Viva Ché Café: Notes from a San Diego Venue/Infoshop

When you visit the Ché Café, a collectively operated all-ages show space and café on the University of California San Diego campus, the first thing you see are colorful, slightly messy murals covering a low tattered wood building – nothing sterile, professional, expensive or polished in sight, but rather an obviously do-it-yourself space run by volunteers because they love what they’re doing. It’s a stark contrast to the soulless mediocrity everywhere else in the world churned out by armies of employees who hate their jobs. Perhaps this explains why the University of California is so bent on destroying the Ché: they want to make sure no one sees examples of alternatives to the dominant structures.

After years of pressure, the University won an eviction lawsuit in November, but while the case is on appeal the Ché Café is still going – and the struggle against the university’s attempts to snuff out counter-cultural landmarks continues. Ché Café has hosted hundreds of punk and alternative music shows over 35 years, including big names and unknown acts alike. At UC Davis, the university administration tried to destroy the iconic Domes housing cooperative, but was forced to back down. At UC Berkeley, counter-culture holdout Cloyne Court was evicted and sterilized last year. The Ché’s future is still up in the air.

In addition to petition drives and student organizing at UCSD, members of the performing arts community have called a boycott of all artistic engagements on the UC San Diego campus to save the Ché. The boycott letter demands:

1. Stop all attacks on the Ché Café and reverse its eviction efforts.

2. Refrain from enforcing a lockout of the Ché Café and refrain from using any form of violence, force, law enforcement, or other drastic and coercive tactics against members of the Ché Café Collective and its supporters.

3. Work alongside representatives of the student body to recognize the Ché Café for the historical landmark and unique creative venue that it is.

4. Restore funding to the Ché Café and allow students and supporters to fulfill a dynamic and creative vision for the use of the space.

If you want to help the Ché, you can contact university and state officials, or donate money. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. Contact thec