"I was there..."
by Jeff Goldthorpe
The Trojan Donkey in front of the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant shortly before its "arrest".
Photo: Keith Holmes
He was heartened to catch a glimpse of some friends from the End of the World's Fair prancing around a twelve foot high Trojan Donkey representing the Democratic Party. On one side some "civilians" fed the donkey ballots, money and a globe. Out the donkey's rear end, "soldiers" pulled out excreted missiles, tanks and skeletons. Others stayed at the perimeter of the skits and passed out a carefully written brochure for spectators titled "Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts," with a hilarious cartoon of a hi-tech militarized Trojan Donkey with a Mondale face. The Kid found his people but was cursing himself for not being in Buzz's backyard on the weekend, helping him build this monster. The pamphlet was simple but radical, and aimed at a real audience: peace activists at the Democratic Party's periphery, never denying that Reagan's re-election would be particularly disastrous. The back of the pamphlet had a list of major military interventions and build-ups under Democratic administrations from Woodrow Wilson to Jimmy Carter. Buzz said the Donkey might show up again for the Rock Against Reagan concert on Thursday, if he wanted to help. . . . He began to look for people he knew, finally finding the Trojan Donkey crew.
Trojan Donkey at the "protest pen" in front of the Moscone Center at the Democratic National Convention, 1984.
Photo: Glenn Bachmann
When the concert closed, the donkey crew began hollering and pushing it in the direction of the march. The Trojan Donkey was a great masthead for the demo. The Kid was thrilled to finally be back in the thick of things, pushing the horse ,whooping, chanting and clapping, flinging the tension out of his chest into the cool night air. They turned onto 5th Street and what a gas, took over the street! Amidst the frenzy, he realized that the police must LOVE them. They were marching from the high security media/power zone and going to the City Jail to be arrested. Of COURSE they let them have the street. But this thing was in motion and he was of it. The crowd turned again at Bryant Street and found the main entrance to the Hall of Justice, protected by a large phalanx of riot police. They pushed the Trojan Donkey up near the edge of the entrance but he retreated backwards, sure that the police were planning something to contain the crowd. Enraged and nervous, he scurried around trying to see what the police were doing. He saw different friends here and there, dashing about like himself or taking photographs. He wanted to be with someone he trusted, but everyone scattered in the confusion. Some people began to chant "Sit Down! Sit Down! Sit Down!" and most of the people directly in front of the entrance did just that.
He wanted to scream, "you're crazy, stay mobile!" Soon enough the cops moved in, announcing to the screaming, yelling throng that they were breaking the law. They did their usual divide and conquer thing, creating a wall between those doing sit-down civil disobedience and the "legal" demonstrators. Righteousness turned to confusion as darkness began to settle. What would they do now with the crowd divided into half? The unpenned milled around until the cops turned and began to chase them east on Bryant Street. Many others like The Kid didn't want to go sitting down. Scared and suddenly enraged at the cops' charge, He threw a crushed soda can at them, but seeing this little scrap of aluminium careen off uncontrollably in the air, He felt STUPID .
Original 1984 flyer "Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts
The Trojan Donkey, eating play money, pooping war toys.
Photo: Glenn Bachmann