a picket at the San Francisco Scientology building
Peaches, Taniwha, phr, and I put in an hour picket at the San Francisco org today.
Suppressives: Myself, Taniwha, phr
Date/Time: 5/19/98, 11:50 am - 1:00 pm
Weather: Blustery (sunny but VERY windy)
Foot Traffic: Steady +
Street Traffic: Steady
Scn Response: Light Personality Tests with occasional Hiding
General Passerby Response: Very Favorable
Note: as I do NOT have perfect memory, any quotes below are very close paraphrases. I apologize for any inadvertent inaccuracies and will try to correct any errors that are pointed out to me.
A trio of picketers graced the sidewalks in front of the San Francisco org at lunchtime today. I got there early and got in several minutes solo before being joined by Tani and phr.
My sign says:
USING YOUR TAX $$$ TO
* DEFRAUD THE PUBLIC
* PRACTICE MEDICINE ILLEGALLY
* HARASS CRITICS IN COURT
THE PRE-PICKET PICKET
On my way to the bus stop I walk with my sign held high so all the passing cars can see it. I watch for eye contact from my fellow pedestrians. Today a gentleman nodded his agreement with my sign and said I was sure right about $cn. I offered him fliers and he took both a "Why I Picket" and a Lisa. He said he used to live near the Denver org and the $cns used to hassle his (now ex) wife a lot - he said he finally had to physically threaten them to get them to leave her alone. As I continued down the street, a young lady also took a pair of fliers from me.
PTS = PUBLIC TRANSIT SUPPRESSIVE
(I'm ambivalent about calling myself suppressive - *I* don't think I'm suppressive - but Tani's suggested looking at it in the light of co-opting negative words, the way "queer" has been co-opted into a term of pride by the gay community. I'm trying it out to see how it feels.)
No one at the bus stop requested a flier today, but as I got on the bus I got eye contact from a gentleman and I offered him a flier. He declined, so I just made my way to the back of the bus. A different gentleman followed me back and said, "I'd like one." A couple of others followed HIM and asked for fliers, too. They sat down in the back with me and for several blocks we talked about Lisa, pickets, info on the net, and so on. One of them asked me how people got into $cn and I got to discuss the apparent decline of regular body-routing and the apparent increase in recruiting through businesses. I told him to look up WISE and Sterling on the web. One of them expressed definite interest in joining future pickets. (Sometimes it really is a shame we're NOT an organization. It would have been nice to be able to put him in touch with the ARSCC(wdne) Bay Area Coordinator(wdee). )
As we approached the org, I jumped off the bus. On my way over to the org, a police car pulled around the corner in front of me. The officer in the passenger seat was reading my sign aloud to the officer driving. I held my sign steady so he could read it easily. I must admit, there's something comforting in seeing all those cop cars around the org all the time. (The org is located very close to a police station.)
ALL BY MYSELF
When I got to the org, no Scientologists were visible on the sidewalks. There was no one body-routing and no stress test table set up.
Keeping a tight grip on my sign in the heavy wind, I started my usual walk back and forth in front of the org.
Today I brought some new fliers with me. One one side, they say in nice fat half-inch tall letters:
DON'T BE A SUCKER!
SCIENTOLOGY IS A $CAM!
The wide space in the middle is for a sucker. ;-) I bought about 3 dozen lollipops and glued them onto the fliers. Unfortunately, 10-year-old glue doesn't hold very well, so a lot of the suckers slid off the fliers and into the paper bag I had holding them. No matter, though - I just handed the flier out first, then fished around in the bag for a sucker to go with it.
The sucker flier was a hit - I gave away all 3 dozen. There's info on the back about "Make money", the cost of auditing, the personality test being a fake, bait-and-switch, compatibility with other religions, thinking for yourself, and Lisa McPherson, along with URLs for the $cn site, Clambake, and a.r.s.
I don't know what I'll do in the future - I was thinking about Nestle's $100,000 bars ;-) but as Tani pointed out they might melt (and they're probably more expensive). Definitely scotch tape instead of glue, though - or maybe just leaving the candy separate. It worked okay this time to grab the candy separate from the flier.
And I freely admit that I was a sucker. I took the "personality test", years ago, and didn't question its validity. Hopefully others can learn from my mistake.
One gentleman took one of my sucker fliers early on and spent many minutes standing there reading it. I told him I had other fliers with me if he wanted more info. Picket, picket, picket, picket. He was still reading it. Finally I offered him a "Why" flier, which he also read for a long time.
A lady came up to me and told me she supported what I was doing. She asked for copies of all my fliers and told me she was an SP. Unfortunately she said she didn't have access to the internet, so there's no easy way to tell her about upcoming pickets.
After I'd been picketing a while a lady (she looked slightly pixie-ish to me, so I'll call her Ms. Pixie - she was pretty, reddish hair, wearing a green suit) (could we all start wearing name tags so I'll have names for the picket reports?) I hadn't seen before came out of the org - I wished her a good afternoon - and started handing out pink personality tests. It was great, since my "suckers" flier explicitly addresses the "personality test". (Part of my flier says:
Is the "Personality Test" a fraud?
A scientific investigation of the "Oxford Capacity Analysis" - that pink "personality test" - in Britain concluded that the OCA "is not a genuine personality test" and that the way Scientology uses it is "potentially harmful". It's never had anything to do with Oxford, either.
see http://www.scientology-lies.com/re.cgi?http://wpxx02.toxi.uni-wuerzburg.de/~cowen/essays/oca.html for more
) When she handed the personality test to people, I usually had a chance to offer them the other side of the story.
One gentleman told me he supported my protest but that picketing just makes more people read the book. Ms. Pixie said "Smart man." I said, "I hope not" - but on reconsidering, actually I hope people DO read DMSMH to decide for themselves how they feel about LRH's sexist and homophobic statements and his unsupported claims.
Later, I told Ms. Pixie that I was glad she was out there - it gives people a chance to get both sides of the story.
Not long after Tani and phr showed up, she mostly stood over by the org with one of the smokers, talking, not passing out tests.
A young lady took a sucker flier and told me she already knew about $cn - they had tried to tell her that her problems with her blood sugar were all in her head. She said she was doing fine now, thank goodness. I suggested she might want to report $cn's diagnosis to the state medical board.
A gentleman from England stopped to talk with me for several minutes. A friend of his had become involved in $cn and he was quite upset about it. He was a bit rude to Ms. Pixie - every time she came within earshot he raised his voice and said "They're EEVIL PEOPLE! EEVIL!" and finally said to her "Why don't you get a real job and do something that's REALLY useful?!?" I said the sad things was, she probably really thinks she IS doing something useful.
Of course, maybe she is, and I'm just wrong. I'd really like to see some evidence of what $cn is doing for the community, though. If anyone has any info about $cn's contributions to the community (verified, please), please post it for me.
MARY SUE IN ENGLAND?
Another gentleman, hanging out near the org, got into a fairly long conversation with me about the GO convictions in the late 70s. He went on about how $cn paid off the government and how Mary Sue was now living the high life in England. I told him that $cn may be able to pay off government officials, but if people were getting hurt on the Purif and the Introspection Rundown, I felt it was important to let the public know, and to point people to more info if they wanted it.
MONEY MONEY MONEY MONEY
Mr. Get-Your-Facts-Straight came out late in the picket, apparently for a smoke and a snack. When I saw him, I wished him a good afternoon. He said something I couldn't hear - something about $75,000. I said, "Oh, well, that's not that much compared to 9 million in the Wollersheim case." He went off to get his coffee or whatever, and on the way back, he said, "Wollersheim hasn't gotten a dime." "Hasn't yet," says I, "will."
I had some other supportive comments and conversations, as well. It was a really good picket and I can't remember all the nice people who offered their support. (I am getting good at reminding people to tell their friends and their congresspeople if they already know about $cn.)
I had a nice long wait for the bus on the way back. Of course, I positioned my sign for easy reading for the cars passing by. I think there were somewhere from 5 to 20 cars every 60 seconds I stood there.
ME AND UPS
On my way back, I crossed the street in front of a UPS truck, driven by the guy who used to deliver UPS packages to me. He's a very sweet guy and always waves hello to me.
He turned the corner and I passed him as he was getting out of his truck. He told me he thought I was absolutely right about $cn and that once when he was having some troubles he went in to talk to them and they were very mean to him. He took copies of all my fliers and I encouraged him to tell his friends. He said "bless you" over and over.
As I said, it was a really good picket. I went through lots of fliers - not just "Sucker" fliers, but "Why" and "Lisa" fliers, too. (In fact, I'm all out of "Why" fliers again!) I'm already looking forward to next week's picket.
I wish I'd have known Graham and Bob (and Grady?) were in the area. It would have been great to meet them!
This page was last updated on May 8, 1999.