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Dog Bites 

Wednesday, Dec 16 1998
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The Mission Yuppie Eradication Project, Up Close and Personal
Nestor Makhno is an arson suspect, and he's indignant about it. Apparently, the Mission District police announced at a community meeting that Makhno might have been responsible for a fire that destroyed an apartment block a month ago.

"I would never do that!" exclaims Makhno. "I'd just be doing some developer's dirty work for him."

When Dog Bites agreed to meet Makhno, the Mission Yuppie Eradication Project's spokesperson, at a low-key bar in -- well, of course, the Mission -- we very nearly asked him, "Is there any parking around there?" Fortunately, we returned to our senses in time and began worrying about the real issue: the safety of our automotive paint job.

"Why? Do you drive an SUV?" asks Makhno.
Um, no -- but the Dog Bites staff car is in fact the first new vehicle we've ever owned, and we tend to feel protective of it.

"Well, just in case people didn't get it right, that's why we listed the vehicles we wanted to target right on the poster," explains Makhno. He starts laughing. "Did you think I was going to come down here and throw a can of gasoline on your car?"

Actually, Makhno, who looks to be in his mid-30s, must be the Gentleman Jim of anarchists. He's clean-cut, holds doors for Dog Bites, and worries about the fact that we're picking up the tab. Anybody's mom would like him -- at least until he starts talking about organizing violent demonstrations to "invade and trash yuppie bars" in order to "force these people to go back to Union Street and Walnut Creek or wherever the hell they came from."

Nestor Makhno, for those joining us late, is a nom de guerre, adopted, he explains, because "Nestor Makhno was one of the greatest anti-capitalist revolutionaries of all time." (The original Makhno led a peasant army in the Ukraine during the Soviet Revolution.) "He was also a great killer of landlords, which was one of the reasons he was so beloved by the peasants and the proletariat," adds his namesake.

The Mission Yuppie Eradication Project, he says, came into existence sometime last spring. "I was sitting around BS'ing with friends, and we were asking ourselves: What's the key commodity of industrialized society? And it's the private automobile."

Thus the idea of attacking -- to quote the original Mission Yuppie Eradication Project poster -- "BMWs -- Porsches -- Jaguars -- SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES" in the name of making a political point was born.

"Our concern was how to make the message look transparently clear, so everyone would know what it means," he explains.

Plus, he just hates cars. "The automobile is a pandemic cataclysm," he says, quoting J.G. Ballard. He doesn't believe his group -- which, he stresses, he isn't the leader of, just a spokesperson for -- is advocating true violence. "We're not talking about people. We're talking about inanimate objects," he argues. "People conflate a human being and the particular objects they own."

Still, he seems stunned to hear that an SUV was torched on Valencia a couple of weekends ago. "Damn!" he says, looking impressed. "That's really something."

Doesn't he worry that certain, uh, anti-social elements of society will use the Mission Yuppie Eradication Project as an excuse for random vandalism?

" 'In the silence of the proletariat sabotage resembles the first murmurs of speech,' " he quotes.

Who said that?
"Jean Barrot. One of the most sophisticated revolutionary thinkers of the 20th century," he answers.

So in other words, no.
In fact, the Yuppie Eradication Project -- a group of just under 20 people, though Makhno is coy when asked for an exact number -- is planning an escalation of its campaign. Makhno won't say what, although when we run down a list of possibilities and ask if the group might start vandalizing real estate, he answers, "Sure."

Would the group target the people who make the policy that permits redevelopment? Say, by petitioning Mayor Brown?

"A petition?" He looks incredulous. "Oh God, no. That's for people who believe in Santa Claus."

He aims instead to offer individuals "solutions" that they can "get their hands on." Anyway, he continues, "The state in a market economy is the tail being wagged by the dog. Guys like Brown are the tools and stooges of the market economy."

It emerges that the Yuppie Eradication Project has a manifesto, which -- in a Dog Bites world exclusive -- we now reproduce, though in some trepidation of having accidentally missed an "every" or an "all," despite the fact that Makhno had us read it back from our notes:

We want to see all the individual and collective struggles of working and poor people all over the world give rise to a powerful movement that will destroy every state, every ruling class, every army, and every police force, all national boundaries, money, and all forms of exploitation.

There's no word on whether the original Nestor Makhno was a particularly hard drinker, but Mission Makhno can, impressively, hold five pints of beer without noticeable effect.

Dog Bites, who hasn't even attempted to keep up, is feeling a little the worse for wear, and has to get up for work the next morning (which is fast approaching).

Makhno, the world's politest politi-cal agitator, jumps up and walks us to our car.

Would: The Suppressed Garcia Column
Special Ken Garcia correspondent/subcontractor John Would has bought himself an ephemeris, and he's going to use it. After all, someone has to monitor Garcia's mood swings, and if possible, give the reading public time to brace itself for the worst.

So Would has been watching the skies -- specifically, the moon -- and writes: "I'm happy to report that we were, in fact, dead on correct in our assumptions, as the Garcia cycle has continued to wane. I'm going way way out on a limb to make some predictions. I predict that, at some point during the next week, Ken will share a story with his readers about Christmas in San Francisco when he was growing up. This will represent the New Garcia. Then, for a week or so after that, we will be in the Waxing Garcia, a period of gradually building rage. This will culminate in a Full Garcia: his 1998 year in review column, in which he will visit his wrath upon all who have displeasured him during the year.

"Also, I've also come across a shocking bit of unconfirmable gossip from a perpetually unreliable source: Garcia was not on vacation on Thursday, Dec. 10, as reported in the Chronicle that day. That's right: A Garcia column was spiked, as Chron manage-ment felt the revelation contained therein was more than his readers could stomach.

"Tuesday, Dec. 8: Quentin Kopp sure was a long-winded bastard. Hmmm. But wait, now that I think about it, I'm kinda going to miss him. Good old Q-man. What a swell guy.

"Thursday, Dec. 10: Hello, readers. Today, I'd like to make a confession: I've been a Republican for the past 13 years. Oops, my editors don't want anyone to know that. I guess I'm on vacation.

"Saturday, Dec. 12: Something's screwing up the San Francisco Fire Fighters Toy Program, dammit. But wait: Kids are nice, firemen are nice, and toys are really nice. Maybe we should all just pitch in and help. That would be the nicest thing of all."

As told to Laurel Wellman

Tip Dog Bites -- especially if you're disgruntled. Phone 536-8139; fax 777-1839; e-mail dogbites@sfweekly.com.

About The Author

Laurel Wellman

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