so a group of maybe 30 anarchists broke a bunch of windows in one of the main shopping districts of san francisco.

read a bit about it here. the comments have more information.

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/05/01/18592281.phpso why do i think this is an efficient action?

this action had no postings on the Internet or anything like that before hand. so lets say the planing for it was a meeting, lets say all 30 of the folks got together and had a 3 hour meeting about what to do, when to do it, how to do it, etc. then, lets assume it took 1 hour for each of them to get to union square. and lets say it took one hour for them to get home.

lets say they all put in 5 hours each for this simple action to take place. lets say there was 30 people involved. 5x30=150. ok, so lets assume it was a total of 150 hours of work to get the job done.

lets assume that transportation, black bandannas and whatever cost each of them 20 dollars. 20x30=600 dollars.

now, according to the police in one of the videos on the indybay page, they estimate the property damage committed to cost around 30,000 dollars. plus a decrease in business that weekend while all the windows were boarded up.

so take $30,000 subtract the amount spent the the anarchists, 600 dollars and we have 29,400. now divide that by the total amount of hours, 150 and you have 196.

using this little formula i made up, the participants of this action cost the businesses involved 196 dollars for every hour that each person was involved in this action.

plus the lost business that weekend from less shoppers entering those stores.

and some shallow local media reports which mostly were negative.

now lets compare this to one of those huge anti-war protests that happen in san francisco.

lets say there was 50,000 people involved in this protest. between the person who it took half an hour to walk to the protest and the protest organizer who put in 40 hours of work to get all the permits and print all the signs and everything, lets say there was an average of 2 hours per person spent on preparing for the protest, plus lets say 1 hour of marching. 3 hours by 50,000 people is 150,000 hours.

plus the money for permits and signs and transportation, etc. i have no idea what this will be but let us assume it is 2,000 dollars total.

excluding any sort of breakaway anarchist march, the economic losses would be traffic jams created by the closing of streets and people avoiding shopping that day because of the protest. let us assume 30,000 dollars worth of shopping did not happen because people wanted to avoid the protest and the traffic jams.

so we take that 30,000 dollars, subtract from it the 2,000 dollars spent but the participants of the march and we have 28,000 dollars. we will ignore all the economic activities of those involved in the protest, such as the purchasing of political t-shirts, snacks and coffee while marching. divide this number by the total assumed hours, and we get 28,000/150,000 which is $0.19.

the huge march cost the capitalists 19 cents for every hour each individual spent marching and getting ready for the march. plus the shallow but mostly positive media coverage.

i am simplifying the situation, and i do think the numbers i created were favorable towards the huge march, but you get my point.

maybe there are other positives of huge marches and other negatives of vandalism, but in terms of hurting the bastards where it hurts, vandalism in the way to go.