[dc-critmass-list] Critical Mass Philosophy/Strategy
adventure_pup at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 17 10:43:21 EDT 2003
I really enjoy this thread, and I agree with everything James, Julia, Kelly,
and Aaron said. I posted a similar response to the one DC ride I
participated in (beginning of May). I agree with David's articulation of
CM's mission, philosophy, and openness, but my feelings are strongly with
Kelly, when she says that we are all acting together, so our participation
in CM *feels* and is interpreted as an implicit endorsement of the behavior
of the people in the group. When we rode in May on Independence Avenue and
were running red lights, a passenger in a taxi came up to me and said, "If
you are trying to be recognized as legitimate traffic with a right to the
road, shouldn't you also obey traffic laws?" I agreed and agree.
I've participated in CM rides in Worcester where we all spent time together
articulating our goals and strategies and tried to make everyone feel
included. I've enjoyed CM rides in SF where 1,000 bikes take over the road
with an amorphous yet undeniable mass will. I've also been on a "ride" in
Austin where CM was co-opted and the guiding lights of CM there decided that
we should walk our bikes in solidarity with a march on the Mexican consulate
to protest events in Chiapas. I left in disgust, not because I didn't
support Subcomandante Marcos, but because it was not the issue I came to
advocate. Bikes are our issue, and we should all feel empowered in a ride
to say, "Hey, can we do it this way?" or "Hey, I'm uncomfortable doing...."
I plan to come every month, not every Friday.
> Critical Mass is not an organization. There is no such thing as
> membership or joining. Critical Mass is an international phenomenon. We
> are not blocking traffic, we are TRAFFIX. Critical Mass has no mission
> statement, each participant makes the ride what it is. To my personal
> opinion, Critical Mass is about telling the car culture to "Kiss My A55!"
> I participate in Critical Mass, for the transportation issue. Talking
> about other non-transportation agendas that other CM participants bring
> to the ride, I have been guilty of the similar, during the anti-war
> protests, I took the anti-car and transportation issue to the protest.
> Let WABA know that they can bring their own agendas to Critical Mass.
> Critical Mass is not an organization, so there is no such thing as
> recruiting people, people just participate.
> I know in the many CMs--especially the DC CM--we have had a large
> presence of the Gonad Squad, which has made caused the misperception of
> CM. Every individual makes the ride what it is. So I have no room to
> tell the Gonad Squad to chill out, I just don't have to be part of the
> Gonad Squad.
> What a citizen might say about CM:
>> - "That's a little too radical for me."
> What are you talking about? Too radical? Not so. CM rides are not too
> radical, because each Critical Mass participant makes the ride what it
> is. If you are a potential participant and don't like radicalism, then
> you can make the ride less radical.
>> - "Don't you all end up getting arrested?"
> Not true. Just obey all traffic laws, and you won't get arrested. If
> you don't agree with one of the traffic laws, take it up with the city
> council or do some lobbying. I talked to a couple of Law Enforcement
> insiders--that come to my clinic, they have said we have endangered
> pedestrians and ran red lights, and also endangered our own safety. Just
> as a advisory remark YIELD TO PEDESTRIANS trying to cross the street and
> I am going to stop at red lights so I won't get hit by cross traffic,
> even if it means falling behind. Don't follow the Gonad Squad and make
> your own decisions, and you won't get arrested. More traffic laws
> obeyed, less policia presence. PEDESTRIANS ARE OUR TRANSPORTATION
> ALLIES, YIELD TO PEDESTRIANS!
>> - "I'm against causing conflict."
> Critical Mass isn't about causing conflict. It is a celebration of
> bicyclists asserting their right to be on the road. It is the car
> drivers that are causing conflict. If you are against causing conflict,
> then get out of your car and start walking, riding your bike, or taking
> public transport.
>> - "I'm just not that kind of biker."
> Huh? what kind of biker? If you are not that kind of biker, that means
> you must be too addicted to your car.
>> - *rolled eyes*
> That means you don't know the facts about CM and mistaken it as an
> anarchist, traffic blocking, trouble causing organization.
>> DCCM has a pretty harsh rep for being a confrontational assembly of
> radical anti-capitalists.
> The truth is that CM is a bunch of bikers celebrating and drawing
> attention to traffic issues.
>> Draw folks to one date and focus outreach efforts on it... make it
> new-people-friendly and make sure it's one big day.
> The one big date should be EVERY FRIDAY, so it can be more flexible to
> the majority. To only have it once a month would be inflexible to people
> who have busy schedules and a family to tend to. Make it EVERY FRIDAY,
> we are still at WAR against inconsiderate car drivers, BIG OIL,
> automotive industry, and pro-automobile bias. Making it EVERY FRIDAY can
> also encourage Solidarity Riders to participate in CM and make it the way
> anyone wants.
> I have some new flyers, that reflects the info about CM being
> every Friday. I am willing to forward a copy to anyone. Please pass out
> the flyers. For any media students, make a commercial and broadcast it
> on TV. For anyone who is has money, advertise CM info in the newspaper
> or the classified. On any DC Tourism guide, try to get CM advertised in
> Tourism guide. Advertise CM on AdBusters http://www.adbusters.org or Car
> Busters http://www.carbusters.org
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Dr. Kenneth Mayer
Department of Classics and Egyptology
Locke Hall 264
pythian at comcast.net
"Dabei heisst unsere Stube Hellas! Der reine Hohn! Warum heisst sie nicht
"Papierkorb" oder "Sklavenkaefig" oder "Angstroehre"? Das ganze klassische
Zeug ist ja Schwindel!"
--Hermann Hesse >>Unterm Rad<<
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