Diary: Abalone, Please

It’s dying to regenerate into itself: a positive colossus of whales, abalone, native growth, interracial life, and other un-commodified righteous “goods”.

Venice, Los Angeles, according to Lydia Ponce, a Venice elder, will be underwater soon, plain and simple. Does not matter if they gentrify it all together. She has a point. This she will tell you if you are a friend, along with stories of a friendship with Tom Morello, years of justice fighting under her belt, and a real understanding of the trials and tribulations of the local high school where she worked, today staffed by folks like Soni and Keli also justice warriors of the new twilight.

Jataun Valentine, Naomi Nightingale, Laddie Williams, and Becky Dennison won’t be as direct and won’t delve into such waters but certainly love Lydia for doing it. They each have a way of going about things which all requires a little conversation to get to. Conversationalist organizers like Ivy Beach are those who string such pearls into community.

Neighborhood politics here is depraved and in the hands of real estate capital. Thus, Venice Beach continues to commodify everything that it is, at all times. Esteban Pulido, a portrait artist and biking enthusiast is action first and foremost when it comes to securing housing for community members, such as Patricia Sanchez and her battle against Tyler Wilson’s Ellis Act eviction of her and her family. Both are LATU members.

What was this place before money? Bruce Beach says that it’s always been “cutting edge” but has never had a music scene really, just Hal’s and a few places. The past, and the present. This place before money is also its future. You watch and see. A misunderstood polity noteworthy for its bunch of postwar citizens and their defiant attitudes about being, and of course meaning. Once upon a time founded by a racist Abbot Kinney, whose actions boil down to being capitalist contradictions, out of Venice came a critical mass of working class black folk, an original now pushed out enclave by the coast. This past unappreciated, preserving the First Baptist Church of Venice has become an war against the young Jay Penske of Penske wealth and his and his wife Elaine’s plans of converting the historic black church into the largest mansion in plain sight.

“Simmer down, simmer down” argues the centrist-leftist Councilmember Mike Bonin to the not quite its own region Venice about its anxieties and frustrations. What’s there to be frustrated about? The sun is shining, as we all know, enough to attract just about everyone from everywhere to come visit. Centrist-leftist because this councilmember who has gotten arrested at an Occupy ICE LA action also happens to not only oversee Venice’s depraved gentrification as a hardened New Regime westside politician but was also the milk toothed aide of gentrifying councilmembers before him.

The early black sabbath like masculinities walking about are costumes, and so are the coastal singer songwriter femininities. The “manners and body language” in Venice have changed and for the worst. Read native stories of getting water before sitting and hearing a legend, stories of standing upright as per Martin Luther King Jr’s definition of how the civil rights movement got started and it will be obvious that both slouching to proletariat work or strutting as the physical embodiment of capital is just a symptom of an illness. There is such a thing as both the histories of oppression and arrogance.

The Venice Beachhead, around since 1968, is still going strong thanks to folks like Mike Bravo, Jon Wolff, both defiant and ponytailed. It’s a paper like no other really, that cultivates a contrarian clarion spirit that asks of Venice not for high-end restaurants and high society but for justice and long lost abalone (once upon a time, whales would circle on today’s concrete Winward circle along with abundant abalone). Here is one of the ground zeroes of left jacobinism, of which there is as much of liberal and conservative community group-ism. Margaret Molloy is a photographer and organizer to speak to about Venice jacobinism: its geography and urgency.

Here, it is a tale of three cities within a city: that of the rich and their court, the working class and their comrades, and the unhoused. David Busch leads a life of circumstance on the streets fighting for dignity for the unhoused. He does this with housed folks such as David Ewing, an American original, and Steve Clare, the founder of Venice community housing corporation as citizens of an extra-legal polity, Venice.

Will it change? Will its misery end?