Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

Resist: Disarm the gun show


A Crossroads of the West gun show at the Cow Palace in January 2013 drew record crowds and was one of the first gun shows in California after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that killed 20 students and six educators. Photo: Courtesy NBC11
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Sometimes the battles we need to fight come to us and sometimes we need to go to them.

Over the last year, the Bay Area has been the theater of operations for several of the most dramatic actions against the fascists, from the Battles of Berkeley to what seemed like the entire city of San Francisco coming together last August to force Joey Gibson and Patriot Prayer to flee to Pacifica to counterdemonstrations against those trying to persecute immigrants.

The enemy appears to be getting the message that our community isn't a safe space for them. Here, as in other places around the country, they're realizing that given even minimal notice, local anti-fascists will almost always be able to out-mobilize the fascists and – when necessary – outfight the latter, as Gibson learned to his cost in Berkeley when he unwisely tried to crash through antifa lines. This is likely why, as of press time, we're not seeing public preparations for a repeat of last year's "Turn Up 4 Trump" demonstration (which turned into the Second Battle of Berkeley when it took place March 4, 2017).

Since it appears for the near future that the battles will no longer be coming to us, I'd suggest that we use this time to figure out how we can use our resources to go to our comrades in other areas who need our support as they fight the next round of decisive engagements. In some cases, this means doing local events that are part of a national effort, such as last year's March for Science in San Francisco, which will reportedly return April 14 as part of a unified Bay Area March for Science. In others, that may mean locally organized events in solidarity with out-of-state comrades.

For example, due to California having some of the strictest gun laws in the country, one might think there was little space for local activism in support of the young people who survived the February 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida, and who have been the bane of the National Rifle Association ever since. However, from April 14-15, the Cow Palace in Daly City will host the Crossroads of the West gun show.

State legislators (including gay former state senator and now mayoral candidate Mark Leno) have tried to ban the shows at the state-owned Cow Palace for over a decade. But each effort failed due to opposition in the Legislature or a governor's, as was the case under both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown.

While California, according to the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, is one of a handful of states to close the so-called gun show loophole, which exempted unlicensed firearm dealers from having to keep records or perform background checks, the show's glorification of the spread of deadly weapons is hardly in keeping with the present cultural moment – and since Sacramento politicians are unable to act, it appears to be up to us.

Contact the Cow Palace's CEO Lori Marshall at and its rentals and operations officer Diana Colvin at and ask them to cancel the show. If they refuse to do so, then those who aren't willing to see gun culture continue to be glorified as our nation recovers from one mass shooting after another should protest on site on both days of the show. Let's show them that the NRA and its sympathizers aren't any more welcome here than Gibson and his fascists, especially given that there's often an overlap between the two groups.


'No Borders in Women's Struggle'

At 7 p.m. Friday, March 9, at 2969 Mission Street in San Francisco, the Party for Socialism and Liberation will host a panel discussion entitled "There are No Borders in the Women's Struggle." The space is wheelchair accessible and the PSL is requesting a donation of $3-$10, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.


Raise your banner

At 2 p.m. Saturday, March 10, at the Bethany United Methodist Church at 1270 Sanchez Street in San Francisco, Showing Up for Racial Justice San Francisco, or SURJ SF, will conduct a workshop on how to make and hang banners from freeway overpasses. The event is free, but SURJ is requesting attendees confirm in advance so that they have enough banner material for everyone to work with. For more information, see their event listing at



At 5 p.m. Sunday, March 11, at Hasta Muerte Coffee at 2701 Fruitvale Avenue in Oakland, activists from #DefendJ20 in Washington, D.C. will make one of their two scheduled Bay Area stops. The group will discuss the case's "role in the changing landscape of political repression in the U.S." The group will also speak at 7 p.m. Monday, March 12, at Station 40, at 3030 16th Street, Suite B in San Francisco.


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