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Anarchists Break from ANSWER protest

by samirah A Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2003 at 11:25 PM


Anarchists took a break from ANSWERS permited march

against war, and decided to take to the streets. When

we scream "Who's streets, Our streets" anarchists

actually mean it.


Two Thousand Anarchists go on Rampage in San Francisco

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 it? REVOLUTION!"

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 protestors.

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


Today's protest are only a small taste of things to

come if the war on Iraq happens.

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