A Landmark Berkeley Leftist Keeps it Real

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On Telegraph Avenue there stand a few bumper sticker vendors. One has been there since I arrived in 1999 and I’m sure was there long before. I first started talking politics with him back then and we still talk once in a while. In college I bought stickers from him, noticing how many of them I found appealing. A few were quite bad and many not so good. But I liked the radicalism he was selling, as it captures the radicalism of this town back when student protesters gave a damn around here. I used to flaunt his stickers that said things like “Under Republicans, Man Exploits Man; Under Democrats, It’s Just the Opposite.”

He is an old vanguard radical socialist of some sort. Despite our many disagreements, I consider him one of those true leftists who does not sell out their principles in pursuit of the nearest expedience, and he is no friend of the regime.

Last time I saw him I asked him what he thought of Obama. He was not at all impressed. He saw through the whole lie. He considers this administration to be more of the same and is opposed to the bailout fascism. He did, however, tell me he liked Ron Paul, although he of course disagreed strongly on things (interestingly, states rights on abortion was what came to mind for him, rather than economics).

The vendor across the street, on the other hand, peddles Obama merchandise. He seems to have bought into loving the national regime, like so much of Berkeley.

But the guy who’s been selling me stickers for a decade has kept it real. Indeed, he sells this one these days (not exactly your typical Obama fare):

1:10 pm on April 22, 2009