Update on San Francisco march

Martin Schreader mschreader at npns.org
Sun Apr 21 05:47:21 MDT 2002

Louis Proyect wrote:
> MSNBC says, "Authorities do not provide official crowd figures for
> demonstrations in Washington, but by midafternoon Police Chief
> Charles Ramsey gave a rough estimate of 35,000 to 50,000."
> (http://www.msnbc.com/news/741397.asp)
> Since the cops generally underestimate crowd size, one can only
> conclude that the protest probably was closer to 100,000. In other
> words, it was a massive victory for the forces of peace and social
> change. My congratulations to all the comrades who helped to make
> this a success.

It was AT LEAST 100,000 people (I would say between 100,000 and 150,000).
Many of the marchers did not stick around for the rally afterward, so
obviously the numbers the cops gave are doubly underestimated.

It was a great day. Jewish and Arab people marching together against the
occupation, under slogans like "Jewish people - YES! Zionism - NO!", "Free
Palestine!" and "Stop Zionist apartheid!". Alongside them were thousands of
youth and militant workers - Black, Brown and white - marching under
separate banners, but united in their opposition. And not one bourgeois
politician to f*ck it up either!

Earlier in the day it seemed like a smorgasbord of single-issuism, but when
the marches came together, claiming Freedom Plaza (and the adjoining
streets, all the way back to the Washington Monument!), it all really seemed
to come together.

Yes, the organizers were not able to keep tight control on the marches and
rally. In my opinion, this was because: 1) there were more people at the
rally than they expected; 2) most of them were there IN SPITE of the
organizers and their varied (left AND right) sectarian pretensions; and 3)
most of the people in the crowd did not recognize any one group there as an
effective leadership.

There was an attempt at a patriotic counter-demonstration called by the
'respectable' fascist front, the Committee for a Free Republic. They had, at
best, 300 people -- many of whom were open Nazi skinheads (boneheads), who
tried to stir up some sh*t first in the Palestinian rally on the Ellipse,
and later at the final rally. But they high-tailed it out of there quick
when they found that a large (actually, MASSIVE) section of the crowd was
not in a "non-violent mood", as one comrade from the IAC put it.

The anti-war rally, which really was a "Free Palestine" rally, set a tone
that I think is pretty untouchable. "Today," one person said, "is the
beginning of the anti-apartheid movement of the 21st century".

'Nuff said.


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