Bio-Tech Go Home!

Rocky Neptun ( rockyneptun [at] )

Hours of confrontation, challenging, cursing , singing, marching up and down the sidewalk, frightening the delegates, while the police looked on helplessly; recharged and energized this small contingent (our hope for the future). Soon, the world will tremble.....

Flanked by several hundred police officers; on bikes, motorcycles, cruisers, lumbering across the street to keep up, batons and guns flapping their butts; the marchers cautiously left the City College campus, clustering as they moved down Park Boulevard.

For most of the demonstrators, this was their first confrontation with power. Behind the bright colored bandanas that hid their lower faces, screened under signs and banners , refusing interviews, leaderless; ninety young people had come to proclaim their liberation from the organized madness of altering the natural environment for profit.

It was June 19th, 2008, the usual would-be “masters of the universe” were in town. Twenty-two thousand conspirators, Corporate CEO’s of polluting companies, chemists dedicated to turning pure foods into unnatural concoctions, various snake oil salespersons – all dedicated to owning, hoarding and selling the total processes of life – were enshrined in San Diego’s finest hotels for the annual convention of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, or BIO.

As the marching and shouting youth approached the Convention Center, another 200 officers stood in front of the shiny glass doors that stretched down the block-long building. Seven thousands peaceniks can gather on city streets and there is a small contingent of police rookies, led by a huffing, puffy, red-faced Sergeant and an adviser from Fox News security team. Yet, San Diego is a city afraid of its youth….or at least until expectation gives way to resignation, from toddler to entry-level, without thought, without the freedom to explore possibility. From school tests to paychecks, authority is to be obeyed.

Youth in black are particularly threatening to the established order. Their vigil, their sorrow, mourns a humanity bought and sold, dreams defied, democracy subdued, community denied, compassion and sharing stunted.

I thought back to 2001, when a far larger group of over a thousand people marched down Park Boulevard to San Diego’s first Bio-Industry gathering . Just a few months before 9-11; they had met in 2001, to, even then, plan the merging of chemical medicine, unnatural farming, genetically modified foods, DNA ownership and growing live cells in test tubes with a war economy using new developments in biotechnology and nanotechnology.

Size queens and the media were impressed with the crowd of demonstrators in 2001. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel it was a total failure as I compared it with last week’s protest by just 90 young people.

In the ensuing 7 years, under Bush and Chaney, with the total militarization of daily life, corporate ownership of the economy approaching almost fascist proportions, global warming and unsafe foods; our pathetic march in 2001 against these titans of greed and perversion was, in fact, a self-serving, useless, symbol of our recognized helplessness.

Macro and Micro, collectively and personal; we all have our stories of failure, of freedom bought-off, of disappointments in unengaged struggles, unchallenged economic violence. We ignore Byron’s mind-forged manacles in our heads, hoard our dollars, wallow in simulacrum, simulating lives that struggle for justice. Just last week, the San Diego City Council, bowed to the wealth of Dow Chemical and other poison manufacturers , approving medicating the water of its citizens with fertilizer wastes made into fluorides, even though San Diegans had voted twice in the past not to fluoridate. Just yesterday, my friend, 80 years old, fighting off dementia, collapsed under the onslaught of a half-dozen different medications in his body that allege memory enhancing abilities – when there is a perfectly natural, cheap, remedy with Ginko Biloba leaves. Seven years gone and we are no where near eliminating corporations and their gouging mind-set. We pay dearly for transportation, housing and medical needs. In San Diego alone, there are about 40,000 people working in 700 companies and research institutes that are a part of the biotechnology industry.

The 2001 event, dubbed the Bio-Devastation rally, was probably the most colorful demonstration and march in San Diego history. People dressed as fairies and lady-bugs, wore placards of flowers, danced in multi-colored costumes, glitter was everywhere. Yet, the signs carried every left-wing issue in existence, from the Mumia people to the Zapatistas, from Gay rights to animal protection; the progressives marched that day to been seen. They continued the doomed tactic of individualizing a movement. Like a thousand different Protestant denominations, their dogma and priorities must dominate.

They were there to participate in the liturgy, to absolve themselves of complicity in the putrefaction of the authentic, retreating to the illusion of robust individualism – buying organic foods, sipping designer teas, a thousand and one circle jerking e-mails – while the poor, the marginal, the weak on this planet are being systematically crushed by the corporate owners and their paid politicians.

By contrast, last week’s demonstration was centered, focused and highly successful in its limited objective. Ninety young people, mostly from the local high schools and junior colleges (only two of us that participated were over 22 years old) hit the streets, not as a stroll through the park, imagining, pretending to dissent, but as a hesitant foray into a collective refusal to accept an artificial, profit-driven natural world.

“Yes to Our Generation,” they chanted. Their voices contained no rote, no tired recitals of aged activists, no demonstration reflux, rather their tenor carried a vibrancy, a tone of commitment to stretch body and vision, reaching out, extending their liberation from a corporate-owned world.

These were no polite liberals there last week, afraid to offend, terrified of public censure, phony intellectuals hiding behind their need for facts – another film, another book, another charismatic leader, taking to the grave their failure of personal or collective confrontation because they cannot be comfortable with any alternative. Always informed but rarely transformed, tethered to the corporate world, chained to their illusions of opposition.

Whereas the 1000 demonstrators in 2001, allowed themselves to herded into their allotted “free speech zone” in a park, waving their signs desperately to be seen; our spunky youth of last week marched right up to the glass doors of the Convention Center. “Fuck you, don’t mess with our future” and “You assholes, messing with people’s live,” they spat at startled bio-tech CEO’s and lackeys. Chanting “Bio-tech, go home,” they stood, eye-to eye, with corporate executives wearing Rolex Watches and designer clothes. Wealthy Sheiks and bought politicians from foreign lands, trembled as they realized that there is, indeed, opposition to their ownership of the world.

These perverts from chemical companies and Big Pharma for once knew fear. And that was good. But more importantly, the fright in their eyes, its panic energy, was transferred to each youth with razor-sharp instincts, expanding the intensity, the force of what might yet be.

Hours of confrontation, challenging, cursing , singing, marching up and down the sidewalk, frightening the delegates, while the police looked on helplessly; recharged and energized this small contingent (our hope for the future). Soon, the world will tremble; these youth, like millions of their brothers and sisters across the globe, in the Lacandon jungle or the slums of Caracas, will overthrow a corporate-owned humanity. They will not just tinker with their world, but will effectively and dramatically change it.

Peace and Love, Rocky

Making the world safe for Big Macks appears to be one of the responsibilities of the SDPD; every time there is a demonstration b

Sipping designer beers amid the phony ambiance of the Gas Lamp District, Bio-tech delegates were told to go home.

Youth confront bio-tech delegates eye to eye.