College Change its Name?” If they do ever change the name, my suggestion is now, and has been, that they change it to Harrison. That’s of course after Lou Harrison – our world famous composer – or maybe Wormhoudt after Mardi Wormhoudt, or Patton after our devoted office holder Gary Patton. But those names would probably cause some fuss too.

MONTHLY PITCH We try to not overload you with the asking, but BrattonOnline can certainly use some financial help. As previously mentioned none of us who write for BrattonOnline receive any funds at all and… the best things in life are never free. Domain fees and charges keep increasing and we need to support webwoman Gunilla Leavitt so she can deal with these increases. You can click the donate button, and use PayPal or any debit or credit card. The PayPal email is and you can use the send to family and friends feature to avoid any fees, if you like. The name that comes up when you send money is “Online Payment”.

GREY HAYES AND STOP THE DAFFODILS. Naturalist Grey Hayes places a controversional debate on our public table. Should we fight nature, and plant daffodils like so many folks are fighting to do, or help keep nature natural and let it take its own course. He states it like this.

“I contrast two cultures from the North Coast of Santa Cruz: those who embrace the widespread planting of daffodils versus those who favor the wide ranging management for native species of bulbs. I illustrate how cultural norms of the former are indicative of a wider dis-ease of our species, which is dooming future generations to reduced standards of living and increased poverty of the spirit. And, I outline how a contrary world view can lead us to increased prosperity in a world with clean water, plentiful wildlife and happy, healthy children”. 

Go here and read his entire discussion. It’ll take a minute before you realize just how wide ranging this is.  

SURFER HELMETS AND CONCUSSIONS. Great reactions from folks about surfers and concussions, and whether to wear helmets. Statistics pour in about surfers getting hit from their boards. Matter of fact, my grandson just got 12 stitches last week, when he met his board unexpectedly. Our local water sprites are realizing that skateboarders, footballers and plenty of other less injury-prone sporters wear them. We just need to convince our area dudes that we care. THIS JUST IN…daughter Jennifer sent this news today, about a surfer who was killed last Saturday by a collision. Read it and tell your surfer friends to do more than think about it… 

I don’t “print” these critiques in any special order. There seems to be so very few that are what I’d call GREAT movies anymore. Besides that, I keep fighting the urge and financial demand of coughing up another $15.99 per month to rent from one more streaming outlet. 

COMING 2 AMERICA. (AMAZON PRIME SINGLE) A huge disappointment. Eddie Murphy is a very good actor, and his goofy, funny side is just as great and believable as his tragic side… but this movie is just not funny. The cast is stupendous, with James Earl Jones, Morgan Freeman, Wesley Snipes, Leslie Jones, Gladys Knight and Arsenio Hall. But the humor is beneath human level. Trite, gross, simple-minded and boring. 

CRAZY ABOUT HER. (NETFLIX SINGLE). This is a Spanish comedy, but it’ll teach all of us more about our treatment of psychiatric patients than any film ever. A guy meets a girl in a bar, falls in love, finds out she’s a mental patient, and declares himself equally crazy to get back to her and gets admitted to her ward. Few laughs but deep to watch. A 76 on RT.

SENTINELLE. (NETFLIX SINGLE) A French film about a woman soldier in Syria who gets sent back home to France, where she becomes part of a local anti-terrorist army. She’s battle-weary, takes drugs, and goes near crazy. Her sister gets raped by a diplomat, and she goes after him with a vengeance. It’s a violent, brutal movie that is well-paced and nicely photographed. You won’t forget it. 

SISYPHUS: The Myth. (NETFLIX SERIES) From South Korea, this is well worth watching. A young, rich, genius CEO tries to find out why, and how, his older brother died. He’s involved in an incredibly tense airplane crash, and through some odd time travel – that’s only a bit awkward – he manages to survivem with his woman… who’s from outer space. It’ll hold your attention because it moves extra fast… and isn’t too logical.

LOVE (ft. MARRIAGE & DIVORCE) (NETFLIX SERIES). I don’t know what that “ft.” means, but it must be important. There’s plenty of music in this South Korean series, about three couples which include women who work on a radio show. Each marriage has its own problems, and the women have to deal with their hubbies, and vice versa. You’ll recognize and cringe when you watch how they develop, and almost solve each of them. Not fun but tempting viewing. 

MURDER AMONG THE MORMONS. (NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY SERIES). A totally fascinating history involving the unbelievable Joseph Smith history of the Mormon church. The focus is on Mark Hofmann, sometimes called the world’s greatest forger, and how he created the historical documents that detailed and changed the legendary start of the church. It’s also about how he killed two people to guarantee the sale of his forgeries. Hoffman is still in prison. This is an extraordinary story, and well done.

DICKINSON. (APPLE SERIES) Emily Dickinson was an early American poet in case you missed her. This series is sparkly, lively, and tuneful and spins out of time periods often. It’s creative, diverting, cutesy, and contains opium, death and rock music. It’s not what you’d expect, and I’m working on making it watchable.

THE GIRL ON A TRAIN. (NETFLIX SINGLE). Taking place in India complete with a few non essential Bollywood musical numbers this is still a murder mystery. A young woman watches what she thinks is a disappearance of another woman. She finds more than she was looking for and you should too…avoid this one.

TELL ME YOUR SECRETS.(AMAZON PRIME SERIES). Three very different people each with their own plot and purpose make this a complex movie. As their stories unfold we find a serial killer, a sex offender and all sorts of complexities. No Oscar winner or even Golden Globe material but it’ll keep you glued for a few takes.

CAPITANI. (NETFLIX SERIES) Filmed in Luxembourg this one is due for a second season already.  Luc Capitani is the police inspector who has the job of looking for the murderer of the 14 year old who has a twin sister, who also vanished. It takes place in a small town where everybody knows everybody and everything that happens in it. They won’t cooperate with Capitani who along with a beautiful assistant has issues of his own. A good one, and worth your time, by all means. 

WALKER. (CW SERIES) This is a remake of an earlier Walker,Texas Ranger series. Do not watch or even search for it. Especially don’t link up with CW and be forced to watch their ads. The acting in Walker is terrible. The lead looks like Chris Krohn. Walker goes away for his town for a year and comes back to get involved in some dopey plot that makes little sense. Avoid at all costs. 

RED DOT. ( NETFLIX SINGLE) A genuinely tense Swedish movie. Almost as tense as Hitchcock at moments. A young married couple with relationship problems and a baby on the way decide to go camping in vast snow country. They accidently anger some townspeople, and we learn more about their own past later as they become targets of these crazed racially prejudiced locals.. Not great, but you stay fixated on it almost all the way through it.

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March 8

As of writing, today is March 8, recognized worldwide as International Women’s Day (IWD). We in the US do not mark the day as an official holiday as do some countries and efforts to make that happen have languished in a Congressional committee since 1994.  China marks it as a half-day holiday for women only (I quite like that approach) and Australia minted a 20-cent coin to commemorate the date. A one or two dollar coin might have carried more weight but at least it was something. As of 1975 the United Nations began celebrating IWD and the theme for 2021 is “Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world”.

The idea for such a day originated as early as 1909, organized by the Socialist Party of America in New York City, which inspired delegates to take up that theme at the 1910 International Socialist Women’s Conference in Denmark. Then on March 8, 1917 in Petrograd, women textile workers demonstrated with a demand for an end to war, food shortages and czarism. The resulting Revolution abolished czarism, secured women’s right to vote and proclaimed the date of March 8 as IWD. In many countries March 8 is still associated with labor struggles centering on women’s demands for equality. In the US, second wave feminists revitalized IWD in the 60’s and well into the 1980’s with leftists and labor demands for equal pay, equal legal rights, reproductive rights, subsidized child care and the prevention of violence against women.  This was the political scene when I arrived in Santa Cruz in 1975.

It’s hard to believe now that as recently as 1971 women had to secure their husband’s permission to get a credit card, open a checking account, get a mortgage or a business loan. Thanks to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, such glaring gender inequalities seem hard to believe in today’s world. 

A significant change for the better over the past two decades is the depiction of women in the popular media. During my 30 years at UCSC as head of Rape Prevention Education and before cell phones and iPods, I would show popular feature films for students to bring attention to the ways in which women and men were depicted differently in the media. Women as weak, sex objects (always the object rarely the subject) passive, confined to the domestic sphere, controlling, frivolous….the list did go on. Men were the doers with exciting jobs and fast cars. Women and men of color had other stereotypes to contend with. Those stereotypes have been successfully nudged to the side with more egalitarian gender images and gender diversity becoming the norm. I’m sure you can find the old stereotypical images if you look but that is different from being immersed in them and not recognizing what you are being sold. Such stereotypes played a significant role in fostering gender violence but they are by no means the full story. And however equal the gender image may be, we are artfully being seduced to become consumers with scenes of happy families and the obligatory dog, gaining fulfillment with yet another pharmaceutical drug. We are the only country that allows pharmaceutical drugs to be peddled this way. 

Another shift towards gender equality is the # MeToo movement uncovering decades of sexual harassment and toppling male giants. It was such a hidden norm there wasn’t even a term for it until Lin Farley coined one in the mid-seventies.

However as much as things change, they also stay the same as the saying goes. Much gender inequality and violence is still hidden, in other cultures and also in modern Santa Cruz. 

We hear a lot about sexual harassment and little about rape unless it is in a work context or involving Trump. When did you last see local media coverage of a rape recently reported to the police? It’s been a while since I researched the SCPD website for data on rape. I wasn’t surprised today to see the numbers are still up there: 33 reported rapes in the city in 2020, a 14% increase over the previous year. And as usual, the police statement that: “the overall crime rate is down” andSCPD would like to thank our community members and hardworking officers for contributing to our low crime rate through the combined efforts of enforcement, education, and prevention.” 

I checked out Salinas. With a population of 156,000 compared with our 64,000 they had 66 reported rapes last year. That puts our rate of reported rape at well over twice that of Salinas, adjusting for population. That was also true in 2007 and 1981, two years in which I did an in depth analysis of the rate of rape in Santa Cruz compared with other CA cities and uncovered that we had one of the highest reporting rates and lowest arrest rates for rape in the state. 

Nothing in that to celebrate on International Women’s Day.  The work is ongoing.

Gillian Greensite is a long time local activist, a member of Save Our Big Trees and the Santa Cruz chapter of IDA, International Dark Sky Association    Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild.


March 8

As I write this, the deadline for submitting comments on the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) as part of UCSC’s Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) process is today, Monday March 8th. The university administration and UC Regents are planning on adding up to 14,000 students, faculty, and staff over the next decade. Because the UC Regents has never provided the resources needed to comply with the 2005 LRDP, there is no reason to believe that the quality of education and the quality of living in Santa Cruz will not deteriorate–larger class sizes, less study spaces on campus, more traffic, less water, and less housing. Most startling was that the 2005 LRDP stated, without any teeth, that 70% of students would be housed on campus. That figure still arguably hovers around 50%. This is a most distressing situation this community is presented with, especially in light of all that has happened this past year. To make matters worse, UCSC Chancellor, Cynthia Larive who arrived last year from UC Riverside, is doubling down on not only building a 7-story dorm, but she also supports re-building the family student apartments on the much-contested, East Meadow. Given this oncoming slow earthquake of development, I wrote the following letter to the chancellor.

Dear Chancellor Larive,

We all love UC Santa Cruz. It has brought great things to this community and enriched all of our lives, for the most part. But now is the time to say 19,500 students is enough. UCSC began as that special “teaching-first” campus within UC system. We can retain those roots of quality, vision, and curiosity not by exploding campus to 28,000 students, plus 5,000 more faculty and staff, but by cutting our losses now and focusing on what we do well, by shoring up the campus transportation system and making it the best and most efficient within the UC, and by building the classroom space that was needed a decade ago just to keep up with the current student population. Let’s get back to the central mission of teaching excellence when it comes to our undergraduates.

As a long-time Santa Cruz resident, employee, and alum, it saddens me that you are daring to go forward with an ill-fated project of bringing yet more students to a community that is unprepared and already over-taxed by the number of people now residing in this area of the world. People get it. We now know much more about the environmental sensitivity of the campus, far more than was known back in 1965 when the campus opened. For example, the lawsuit over situating buildings atop the East Meadow proved to be quite costly, lengthy, while achieving popular support among our alumni. 

Furthermore, many students I’ve spoken with had no idea before coming here of the resource-poor budgetary environment they were entering, and that goes double for graduate students. It’s expensive to live in Santa Cruz. Lots of undergrads now clamor to leave in three years, forgoing the traditional four-year experience. Why? Because the cost of living on campus far exceeds the cost of living in town, and landlords know that, students know that, and parents know that. Students feel the financial pressure to move off campus because “rents” on campus are so high. “Student Housing West” will not fix this situation. Students move off campus into, say, a 3-bedroom house where six or eight students and sometimes more, occupy that house for a lot less than it costs to live in the dorm and at the same time, a Santa Cruz family has one less place to live in the city where they work. You simply cannot keep inviting students to this town when there is no room to house the residents who already reside here.

Chancellor, you sat in on one or two of the Community Advisory Board (CAG) meetings that I and other community members were a part. We met with your predecessor, Chancellor Blumenthal, four or five times as I remember. Members of the CAG included current and former city councilmembers and supervisors, as well as members representing the Chamber of Commerce and the city’s planning department. It was a group composed of individuals who rarely see eye to eye on policy issues and who have differing political views. But what I saw and experienced within that group was something rare. There was unanimity on the fact that this city and county cannot continue to shoulder evermore students without first fixing the many problems that exist on campus and in the city as well. Many of those burdens were brought on by an already large student population. Frankly speaking, I have been an educator most of my adult life, 16 years here at UCSC, and I have come to the conclusion that it would be irresponsible to bring any more students to this city or campus without first providing the resources in the areas of housing, transportation, and pedagogy, which we now so sorely lack.

These are sobering times and they call for bold leadership, Chancellor. Growing UCSC is the wrong response. I urge you to go to the Regents and let them know that this community loves UCSC and therefore feels strongly that it cannot continue to grow, 19,500, y no más. Santa Cruzans are a generous and compassionate bunch, but we have been pushed to the brink here. I understand it is not the news the Regents wants to hear, but it is the unvarnished truth from the community perspective. If UCSC actually adds 14,000 more students, staff, and faculty over the next decade, we will surely kill this tired old goose which bequeathed us such a wonderful shiny golden egg that is the UCSC community. Fiat Lux will become Fiat Death for Surf City.


Chris Krohn

You can read the chancellor’s brazen growth challenge to the community here

You can see how expensive it is to live on campus and those rates, while placing students in great debt when they leave the university, these prices also drive up prices to places just below the university’s rent rates. These rental rates should be half of what they are. Students should be clamoring to live on campus, but given the current UCSC “rents,” it’s the opposite. Students, and often their parents who are paying, can’t wait to get off campus, even though we know that graduation rates are higher for students who live on campus for four years. The deep secret that the administration is hiding is that they will not enter into a legal agreement with the city of Santa Cruz concerning the percentage of students they will house on campus. So far, only platitudes about housing all new students, but no clear signed agreements. Frankly, unless the Regents drastically reduces the price of staying in a campus dormitory nothing will change and the housing situation in town will become more acute. Even with “reduced” Covid-19 rates in campus “apartments,” not dorms and with no meal plan, is $2,834 for a “double.” It is more expensive to stay in the dorm. The only housing bargain on campus is living in the trailer park with a sewer hook-up comes in at $702, but few of these spaces exist. The financial aid office estimated that it would cost a student $18,864 to live on campus for nine months. That’s a whopping $2,096 per month. Of course, the academic experience and environment is far superior on campus and we should be striving to offer that experience to all undergraduates, but it comes with a heavy price. From my conversations with undergraduates, the cost of living off campus can easily be half of the on-campus expense.

UCSC Financial Aid figures
UCSC Housing office rates

“The actual crisis is how entire generations are sunk w/inhumane levels of student debt, low incomes, high rent, no guarantee of healthcare & little action on climate change which creates a situation where feeling stable enough to have a kid, can feel more like a luxury than a norm.” (Mar. 3)

Are you kidding me? The building of 205-units, which will contain no affordable units, is underway and they have put fences around the site that take the entire sidewalks and bike lanes on Pacific, Front, and Laurel Streets for the developer’s staging area…Anybody remember the Annie Glass law suit against the city when they closed half of Cooper Street to rebuild the Cooper House? Get ready for the $$$ suits…

(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and was on the Santa Cruz City Councilmember from 1998-2002. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 14 years. He was elected to the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. His term ended in April of 2020.

Email Chris at

March 8 

People will finally have an opportunity to discuss with CalFire what they think could have been handled better in the CZU Lightning Fire.  Local County Supervisors will be on hand Monday,  March 15 (Ryan Coonerty) and Tuesday, March 16 (Bruce McPherson) to help field questions from the public.  Both virtual meetings begin at 5:30pm and will last approximately two hours.  

Click here for Zoom access information.

Hopefully, there will be some good discussions; clear answers that will address some real mistakes that could help improve how things go in future disasters.   Please share this meeting information with others.

Article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel: Santa Cruz community pushes for answers on fire regulations

The good news is that this action would allow the RTC to move forward with plans to build the Chanticleer Bicycle / Pedestrian Overcrossing for the Live Oak Community.  The bad news is, unless the Soquel Creek Water District and RTC work together to add mitigations, the Overcrossing will be a miserable and perhaps hazardous experience for many who would use it.

The Water District has been dragging their feet for over a year on negotiations, causing the County to take this action.

Financial Impact
The costs of the condemnation will be the appraised value of the Easements in the amount of $441,000 as just compensation. The value of the Easements will be paid by the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission via reimbursement to the County. 

No doubt, Soquel Creek Water District wants a lot more money or is worried about CEQA matters associated.

Item #12 on the March 9, 2021 Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors meeting, wherein the County is declaring Eminent Domain against the District for Chanticleer Bicycle / Pedestrian Overcrossing easements (APN 029-013-54) needs to address the hazardous chemicals there, and real dangers to those who might use the crossing.

This parcel is land the Soquel Creek Water District proposes for use the Modified PureWater Soquel Project Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility.  Several large above-ground storage tanks of hazardous chemicals will be stored and used at this site, directly below or very near the proposed Chanticleer Bicycle /Pedestrian Overcrossing.  

On November 17, 2020, Soquel Creek Water District Board approved significant Project modifications that would allow some of the tanks and processing infrastructure to include structures 25′ tall. (see page 59)

Soquel Creek Water District

The Modified Project would include these hazardous chemical storage tanks:

  • One 5,800 gallon tank of sodium hypochlorite
  • One 1,500 gallon tank of sodium hydroxide (lye)
  • One 3,500 gallon tank of sodium bisulfate
  • One 1,500 gallon tank of liquid ammonium sulfite
  • One 16,000 gallon tank of calcium hydroxide
  • Two 330-gallon totes sulfuric acid
  • Two 330-gallon totes threshold inhibitor storage (what chemical is that??)
  • Two 330-gallon totes hydrogen peroxide
  • A Carbon Dioxide feed system adjacent.

There has been no Subsequent Environmental Impact analysis conducted regarding potential hazards to pedestrians or bicyclists using this overcrossing who would be near the Modified PureWater Soquel Project hazardous chemical storage tanks.  

There has been no meaningful analysis of potential Modified Project hazards at all, and no schools within 0.25 mile have been notified in writing of the hazardous chemical above ground storage, use or transport. 

It is likely that children will use the Chanticleer Bicycle / Pedestrian Overcrossing. 

Furthermore, the Modified Project significantly increases the noise caused by the Reverse Osmosis and MF Blower pumps in that “…the three pump stations at the northern portion of the site are now proposed to be unenclosed. The Modified Project noise level for the Chanticleer Site would not exceed the County’s nighttime stationary noise standard of 45 dBA Leq.”

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1) This Wednesday (3/10) the County Planning Commission will consider the Draft Santa Cruz County Plan Report for 2020 in Item #7

It is really worth your time to read this 33-page Report before it goes to the County Supervisors, and to submit your thoughts in writing.

2)  Many thanks to State Parks for continuing to work with Aptos residents to address long-standing public safety problems regarding access and parking for Nisene Marks State Park visitors.  Last Wednesday, Park staff moved the ranger kiosk to create space for a pass-through lane for local residents.   There is still a lot of work to do, but there are hopes to create a Gateway to Nisene Trail that will link to an existing Aptos Rancho Road Trail across from the Rancho del Mar Center.  Currently, Aptos Creek Road main Park entrance is a hazardous mess. See the photos below.




Cheers, Becky (831) 685-2915

Becky Steinbruner is a 30+ year resident of Aptos. She has fought for water, fire, emergency preparedness, and for road repair. She ran for Second District County Supervisor in 2016 on a shoestring and got nearly 20% of the votes. She ran again in 2020 on a slightly bigger shoestring and got 1/3 of the votes.

Email Becky at


 March 4, 2021
#63 / “Resistance” And “Insistence”

“Resistance” is a political term with which I have long been familiar. “The Resistance” is what we called the anti-draft movement in the 1960’s, a movement with which I, as a draft resister, profoundly identified. 

The above graphic is a more recent use of the term and comes from the Blackspot Collective, which is associated with Adbusters. I received a bulletin in my email, not so long ago, with this image at the top, and with this message below:


This Is the New Face of Resistance

Let’s get into something personal right off the hop.
Let’s talk about resistance.

Resistance is what people feel when they just can’t face what needs to be done. Something important is right in front of them, but it’s so hairy, so scary in its implications on their life, their cozy way of keeping on keeping on, that they can’t deal with it.

Resistance grips us when our very soul recognizes just how much is on the line. Like right now.

Caught in an existential crisis with no obvious way out, we begin to question the hidden coordinates of our reality and start thinking about a new operating system for Planet Earth. We hatch a new grand narrative, a set of ideas so fundamental, so systemic, so profound that a sane sustainable future is unthinkable without them. 

And then we deploy them.

At this critical juncture for our species, this is the new face of resistance. In our upcoming mindbomb, AB 153: The New Left, we unleash a movement that operates completely outside of geographic borders and political structures — a Third Force.


If you don’t really understand what this means, I am not a bit surprised. I don’t either. For some time, Adbusters and its Blackspot Collective have been sending out advisories that something big is on the way. A “mindbomb,” I guess we should be expecting. Issue #153 of Adbusters (the magazine) seems to be where the revelation will be found.

Thinking about “resistance,” as depicted above, I am starting to believe that I may be more committed to the idea of “insistence,” instead. 

If that blood red fist is the “new face of resistance,” then an appeal to get involved with a new resistance movement might actually be a call to physical violence, and perhaps an invitation to overcome any personal or internal “resistance” to using personal and political violence to achieve social, political, and economic change. That may not be what is being talked about here, but if that’s the idea, that kind of “resistance” is not an attractive proposition, at least to me!

My “resistance” during the Vietnam War was in direct opposition to violence, and operated on the model set by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. That’s the kind of movement with which I was, and still am, willing to get engaged. What the Blackspot Collective is talking about might be a call to a renewed nonviolent effort to change the world – or it could be a call to something else. It’s not really clear, but I’m nervous about what that message, and specifically that graphic, are meant to convey. 

This brings me to the idea that we should probably be thinking about “insistence,” instead of “resistance.” That is perhaps where we ought to begin. Gandhian nonviolence, which served as a model for Dr. King, was premised on what Gandhi called “satyagraha,” or “clinging to the truth.” The idea, in other words, was that individuals would organize themselves to “insist” (nonviolently) that the society actually do the “right” thing. Those committed to the cause would certainly “resist” any effort to dislodge them from their “insistence” that the right thing be done, but the major effort was “insistence” on necessary change, not “resistance” to the unsatisfactory status quo.

I continue to think that this is the basis for all effective and transformative political action. It is a way to commit oneself to a positive effort, instead of framing political action as negative and oppositional. It is also an approach that is premised on a realization that people have power. “Resistance” is premised on the idea that power is virtually all on the other side, and that we therefore must “resist” that power, as our first order of business. Well, we must, of course, resist those who perpetrate injustice, but far more important is the positive position, in which we simply insist that justice be done. 

I am hoping that the Blackspot Collective, and all of us, are seeing things in this light. We must insist on racial justice, we must insist on the elimination of the obscene income and wealth inequality that has blighted our common lives, and we must insist on an end to the combustion of fossil fuels, to save our planet. 

We know what’s right. Can we cling to the truth?

Resistance, is fine. It’s necessary. But insistence comes first! 

Gary Patton is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney for individuals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. You can read and subscribe to his daily blog at

Email Gary at


EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. View classic inner view ideas and thoughts with Subconscious Comics a few flips down.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s ” Deep Cover” down a few pages. As always, at you will find his most recent  Deep Cover, the latest installment from the archives of Subconscious Comics, and the ever entertaining Eaganblog


“If you are a pedestrian, you are not mechanical enough to be of priority to traffic engineers.” 
~Archimedes Muzenda

“Traffic congestion is caused by vehicles, not by people in themselves.” 
~Jane Jacobs. 

“Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country”.
~William Jennings Bryan

 “It is more difficult to rule yourself than to rule a city”.
~Jordan Peterson

“Growth for the sake of growth, is the ideology of the cancer cell” –
~Edward Abbey

I could watch this all day…

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