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(en) US, San Francisco, anti-war update

From agit-prop <agit-prop@tao.ca>
Date Tue, 25 Mar 2003 09:06:04 +0100 (CET)

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

Monday, March 24, 1 pm-So, what follows is obviously an anarchist
perspective on recent events, i'm sure others with different
perspectives would describe things differently.

I was hoping that on the night the war broke out, based on past marches
when up to 250,000 had come out, thousands of San Franciscans would hit
the streets. This did not happen, only several thousand came out.
Thursday, however, was a very amazing day, perhaps the most effective
day of protest in the city's history save for perhaps sometime during
the General Strike of 1934 in San Francisco. About 30,000 participated
in that General Strike with approximately 400 were arrested in what was
called "the first successful general strike in American history." Last
Thursday over 1400 were arrested in one day, but more importantly, the
financial district was thoroughly shut down and a very empowering,
autonomous street presence was created.

The cop in charge of the demonstrations said "Today we saw a
ratcheting-up from legal protest to absolute anarchy." Well, compared
to events in Athens, Madrid, Cairo, or Yemen, it wasn't really
"absolute anarchy" at all, but for Amerika, it was definitely a
remarkable affair.

However, since then, things have not gone so well. The police have done
a very effective job of stopping protests since then with the following
strategy: "Our success will come when we arrest so many of them we have
depleted their ranks." On friday, groups of people and even individuals
were constantly harrassed, attacked, rounded-up and arrested. Even
people standing around on the sidewalks or legally bicycling down the
street have been subject to intimidation, beating, and jail.

Meanwhile, the media and politicians have also been attacking the
protesters and cutting off public support for the demonstrations. The
cop inside the head is often just as effective than the cop on the
street, and the media has done an effective job of making people think
that any kind of protest aside from the ritualized permitted marches on
the weekends is counter-productive.
So, while there have been sporadic and inspiring outbursts of action
since thursday, and while approx. 75,000 marched on saturday, i'd say
anarchist types are feeling kind of bummed and unclear about how to
proceed. any time any group of people takes to the street (aside from
the ritual march on saturday), the police respond rapidly. and when
people try and do stuff like graffitti or chucking newstands out on the
streets as barricades, the pacifist peace police types often start
yelling and causing trouble.

This morning, hundreds blockaded Transamerica Pyramid building,
targetting the Carlyle Group (a bunch of former military thugs and
intelligence spooks who are now working in private industry as part of
the Bush gang, involved in oil, guns and drugs) resulting in several
dozen arrests. There are calls to meet at 5 pm in the financial
district every day this week, but the feeling is people are just making
the announcement without much hope of anything really happening,
because whenever people have gathered downtown since thursday, there
has been a massive police response that is very disempowering.

So, this is a big of an overall pessimistic report, but i felt it is
more important to be honest than falsely reporting the state of affairs
here. Things may change as well, especially as it appears that things
are not going as smoothly in Iraq as the military promised. Also, the
anarchist book fair is coming to SF next weekend, so an influx of
comrades from out of the area may liven things up a bit.

Below are a few suggestions posted on SF Indymedia.

to the rest of the insurgent world from here in the belly of the
beast...rock on, y'all!


Need to work in the morning? Keep fighting even at work (aside from the
normal workplace sabotage which is being stepped up now):
Tuesday: Board of Supervisors Meeting : The police in this city are
clearly acting outside of the law at protests, in day-to-day life, and
everyone is called to pack their meeting and make public comment
testimony. Tuesday, 2 - 4pm (longer if a lot people show up to speak),
City Hall.
Call Terrence Hallinan, SF's District Attorney, at (415) 553-1752 to
demand that all jailed/detained protesters be released immediately.
Tune in to 93.7FM and organize a mobile listening station in your
Keep opposing the new SFPD Political Police "Red Squad"

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