Hundreds of people marched down Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz on December 31st, 2007, as part of the Last Night DIY Celebration while hundreds of spectators lined the sidewalks and cheered. The parade ended with a street party at the intersection of Cooper and Pacific that featured firedancers, lots of musicians, free hugs, unicyclists, a fire barrel, brazen square dancing, a pillow fight and much more!
The Last Night DIY Parade and Street Party is a do-it-yourself, unpermited, decentralized, grassroots and open New Year’s Eve celebration with a focus on self-reliance. It is not only a celebration, but a celebration of the power we all have when we gather together to make something happen.
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During my brief time on Science Hill, numerous people brought food to the tree-sitters, including Michael Urban, a professor of politics at UCSC.
In 2003, the Princeton Review ranked UC Santa Cruz as having the ‘most beautiful campus’ in the nation. This year’s rankings are in and UCSC placed 8th in the ‘most beautiful campus’ category for “The Best 366 Colleges: 2008 Edition.”
Since November 7th, 2007, Coast Redwood trees on UCSC’s Science Hill have been bases of resistance to campus expansion with students sitting on platforms situated in the crowns of numerous trees. Many students, staff and faculty at UCSC, as well as residents of Santa Cruz County, feel that UCSC’s campus expansion plans are anything but beautiful. UCSC’s 2005 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) includes an additional 4,500 students by 2020, the destruction of 120 acres of forest, and a Biomedical Sciences Facility engaging in controversial, corporate-driven practices such as biotechnology, nanotechnology and invasive experimentation upon living animals (vivisection).
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After receiving standing ovations on Pacific Avenue and during the Christmas – Chanukah – Quanzaa – Solstice Celebration at the Friends’ Meeting House, Santa Cruz Art and Revolution sang songs of holiday cheer and liberation in Capitola on December 22nd as part of their 8th Annual Post-WTO Anti-Corporate Xmas Caroling mini-tour. Anti-corporate Xmas carols were performed in front of a busy credit union, the Capitola Mall and “Traitor Joze.” The familiar tunes with unfamiliar lyrics brought smiles to many people passing by, but were met with resistance from the Capitola Mall Security Guards who objected to songs about “how all the corporations in the mall are evil.”
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The parking lot and trees are slated to be replaced by a highly-controversial Biomedical Sciences building, the first project under the University’s plan to develop 120 acres of forest in order to accommodate 4,500 new students by 2020.
On December 21st, security guards at the Physical Sciences Building diligently watched over the parking lot on Science Hill where tree-sitters have been occupying Coast Redwoods since November 7th in protest of UCSC’s Long Range Development Plan. Someone up in the cluster of trees dubbed “Tree 1” confirmed what Grrr reported in a comment on SC-IMC, that on December 20th, two carloads of cops accosted the Raging Grannies in the parking lot and then arrested a young woman who allegedly attempted to climb a tree. Despite UCSC’s recent actions against perceived protesters, people continue to bring bags of supplies to either the base of the trees or directly to the sitters in the platform high above the ground.
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Santa Cruz County activists, including the Santa Cruz gaggle of the Raging Grannies, demonstrated for peace in front of the Military Recruitment Center in Capitola on December 15th. The last time the Grannies sang songs at the recruitment center on June 26th, they refused to leave the entrance of the Army recruiters after being denied entry into the building and were eventually arrested and escorted to the police station in handcuffs. This time around, the Navy and other branches of the military wanted to avoid dealing with the Raging Grannies, so they, “Closed on December 15th, 2007 in support of gathering CARE package materials to send to the Sailors who are unavailable to be home during the holidays.”
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