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Massive Protest in San Francisco? The Chronicle gets it wrong again.
by Robert B. Livingston ( confetti [at] lmi.net )
Saturday Mar 21st, 2009 4:50 PM
The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting via its web presence, SFGate that a "massive anti-war, anti-Wall Street protest" is taking place in San Francisco today. This independent reporter saw something completely different: a paltry turnout that could NOT compare to the huge anti-war protests of the previous six years while George W. Bush sat in the White House.
screenshot_of_headline.png
screenshot_of_headline.png

San Francisco
March 21, 2009

According to a headline for a story filed by San Francisco Chronicle staff writers at 2:25 pm today, a "massive" protest took place in the City to mark the sixth anniversary of the ongoing war in Iraq.

Wrong.

This reporter saw a paltry turnout-- one indeed capable of "stretching" three city blocks-- but one which could hardly compare to the huge protests which occurred before Barack Obama became president... or to the truly massive protest that took place at the start of "Operation Iraqi Freedom" (which is how the war is known by its unpunished criminal perpetrators).

Grass areas in the Civic Center Plaza in front of City Hall were left untrammeled and open, and the main plaza itself was filled with people close to the speakers platform only. Last week's St. Patrick's Day celebration was utterly different-- the entire area was filled.

Disappointed and bored, I left the area and did not witness the conflict which drew a police response (reported by the Chronicle).. From a distance, however, I heard a speaker from the podium call out over and over for the police to "go away."

I thought to myself at that moment, "everyone is going away." I looked behind me, and it appeared that many indeed were doing just that.


Link to SFGate Story, "Massive anti-war, anti-Wall Street protest in San Francisco"
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/03/21/BA5416KSPJ.DTL&tsp=1

§Photo of protesters in Civic Center Plaza
by Robert B. Livingston Saturday Mar 21st, 2009 4:50 PM
few_protesters.jpg
few_protesters.jpg

Photo taken at about 2:30 PM
This writer has been going to peace marches for almost 60 years right here in San Francisco, when they were less than 1 block to 200,000, and they were all important. The march ended at 1 p.m. so of course by 2:30 p.m. on a cold, wet day, most of us had left. The program ended at 3 p.m. In a fascist country, worse now than in the 1950s which was a vicious facist time, any turnout is excellent. On Market Street, from Justin Herman Plaza to the Civic Center, we had 3 blocks long, at least, and filling all lanes on Market Street, of protesters, of all ages, colors and physical abilities. We enjoyed learning each other's chants, and for those of us who remember a very different atmosphere of the 1950s and 1960s, marching with all of the Palestinians and other Middle Eastern nationalities was an enriching experience. The young people took the lead with the chants on the lead banners with great enthusiasm and determination. If you want more than that, you will have to have a labor movement, long overdue in these tough economic times. We peace marchers are proud of the fact that we are not fooled by Democrat Obama; we want the US out of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine and all the rest of the world. Whenever a Democrat gets in office, we have a lull until the thug does something outrageous, which Obama is doing with giving our tax dollars to the rich. He is also steadling our tax dollars for war, but apparently not enough people see that yet. They will as Obama and the Democrats cannot do anything about the economic catastrophe we are witnessing worldwide, and all they have to offer is war. As to the arrests, as reported on KPFA which reported the event live from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., some people tangled with the 10 or so Zionist idiots across the street in front of City Hall, who by definition are police provacteurs, so of course the police, who were at least 100 strong, marching around in groups of 10 with sticks and helmets, worked with the Zionists in attacking an 8 year old child whom they claimed had stones. People rushed to protect the child and a fight ensued. People have to learn to ignore police agents, whether they be Zionists or anyone else. We need to demand that Democrat District Attorney Kamala Harris drop the charges. Hopefully, the people who were injured by the police batons sue the City of San Francisco for millions of dollars.
by Gruenewald
Saturday Mar 21st, 2009 6:21 PM
Could you clarify - were people hurt by police batons today?

There were quite a number of people hurt, sent to the emergency room, at the Israel-tristan protest a few days ago due to unjustified use of batons.

by $
Saturday Mar 21st, 2009 8:21 PM
Yes, 7 people seriously hurt by police batons. See
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/03/21/18580199.php?show_comments=1#18580231
by @
Saturday Mar 21st, 2009 8:22 PM
yes, some people were hurt. the number I heard was three people seriously beaten. I saw a young woman walking away with her friends who had what looked like the start of a concussion, or at least some really bad swelling on her forehead.
by Boone A.
Saturday Mar 21st, 2009 8:23 PM
Gruenewald, I can't confirm with what a young woman was hit with, or for that matter who hit her, but I did see a young woman with a keffiyeh on who had a huge "goose egg" on her head. It definitely appeared that shit was hit with something long (like the clubs the police carry here).
I also wanted to note how accurate one of the speakers was before the march, on the need for all of the parites, including the 'vanguard' parties, to come together. Doesn't have to be super organized, but just a way to coordinate.
by Robert B. Livingston
Sunday Mar 22nd, 2009 12:11 PM

March 22, 2009
San Francisco

Searching for news for "San Francisco protest" on Google today, I am pleased to see that the story I criticized yesterday has changed its headline to the more bland but more accurate "Crowds in S.F. protest Iraq war, bank bailouts". [See my latest screenshot of the SFGate webpage.]

Despite the typical prejudices normally encountered in the establishment media, I thought the reporters' story was actually well composed, accurate, and captured much of the essence of what I saw at the protest. Thus I criticized the faulty headline-- which is what most readers will judge the story on.

My personal judgment of the effectiveness of the protest was that it was pathetic, even counter-productive and alienating. It was sad to see the pro-Zionist supporters arrayed (as usual) directly in front of City Hall as if they were a defensive human barricade not just of the current criminal Israeli government, but of our own domestic institutions which should be accessible to all of us (at least in theory). The mock battle between them and the pro-Palestine supporters trivialized the complexity of the conflict in Palestine-- making it cartoonish and hard for the average (mostly poorly informed) American to make sense of. The demonization of the police as a whole without regard to differences among them (some are good, some are bad), simply alienates the average citizen who depends on the police for their own safety in a society that is crumbling. Organizers desperately pleaded for money from the stage shortly into their program because it was plain that the turnout was poor-- and that those who had come were drifting away fast. It saddened me to hear the hollow optimism that the protesters were making a difference. Since most progressives tend to fall in line for the lesser of two evils in every election-- all we have gotten is worse and worse. The PTB (powers-that-be), now have in office the perfect foil to making real change: a Rorschach and mostly unknown junior senator groomed and delivered by the Democratic Party machine and Wall Street interests to take the heat for the national economic Katrina and spreading wars which the entire world is dealing with today. Because most Americans are so poorly informed about the true criminal intent of the "bank" bailouts (banks are more gambling casinos than banks since the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act under Bill Clinton in 1999), and so poorly informed about the true intent behind the protection and expansion of military bases abroad-- many who detested the bald lies and crudity of the Bush years stayed home, content to think that Obama will answer all their prayers.

To tell the truth today (even pointing out that Obama should more correctly be called the 43rd president than the 44th because Bush II was an interloper) is a bold act which is rewarded with vitriol. This speaks volumes about the patience, optimism, and ignorance of the average long-suffering American who has worked harder for less these past decades and who has periodically sacrificed almost each generation on the alter of war because we are told that our way of life is "non-negotiable", or now (under Obama) that we haven't sacriciced enough-- and now is the time to do so.

Link to SFGate story with the new headline, "Crowds in S.F. protest Iraq war, bank bailouts":
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/03/21/BA5416KSPJ.DTL&tsp=1
These reposts from the capitalist press do not belong here and Robert Livingston is clearly pathetic, counter-productive and alienating. I LOVED OUR PEACE MARCH AND FOUND IT VERY INFORMATIVE AND INSPIRING, AND I HAVE BEEN ATTENDING PEACE MARCHES IN MY HOME TOWN OF SAN FRANCISCO FOR ALMOST 60 YEARS, yet they do not bore or alienate me AND THEY ARE ALWAYS PRODUCTIVE AS THEY CONSTITUTE VOTING WITH OUR FEET AND PROTESTING THE OBVIOUS FASCISM WE ARE NOW EXPERIENCING, COURTESY THE MILLIONAIRE DEMOCRATS AND ZIONISTS.

What we are seeing is the filthy rich millionaire Zionist gangs and their filthy rich millionaire capitalist Democratic Party deliberately with malice aforethought attempting to destroy all protest to their increasingly fascist government, perpetrated by DEMOCRAT BARACK OBAMA. The charges against the people beaten up by the San Francisco police on March 16, 2009 in front of the Israeli consulate who were standing on a sidewalk signing a card, perfectly legal, HAVE NOT BEEN DROPPED. Here is more information:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/03/22/18580505.php

THESE ARE FELONIES THE LOCAL POLICE-ZIONIST-DEMOCRATIC PARTY ARE PRESSING with our tax dollars. AND NOW THE ZIONIST-DEMOCRAT-POLICE GANGS ATTACKED OUR PERMITTED RALLY AT THE CIVIC CENTER, claiming an 8 year old child had a stone in his little pack (also not illegal, but unknown if he did). WE NEED EVERYONE TO CALL THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY TO DEMAND THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY DROP ALL CHARGES AGAINST THE ARRESTEES OF MONDAY, MARCH 16 AND SATURDAY, MARCH 21, 2009. Both the district attorney and the police swore to uphold the Constitution, including the First Amendment, which guarantees free speech, freedom of assembly and the right to petition for redress of grievances, which is what all demonstrations are. TELL THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY WE WILL NOT TOLERATE FASCISM IN SAN FRANCISCO. Here are the phone numbers of the district attorney from the San Francisco phone book:
415.553.1741
415.553.1213
415.553.1880
415.553.1862
by Bay Area Resident
Sunday Mar 22nd, 2009 12:59 PM
To an outside, non-political observer, many of your comments look like they origanted from a nutcase in a looney bin. I dont like that our country went into Iraq. I want them out ASAP, but the crap you guys pull leaves me with zero sympathy for your cause.

Its your kind of antics that make normal people in this state feel alientated and want to move to Arizona, Texas, Nevada... anywhere else.
by a-feminist
Sunday Mar 22nd, 2009 3:10 PM
The looney factor is called "The Internet", not "Indymedia". While the rents may be cheaper and the climate warmer, moving to Nevada is not going to change that. ;-D

The reason that you don't see as much of this in the comments on other sites is usually because the comments are heavily moderated; as such, the wacky stuff gets filtered out. Indymedia sites tend to have a different model; the more wingnutty stuff gets left in the general newswire for all to see, while the stuff that is more (sorry, folks) coherent gets promoted to the Local or Global feeds. This is not a hard-and-fast rule, but it is a common practice. Some of you may disagree with this approach, but it beats censorship, or alternately, the newsworthy stories becoming so awash in spam, rants, trolling and flame wars that the site becomes unreadable (aka Usenet). It's a balance.
by Ed
Tuesday Mar 24th, 2009 12:14 AM
I know that San Francisco is used to big rally's but the fact is that you have to understand people are not the groups they come in. As an individual who did show up you cannot call my actions pathetic cause only 4,000 some odd people attended instead of 30,000. The other 26,000 people who decided to sit it out... well they did what they did and we did what we did. What matters more? Sitting home scratching your belly OR standing up and saying hell no we still won't go...

The fact is that the other 26,000 will be there next time because as usual the powers that be will push them there,... in the meantime let us remember the words of Margaret Mead

"Never underestimate the power of a small group of COMMITTED people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has."

Peace.

by Robert B. Livingston
( confetti [at] lmi.net ) Thursday Mar 26th, 2009 10:48 AM
At the blog, San Francisco Citizen, numbers are estimated with more documentation and links-- worth a look:

http://sfcitizen.com/blog/2009/03/23/the-rule-of-three-counting-people-at-an-international-answer-march/

Also, for those wondering why these "protests" have accomplished so little (wars continue, criminals go unpunished, the cabal that benefits from the status quo enriches itself and ignores us) -- some food for thought from Mickey Z:

"Five reasons why Americans won't resist"
http://mickeyz.gnn.tv/blogs/31528/Five_reasons_why_Americans_won_t_resist