South Central Farmers eviction reportback

Via Lisa Taylor

Linda Piera-Avila wrote the following and asked me to forward it, since she is back at farm this morning. She is a Green Party organizer who has been intensely involved for several weeks with trying to save the South Central Farmers.

What a sad day yesterday…

We truly live in a fascist government, esp. if one is a person of color or poor or both. I was not at the Farm when the heavy hammer came down, but arrived shortly afterward. In time to see hundreds of armed law enforcement types do their militaristic maneuvers.

At one point they were pointing tear gas guns in the direction of the crowd in which I was a part. They would not let legal observers in to see what was happening to the arrestees. They would not let us give them water. They did not give the warning period before commencing arrests inside the Farm, as they are required to do by law.

They started cutting the walnut tree with John and Daryl still in the upper limbs. (Daryl will be on Larry King tonight.) They sent bulldozers in not only to clear a path to the tree, but also to wantonly and spitefully destroy random plots.

The news keeps reporting Horowitz’ side, but very little mention of the Farmers’ side – that the land was sold out from under them in a back room deal three years ago. Then, recently, with the efforts of Julia and others, the money to buy the farm was raised, but he refused to sell to the Farmers because he “doesn’t believe in the cause.” I guess that means he doesn’t eat. I wouldn’t be surprised as he obviously has no heart, either. He is like the disembodied Sauron. I guess Frodo failed this time.

It was a spontaneous, organic, joyful, simple, peaceful group of very different folks who came together for this cause along with the farmers. It was like being in a Mexican village. The farmers kept us fed with good vegan food, a lot of which was from the farm. Often you could hear someone playing music. We had a healing center where bodyworkers volunteered and where people could get first aid or counseling or a nap. We had an art center where people could make banners, posters, or whatever was needed for the daily press conferences and evening vigils.We had a media table, set up outside with internet and fax and powered by solar panels from Taran Smith’s veggie van (he was the youngest son on Home Improvement). The farm organizers and tree sitters had daily conferences in the peach orchard to plan strategy. We had nightly vigils, inviting leaders from all religious backgrounds to lead inspirational moments, followed by the Aztec blessing and then a candlelight procession around the perimeter of the Farm.

We had young people arranging security: anarchists, zapatistas, and others. All very respectful of others. I was doing ground support for the tree sitters and trying to monitor Julia during her prolonged fast. (Lisa’s insert: Linda is a physical therapist, in addition to all of her Green Party organizing talents.) A heavy responsibility.

In many ways, I think the community at the Farm was a model of what could be, and what might be when peak oil hits and what should be, so that resources are avaiable to all and no one has to starve. As you’ve learned in your odysseys, we really don’t need all the stuff we’re told we need.

My heart is heavy this morning as I reflect on what has been lost and the foolishness of the City of L.A. in not nuturing this gem, this oasis in the midst of urban grit and greed. All the players’ excuses and disclaimers only serve to confirm the disease of our dominant culture and the idolatry of private property rights to the exclusion of the commons and human need. 350 low income families will now be without access to their crops. I wonder how Horowitz and the mayor and the councilwoman would feel if they could not get fruits and vegetables.

A court case will begin July 12. Let’s hope the truth will be revealed then and that the farmers will be able to return to their plots. It is a sad day when people are criminalized for growing their own food. What I saw yesterday looked more like a third world country with peasants being thrown off the land for a corporation’s interests, rather than a scene from the US.

The random destruction of the plots also reminded me of the time when white buffalo hunters would kill the animals for their tongues and hides and leave the carcasses to rot on the plains. No respect for life or the planet. No heart. No soul.

–Linda Piera-Avila

[tags]south central farmers[/tags]


  1. I have rarely seen a situation where there have been so many errors in judgement by the City Government compounded upon each other for so many years. If you start back at the beginning with the eminent domain seziure of the property for a use that never materialized and carry it through from then until now, when the trust of an entire communicy has been violated. there is little good that you can say about anything that happened here.

    Many thanks to Linda, whom I know does not naturally seek the public spotlight, for standing up, seaking up and doing what is right.

  2. Hi,
    off topic I know but I thought you might find this article of interest, it is taken from spinwatch.
    Facing an increasingly hostile group of law students in an Oxford seminar that had somehow gone dreadfully wrong, beads of sweat began to pop out on John Bolton’s furrowed brow. Amidst a rising chorus of taunts, jeers, hisses and outright denunciations, Bolton was swiftly surrounded by his entourage of three American security agents and whisked out the door of the seminar room at Oriel College on Friday, the 9th of June.
    Pursued by vocal recriminations from angry and frustrated American students who led the incisive questioning and the equally incisive jeering — with taunts like, “You should be doing a better job!” Bolton bolted. He turned sharply on his heel and took flight out the door and then fled down the mediaeval passageway and into the relative safety and calm of his bullet-proof diplomatic limousine. Bolton swiftly headed out of Oxford, rudely foregoing the well-established tradition of lingering to talk with interested members of the audience.

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