Settlers Land on Berkeley Starbucks, Analogy to Israeli
August 18, 2002
About 25 queer settlers descended on a downtown Berkeley Starbucks
on Saturday, August 17, claiming Berkeley as a city without
people for people without a city. The street theatre called
attention to Israeli colonies in Palestine. The group, organized
by Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT!), posted a banner
proclaiming the reclaimed café Queerkeley A
They also erected homes (transformed Palestinian civilian
homes reclaimed from another street theatre action),
lawn furniture, and signs reading, It Works In Palestine,
Why Not Here?
and Its Ours Because We Say So.
They erected plastic palm trees to make the concrete bloom,
and gave patrons a tract explaining their religious claim to the
land as follows:
Land of fruits and nuts
And the Lord saw that the queer people were harried in this
land. And the Lord spake onto the prophet Harvey, You will
lead your people across the wide waters unto a new land. Harvey
was fearful, and he cried to the Lord, How will we cross the
wide waters? For they are cold, and they are filled with all manner
of hazardous substances and raw sewage and other pollutants.
And the Lord responded, fear not, Harvey, for a great bridge
will be built, and the people will cross into this land. And this
land will be called Berkeley. I say, Lo, I have promised the land
of Berkeley to the lesbians and to the gays, and to the bisexuals,
and to the transgenders and to the intersexed, and to all of the
gender variant peoples. And this land shall be blessed with fruits
and nuts, unto 50 genderations.
Book of Reclamations and Realty, 4.0
The group selected Starbucks for the location of their first settlement
in Berkeley because Starbucks founder and CEO, Howard Shultz, is
supporter of the Israeli state and the corporation has become the
prime target of an international boycott of corporations with ties
(http://www.inminds.co.uk/boycott-israel.html). Since Mr.
Shultz clearly believes it is okay for one group of people to grab
land belonging to
another and say they have a right to it, we figure he wont
mind if we take some of his, a QUIT leaflet explains.
Workers in the café were surprisingly unruffled as the Queer
Defense Forces entered the café and announced over a loudspeaker
that the land had been confiscated by the Queer National Fund and
curfew for straights would begin in five minutes.
Several patrons were forcibly ejected from the café
by means of SuperSoakers (which were especially popular with a three-year-old
Many coffee drinkers quickly cleared out, but one group of chess
players steadfastly ignored the group, who vow to set up more settlements