Blogs May 22, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Comments

1
So to show that not all the rioters were spoiled white anarchists from Olympia, we meet Ms. Stader, a moron from Olympia.

Someone needs to GIF Erica getting maced.
2
Ansel? Your provide a hyperlink for a "typical slog commenter" but the quote ("I say fuck you etc") is not anywhere on that page. Even though it's a comment link, it doesn't jump down to any comment, either. Deleted?
3
Watch "The East" when it comes out.

Then you'll understand.
4
hmm...
5
Having read your entire post, I will say this much. There is a reason why nonviolent protest achieves more than violent protest. To be violent, no matter how far you think you've been pushed, is to play by their rules. If you want to say "fuck those rules," you better understand them first.
6
tl;dr

I could really give a fuck why they did it. When you throw a temper tantrum you lose any expectations that others will listen to what you have to say or care who you are.

7
@2 Matt, the quote is there. turn on unregistereds to see it. It is comment #4
8
Good article.

However I still owe the cop that peppersprayed Erica Cow Barnett a beer.

Now that is what I call being a public servant.
9
Millions of people have it bad. They don't riot in the street and intentionally provoke the police and destroy property. I respect them. I don't respect rioters. And even a fourteen year old knows the difference between right and wrong.
10
@ 7, it's unregistered?

What the actual fuck, Ansel? Unregistered users aren't "typical Slog commenters." They're mostly trolls.

Jesus fuck.
11
(Thanks for the help, Akbar.)
12
Goldy, roll up a newspaper and smack this intern on the nose, will you?
13
Watched this unfold on TV and I agree with the cops here, there is no reason to break the windows of a retailer because you are homeless or underprivileged. Please stop coming to the defense of idiots because it plays to the demographics of the Stranger. Queers can be assholes too you know?
Also we need to know more about the pogo-stick wielding anarchist that was arrested, that dude is pure comedy!
14
Worst intern ever. Convoluted logic, mischaracterizing quotes (typical slog commenter!).

So which is it? Are anarchist protesters noble, high-minded thinkers who are just playing on an intellectual plane the normal people can't understand (as Brenden Kiley seems to think) or are they innocent mentally handicapped drug addicts that are just confused and without agency?

You know what those two groups have in common? They both know you shouldn't bust the windows out of a local bar, and if you do, you're in trouble. And now they are in trouble.
15
Oh for fuck's sake. No one criminalized dissent, vandalism and assault yes, but those things are neither necessary nor helpful in affecting change.

I truly feel bad for these folks who got swept up in the protest and ended up hurt or in legal trouble, but they may be the exception, or they may be the rule; anecdotal evidence that a few of the folks in legal trouble are essentially decent folks with significant struggles in their daily lives does not prove that the vast majority of the people who actually broke the law (not just those that got caught) aren't just bored assholes stirring up trouble. Either way the trouble they are in is decidedly not through no fault of their own.
16
Oh, Lizz M... I remember being a Seattle U student and wanting to see the best in everyone and change the world.

Then I got old and bitter.
17
My lord, the unintentional comedy! This piece is all over the place. From the war on terror to mayor McGuin, I actually got miles on my AmEx afer reading it.

It's like reading a highschool sophmore version of a Unified Field Theory for dipshit manifestos. The self-inflated earnestness is so palpable I can actually smell the shitty weed he smoked!
18
@14 Even though I disagree with much/all of the analysis and conclusions, this is one of the best interns ever. In the same league as the right wing nut job who aspired to work for the Koch brothers.

Ansel appears to be passionate about making the world a better place. What is wrong with that? Oh sure, you can always quibble about a certain youthful lack of rigor in the analysis, and a predisposition for certain conclusions, but as long as you honestly try to see things as they are, and keep trying to make things better, what real harm is there?

In a couple of decades, Ansel and that Koch acolyte will probably agree on things that would shock them both today.
19
@8 You are an asshole, pure and simple.

You are no different from a brown shirt Neo-NAZI thug.

Seriously, wanting somebody to be pepper sprayed because you don't agree with her? What a coward you are!

@5 Yeah, violent protestors never achieved anything, except maybe bring about the American colonies' independence from Great Britain or the end of the Tsarist regime in Russia or the end of British rule in the Republic of Ireland.

One could also argue that fighting back against the cops at the Stonewall Inn is what sparked the modern gay and lesbian movement. And burning cop cars during the "White Night" riots also got the attention of middle America in a way that a candle light vigil did not.

And no, I don't equate what any of these people did to any of the aforementioned revolutions. Just wanted to highlight that sometimes violent protest and revolt are the ONLY way to bring about major change.

There's a time and place for everything. And, no I don't believe we are so desperate that we need to start a revolution at this time.
20
Ah yes, once again we encounter the idea that Journalists are an elite class, entitled to deferential treatment from the police beyond that which might be reasonably expected by ordinary citizens.
21
Speaking of which, yesterday was the 34th anniversary of the White Night riots.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_mvk4ist…

http://castrobiscuit.com/2013/05/21/may-…

http://archive.org/details/ssfWhitent1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnXV2Vw_1…

And no, I'm in no way comparing the May Day protests/ riots/ arrests to what happened 34 years ago. Just making an observation.

22
"American colonies' independence from Great Britain or the end of the Tsarist regime in Russia or the end of British rule in the Republic of Ireland"

Yep, those are right up there with wanting a break from your student loans because your pastry arts degree from Seattle Central didn't pan out.
23
@21

I'm sure we'll have the opportunity for a better comparison come the last night of Pride, when Seattle's shrill little band of anarcho-queers will once again "take the street" somewhere in the Pike-Pine corridor, hoping against hope that this time, the police will finally overreact and magically resurrect the glory days of ACT UP.
24
How depressing is it that 99% of slog readers wont skip a beat before piling on and beating down politically active homeless kids that break a few windows. Which anarchist group should I make my check out to?
25
Young people, who have so much life ahead of them, are so eager to throw it all away for a cause. Old people, who have so little left, realize it's value and are unwilling to waste one drop of it.

It is important to have the dynamism of youth to spur us toward positive change. Without them, we would never have the impetus to do that which we all know we must. it is equally important to have the strategy of senescence, to guide us toward the most effective way of achieving those aims.

Throwing a brick through a window is not going to change anything. Neither does mindless self-sacrifice, romantic though it may be. This is true both on the Left and the Right, and for those to whom directional metaphors do not apply. The 16 year old anarchist smashing the windows of See's Candy at Westlake or the 78 year old suicide at Notre Dame have neither altered the game in their favors.

Rally, yes. Protest, certainly. Vote, absolutely. And lobby and petition and speak. These things are more likely to win, whatever you are fighting for.
26
@24

They don't want your check-- in fact, the smashists explicitly reject that sort of consumerist activism, on the grounds that it reinforces capitalism, promotes false consciousness, and disengages one from the struggle.

If you want to show your support, the best way to go about it is to go out and vandalize some government property yourself (or corporate property, provided the corporation is sufficiently large or non-local).
27
@25; I really appreciate your writing here [on slog] but disagree with your premise. The human condition is indisputably in decline; i suspect that if most people came to terms with this reality they would be overwhelmed with a crippling depression. Anarchists should absolutely take extreme action. Heres some sciency guy adding weight to my point
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZe4B3nfP… [skip the first 10 min to avoid dry techno-babble]
28
"The human condition is indisputably in decline"

Horseshit.
29
Dear stranger; please accept my vote to replace one of your boot licking man-ditzes with this unpaid intern.
30
Thanks for this, AH.
31
I remember when a bunch of assholes smashed windows at the federal courthouse. You know, the one named for William Kenzo Nakamura?

He's the guy who got basically shit on by his country. He didn't go break windows. He volunteered to go fight. And he gave his life for a country that treated him like dirt, but not before showing extraordinary courage and heroism that eventually won him the medal of honor. He was an infinitely better man than any of the shitheads that broke windows on the building bearing his name.

There's a lesson in what people like him did. Too bad none of the idiot window breakers will ever learn it.
32
@ 19, are you fucking high or what? Armed revolutions β‰  violent protest, which is the topic at hand. (Which you kind of acknowledge when you say "I don't equate what any of these people did to any of the aforementioned revolutions," but then immediately flush with the following sentence.) And how long after the Stonewall Riot before LGBT people achieved full equality?

Keep in mind what it is we're talking about here. Violence of the kind you speak comes only after genuine oppression (which we are not suffering) AND comes with organization (which these protestors abhor). If you don't mean to "equate what any of these people did to any of the aforementioned revolutions," then don't equate what they do to revolution.
33
@19 If you are sitting at a bar with your lover and the cops bust in and start beating you, by all means fight the fight back. I'll come help.

But when you march downtown throwing rocks and breaking things you don't exactly have the moral authority required for that level of civil disobedience. You're just a mob that uses big words and believes in very silly things.
34
OMG, this is the dumbest thing ever, the end.
36
Reading this crap is worse than getting a little roughed up by the police (who showed amazing restraint).
37
Most small business owners have a fairly slim profit margin. I side with any one of them over a punk with time and a rock. Fuck you.
38
@35

I don't think the intern here is stupid so much as woefully undertrained.

Before covering unpermitted marches, the new hires need to be sat down with a senior reporter and/or legal rep and told in very clear language that a plastic-coated bit of cardboard with the word "Press" on it does not impart special extralegal status, and that the privileges a cub reporter might naively associate with that beguiling physical totem will, when they actually exist at all, derive entirely and exclusively from prior meetings and agreements with event planners and police representatives.

Which will of course not exist, if the event happens to be of the sort which the organizers are not inclined to announce in advance.
39
@38: Really now. How many protests have you covered?

I covered riots in Haiti in 2011 where demonstrators showered bricks and rocks down on Brazilian UN peacekeepers, who responded with massive but perfectly proportionate amounts of tear gas and rubber bullets. I was in the thick of it and knew full well I could be hit by either side. May Day was nothing compared to that.

There's a difference between that and when a nervous Jordanian peacekeeper pulled his gun on peaceful protesters and pointed it straight at me. He's the one that needed training, not me. Likewise, cops who angrily swat at a middle fingers and then pepper spray anyone in the vicinity, including reporters, need training not to do that, instead of excuses for their reckless behavior.
40
"They deliberately spray individuals who aren't attacking them. "You're not far off the mark," Whitcomb said, finally opening up some wiggle room. "They weren't doing it because they were afraid of you, or [reporter] Erica Barnett, or the guy in the mohawk...they were doing it to move the crowd, which was hostile.""

That quote is frightening. The police are basically saying anybody who is present at a protest, whether or not they're engaging in ass-hattery, is fair game. And before anybody points out that the solution is just to avoid angry/destructive protests...there are *always* assholes.

Also I'm not surprised the supposed anarchists are disadvantaged, angry youth...they're exactly the kind of people who feel like they have nothing to lose by destroying shit. They doesn't justify destroying shit though.
41
Unpaid Intern, you might enjoy reading about the history of Emmeline Pankhurst.
42
@39

Ah, so you're just being disingenuous, then, not undertrained. Noted.
43
The people arrested and described here are clearly NOT the highly organized black mask people who broke so many windows last year and who police for some reason did not arrest. I'm still asking about where those highly organized masked people are and why they never show up anywhere where police would be obliged to arrest them. The police and those highly effective and organized vandals seem uniquely capable of avoiding each other.

@35 Yes, if you are going to nonviolently be anywhere near a protest, but especially if you are nonviolently in a protest, be prepared to be ruffed up needlessly and sadistically. Check out this casual tasering at 0.12 at a nonviolent antiforeclosure protest. This is not an accident - this is how they are being trained, to be banally evil. I think they see it as one of the perks.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1XA33qI4…
44
It doesn't matter if they're privileged or not. That's the point that seems to be missed by, well, a lot of people. If you break someone's fucking kneecap, you should be punished for that. If you go around smashing people's property, or stealing, or hurting other people, those are fucking crimes and you should pay your debt to society. And if you can afford it, your civil debt to that person as well.
45
This is the most thoughtful piece of writing on this topic I've yet to see. Many of the comments left in response are rather frightening, but they remind me that I need to keep talking to friends and family about what happens when we don't create adequate boundaries within which our government staff must work.

Given the manner in which people who present little real threat to anything besides a few store windows are abused, I can only imagine how swiftly and violently dissent of the sort that is likely to change the balance of power will someday be stomped out. The apparatus of tyranny is being rapidly erected around us with the consent of those who are blinded by their manufactured hatred of people they've likely never met.
46
And I note that many of the people SPD abuse in situations such as the one Ansel describes presented no threat at all. Their only violation is being in the vicinity of people the police treated as threatening. Sean Whitcomb, who I believe to be a good man, casually describes our public servants dousing peaceful demonstrators with pain-inducing chemicals simply to gain compliance. PR is what he does, and he speaks openly of this abusive behavior. I don't know if it's more disgusting that our police perform these actions or that our community puts up with it.
47
Everything Matt in Denver said.

@45 - Yes, the commenters of Slog dislike shit in their city getting smashed up for the sake of shit getting smashed up. I don't understand how that terrifies you, but lets have a window smashing party at your place and forbid the police to come so they don't escalate the situation. Think of the statement that'll be made!
48
@47 Someone breaking my window shouldn't be a green light for the police to assault anyone who walks down my street and gets on their nerves. You seem to think that is perfectly reasonable, just to make sure everybody knows their place.
49
@ 45, it's obvious you don't care about private property. Most people do. You probably don't believe destroying property counts as violence. Most people do. The Stranger has an overwhelming progressive readership, and the comments indicate that even they feel this way. You're going to have to come to terms with that fact if you ever want to affect real change in this country.

If the police have been abusive and overstepped their authority, they are free to do so because the people of Seattle are behind them. This is the fault of the vandals who, right or wrong, are regarded as the protestors. That protestors are not repudiating vandals and vandalism confirms this impression. That is the protestors' fault. So is the fact that they can't articulate their goals. I don't think they really have any.

The title of this piece is "Why They Break Windows," and the answer to this question seems to be "Because they're mad." (I challenge Ansel to answer me directly on this point. He's only deigned to comment once so far.) The question Ansel should now address is "Why isn't this persuading anyone that we're right?"

The leaders of successful nonviolent protest movements understood a few things that today's protestors don't seem to grasp. One of them is that the police are going to kick their ass, no matter what. Because one of the police's unwritten missions is to enforce the status quo. They always pick on weirdos and misfits, and they always side with the system over those protesting it. This is because they have most of the citizenry on their side. That's the source of their power.

So the oldline nonviolent protest movements... let the cops kick their asses. They didn't get mad, they didn't fight back, and they never confronted the police in any way. They went to makeshift hospitals and to jail, they kept their heads low... and they came back for more. It took time, but they eventually robbed the police of their excuse to kick ass because it was all too obvious, to all but their most hardcore and hostile opponents, that they really weren't doing anything to justify their ass kickings. Some even gave their lives for their cause.

It took time, but they finally won over the ordinary citizenry, and with that came real change.

If Occupy failed (and the May Day protests are the current manifestation of Occupy), it was because they forgot these lessons. The images of police spraying nonviolent protestors with no provocation could have been leveraged to win over skeptical citizens, but instead the police successfully distracted Occupy and it became about "Fuck the Police" instead of focusing on the 1%'s fleecing of the nation and world.

"Fuck those rules," Ansel? They are playing entirely by those rules. All it took was a little pepper spray, and a movement was instantly defanged and declawed because they reacted angrily. We're lucky that they were able to shift the overall dialog (mainstream politicians and pundits were all but forbidden from talking about class issues, lest they be labelled as "socialists"), or else Romney might be hearing "Hail to the Chief" everywhere he goes. Because it didn't take much to distract Occupy from that issue at all.
50
Who started the incredibly annoying Slog practice of bolding random lines in articles? I can't think of any other site that does this, probably because it's obnoxious and unprofessional. Let your writing stand on its own without stupid formatting gimmicks. At least this intern made an effort to highlight what they thought were the most important lines, unlike Goldy who picks sentence fragments to bold totally at random.
51
"It doesn't matter if they're privileged or not."

But wait, aren't all white people privileged? And since all anarchists seem to be white people, anarchists are privileged.
52
Every successful non-violent protest has a violent analogue. MLK Jr. non-violent demonstrations attracted followers because the common people saw them as alternatives to the typical violent / destructive means of resistance.

Ghandi's non-violence was a middle-class reaction to the violence typified in the Rowlatt Act protests and the massacre in Amritsar. Potenially sympathetic English supporters dismissed Indian independence protesters as "street thugs" and "anarchists". Ghandi gave the middle class an avenue to express their sympathy without siding with the hooligans.

Which is to say, there is no Ghandi without hooligans. There is no Martin Luther King Jr without Malcolm X, RAM, the Black Panthers (help me out here Grey Panther)...

53
@ 52, to a certain extent that's true. But I don't see why it necessarily has to be. But assuming that it does, I don't see a bit of window smashing by a handful of people as anywhere near those violent movements. They have neither the numbers, the organization, nor the effectiveness of any of them. They also lack the political oppression suffered by African Americans and Indians, which makes it harder to define what the fight is all about. (Not that May Day protesters have even tried...)

But again, I fail to see why it has to have a "violent analogue." Right now, most of the 99% are at best only vaguely aware that the failure of the middle class to get ahead is the result of government robbing from them and giving to the rich. Occupy initially got off to a good start, but was easily derailed by a needless First Amendment fight over their perceived right to just show up and camp indefinitely. They could have just disembarked when asked, and then engage in regular demonstrations and marches to keep the issue before the public. Because education is what was (and is) needed, and repeated demonstrations would have gone a lot further toward that end.

Where would the threat of violence fit in here?
54
27

I am grateful that you have at least read what little I have to say, and however inarticulately I have expressed it. I do not dispute your urgency. I merely dispute your tactics.

You have two boxers. One actually knows how to fight, and has spent years developing technique and skill. the other just flails his arms wildly screaming at his opponent, hoping that windmilling like that will allow him to at least hit his opponent somewhere.

Don't throw bricks. Throw ballots.
55
Breaking windows didn't help them, or anyone else. They were out in the street looking to cause trouble, pretending that they were doing something noble, and then can't figure out why rampaging downtown, destroying property, would prompt the police to take steps to contain, and disperse them.
56
@54 While I don't support violent methods in our current conditions, and I don't think the folks described in the slog piece above have thought it through that deeply, I do believe their acts are political and appear to be more than just acts for thrills. However, your contention that the ballot method led by those individuals who have "spent years developing technique and skill" is more effective is not born out in the last 20 years, as shown by the steady increase in the dominance of our society by the mega rich, the increase in income inequality, the erosion of the middle class, and the power of the energy industry to prevent even minor attempts to address the oncoming climate catastrophe. Perhaps the ballot method needs to be led by some other individuals... or some other non-violent method needs to be used.
57
@55: Are you able to understand that the reaction by police was not targeting those who were suspected of having done wrong (much less simply apprehending them and putting them before a jury) but at anyone nearby? Do you see that even their PR guy admits that the pepper spray was not used in self-defense, but as a way to get people to move more quickly down the street?
58
57, I understand that perfectly. The rest of the angry mob was giving cover to folks doing the damage. Also, there was an escalating mob mentality. The longer it would have gone on, the more violent the crowd would have become. Seeing others breaking windows, and throwing rocks would spur others to do the same. It's psychology 101. It was imperative that the police get the situation under control as quickly as possible.

http://psychcentral.com/news/2008/02/15/…
59
@58: Many of us were simply standing there with cameras. The violent mob I saw was comprised almost entirely of people dressed in black with helmets and billy clubs.
60
59, Are you saying that the police broke the windows, and threw rocks, and bottles at themselves? If so, do you have anything to back that up?

http://source.southuniversity.edu/examin…
61
@ 59, do you understand that getting beat up by the police should have been expected by yourself? Do you realize that getting beat by the cops can give a movement greater legitimacy to the general public, if those being pepper sprayed don't fight back or resist it?
62
@52: I totally agree. Nonviolent protests that don't have a violent/more radical analog don't really work, at all. Martin Luther King was effective because there was the threat of first Malcolm X and later the Black Panthers, not to mention the many disorganized riots occurring at the same time, if his calls for nonviolent change didn't work. Similar dynamic between the AFL and first the IWW and then the CIO. But there are some problems with taking that very true observation and applying it to our current situation.

First is that Malcolm X was never really violent. Sure, he had a bunch of guns (but then so did MLK) and he advocated self-defense (unlike MLK), but in terms of his actions, he was fairly nonviolent. He was a public speaker, and his radicalism was in having a plan that scared the powers that be. Anarchists can analyze the system to death, but the last thing they can be accused of having is a plan, even a bad plan. Even the Black Panthers, who actually were violent in a way that the most badass black-blocker can only dream of, managed to use their violence in a smart, targeted manner in order to ensure that they wouldn't lose the public's support.

Second, this back-and-forth between violent and nonviolent protestors only works when both factions are well-identified as being separate, and even rivals. In the 60's, whenever the people felt threatened by Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam (or Huey P Newton and the Black Panthers) they went to talk to Martin Luther King and the SCLC to see if there was a way to resolve the problems of Black America without violence. But nowadays, how would they do that? Both the nonviolent and violent left are identified with Occupy by the general public. Neither faction has a spokesperson. So, by introducing property destruction and violence into a nonviolent movement, they're just making it more likely that said nonviolent movement will be criminalized by the state and rejected by the rest of America.
63
56,

Some ballot measures have been wonderfully effective. prior to 2001, I couldn't get married anywhere in the world. Nor could I join the United States military. Now, I can do both.

15 years ago, the idea that either political party would support civil rights for GLBT people seemed like an impossible dream. They used to call us the gAyTM- extract money from us and then walk away. But now, we are on track to achieve equality within my lifetime.

When I was a young man (long, long ago in a city not that far away), we had no political power at all. My friends were dropping dead of a mysterious disease the federal government wouldn't even mention let alone address. The religious establishment seems happy with watching them die. My own family disowned me. And people on the Left and the Right spat at me and my friends. I can remember when socialist groups hated us as much as the GOP. That wasn't so long ago.

It wasn't until we learned how to play the political game that we started to win human dignity. I remember in 2005 seeing Jeff Gannon's column in the Washington Blade condemning marriage activists. Ironic, huh? One of the leading GLBT news outlets giving that asshole a forum to attack the civil rights of his own community. Well, the Washington Blade went bankrupt and the marriage activists are on track to win 13 states in the upcoming weeks.

You want equality? So did and do we. We're getting equal. Maybe you can find something in that you can learn from.

And uh, anytime you guys want to apologize for calling me and my partner a fascist when I was a teenage boy trying to survive in a bigoted world, I'm listening. I've been waiting for that apology for a few decades now.
64
What the author gets right is pointing out that over half of those arrested were homeless and how this runs contrary to the dominant narrative of pampered middle class kids slumming it (which I've participated in myself). It does not justify violence or vandalism, but I have more sympathy for why some were driven to those actions.
66
Oh, who hasnt been pepper sprayed or roughed up by cops in their youth during legitimate acts of protest? I have, and I was not surprised by it, because it helps the cause. It's part of the protest experience.

I do giggle a little when the young protesters of today seem genuinely offended when they are protesting but not breaking the law and get arrested or sprayed. It happened to suffragettes, to, well, everyone in the 1960s, to labor union protestors in the 40s and 50s. Its how stuff gets done. NOT the violence, although I agree with a poster above who said that change occurs when peaceful protesters have the foil of violent protestors.
69
@ 62, "Nonviolent protests that don't have a violent/more radical analog don't really work, at all."

As I said in my response to @ 52, there are also the differences in that this is supposed to be a fight for economic equality, which is pretty different from that for political equality. Even the labor unions were fighting for political equality, in the early days, and the IWW were as concerned with revolution as they were for fair wages - more so, in fact.

In the past, nonviolent movements had violent analogs because politically repressed people are as likely to be angry and impatient, and there were less peaceful causes that attracted them. But while there are people who are angry and impatient regarding the 1%, few are as uncomfortable or repressed as those other people.

I again question the assumption that there HAS to be a violent analogue. Perhaps there does, but all these examples involved large groups of disparate people. The New Deal may have headed off a socialist revolution, but that threat existed because millions had no way to feed, clothe, or shelter themselves and their families. Is there anything analogous with our situation today?

@ 64, I'm going to generalize a bit... There are those who are homeless because they were born near the bottom of the economic ladder, went to bad schools, could only find menial labor, and eventually gave up or had some run of bad luck whereby they ended up on the streets; and then there are those who are homeless because they're slumming or live in anarchist squats. Maybe they're fleeing bad situations at home, but there's still more of an element of choice involved. Which were those who were arrested?
70
@69, I don't think I made my point as clear as I should have. What I was trying to say when I pointed out that Malcolm X was not, in fact, a violent person (no shooutouts with cops, never led a demonstration that ended in riots) was that maybe, instead of thinking about it as a violent/nonviolent dichotomy as a radical/moderate dichotomy. If you have a well-organized group of moderates and a well-organized group of radicals trying to accomplish the same thing, they'll both get more done out of competition with each other. Violence is sometimes a factor in this dichotomy, but not always.

For example, one of the most productive times for labor unions in the US was after the Wagner Act and before the AFL and CIO merged. They weren't fighting for political equality at this point, and actually this is a situation where the more politically moderate group (the AFL) was the more violent one. But they were both competing with each other for dues payments, and so they both had to show that they could deliver the goods to their members. After they merged, the AFL-CIO became the only game in town, and the union bureaucrats could sell out the rank-and-file without hearing much in the way of complaints.
72
my understanding: at the beginning of a popular movement, most people know they're angry about something. Leaders emerge when they can translate that anger into action plans and meaningful objects to protest against.

Occupy knows its mad because some people are rich and get away with everything and they always get the raw end of every deal.

"look, we got pepper sprayed! see, I told you we always get the raw end of the deal!" doesn't seem to be an effective complaint or object over which to protest.

I wonder how much of rural India knew they hated colonial rule until Ghandi protested the salt tax. I wonder how much of "normal" America hated colonial England until the revolutionaries used the tea tax as an example.
73
wow.

"Given the manner in which people who present little real threat to anything besides a few store windows are abused"

while cops should not use excessive force, people should not break store windows. you get a crowd doing that you get broken glass -- and the disorder this represents can get out of hand, and escalate, and the rock thrown through the store window maybe hits a person. if you are telling cops to stand by and let this happen, I don't think that's a good idea. people breaking store windows are a real threat of real bodily harm, even death, from that rock or glass. are you nuts?

if you want social change, go volunteer for the one democrat who's a real democrat running against rodney tom or tim sheldon or something. there is a way to power. we have the vote. use it. civil disobedience isn't right when you are not blocked in normal democratic political participation, it's more like thuggery. what is innocent window breaking to you becomes innocent window breaking to blackshirts and crystalnacht or other crime. you can't ahve one set of rules for you, and one for me. don't break my windows, don't break Chase bank's windows, electio people who prosecute Chase bank and put them in jail.

to those applauding violence and disorder: hello, we did not win the sixties, nixon won, then the gop dominated national politics for decades after we did urban rioting and convention disorders. so, violence set us back BIG fucking time. your politics suck, ever notice how in america we make little of the progress they make in sweden and holland and such?

when ws the last time the uk labor party rioted? swedish social democrats? they had a better way, called "winning elections" that's how they got their national health care. violence sucks tactically, its' exactly what the koch brothers WANT you to do, you fools.
74
"Instead, it's everybody else's responsibility, from bystanders to reporters, to not become collateral damage."

Is anyone else reminded of the way preventing rape and other sexual assaults is so often framed as the victim's responsibility (don't wear certain clothes, don't drink, don't be friendly/courteous to someone you don't consent to have sex with, etc.), rather than, say, the rapist's?
75
It's pretty funny how we as a society would rather focus on young kids breaking windows, causing minimal damage, rather than focusing on.. oh let's say.. the U.S. drones that are used to drop bombs around the world killing hundreds of people and destroying villages. Or how we are still occupying both Iraq and Afghanistan and how we have killed over 1 million innocent men, women, and children over the last ten plus years. Yeah that makes a lot of sense.. let's get angry up over a few broken windows. SMH
76
I have not read anyone's comment so far.
I wanted to respond to your story on my first read and find it spot on, insightful, and truthful.
I myself was lied about and run through the City's system of betrayal and cover ups to a citizen. After the DOJ showed up I was apologized to by the SPD and SPD's OPA, and I was told this would never happen to me again- Like it should have happened in the first place?
I am Guessing this "apology" is to make the 2 years of intense Harassment and Abuse and Bullying to me and Lies about me go away by 2 SPD Officers, with the SPD's Chief and City Attorney's non-response go away, and them not being held Accountable?
Will I ever Trust or Call on the SPD or City for anything? My answer to this is: No Way.
77
@ 69, understood.

@ 72, I think oppressed people are aware that they're oppressed, but it takes time to realize that they can fight back, and that a vital movement with solid leadership has risen to give them a voice and ask for their strength. It's a scary thing, when you're used to that boot on your throat.

@ 75, we would talk about those things if the May Day protesters were. They weren't, so we aren't.

You might want to jump into today's thread about drone strikes killing American citizens, if you have a genuine desire to discuss it. (As opposed to a petty need to say somwthing superior here.)
78
Dear Unpaid Intern; Thank you for the article.

A young woman named Hunter Gonclaves was arrested May 1st in Seattle before the anti-capitalist event started ~ http://mugshot-catalog.com/booking/48747… . I believe this was her third arrest since Occupy started way-back-when, and this is the kind of stuff that I'm really having a problem with. This is a smart person, very articulate, and she came to take part in Occupy Seattle. Here's an article about her published in her old school newspaper ~ http://www.thehawkeye.org/2012/01/05/gon… Interesting article, ain't it? She reveals her intentions and the intentions of her comrades, and she sounds like a freakin' robot for "anarchy". She was young and obviously impressionable, so to all the people who get other people in trouble but never get in trouble themselves? You people suck. I hope you lose a lot of sleep thinking about all the harm you've done to others. You won't, but I can hope.
79
Riot is the language of the unheard -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
80
thanks unpaid intern. Most of the Slog posters wouldn't know a public demonstration of outrage if it walked in to a bar smashed a bottle against their head. They think everything is fine and anyone intentionally disrupting their bliss deserves what ever the cops throw at 'em.
As someone who spent some time doing logistical support for some of these events that kinda went sideways and became a venue for people to fuck shit up, I'm a little offended as well at the chickenshit tactics of smash and run, leaving the old ladies to soak up pepper spray for them. This article sheds some light on a subject I really haven't considered; what happens when we just don't give a shit about consequences any more and fight wars we don't need or smash a window downtown.
This is what you get when you make priorities like we have. And most of the SLOG posters throw it back on individual choices, reserving their most vile spew for those least able to do something about it and have just decided to make things worse. How's that working out for ya?
81
after Dr. King was killed and before the CR humanization was passed black rioters tore up a bunch of major cities in the US, including DC

there was always an effective armed resistance in India and a "duh" recognition on the part of the Raj that a population as big as India's was gonna win if shove came to shooting too many times.

throw a brick through a window of a national bank or fast food chain. you will create security and maintenance jobs
82
The narrative of pampered lawbreakers "makes me so angry," she says. "What else can you expect from a life like that. You're on the street," she adds, referring to Davis. According to police reports last year, he has the mental capacity of a 14-year-old.

Someone needs to sit him down, and say, "Look, son, you're a retard, and the only way a retard will get a crust of bread in this world is by keeping a smile on his face."

As I mentioned anarchists in a question, Stader interrupted to say she doesn't know what the word really means. "I went down there to just learn about different groups because I know there's something wrong going on in this country. And something should be done to stop it. I'm not an anarchist. I wasn't there to hurt anybody or anything. I just got caught up."

You spoiled little brat, next time stay away from a riot. Now will you hurry up with my sandwich? I don't want to stand here all day.

"I now understand on a visceral level what it's like to feel betrayed by the people we pay to protect us," Barnett wrote the next day.

Was that before or after she guzzled another bottle of shoplifted wine?

But bombings and smashings represent blowback against a game where the rules, to some people, seem fixed and grossly unfair. In the Middle East, it's American hegemony. In America, it's hegemony of the upper class. Breaking a window is an attention-grabbing way of saying, "Fuck those rules."

And throwing them in the slammer is our way of saying, "Fuck you back."

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