San Francisco, CA – On November 12, over 5000 people from across the country took to the streets to protest the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, which runs in San Francisco from November 11 to 17.
Corporate CEOs and state leaders, including President Joe Biden, planned to meet to discuss so called “free trade” deals designed to further enrich the world’s financial elite at the expense of oppressed nations and workers around the world. In response, the No 2 APEC Coalition called for a week of demonstrations to once again shut down the summit, just as it had been shut down in Chile in 2019.
Anti-imperialist, women’s, migrant, LGBTQ, student, youth, labor and other social justice groups answered the call under the banner of “People and Planet over Profit and Plunder.” The protest began at Embarcadero Plaza with a land acknowledgment. San Francisco sits on the ancestral and unceded land of the Ramaytush Ohlone peoples, from whom organizers had been given permission and support to host the anti-APEC demonstrations. There were cultural performances, including poetry and song, followed by speakers from different organizations.
A member of the International Women’s Alliance condemned APEC for proposing false economic solutions that only exacerbate the super-exploitation of women workers. An organizer with the Palestinian Youth Movement denounced the U.S. imperialist leaders participating in APEC for also profiting off the ongoing genocide and oppression of the Palestinian people. They affirmed the fearless and unwavering struggle of the Palestinian resistance, asserting that through international solidarity in the anti-imperialist movement, liberation for Palestine in our lifetimes is possible. An organizer with Nodutdol exposed APEC as a vehicle for the further militarization of the Asia-Pacific region, including the Korean peninsula, which contributes to the obstruction of the Korean movement for reunification and national liberation.
Protesters marched from the plaza down Market Street, shutting down one of the largest main streets in downtown San Francisco. Multilingual chants filled the air, including “From Palestine to the Philippines, shut down the U.S. war machine!” “Up, up with liberation, down, down with militarization!” and “We are unstoppable! Another world is possible!” The march was rerouted due to a heavy police and FBI presence, but protesters stayed strong and gathered at the end for a final rally.
Rhonda Ramiro, chair of BAYAN-USA, reminded the crowd what they had gathered to fight for: “We are fighting for a world where all workers have pay and workplace protections, where all working people have the right to unionize and organize, for collective and community control of the land, consistent and unconditional access to food, livable housing and shelter for all, for a stabilized climate, and protection of biodiversity and the natural world.”
Kobi Guillory, co-chair of the Chicago chapter of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, emphasized that all our movements are connected through the common enemy of U.S. imperialism, stating, “We are here protesting against APEC because imperialism always violates the right of self-determination of oppressed people.” He reminded the people that we have power in our numbers, and that through solidarity in our struggles, we will one day overthrow the entire global system of capitalist exploitation and oppression.