Much ado about what?

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 species.

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.)

Comments

An anarchist's critique

SMASH,

First of all, you say only anarchists have the right to critique what happened? That's just the very definition of irrelevance right there. I mean, I know you think a group of 30 or so 19-year-olds can end police brutality all by themselves, but the truth is it needs a mass raising of consciousness, an evolution of values on a broader level. That's not something the cats the other night are truly prepared to undertake, which means the critiques and responses of people outside your clique are every bit relevant to the situation.

But since only other anarchists are allowed to criticize you, lemme present my credentials. I've been an anarchist and organizer here for several years. I write inflammatory shit about cops, I've organized controversial anti-cop protests, and I was arrested at an action similar to this a year or so ago.

I used to defend actions like this, not because I really agreed with them so much, but because I couldn't stand the overtly vitriolic reaction of people to the protesters and not the police, and I thought, hey, at least people are doing something, right? But I'm done defending stuff like this. This whole thing - what happened the other night, and things like it (the occupation of the student building at Evergreen, May Day '08) - are reflections of utter fucking cluelessness on the part of the insurrectionist crowd here in Oly.

You've convinced yourself, "If I throw rocks through windows, I'm striking a blow against police brutality!" I mean, do you hear yourself? Lemme ask you this: How does this broken window hinder police brutality? Whose window is it? What is their relationship to police brutality? How can they affect police brutality? How is smashing their window going to compel them to take desired action? Is it --fair-- to target the proprietor of that window, even if doing so will have a tangible effect on police brutality? What are the possible unintended consequences? How will this affect popular perception of your cause? These are basic questions, and they require answers. But the only answers anybody's getting (even now, in the moment that people are most interested in at least hearing from the insurrectionist crowd) is either the wild misdirections you provide (blaming the media for your action's consequences) or, in the case of ImaginaryFriend on the other thread, Theory of Bloom poetic insurrectionary manifesto anarchobabble that only makes sense to people who already agree with it. I guess there's some idea that this is all going to inspire people at large to "wake up" and join the cause, and somehow this delusion persists even as these masses are all going "WTF you guys!?!?"

It's interesting to compare these actions with the sort of ineffectual approach of dogmatic pacifists, as outlined in such classics as Pacifism as Pathology. Dogmatic pacifists convince themselves that if they do Action A, it will have result X, even when critical analysis shows there is zero connection between the two. And they keep doing it, expecting the results to be different. And since critical analysis doesn't confirm what they want to be true, they resort to faith-based statements and other such nonsense like "The hand that holds violence in its heart can only shout, but can never truly listen," or some shit like that. And it makes perfect sense to them, but not to anyone outside the clique. Ultimately, those sorts of pacifists are only in it to do things that make themselves feel good, and that they can convince themselves somehow, vaguely have positive consequences, as long as it avoids things that make them uncomfortable or aren't immediately enjoyable. (Sound like anyone you know?)

Your isolation, SMASH (and by the way you argue in defense of this insurrectionist loonery, I'm not really convinced you aren't a participant who's trying to act like a random member of the community), is further illustrated by your inference that you're the ones who really care about police brutality, you're the ones who are really trying to do something about it. First of all, Fuck yourself, okay! I've been working like a dog for Works In Progress lately, which for 20 years has been Olympia's primary resource for independent investigation into OPD killings such as Danny Spencer (1989, covered in the Jun 1992 WIP during the Rodney King fallout), Stephen Edwards (2002) and Jose Ramirez-Jiminez (2008), as well as the general day-to-day police assaults and mishandlings of people. Now, is this investigative reporting justice? No, only justice is justice. But in practical terms which can be delineated (as opposed to poetic interpretations) it's a helluva lot more constructive (and involves significantly less of an adrenaline rush) than smashing some local business's window and saying "Take that, police!"

The last thing I wanna point out is a critique a friend of mine brought up about this. The forces of fascism have the guns and the strength. And they gain power by manipulating people to act against their interests. But we, on the left and in anarchist circles, we don't have that same physical power, but we're supposed to be the sophisticated ones. That's our virtue: We're intelligent, analytical, and we embrace human values (which include accountability). Actions like this and May Day '08 reflect an utter lack of sophistication and intelligence. I mean, you dumbasses all got together, made a scene, smashed some windows, marched to an area of town where not many people are gonna see you, and you all got caught by the fucking cops, which is to say, they just followed you until the ambush point, drove out in front of you, and arrested everyone. Cops are idiots, and you still got caught by them, because you are being bigger idiots! And now, you've just gotten a bunch of young, impressionable people arrested, photographed, fingerprinted. They're facing criminal charges, and you've expended considerable resources to bail them out, all so you could have a good fucking time (while claiming you're somehow striking a blow against brutality). And to top it off, you at least had a moment right now to have a serious conversation with people about police brutality, and you've squandered it by complaining how everyone just doesn't get it, and how unfair it is that in the aftermath of you making a spectacle all anybody can talk about is the spectacle. (And don't even get me started on the utter lack of accountability in all this!)

But I'm sure you'll use my disapproval of all this as evidence that I'm not a real anarchist and that my critique is therefore invalid.

Hmmm.

a little bitter internecine action here?

old experience...

I'm not your usual commenter.  I'm a usedtobehippie... old now.  Back in the days... I atended a couple of protests.  

One was a  real, planned, antiwar protest.  We lined up across the street from the cops, and we threw a bottle at them.  Then they chased us down the hill.  We complained for weeks about their violence.  Notice: we started it. 

The other protest happened quite by accident.  One of the street people (Haight St.) had a birthday.  Birthday singing got out of hand, and clogged the street. Everyone quickly forgot what started the problem.   The cops came to clear the street.  It was midnight before the tear gas began to clear.  I watched friends be hit with billyclubs.  Not pretty. 

I still don't like protests.  Violence is much more "in the air" than it was back then.   Be careful, kids.  Stay safe.  Stay home.  I may be your grandma....

 

alex jones talking trash

Alex Jones is already putting on the right-wing white populist spin, falsely accusing protesters of being police for engaging in direct action "Agents Provocateurs Disrupt Washington State Protest" http://www.infowars.com/agents-provocateurs-disrupt-washington-state-pro...

Violence towards property and it's effect on people...

I feel conflicted on the subject of property damage in protest. While there was a time I could definitely make the rational reasoning that property is far less valuable when compared to damage or loss of human life... at the same time, human life and property are intimately entwined many times.

Think about it. How many of you, other than the most stringent of idealists, live your life without any attachment to physical material things? When we damage property it's often damage to something tied to some real living and breathing person's livelihood isn't it?

Even in cases of property damage of things owned by corporations. It's rarely the corporations themselves that have to foot the bill for those damages, it's the people nearer to the bottom of those ladders trying to make a living and go about their lives (many times struggling to do so).

I support people struggling against injustice and oppression but I'm becoming less and less willing to support people expressing that struggle through violence. Even when it's violence against inanimate property. Property is intimately tied to people. In some cases it would be easier to recover from a physical beating than it would to recover from someone smashing out your windows.

punch a friend

?!

punch a friend today to remind them about human rights abuse

or

break some glass to protest senseless death

?!

chad360

(Rolls Eyes) exhales slowly, draws a deep breath...

Berd, Chad, etc: Somehow I missed any factual basis for the broken glass accusation, which I understand is an assertion by the police and not actually something which anyone participating in the event has owned or admitted. It is plausible that it happened, and if we grant that it did happen then let us weigh the violence on each side of that event as the police would oversell it.

We have on the one side, a group of unarmed persons who brought no guns, no sticks, a single rock or a few of them, and no reported weapons or slings of any other kind. These people were met with pepper spray, paint balls filled with pepper spray powder material, handcuffs, (presumably) holstered handguns, (presumably) racked rifles, radios, arm bars and hair holds, and were then arrested, as a group, to protect the sanctity of property and order. Not to protect someone's life, but to protect someone's "right" to use the street for a vehicle. Which by the way is not actually a right, but a privilege for which one must be both licensed and insured. And the result of this event is that you now discuss the actions of the participants rather than the actions of the over reacting police forces which systematically treated a group of dissident persons as if they were a kind of germ to be isolated and cattle-logged.

Do you discuss the actions of the police these folks were protesting? Well, no - so in that aspect the demonstration failed with you. But that is your choice, not the intended result of the demonstration. You choose to miss the point and focus on the actions of the victim, as if standing apart and above them will absolve you of dealing with the fact that your taxes paid for three murders in your own town which were not even prosecuted.

Disgusting.

I'd build a float

<nod to the room>

Thanks for understanding my comment Gug.

Mathias has it right: "break your own stuff"

I'd build a float to protest on/with, and roll around raising awareness..."theater of the informative"

...to me, the way to reduce the tendency that our culture has to dive into the police state is to reduce the money available to fund that kind of posse, and the best way to do that is to form residential land trusts, which lowers property tax revenue.

 

chad360

I like the float idea. Maybe

I like the float idea. Maybe people on the float could throw little "F'the police!" M&M's or "blackbloc". Hey, if you want to win over America, just use a big float and lots of sugar.

nt

think I misread something. 

Exactly.

DHIPO. No, I won't explain that acronym any further right now. But was it expected? Yep. Was it predicted in print? Yep.

Alex is cultivating a meme

to be used later to explain away any lunacy at the anti-governemnt, tea party, second amendment protests on April 19.

If it were a choice...

If I could choose between violence against people and violence against property, I would say "Damn the dumpsters! Full speed ahead!" Unfortunately, it's a false choice (and a scandalous rhetorical trick). Violence against property fails to protect people who are victims of violence, much as violence against property-damagers fails to repair damaged property. In the cycle of police brutality and property destruction, violence does beget violence. And we don't get to choose--we get to have both! Yay! Violence! Destruction! >sarcasm<

Yeah

I think the behavior of the protesters this past Thursday was not productive. I have to question what were they thinking! And I don't think their behavior was demonstrative of the body politic of anarchists (nor perhaps even necessarily the greater Black Bloc community.)


Well said, Drew.

Particularly the part about choice.

thanks

Thanks for seeing my vision Norm.

Here's to peace <sip>

cheers

chad360

Alex Jones is an opportunist asshole

He was a Lefty when that was profitable and now is a Righty now that that is profitable. More evidence grifting knows no ideology.

I agree

Let's build peace floats and hand out flowers...that always works for me.

I'm thinking that a "soup-in" at Sylvester Park would be a good way to start.

Food works, fighting doesn't

chad360

Choice

Without negating my previous comments about the spectrum of violence, I choose to believe that it is wrong for people to hurt each other. Maybe that's something you and Drew and I disagree about.

Drew, I think you need to go back and take a REALLY deep breath, because parts of your statement there show you haven't really been paying attention to the conversation that has occurred here. For example, in regard to your last paragraph, the first sentence is just simply, and quite plainly, false.


I'll raise a diet coke to

I'll raise a diet coke to that one, cheers.

Don't talk that way about Alex Jones.

You're going to hurt Berd's feelings.

You seem a little confused.

You keep saying "you" and "your," when I had absolutely nothing to do with the actions of the other night (or May Day '08 for that matter). I am casually acquainted with a few of the people involved, but I'm a good decade older and not part of their crowd. I also didn't exactly defend their actions, which you might have noticed if you read more carefully. Neither did I say "only anarchists have the right to critique" or that I think a group of young people can end police brutality all by themselves.

Seems like you're mostly just venting here, but you do make some interesting points -- perhaps the people they apply to will address them. 

Windows may or may not have been broken

but a photojournalist was assaulted. Is that as bad as killing alleged criminals? Of course not. I add these words beause Drew paints a bit too rosy picture of our black clad citizens.

SMASH, you're really

SMASH, you're really awesome.

The actions of the police

The actions of the police drew? Society is PAYING them to go downtown and take out the trash. I don't care what they are armed with. Their actions Thursday night are perfectly appropriate given the people they were having to deal with. This little protest group, they are not the victims! They are the offenders. Tony, the owners of any property that was damaged, and any cops that were smacked, THEY are the victims.

Broken glass is a metaphor here, Drew.

It's easier than "pushing dumpsters into the street and assaulting Tony Overmann." But if you prefer...

Huh?

You wrote: "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."

Huh? How do I know if I am not the average Joe? I am also glad that people are willing to check police activity, and I welcome good debate on the matter, but property destruction only begets more destruction. I'd rather see a more forward-facing response, such as that exhibited by Rachel Corrie. A little grinding is OK (or maybe even a lot), but we can't smash/deface stuff unless the show is over.

Olyblog, can you lift the

Olyblog, can you lift the time-delay on the posting of my comments please? I have no intentions of posting anything destructive or in violation of Olyblog's standards. Thx!

p.s.

I think SMASH is a brilliant writer and thinker, so I asked them to post this to their blog. I think it's important to consider how people's "feathers are ruffled" over some angry (and abusive) demonstrators, when it is important to consider the whole story, very importantly including abusive behavior, mmhmm - including murderous behavior - committed under the color of law by police.


...p.s...

Which isn't to say that I think the rampaging behavior was right, or good to do. However, I do not think those involved are worthless human beings, and I tend to think they're alright too. Everyone makes mistakes.

And how can anyone rightly blame young people today for feeling rage about the world?! The world is so fucked up. Seriously.

People kill each other for money. That's mainstream. That's America. That's fucked up. Yet it's all around us.

/rant

peace, sweet dreams and farewell!


no

No, "Smash", it's not about about moving dumpsters, and your disingenuous straw man does not distract from your lack of any sort of a constructive program. Mindless destruction may provide some catharsis for narcissists with unresolved parent-child conflicts, but it does nothing toward creating a better society. Broken glass and spray-painted circle-As don't feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, protect the vulnerable, or reduce violence of any kind.

I'm not entirely clear on

I'm not entirely clear on what you're saying Sue.

It seems like three things are going on. First, it seems that you believe these actions are used to mask the fact that no "constructive program" exist within the anarchist movement. Second, you seem to be suggesting that these actions do a bad job of masking that fact. Third, you don't believe that anarchist do anything to "feed the poor, shelter the homeless, protect the vulnerable, or reduce violence of any kind." Do I have this right?

I'm not sure what you mean by the expression "constructive program" because you never explicitly define it. It seems like, based on the last sentence you wrote, that a "constructive program" is one that feeds the hungry, shelter the homeless, protects the vulnerable, or reduces violence.

If that's what you mean by "constructive program" then anarchist have an extensive history of doing those things.

Let's begin with feeding the hungry. There's Food Not Bombs, the SAME Cafe in Denver, the One World Cafe in Salt Lake, and most of the country's Catholic Worker houses are good for at least a free breakfast. Infoshops all over the country provide free food too. There's EGYHOP and Common Action. The list goes on.

Homes Not Jails provides shelter to homeless populations in Boston and San Francisco. There's Take Back the Land in Miami. The Mad Houses in Georgia. Common Action in New Orleans. The Haight Ashbury Switchboard in the 60's. Again, the list goes on.

Anarchist also lead the pack as far as reducing violence against women is concerned. People like Emma Goldman, Voltairine de Cleyre, and Lucy Parsons argued for equal rights years before Susan B Anthony and decades before Gloria Steinem. The same trend of anarchist leading the pack exist in the queer rights movements or the anti-racist movement.

And to quickly touch upon your "unresolved parent-child conflicts" comment: most of us actually have really good relationships with our parents. It isn't really fair for you to suggest that there's some unresolved conflict without any evidence. But I don't know, maybe you have a personal relationship with every one of these anarchist, and maybe they feel close enough to you to discuss their relationship with their family, and maybe you're a psychiatrist who's qualified to make a diagnosis. Maybe not though. I don't know.

Considering all of this I can't imagine being able to say that anarchist don't protect the vulnerable because it seems like they do. I'm not sure though. "Protect" and "vulnerable" might mean different things to you. It'd be nice if you could expand on that a little. It would also be nice if you could address the fact that anarchist do in fact of a long history of working towards a better world. It would also be nice if you could explain a little more about where you're coming from because, and I really don't mean to sound rude here but, what have you done to create a better society?

well....

krebshack - my points were really simple, but I'll go more slowly this time. "Smash" pretended that people were upset about "a dumpster being moved from one location to another", ignoring the intended purpose of this action, i.e., to block the streets. If someone wants to have a genuine discussion about the issues, such word games don't get us there. It would be as if the police had whacked someone with a stick and, when the person justifiably decried the violence, the cop only wanted to talk about the stick.

"Smash" seemed determined to assert the imagined righteousness of Thursday night's little outburst, without any discussion of alternatives to the structures and institutions ostensibly being protested. Yeah, police violence is bad. We know. And? There's no program there, not even a positive statement of values, just cops = bad, capitalism = bad.

But anyone who argues that haphazard destruction is not helpful is told that their ""priorities are pathologically skewed" and that capitalism "has stolen [their] soul and made [them] a traitor to [their] own species."  Hyperbole much?

I said, "[m]indless destruction may provide some catharsis for narcissists with unresolved parent-child conflicts." That's a statement about narcissists with unresolved parent-offspring conflicts, not about anarchists in general, or about anyone in particular. I've known people who fit that description and have engaged in such vandalism and petty violence, while declaring the same motivations that some in this group have claimed. I don't know whether that describes any of those arrested. But I'll concede that I should have left that remark out, as it does nothing to advance the conversation.

I didn't say that self-described anarchists don't do socially useful things. I did say that I don't see how breaking windows and spray-painting circle-As will "feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, protect the vulnerable, or reduce violence of any kind." You list some well-known examples of constructive engagement. Good. Keep it up, folks. None of those activities involve broken glass or spray paint, and nothing you said refutes my comment.

Concerning your question about what I've done, this discussion isn't about me*, and anyway that's too personal. If I'm marked as an enemy of the "black bloc", I might get my face spray-painted or something, or maybe my windows would get "smashed" — all in a constructive spirit, with hopes of educating me, I'm sure. I'll just say that although it's not my nature to be proud, I've done ok regarding "right livelihood" and other activities.

-------------

* Nor is it, I hope, about anyone else, either.  It's about what sort of actions are going to bring about a better world, based on values that most readers and writers here probably agree on.  Just because some of us don't think covering ourselves in black, marching at night, and breaking windows would be helpful, doesn't mean that we're your enemies.  To the contrary, most of the dissenters here are fundamentally on the same side.  Some of us just would rather see more EGYHOP and Dorothy Day, and less broken glass and spray paint.

 I saw a bumper sticker recently that said something like "The activist isn't the person who points out that the river is dirty, the activist is the person who cleans it up."   You can parse that one to death and whirl in circles around it 'til the cows come home, but the point is obvious.

And at this point I think the horse is well and truly dead.

"Sue"

I hope you're having as much fun wrestling these straw men as I am watching you do it.

It's naive to think that

It's naive to think that peaceful protest is constructive. Furthermore, while sheltering the homeless, etc., helps individuals, it does nothing to change the unjust structure of our society. In fact, it may help to perpetuate the injustice of the status quo.

"Every time our town goes

"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." What I hear in this statement is a near-insight into the strategic/tactical ineffectiveness of property destruction. It sounds as though messing with dumpsters and windows is Actually Distracting People From the Real Issue(s). Am I reading this right?

I think the rhetorical goal was tragic irony.

But it is doubly ironic in that, yes, it reveals the ineffectiveness of a little property destruction...at least as a tactic to address police brutality in Portland from our perch in Olympia. The message is no more clear than if folks had just sat in the street with some signs. But, yes, it sure is ironic.

Gug gets it.

My point was that People's Eagerness to Be Distracted From the Real Issues is a much bigger problem than the "distractions" themselves.

ownership?

SMASH, 

do you own any of the pieces of property that got damaged?

Cause if you do, your statement would be really powerful.
If you don't, I'm having a hard time understanding your logic? If damaging property is used to spread a message, why not destroy your own stuff. Why destroy someone's else's stuff?

mathias

einmaleins

mathias

einmaleins

I'm sorry you're having a hard time understanding.

But if you truly don't understand how I could consider the life of a living creature a million times more sacred and important than a pane of glass, regardless of who "owned" it, I don't know what to say to you.

 

Sure...

... but the message still would be stronger if it would've been your own property.

I'm mean what would be the argument against this?
If a something of value needs to break, why something that you yourself don't consider of value?

In communcation you can't JUST blame the listener. If the message isn't received perhaps it's the wrong form of communication?

mathias

einmaleins

mathias

einmaleins

"I'm sorry you're having a hard time understanding."

"Smash" wrote "I'm sorry you're having a hard time understanding." No, I don't think you are. I could be wrong, but I doubt that you ("Smash") really think that Mathias considers the life of a living creature to be less important than a pane of glass.

 Whatever your intent, "Smash", your riposte comes across as a smartass rhetorical device used by a sophist more intent on "winning" the argument than on achieving anything useful. And you never responded at all to the question that Mathias raised.

I think the point is just that

This is worse than breaking a window. I'm certain Mathias agrees. Folks are talking past eachother here.

Hard Time Understanding

I'd like to echo and expand on Guglielmo's comment.

Understanding can be difficult (no one is immune.) But I think we would all be better off if we understood the rage that so many people feel as they witness the destructiveness and abusiveness that goes on in our society. The rage is understandable. Are we arguing about the regrettable nature of the protesters' behavior? I don't think so.

We don't live in a world that is black and white. And while I am an ardent supporter of nonviolence in the spirit of doing no harm, and expression of personal truth about suffering and justice, I also believe that there is a spectrum of violence. Violence is not black and white. Some violence is worse than other violence. There are many shades of gray.

And so, focusing on the behavior of the protesters, and being angry at them in turn, is really really really pointless — in a world, in a society, where our own government is the purveyor, the perpetrator - the systematic and consistent perpetrator, of the greatest acts of violence.

And again, p.s., if SMASH wouldn't have re-posted this to the front page, I would have done so myself.


Rage is understandable. This

Rage is understandable. This is why we teach our children to find better outlets than to BREAK things. I think we can all be adult enough to expect people in their 20's to behave like ADULTS and ADULTS (the normal ones anyway) know that this behavior is not acceptable.

I'm not sure about anyone else, but I have a big enough brain to be disturbed by (what I consider) police violence, and still be disturbed by the property destruction caused by some of the locals. I'm sure that Tony can probably provide enough energy to feel both of those at the same time too.

Yes, there are times when police over-reach. No, this does not give a couple of 20-somethings the right to break things and push around a photographer. Or kick cops, if that actually happened.  

So, basically...

You're defining "normal" and "adult" as whoever agrees with you. Convenient way to write off anyone who doesn't, eh?

I'm an adult and I consider property destruction to be a legitimate and valuable tool. Definitely NOT saying it was used effectively last Thursday, just that it can be. I realize that this is a difficult concept for some people to wrap their minds around. If you're interested, I found a paper that addresses the topic: Property Destruction as Participation: The Historical Legal and Political Implications of Protest Action.

Excerpt: "Militant political protest is a more sophisticated form of political action than stereotypes of it indicate. Describing these acts as vandalism or terrorism allows outside observers to ignore the  message inherent in the acts.  Property destruction is an underappreciated expression of a positive political commitment." 

C'mon SMASH if it were

C'mon SMASH if it were normal why would it be receiving this much attention? If it were normal why would there be laws against it? Why would mothers teach their children not to break things? Society says it is not normal. I am sure there are rapists out there that think their behavior is normal as well, that doesn't make it so.

Names of concepts...

Norm, your name is too tempting as a pun source when discussing statistics.

Normal is not a synonym for "acceptable," it is a description of an average or typical condition. Violence, including sexual coercion, is certainly normalized in the United States. The difference is that violence used by higher status individuals is often accepted and normalized and the violence used against these people is not. Thus it becomes more visible and earns discourse.

It's that tendency to arouse discourse which gives targeted property destruction its power. It is given that power not by its users, but by people like you. Your rhetorical demand for order is what feeds this dynamic. That does not make you responsible for the act, but it is interesting to note that one valid response to a tantrum is to deliberately ignore it.

Examples of violence coming down on lower status individuals: Rent, Taxes, Policing, Laws, Monogamy, Marriage, Dress Codes, Schooling, Spanking, etc. Each of these represents a set of expectations often internalized and sometimes enforced, which are often chosen by the higher status person and expected of the lower status person. So much so that they are often not seen as violence. When the violence is coming up the social order, it is as bright and obvious as a sore thumb. These are called demonstrations, direct action, sabotage, rebellion, etc.

Ok, so it's naive to think

Ok, so it's naive to think that a peaceful protest is productive. What exactly did this protest produce? What are the after-effects of this protest? What have they accomplished? Personally I'm hearing the same hate towards Evergreen students and people in their early to mid-20's. I'm hearing a lot of angst toward downtown Olympia and the people who frequent it. These are some positive outcomes right?

Right, cuz we never hear hate

Right, cuz we never hear hate towards Greeners or young people any other time.

Seriously Norm, if it wasn't this it'd be "they don't wear deodorant" or "they smoke too much pot" or "their music, it's just noise." Haters hate. Judgers judge. Who cares? You can't please everyone.

The difference being SMASH,

The difference being SMASH, when they say "smoke too much pot" or "don't wear deodorant" I can laugh, roll my eyes, or both. When they have rioting (again and again) property destruction etc. it becomes less laughable and more of a nod in agreement. I have several friends that go to evergreen, including a cousin who just got accepted into the masters program in PA, and they are all blush a little when they say where they are going to school.

I will believe you when...

...you protest the beat-downs and false arrests of people who protest police, rather than accept blindly the version of events which the police spin to their advantage. Until then, I just roll my eyes and laugh at your supposed angst at property destruction and rioting. You don't protest the police when they riot.

Remember the West side police station that a group just like this supposedly tried to burn down? The one that is in their neighborhood and still stands to this day? The building which no one was prosecuted for trying to burn down? The event where the only prosecution was literally for a man who held a sack of protest signs after the event? The one where the accused man was acquitted on the basis of being perfectly within his rights to have a sack full of protest signs? The one where 16 or 20 young people were photographed and field ID'd for the temerity to be at a protest which the police attacked?

It's just possible that the folks responsible for the killing and beating of many Olympians are LYING to us about what happened to that organized group of people who were calling them murderers.

It's not very often that I

It's not very often that I protest drew. I don't protest the cops because, unlike you, I don't try and piss them off with every available second I have during the day. I can think 2 cases recently that I felt went down badly. The one in Portland the cop was cleared. The other up north the cop is facing a jury for the second time. I don't think either one of hose cops was in the right. I am not going to go downtown and break thing like a spoiled brat in order to voice my thoughts. As for your story about police stations and fires, I don't remember ever hearing that one.

Intentions are not accomplishments

What was intended by a demonstration is not always what is accomplished by that demonstration. There seem to be several layers of 'writing past one another' when it comes to the topics of what was intended, what was accomplished, and what objectively happened.

The murders of Danny Spencer, Stephen Edwards, and Jose Ramirez-Jimenez were not secret, hidden events but were perception-managed crises. What little consent is enjoyed by the Olympia Police in these murders is manufactured by their own ability to control the facts and hold the largest share of the mediated 'voice' which transmits these histories to us. Every person I know who read the actual Thurston County Sheriff's Office reports of Jose's murder came to the same conclusion that I did about the proper name to call that killing. Some of that has been written about before, some is still subject to a wrongful death lawsuit and must remain obscure for now (awaiting justice in the formal sense). Meanwhile, a real resistance to police violence is needed.

What happened on Thursday was a formal call to gather and demonstrate a public act of defiance. When the police realized that this demonstration was relatively isolated in age and participant dynamics, they attacked. One sad fact of our violent culture is that the victim is always made responsible for their own oppression, is always fed a line about how they chose to get out of line and only deserved it because they took action. Literally, this was stated by the OPD Lt in the Olympian article. If the demonstration had been passive, polite, ineffective and tame then it would not have earned a retribution.

This mass arrest of 30 persons (The Olympian list does not name 31, it names 30) served to catalog a newer generation of resistance in a larger context of upcoming shipments of military goods later this Summer and Fall.

A very similar reaction occurred in Tacoma, when a totally planned, permitted nonviolent symbolic march against the 7th anniversary of the Iraq War was heavily policed and photographed. A similar situation was seen in Seattle the next Sunday, also at a permitted demonstration. Neither event was overtly violent, but both saw excessive policing and photography by police. This is part of a wider pattern.

More on this later.