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A Three Stooges Account of the failed transit fare strike effort in San Francisco in 2005

by Szamuely Tibor Thursday, May. 03, 2007 at 12:52 PM
tiborszamuely@yahoo.com

A truth in ideological packaging rule needs to be applied here...

In capitalist society, there are capitalist politicians who win most of the time. There are capitalist politicians who lose most of the time. And then, there are capitalist politicians who lose all of the time, and that's the left in the US -- and that's what can be seen with the dishonest, prolix and pretentious account of the 2005 San Francisco transit system fare strike debacle, now being posted around the internet...

FARE STRIKE! San Francisco 2005: First-Hand Accounts...hmmmmm...

1. This prolix leftists' memoir of failure pamphlet is clearly intended for the consumption of people who were far away from San Francisco in the summer and fall of 2005, who can't check its accuracy from first-hand experience, and who might be hoodwinked into believeing its wildly innacurate depiction of the fare strike fiasco; mass spontaneous resistance on a class basis, and other I-stiil-believe-in-the-Easter-Bunny versions of reality;

2. The individual behind this account of the events (GH), etc, and a number of his fellow conventional leftist windbags, intervened from the right against an already existing radical effort, and did all they could to turn it into a typical, Bay Area leftist single-issue complaint phenomenon,

3. They were successful in this. They were able to make the effort a product of their "vision," or more accurately lack of vision.

Subsequently the effort was a flop. All the Muni operators, bus drivers and streetcar operators, I spoke to afterward, several dozen of them, were unanimous in saying this, and they were in a better position to judge than anyone else.

As a young woman cafe worker I know put it, "The fare strike lasted about a half an hour."

4. Now GH, consistent with his Warner-Brothers-cartoon-character comical pattern of dishonesty in all things, tries to paper over the abject failure of his politics in action by claiming that this clear and obvious failure was somehow really a great-moment-in-proletarian-history,

5. And after doing all they could to turn a potential mass transit self-reduction effort on SF's Muni into a typical SF Bay Area, left-wing-of-capital load of crap, we get an airbrushed history book version -- garlanded with refernces to 'Root and Branch' -- and quotes from Guy Debord!

These guys did all they could to denude the effort of any actual anti-capitalist content. All the pro-Situ references afterward can't reverse that.

There is a big disconnect between the fact that the Potemkin-Village group "Insane Dialectical Posse," posting here, and his buddies, acted in every way like conventional leftists of the Trotskyist, social democratic or idealistic left-wing of the Democratic party stripe during the failed effort to foment a transit system fare strike in San Francisco in 2005. In the one mass action that most of them have engaged in they were the most rightward-pointing faction of the effort

Revolutionary consciousness is what it does; if what the person or people in question do in the larger world is the same old left-wing of capital crap, then that's what their politics are. All the references to Mattick, Pannekoek and the Situationists can't redeem that.

I suppose these leftists offer a good example of what results when a gaggle of nominally "Marxist" college town slackers in early middle age attempt, in the case of almost all of them, for the very first time in their lives, to engage in some kind of substantial radical collective action -- nothing happens. The haven't honed their communications skills enough to effectively communicate any message they might have to convey to contemporary working people.

"...in the performance their interests prove to be uninteresting and their potency impotence...the democrat comes out of the most disgraceful defeat just as innocent as he was when he went into it."

Karl Marx, in 'The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon,' quoted here from

'Muni Social Strikeout -- the Failed Transit System Fare Strike in San Francisco in 2005,' is available on the 'Love and Treason' web page at the Mid-Atlantic Anarchist Infoshop:

http://www.infoshop.org/myep/muni_social_strikeout.

'The Failed Transit System Fare Strike' article is also available on libcom.org, and in numerous other places on the internet.

Kevin Keating



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