[*BCM*] Scattered Thoughts on Massbike, Police, and Class
pstidman at yahoo.com
Fri Sep 30 18:34:41 EDT 2005
I would like to amplify and expand on what my friend
contro is saying.
There is a huge split between two parts of the bike
activist community in Boston. Anybody who doesn't see
this is just plain ignorant, and anyone who says it is
neccesary isn't familiar with good strategy.
The older more pragmatic types who are working in
cahoots with the mayor's office now are doing
wonderful work, raising awareness with some folks who
wouldn't normally be exposed to it. Mass bike is doing
great work at the state level (if it's true that they
are out to enforce a helmet law, however, I condemn
them forever, I don't want to get busted for not
having my helmet when I ride five blocks to go to the
beach, they should be going after drivers, not
bikers). But they look down on critical mass and
others who ride every day.
I don't feel that they are building many connections
to the rather large, younger, and ahem.. much hipper
community that includes bikes as part of their
culture. I'm talking about everyday commuters inside
Boston, not in the wealthier suburbs. I mean, these
people are more devoted to their bikes as a means of
transport than any other group I know. I have no
doubt that many of them will be riding bikes
exclusively (not just on weekends) until the bitter
end. They don't own cars and refuse to buy them.
The reason I even make a mention of the "hipper and
younger" part of the equation is that all you older
pragmatic types are missing the boat on the potential
of this crowd for inspiring a movement that could take
us over a tipping point of bike ridership in Boston.
You can debate the groups size, importance, politics
and tactics, but missing any opportunity for
cooperation is a disservice to the greater cause of
making Boston a more bikable city.
If groups like MassBike aren't testing their ideas on
this community, if they aren't including this
community, then they are creating divisions that don't
need to exist at a time when we should be building
connections in all directions.
That would not be very pragmatic, nor fair, nor smart.
--- Paul Schimek <schimek at alum.mit.edu> wrote:
> Mr. Contra El Olvido is almost correct. Actually,
> MassBike is hoping that by
> getting the police to enforce the law, we will
> reveal the inherent
> repressiveness of state power directed at ordinary
> working folks. With this
> contradiction revealed, more people will participate
> in anti-hegemonic
> events such as Critical Mass. We know that mass
> crackdowns are the only way
> to raise popular consciousness of bicycling issues.
> With the coming collapse
> of the global-corporate oil-dominated system, such
> mass demonstrations will
> begin to take on state-changing, revolutionary
> dimensions, forcing yet
> further repression but ultimately leading to the
> collapse of the bourgeois
> state. For an example of this sendero luminoso, see
> http://massbike.org/police/mpg/enforce2.mpg (or MP4
> version here
> --Paul Schimek
> Boston Critical Mass mailing list
> list at bostoncriticalmass.org
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