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(en) US, San Francisco, MEDIA: Two Thousand Anarchists go on Rampage in

From Chuck0 <chuck@mutualaid.org>
Date Sun, 19 Jan 2003 11:07:47 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

> by Blake McGreevy
Thousands of protestors marched, danced and sprinted through the streets
of San Francisco today,shouting slogans against war, racism and
capitalism. The protestors were part of a breakaway march from the larger
permitted rally organized by A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End
Racism) which brought out approximately 200,000 demonstrators.

After the permitted march got to its destination, about two thousand
demonstrators broke off and proceded on a militant and well-planned march
through the streets of the city. Throughout the march, they targetted a
number of symbols of the current capitalist war. They stopped at the
building that holds the San Francisco Chronicle, a major newspaper,
notorious for its right-wing slant. Masked speakers on a megaphone pointed
out how the coverage from this newpaper, and from the capitalist media in
general serve to bolster the US war effort at the same time as other
masked protestors conveyed this message by graffittiing the building with
"weapon of mass destruction," among other messages. Next, the building
that houses the British consulate was grafittied, with protestors
stressing the international nature of the struggle against war and
capitalism, and calling for similar actions by the people of britain
against the capitalists there. Protestors are well aware that Tony Blair
is, as one person at the event put it, "Bush's Poodle." Protestors
punctuated their message by smashing a number of windows. One
spray-painted slogan read "UK out of Iraq! Burn the State!"

The breakaway march wound its way through the city, using a number of
sophisticated tactics to out-manoeuver the police. At times they stopped
quickly and reversed direction. At others, they stopped, shouted a
countdown from 10 and then the entire demonstration ran for a block. As
they moved along, more and more newspaper boxes were knocked into the
street, and through the windows of a Starbucks and a Victoria's Secret.
The energy built up as protestors chanted "What do we want? CLASS WAR!
When do we want it? NOW!" and "What do we want? PEACE! How we gonna get

The high point of the demonstration was in attacks on the building that
houses the Federal government's Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Numerous windows were broken and a cement pylon and a newspaper box were
thrown through the INS building's glass front doors. As the call for the
breakaway march, put out by a group called Anti-War Action stated, "The
thousands of Arab and South Asian desaparecidos in the US since September
11th recall the US-supported fascist regimes of Latin America."

Apparently angry at being consistently outfoxed, police became more
aggressive. An undercover officer grabbed one demonstrator, a number of
police on motorcycles rode directly into the crowd and a group of mounted
police in riot gear began to chase the protestors. The demonstration
walked quickly through the streets for some minutes, leaving garbage cans
in the streets to slow the pursuing police, and ended by going down into a
BART station (Bay Area Rapid Transit). As protestors dispersed on San
Francisco's busy Market Street, a number of police in riot gear rushed
down into the BART station, and are reported to have arrested two

After September 11 of last year, media, critics and politicians gloated
about what they saw as the death of radical street protests in the United
States. The more conservative elements of the anti-globalization movement
were frightened by a possible confrontation or worse, saw it as a time to
stick together and offer "critical support" to the United States
government. At the same time the radicals were targetted with  stronger
and more aggressive policing, and international financial institutions
such as the World Trade Organization held their meetings in countries with
repressive regimes that do not allow protest. But the radicals in the
anti-globalization movement were never just protesting "globalization",
they were opposed to capitalist globalization. This analysis has
transferred easily into anti-war organizing.

The callout for today's breakaway march read "This is not a war between
the people of the US and the people of the world. It is capitalism--a war
on the poor. Investors in US oil companies will get a new pipeline through
Afghanistan and increased access to the Iraq's oil reserves (second only
to Saudi Arabia). The weapons manufacturers will get new contracts and the
US politicians will have an excuse to increase their power. Meanwhile, the
poor and working people of America will definitely not be better off. We
continue to live in a world of unemployment and minimum wage jobs, of
racism and harassment, of surveillance and prisons, of impossible rents
and evictions--a world not built for us, but on top of us."

Maybe smug critics and politicians were wrong. We are witnessing a rebirth
of the radical street demonstrations in the US. As one black-clad and
masked protestor said today, "The anti-globalization movement is dead, but
the anti-capitalist movement is alive and well."

Today's protest are only a small taste of things to come if the war on
Iraq happens.

[For images of today's protest see http://sf.indymedia.org]


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