Harmless Occupy Rally Devolves Into Valencia Street Riot

As I'm sure you've already heard (if you haven't, Mission Local has some solid reporting on it, as does Mission Mission), the Mission District unfortunately had its Foot Locker Moment last night as an innocent Occupy May Day rally in Dolores Park devolved into a riot along Valencia Street.  But as Scott Rossi (who seems to have been one of the few sane people in the mob) reports, the riot was not Occupy-related, but a “hijacking” done by mysterious clean-cut kids: 

I believe we [the Occupy protests] were hijacked and it was an utter clusterfuck. It started out as sort of a “pep rally” type thing at Dolores Park, but maybe 20 minutes after we got there, it turned into a march. I tweeted “LOL looks it turned into a surprise anticapitalist march. #osf #oo #ows #dolorespark”. although i frown on the tactic of spraypainting and paintbombing, it was a bit funny to see the normally sneering people outside some of the boojie restaurants in 18th street get a little taste of their own class warfare. that said, what happened once the march reached Valencia was a) the fastest i’ve ever seen a march fall apart in my life and b) the largest concentration of simultaneous D: faces i have ever seen in my life. This is where I disengaged from the march, advised people I was pulling out and they were on their own, and told some people who were distracted or otherwise slow on the uptake that the march was entering ‘smashy smashy land.”

So, rather than describe what happened (since 340958345 other blogs and news agencies will do just that), I think it is more important to point out who did this. But as I’m about to explain to you, I don’t know that I can do that. You see, I don’t know who, the people I’ll dub as the ‘ringleaders’ of the march were exactly. Nobody did. Yeah some of the aggro people we always have to deal with were there, but these guys weren’t it. You remember those asshole jock bullies in high school? Well that was who was leading the march tonight. Clean cut, athletic, commanding, gravitas not borne of charisma but of testosterone and intimidation. They were decked out in outfits typically attributed to those in the ‘black bloc’ spectrum of tactics, yet their clothes were too new, and something was just off about them. They were very combative and nearly physically violent with the livestreamers on site, and got ignorant with me, a medic, when I intervened and reminded them that I was there to fix them from police violence, not protester on protester violence. […]

The other thing that bothered me is the level of destruction and the targets. This was all Bay of Rage Indybay organized, from what I gather, but it was all wrong. Black Bloc goes after state or corporate property not that of the working class and poor. I disapprove of that behavior, as it is not something I would personally engage in, however, this was off. This wasn’t directed against corporations or big banks, with the exception of one single ATM I saw smashed. This was specifically directed against mom and pop shops, local boutiques and businesses, and cars. Lots and lots of cars. I won’t weep for the hipster dives or the WASP nests for nouveau riche white trash, but the working class, poor and immigrant owned places I will. At first it was a few luxury cars, but as I followed the march down Valencia from a distance, it was all types of cars. There was a little girl crying and her mom was holding her and telling some onlookers that people smashed their car windows right in front of them as they were walking to it. She’s always going to remember the ‘mean people’ smashing. Everyone everywhere was really upset and blaming Occupy.

We’ve spent months radicalizing and empowering the Mission, working with and learning from groups who have already been here for decades, trying to use our momentum, enthusiasm and appeal to energize moribound organizations and skittish and apathetic people. We’ve been encouraging people to feel empowered to organize themselves, to get unions for day laborers, to march for and bring attention to our terrible immigration practices, hell the list goes on and on. It’s just convenient that these so called ‘protesters’ acted in such a way to undermine and burn all those bridges we’ve been so carefully building. The destruction was too calculated and precise in it’s seeming randomness to be Black Bloc or even those fucking suburban scumbags who get an anarchist patch at Hot Topic and think that gives them license to come to Oakland or SF and burn shit down. [Read On]

Scott has some theories on who might have been behind this (potentially classified as “crazy conspiracy theories,” but you never know in this crazy world).  But no matter who was responsible (and I'm going to be horribly articulate here), this just plain sucks.

Now, the clean-up begins:

[Photos by Justin Beck and Ert O'hara (who also noted her apartment was smashed to hell despite screaming at the mob to stop)]

Comments (28)

I wonder if anyone got pictures of the guys described by Scott Rossi. If they could be identified then there’s a chance of mitigating some of the bad PR.

Some of the worst paint vandalism I saw was at the senior housing building between the police station and the new Amber India spot. Because if there’s one thing radical activists hate, it’s … public housing for seniors?

It’s a low-down fucking shame that the Occupy movement and message is being hijacked by the blackbloc fucking retards that attach themselves to every protest in the bay area.

So long as Occupy insists on being a disorganized “group” they will be hijacked by assholes. I think Occupy is done for now - they had a chacne to connect with people that don’t look like them or act like them and instead chose to stick to their own instead. A pity.

I’m not so shure. The marches today were broad spectrum - young and old, black, white, latino, and asian. Who does Occupy look like to you?

Y’know… Maybe it was a small group of “hijackers” or whatever that co-opted a peaceful gathering, but if you’re an adult and you’re blaming “jocks” for fucking up your peaceful rally you sound pretty ridiculous. There has to be a way to explain it without sounding like a scene from a Revenge Of The Nerds straight to dvd sequel.

And that’s coming from someone who got pretty hammered on by jocks in high school.

“I won’t weep for the hipster dives or the WASP nests for nouveau riche white trash, but the working class, poor and immigrant owned places I will.”

This post is about something shitty that happened. But can I call attention to the above statement? What a slippery slope, dude. Do you check their reported incomes before you decide whether or not you support destruction of their property? Is this the same policy you employ as a “medic?” I hope you never took the Hippocratic Oath. Or maybe you’re okay with only serving poor immigrants in that area as well. Because if you work hard and happen to be successful doing it, you probably don’t deserve respect or health.

Scott Rossi for president!

Yeah, this also rubbed me the wrong way. Scott Rossi doesn’t care about the hipster dives and “WASP nests,” but what about the people who are employed by such businesses? Do you care that they’ll probably miss a few work days because the restaurants/businesses have to close in order to clean up these messes? Do you even realize that some of these employees are, oh I dunno, immigrants? I swear these people who claim to give a shit about the working class and poor people have never actually worked themselves.

This is irrelevant. Any action of any kind be it a boycott, a strike, or rampaging assholes will always hurt the workers, even in the attempt to help them. Has always been true.

Well, y’know, except for the fact that it is actually the opposite of true. Labor action has gotten us most of the things we take for granted nowadays in the workplace. 8 Hour Days / 40 hour weeks / sick days / health insurance / workplace safety / paid vacations / etc etc etc.

This is pretty basic social history.

And at the time those labor actions hurt the workers, I don’t really understand what your point is. Omeletes, eggs, and all that.

The short term pain is very much outweighed by the long term gain, as it were.

Points for you. Spot on.

totally agree with this comment. how are “hipster dives” part of the 1% that occupy hates so much? if these people only give a crap about the working class poor, maybe they need to rethink the whole “99%” slogan.

Do these occupy people know that no one gives a shit about their “message”, if they even have one at this point. Most of the country just looks at them as a bunch of lazy a-holes who don’t want to work, and would rather play anarchist. This night sums it up perfectly. Why don’t they try doing something productive to enact change instead of just being destructive and destroying small businesses in a working class neighborhood.

You are revealing yourself as a close-minded person. Where have your impressions of the Occupy movement come from? Have you talked to many Occupy activists? “Doing something productive to enact change” is exactly what they are doing. What are you doing?

I will readily admit to not sitting for a chat with the occupy folks. I was merely pointing out that when shit like this goes down, any “message” that the whole movement is trying push, ie economic inequality, etc, gets lost in the destructive action of every little wanna be Che that just wants to start a ruckus.

Can you please explain how closing the Port of Oakland, destroying property and hurting small businesses on both sides of the bay, and burning flags are “productive”? I guess pulling cops away from fighting actual crime to chase protest-vandals around is a “change”? Why didn’t these dipshits go after any Wells Fargo or Chase branches, their supposed enemies?

working class neighborhood….thats rich …I mean what are u smoking when you call 600K one bedroom condos working class…or $200 jeans ….topped off with a 15.00 burger…..

The guys who did this are out for a cheap thrill, nothing more.

“Strike Early; Strike Often” is written on your sister’s panties.

fuck this i am so beyond livid. my car was broken into and shit was stolen out of it. really NOT fucking cool.

Occupy is not a movement.

No leadership.

No objective.

You invite a bunch of people to come to a “Ruckus Street Party,” and then people get ruckus, and you are all like…we got hijacked - they aren’t part of our unorganized movement.

Occupy is dead. Fact.

I just wanted to say, in retrospect, heh, that I’m sure screaming at a giant mob to stop trashing my home and my friend’s store is totally pointless… but in the moment, when I was shocked and confused and panicking, I guess that’s what I do. Kinda like the time I got mugged at my front door—some guy came up, snatched my laptop and hopped into a getaway car—and I yelled after him, “HEY, THAT’S MY WORK!” as if he would stop and say, “Ohh really? My bad, here you go.” Anyway, life goes on. I’m just glad nobody was seriously hurt. I love this neighborhood. :)

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