Last week I, as a “Friend of AK Press,” received a DVD, titled “Shutdown: The Rise and Fall of Direct Action to Stop the War;”
“On March 20, 2003â€”the day after the war startedâ€”San Francisco was brought to a grinding halt by thousands of activists who occupied the streets to oppose the war. It was a mass uprising that forced the police to declare the financial district “shut down.” The planning and outreach coordinated by Direct Action to Stop the War (DASW), filled downtown San Francisco with approximately 15,000 people clogging traffic, stopping business as usual, communicating with passersby, and creating a pandemonium that lasted for several days.Â But neither DASW nor the mass resistance outlasted Iraq’s occupation. […]Â Created by organizers involved with DASW,Â Shutdown combines detailed information on organizing for a mass action, critical interviews on organizing pitfalls, and the wisdom of hindsight. It is a must-see film for those engaged in the continuous struggle toward social justice.”
A thought provoking piece. What has any protest really changed? A very interesting question. One for which I haven’t a quick answer. But I’m convinced the more relevant question is what has any protest prevented?
Anyway what was so striking to me, personally, was what I perceived to be the “fringe” element. The “trouble makers” wearing “bandana’s” at, what I didn’t have any trouble assuming was, the expense of Â the demonstration.
I can’t, honestly, say I agreed with such a tactic—hiding your face for any reason strikes me as “underhanded” and, therefore, counter productive—among “peaceful” protests. And subsequently assumed they were there to start trouble or were responsible for all thatÂ ensuesÂ when things do goÂ awry. No matter how unfair I thought it was, I just figured this was the norm, and “came with the territory.” A part of organized dissent.
And as always, there is another story, or in this case a more logical and acceptable reason for wanting to protect your identity. I highly suggest reading “5 Reasons for Activists to Cover Their Faces at Protests…”
Thanks, once again, Will…