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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Vanguard Comes to the Whole Earth Festival

It was a spectacular day in Davis yesterday, the temperatures in the comfortable range in the 70s. In previous years I can remember days where the temperatures closed in on 100 and others where it was cold and rainy. This however was a perfect day to sit at a booth from early in the morning until early in the evening.

I got a chance to meet in person a great many of our regular readers. I greatly enjoyed putting some faces with some names.

Overall the experience was a great success. The power of a good banner which you could easily read and drew attention from the other side of the quad. What drew people to the booth was our trademark description: "Vivid Description of the Dark Underbelly of the People's Republic of Davis." I cannot count how many people came up to our booth saying, "I just have to ask, what is the dark underbelly of Davis." The idea of course as those who are regular to the Vanguard is that we explore issues that to many people are hidden. People's conception of Davis is as a pristine progressive community. Unfortunately, as I explained to our new found potential readers, that is a facade and beneath that facade is a very different picture. That is the picture that the People's Vanguard of Davis tried to report on. The WEF turned out to have a good crowd to make that case to, although a number of people were not from Davis but rather from the surrounding areas.

One of the most endearing moments was when Cecilia was hosting a teach-in to a bunch of activists from Palo Alto as she told stories from the past year, they sat around the booth intently listening.

The children pictured are our great niece and nephew. Cecilia comes from a very large family and is the youngest of eight children, she has 30 nieces and nephews and a large and growing number of great nieces and nephews.

I also got the opportunity to walk around and to see what other activists where at the WEF. Left-wing and environmental was of course the mantra.

The Tuleyome Group was there pushing a couple of key initiatives including one aimed at global warming. There were a number of organic food groups there. Amnesty International of course was there. I saw the Peace and Freedom Party, the Green Party, and the Libertarian Party. What was interesting to me, and I could have missed it, but I saw neither the Democratic Party nor the Republican Party. However, there were two booths for Obama, one from Sacramento and one from Yolo County. There were no other Presidential candidates out there. I don't know exactly what this all means, but I found it interesting.

One of the more interesting groups was the Prison Reform--Restorative Justice group. The lady there was from Sacramento and I was explaining to her what was going on in this county and I invited her to check out some of the stories on this blog because some of them would blow her away. She was familiar with the Buzayan story, but I told her about Khalid Berney and his arrest and prosecution for goats running at large.

I also spoke to the group organizing the food workers. They will be having another mass rally on Wednesday, May 23, 2007. So they urge everyone to join them again as they try to put pressure on the University.

(Be sure to click on each of the pictures above that I took of the various groups and organizations.)

Overall it was a fun but exhausting day yesterday and I hope some of our newfound friends will join us. The success of the booth and the draw of the banner I think made me realize that we have to take this out to Farmer's Market as well.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting