Palestine Takes the Streets of San Francisco

By Bill Hackwell on November 14, 2023, from San Francisco

photos: Bill Hackwell

For the last four days at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit there has been non stop protests with thousands trying to shut it down while raising issues from the climate crisis to workers rights and an end to the genocide in Gaza. The APEC summit is a major neo liberal gathering of corporate elites and compliant governments that are here to make deals in dividing up the wealth of the world with little regard to the needs of the vast majority of people who inhabit this planet. Over 1200 corporate heads and 30,000 delegates are attending.

San Francisco, once known for being the Emerald City by the Bay and a destination mecca for tourism and conferences, has had to go through a temporary make over to prevent the delegates from having to step over the homeless to get to their hotels. The city now suffers from a collapse and social crisis of major proportions punctuated by an epidemic of drug use and deaths all along Market Street and the city center. According to Hillary Kunis director of San Francisco Behavoral Health Services, there have been a total of 620 overdose deaths from January to September 2023. To sweep the crisis under the rug while APEC is here the city cleared the homeless encampments and put metal fencing and flower beds along the streets as well as bringing in hundreds of extra police from various state agencies.

Viva! Viva! Palestina

Tonight as President Joe Biden was arriving for fundraising events to counter his sagging popularity there was a transformation that began in the city center where the famed cable cars turn at Powell and Market streets, that clearly and loudly expressed the support for the courageous people of Gaza as they continue to face the constant rain of Israeli bombs and troops with no out. This location for decades has been the spot where emergency demonstrations have formed against US imperialist adventures abroad and other struggles. The protest tonight was organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement, student organizations from San Francisco State University, the ANSWER Coalition and others

It was not long before the protest spilled out onto the street stopping all public traffic as speaker after speaker condemned the US and Israel for the human suffering and deaths that have now reached over 11,000 including 4,500 children; this last fact clearly indicates that the future generations of Palestinians have been targeted by the Israeli military for death. The slaughter that the world is witnessing could not go on for a day without the encouragement and  continuous massive military aid from the Biden Administration and Congress. Richard Becker, west coast co ordinator of the ANSWER Coalition and author of the book, Palestine, Israel and the US Empire, told the crowd, “It is not an exaggeration to call Israel the 51st US state because it receives more federal money than most of the other states in the US.”

At its peak the protest swelled to over 7,000 mostly college age Palestinians and their supporters, the majority of which were also young. The immediate goal of the march as it weaved through the financial district was to reach a fundraising event for Biden. The sound of the chants was louder than the numbers. It was an angry march but it was also a determined, organized and disciplined one. There was no breaking of store windows for example to detract from the unity.  Even when several motorcycle police from the California Highway Patrol tried to provoke the protest by driving into it the security of the demonstration held the line forcing the cops to retreat. The significance of this maturity shows that this is a growing movement ready for the long haul not only for Palestine but also for the oppressed of the world who are waking up.

While the Palestinian people have made it clear that they will never give up in the struggle to retrieve the land that is theirs, support from around the world will not waver either.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano – English