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(en) US, Westwood, North Jersey Critical Mass Ride - Oct 29th.

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 26 Oct 2004 12:09:36 +0200 (CEST)

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Consider yourself invited to... BERGEN COUNTY'S FIRST CRITICAL MASS
Friday October 29th meet at Veteran's Park in Westwood, NJ at 4:30
What is Critical Mass?
A Critical Mass of cyclists occurs when bicyclists
spontaneously come together to ride the ordinarily
car-clogged streets of their towns and cities.
Critical Mass focuses on the rights of bicyclists and
the rights of pedestrians on their own streets.
Cyclists are just as much traffic and have just as
much right to be on the roads as anyone else. It
also brings attention to the deteriorating quality
of life, like the toxic levels of air and noise pollution,
that cars create for cities. Cars clog up the streets
every day, so cyclists should be able to do the same.

Critical Mass' aim is to make people take notice of
cyclists as road users. Although some obstruction of
traffic occurs, we are only seeking to raise the
profile of cycling, and put cycling and transport
issues on the agenda so that they will not be ignored.
Is Critical Mass illegal?
Think of it as rush hour on bicycles. We're not
blocking traffic, we are traffic. But so many bicycles
riding together, as well as a beautiful sight to see,
can sometimes slow automobile traffic down to human
levels. Drivers, often impatient, sometimes get angry
and honk their horns. But the more fun they see us
having, the less they will bother us.
Anarchism and Critical Mass
You certainly don't have to be an anarchist to
participate in Critical Mass, but like so many other
things in life (from going on a picnic to making
love), anarchist principles are in effect.

Anarchism is the belief that people are fundamentally
good, and fully capable of organizing themselves to
allow maximum freedom without oppression and
exploitation. Critical Mass is considered an
anarchistic event in that there are no designated
leaders or hierarchy, and because people spontaneously
self-organize to protect and facilitate the ride.

Bicycling already appeals to the anarchistic sense in
that it is more free and natural (like hang gliding or
sailing) than driving a motor vehicle, and because
each individual does his or her own work for travel in a way
that essentially does not oppress others or the
environment. Motor vehicles are fundamentally
oppressive in numerous ways: from the noise,
pollution, and danger that they inflict upon the
commons, to the intense exploitation of labor and
environmental resources that they require, to the
anger and violence they engender.

Because Anarchism is the most credible and natural way
to ethically organize a society, those who choose to
be oppressors (who profit from exploiting workers,
animals, and the environment) have always used their
worst repression for Anarchists, and subsequently use
predictable public relations strategies to demonize
anything that liberates people via demonstrating
anarchism in action.

This manifests itself with relation to Critical Mass
in a number of ways. For one, there is no end to the
frustrated reactionaries who claim that Critical Mass
causes traffic havoc by disobeying traffic laws. This
is most ironic as a critical mass of motorcars causes
traffic havoc and indeed, mayhem and murder, everyday,
and those participants routinely disobey traffic laws.
Further, the traffic laws and traffic infrastructure
(lights, lanes, parking, bridges, etc) are set up
almost exclusively for the benefit of motorcars over
bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit users. The idea
that streets are solely for maximizing motorcar
traffic is rooted in fascism. Why can't the commons be
used for the many wonderful ways of people, as well?
Even as Anarchists are falsely characterized as
terrorists, more people are run down by cars than are
killed by firearms, and the number one reason people
say they aren't walking and biking more is fear of
cars. And let's not even discuss foreign policy.
Critical Mass is an idea and an event, not an
organization. Critical Mass has no leaders, and no
central organization licenses rides. In every city
that has a CM ride, some locals simply picked a date,
time, and location for the ride and publicized it, and
thus the ride was born.

Directions to Veteran's Park in Westwood, New Jersey:

Take the Garden State Parkway North to exit 165 for Washington/Westwood.
Turn Right at the end of the ramp. Follow that road for about 5 minutes
into downtown Westwood. Veteran's Park will be on your right hand side at
the intersection of Washington and Westwood Ave right near the train

Veteran's Park is next to the Westwood train station on the
Pascack Valley train line.

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