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(en) US, NYC, RAT* #2 - resistance is fertile! & Still We Ride!

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 6 Jan 2005 07:41:46 +0100 (CET)


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While the liberals are still moaning and groaning about voting and
recounts, our folks have been keeping it real! Here are some post-
election actions to inspire us all...
--- Chicago, Il
A brick was thrown through the window of an office where Republicans were watching
election returns, sending glass flying all over the room. No one was hurt.
--- San Francisco, CA
5,000 people marched through the streets to protest the war in Iraq. Following
the march, a group of about 150 people burned American flags and an effigy of
Bush,then continued marching north on Mission Street, breaking the windows
of Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

Lawrence, KS
A rock draped in a partially-burnt American flag
was thrown through the window of the Douglas
County Republican Headquarters, knocking down a
poster of Bush that was taped inside the window.

Buffalo, NY
Rocks were thrown through the windows of the Republican
Headquarters during the early morning hours of November
4th. An Armed Forces recruiting center was similarly dam-
aged. Corporate media received a letter from a group claim-
ing it committed the vandalism in retaliation against the
GOP agenda.

Red Hook, NY
About 250 Bard College stu-
dents staged a sit-in in an
intersection,blocking traffic to
protest Bush's victory. State
troopers used dogs, batons,
and old-fashioned brutality to
disperse the crowd.

Raleigh, NC
Hundreds of anarchists marched through
the streets, carrying anarchist, anti-
capitalist, and revolutionary banners,
including one that read, "Fuck Bush,
Fuck Kerry; We Need a Revolution!" The
march ended at the North Carolina State
Republican Headquarters, where windows
were broken and a two-headed Bush/Kerry
effigy was set on fire. Fireworks went
off inside the building.


Still We Ride! - by mause

"Whose streets? Our streets!" The familiar cry has echoed
through the streets at thousands of Critical Mass bike rides
in cities the world over, as bicyclists gather every month to
celebrate and raise awareness of human-powered transport, as well
as to enjoy each other's company and safety in numbers on an
empowering evening ride. However, in NYC these past few months,
these words have gone from a tone of jubilation to defiance as
city authorities launched an unprecedented assault on bicyclists'
rights.

The latest wave of trouble began in August, as Mayor
Bloomberg instructed New Yorkers to "play nice" during
the Republican National Convention - a Yorkers coded threat
to suppress all public activity out of line with the
Republican Party's agenda. New York Critical Mass hap-
pened that month, as always, on the last Friday of the
month. Enraged and humiliated by their failure to
control or suppress the ride, police attacked in frus-
tration, splitting the mass with scooter squads,
sending in riot cops to arrest 263 of the 7,000+
participants.
The September ride experienced harassment
and arrests as well, albeit on a much lower scale.
In mid-September, five bicyclists who had their
bikes seized as "evidence" by the NYPD sued
for an injunction against the police to prevent
further punitive seizures. The city's countersuit,
requesting an injunction wholly prohibiting
Critical Mass, was undermined when attorney
Gideon Oliver demonstrated that New York State
laws requiring bicycles to ride on the right-hand
side or in a bike lane and "no more than two abreast"
do not actually apply in New York City. Federal Judge
William Pauley III granted the injunction against cutting
of locks and seizing of bikes, and denied the city's request to
attack the ride. Pauley agreed with the assertion that the ride
does not need a permit, since it is vehicular traffic, not a march,
parade or demonstration, and is not organized by any group.

Apparently the mayor and the NYPD are too
bent on their anti-bicycle vendetta
to heed even a federal judge, because
during the October ride police announced
that they had set a route for the ride to
follow, and proceeded to arrest dozens of
cyclists when the entire ride promptly
ignored it. Undercover cops showed up at
the Times Up! after-party, starting fights
as a pretext for a massive police raid.

Partygoers barricaded themselves inside
the space when police attempted to force
their way in without a warrant. Several
bystanders were maced and arrested while
the cops sealed off the entire block to steal
approximately 20 bikes by cutting their locks,
despite the injunction.

The NYPD's excessive, violent, and extrajudicial
behavior has troubling repercussions for all
cyclists, not just those who participate in
Critical Mass. Over 120,000 cyclists hit the
streets of NYC every day - and many of them
are food delivery workers, messengers, and
commuters who not only rely on their bicycles
to earn a living, but are often working class,
people of color, and/or people with noncitizen
residency status. Even the well-established and
"respectable" New York City Cycle Club was subject
to police harassment during its yearly marathon
route ride. Police and court action against
Critical Mass bicyclists results in diminshed
rights for all riders in the city, and this is one
of the most vital reasons to stand up against the
city government. Not to mention the fact that in
the years since Critical Mass began celebrating
and promoting urban cycling, more bicycles are on
the streets and accident rates have dropped dramatically.

The court case centering around the lock-cutting
injunction, known as the Bray case, could have im-
portant ramifications for all cyclists. It is clear that
Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly will
push hard to avenge their woudned pride. Ganging
up on bikers as well is City Councilmember Made-
line Provenzano, whose proposed bill Int. No. 497
would require all bicyclists to register their bicycles
and purchase a license plate, at the threat of a mis-
demeanor charge invoking 15 days imprisonment, a
$300 fine, and confiscation of the vehicle. Aside from
being draconian in effect and fascistic in spirit, this
measure would both facilitate police harassment of bicy-
clists as well as discourage many from riding at all.
Among the most prominent groups working for bicyclists'
rights are Transportation Alternatives (www.transalt.org), a liberal
group which focuses on lobbying, and Time's Up! (www.times-up.org),
which is smaller and more inclined to direct action, such as promoting Critical
Mass rides and organizing other pro-bicycle rides and events. Time's Up! is also
leading the way in the legal fight.
Whatever approach you support, the most important thing is to keep riding your
bike! Ride in Critical Mass, and every day for fun, to school, to work, to crime, to
whatever you do, wherever, whenever! We have every right to be in the streets on
two wheels, and more bicycles means a cleaner, safer city. As the patches appearing
shortly after the August arrests said, "STILL WE RIDE!"
================================
* The RAT is a new general New York anarchist journal
produced by the Black Rat collective


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