San Francisco and Oakland's Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART) recently blocked cell phone signals in an effort to control mobs and protesters. While the debate about the wisdom of blocking communication systems continues, the protesters are moving forward with various plans to try and impose their demands on the transit system.
Today, September 8th, plans are in place for a protest called "Spare The Fare" that will test the limits of the public transit system and the police officers charged with protecting the riders and employees of BART. The details are covered on Day of Rage website (a self-declared clearinghouse for anti-capitalist thinking).
"Spare The Fare" is explained:
We are calling on anarchists, anti-authoritarians, and radicals (and everyone else) to step up for our “SPARE THE FARE” BART action, this Thursday at 5:00 PM at Powell Street Station. We have one demand, which is that the BART police department be shutdown.
The idea is to gather so many people outside the turnstiles that traffic will be hampered to the point that BART officials will be forced to open the emergency gates. This allows everyone to walk onto the trains without a ticket. If BART chooses to close the station, protesters have plans to move to another station and do the same thing.
Instead of solving the problem of a couple of bad police officers among the BART Police staff, these groups are demanding that BART Police be completely disbanded.
The protest also has the support of a group called "Feminists Against Cops" - this organization sees any police force as a threat:
As Feminists against Cops, we want everyone across the bay area to know that women are not safer because of police presence, in BART or elsewhere. Quite the opposite. Many women are in danger because of the police. Every police institution is sexist and violent. The police are more of a threat to women than a protection, and we do not want our public transport system militarized.
Seriously? This group believes that "EVERY police institution is sexist and violent." But the Feminists Against Cops are also against paying fares for using the transit system:
The ridiculous BART fares are a burden for people who struggle for survival. We evade fares because we claim the right to be able to move freely even if we don’t have the money to pay the fares. Since evading fare is part of how we survive and move freely, then this also means that in order to survive and move freely, we must resist police.
The "evade fares" thinking is not new to the Anti-Capitalist crowd, back on August 5th of this year, the following demands were on a printed hand-out distributed at something called a "propaganda action" at the corner of 16th & Mission Streets.
two simple demands
COPS OFF THE TRAINS AND BUSES
FREE TRANSIT FOR EVERYONE
"Free transit" appears to be at the center of this movement, and the rationale for this demand is also explained for the curious:
We can’t afford to pay the fare, and we have other shit to spend our money on even if we could. We jump the turnstiles, board through the back door, and buy transfers on the street.
We have places to go: jobs to get to, lines to wait in at the food stamp office, parole officers to see, charges to beat, streets to sweep, lonely parents to see. We need a ride because our legs can’t take us that far anymore, or because we just didn’t want to walk on the street wearing a skirt and heels, or because we’re black and brown and know the cops don’t need any more reason to fuck with us.
They also include some plans for making all of this happen, and it includes violence, vandalism and blatant criminal behavior:
STOP PAYING FARES: board through the back door, jump the turnstiles. Keep one clipper card to swipe if you see the inspectors board. If you get caught, buy a transfer on the next bus and send it in with your ticket.
NO CONTROL: spray paint the cameras, smash the ticket machines, break the card readers, black-out the snitch-lines.
HAVE EACH OTHER’S BACKS: open the back door or emergency exit, share your transfer, and never snitch!
GET TOGETHER: Drivers, riders, poor people, unemployed people, those of us that are targeted and harassed by cops – we need to meet up, to make plans together, to fight together to get rid of the transit police and make public transit free.
The "Feminists Against Cops" want more than free public transit, they seem to want free everything:
If we want food, we simply need to take it. If we want houses, we need to take them as well. If we want to move freely – without fares or fear of death – we need to take direct action to eliminate fares and the police. If we want free trains, we simply need to make them free.
More than a year ago, Glenn Beck warned that "The Coming Insurrection" - a textbook for bringing down Capitalism - fueled the riots in the streets of Europe, was coming to America. It appears that groups like Feminists Against Cops and that advocate for free transportation, free food, and housing are working to make Beck's prediction a reality.