Critical Mass & Radical Politics: A Forum

January 26th, 2011 by hughillustration

Painting by Mona Caron

On Tuesday, February 8th, there will be a forum to discuss the past, present and future of Critical Mass — and to discuss the many different visions for what the ride is and can be. It’ll be at Station 40 in SF. Everyone is invited to bring their ideas and hopes for Critical Mass!

Here’s the write up, and you can also sign up via Facebook. Hope you can come!

Critical Mass is a movement with no leaders or formal organization behind it. No one in charge — which is another way of saying “everyone is in charge!” There are as many ideas about what Critical Mass is as there are participants.

Given that fact, there are — and should be — competing visions of what Critical Mass is about. Is Critical Mass a protest whose purpose is to gum up motorized traffic and make things difficult for anyone in a car? Or is Critical Mass a celebration of bike culture that changes the rules of ordinary life by opening up public space to public participation? Should Critical Mass be led spontaneously by the loudest voices at the front of the ride? Or should it follow a route from time to time, as it did in its first few years? Is Critical Mass about staying downtown, where traffic is densest? Or can it also be about exploring other neighborhoods and vistas?

Come to this forum to discuss these and other competing visions of what Critical Mass is and can become. Bring your ideas, bring your open ears and minds.

Chris Carlsson, Hugh D’Andrade, and others will faciitate this conversation.

Tuesday, February 8 · 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Station 40
3030B 16th Street (at Mission), San Francisco

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6 Responses to “Critical Mass & Radical Politics: A Forum”

  1. Scott says:

    Is Station 40 a bar? if so, I guess can’t go then 🙁 hehe.

  2. Actually no, it’s a collective household/community space run by anarchists. Should be fine for people of any age to join us!

  3. mario terrazas says:

    tragedy on Critical Mass Porto Alegre (Brazil):

  4. Hello everyone!
    I’m from São Paulo(Brazil) and would like to know if you have written about the post-forum? Or if it’s still open? What were the resolutions.

    We are interested in forming something new here, more political.

    in solidarity

    – Elaine Campos (

  5. We had a discussion — just a one-time event. Our group wanted to discuss some of the different ideas about Critical Mass, to air some of the disagreements that exist and maybe find some mutual understanding. Sadly, the folks who we had wanted to talk to that evening did not show up. There are people who view Critical Mass as some sort of “anti-car” protest, or who believe the Critical Mass should never follow a route, and these folks simply refused to show up and defend their views. It could be that they lack a confidence in their own opinions, or the intellectual ability to withstand even a friendly challenge from fellow travelers. Or it could be that they just don’t believe it is constructive to engage in discussion with people who do not share 100% of their views. Either way, the lack of any presence from the folks we had been trying to engage for months was sort of a disappointment.