The story behind the City Council protest

It’s the City Council majority’s action and inaction

The author is a father, permaculturalist, veteran and social critic who is active in the Green Party.

We protest because our economic system consumes people, communities and ecosystems for the near exclusive benefit of a tiny elite who, to accumulate greater wealth and status, conspire against everything beautiful and life-affirming. Like a cancer cell, our economy will grow until it kills its host through colonialism, white supremacy, slavery and inequality. Rising rates of homelessness prove we’re in Stage IV, yet no public figure has the courage to say it.

We protest because the members of the Chico City Council majority reject our calls for economic, social, political and ecological justice. Instead, they pursue a cruel and unusual agenda against the unhoused. Antithetical to ethical principles, their reactionary free-market fundamentalism defies facts and subordinates us to the propertied interests. Possessing class privilege, the council is isolated from the pain of living on the street, thus continues to prop up an obsolete model of organizing society when we desperately need a new one.

We protest because the council amplifies voices sowing disinformation to scapegoat the unhoused for urban decay. This minority calls itself the “silent majority,” a nod to others with authoritarian proclivities. They propose “rules” that cannot be followed (like no sitting) to burden the extreme poor and then conflate coercion with accountability. This transparently fascist appeal of an in-group against the other requires an “uncivil” response. Obedience to the status quo will never secure human rights and dignity for the oppressed.

We protest to leverage our privilege to give voice to the destitute. We are at a crossroads as a society that demands immediate action. We can choose, through inaction, a fascist dystopian hellscape ravaged by capital accumulation and climate change, homelessness and hunger. Or, we can choose to work together to create a new system that is abundant, sustainable, humane, just, democratic and adaptive to emerging challenges. I’m not too optimistic, but I see people everywhere waking up to the imperative that we have to throw our bodies on the gears of this machine.

We must organize or die. Those on the street are already dying.