Field Recordings

Sounds of the peace protest on March 20th. Use a client that plays as it downloads. some of these files are large.

Total time is approx 74 minutes. There is some overlap. This is a very rough set of cuts, with mistakes and low-fi sounds, but it’s cool cuz it’s recorded with binaural mics, which means that if you listen with headphones, the stereo is awesome.

disrupting san francisco


So my housemate, Tiffany, and I met up in dowtown San Francisco this morning around
10:00 or so. Protestors were chained to large cement garbage cans in
Market Street near 2nd. People were banging on drums and dancing around.
Then the police got into formation and started marching around. They told
everyone to get out of the street or face arrest. Most folks got out of
the street and then the cops started very calmly arresting people one at a
time. It all seemed very civil. The people waiting to be handcuffed
seemed to be having amikable conversations with the cops. They were sat
down, cuffed, then one by one phtographed and put onto a bus.
Then the fire department showed up and started cutting through the pipe
and chain binding the chained-up protesters together. the police were
getting frustrated and treating non-cooperative protesters roughly. they
dropped one woman to the ground and twisted her arms back painfully. When
she said she was in pain, the guy supervising said her pain was nothing
compared to what she had caused commuters that morning.
The bus filled up. People on it were singing “We all Live in a Yellow
Submarine.” they drove away to cheers from the crowd. The crowd was
non-confrontational. They were shouting things like, “SFPD, 99% of the
time, you’re the greatest!” And there were hundreds of cops. We
outnumbered them, but there sure were a lot of them.
The problem for them was like the story of the person trying to move the
ocean with an eyedropped. When they got an intersection cleared, we just
moved down a block and stopped traffic there. People in office buildings
stared down at us. work was stopping.


Tiffany and I walked to the Civic Center for the noon rally. There
were hardly any cops around. The mood was more stressed, but still
carnival like. Some speakers shouted. I purchased some sketchy food that
will probably result in food poisoning.
All of us marched over to the federal building and surrounded it. People
handed out flyers on upcoming protests, other political campaigns and how
to be and stay a non-violent protestor.

We blocked traffic around the federal building. People sat in front of
the parking garage exits. There were a few more cops, but not many. A
reporter asked a cop behind me how they were planning on getting people
out of the building. the cop said he didn’t know. My father-in-law used
to work in that building, I’m pretty sure. Stopping the Forrest Service
doesn’t seem super-productive. Anyway, it seemed like that if folks
wanted out, the protesters would not only have let them out, but would
have cheered them for leaving work. going back might have been a problem,
it seemed, but then later I heard folks verbally discouraging a court
reporter from going to work, and he got in anyway.
Some guy was holding a sign that said “Puke for Peace.” I just read a
news report that said that 300 people actually did vomit as protest.
I walked up the street and saw a marching band and asked them about
joining, explaining that I want to get a marching harness for my lap tuba. The
suosaphone player was exhausted. It was 2:00-something and he’d been
playing since 7:00 AM and the wind was very gusty, which is hell for
sousaphones with their big bell facing forward. So I marched and played a
couple of songs. There was no printed music. He told me the songs were
in d and F mostly, so I faked it.


The crowd at the federal building was thinning out, so we called Christi, my wifey, to find out what was
going on. She had a tough call to make this morning, since she works
for a struggling non-profit. After seeing the CHP looking grim in riot gear on the way in to the city, she decided
to go to work rather than risk a scary encounter with one of them.
Anyway, she told us that there was rubber bullets and tear gas being used
over at 7th and Market and that there was an officer down.
Tiffany and I walked over to see what was going on and so I could get
field recordings of it. I wore a pair of binaural mics in my ear all day,
recording to a sony minidisk. the minidisk is the bomb. I never have
brought my DAT recorder to a protest, even with the ghigher quality. I
don’t yet have a didigtal out for the disks yet, but anyway, we walked
over there.
there was some spray paint and a group of what looked like black-block
protesters. Thos are anarchists who wear black, spray paint and break
windows of war profiteers. they want to end capitalism. there were a
couple of folks sitting in the street, handcuffed, a lot of people milling
around and a whole lot of cops. chanting was sparse all day and the
afternoon crowd there at Market was nearly silent. Watching, waiting.
the cops outnumbered the crowd. while i was there, a whole bunch of CHP
showed up. The cops standing next to the sidewalk were the same cops I
saw that morning, only they looked tired, more grim and angry. A few
meters from me, they started arguing with some woman standing on the
sidewalk. they threw her to the ground and cuffed her. She was
screaming, that she wasn’t a protester, she was just standing there, she
didn’t do anything. As far as I could tell, they did pick her at random.
she was on the sidewalk, not blocking traffic. And they seemed to be using a lot of force. She was yelling that them, but dropping her to the pavement face first seemed to be excessive
Everyone was angry and the cops outnumbered us and seemed very determined.
At the noon rally, the protest organizers told us to go to the financial
district at 4:00 to block evening commute traffic. I think the cops were
going to open the street, damnit.

No sign of what we’d been told over the phone happening… yet. So we
went for a walk the other way. There was a crane picking up all the
cement grabage cans and putting them on a truck so that nobody could drag
them into the street and be chained to them anymore.


after sleeping less than an hour last night, I’mm too dern tired to block
commute traffic this evening. think I’ll do more stuff tomorrow instead,
after I write the music I need to write (deadlines….)

if you had an orange vest and some safety cones, you could cause traffic
havok, just going from intersection to intersection, coning it off. The
salvage yard in berkeley at 7th and ashby sells cones for like $1 each.
fyi. there’s also a movement to drive really slow. Drive slow, walk
slow, hold up traffic. the slow-moving protest actually was instrumental
in driving a dictator out of power, but i’m too tired to remember where.
Tiffany knows all about it though. Ask her.
anyway, i have 4 or 5 minidisks full of field recordings, but no digital
out anywhere on my recorder. la la la. need to get the recorder to dump
to my puter.

stop work to stop the war!

Anti-war protest

Wish I could give a more in depth review. We showed up. Watched people march for a while. Listen to a speech by somebody who plays a hippy on the TV show Dharma and Greg, waited in a hella long line for the bathroom, picked up flyers from almost every socialist group there (the Spartacus folks are pushy) and then decided to go get food. I suck at protesting. Anyway, I got on some email lists and talked to some of the biodiesel people. I wish they’d had a stronger presence. I think biodiesel is definitely a solution to many environmental, social, and politcal problems.
Anyway, we walked from the Civic Center to a restaurant at 22nd & Mission that Christi likes. It’s a tapas place called Esperento. None of the esperanto people were there. (yet another under publicized idea that can solve many problems. Did you know that more than 10% of the UN budjet is spent on translators?) The food was really good, but the background music was that song where the refrain says, “If you love me, say yes. If you don’t then confess. Just please don’t tell me Perhaps. Perhaps. Perhaps.” Over and over and over again. The song played in a sort of a flamenco style the entire time we were there. I used to like that song.
I feel like yuppy scum, I show up at a protest as an excuse to try fine dining. Anyway, there wasn’t any chanting. I’m good at chanting. There were just a whole lot of people milling around. I felt kind of like a spectator, since I didn’t have a sign or anything marking me as a protester. So I picked up flyers instead. I also have a copy now of every socialist newspaper that was there. I also nabbed a copy of the The Little Red Song Book. So it wasn’t just fine dining, it was also shopping.
Anyway, I think the bad that I’m in should play a cover of the socialist anthem. The songs in the songbook are designed to be sung on picket lines, so many of them are set to familiar tunes. They’re wayyy too catchy. My factory lies over the ocean. My factory lies over the sea. My factory lies over the border. Bring back my factory to me. Bring back, bring back, bring back my factory to me to me. Bring back, bring back, bring back my factory to me. (it’s been stuck in my head since saturday.) Other songs are folk tunes. The ones by Judi Bari are very interesting, but I can’t talk too much about this because Christi hates Judi Bari. This stems from a summer job where Christi opened mail sent to the team working on the Spotted Owl Environmental Impact Statement. Christi’s dad was on the team. Apperently, Bari sent death-threats to Christi’s dad and Christi read them as a young teenager. When radicals threaten your family, it has a way of turning you against them, I guess. Renee hates Angela Davis, because Renee’s uncle was a prison gaurd and was killed by an inmate whom Davis successfully defended. Or participated in the defense or something. Anyway . . .
The next protest is in February, and I might be in Portland or Seattle when it happens. Wherever I protest, I’m going to show up earlier and bring a sign. Maybe it can say “Peace” in Esperanto or something about biodiesel. I should join or found a radical biodiesel group that can hand out flyers about liquid solar power and the existing diesel fleet. I think that there’s some good possibilities on this. Maybe we could grow algae in waste water (read: sewage) and harvest the oil out of it in a centerfuge kind of thing. Algae is about 50% oil. That oil could be used for fuel. Perhaps it could be heat-treated to kill germs. Tammy just got a job designing waste water treatment plants. I should talk to her about this.
Matthew reported that most of the Portland protesters were Baby Boomers. There were almost no folks his age. That’s confuding to me because Matthew is draft age. Why aren’t the folks with the most to lose out there? The San Francisco crowd had a ton of young people. It really was a huge crowd. Bigger than other thigns, I think. Ususally, when I go to gay pride, I see tons of people I know and we chat for a few minutes. At this event, pretty much all of my friends, queer and het were there and I didn’t bump into anyone that I didn’t arrive with.
The newspaper reported that a small group of black-clad protestors broke off from the march and broke some windows in the financial district. It was very targetted, apparently. They broke windows of banks that are war profiteers and Starbucks. Anyway, it occurred to me that if we were protesting an acual war in February, there were enough people there to shut down the entire city. Groups could fan out and stop all car traffic. We could block the Bay Bridge. Blocking BART would be harder, but it’s part of the solution to oil wars, not the problem, so that’s ok. If everyone decided that there was going to be a city-wide shut down, it would be impossible for the cops to clear it. They’d have to arrest thousands of people. More than they have jail space for. There’s not enough cops. How could you arrest 50,000 people who have fanne dout across the city with the goal of sitting down in every interesection? You couldn’t. They’d have to use other (bad) crowd control tactics, but honestly, I don’t think they want to. (I saw somebody carrying a sign that said, “cops for peace.”) First of all, a lot of them are probably anti-war. Secondly, anti-war protests are great for city tourism. People came from all over the west to protest in SF. Every restaurant for miles around the city center was packed with protesters. I hate to be so shallowly capitalistic and crass, but the hotel and restaurant business are probably overwhelmingly pro-protest, at least, unless they’re Starbucks or the cops starting shooting out all the windows. And the protest was on a Saturday, so most non-tourist businesses are not affected. So if we did shut down the city, as long as we kept going into restaurants, staying in hotels and buying tourist trinkets (some from the protests, stay for Fisherman’s Warf), and it was on a weekend, would the city really care? It would certainly be a great symbolic gesture to halt automobile traffic, if only for a few hours.
I bet it’s illegal to talk about the pros and cons of blocking traffic. Maybe the FBI reads my blog!! Total Informatin Awareness is out to get us. I miss civil liberties. I hope that in the next presidential election, the votes actually get counted.

A while back, I emailed Senator Dianne Feinstein to ask her to vote against the war resoltuion that Bush was asking for. She voted for it and it passed. So perhaps soon, a bunch of young folks, perhaps some friends of mine, will march off to kill and get killed so that the stockholders of chevron can make an extra fifty cents a share. Biodiesel is the future, people. Carpool and ride busses or people will die horrible deaths to feed the plutocratic industrialist criminal swine!
I seem to be off on a tangent, like one might find at Pancakes for Pinkos. But my coming point is important and I don’t want to trvialize it, so listen up:
Today, I received email back from Feinstein telling me that she had to disagree with me. At the bottom was the statement she made on the senate floor. Part of it is very intestesting. She says, “I serve as the Senior Senator from California, representing 35
million people. That is a formidable task. People have weighed in
by the tens of thousands. If I were just to cast a representative vote
based on those who have voiced their opinions with my office and
with no other factors I would have to vote against this resolution.” Then she goes on to explain that she voted in favor of war anyway, despite the wishes of her constituents. So, in effect, our congress people are knowling going against the will of the people. Our “elected” representatives hide behind “secret data” and “intelligence reports” which are invariably revelaed to be either utterly lacking or a pack of lies. The truth of the matter is that we’ve launched the cruelest embargo in history against iraq with sanctions that cause thousands of people to die and Bush Sr, Clinton and Bush Jr shuold be tried as war criminals for their rolse in it. No wonder we’re opposed to the world court tribunal in The Hauge.
Feinstein is a tool of corporate criminals and war profiteers. I use the word “elected” in quotes, because most peope realize that a vote for either major party is futile and stay home. When the people try to weigh in directly on issues of dire importance, they are ignored. The only hope for change is direct action. Howard Zinn notes in A People’s History of the United States that every political movement that as sought to create change through the ballot box has fizzled out, while direct action in the frm of wildcat strikes and civil disobediance has been tremendously successful. We need to be out in the street. Write the letters to the “representatives,” but back it up with action. The mass protest is mightier than the pen.

Call up monday and tell folks you’re opposed to war:

In California, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara
Boxer can be reached at:
Tel: 415-393-0707 or 202-224-3841 (in Washington DC)
Fax: 415-393-0710
Tel: 415-403-0100 or 202-224-3841 (in Washington DC)
Fax: 415-956-6901

President Bush’s office can be reached at:
Tel: 202-456-1414
Fax: 202-456-2461
Note the local numbers. The local voicemailbox is full right now.