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Fires Of Revolt

02.08.16 - The Super Bowl may have come and gone in the Bay Area, but the accompanying extensions of the state security apparatus are here to stay. While many activists are praising Beyonce's dancers for holding a paper sign with the words "Justice for Mario Woods" off stage at the game, it's hard to be excited about such a shallow proclamation of solidarity (only marginally less shallow than Beyonce's new music video which has been a hot topic amongst activists as well).

There have also been a series of demonstrations, largely aimed at raising awareness about one issue or another, such as homelessness or the police murder of Mario Woods. Even Uber drivers attempted to hold a protest outside the stadium, but were quickly shut down.

Underneath the surface however, there have been a few subversive strikes that took on a less political character. They might even seem like disparate events, but all constitute attacks on the capitalist project. While anarchists or other radicals may be involved in some of these incidents, our participation sheds itself of these identities in favor of a faceless assault on the social order.

Several obnoxious statues were installed across San Francisco celebrating 50 years of the Super Bowl. Many were quickly vandalized, and while the media laughed along with “creative” letter re-arrangements on some, others were more direct.

Super Bowl 50 statue with "KHY" (Keep Hoods Yours) and "Evict Ed Lee" spray painted on.

Super Bowl 50 statue with “KHY” (Keep Hoods Yours) and “Evict Ed Lee” spray painted on.

One statue was even vandalized enough times that it was removed from Alamo Square. Vandalizing the statues might not seem like much, but it provided a basic platform for the dispersion of disruptive tactics that could easily be used on different targets. This recalls the case of Local’s Corner, a yuppie restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission District that closed after having their windows broken and facade spray painted numerous times. While damage wasn’t the only factor, it destabilized the business to the breaking point. This is a great example of the ease of direct action.

??? #ninergang

A photo posted by @dev_415 on

During the lead-up to the Super Bowl, many noted the widespread harassment and eviction of homeless folks so the city can “clean up” for the tourists. In a brave act of defiance against this harassment, a man stabbed a California Highway Patrol officer in the neck after being confronted at a tent encampment in the gentrifying “SOMA” district. Nevertheless, he was arrested soon after. 

. Streets are Talking – But Who’s Listening ? kAPpY / Later Dudes / 415 the City 2016 @keephoodsyours A photo posted by Later Dudes (@kappys_corner) on

Most peculiar of incidents was a so-called “Mystery Riot” that flared up on Polk St. A bystander explained the situation to Hoodline:

It started with “a group of 20 or so guys yelling anti-police statements and seeming to incite the curious onlookers who were coming out of the bars,” Mike told us today via email. “It seemed like the energy had a snowball effect, and more and more people joined them in the street.”

It seems the crowd threw bottles at the police before lighting a motorcycle on fire—it’s unclear if the motorcycle belonged to law enforcement or not. In either case—this spontaneous eruption the morning of the Super Bowl proves that the fires of revolt can still be lit in San Francisco.

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