Santa Cruz Indymedia :
Santa Cruz Indymedia

A LIttle Late for Censorship Complaints

G-Rant of Art and Revolution is to be commended for his satirical sallies against the Empire (and its local City Council reps). But as far as I know, the only person to brave the “No Parading Without Permission from Blake Smith� Ban this year was John Thielking of the Peace Coalition. Hats off to the Man in Black.

That Smith’s First Amendment-Free First Night agenda is oppressive and intolerable is not in question.

But it’s also old news.

Smith did this last year. At First Night 2004, Art and Revolution and the SC Peace Coalition tried to “fall in line� with Smith’s “no nasty news about the war� line. They agreed not to give out flyers or hold up signs. I’m told they even changed the buttons they wore from “SC Peace Coalition� to “Santa Cruz California�.

Even as they tried to be good a-political paraders, A & R/SC Peace Coalition were forced to the back of the parade. Even though they went to great lengths to follow the “Wizard of Oz� theme, their unacceptable lyrics were drowned out.

In the months that followed, Grant and Louis La Fortune of the Peace Coalition had several meetings with Blake Smith to “work things out.� Apparently that “solution� was more censorship.

Some businesses (such as New Leaf Market , I’m told) got to wave big banners in the parade (however “off-topic� from the Wizard of Oz theme). Corporate propaganda ok,. Anti-war satire or (this year) pro-Vet, pro-war protest not ok.

Perhaps New Leaf and the other business-backers of First Night should have been given a message: “No First Amendment on First Night? Then, no business a week before and a week after in protest�.

Perhaps the same message should still go out. True, that might make certain “politically correct� businesses anxious. But extended absence of the First Amendment and the expanded Iraqi war makes me even more nervous.

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