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San Francisco | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism

Smashing Success in SF: Anticapitalist Mayday Attack –Tactical Lessons Communique–
by One Crew Among Many
Monday May 4th, 2009 5:01 PM
This is one communique to help us draw lessons from the successful surprise action in the evening of May 1 that targeted 3 blocks of San Francisco's luxury shopping mecca and central hub of commerce and wealth. Other communiques have already been released or will be released shortly and together we can try to piece together what happened and what we can learn from it.
This is one communique to help us draw lessons from the successful surprise action in the evening of May 1 that targeted 3 blocks of San Francisco's luxury shopping mecca and central hub of commerce and wealth. Other communiques have already been released or will be released shortly and together we can try to piece together what happened and what we can learn from it.

There is no use detailing here the specifics of what occurred during those eight or nine minutes. Corporate news coverage of the attacks has been relatively accurate and it is recommended that interested folks watch the following videos:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/05/01/18592281.php?show_comments=1#18592410
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/05/01/18592281.php?show_comments=1#18592511

This action carried no demands. Its choice of geography and timing speak for themselves. It is safe to say that it inflicted the most property destruction San Francisco has seen in a very long time in an area usually deemed to be off limits to street actions and demonstrations. There were no arrests and upwards of $50,000 worth of damage was unleashed in a controlled and methodical manner that required intense cooperation among participants. However, this monetary figure is not what is important.

We draw three main lessons from this action that must be shared with all our comrades. The police and security forces are most definitely trying to learn from the blow they just received and we need to draw our own lessons in order to make this a true success.

The action was based on three hypothesis which all proved correct:

1. We can set a time and a place of our choosing even if that place is in the heart of 'enemy territory'. We do not need to act as parasites on other marches or demonstrations. This must be evaluated on a case by case basis but in general it seems that the risks to ourselves and others outweigh any advantages that 'breaking away' from another group's event gives us. This action had a large buffer of time and space from any other May Day demonstrations and was able to mobilize the necessary numbers to quickly complete the tasks before once again disappearing.

2. For actions such as this, there is no reason that any aspect of the organizing should be done online or through any electronic medium such as the phone. A mass call to action posted on all of our favorite websites months in advance is not necessary. Spreading word of a serous planned action through face to face communication helps build vital personal connections, lets people know that participants are serious about what they want to do and avoids the easiest and most common form of state surveillance. In this case the police were completely caught by surprise even though they had mobilized large tactical riot teams hours earlier and blocks away in standard preparation for the annual immigrant rights mobilization.

3. We have the crews with the experience, dedication and, most importantly, trust to pull this kind of thing off. This was not done by one small crew acting alone. It was a collective effort that drew in many groups of friends and comrades and this was necessary for its success. We need to trust our networks and communities and foster the kind of relationships we can rely on when an action like this is necessary.

Some of this is specific to those of us in the Bay Area but there are lessons here for everyone in the struggle. The similar and simultaneous action in Milwaukee illustrates that these are lessons that reveal the general state of liberatory anti capitalist activity in the United States during this particular historical moment.

Like fishermen turned pirates off the horn of Africa who have hijacked a primary artery of global capital as they defend their lives and communities, mass coordinated anti capitalist attacks across Greece that illustrate how an anarchist initiated insurrection can bring a state to its knees, or crews of friends taking over the streets of downtown Oakland in resistance to police violence, the May Day mutiny in San Francisco has revealed weak points for us to take note of and exploit. The illusion of an invincible corporate state able to crush or undermine all its enemies has been shattered. The forces of repression have no real defense against our evolving rebellions.

Now is the time to reflect and be safe. Celebrate this victory but keep your lips sealed and reaffirm your connections with those around you.