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(en) "Whose Streets? OUR STREETS! Whose Bridge? OUR BRIDGE!"

From Chuck0 <chuck@mutualaid.org>
Date Tue, 19 Nov 2002 13:06:15 -0500 (EST)


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"Whose Streets? OUR STREETS! Whose Bridge? OUR BRIDGE!"
posted by BOLD PRINT Editorial Collective
on Monday November 18 2002 @ 10:34PM PST

Anti-War Activism As the permitted Northeast Ohio Anti-War Coalition (NOAC) 
march started to cross the Detroit Superior Bridge, members of the radical 
"Stop the War, Fight the System" Bloc strayed beyond the permit area, and 
with the help of other march participants, took control of the entire bridge. 
As marchers seized the bridge chanting "Whose Streets? OUR STREETS! Whose 
Bridge? OUR BRIDGE!," Cleveland Police were forced to close the bridge, 
limiting access to downtown Cleveland.

On the morning of November 16th, approximately 30 radicals responded to a 
call put out by the Cleveland-based Burning River Revolutionary Anarchist 
Collective for a revolutionary anti-war feeder march with the theme "Stop the 
War, Fight the System." The idea behind the march, which gathered in a 
residential area at West 44th and Lorain, was to raise awareness and involve 
the community. In addition, the feeder march was held to express the view 
that it is not enough to just oppose the war, but one must oppose the entire 
capitalist and imperialist system that causes such wars.

At 11:30AM, the march began and immediately took to the streets. Winding 
through side streets, marchers handed out literature explaining their 
position and reason for being there. Chanting energetically, the relatively 
small Bloc eventually returned to Lorain, a major street in that community, 
and remained in control of the streets for the rest of the march. As the 
feeder march neared 25th, where it was to meet up with the NOAC march, the 
police presence increased. Participants thought the police were going to 
block the feeder march, but instead they shut down the entire street and 
escorted the march the remaining distance. As a show of strength, and against 
police orders, feeder march participants blocked the intersection of 25th and 
Lorain. Their numbers were increased when people present for the permitted 
march decided to join them in solidarity, against the liberal leadership's 
wishes.

After several minutes of disrupting traffic, the main march stepped off. 
Although there was much solidarity between NOAC and feeder march 
participants, NOAC marshalls continually attempted to herd everyone back into 
one lane of traffic. The marshalls failed, as everyone present was more than 
happy to show the police, and the so-called leaders, who the streets really 
belonged to: the people.

Curiosity was high as feeder march participants continually fielded questions 
regarding their all black dress and masks, as well as the meaning behind the 
black and red flags. Radical march participants were more than happy to 
answer these questions, and it was obvious that people were supportive of 
their cause, and interested in participating in future actions with them. For 
instance, someone acting as a NOAC marshall even ended up joining with other 
marchers as they seized the bridge with Bloc participants.

"It made my day when a young woman came over and told me that her and her 
friends had been wondering what we were all about, and expressed that we were 
'awesome' and that she liked what we were about, and was going to tell all 
her friends about us. Things like that are one of the reasons we participate 
in marches like this," said Oren Schwartz, a "Stop the War, Fight the System" 
feeder march participant and a member of a local Anti-Racist Action chapter.

After crossing the bridge and arriving in downtown, the march continued for 
several blocks until it ended in Public Square, where a rally was scheduled 
to take place. With over a thousand people, the Square quickly filled up, 
with many people overflowing into the surrounding area, climbing walls just 
to get a better view. Once most people found a place to stand, the speeches 
began. Speakers represented many different groups all working to prevent the 
upcoming escalation of the War in Iraq and to stop U.S. imperialism.

When he spoke, Jay Upryse, of the Burning River Revolutionary Anarchist 
Collective, echoed the statement his group was distributing earlier.

"At the same time as the Bush administration is threatening war on Iraq, it 
has already bombed Afghanistan, stripped Muslims, Arabs, and South Asian 
immigrants of any semblance of civil liberties, passed policies nearing 
police state-like measures, and rained batons and bullets on the urban 
warzones of our communities. We say that we not only need to stop this war 
but we need to fight the entire system that is pushing it!" he said.

Other radical speakers included Jason Stinnett, a representative from CATLYST 
at Case Western Reserve University, as well as Serenity from Kent State 
Anti-Racist Action and Laura from the Kent State Anti-War Committee.

Following the rally, the Radical Anti-Imperialist Network (RAIN) held its 
second meeting at the Ohio City Bike Co-Op. With many new participants, this 
meeting was a success. Discussions about upcoming actions and how people can 
actually make a difference in stopping the war were held, and a draft version 
of RAIN's Statement of Formation was written. Those interested in learning 
more about RAIN, or in participating in any upcoming events, please subscribe 
to RAIN's general listserv: rain-subscribe@lists.riseup.net.

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