By Erin Sherbert
By Erin Sherbert
By Leif Haven
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
By Kate Conger
By Brian Rinker
By Rachel Swan
Stop the Hate!
We probably shouldn't have been so nervous Sunday morning, but it was as though we'd invited people to a party and weren't sure if any of them would show up. Plus, we were afraid that if they did show up, there would be a riot, and we would be morally responsible. And, you know, that would certainly have cast a pall over our dinner plans.
But when we crossed paths with Kevin "Nestor Makhno" Keating and his merry band of revolutionaries, we knew everything would be OK. Keating and his band were headed to our rally -- the rally we'd helped stage.
"Yuppies out! Quality in! Yuppies out! Quality in!" they chanted, an insurrectionist infantry 35 members strong with Keating in the lead, looking happier than Dog Bites had ever seen him look. They were accompanied by a couple of police cars. We trailed the marchers for a block or so, but when they kept going straight up Valencia we cut back over to the park.
Several dozen people had assembled on the corner of 18th and Dolores, and the media had arrived. Dog Bites headed into the crowd, notebook in hand. Who was in charge? Nobody knew, and nobody cared. But given the equal-time-to-both-sides exigencies of the news, the several television crews on hand were trying to find yuppies or yuppie supporters they could interview. This was difficult, as the only "yuppies" in attendance seemed to be of the pseudo- or street theater variety, including a man from Oakland who was distributing large cardboard signs reading "Make Lofts, Not War," "Save Our SUVs," and "Give Greed a Chance."
One woman, who gave her name as Connie Ramirez Weber, told Channel 2 that she supported the yuppies because they made "better neighbors."
"I'm sure they're going to keep up the buildings," she told the camera, before confiding to Dog Bites that she expected about 30 more pro-yuppie demonstrators. "They should be coming," she said. "The police said they were marching over here in a group." Dog Bites didn't have the heart to inform her the marchers were actually supporters of the Mission Yuppie Eradication Project.
A heavy-set brown-shirted man who identified himself as Louis Calabro, president of the European-American Issues Forum, handed members of the media copies of his petition, which called for the U.S. Attorney's Office to investigate whether the "code word 'anti-yuppie' crusade of intimidation and interference is in reality an unlawful attack against European Americans establishing a strong presence in the 'Mission District' in violation of United States Government code Title 18 Section 245 (b) (2) (F) that prohibits such activity if it is based on race, color, religion or national origin."
Calabro explained again and again to various news crews that he was not Bradley, the putative organizer of the rally, but that he agreed completely with what Bradley had to say. Somehow, he managed to convey the impression that he and Bradley had spent long hours together discussing this and many other issues; reporters asked him repeatedly when Bradley would be arriving to speak.
"Fascist! He's a fascist!" interrupted one highly agitated agitator, jabbing his finger at Calabro.
Ramirez Weber told him to be quiet.
"You shut up!" he ordered her.
"Don't you tell me to shut up!" she yelled back, her hair quivering.
A very stoned-looking shaven-headed Scottish man called out, "No more yoopies!" No one answered him, and after a disappointed moment he wandered off, skateboard under his arm.
More people were arriving every minute; the crowd spread up the slope to the tennis courts and milled about the sunny lawn, the sidewalk, and the lovely old shade trees. It was, clearly, a fine day for a demonstration.
And the non-appearance of the yuppies didn't seem to concern anyone. "They're probably still eating brunch," one man yelled derisively, to hoots of laughter from the crowd.
Reporters clustered briefly around a man who was declaiming, "Some change is good! Change is inevitable," and who theorized that the demonstration was "a stunt being propagated by people who don't want freedom for everyone. The weird thing is that I live in this neighborhood, but I don't see any of the usual activists here. I think this whole thing was staged."
By who, exactly? "There are a lot of people who live in the Mission who are against freedom for everybody," he replied darkly.
"Oh, what, like multinational corporations?" sneered one bystander.
"Stop the hate! Kill the poor! Stop the hate! Kill the poor!" a small group of faux-yuppies in wrinkled business dress chanted. They were interrupted by a man blowing on a conch shell, loudly and at random intervals, who seemed not to be related to anything else going on at the demonstration, and who blithely ignored other crowd members' requests to shut the fuck up. Another group of protesters arrived bearing signs that read "Hate can be productive."
One man carrying a sign reading "What's next? Gucci on Mission. Prada on 24th" briefly led a segment of the crowd in a chant of, "Pra-DA! Pra-DA! Pra-DA! Pra-DA!," which, it must be said, is one of the only slogans Dog Bites, in a lifetime of attending various demonstrations, has ever felt we could really get behind.