Praha Revisited

I still have my tattered Prague city map from the blockade of the World Bank / IMF meetings here eight years ago, all marked-up with highlighter according to the plan titled "peel-offska" as the march of 20k people approached the soviet-era compound where the meetings were held. The blue, pink, and yellow coded sections of the march peeled-off to approach from different routes, using differing levels of engagement or "spice". This is was in the early part of my time with the Infernal Noise Brigade. We put ourselves with blue faction, a united-colors-of-benetton of international anarchism, although heaviest on the greeks, czechs, and spanish.� Our day with the blue block began like this, an hour off marching with the main demo, until splintering off towards a narrow pass that led to the meeting center. �Hundreds of riot police and armored vehicles blocked our approach in this little uphill street.� A giant "earth ball' which had looked pacific up until this point suddenly showed it's true use as it was rolled into the police lines.�Teams of german punks with giant crowbars ripped up the cobblestone street 50 meters behind our us, the cobbles were relayed to the front by runners, and then hurled into the police. Every few minutes a molotov cocktail would sail over our heads. Sometimes the police would throw the rocks back at us. That's rather unprofessional!� But mostly they blasted away with water cannon and concussion grenades and a bit of gas. After half an hour of this we moved to another zone of action, and continued like this for about 12 hours. To be clear, my job was (and is) motivational music. Just like there is background music in a grocery store to encourage you to buy more Corn Flakes, or music in the elevator to ease the social awkwardness of being in any tiny box with strangers, the Infernal Noise Brigade had a specific function, a live soundtrack for insurrection. �Here is a video of us there. Nearby thousands of bankers and officials were trying to go about the business of business. The usual stuff, expand market fundamentalism, new ecologically and socially destructive mega-projects. Resource extraction disguised as development.�I'm content that their day was interrupted by the sound of pounding drums and explosions. Later I saw them in the television news, nervously staring out of the windows and making defensive remarks.� The following day the police were making vengeance arrests of nearly any foreigner on the street, and later torturing them in jail. We left our safe-houses in pairs in order to buy disguises in second-hand stores. Later, done up as tourists, and pretending not to know each other, all 20 of us tried to take the same metro. This particular station, like many built in the former east bloc, was built to double a shelter in case of nuclear warfare, which is to say extremely deep & accessed by one long escalator. Some secret police must have spotted us entering the station.�As we waited on platform, we could see a the top of the tube dozens of riot police beggining to descend the escalator. Of course we jumped on the escalator going up, passing the police separated only by that narrow stainless steel slide that divides the two directions. The police stared at us, we stared at them, nobody said a word. When the cops reached the bottom and started running up the upbound we were already sprinting out of the station and scattering into the nearest trams and buses. A hairs breadth away from beating and deportation, which is lucky because I wouldn't be able to be here in Prague today, walking around in the beautiful snow and playing tonight at my favorite club in the whole world. The Cross Club is living sculpture, in constant redesign, and run by stellar people. Here is a little tour.