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(en) US, CA. Critical Mass Hits Modesto

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 6 Mar 2004 10:23:33 +0100 (CET)

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Critical Mass, a grassroots, totally decentralized, autonomous movement of bike activists
and riders has been riding every month since it's first San Fransico bike ride in 1992.
Modesto seems ripe for a total critque of the oil and car industries as a whole,
(and capitalism in general), as it's urban sprawl machine heats up. As Bay Area
folks are pushed out of the bay area because of rising rent, they are moving into
towns and cities generally associated with agriculture. As Starbucks, Borders,
and McDonalds pop up every where, farmland is disappearing and open green
space is swallowed up to make way for trach homes.
Modesto, which has in essence only two major roads that lead to the 99
Freeway (Briggsmoore and Standiford), can not realistically accomidate the
majority of people commuting to work, and to various destinations around town.
Thus, traffic and congestion is at an all time high, and seems to be getting
worse and worse. Modesto's homeless are also felling the heat, as their needs
(emergency shelter, low income housing), are swept under the rug, and the city
spends 9 million on a new over pass with old fashioned light posts, and a new
fountains that spills over and wastes water. Larger corporations are coming in,
and driving out or replacing the independent and largely more community
oriented stores in the downtown area, (although some near by towns are
resisting Wal Marts etc, for instance Turlock).

Critical Mass is an alternative to this, although it may only be symbolic and
celebratory. The Situationists said, "Beneath this concrete - a beach!", we ask,
"We you join us in a swim?" Swim we did. Through flyers, wheatpaste, and
talking to friends, Critical Mass Modesto organized it's first ride in Downtown
Modesto with about 30 people, and a handful of skateboarders.

The ride was a success, and lasted for about an hour, and ended in a small
gathering in a local park with Food Not Bombs sharing food. The only problems
that occured was the falls of several skateboarders, and a poor merging causing
a trucker to spit on one of us. Several younger children attended, and we has
some particpants from out of town. One rider carried a sign saying, "Let's End
Our Fuelish Ways", another carried a black flag with the anarchist (A).

The corporate media has shown some interest in this, but more of the novelty
aspect than an actual interest in the ethics, ideas, and critques that Critical
Mass, it's partipants, and supporters try and bring up.

We are hoping that the next Critical Mass in Modesto will be event better. It will
take place on March 26th, Downtown Modesto 10th and J Street, 5pm.

Email: modanarcho@yahoo.com

Corporate Media Coverage:
Valley IMC Pictures: http://www.indybay.org/news/2004/02/1671619.php

Note: http://www.indybay.org/centralvalley

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