Barry Vogel Interviews Richard Johnson — Part 4

Radio Curious
Originally broadcast February 19th, 2008
Transcribed by Dave Smith
Parts 1|2|3|4
[Full Interview on MP3 available for download here]

A Revolutionary’s Memorial In His Own Words (cont.)

Barry: Tell us about your personal experience with marijuana.

Richard: Well, I stopped smoking about 3 years ago.

B: Why?

R: My lungs are shot… I have congestive heart failure… I don’t drink and I don’t smoke.

B: Do you eat marijuana?

R: Oh no.

B: Have you ever?

R: It makes me want to pass out. I remember eating a brownie at a rock concert and I was prostrate for about two and a half hours. What happens is that my blood vessels expand and my heart can’t keep up and I can’t stand up… I have to stare at the ceiling and try to breathe.

B: Well, Richard, I can’t help but asking, sitting here in the studios of Radio Curious, I see a bright red sweatshirt…

R: It’s a Minnie Mouse sweatshirt… I get all my clothing at Lytton Springs Goodwill and you can get t-shirts and sweatshirts for $2… on Fridays they are half-price.

B: Does the symbolism of Minnie Mouse and Disneyland represent anything about your beliefs?

R: Not at all.

B: It just keeps you warm.

R: Yeah.

B: In the heart.

R: Yeah. The other person who noticed it was K. C. Meadows. She said “You look great in pink Richard, ha ha ha.

B: Well, Richard Johnson, I want to thank you for being with us on Radio Curious, and I have a couple of questions I’d like to ask before we close. One is, in the past year, what’s the most important thing that you have learned?

R: On Sunday there was a meeting… thirty people were there. I worked hard on making that meeting happen. That meeting made history. It was a meeting of the No On B campaign committee. It included people who have ostrasized me in the past. It included factions who completely disagree with me and with whom I completely disagree. It included Greens and people who are not green.

B: What did you learn from that meeting?

R: That I was right in continuing to try to put together the coalition that I am looking for… which is a coalition of environmentalists and people who are comfortable with marijuana freedom.

B: Do you think the others who attended that meeting have the same learning?

R: I was congratulated. People were giving me high-fives and applause. This is the first time this has ever happened. I felt validated. This is good for me. I don’t often get that kind of positive…

B: The appreciation that you seldom see.

R: Yeah.

B: Well, Richard, the other question I want to ask you about is, tell us an interesting book you’ve read lately.

R: I don’t have time to read. I want to talk about Latinos. The people who are called Latinos are actually Mexicanos. And the Mexican people are seldom understood and little appreciated, and they make up about forty percent of our population. So we have to stop and look at this as a political issue first of all. Now you go to local shopping like FoodMax, a low-income shopping situation, and look around. Forty percent of who you see are brown. These are the Mexican people. They’re here, they’re having children, the children are eighteen. Those who are born here need to be voters. The Mexican people have been stigmatized. What we have here, Barry, is a form of slavery. Slavery… where forty percent of the population aren’t allowed to drive a car; forty percent of the population will never vote; forty percent of the population speak a language that excludes them from most county services.

B: When you say here, it’s not only in Mendocino County, it’s state-wide and in many aspects nation-wide.

R: Of course. Right now the government is going around and rounding them up and sending them to Mexico. If this were to happen in Germany, against the Jews, then we’d know it was. And when it happens here in our country we’re scheming to ignore it. What we have to do is understand that this is what happened to the Jews in Germany. They were rounded up and then bad things happened. And what we need to do is understand that these people have a right and they should be allowed to be here. That right comes from the fact that they are not immigrants, they are conquered people on their conquered territory. They are the only so-called group of immigrants who’s country was stolen from them as part of the United States of America in 1850 in an imperialist war that would be absolutely illegal today. And what they have to suffer when they come here is complete segregation and discrimination. While there have been no roundups in Mendocino County, there have been roundups all over the country.

B: Richard Johnson, thank you for being with us on Radio Curious.

R: By the way, I publish four papers, one of which is in Spanish called El Sol… and the others are called Mendocino Independent, which is a political paper; Mendocino Country Confluence, which is the county’s only wholistic health paper; and Mendocino County Diversity, which is the county-wide arts and entertainment guide.
Richard Johnson died on Wednesday, March 16th 2011, in Ukiah. A memorial celebration of his life is planned for April 17th at the Saturday Afternoon Club in Ukiah.

For more information on the Richard Johnson memorial celebration, contact the Mendocino Environmental Center 707-468-1660.

Mendocino Country will continue to be published  by two journalists in Mendocino County: Christina Aanastad, the Associate Producer of Radio Curious, and Annie Esposito, will do this work. You may contact the new publishers of Mendocino Country at the Mendocino Environmental Center 707-468-1660 or 106 West Standley Street in Ukiah 95482.

El Sol, the Spanish language newspaper published by Richard Johnson, will be published by Augusto Chile, alias Zezzy 707-468-0421, 1280 S State Street in Ukiah 95482.