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Indybay Feature

Anarchist Action in the streets of Palo Alto

by ~Bradley (bradley [at]
On the evening of June 25, several hundred people took to the streets of downtown Palo Alto to march against war, empire and capitalism.
I really wonder how much money the police state spent before and during this march in downtown Palo Alto... Palo Alto police were joined by police from many other agencies, including Gilroy, Milpitas, Moutain View, Santa Clara County sheriffs, California Highway Patrol and especailly the San Jose police. Many cops wore riot gear and carried big guns, while some carried tear gas guns and other 'non-lethal' weapons.

The march against war, empire and capitalism was coordinated through Anarchist Action, a forum through which revolutionary anarchists can act and organize. Just over a month ago on May 20, downtown Palo Alto was the scene of a Reclaim The Streets party where hundreds of rebellious youth, students, and workers were united by an effective critique of global capitalism - weaving together the dominance of the G8, the monotony of modern urbanism, and alienated suburban boredom.

For more information about the some of the motivations for the march, please see:

Revolutionary March Against War & Empire - June 25 - Palo Alto

A Communique From the Organizers

Anarchist Action - Palo Alto

Anarchist Action
§Lytton Plaza
by ~Bradley (bradley [at]
§always a cop with a camera
by ~Bradley (bradley [at]
§Destroy The War Machine
by ~Bradley (bradley [at]
§Anarchist Action
by ~Bradley (bradley [at]
§El Diablo
by ~Bradley (bradley [at]
§Capitalism is the Best
by ~Bradley (bradley [at]
§I Heart Capitalism
by ~Bradley (bradley [at]
§Gap Police
by ~Bradley (bradley [at]
§Gop Cop
by ~Bradley (bradley [at]
§Sweet Things
by ~Bradley (bradley [at]
§Animals on Horses
by ~Bradley (bradley [at]
§Peaceful Protest
by ~Bradley (bradley [at]
§Resist the G-8
by ~Bradley (bradley [at]
§Anarchist Outreach
by ~Bradley (bradley [at]
Add Your Comments

Comments (Hide Comments)
by .c

This made Dateline Alabama, and top story on KTVU. I like the costumes and how this turned out. The media is trained to ignore everything in San Francisco. This was scooped by the shark bite on ABC.
by ex-peninsulan
i grew up on the peninsula and am far away from there but it is nice to see things happening there!! keep on keeping on.
by good
Although it wasn't an insurrection or anything, there were tons of outreach materials (pamphlets, leaflets,etc.), the cops looked stupid for spending all that money on a protest that didn't do anything illegal, they injured two people (which makes them look worse), and a lot of people were radicalized a bit and said they would come out to San Francisco for the anti-G8 West Coast convergence.
by anarchist
When are so called anarchiost groups going to abandon age old useless tactics of the left. Peaceful protest and marching with signs doesn't do anything. Are you liberals or anarchists? It is definately hard to telll. Fuck anarchist action. You should call your group lefty action
(1.) It won us some new friends, which we need a lot more than we need a minor tactical victory in small town.

(2.) It caused the state to expend time, money, energy and manpower, but cost us very little energy, and no blood. If Sun Tzu were alive he'd give us *big* high five for that one.

(3.) We found out how scared the state is of us, and how scared the workers aren't. So did anybody else who was paying attention.

(4.) We got a chance to study the pigs' tactics, equipment and battle order, without having to engage. They showed us their hand and the next move is ours. Again with the big high five. Oooh-rah! Oooh-rah! Thank you, Sun Tzu. We're finally absorbing your message.
by *
lets see...

a few broken windows. lost business, overtime, and the equipment costs to field 200 riot cops from 8 cities on the peninsula. which costs more?

no windows needed to be broken here, the economic damage had already been done!

anyway, who isnt tired of these armchair anarchists who ramble on about how something isnt appropriately revolutionary? mass mobilizations are necessary to develop the confidence and consciousness that will lead to higher levels of
resistance. and in general, the idea is to get a lot of people doing something small to contribute to an end, rather than to get a few people doing spectacular actions

and the difference here is that answer or moveon or take your pick of the big liberal/left organizations -- they have the numbers, and they do nothing with them. perhaps thats why they have the numbers.

unfortuantely, anarchists do not have the numbers, and so we are not capable of very much. so put out a plan for getting the numbers, if you want to be taken seriously.
by Hothead Paisan
"When are so called anarchiost groups going to abandon age old useless tactics of the left. "

The protest was scheduled at the exact same time as the Dyke March in San Francisco. No wonder nothing exciting took place.
by mr. effective
one writer in this thread draws a distinction between large numbers of people doing things and small groups taking more dramatic measures ... Truth is, history has shown over and over again that any true movement for social change has always involved all kinds of actions and tactics ... you always have the bigger, more organized thing for people to get involved in and feel all safe and nonconfrontational as they take symbolic "action" together and organize petition drives and so forth ... they are totally necessary and we should not mock them ourselves ... but, are they enought by themselves? History would answer with a resounding no. More dramatic actions by small organized groups or even "gasp liberal gasp" - by individuals - these have done things that have also contributed to social change. And sometimes you actually have to confront the status quo to make real change happen. So, why this ongoing, internal diareha over tactics ...? Again and again, we make this mistake, some (i.e. Global Exchangers) even go so far as to waste precious media time and print exposure on extoling themselves as the good protesters and trying to distance themsevles from the bad protesters. Some have thought, for like 15 years now, that if we just get all warm, cute and cudly - then, we'll be taken seriously. And, black-clad anarchists have insisted that their way is the only way to truly smash the state ... but, truth is - anyone who offers up a critique of capitalism in suburban america right now, is a freek in most the eyes of the comcast-mind-numbed sports fans of the suburbs and all the old "isms" of the left have become a stale cartoon of themselves. So, everyone should get off their high horse, get humble and stop talking crap about each other ... And, if you ever get access to the press - NEVER EVER feed them material to divide us further with or to paint people as juvenille property vandalizers ... STAY FOCUSSED on the violence of the police state. Get a real class analysis going ... seek to unify around agenda items that people can agree on ... and, if ANSWER and MOVE ON and/or the BLACK BLOCK are grossing you out - then, don't bash them in the media ... work around them and grow a resistance movement that is more relevant to you (with or without them) ... And you should always heed every word I say and send all your precious foundation money and photo ops to me ... because after all - I am mr. effective and their can be only one mr. effective ... never forget it ... I am the ultimate ego-freek of the left and I have organized all the successful actions ever ... so listen to mr. effective or remain forever the marginal whiners that you are.
by local
Isn't it great to live in a part of the world where we have more than one action to choose from?
by cp
The coverage in the paper this morning was cool - did you see how they said "there were 50 anarchists, and 300 onlookers (not wearing black sweatshirts!) who just marched along as curiosity seekers", and they ended up taking the slant that the anarchists are all cute (upper-middle class) idealistic teens - which is good because then they won't try to kick our butt as much.

in response to above, it doesn't make sense for me to abstractly endorse diversity of tactics. I endorse diversity of tactics *for a just cause*. If someone is a lunatic and supports positions that are wrong, or not democratically supported, and they use the ideal of diversity of tactics to attack an abortion clinic or something stupid then it's clearly not acceptable. In other words, I think nearly everyone would support someone using violence to free a concentration camps etc. or break a general rule to achieve an ethical result. So the really challenging thing would be to make clear what the moral side is. I think the reason everyone isn't out there with us, even though I'd assume 85% realize how bad fascism and maoism could be, is that there is no understanding of what colonialism is, and its death toll, and the fact that this is what our country is doing.

by aaron
<<I think the reason everyone isn't out there with us, even though I'd assume 85% realize how bad fascism and maoism could be>>

What the hell does "fascism and maoism" have to do with anything?

The demo in PA was against the policies of "our" capitalist democracy--specifically war and empire--and had nothing to do with those boogey-men.
by cp
As I said, it is fairly uncontroversial that the general public is especially familiar with the victims of fascism (which affected europe and the countries in the first world), and secondly with authoritarian communism which hurt the 2nd world in Russia, eastern europe, north korea etc. and I also strongly suspect that the vast majority would approve of monkeywrenching and subversion done in the name of stopping those systems.
Then I said that the U.S. public doesn't have a clue about colonialism, which affects the third world. Our education system and media don't really allow it. What do you think people's answers would be if you went through the Palo Alto Mall, or even Fairfield or sacramento mall, and asked: 1. What is colonialism? (many would say it occurred during the 17-1800s) 2. Has the U.S. had colonies and does it now have colonies? 3. Why are countries in the caribbean, mexico and central america poor? 4. What is the history of African nations and what are their problems, and why do they have such intense problems
.... and so forth
I think it the answers people would have would really indicate a lack of understanding of colonialism and the fact that the U.S. is the biggest player in this these days. I base this assumption on my own level of misunderstanding, and conversations I've had with activists who don't notice the asymmetry of how we have military stations in other nations, and how it is ingrained that the U.S. invented freedom and democracy which just hasn't occurred to the simple people of other nations, and we must institute it.
by aaron
I see what you're saying now: the average American is wont to decry the horrors of fascism and "communism," but is blissfully unaware of America's misdeeds. Fair enough.

That said, I think calling America's policies outside its borders "colonialism" problematic. With some notable exceptions, the US has tended to prefer contracting out direct political administration to "native" clients than in imposing direct control by its own representatives. The Iraq situation has some shades of colonial-rule, but even there the goal is to hand over formal controls to (some) Iraq's themselves.

When all's said I don't see the benefit of the C word in describing the situation we find ourselves facing--and opposing. The other C--capitalism--is the name we should give our enemy, IMO.
by mr. effective
the idea is not to blindly endorse people using a diversity of tactics for wrong reasons ... but, if you re-read the entire thread and the tone of my first plea to stop the wasteful infighting over tactics - you will see that the my suggestions were in the context of people supporting causes that most of us would agree with ... ending the imperilistic occupation of Iraq, stopping the inherently bad effects of disaster capitalism as it is manifest now, supporting more creative and active participation by workers themselves and less pre-packaged dummied down economic activity that is currently the only game in town on the Palo Alto strip ... so, pulling out the stale card about the abortion is just silly ... this is an internal dialogue amongst folks who basically agree on many things and yet can't seem to articulate any real agenda items that many can agree on and seem to keep falling into this petty infighting trap ... you know the worn-out go-around about, "well, you're to soft and comfortable and I'm more radical than thou ... " versus the John Deweyite, "well, I'm more educated and know how the system works, so please don't disrupt my peaceful thing with your juvenille tactics ... " ... you know the "good protestor/ bad protestor" thing ... and it is simply a lame waste of time ... that we really don't have the luxury for anymore as more and more people around the planet are facing increasingly dire choices, the climate stability situation is declining and the investment class is cementing their almost monolithic empire of total control ... so, now, later in the thread we also devolve into the ivory-tower conversation about, "is it colonialism ... or something else ... " ... well, it is brutal, exploitative imperialism even if it is now more sophisticated ... (i.e. the U.S. didn't just march into Columbia, Afghanistan or Iraq and throw the flag in the overt name of the colonial empire ... they didn't pretent to call Iraq a colony ... they are calling it a democracy ... but, that's just the PR spin of the new corporate imperialist ... but, see, we all know this already ... what we don't seem to ever agree on, is that you can do something that you can think is effective, I can disagree privately but still remain vaguely supportive and focus my energies on other more unifying agenda items ... ... what are the unifying agenda items by the way? What are any of us (reform capitalists, anarchists, top-down state-centered socialists, revolutionary communists ... ) what are any of us saying that the vast majority of american workers can jive with? What are we offering that we ourselves agree on - as valid changes to make ... desirable outcomes of any organized social actions ... this articulation is not taking place ... instead, anytime the other totally misunderstood and marginalized elements of the "left" see postings like these - some of them jump to criticize ... either it's not radical enough ... or it's too confrontational ... the numbers are low ... etc. ... let people do what they feel like doing ... criticize them in private and in constructive ways ... start to offer up agenda items that are worth fighting for ... let us all know what your revolution would look like, and what would you do with people who don't agree ... these things need to come out amongst the progressives ... but, publicly the tone needs to remain supportive ... or "the man" and the media machinery of corporate capitalism ... can continue to exploit, co-opt and marginalize everything that any of us do or advocate doing ...

and, of course the bit about me being the one and only effective leader is a joke ... although many "leftists" have also grown woefully unable to perceive metaphors or satire ... and if we ever needed to point out ironies ... and to at least feel free to use satire ... it should be now, don't you agree ... ? Sure you do, because I'm right ... I'm always right, you should attend my seminar at New College and pay homage to me ... the one ... the only ... mr. effective
by Billy Bob
You lefties criticize the alleged abridgement of your freedoms by the Patriot Act, yet you censor comments to this website that don't go with your world view.

Limosine anarchists. Who are all for freedom of speech, except for when they are not.
by thanks
Billy Bob, that's like comparing a neutron bomb to a staple gun. One (patriot act police state) is dangerous and scary, the other (editing a website) is useful and quite normal.

I'm sure a lot of people are missing the racist nonsense which is hidden. Although, since it's still on the site in the hidden post section, you can whack off to it all you want!
by cp
yes yes, I see what you mean. I was sort of reacting to your bringing up 'diversity of tactics' as a topic to make it an opportunity to talk about my feeling when people start repeating that as a mantra to put down the boring, democrat, nonviolent contingent at marches... but I was not addressing directly what you had been expressing.
I think in general, people just have to do more.

Although here is another question I've been thinking about.
How come the opinion polls for both Bush and the Iraq escalation are suddenly at their lowest point in the last two years, when now is a sort of lull in the anti-Bush election, antiwar activity. Are these two trends related, or am I just imagining that and really antiwar stuff has been particularly effective lately, or maybe the Iraq events have been getting more depressing plus other events are making the centrist group that voted for Bush more pessimistic?
by Anarcho
"The protest was scheduled at the exact same time as the Dyke March in San Francisco. No wonder nothing exciting took place."

It also took place at the same time as other protests and radical events in other cities around the globe. Is there some kind of exclusionary zone that radiates 150 miles from San Francisco which prevents protests from happening at the same time? What's your point exactly?
by sick of it
> That said, I think calling America's policies outside its borders "colonialism" problematic. With some notable exceptions, the US has tended to prefer contracting out direct political administration to "native" clients than in imposing direct control by its own representatives.

That’s what is called “neo-colonialism,” and it’s not one bit better. The money, the resources, the labor, the talent, and the production still flow in the same direction. The great colonial powers discovered long ago that most people are a lot more willing to take orders from someone who looks like they do, than they are to take them from someone who looks foreign. So they pulled out their troops, replaced them with natives, and continued to suck on the necks of the “banana republics” of the world. People continue to live and die in dire poverty, growing cash crops for export to support their countries’ debt load, while going hungry or subsisting on aid.

Neo-colonialism is why Ireland, the first of Europe’s Third World victims, became “self governing” in the Twenties, but only became really self sufficient in the Nineties. They had shaken off the British army, at least in the south, but not the British businessmen. That took generations.

Neo-colonialism is why Latin Americans managed to shake off the Spanish army, but still, even to this very day, slaves on foreign owned plantations.

Neo-colonialism is why most of Africa became “self-governing” in the Sixties and Seventies, and still is not self sufficient. The world’s poorest people live on the world’s richest continent. Most of them never see the wealth because most of that wealth goes straight to Europe and America, after of course, being skimmed by the native puppet governors.

That’s neo-colonialism.

Now this planet’s rulers have a new plan. Some call it “neo-liberalism.” Others call it the “New World Order.” Whatever you call it, it is neo-colonialism writ large. Image the whole planet run like a Third World neo-colony, with a very few very rich, a handful of petty bourgeois, and all the rest of us peons. That’s the plan, people. And unless we stop them, that’s the future.
by sick of it
>You lefties criticize the alleged abridgement of your freedoms by the Patriot Act, yet you censor comments to this website that don't go with your world view.

You righties are a bunch of f*cking hypocrites. You begrudge medicine to the sick and housing to the homeless, but you demand the right to freeload our bandwidth. You’re parasites. Go f*ck yourselves. Better still, pay for your own damn bandwidth and let us freeload there. Then we’ll be even.
by duder
Good job to the Anarchist Action and the PA folks, anarchism needs visibility and articulation, and capitalism needs to fall.
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