Hateman gives the middle finger.
Hateman gives the middle finger. (Ace Backwords)

Another milestone came and went on September 26, 2017. It would have been the 81st birth- day of Berkeley icon and People’s Park denizen Hateman, also known as Mark Hawthorn.

A group of about 35 people showed up at People’s Park to remember him at his spot at the top of the Park, reminiscing on his lifelong philosophy of “oppositional caring.”

The Hateman believed that no meaningful relationship can get off to any kind of a start without a demonstration that you are at least willing to express negativity and clear the air. Hateman felt that some people have a huge aversion to expressing themselves negatively, in an upfront and honest way, and that this avoidance doomed many ventures from the start with passive-aggressiveness and sabotage taking root when negative feelings are not openly stated. Sadly, at 80 years of age, Hateman did not survive last winter’s killer storms.

The people who were in the Park recently when the alleged alt-right showed up had no qualms about their honest expression, but it was also clear that People’s Park is a place where all have a right to free speech. I was proud of our Park and the people there who made it clear that anyone had a right to speak and to speak back. And that includes those being spoken to expressing how moronic they find what you are saying.

It was funny, the alt-right showed up on a day when a memorial for our friend Hateman included people yelling at the top of their lungs: “I HATE YOU!!!!”

Such is the magic and spirit of that Park.

Our Park is a powerful place. People’s Park Forever.

This is an excerpt of an article that appeared in the October 2017 issue of Street Spirit, titled The Magic and Spirit of People’s Park.

Daniel McMullan is a writer who lives in the East Bay.