In the WaPo today:


And demonstrators filled downtown San Francisco, with police estimating the crowd at 50,000, while organizers said it was closer to 100,000. The crowd appeared significantly larger than the one for October’s march, which police had pegged at 42,000.


That 50,000 seems about right to me. Protest organizers will alwyas say the cops deflate the real numbers becase they’re fascist pigs trying to delegitamize the popular struggle of the masses .

Anyway, I was there, and while I didn’t take any careful measurements, I guessed roughly at the time that it would be about 40,000. I find the claim of 100,000 highly unlikely. For one thing, that’s an estimate coming from a group that actually has a real, easily-identifiable interest in inflating the numbers. I’m always amused when I hear protesters claim that you can’t trust the police’s crowd estimates, yet apparently you’re supposed to accept as gospel truth the claims of the people who actually do have an obvious vested interest in manipulating the figures, an interest much more concrete than some weird paranoid fear about all police being part of some sinister brotherhood to squash any kind of political dissent . I mean, those cops are still San Francisco residents, after all. Many of them probably share the political beliefs of the marchers.

Secondly, I’ve been to the Castro district at Halloween, and that’s an event for which credible estimates put it in the hundreds of thousands, and I could tell right away that the amount of people at the rally yesterday was a tiny fraction of the Halloween night crowd. At Castro, for blocks and blocks in several directions people are packed in fairly tightly, whereas the Market Street anti-war crowd was positively thin by comparison . I was able to walk at a fairly brisk pace on the sidewalk, since only the actual street blacktop (itself several times narrower than in the areas where the Castro party takes place) was actually full of people, and even then there were frequent and significant gaps.

I also find it somewhat amusing that the ANSWER folks take it as a point of pride that so many people had the initiative to come to San Francisco from other cities and states, gloating about how many people were bused in.

Guys, if you’re busing in people from all over the West, and you can still only get 50,000 people, that’s not an anti-war movement with very much broad appeal. All it does is prove even moreso what I wrote yesterday, that, rather than reaching out and persuading the vast swath of people whose opinions are possibly changeable, all you’re doing is participating in a gathering of the faithful. And I’m sure you had a grand old time dressing up and shouting and thinking of clever puns for your protest signs, but at the end of the day, all that’s happened is that the hardcore antiwar Left has once again let everyone in on the fact that they’re (gasp!) against the war!

Yeah. Point duly noted.

last update : 23-5-2018

Comments are closed.