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TThe Amazing San Francisco March
by Redwood Sky (redwoodsky [at] earthlink.net)
Sunday Jan 19th, 2003 5:05 AM

This was one awesome march! Another world is possible!
San Francisco today, J18, 2003 had yet another historical day with
estimates of upto 200,000 people marching against the impending
war and mass slaughter in Iraq to be carried out by the USA Bush
regime.

I boarded the BART train from oakland... BART had added many
more trains to their schedule for the demonstration- from my
location of Downtown Oakland - 10 car trains were arriving every 2-
4 minutes. All were coming packed full of people - and only if one
or two people got off - was it possible to barely squeeze in...

We walked towards the gathering location - but were stopped about
1/2 a mile short because of the huge mass of people - As we
marched towards Civic Center - the rally site - the roar of the crowd was
immense -the sound was far more massive than the 10/26/02 march - and, as
such, I would think this march was closer to the 200,000 number given by
some of the organaizer than the absurd estimate of 50,000 provided by the
protectors of private property police - (SFPD).

The crowd was far more diverse than what I have seen in the last
few big marches - with a big number of young people of all colors
and backgrounds - and older people and babies and dogs (didnt
see any cats though... )

After the main demonstration, break away marches took direct
action against the much disliked, and perhaps even hated "US
department of Justice" - the Immigration and Naturalization
Services - the security arm of the Bush regime that has arrested
thousands of Muslims, mid-eastren, south asian, and east asian
people of Muslim backgrounds. (Source: http://www.indybay.org)

Direct action was also taken against Starbucks, Citicorp bank,
Wells Fargo bank, and British Embassy. (Source for this is from
San Francisco Indymedia see: http://www.indybay.org )

We are well on our way for the anti-march demonstrations
becoming a true movement - that is creating a culture that says not
only is it a responsibilty for good people to speak up and
demonstrate - but it is actually coming to a level where people say -
yeah, it is cool to march - and there is nothing "radical" about
demonstrating. The organaizers have done a very good job in this respect
in making the demonstrations accessible to everyone - and, while
acknowledging the seriousness of the issues - yet creating also a family
and festive atmosphere in which everyone can participate.

Another important feature of this march has been the coverage by
the mass corporate run media before the march took place - in the
bay area, the major newspapers carried important indepth articles
on the peace with justice anti-war movement - along with coverage
on mainstream TV channels - After the march today, at least one
of the TV stations gave extensive coverage - including reporters
saying that this was one of the biggest, if not the biggest marches
that they have covered in San Francisco. This postive move needs
to be encouraged - and while caution is needed so as not to
celebrate some kind of change of hearts in the corporate media -
we might take some credit and attribute this change to organaizing
work done by activists - including incessant phone calls to the
media to provide accurate coverage - and to include dissenting
voices.

A second major demonstration also took place in D.C. - with
estimates as high as 500,000 being reported by the organaizers...

Demonstrations also took place in the mid-east and in south asia -
with Syria being reported as having its largest - and thousands of
people linked hands in Pakistan

As many are saying we may well have turned a corner today in the
US - what that means... if today is to take a meaning - depends on
us the people who live in the US. This doesnt mean going back
home and doing nothing - but to effectively tilt the balance in favor of a
true peace with justice - we must continue to act. The next major world
demonstration for peace and justice is expected to take place on Febuary
15th 2003 -

And this weekend we appropriately remember the great civil rights
and anti-war leader Martin Luther King, Jr...

"If an American is concerned only about his nation, he will not be
concerned about the peoples of Asia, Africa, or South America. Is
this not why nations engage in the madness of war without the
slightest sense of penitence? Is this not why the murder of a
citizen of your own nation is a crime, but the murder of citizens of
another nation in war is an act of heroic virtue? " - Martin Luther King,
Jr.

Next report, inshallah, from the World Social Forum in Porto
Alegre, Brazil - I leave tomorrow afternoon - for info. on the World
Social Forum see: http://www.forumsocialmundial.org.br/

Another World Is Possible

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