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June 15, 2023 72 mins

Margaret and Robert continue the tale of the default world's war on Malaga Island.

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Speaker 1 (00:02):
Oh, welcome back to the Dire Straits Cast, a podcast
where I know exactly one song by the band the
Dire Straits money for Nothing, and Margaret, I understand you.
You still know two songs by the dire Straits. I do. Yeah,
Sultan's excellent. So this is a news and culture podcast

(00:23):
about all of the things going on in the Dire
Straits world. Any any updates that you're aware of, Margaret, Well,
they don't need to make the guitar cry or sing. Okay,
I've learned that. Okay, how do we feel are they
allowed to use that slur sing cry, no, no, no

(00:44):
no in Money for Nothing? Oh? You know, there's no
accountability that I could ask from the Dire Straits. I
don't think there ever was. I don't think it's what
I would recommend they did. That's That's where I'm gonna
got My assumption is that everyone involved with that band

(01:04):
died in nineteen eighty nine. Um and I. Yeah, they
can't have lived past then. They certainly can't have outlived
in TV. Why is this the thing you wanted to do?
This is this is this is Margaret and I's most
beloved bit. The Dire Straits Podcast by two people who
know very little about the Dire Straits. Margaret, can you
because I only know one song and Margaret knows too. Yeah, well,

(01:27):
we've done it before, so therefore it's our most beloved
I was. I was. I've been waiting for weeks to
talk about the Dire Straits again, because, you know, after
we did it the first time, I listened to Money
for Nothing again because I mostly had listened to a
cover it done by a bluegrass band and it wound
up you know that thing YouTube does where they like
stick it in your like recently listened to thing. And

(01:49):
so for the last like several months, every time I
hop on YouTube to put on music, it was like
a fifty percent chance. I start playing that one song,
and then it quickly takes me away from that to
other songs, and then in thirty minutes, I'm singing Hotel California. Um,
but you know, and it's four thirty or thirty in
the morning. What else? What are you gonna do? Anyway,

(02:11):
This concludes the Dire Straits cast. If they're not dead,
don't tell us. You know, we're We're both fine with that.
I don't, I don't unless you are listening and you're
in Dire I, in which case you have permissions, especially
if you will record us a custom version of either
one of those two songs, but themed about I don't

(02:32):
know whatever we do here podcasting. I guess that probably
wouldn't be a very interesting song. Um. Actually, you know what,
I'm certain there is a deeply, deeply frustrating version of
money for Nothing that's about like podcasters making money as
opposed to rock stars, and I don't want to hear it.
So no, no, thank you. Yeah, that is the exception.

(02:53):
M Yeah. Even if you're the Dire Straits people and
you wrote that song we don't want it would be
very funny if the Dire Straits people were just like
the Monster Mash Guy, where they just kept making as
anytime there was like a new group of people who
like got a bunch of money, they do another version
of that. Why are you still talking about this? I
don't know. I don't know, Sophie, because the rest of

(03:15):
the story we're talking about today, which is the history
of vagrancy and how it intertwines with the history of
Benjamin Darling's descendants and Malaga Island, the rest of that
story is very sad Um, so that's why we're talking
about the Dire Straits. Gast Legally, we are only allowed
to feel joy when we're on cool people did cool stuff,
bastards bad time. We did sign that contract? Well great,

(03:40):
I don't know, Sophie. See if we can get a
deal with MTV and and do a real music podcast.
Are they still around? I think so, But it's just
like now they're MPOD for music. It just seems to
be like more like spinoff shows of Jersey Shore over

(04:00):
and over again. Yeah, that's what a tragic state of affairs. Um,
hey with a cultural moment. Yeah, because honestly, like the
Jersey Shore people probably committed fewer sex crimes than the
musicians that were previously the draw to that channel. So
I don't know, I don't it seems probably pretty equal. Well,

(04:24):
now I've made our fun bit about the Dire Straits.
Just back baby, so yeah, let's continue on. So when
we left our our friends on Malaga Island, Um, things
were still going pretty well there, but um, the twentieth
century was starting to turn and there were problems on

(04:45):
the horizon. Right. You know, this kind of anti vagrant
hysteria UM had sort of fed into you know, this
kind of local culture um demonizing this this one you know, dude,
you know, squatting alone on an island. It was kind
of like a sign of things that are about to
start becoming a problem for more of the people who
live on these islands, because the kind of pleasant state

(05:09):
of being ignored that had benefited these people for so
many generations was going to come to an end because
of the development of Maine's first tourist industry. Suddenly Americans
with disposable income were flocking to the main coast every summer.
These isolated islands, you know, with the additional technology that existed,

(05:30):
were now less isolated. And you know, for a while,
about a century or so, affluent white maners had been
pretty happy to leave the people of the Casco Bay
Islands alone, especially since they were both an exit valve
for folks who didn't fit into like Portland society, and
they were a source of cheap labor. But now they
were starting to think, well, maybe there's more money if

(05:50):
we just kind of imminent domain those islands and put
up summer houses on them for you know, rich people
and ship Yeah, what do we airbnb community? Yeah, yeah,
that's basically what's happening. So, since there's money to be
made in the islands now, local businesses start leaning on
the local media to portray the Malagaites and their neighbors

(06:14):
as an eyesore and a shame to the community. In
eighteen ninety nine, a columnist for the Bath Enterprise limited
that quote, few people of Phippsburg had faith that the
effort to get rid of Malaga, with its burden of
poor people, would be successful. A flurry of local news articles,
like this one from the Casco Bay Breeze in nineteen
oh five described Malaga as the home of Southern Negro

(06:36):
blood and an incongru a scene on a spot of
natural beauty. In nineteen o eight, the Popular Liberals stand
By Harper's Magazine sent to correspondent Home and Day and
a photographer out to Malaga and several neighboring islands to
do an article on the communities that had caused such
a sudden panic to their longtime neighbors. The piece, titled

(06:57):
The Queer Folk of the Main Coast, is a fascinating
historical document, and it uses the word queer more than
any other document not about like queer people that I've
ever seen. It is every third word in this so
well that just brings us back to money for not yea,
yeah exactly exactly. Does Home and Day get a pass? No? Yeah,

(07:21):
I don't like this guy. I thought. I have such
a mixed feeling about this because Day comes across as
like a very like up his own ass like liberal
elite asshole, looking down on these people and kind of
like cheerfully condescending them. But also he is competent as
a reporter. He is going and talk and he's like
the only one who does, and so a huge amount

(07:44):
of what we know about the culture of these islands
is just because he wouldn't talk to people, and Gabe
delivered their stories. So it is one of those like
kind of the way he does it is frustrating, but
he does provide us with an absolutely It's kind of
like you got that guy in like the White House
Press Corps, the one guy who about aids and like
he's like dropping some you know, slurs and laughing about

(08:06):
it sometimes, but he also is pushing you the only
guy pushing the Reagan administration about the fact that people
are dying and this is a serious problem. So like
you know, journalism, it's you get a lot of these
stories there where it's like, this is fucked up, but
also this is the only reason we know about these people.
So I don't know, I don't know what to we're

(08:26):
morally to put that. It doesn't really matter. I guess
it happened morally, it goes in the past. So home
in Day's article opens promisingly enough with the lines of
old muskets drove the Abnakis off the coast of Maine.
Today money is driving away another race, which could be

(08:48):
like a good opening if you're trying to be like,
you know, the cruelty of settlers against the indigenous people
is being replicated by capitalists against these folks who have
found refuge here. That is a little bit of what
he means, but not not. I don't think he really
analyzes things in that context, you know. Um okay. He

(09:09):
continues between kittery point and quote heead resorters have acquired
hundreds of headlands and thousands of islands, a fee lengths
of cottages fronts the sea. The queer squatter people who
have been dispossessed find little relish in being stared at
as human curiosities. So the queer folk live alone and
it is said that isolation develops eccentricity. The ocean creeps

(09:30):
to the doors of their huts, and winter waves thunder
in their ears. And there are those who say that
the din of the seaboats beats curious ideas into their head.
So for one thing, this rules. They're just coolers. They
are so cool. Even though this guy sounds like love
he does. Yeah, that's it's about to say. Is he
sounds like like the madness is creeping in from the
ocean waves, battering their their simple brains. It is interesting

(09:54):
that he like he starts with his like almost almost
like actual class analysis here, talking about like a real
like the kind of like longitudinal problems between the genocide
of the native peoples of this isle and kind of
the the relentless hunger that that, you know, the quest
for profit brings in, how it just inherently dispossesses and

(10:16):
forces people out of their homes. But he immediately moves
to like, and these folks believe weird shit, like that's
the focus of the article. Silly they are, So he
acknowledges that problem and then drops it right away like
a paragraph into this fucking article. That's it home And
day is a pretty textbook earnest white liberal intellectual. That's

(10:38):
at least the picture one gets of I haven't read
his entire uvra, that's the picture that you get of
this guy. In this article. He paints a pretty desperate
picture of the educational standards in general culture, which, as
we've already said, is not accurate. These people seem to
have been and this is something that like modern day
archaeologist will note, seem to have been pretty like reasonably

(10:59):
well educated by the standards of the day and the area.
Day uses a lot of noble savage imagery here too,
in lines like this quote. They are not envious, they
do not want to beg Where pinuri and pride meet
in the city, there are heartburnings. But the man tossing
in the battered dory in the swash of a millionaire's
yacht neither size nor glares, provided he be one of

(11:21):
the queer folk. For the queer folks are queer in
one respective. Especially they dwell content in their own world,
which is often a world of illusion. For solitariness and
the sea breeds. Strange thoughts keeps going back to that
this guy as just as it is, He's like he's
like reporters, living some dogshit life back in the city,

(11:44):
watching all of his friends get collar every season, and like,
well I have on these people, well some of them
believe silly stuff. Holman really wanted to make sure people
got the picture that these people were sweet but deranged
and thus not capable of taking care of themselves and
the ways that we modern Americans expect now. To his credit,

(12:04):
Holman travels pretty widely around the islands, and he comes
across people with legitimately fascinating stories that I wish desperately
had been investigated by a proper anthropologist, although those didn't
really exist back then. But yeah, it's enticing the bits
that he gives us. One of the stories he tells
us is about a guy named Aussie and Dustin Auscian

(12:27):
lives on an island called Newcastle, not far away from Malaga,
and when Holman meets him, Aussie and Dustin is eighty
years old. He survives mostly off of just kind of
like pulling what he can out of the ocean. He
makes about fifty dollars a year doing odd jobs for
people back on shore, mostly firewood sawing, and this pittance
is enough for him to remain alone and independent on

(12:47):
the island, engaging in his life's goal, hunting for Captain
Kid's treasure. That is, this man has spent hell yeah, Brad, dude,
he spent his whole life living alone on this hunting
for Captain Kid's treasure quote the buried existence of which
he implicitly believes. Now, what this guy represents in actuality

(13:10):
is a dude who was born in around the early
eighteen twenties and seems to have decided, like, taken a
look at American society in the eighteen twenties and been like, nah,
fuck that shit. And he has this kind of comfortable
fantasy about Captain hood Kid's treasure that gives him like
purpose and a sense of like meaning and seems to

(13:30):
make him pretty happy. As far as we can gather
from Holman's reporting, he came to believe that Kid's treasure
was hidden in the area due to a local legend
he encountered as a young man, and he just decided
to spend his entire life trying to find it. Holman
describes this as quote the type of content that relieves
these hidden human tragedies of some of that pitifulness, right, Well,

(13:50):
this guy's so happy, it makes it less sad that
he lives this depressing. I was, like, the life's only
depressing to you, Holman. Like this guy's doing fine. He
is hunting for buried treasure. He is probably friends with seagulls.
Like his life is great. He is eighty years old.
Nobody lives that long. Like whatever he's doing is working
well for him. Yeah, here's Holman again. He has toiled

(14:13):
knights for the most part, believing that in the night
a treasure seeker can best circumvent the enchantments laid on
buried pirate spoils. He searches with the treasure rod made
by his own hands. He has the tip of a
cow's horn, plugged with wood and containing various metals. In
the wooden plug are stuck parallel strips of whalebone, and
he clutches these strips, one in each hand, and walks along,
balancing the tip of the horn. When he passes over

(14:36):
the famous iron pot, the tip, thus is his belief,
will turn down and point at the buried treasure. He
says his spade has struck the iron pot several times,
but that enchantment has whisked away the treasure. He expects
that eventually his own charms will prevail over the power
of evil. That's a cool that's a fine life. I'm sorry, Like,
that's a perfectly fine existence. It's his steps in every

(15:01):
day like whatever has built a whole, like almost religious
mythology around this treasure that allows him to always be
searching for it but never quite finding it, while still
getting little victories along the way. What's wrong with this life?
In the grand scheme of things? How can you have
a problem with this? Yeah? I bring this guy up
both because this is an amazing story and it made

(15:22):
me so happy to read, and also because as evidence
of what these islands were, they were a refuge, not
just for people like the Darlings and their descendants whose
very relationships are criminal, but for folks. I think it's
fair to say whatever is going on with Ausian Destin,
he's not what you'd call neurotypical, right. He is someone
who has like built this kind of religious cosmology around

(15:43):
the search for this treasure. He has visions that he
talks about regularly of a figure in shining gold guiding
him along, and in most of the rest of the country,
a man who said these things and did these things
would have been forced into a sanitarium where he would
have fucking died of cholera. Right, that's this guy's story
of the US is he is imprisoned and left to

(16:05):
die of disease, but instead he's eighty years old, you know.
And Holman is absolutely, like repeatedly mentions he's the happiest,
one of the happiest men that he's ever met. Right, Like,
this guy has has built a life for himself, which
is a pretty awesome achievement. And Holman is human enough
to recognize that he's witnessing something remarkable. Well at the

(16:27):
same time rejecting this man's beliefs as worth any thought. Quote,
it can scarcely be said that Uncle Aussian's unfailing cheerfulness
springs from any philosophy of life that he has evolved.
But after our talk I came out of his dingy
hut with the feeling that probably some of the proud
folk in the cottages down the bay needed pity more
than he. So he's like, Wow, this guy seems deeply

(16:48):
happy and has lived to an advanced age, but there's
probably nothing worth studying. And like his approach to life,
I don't know. Yeah, he's not the money. I don't know.
Maybe he figured something out that most of us never do. Yeah,
he seems fire. Maybe he found a goal the year
after him. Maybe he did Yeah, maybe he did so again.

(17:11):
Holman here is kind of on the edge of a
revelation that his journey through these islands makes crystal clear,
which is that civilization is not an unalloyed good, and
many marginalized people have always been able to take care
of themselves better by dropping out of it. That has
been a fact of history for as long as people
have been like building cities and making rules. Is that

(17:31):
some people, particularly those persecuted society, are better off without them. Next,
Holman visits Spruce Island, inhabited solely by three elderly men,
the Shanks brothers, William, Daniel, and Nehemiah. They had lived
all their lives and what he describes as a tumble
down shelter. William and Daniel never married, but Nehemiah had

(17:52):
what our writer Buddy patronizingly calls a poor little romance
that broke his heart. Basically, Nehemia and their dad used
to go to Portland to sell their fish catch, and
at one point this lady married him as a Cohn
to take his money family savings away um, which is
sad their father Forgavenihemiah by tasking him to watch over

(18:13):
his brothers for the rest of their lives. It kind
of seems again like his brothers at least are it
sounds like a myth that you're telling. Well, I mean,
this is amazing met these people basically what you know? Yeah, no, no, no, no,
I believe it. It's just I think that it's like
his actual life has elements that are mythic story tea. Yeah, like, ah,

(18:34):
you have done You've failed in this way by being tricked.
Now you have a new task. Yeah, and it does.
It does. That is kind of what's cool happening because
like William and Daniel, it seems like are again what
you would say, not neurotypical, right they are. They are
not people who can live Neihemiah probably could have. These
are not people who can exist in the regular society

(18:56):
of the time. Their dad realizes that and he's like, look,
you've got to take care of them because this is
the only place that they're ever going to have. And
so that's what Niam. These guys are all like I
think in their sixties seventies, when Holman meets them and
it's it's it's an interest of remarkable stories you've noted,
and it gets kind of more fascinating to me. There's

(19:17):
a there's a paragraph in here about William in particular
that I have not been able to get out of
my head since I read it for more than twenty years.
William has never come out of the hut into the sunshine.
He told me that he feared the sun might heat
his brains and interfere with his life work, which is
the composition of poetry. There is a blanket slung across
one end of the hut. William sits behind this blanket

(19:40):
and fixes his eyes on the sunlight that enters through
a knothole, and composes. He states that he is now
the author of a thousand pieces, none of which he
ever writes down. He just his entire life is sitting
in chair, filling his brain with his own poetry that
no one else will ever hear. That's yeah, that's cool. Yeah,

(20:04):
that's like yeah, it's like the anchor rights the people
who would like to go and like wall themselves up. Yeah,
Like yeah, And I honestly, you know, if Holman was
a better journalist, the thing to do would be like,
would you read me some poems, like so I can
write them down. I want to know what this is like. Yeah,
of course. Um yeah, he's either like he's probably the

(20:25):
best or worst poet absolute trash verse. Yeah. Um, either way,
that's there's like a deep kind of harrowing beauty and
that that simple statement about this guy's life. Um. Anyway,
when I started researching this, my thinking was again that
I would start with the tale of Benjamin Darling and

(20:47):
then Malaga and how it became a haven for these
kind of like these people who had who couldn't live
in regular society or chose not to and built this
resilient culture of their own, and how that culture was
destroyed in the name of progress. But for all about
issues with home and smugness and dismissal of the depth
of inner life lived by his subjects, I must admit
that the substantial footwork he did is what keyed me

(21:08):
into the deeper story here, because the people he's describing,
a lot of these folks. You lead a guy like
Assie and right, you look at people like these brothers,
these are folks who today would probably be living on
the street, right, you know, if they don't have family support,
if they don't have like some access to funding. A
lot like these are people who cannot fit in with capitalism, right,
you know. They can do like some odd jobs and

(21:29):
stuff here, but they're never going to like buy a
house in a city. They're never going to like own
anything that they have a deed for. That's like not
for most of these people, not the kind of people
that they are. And while there was this place where
they could go and be outside of the law and free,
a lot of them lived okay lives based on the

(21:50):
standards of the time, you know, verging on a lot
better lives than many of the people back on land
would have lived. Not that they were easy lives, but
they were lives. And that's not an option for people
like this anymore. There's just there's no outside anymore. It's
like one of the things that you know, there's no Yeah,
it's not like any you know, the quote unquote places

(22:12):
that aren't owned, you know, by somebody who can lock
you out, are owned by the city, who can make
a law saying it's illegal to camp there or whatever. Yeah,
So this is a story about how that happened, and
about how these anti vagrancy laws that primarily got instituted
in order to police the behavior of newly free black Americans, um,

(22:33):
kind of coincided with the disgust of moneyed people in
cities against the folks who had managed to build a
life outside of them. That's that's what we're talking about.
But you know what we're talking about. First, Margaret, what's
that ads for products? Wait? Why are there there's advertisers

(22:54):
on this there? Sure are there? Sure are all of
whom I don't I don't know. I don't know. I'm
kind of a kind of bumming out right now. So
we're just we're just gonna throw to ads. I don't
have a joke. Uh, here you go. Uh we're back. Um,

(23:18):
you know, good good stuff. We're we're feeling happy. Everybody's
having a good time and on a solid emotional level.
So yeah, anyway, I'm having a good time. Yeah, uh yeah,
it's it's cool. And obviously, like you know, the fact
that these islands were available for this descendants of the
Darlings and all these other people is partly a result

(23:40):
of the ongoing genocide against the indigenous people's who had
inhabited them before. But you know, Benjamin Darling didn't have
a choice about being here, right, Like, I don't, I don't,
I can't. I don't put that on them that like, well, shit,
there's nobody here, and like the folks in those cities
suck ass. Let's get the fuck out of here, you know,
like what else are they gonna do? Right? So, as

(24:02):
I write this, in Portland, Oregon, the mayor Ted Wheeler
is working too. Has actually when I wrote this, he
was still building support for it. But the vote just
passed to ban camping, as he calls it, during daylight
hours on city property. This includes the parks and green
spaces that tend to be preferred by the kind of
folks who find themselves living in encampments. And of course,

(24:23):
these laws are not meant to criminalize the kind of
camping that like affluent white people do where they like
go out to you know, camp to feel connected to nature.
What they're trying to criminalize is the existence of people
who cannot afford rent or a house, who they don't
really care where these people end up. A camp, like
a concentration camp is kind of the thing that Ted
Wheeler is floating is like actively trying to build support

(24:46):
for is like enforced camps where people are checked when
they enter and leave and have like the their hours
restricted and are searched when they when they come in.
Like that is the goal. I think the real goal
would be just to like force them to move somewhere else.
People used to bust their homeless folks to California. Um, yeah,
but yeah, it's it's it is kind of One of

(25:06):
the things that I'm frustrated by is sort of the
patronizing mockery of describing these people as as like camping. Um,
you know, like these are their homes, this is the
lives that they've built for themselves. Um. It's kind of
like describing the people of Malaga or whatever is like
hermits living in caves, where it's like, no, I mean
they have they have structures that they built, they have houses,
like they're just they're they're living the life that they

(25:29):
are able to live. Like you don't have to be
a dick about it. You couldn't. You couldn't hack it
out there. Um. So from time to time folks put
out in this way attempt to construct more elaborate structures
for themselves in order to survive. UM. A lot of
this makes me think about the kind of communities that
that build up on these islands in Malaga, UM, and

(25:50):
they make me think. When I was reading about and
looking at some of the photos of the houses there,
I was brought back to a story of a guy
outside of Portland named Mikey, who in November of twenty
built a two story wooden home for himself off Airport Way.
This immediately became like a huge There was a bunch
of different like conservative news stories and stuff that like

(26:11):
fucking covered this kind of A representative example is on
a Babylon b affiliated website written by an author who
gives his name as the Ghost of Reagan, titled this
Portland homeless Man's house is fancier than your home. It's interesting,
like when he was interviewed by local media, he was like,
I needed somewhere to live and I hate tents, so

(26:33):
I like built myself a house. And of course the
city finds out like pisses off all these right wingers.
Mikey gets forced out of his home, which is demolished.
You know, I love that that they're going to present
this man as lazy. Yeah, you know this this on
industrious man who has built a two story where's a
third story? There's not even a basement. Yeah. Um, And

(26:56):
it is like, you know, when you're talking about sort
of some of the problems of encamp mens and stuff.
You know, I live near several of them. You and
I just went and put out a fire at one
the other day. Now, in that case, I think it
was a fire started by there's some local kids who
like to attack homeless people. I believe it was them
lighting some of their shit on fire, because it seems
to be random, you know that said stuff like that.

(27:19):
I talk to people who live there. Sometimes it's like
one group has beef with another and like their shit
gets lit on fire. There's also like fires happen in
these encampments because of improperly you know, handled like propane
stoves and stuff. There are problems that need to be
dealt with, and in some cases even it like especially
during fire season, you may have to say like, hey, guys,

(27:41):
we can't have a bunch of fucking propane burners out here.
It's going to cause like a serious problem for a
lot of people. I'm not saying like there shouldn't be
any kind of like attention paid to what people do
if they decide to set up homes for themselves on
like you know, city property or whatever. I just don't
think the default should be destroying everything they have and
putting them in jail, like you know, there's all this,

(28:05):
it's also this like yeah, I just I can't quite
wrap my head around the kind of person who thinks
that criminalizing homelessness is a good idea because part of
it is like, well, but that could just be yeah, right,
like that could just like the crime is that they
had a series of bad events and you just assume

(28:26):
that your life will never include bad events, Like what
life have you led where you don't have bad events?
Like yeah, I don't know, I don't know how to
even phrase it. It It just makes no sense to me.
And there's and there's like a lot of options that
are not like obviously there's a lot of safety reasons
why yeah, maybe we can't just have people setting up
wherever they want to, like for example, like in the
West during fire season that presented presents a danger. I

(28:50):
spent a decent amount of time back in twenty fifteen
in a place called Nicholsville, which is one of a
couple of Nicholsvilles that have existed in Seattle, which was
like empty land that local homeless people started building tiny
homes in fairly well constructed safe they were able to
get like trash pickup and stuff, and as a result,

(29:10):
it was like a decent safe play. I mean, eventually
they got forced out. It's happened a couple of times.
But you know, one of the things that's kind of
neat is that there have also been like kind of
the attention that this got helped build support in Seattle
for local and governments to embrace some ideas that kind
of offer more dignity on autonomy to houseless regiments like Nicholsville,

(29:34):
and so there have been we've seen the creation of
more kind of like tiny home villages made from recycled
materials and stuff where people kind of have more autonomy
and are involved in the project of like helping to
craft their own living spaces. These are not perfect. These
projects are generally, when they're legal, are conducted under the
strict eye of the city. This sometimes means that some
of them have like mandatory researches for drugs or strict

(29:55):
limits on what pets are available, but you know it's better,
you know, certainly, than a lot of options that exist.
I do find it frustrating that when homeless people build
their own communities on undeveloped land, rather than being given
access to services that might allow them to do this
safely and hygienically, they're more often forced violently out of
their homes at greater expense than it would be to

(30:17):
provide them with services, because it's not cheap to actually
do all this. When cities do give these people the
opportunity to exist in a place where they could build
some sort of comfort for themselves, the reactions from neighbors
are often vicious, and I want to quote from a
twenty seventeen article in Crosscut about a Seattle community called
Nicholsville in Ballard. This is a couple of years after.

(30:40):
I think it's from a different location from the one
I went to quote. The plan to build one of
the camps near residences and in the middle of businesses
on the west end of Ballard's Market Street drew frustration
and angry objections, including from the Ballard Chamber of Commerce.
When the news report was reported on my Ballard it
garnered nearly one hundred comments. Reasonable voices were drowned out
by the aggressive rhetor of some commenters. The real brilliance

(31:02):
put them between a liquor store and a bar. Brilliant
thinking better, Yet, let's put them right at the gateway
of a historic treasure, like the Locks, one of our
most visited sites, wrote one commenter on My Ballad. Another
compared the encampment to an episode of The Walking Dead,
claiming the area would no doubt go to total shit fuck. Yeah,
that means that person's thinking about machine gunning there. Yeah,

(31:24):
I mean, of course. Yeah. And it's like there's this
outrage people have, not just when like homeless people build
something for theirselves, but when they do it in a
place where, like they have a nice view. There was
an article that went viral in Portland in April, and
I'm going to quote from the Fox coverage of this.
Residents living near Portland's Willamette River have witnessed a series

(31:45):
of homeless cabins and structures being built on prime river
real estate with million dollars city views, but have so
far been unable to get anyone to do anything about it.
Pretty Much everyone comes back and says they don't have
jurisdiction because it's Union Pacific. It's a railroad. Rick Scaramella,
who owns a condominium on the other side of the
Willamette River, told ko I n on a report in

(32:06):
a report Thursday Voice, I hate it too. Scaramella told
the outlet that people from across the river across the
river from his home have been building makeshift cabins complete
with doors, windows, and sometimes even solar panels, on the
banks of the river that feature views of downtown Portland. Rick,
fuck you. I hope you step on a nail and

(32:28):
get tetanus that costs you your leg. That's what I
hope for you. Rick Scaramella, You fucking condo owning piece
of shit like they've got a nice view when they
didn't pay what I paid for it. I don't know.
Suck my dick, Rick, go fuck yourself. I lived. I've
been a squatter in a lot of different cities at
various points, and I remember and one I think that

(32:51):
the way the Netherlands used to handle it until they
change the laws is brilliant, which is a lot of
people were suddenly houseless in the late eighties. I'm gonna
have the timeline of this a little bit wrong. Yeah,
the ladies. And so eventually everyone just started squatting in
all of these buildings and it became this massive thing,
and eventually they got the law changed where if a

(33:12):
building was left vacant for a year with no clear
plan of what was going to happen to it, it
was legal for people to squat it. And so you
don't have real estate prospectors holding properties empty while people
need houses, because if you leave it empty, someone's going
to move in and then you're fucked as the landowner
or whatever. And so it got people to lower rents,

(33:34):
it got people to sell properties to families. It got
and it provided squatters places to live. And I remember
I had this moment. I was playing accordion on the
street with one of my squadter fronts next to me,
and and this person comes up and asks, my friend,
why does that accordion player play such sad music? And
the actual answer is that I'm a goth and I

(33:55):
like sad music. But the answer that my squadter friend
had was like, Oh, it's because we're squatters. We spend
all of our time building things, and then they come
and they take them away, and I just I think
about that where it's like there's this version of the
squatter where they like they shit everywhere and they live
in absolute horrid everything. But then when people are like, Okay,

(34:18):
I'm gonna build a cabin, I'm gonna put solar panels
on it, I'm gonna like get the trash taken out.
I'm gonna like try and do this right, Yeah, people
get even angrier because they want people living in squalor,
because they want people to suffer because they're bad people. Yeah,
it's the like you know again, I spend a lot
of time in and around encampments. I'm like friendly. One
of the reasons why I'm friendly with folks is that,

(34:39):
like a year or so ago, a woman I lived with,
who has had an infant child at the time, was
like going along this area and got shot at by
kids on very nice new motorbikes with bb guns, and
like some of the local homeless folks like rallied to
her defense, and We're like, yeah, they come and like
shoot at us all the time. It's just like a
thing shitty rich kids do. And you know, I've gotten

(35:02):
to know folks and stuff, and it's you see like, yeah,
I don't like that there's trash out there. I don't
like that there's piles of trash in a nice natural
area that's not nice, you know where there would be
big piles of trash if I is my house, if
I didn't have access to like city trash pickup. You know, like,
this is an option, and it's cheaper than letting it

(35:23):
all build up and then hiring professionals to come and
deal with it, like they don't want to live in
trail Like anyway, there's solutions to this that aren't sending
the fucking cops and the fucking biohazard drugs every like
two or three times a year to fuck with people's stuff.
You know. It's I find the discourse around this all
very frustrating, which is why this episode got written. So yeah,

(35:46):
let's go back to Malaga Island. So in nineteen oh eight,
you know, The Walking Dead was still a couple of
years away from from being on television. But Holman Day's
description of the community isn't much more interest than that
fearmongering bullshit. We hurt a little earlier as a no
man's land, Malagga has more striking peculiarities than any other

(36:08):
island alongshore. There are about fifty persons on it, of all,
all of grades of Negro blood, and most of them
descendants of a runaway slave who came and hid here
more years ago than any man about their remembers. That's
Benjamin Darling, He's talking about. These people form a strange clan.
They have married and intermarried until the trespass on consanguinality

(36:29):
has until the trespass on consanguinality has produced its usual
lamentable effects. They are as near to being children of
nature as it is possible for people to be who
are only a stone's throw away from the mainland and civilization.
They lack entirely the spirit of thrift and of providing
for future emergencies. Winter after winter through all the years
they have shivered and starved, but never does November find

(36:50):
a woodpile on Malagga, nor a weak supply of food
in reserve. To counsel on economy and to preachment on thrift.
They are as inattentive as little children would be. A
coast scionary took in hand one especially improvident family of
six father, mother and four children, well grown, spurred by him,
They fished dug clams, sold bait to trawlers, and at
the end of the summer had saved about seventy dollars

(37:11):
among them. Then the missionary went away, confident that at
least one Malaga family would reach March Hill in comparative comfort.
When his back was turned. They used for kindlings the
shingles that he had given them for the repair of
their miserable hut bought six dogs in order to each
member of the family could have his own pet, and
spent the rest of the money for sweets, pickles, jellies,
and fancy groceries. He's literally being like, these poor people

(37:33):
are buying nice food, they have pets. I also love
like he is full of shit here, like everything he
says about them, like not being able to store food,
they don't know how to survive the winter. They don't
like you know, like yeah, I mean among other things,
like he's like their children are well grown and healthy
where it's like, why how did they get that way? Hohman,

(37:54):
They just happened by accident before this minister showed up,
or were they actually capable of taking care of themselves?
We know again from recent archaeology that local children were
reasonably well educated by the standards of the time, and
the fact that this community survived more than half a
century and more like about a century doesn't really suggest
people who were incapable of planning for the future or

(38:15):
storing food. Archivist Kate mcbrian, who curated an exhibition about
Malaga for the main State Museum, notes the documentary and
archaeological evidence refutes all of these myths. The people of
Malaga Island lived just like their neighbors on the mainland. Again,
we have evidence of how these people lived and it
was not in like shocking desperation, and a Holman's article

(38:37):
includes photographs that don't agree with the statements in his article.
The only extant visual evidence in Malaga in these days
shows well dressed women in what appear to be competently
constructed homes like here's and you know this is like
there are some mission there's like a missionary family on
the island who seemed like they were pretty chill, but
like these homes are older than them showing up like Sophie,

(38:58):
if you'll show Margaret the picture, like these are these
are not like tumble down shacks like these are well
seemed to be pretty well constructed homes with like shingles
and shit, like you can see them like in the
article where he's sucking like, these are competently built homes.
I don't know what is fucking doctor. They burned all
the shingles except for the ones that are on the

(39:18):
shingles you can see, um and the siding. Yeah, there's
a lot of good use of shingles. Yeah, and then
the house in the background is even more like it's nice, Yes,
it's fine. Yeah, they we're doing plenty of windows, a
lot of yeah, and windows is like when you're building
a house on the chief windows is like the crazy

(39:39):
expensive party, you know. Yeah, yeah, they got fucking glass
and stuff. You know, they're clearly like again, interfacing with
mainstream society to some extent to get stuff that they can't.
You can't make. You're you're not gonna have like build
a glacier in some island off the coast of Maine. Um,
so they get what they need. There's multiple multiple gables

(40:00):
in that house in the back right, Like that's not
even just like like that is fancier than if I
went out and built a house I would build, you know, Yeah,
they're like, you know, it's the fine. I find this
all particularly fascinating in light of how differently Holman describes
another one of these communities, Louds Island. Now we don't
have information on what the specific racial makeup of Louds

(40:22):
Island was, but my assumption is that they were mostly white.
And my assumption is that they were mostly white because
Holman does not describe them as black or mixed race,
and he does that every single time he writes about Malaga.
So again, these are two islands like a mile from
each other something like that. Here's how he describes Louds Island,
and I'm gonna say you can pick up on the

(40:42):
slant in his coverage at all. It has a considerable
population of thrifty fishermen and farmers. They live in good
houses and are intelligent. They and their ancestors have dwelt
here for more than one hundred and fifty years. But
the men of the island have never voted in any
election towns or state or national. They have never paid
any state in our county taxes. They resisted the draft
at the time of the Civil War and drove the

(41:04):
officers off the island with clubs and rocks. They say
they do not need the protecting arm of state or
national government. They raise money for schools and roads, elect
municipal officers to administer affairs, and seem to get along
very comfortably. Like the Malaga is doing the same thing.
They've got their own little thing going on, and they
don't trust the government like just like these other people.

(41:27):
But one of them get described as like thrifty pioneers
any other like dangerous, savage or not dangerous. He doesn't
describe the Misdagers with givehim that. But they live close
to nature, animals exactly. Yeah, so home In paints a
picture of the Malagaites is all but incapable of work
because of their childlike nature. The fact that he describes

(41:48):
them as harmless does not make this less toxic, and
we know that his assessment was again inaccurate. By the
early nineteen hundreds, many Malagaites worked ashore at resorts like
the New Meadows. In from a nineteen eighty article in
Downey Magazine quote their Ragtag Island neighbors some white, some black,
many of mixed blood living in make new dwellings became
an embarrassing eyesore to both local and summer and year

(42:11):
round residents. There was a belief too, made popular by
several widely read, even sensational sociology studies of the time,
that poverty, crime, and mental retardations stemmed directly from retrograde families,
and that removing such decaying stock would improve the moral
fiber of society. Oh God, in nineteen oh half step

(42:32):
from here to nazis Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. We are
right on the road. This is right when eugenex is
starting up, like it all is cooking together, right, this
is all you're putting, putting more stuff in the pot, right,
you know. Now you got a stew going, right now,
you got a real racism stew agoing. So in nineteen
o eight, the same year as Home and Day's Harper's article,
Main established a school for the feeble minded, later renamed

(42:55):
the Pineland Center. This was a prison where poor unfortunates
would be removed from public site, basically right. This happened
as the media campaign against the Islanders reached a fever pitch,
and the people who lived on the mainland grew horrified
that the bad press about these Islanders might rub off
on them and damage their reputations. To like folks in
New York. They might think everyone in Maine was like

(43:17):
a savage, right, That's a big part of why they
take action. Now, by the standards of a lot of
these articles, I will say Holman's piece positively shines. And
to provide an example of that, I'm going to read
a quote from an article in the Casco Bay Breeze
from nineteen oh five. This is them talking about the Malagaites.
They drank tea spelled with a capital if you please,

(43:37):
for if reports be true, its strength would sink a
ship tobacco as their ambrosia. And it said they would
almost sell their souls for a cut. A superstitious race,
are they on Malaga? Even the screeching of an owl
is an ominous sign for them? And then the author
goes on to suggest that these people should be removed
from their home so that summer houses can be built

(43:58):
upon the island. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I hope that
guy died badly. From nineteen ten on, the state began
pumping more and more resources into Malaga in the form
of aid. And again this is one of the justifications,
as they're like, look at all the chair, look at
all the public aid money they're taking all of like
the welfare money that they're taking, which they've basically gotten

(44:20):
none up until the early nineteen hundreds, when suddenly it
starts being like pushed into the island by the state government.
And then they're like, well, now that you're receiving aid,
we have to go police things to make sure that
you're not doing things improperly, which leads immediately to them
taking children away from their families because the living standards
aren't high enough, and these children are taken and immediately
interned in the School for the Feeble Minded, because obviously

(44:43):
these kids can't learn, like they wouldn't live out here
if they were capable of learning things, So let's take
them from their loving families and put them in a
prison home. The purpose of all this was laid out
quite clearly in a nineteen sixty eight article of The
Pineland Observer. Looking back on this moment, Maine was reputedly
a wasteland with popular pockets of social indigence of low intelligence.

(45:05):
It was considered advisable for the good of society that
these little settlements be broken up and persons incapable of
working moved to a home for them. In nineteen eleven
like it. No, it's not good. It's bad, Margaret, it's
real bad. In nineteen eleven, a whole home a whole
family was forced out of their home on Malaga for

(45:26):
the very first time. The justification was that the father
and one of his sons were both terminally ill, so
they and all of their younger siblings were forced into
a sanitarium at the stroke of a doctor's pen. That year,
Malaga was declared by the state government to be part
of Phipsburg. They also decided that a wealthy family from
that town actually owned the island. Now, this family had

(45:49):
never bought Malaga Island. They were the family who had
bought Horse Island from the Darlings in eighteen forty seven
before the Darlings bought Malaga Island, and so basically are like, well,
if they bought Horse Island, they must also own the island.
That the black people that they that sold the island
to them like bought right, it must be their property too.

(46:10):
So this family become the owners of Malaga Island, which
becomes an excuse for the local government to send the
sheriff in with an order for everyone to vacate. Modern
sources agree that this was all extremely illegal. But the
Malagites are going to be evicted without resistance. They're given
tiny pittances for their homes and forced on to the mainland.

(46:32):
We have but a few precious direct writings from residents
at this time. One is from a letter by an
islander named Nelson Layton McKinney. And here's what he says
about the process of eviction. And this is after he
and his family have been forced out. The others of
us are having hard times to find homes anywhere on
all an account of folks saying we've got the cramp

(46:53):
catch in our fingers and take too many things that
are lying around loose. But it's all a lie. We
don't steal if we are poor. If you know any
place where I can crawl in with my wife and
five kids in my old peg leg, please let me know,
right because of like all of the rumors about how
these people are like dangerous tramps who will steal it
and laid down once the state kicks them out of

(47:13):
their home, like they can't find any place to settle,
you know, no one will rent to them, no one
will like let them, you know, live anywhere because they're dangerous.
In nineteen twelve, the last forty five holdouts on Malaga
are evicted by Governor Playstead, who made a big, showy
visit to the island with media in tow before finishing
the eviction. He had himself photographed setting foot on the

(47:35):
island like a conquering hero. He and his executive council
ordered the eviction of the community after taking eight residents
into custody and forcibly institutionalizing them, putting them in a
mental institution. Right. The justification in most of these cases,
for like why these people had to be put in
an insane asylum was that when questioned, they didn't recognize
a phone. Now this is nineteen twelve. Yeah, none of

(48:00):
these people were born in a world with phones, and
there are no phones on the island in which they live.
But they don't know a phone. Put them, Lock them
up forever in an insane asylum deathcamp, you know. Yeah,
which is funny because you could show the same phone
to someone born fifteen years ago and they might not
recognize it either. Things change, Yeah, And it's one of

(48:21):
those like I don't know, you know what, maybe they
don't recognize a phone. What I would like to see
Governor place dead. Can you last an entire winter alone
on fucking Malaga is Yeah? Oh no, you're dead. Ah,
because you're not competent to manage your affairs anyway. Yeah,
you know who's competent to manage all of our affairs? Margaret? Oh,

(48:43):
is it stuff? It is the products and services that
support this podcast are the only people who should be
allowed to vote. I think we can all agree on
that absolutely, and we're back living in a productocracy. So

(49:05):
Governor Playstad evicts the last people on Malaga Island in
nineteen twelve. The island is almost immediately sold to a
friend and a business partner of the governor's, a guy
named doctor Gustavus Kilgour, who had signed the commitment levers
letters to the institution of all of the evicts. That's cool.
Fuck not cricket at all. They're not at all cricket. No,

(49:29):
it's fine, it's fine, it's fine. This isn't a problem
that could have all been solved with one well placed
pipe bomb. So good stuff. Good stuff. Other photos from
the island before it's clearing became popular tourist chatchkes. One
infamous set is called the Deuce of Spades and the
Tray of Spades, and it shows a black woman sitting

(49:50):
inside of a corral holding a small child. The other
postcard shows the same woman with two children looking through
a fence line. The implication was that the Malagaites kept
their children animals in a pin, when it was really
like a photo of a family who kept animals properly
on their land that they lived on. But like, look,
they're animals, they're kids, they're in a pin. It's it's

(50:13):
very frustrating. Once the state forced everyone off of Malaga Island,
they exhoomed the local cemetery and put them in prison. No,
they rebury them on the mainland. Which when they do,
they do put them in prison because they say, but
the kids, they're like, these people keep kids in pens.
That's fucked up. We better put those kids in a prison,

(50:36):
in a crazy people jail, which they do anyway. I'm sorry.
Then they dig up all of their dead relatives and
bury them the institution, like they literally imprisoned the corpses.
Like it is like, I don't know, maybe there's a
degree of like the feet level the fear that like
these rich and powerful people always have about folks who

(51:00):
don't need them or the society that they've thrived in,
about folks who like literally like enthusiastically reject the society
in which these people are successful and managed to make
a life for themselves is the most frightening thing of
all to them anyway. Cool stuff. A January nineteen thirteen
news article celebrated cleaning up Malaga Island no longer a

(51:22):
reproach to the good name of the state. It celebrated
that these dispossessed people had been raised to a standard
of living they'd probably never dreamed of before. Look, they
never dreamed of prisons before this. None of them had
died of cholera in a dank cell. Progress. They can

(51:44):
use a phone once a week. Yeah, they can see
the phone. They're not allowed to use it now when
they know as a phone number. That article in Down
East magazine, The Shameful Story of Malaga from nineteen eighty
goes further about kind of what happens to these folks
after eviction. Except for those sent to the main school

(52:06):
for for the feeble minded, no provision had been made
for the other islanders, and as the press soon discovered,
not only was it costly to support people at the
state home, but surrounding towns and refusing Popper status to
the displaced islanders denied their right to belong to any community.
King McKinney and Jerry Murphy were lucky. They rafted their
houses to lots on the mainland at Phippsburg and Meadowbrook.

(52:27):
Not so fortunate was Robert Tripp's family, who, having rafted
their house up on a hole, sailed up the new
Red Meadows River in search of a lot, but were
prevented from landing by prosperous Christian people and town authorities.
Caught literally between the well known rock and a hard place,
the family hawzard up some trees on the tiny bush island.
They were barely able to eke out in existence, and

(52:49):
often boarded on starvation. This was acknowledged in a newspaper
story of December nineteen fourteen, the first year of World
War One, with a headline reading main misery as dark
as Belgium's. When Laura Tripp, formerly strong and healthy, soon
became desperately ill, her husband rode three miles for help
through the worst gale that has swept the coast in years,

(53:09):
but by the time he returned with a doctor. His
wife had died. She was later buried in Potter's Field,
and probably would be a place to point out that, like,
you know, being evicted increases mortality by an enormous amount,
Like having all of your stuff trashed, having like whatever
structures you've built trashed increases the risk of mortality. You know,

(53:31):
this war on the homelessness in San Diego has been
met with a lot of deaths of houseless people. This
is what happens anywhere this kind of shit goes on,
and it was happening back then too. The war on
vagrancy continued even though I should know. Sorry, Malaga Island
remains uninhabited to this day. There are if you find

(53:51):
some modern stories about descendants of the Darlings, there's people
with last named Darling who like found with an elginate
mostly within the last like ten years, the story of
their family and like where they like what had happened.
There have been some attempts, like there's been like official
apologies from local governments in Maine. There have been like

(54:11):
some trips that some of these descendants have gotten to
take to Malaga Island. There's like been This is part
of why there's we know what we do now, like
archaeology has been done, people have been studying this um.
But there are One of the stories I read it
was it was with some you know, this young woman
who was like, I never had heard about any of this,
and when I brought it up, her dad was like,
don't fucking look into this, like because there was still

(54:33):
this fear of like this is dangerous, like don't digging
this shit up, Like do you know what happened to
my grandpa? Like, um, it's fucked up, it's fucked I
mean it's good that like this has turned a corner
and people are talking about this. I don't know, I
feel like we should give those people that island. Maybe
I don't know what to do. It's probably, yeah, I
mean hard to live on. But it was always legally theirs. Yeah,

(54:55):
like that's they even though like like I don't have
a ton of at forum the concept of I'm not
a property rights gay. Yeah yeah, but they it was
literally theirs. They literally bought it, like they purchased it
with money with your currency and owned it. Yeah, and
then you were like, nah, we'll give it to this

(55:16):
these guys. So this doctor who locks people up can
buy it because he's friends with our fucking dogshit ass governor. Yeah, anyway,
cool stuff. Uh yeah, So that is the story of
Malaga Island. It's you know, tail ends for a while,
but the war on vagrancy continues. The laws pioneered in

(55:40):
Tennessee in Massachusetts spread over the land, and soon enough
places like California and Florida had their own vagrancy laws.
In California, the state declared everyone from wanderers and willfully
unemployed people to prostitutes and the lewd guilty of vagrancy.
The way the laws were written gave police total power
to side who actually fit the definition of vagrant and

(56:02):
whether or not to take them into custody. This power
was used primarily on non white people, but it was
also used on other folks who were disliked by the state,
including communists. For example, in nineteen forty nine in Los Angeles,
Isidore Edelman, a Russian born communist soap box speaker, was
arrested by the LAPD as he spoke in Pershing Square

(56:23):
Time magazine rites. It was Edelman's strident and offensive speeches
that caught the attention of the police. His politics were
just too inflammatory for the early Cold War. Twenty years later,
in Jacksonville, Florida, Margaret Lorraine Papa Cristo was arrested while
out with her friend, another young blond woman, and their
dates to black men. Papa Cristo was arrested under a

(56:44):
Jacksonville law that made twenty kinds of vagrancy illegal. Time
notes that this included rogues and vagabonds or dissolute persons
who go about begging, Persons who use juggling or unlawful
games or plays, common drunkards, common railers and brawlers. Persons
wandering are strolling about from place to place without any
lawful purpose or object, habitual loafers, disorderly persons. How often

(57:07):
juggling is in these especially since Yeah, one of my
favorite movies is Fucking Hot Fuzz, which is about a
town whose hatred of I think it starts with like
Roma traveling through town, but of like homeless people, of
like you know, folks, like travelers kind of going through
and setting up camps and stuff. Briefly leads them to
like mass murder, like a build a fascist death state

(57:30):
where they kill anyone who doesn't abide by the local laws.
It's a pretty based movie, but like the old people
in it who are like creating this death state are
like one of the things they complain about is the jugglers, right,
like who all get murdered by their their their junta.
Pretty cool stuff. Good movie. Watch Hot Fuzz. It's about
all this actually in a lot of ways. So yeah,

(57:53):
Papa Cristo. One of the things I found interesting was
that she and her friends were found guilty of vagrancy
for thesecific modern crime of what was called prowling by auto,
which is I think just like hell yeah. Basically the
crime was like she and her friend were white and
they were dating black eyes and they were driving around,
so that we had a crackdown on that. Yeah, that's

(58:17):
not gonna kinds of laws that make me angriest are
laws that are well racist laws are the most the
most angry. But laws that are just like literally victimless crimes.
They're laws that like might possibly lead to situations where
other crimes might be more likely or whatever, like yeah,
like no cruisy, like you can't or whatever. This is

(58:39):
not you know, the cruising law, the anti vagrant law.
When you kind of look at the civil rights movement
about like the the end of like Jim Crow, and shit,
these are not examples of Jim Crow. Right, This anti
vagrancy law is not a Jim Crow law. Doesn't specify
any race, but it gives the police to do whatever
they want with someone they think is a vagrant. And
the cops happen to feel that way anytime they see

(59:01):
a black person, right, Like, that's how it works. You know,
these are racial laws. They're just a little stealthier than
you know, Jim Grow James Crowe as his friends know him,
who are bad people? I don't know. I don't know
why what I was going whatever. Anyway, let's continue. So
I'm going to continue with a quote from that Time

(59:21):
magazine article talking about vagrancy laws. Between Edelman's arrest and
Papa Cristo's twenty years later, literally millions of people shared
their vagrancy fates. Some of those arrested comported with the
usual image of the vagrant. Sam Thompson, for example, was
an underemployed handyman, an alcoholic arrested some fifty five times

(59:42):
in Louisville, Kentucky, in the nineteen fifties, but many, like
Edelman and Papa Christo, are more surprising the police arrested
for loitering the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, co founder with Martin
Luther King Junior of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, when
he spoke briefly with colleagues in a Birmingham Street corner
during a nineteen sixty two apartment store boycott. It was
vagrancy the police used when they could not get to

(01:00:04):
Lane law students Stephen Wainwright to cooperate with a murder
investigation in New Orleans' French Quarter in nineteen sixty four.
It was vagrancy as well that justified the nineteen sixty
six arrest of marsh of Martin Hishorn, a young cross
dressing hairstylist, arrested in his hotel room in Manhattan wearing
only a half slip in Brazier. Police turned to vagrancy
in nineteen sixty seven when they arrested Joy Kelly in

(01:00:26):
the crash pad she had rented for herself and her
hippie friends in Charlotte, North Carolina, and they used it
again when they mistook Dorothy Anne Kirkwood for a prostitute
when she was on her way to meet her boyfriend
on Memphis's famous Beale Street in nineteen sixty eight. These
and other vagrancy suspects were white and black, male and female,
straight and gay, urban and rural, southern, Northern, Western, and Midwestern.

(01:00:47):
They had money or needed it to fight authority or
tried to comply with it. They were arrested on public
streets and in their own homes as locals are strangers
for political protests or seeming like a murderer for their race,
their sexuality, their poverty, or their lifestyle. Yeah, yep, it's

(01:01:09):
fucked up. The state doesn't like. Yeah, yep, the state
doesn't like when people live outside. It's logic that it
does not. And the cops, you know, are when you
just kind of give them the power to to to
do what they want against the people who they think
are doing wrong, they will wind up, you know, enforcing
the kind of laws that the governor of Maine you know,

(01:01:32):
would have thought were good. You know, you don't have
to like write out who they should do violence to,
who they should stomp out. You know, they'll they'll get
to it on their own. Um. And you know, it
was one of those things because of how all pervasive
these vagrancy laws were, and one of the things that
paragraph I read makes me think about is there's a
song I quite like, back back from the era before

(01:01:55):
country music was taken over by bootlickers, by Chris Chris Stofferson,
called The Law is for Protection of the People. And
it starts with Billy Barton, a drunk guy, you know,
stumbling around the sidewalk, and the bunch of police cars
come screaming to the rescue and hollow Billy Barton off
to jail. And then there's a hippie dude walking through
town and the cops pull him over and like beat

(01:02:17):
him up and shave his hair, and you know, like
this goes on. Like the refrain is because the laws
for protection of the people rules or rules, and anyone
can see, you know, we don't need no drunks like
Billy Dalton scaring decent folks like you and me. And
the song kind of builds to you know, these lines here,
So thank your lucky stars you've got protection. Walk the

(01:02:40):
line and never mind the cost, and don't wonder who
them lawman was protecting when they nailed the Savior to
the cross. Because the laws for protection of the people
rules are rules, and any fool can see we don't
need no riddle speaking profits scaring decent folk like you
and me. Chris Kastofferson, pretty based guy. Yeah yeah. Because

(01:03:03):
of sort of how universal these laws were and how
universally they were applied to people on the margins, it became,
you know, wrote for folks who lived, you know, in
the margins of of you know, kind of white society
to warn their children about these laws. Working class immigrant
families would tell their kids like, do not leave home
without You have to have money on you at all times.

(01:03:25):
You can't spend it, like, you have to have money
because if the police full you over, you have to
be able to prove that you have money. You know that,
otherwise you can't exist in public. Right. There were early
home at what we're called homophile organizations, which are like
the first pro gay organizations, right, that would educate uh,
you know, their members who were young, gay, lesbian, trans

(01:03:46):
people about lewd vagrancy arrests and that the way to
avoid them was quote where at least three items of
clothing of your own sex, otherwise like you would get
in trouble. Black newspapers would tell you know, people that like, yeah,
you like vagrancy arrests like here's how to avoid doing them,
because like if you if you piss off the cops

(01:04:06):
or just exist in a way that pisses off the cops,
like this is what's going to happen to you. Civil
rights organizations would publish like vagrancy forms that you could
get like filled out that would basically be a thing
you carry it around that looked official, that would say
you were a respected member of the community. And this
kind of persisted until, Yeah, the nineteen forty nine is

(01:04:30):
when this guy Adelman is arrested and he he sues
and stuff, and he doesn't win his case. But over
the next twenty or so years until the early nineteen seventies,
reformers and activists repeatedly kind of bring cases against these
vagrancy laws. And in the early nineteen seventies, seventy one
and seventy two, there are three cases, including Papa Cristos,

(01:04:53):
that eventually make their way to the Supreme Court, who
announces that vagrancy, loitering and suspicious persons persons laws unconstitutional.
So that's kind of where we've been living since nineteen
seventy two. Is this world where these laws that were
used to give the police kind of ultimate power to
do violence against anyone that didn't fit in. You know,

(01:05:16):
we're not constitutional, And now we are seeing them start
to return. The authoritarians of our day, who are liberal
as often as they are conservative, are poking at the edges,
seeing what they can get away from, seeing what they
can reinstitute. Because, as we all know, Margaret, the laws
for protection of the people, this is the quote that

(01:05:36):
I come back to all the time as an Anatole
France quote, the law and its majestic equality forbids rich
and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in
the streets, and to steal their bread. Yep, you know,
it's just like, oh well, no one's allowed to be homeless.
Rich people have poor people. Yeah, it's it's cool. It's

(01:05:58):
the same. It's I mean, it's different, but it's a
similar logic. We've got this law that the liberals are
trying to pass in Portland to criminalize what they call
like domestic terrorist organizing, which is so ill defiant that basically,
if like anyone ever arms themselves or acts in self
defense as part of a protest, that can be seen
as like a terrorist paramilitary organization. And they're like, well,

(01:06:21):
this is because of all the right wing terrorism that
we have a huge problem with in Oregon. And it's like, yeah,
but you're just handing the cops a thing they can
use against anyone they don't like, and who don't the
cops like. Anyone who supports that law is an idiot,
and if your legislator does, you should throw raw eggs
at them, is my opinion, my legal opinion, and on
the First Amendment, raw eggs. I don't like these people.

(01:06:45):
I don't like any of this. I'm angry. Fuck it anyway.
You know what's cool is that it turns out the
head of intelligence for the Capitol Police was feeding information
to the Proud Boys before January sixth. It's good that
the cops can be trusted. I love our men in

(01:07:09):
law enforcement supporting the vagrancy laws that were used to
institute a police state only for certain people. For most
of the time that my parents were alive or are
a lot have been alive, whatever, my grandparents whole lives,
all sorts of cool shit. I don't know. I'm very

(01:07:31):
angry now, Margaret. I don't know. I don't know what
to do. I'm gonna go in or something. Yeah, No,
it's just bad. And yeah, it still happens in a
lot of different ways, you know, like and obviously it's
getting worse again. I don't know, And none of it
makes sense. I mean, it only makes sense within a
certain logic, but it doesn't make any sense on like

(01:07:51):
a moral level or anything like that. Yeah, throw an
eggs at state legislators make sense to me. You know,
providing aid and sucker to people who are living you know,
outside of you know, what assholes are comfortable with makes
sense to me. Yeah, listening to Chris Chris Stofferson makes

(01:08:14):
sense to me. Also, check out that that State radio
song about Benjamin Darling. You know, that's a that's a
good one, and that's I also think, like when we
think about what the antidote to this stuff is, it
is the kind of radical compassion that Darling exemplified when
he chose to save a person just because they were

(01:08:34):
a person, regardless of the wrong that had been done
to him. Which is probably why I shouldn't talk so
much about throwing eggs at people who annoy me, because
Benjamin Darling wouldn't do that. But you know whatever, I mean,
he was a person than maybe he wouldn't. Maybe he
would have been that I shouldn't talk about the other
things that I talk about. Sometimes when I get because
Benjamin Darling wouldn't have done that. M Benjamin Darling. Let's

(01:08:56):
let's all remember that there was a cool dude named
Benjamin Darling who rocked. Yeah, hell yeah, yeah, Agret you
got anything to plug? Well, if you like cool people
who rocked, let me tell you about cool people did
cool stuff where we cover things about like cool people
who threw rocks at fascists. Yeah. Like a recent episode,

(01:09:19):
I've literally no idea when this comes out. A recent
episode about the Cable Street next week, the Battle for
Cable Street. Great in it might be the same week.
Who knows that you can listen to my podcast talking
about it, and it actually gets into a bunch of
this really similar stuff about how after the Fascist Party
was defeated in by working class people fighting them, the

(01:09:41):
state passed a law saying, Okay, no one's allowed to
march in uniform anymore. And it was directed against the fascists,
and it was used primarily against the left and against
anti colonial movements. You know, there's another thing, ever, changes
There's another thought I have based on something you told
me about that story, which was that win the fascists
came to Cable Street to attack the Jews. One of

(01:10:05):
the reasons why the anti fascist one is because all
of the Irish showed up, and the Irish showed up
because when they had been having a strike earlier and
been cracked down on by the state, the Jewish community
took their children into their houses to take care of
them during the strike, like twenty years earlier, and so
when the Irish heard that there were fascists coming around
to threaten the folks who had helped raise them, they

(01:10:25):
were like, well, let's go fuck some shit up. Yeah,
and maybe you know, it's a lesson again, back to
Benjamin Darling of the sometimes unpredictable value of radical compassion. Yeah, totally. Yeah.
So that's my main plug. Cool people, the cool stuff
every Monday and Wednesday, and cool Zone Media and also

(01:10:48):
I Kickstarting or have finished Kickstarting or whatever. A tabletop
role playing game called p Number City that gets into
if you want to play this kind of thing, this life,
living outside the system, etc. Is a really good game
for you. And that's what I got. Yeah, um, well,
let's let's all check out that uh, spend some time

(01:11:11):
in Penumbra City before it is it is attacked by
whatever that governor's name of Maine, you know, or maybe
make him your bad guy if you want to run
a campaign governor placed it. You know, there's a there's
a fucking monster name for you right there. Yeah, I
might do that. Yeah, let's burn him in effigy in
our role playing games. Um. Well, you can listen to

(01:11:35):
this podcast and Margaret's podcast and a variety of other
excellent podcasts like Hood Politics by our friend prop for
without ads. If you pay a small amount of money
by getting on Apple and signing up for Cooler Zone Media,
where you'll get all of our stuff ad free cooler
Zone Media on Apple. There will be an Android version soon.

(01:11:58):
We are working on at Sophie's working on it. I'm
doing nothing at all. Um, I don't care about it.
If you Android users, I'm an Android user, but I
don't care about you. Sophie does and she is taking
care of it. Mmmmmm. Also I didn't care about the
Apple people. Sophie did all the work on that too,
So thank thank you, and and our and our friend,

(01:12:19):
our friend Jake and Ran is a new show on
cools and media. Robert, what's it called he does? He does?
It's called sad Oligarch and it's about all those Russian
oligarchs who strangely died the exact same way by falling
out of windows at high heights. Anyway, check all that out.
Cooler Zone Media, Apple whatever. By Behind the Bastards is

(01:12:47):
a production of cool Zone Media. For more from cool
Zone Media, visit our website cool Zonemedia dot com, or
check us out on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or
wherever you get your podcasts.

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