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Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Demise of the Che Cafe: Sad but Predictable

 I'm not here to bash the Che.  I love the Che as much as the next facebook member- I've promoted shows there, I've attended shows there, I've written- on this blog- that the Che is one of the premiere diy venues on the west coast alongside the Smell and 924 Gilman St., and of course, I've donated money- maybe close to 300-400 dollars over the last decade.  That said, I think it's time for the Che, and the supporters of the Che to take a little responsibility for what happened over there.

 The Che has known for years that they were treading on thin ice with the university.  It's been a true fact as long as I've gone to the Che that the number of actual UCSD students who go to shows there hovers between slim and none.  At the same time, the University itself has stepped up in terms of booking "Che type" acts at their various venues- Porters Pub, and the Loft.   True, neither of them have the, um, charm, of the Che itself, but it is simply false to say that there are no alternatives.

 During the entire time I've been aware of the Che, I have seen zero outreach to the student body, zero attempt to make the wider UCSD embrace the Che.  Instead the Che has chosen to maintain its defiantly anti-establishment vegan/socialist/DIY aesthetic.  It speaks highly for the members as activists, but in a political sense, the current result is extremely predictable.

  The reality is that an entity that behaves with poorly disguised disdain towards its sponsoring institution essentially showed up during budget negotiations asking for a million bucks.  Yes, I understand that the spending has been deferred multiple times and that it "should have been" give years ago, and that it only got this bad because less money wasn't authorized previously but still.

  The fact is that the lack of respect and interest that the Che itself has shown in UCSD has finally come home to roost, and its demise should be no surprise to anyone, especially the collective members.  They know what they think about the university and the students, and it isn't a flattering perspective.

  It is very sad, but also very true: The students of UCSD do not give two fucks about the Che cafe and its continued survival.   And the outpouring of emotion is very touching, but unless someone wants to cut a million dollar check, it is essentially meaningless, because this is a decision being made BY THE STUDENTS OF UCSD.   The Che itself bears ultimate responsibility for failing to win or even try to win over the hearts and minds of UCSD students, so this result, while regrettable should come as a shock to no one.

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