So, here we go again. People's feathers SO ruffled over what, a
dumpster being moved from one location to another? An inanimate object
being damaged? Big whoop. If that's your idea of a horrible injustice
then your priorities are pathologically skewed. Every time our town
goes through this, it's so surreal to see how some become utterly
enraged over "violence" toward a garbage can or a pane of glass, yet
don't seem too terribly upset about THE KILLING OF FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS.
This is sick. It's tragic. Capitalism and its fetishistic obsession
with property has stolen your soul and made you a traitor to your own
I for one am glad those kids are out there, speaking out in their own way against things that are wrong, even at the risk of their own freedom and safety. They're a voice of sanity in a sick world.
About their methods -- first of all, the notion of "protesting in a properly effective manner" is laughable at best. Be honest with yourself. What you really want is for them to be quieter, meeker, and therefore easier to ignore. What you're really outraged about is their audacity, their indifference to your approval. You're so used to having your opinion courted by slick politicians and ad campaigns, you feel it's your birthright. All this chest thumping about "average joes" and "the public" and "making them ignore your message." I've got news for you. The message generally gets ignored either way. The average joe doesn't care if brown people or mentally unstable people or other strangers get stomped down in some town or country somewhere. The public is so indoctrinated in the belief that cops and soldiers are all that's stopping them from destroying each other that they don't mind looking away from the occasional (or not so occasional) act of brutality.
This ignorance and apathy and fear are manufactured, by a culture machine with vast power and scope. Yet you expect every ragtag group of kids to take it on. You consider that the only acceptable form of activist action. You don't think they should be allowed to simply act from their own hearts, express their anger about crimes against their fellow creatures. It's not enough for you that they print leaflets explaining why they do what they do. You don't seem to want them to DO much of anything... except be something you drive past, maybe shake your head at, maybe nod in approval and feel like a good person for doing so, but you certainly don't want to be inconvenienced. God forbid you have to drive on a different street or put your garbage somewhere else for a day. Oh, the horror.
And oh, you're a good liberal, what if this reflects poorly on you as a representative of "the left"? Best shame and whip those kids back into line. Yeah, trot out the nonsense about how "only cowards hide their faces" and "cops only attack when provoked." Yes, wag your fingers about how Gandhi would not approve. Do everything you can to distance yourself from them, or else you might get pepper sprayed too, and what would the neighbors think?
From all this, you might think that I consider their methods the best, or above critique somehow. I don't. But I think such critique is more appropriate and more effective coming from the anarchist community itself. I don't think the opinions of onlookers should be such a concern to people who are acting from ethical principles and not hurting anyone. Property isn't a person, and those charges of "assault on an officer" should be taken with a big ol' sack of salt -- you can get a charge like that just for spitting in the direction of a cop. And even if a hand was laid upon one, well, it's not much compared with the violence cops do to citizens all the time.
In short, I think the kids are alright.
(This was written as a response to the comments on the Olympia Anti-Police Brutality March Arrested thread. I was asked to repost it as a blog entry so it could be put on the front page.)