SAN DIEGO, California — Urgent calls went out to the community of Ché Café advocates in San Diego to protest and occupy the space that the University of California San Diego (UCSD) was reportedly set to evict from the venue early Tuesday morning.
In what has been a long, contentious battle over shutting down the decades-old café over building safety concerns, students and community patrons of the venue have pushed back at every step. The eviction would make the closure all but final.
When this reporter arrived at the Ché early Tuesday morning, protesters numbered around 20, with some coming and going in the course of the three hours since the Ché advocates had occupied the location. The protest began at 5:00 a.m. in anticipation of the 6:00 a.m. eviction specified on a previously posted eviction notice.
Documentary filmmaker Miranda, who has been following the story for her project Taking Space, spoke to Breitbart News.
“I think it’s wildly important to have spaces like this,” Miranda said. She spoke repeatedly of the struggle to save Ché, and said she believes “typically it’s the leftist-leaning that have faced these struggles.”
Images of infamous dictators, guerilla leaders and radicals don the outer walls of the café in mural form, including Chinese Communist Dictator Mao Tse Tung, Malcolm X, and Ché Guevara himself. There is also an image of the Statue of Liberty with a gas mask and a book entitled Fourth Reich in one hand with two missiles in the other
One protester, who identified herself simply as Shandi, told Breitbart News that the café had recently hosted a community organizing workshop with a man named Chris Dixon.
Dixon is described on an anarchist website as a “longtime anarchist organizer, writer and educator originally from Alaska.” That site notes Dixon’s involvement with the Direct Action Network and “was deeply involved in organizing for the protests against the Seattle WTO ministerial,” the 1999 demonstrations that turned violent, stopped international trade talks and launched the anti-globalization movement.
Another protester identifying himself as Lucas echoed comments by others present that the café had become immensely important to its supporters. “These places become your home,” he said, emphasizing the music venue’s all-ages shows.
“I used to live in Seattle, it’s like places up there,” he said. “It’s so accepting of people, despite of socio-economic factors and because of that, it matters. This punk, DIY [do-it-yourself] thing–it’s hard to understand if you’re not involved in it. It’s something that is like an artifact of the world that seems non-essential, but in our world it’s our life.”
“It’s more of an educational movement.,” Shandi told Breitbart. “This community provides anything you might feel is important, being liberal, being a democrat, anything you want.”
“There are definitely radical politics that are shared,” another protester, who identified herself as Lora, said. “But it’s not exclusionary, it’s a safe and sober space.” When asked what would happen if someone came that did not share the same leftist beliefs, Lora said, “People are not going to be accepted only if they are using oppressive language. We don’t allow language that is going to make someone feel that they are oppressed.” She continued, “If someone has actions that are hurting someone physically or emotionally we don’t allow that.”
According to the Miranda, the Ché anti-eviction protesters plan to stay indefinitely. She believes that any campus authorities that do come will wait until all news outlets have left. Several local news outlets covered the protest during the course of the morning.
Breitbart contacted UCSD for comment, but none was yet available at the time this report was filed.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana