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Related Categories: San Francisco | Global Justice & Anti-Capitalism
Riot Hits San Francisco On May Day!
by E.
Friday May 1st, 2009 11:35 PM
Riot Hits San Francisco On May Day!
On the night May 1, 2009 approximately fifty people gathered and marched on Powel St., San Francisco. Many windows were smashed in the San Francisco downtown area and chants of “anti –Capistalista” and “fuck the state,” were yelled. The activist, staged blockades, in the streets, comprised of trashcans. Additionally, they threw paint and water balloons into downtown San Francisco businesses, damaging the merchandise in the stores. Some of which, were shops that were still open for business. No arrests have yet been reported.
Stay tuned to Indybay for more updates

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Wish I were there
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 12:08 AM
Please keep us updated, I'm missing out on the action but i'm with you in spirit!
by Anti Cap
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 1:24 AM
well planned, well preformed.

no arrests either. if someone has pictures please post, but be sure to block out faces!
by e (a)
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 1:55 AM
SMASH........HURAAAAAY.........CRASH..........AAAAAA........................TINK..TINK...TINK....SMASH.......AAAAAAAA.............GET OVER HERE!





by careful
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 1:59 AM
If you post: becareful, you might be able to be traced back-- Take cautiona and use good judgement
KGO has a story on this at, and I've been trying to post a comment there, but I've had no luck so far even though I registered and logged in. Here's my comment:

<< All the stores targeted cater to the conspicuous luxury consumption of those who have way too much in a world where most barely survive, if that! If I were younger and more courageous, I'd be breaking windows (and maybe a lot more!) along with these anarchist youth. HAPPY MAY DAY! >>

(BTW, since I wasn't anywhere near the action and only know what I've read online, I have little to lose by using my name. Anybody who was involved should be much more cautious.)
by --]
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 7:35 AM
weird - so , they didn't put out a call on indybay for a bloc of people wearing the same color clothes, announcing where they'd go, and what the theme is, and so they were able to penetrate the Union Square area with projectiles? Or, I assume they carried them in and that they don't have untethered boxes from the remaining San Francisco newspapers sitting in front of Prada and Armani. Typically when there are major political marches (economic or Iraq war) in San Francisco, a tight amount of policing prevents protesters from getting anywhere near Union square. After Bush was reelected in 2004, they arrested a group of 30 people on the sidewalk just for walking towards Union square. Here, at this 2003 antiwar event, a sit-in had been planned in Union Square, but as it was clear where the crowd was going, police blocked every street entering the area
by les
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 7:55 AM
Morons. Insurance pays and no one cares or remembers. Pointless.
by miles
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 9:39 AM
You are of course presuming that the actions were aimed at an audience in order to garner solidarity and support. They were not, so quit your whining.

Actions that aim at the destruction of the mediation of commodities in our lives are an end in themselves. People who engage in such activities are expressing their radical subjectivity without any desire to convert the complacent, or get their names and faces on the news, or to become specialists in opposition (activists).

You can't fail if you have no demands.
by deanosor
(deanosor [at] Saturday May 2nd, 2009 9:56 AM
To ---]: Stop demoralizing a perfectly good action that targeted stores that cater to the rich. It was not planned out on indybay. Check there was no call for thsi action. People must have lots of friends organizing it the old fashioned way (thru word of mouth), but i'm only speculating. And just because the cops stopped people once or twice doesn't mean they can stop people every time, especially since they didn't know about ti. The implication of an all-powerful state that must have planned out every action, except of course for the ones you like is ridiculous. People can do things including pretty militant stuff, if they have a little ingenuity and creativity.
To Les: Yes, insurance companies pay for things, but they also raise their rates, and as someone noted in KGO story these high-end stories are hurting because of the economic downturn. An insurance rate increase might put them out. One can only hope. Also it helps the economy by giving money to glass companies, and work to the peopel who for them.
To Aaron; No report i read said these people were young. I know that you, anybody below the age of 62 is young, but stop implying that older people can't participate in direct actions.
by qwerty
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 10:01 AM
Bring the class war to the streets!

GREAT TARGETS! These corporations have ENSLAVED millions of lives.
by wildinthestreets
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 10:14 AM
Damn! Well Done!
Hopefully everyone is safe and sound, this is an impressive action and shows just the start of what can be done with a little thought, a good plan and some secrecy. The stores that got smashed were the rich of the richest disgusting boutiques, this is some inspiring stuff.
Good job!!!
by ahaahah
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 11:45 AM
so hilarious!!! i've listened to that line it over and over, 20 times already. someone buy the reporter man a drink, best pun of the year so far!
by (-A-)
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 12:23 PM
Sends chills of an exciting rush down your spine!
by (A)
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 1:09 PM
the 7 news was pritty on the ball about what it was about

by fair use
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 1:36 PM
by fair use
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 1:39 PM
by ()
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 1:40 PM
One thing about such a location is that there have to be security cameras everywhere. Guessing that the group wouldn't have planned such a thing beforehand (and rather, than one or two might have thought ahead), someone could be at risk if they are a known activist or usual suspect, and were seen on tape as a witness.
My mother taught us when we were 7 or 8 years old that if you see other kids doing something, you'd better run too- and she had a story about her brother hanging around after other boys broke a window with a baseball back in the 40s because he figured it wasn't his fault. Instead, the owner will come and get angry at whoever they can find.
by rbh
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 2:08 PM
here is another video from KTVU 2 that interviews a cop afterwards:

"$30,000 in damage"

can someone capture this as well! cheers to all!
by Yan
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 2:48 PM
interesting. At the Chronicle online article, the peanut gallery in the comments section says the CBS coverage apparently said that the vandals were african-american anarchists age 15-20 who had initially accompanied the immigrant rights march (was this held at 7-8pm?) but then broke off for Union Square. This caused other commenters to say that we need to get rid of public housing in San Francisco.
Wow, someone slept right through basic logic...
by .
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 3:11 PM
thats the states code word for ni000r
by =
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 3:27 PM
This is pure hoodlum vandalism; it has nothing to do with class struggle and organizing labor to get rid of capitalism. Absolutely nothing good was accomplished. All it did was play into the hands of the police state, making people think that supporters of labor are violent hoodlums who go on wild rampages. Any fool can break a window; it takes a thinking person to organize the 80% of the US population that is the workingclass to put an end to capitalism and that is our only hope.
by fellow traveler
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 3:34 PM
I'm amused by the news anchor saying that the targets were 'some of the nicest stores in the city." ORLY??

But just generally, anyone who is part of or close to or affiliated with any groups, be they organized or casual, that might come under susupicion for this, please be aware, be careful, keep your noses clean and your ducks in a row. wether you participated or not, now is a time that you will be scrutinized.

also, I'm so pleased that the folks who pulled this off did so in a way that was clearly anti-capitalist and also clearly a separate thing from the broader marches earlier in the day. nice work.
by Crusty Punk
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 3:44 PM
by Carl
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 5:27 PM
good job to the comrades who carried out this action. to the few people who are trying to demoralize the action, let me just say a few things. a.) social change has ALWAYS been about a diversity of tactics. The thankless work of organizing your co-workers, or your community, for grassroots, nonviolent struggle is, of course, essential to radical social change. However, it is not the only type of activity that will bring an end to capitalism. systems of oppression have to be confronted on all fronts, both in secret and in the open. the argument that breaking windows somehow makes people think the movement is a bunch of "hoodlums," is true, provided that by "people" you mean "white upper/middle class people." Most working and poor people, myself included, could care less about the property of these companies. they are not local businesses and they have no right to exist if we want a free world. furthermore, seeing a small, well-organized, militant group carry out this action with zero arrests inspires many more people to take their activism a step further. the "cop in our head" oftentimes keeps us from expressing ourselves how we choose. With more courageous acts like these, more and more of us will be able to step out of our shells and be more and more willing to dedicate our lives to the struggle. We may not all be down to put on a mask, organize in secret and go out and destroy property. but those who do, provided they do it in an organized fashion (not just committing random destruction) and don't hurt anybody, deserve the full support of those of us who choose a different route for our resistance.

solidarity forever!
by "Nestor Makhno"
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 9:30 PM
I saw it reported on the ABC-7 News, and I was pretty stoked.

Excellent targets, and no rebels caught by "The man (and women) in fundamanetal submission to the commodity" the police.

Anti-capitalists 7

Commodity relations and rich pigs 0

by fair use
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 11:27 PM
by fair use
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 11:37 PM
well, there were maybe some roman candles...?
by fair use
Saturday May 2nd, 2009 11:55 PM
by repost
Sunday May 3rd, 2009 1:23 PM
Anarchists Attack Union Square Stores

By Amy Kniss
Union Square, San Francisco – May 1, 2009
High-end Union Square stores felt the wrath of a “black bloc” Friday night, just before nine p.m. That’s when, according to witnesses, a herd of about 50 protesters wearing black bandanas over their faces and cloaked in black hoodies tore through O’Farrell and Grant Streets, leaving havoc in their wake.
The group, police believe to be anarchists, may have splintered off from a May Day protest on immigration, before smashing at least 15 storefront windows in the Union Square shopping district. Debeers, Longchamp, Prada, Armani, Tumi, Guess and Montblanc were among the stores hit by the masked mob. Bystanders said the group shot paintballs and burned fake $100 bills while using bricks and sledgehammers to smash-in windows. Their message: down with capitalism.
The vandals may see their mission as successful, as employees of stores with smashed windows reported that sales, on Saturday, were slower than usual. Managers worried that the boarded up windows gave the impression that stores were closed or under construction.
The dissidents’ “black bloc” approach relies on the premise of revolutionary, anarchist street-action. The “black bloc” encourages participants to engage in direct action against the forces of corporate and state repression. Dressing in black with their faces and heads covered makes identifying individual participants nearly impossible. Zapatista rebels in Chiapas are known for using this technique. Thus far, its been successful in San Francisco: police have no suspects and have made arrests related to the anarchist outburst.
by Anarchist comrade
Sunday May 3rd, 2009 6:45 PM
Much much love to anarchists all over the bay area and beyond, hopefully this will inspire others and keep the momentum strong, the San Francisco and East Bay needs to be put on the map! What a beautiful sight it was to see video of all the black and red flags marching together in solidarity. This action was right on target; my blessings go out to all comrades who showed so much courage. hahahahaha, what a terrible time for this to happen right before a big shopping weekend and with the economy as it is, don't you heartless anarchists understand that businesses like Prada and DeBeers are struggling to stay afloat? ;0)
On a personal note I love reading public comments on actions like this, it really highlights the stupidity of some folks:

"SquealtheRealDeal says:
Not a single person in the SFPD thought these were Anarchists. They're a pro immmigration pro illegal alien rally that took the 8:46 Bart straight from the Civic Center to Powell St station.
Its all on video."

One can only hope this person doesn't procreate.
by .
Sunday May 3rd, 2009 9:17 PM
The person who commented above that it's a tragedy how low budget TV news and newspapers have become was correct. Was there a single witness to back up the allegation that the individuals breaking the windows came from a Sri Lanka or immigration demonstration? Or did they infer this out of an assumption that they must have broken off from some gathering.
by think twice
Sunday May 3rd, 2009 10:04 PM
this is not *necessarily* a stupid person commenting on the chron site:

"SquealtheRealDeal says:
Not a single person in the SFPD thought these were Anarchists. They're a pro immmigration pro illegal alien rally that took the 8:46 Bart straight from the Civic Center to Powell St station.
Its all on video."

please keep in mind, not ALL the cops are dumb, and the smarter ones know that people who commit political acts usually will take some pride in ownership of those acts. one way they have to get people to chatter about who did what is by putting out suggestions that they know are wrong about who did an action. all in the hopes of pissing off the people who were really involved, or who know who was involved, and getting them to say something. its sorta like playing the boardgame clue.

so i'm just saying, i hope people practice good security culture. that folks are careful what they say and what forums they say it in.

a good rule of thumb in communication about stuff like this is never say to who, never say to what, and concentrate on why.
by typo
Sunday May 3rd, 2009 10:52 PM
never to say who, never to say what...
by .
Monday May 4th, 2009 7:28 AM
That's a good point about gossiping, either in private or public.

One category that is hard to control are accidental or inadvertant witnesses who haven't thought it through. They will mention it to their roommate and they could eventually be traced as a witness.

There have been a number of announcements of bank vandalism on indybay, where it is even implied that a dozen people took part, and it's interesting that apparently no one was ever caught. Another downside might be that police could perceive a climate where they can freely beat or treat harshly people in leftist groups without fearing public criticism.
by 67
Monday May 4th, 2009 8:35 AM
"What a beautiful sight it was to see video of all the black and red flags marching together in solidarity. "

Which video was this?
by comrades from athens, gr
Monday May 4th, 2009 10:20 AM
so glad that comrades all over are uniting and claiming the power back.

good luck with everything, we are with you.

rules of engagement....

no passaran
by Anachist comrade
Monday May 4th, 2009 11:35 AM
Sorry if what I wrote was easily misconstrued, I was simply referring to a short video on the news report of the May Day demonstration, not the later action.
by Sol
Tuesday May 5th, 2009 10:53 PM
There have been a few sources claiming over $30,000 in damages, and nearly all of them state that with the poor economy this action was the least needed and wanted. In contrast, this sort of direct action was perfect in its timing in regards to the economy. I imagine as well that this had not been spread other than word of mouth so it is no wonder the police of san francisco have not made any arrests, they would have no clue of what was happening.

all and all, amazing.