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J18 - San Fran, Art Lounges, cops & High Finance

A Tale of Two Cities - Revisited and Reclaimed - San Francisco, June 18, 1999 On June 18th, 1999, over 500 people came out to Reclaim the Streets of San Francisco. They reveled through the Financial District, stopping outside the corporate headquarters of some of the world's largest and most vile transnational corporations and financial institutions. Stops also occured at two of the city's giant retail chains - ones that exploit sweatshop workers far and near.

There were musical dance performances, giant puppets, roving art-attackers, radical videograghers, slinky dancers and the cops pithced-in and dramatically blocked traffic and created disturbance theatre spectacles of their own, by marching-in-formation, and showing up in large numbers - all dressed the same.

People Converged on the GAP headquarters handed out candy and warned the corporate worker bees, "returning to work is hazardous to your health . . . join the revolution." At Victora's Secret, dancers deftly displayed the secret agendas of sexploitation and underwear sewn in prison. At Chevron, letters were recited from Nigerians in the wake of murders that companies like Chevron have sponsored against nonviolent protesters - protesting the utter ruin of their homelands by MNC's - Chevron & Shell. internet-Savvy Activists, puppeteers and ravers frolicked loudly to a closed-off Chevron headquarters - protected by layers of cops. The street in front of the Pacific Stock Exchange was temporarily turned into an autonomous zone and a chorus rose up against the corporate lackeys and parasitic investor types hiding inside the white pillars of an inflated and dieing institution. At BankAmerica's monolithic tower; banners, flags, dancers and artists occupied the entrance platform outside and scrolled, "Food Not Bombs" on the black sculpture out in front (that the commissioned artist himself named - The Banker's Heart.)

Today's celebration against corporate greed coincided with the meeting, in Cologne, Germany, of the G8. They comprise the heads of 8 of the world's largest economic nation-states. Their website: <>. It is where 8 men in suits get together and discuss major world economic policy - without any input from or pretense of representing the citizens of their respective countries. G8 Summits and World Trade Organization meetings are just two gross examples of unelected bodies meeting and deciding on what happens with the environment, with the value of labor and with the financial management of capital that they do not own. One of the many participating puppets, in today's raucous affair, depicted an octopus, representing the reach of the arms of the World Trade Organization.

People marched on to Reclaim the normally car-clogged intersection of Montgomery and Market Streets, right outside of a Wells Fargo Bank. Representatives of the Oregon Steelworkers were present at the beginning of the rally and during the march to remind the crowd of the evils of Wells Fargo - which recently laid off thousands of workers in a pattern of downsizing that began with its acquisition of First Interstate Bank on April Fool's Day of 1996. Anti-corporate, forest-defending elves appeared and almost got a huge tripod up as they were beset upon by police officers who clubbed and shoved them, grabbed a camera woman by the throat and took the tripod poles like poor sports. But, a lovely living room (featuring couches, chairs, and a rug) was set up. People read books and chatted on the sofas, and children and adults alike enjoyed rocking in rocking chairs. Bubbles floated gingerly through the air as expressions of "Reclaim the Streets" were vocally and visually spilling out onto the streets. A sound system freely pulsed out the dance/trance music as revelers partied like IT IS 1999 (no, the DJ didn't play Prince!). Solstice spirits were awakened, dancers topped the high points of the square and enjoyed the liberated space below. The San Francisco Police formed fancy lines of riot cops to protect the flow of traffic on market street and to do mobile marching dances to the groovy music. They were nice enough to get on the bull-horn and "highly recommend" that people leave the area as they would be "subject to battons" if they did not. And, the cops embarrassed themselves, on camera, getting caught in the silly string and yarn that were hanging from the transit wires and forming intricate webs in the timeless circle of celebration.

In other spontaneous developments of the day: Montgomery Street was "tied up" with neckties, TV's were smashed in the Tenderloin District, a McDonald's billboard was embellished, and the steps of City Hall were stormed by angry protesters - the City of San Francisco has recently paid millions to guild its capital dome in goldleaf while 170 homeless people died on the city's streets last year. And, our elected and unelected local bozos also recently allowed the Disney Corporation to use City Hall as a set for filming (which is almost as bad as leaving a back window open for Dan White to crawl in.)

Amidst all the gentrification, privitization and increased policing of our fair city, people here are already looking forward to their next opportunity to turn the streets into a public living room and show that corporate greed is not what the people need.

This posting is nothing official - just a spontaneous call to celebrate life, liberate some space for people to relax in, and please - ride a bike this summer <> and, of course to . . . Reclaim the Streets!


Cologne, Germany

London - BBC page / also see the "internet Links" a list called - "J18."

New York - J18 - stops wall street

San Francisco Bay Area J18 Site - links to press releases from all over

Melbourne, Australia

International J18 sites


Global Exchange's page on the Global Economy

Economics under Global Investment Schemes


the GAP is Clearcutting Redwoods

Whispered Media <>
PO Box 40130, San Francisco, CA 94140 USA

"Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul."
- Edward Abbey

J18 Global Action Day |