Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Critical Mass: the original flash mob

Critical Mass in SF, July, 2010

Last Sunday's edition of the SF Examiner had a story on flash mobs as an international phenomenon aided by the social media. True, the Twitter/Facebook technology makes it easier to organize this kind of demonstration, but it's not essential when enough people agree to get together at a particular time and place.

There's really nothing the police can do to prevent thousands of people from disrupting traffic---or BART. The only thing that's prevented the BART demonstrators from being even more disruptive is their steadily dwindling numbers and lack of political support. Even the Bay Area's ultra-leftists seem to acknowledge that disrupting the commute for thousands of working people who rely on BART is an unpopular cause and a deadend politically.

Even when the authorities know when and where these events happen, they're powerless to stop them. Mayor Brown tried to crack down on Critical Mass back in 1997, but the result was a riot and 250 arrests. Critical Mass and the annual pillow fight have become institutionalized.

Critical Mass in San Francisco was the first successful flash-mob. Thousands of self-righteous cyclists were able to successfully bully the authorities into not enforcing the law on city streets. City residents and commuters are now compelled to put up with the monthly traffic disruption, while city taxpayers foot the bill for a police escort of the demo to the tune of $10,000 a month.

Now young people are flash-mobbing to indulge in violence and criminal activity.

Flash mobs and social media.

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