A most sublime choice of photo seeing how May Day rioting are mating displays in a youth subculture.
Way to focus on only the most negative aspects of the May Day marches and protests, Eli. Frank Blethen taught you well...if it bleeds, it leads.
Hoping today is another case of media overhype...
Why can't you journalists do your job and find the money link between Big Glass and the Anarchi$t$? Obvious to everyone but this writer, they must've been paid off.
More whining from the (mostly white) staff writers at the Stranger.
#4: "big glass"? i've googled it, have no idea what you're on about.
Look at all those l'il LARPers.
The protests make the protesters feel important and get the excitable people all excited. That's about it. Until we get out of this tired 1960's mindset, nothing is going to change.

Happy May Day, everybody!
oh, haha. got it right after i posted. good one. thought maybe "big glass" had become the urban slang for "george soros"
Caption for the first photo: Carhartt: The corporate brand preferred by 9/10 anarchists. Available at your local corporate clothing retailer or online at!
It's been a sad spectacle watching The Stranger's "senior" writers turn into the "get off my lawn" crowd. But hey, they still represent the point of view of the cool and hip crowd, right kids?
@11: what are they supposed to wear? army surplus? that carries its own baggage.

also, anarchist gal is very cute. I hope she annoys the fuck out of you old white men today.
This author is extremely simplifying and generalizing or perhaps just not understanding or wanting to understand the nuances of May Day (which far predates the protests in Seattle by over 100 years) and anarchism. There is a huge difference in actions by an oppressor (the KKK in that stupid-ass analogy) and the same actions by the oppressed (low-wage workers, black folks, POC, queer folks, immigrants, migrant workers, basically almost everyone who participates in protests on May Day that aren't middle class white people). The power dynamic changes the intentions and results of those actions.

Protests are meant to inconvenience you. They are meant to make you pissed. Standing on a sidewalk with a sign and not being loud or in anyone's way isn't going to change shit. It never has. Oppressive systems cannot be dismantled by playing by the rules that the oppressors put on you.

Also, would benefit the author to learn what Anarchism actually is before spewing off at the mouth.
@11 You don't know those clothes weren't stolen. ;)
@15 Thank you. This whole article reads as vapid and wholly unconcerned with actually articulating anything at all.
@15, @17

Oh my goodness, aren't you cute.

You've gone and proven Eli's point without even realizing it... easy to do when you rage-read without doing any of this "nuanced understanding" stuff I hear so much about.

But we do know that the brand was selected over others, paid for or not, by the Anarchist consumer demographic.

Brand signalling is every bit as important to Anarchists as it is to anyone else, it seems. If you'd like to tie yourself in knots explaining that to us, we'll be delighted to listen.
@17: So the article is just like the masked window-smashers "protesting" today? How meta.
Oh, I'm definitely keep this tab open all day. It's already getting fun, and nothing has even been set ablaze yet!
@19 - no need to tie oneself in knots. There is no ethical consumption under capitalism. :D
@18 - rage read? I actually thought this was going to be a good article until I got to the end, then I was just sad.
@15, Why only do it one day a year? (Them,the kids, uhm, protesters) seem to be doing something most don't understand. Even you. They all wear black...ha-ha. And bandannas on their faces. That to me shows that they aren't year round protesters. Just once a year wanna-bes'.

Whatever they're protesting today, why don't they do it year round? I think they have better things to do the rest of the year. Like go to work, pay rent, shop on Amazon (or, work there!), go to restaurants, clubs, the park, karaoke, etc.

Yet once a year they, them, whoever, says "fuck the system, i'm gonna break/burn stuff). Yet the other 364 days they are productive, law abiding members of society.

That's why they are viewed as hypocrites by most people. As their non-action the other 364 days of the year tells the story of who they really are.
@24 They don't do it just one day a year? I certainly don't, although I'm not out today. I've been to ~2 a month all year, in addition to non-protest related direct action. Many people I know are 24/7 activists, in many forms (whistle-blowing, cyber activism, protests, The Satanic Temple, etc). This is just the only one day a year that they get insane media coverage, which is odd because as stated, May Day is over a century old and protests like this, although perhaps not happening in Seattle (though it was, just without so much media coverage), have happened for just as long on this day. You're just assuming when in all honesty you don't know other people's lives and what goes on in them. Just seems like another reason to jump on the "people are moving here and working for amazon and being bougie gentrifiers and ruining my city leave Seattle is full" hate bandwagon, when most people involved are actually low-wage workers, long-time residents, immigrants, etc... the ones fighting Amazon, fighting gentrification, fighting for rent control, housing codes changes, higher minimum wage, so forth. Basically, you're hating on your own group under that guise/strawman. Which strangely, isn't surprising.
@24 - (Psst! Read the I, Anonymous today, about the mysterious billboard altering that was done recently. That is doing something on other days of the year... you just miss all the other actions happening all year long because they don't get media play.) ;>)
May 1st was traditionally known as Beltane, a joyous celebration of Spring and of planting (& fertilizing ;>) the fields. A time of feasting, bonfires, flirting, and community. It is importantly half way between the Vernal (Spring) Equinox of March 20-21, and the Summer Solstice of June 20-21. As society urbanized, it was revitalized as a worker's holiday.
@8 - With all due respect, Catalina, until we manage to Escape from the 19th Century, and get out of the tired capitalists/ bankers/ oligarchs-control-the-economy mindset, nothing is going to change.


And that book is a worthy read, I do recommend it.

So you're saying our local Permanent Revolutionary Cadres are NIMBYs, not newcomers?
I've just spoken with Sawant and she has informed me that she will be shaving before rallying a crowd to I-5. Praise the Lord!!!!!
@11 I'd expect them to at least black out logos, since by leaving them visible they've allowed themselves to be walking advertisements for the systems they want to destroy or dismantle.

Carhartt: The preferred clothing brand of the American blue-collar worker and the American white-male middle-class anarchist. Equally great for construction and destruction.
@30 - which half? Please... enlighten the world. Also, has nothing to do with the power dynamics present. No matter his income, a black man is still more likely to be killed by police than a white man of the same income.
lol @29 ... I see where you'd get that from what I wrote... I legit gigglesnorted and honestly I don't even feel like retorting to that (not out of hostility but instead in all actuality- meh I'm tired and I'm sure it would be condescending anyway so why bother being a dick). Pepsi? I hear those stop all sorts of uncomfortable things in their path.
This is the perfect place to remind everyone that The Stranger is only a free publication due to its partnership with the many capitalist, profit-making companies of Seattle. And its also instructive to read the paper's own appeal to its advertisers, found at this link:

The Stranger Reaches...
Stranger readers are affluent urbanites in their 20s and 30s with impressive disposable incomes and an appetite for everything the city has to offer. They see more live shows and movies, eat out and shop more, and spend more time online than readers of any other paper in town. Advertising in The Stranger cuts through the clutter to target Seattle's most active consumers.

Impressive disposable incomes!!!!!
They see more live shows and movies, eat out and SHOP more!!!!!
Seattle's most active CONSUMERS!!!!

So profits and consumerism suck....or not? How on earth would The Stranger even survive without the deep consumer hunger of Seattle's 20-30 somethings and their incessant shopping?
How on earth would The Stranger even survive without the deep consumer hunger of Seattle's 20-30 somethings and their incessant shopping?

By catering to the consumer hunger of the 40-50 somethings in Seattle who aren't quite ready to admit they aren't young anymore?

They do have more cash to burn, after all.
"Protests are meant to inconvenience you. They are meant to make you pissed."

So, disrupting traffic and breaking windows, etc etc etc is supposed to win people over? That makes absolutely no sense.

The protests of the 1930's, where group X got together to protest the actions of Corp Y made sense - particularly since the times were so desperate, and the monied interests were sincerely afraid that we might go the way of Russia.

The protests of the 60's helped bring about the Civil Rights act, but again they were more focused. They weren't just smash-and-grab, or stop-the-commute just to smash-and-grab or stop-the-commute. They were targeted actions that had a healthy component of consumer activism and occupations of offices.

The immigrant rights marches are good and righteous protests, but all the stuff that tries to hitch a ride with it just dilutes the message. And again, you aren't going to win over people by snarling traffic or breaking stuff, especially when you have a garbled message. That's not me being old - although I am - it's me being realistic.
LoL, no one's trying to win people over. They're trying to piss people off. You don't have to experience love to do things. And MANY of the groups who participate in direct action and protests heavily research historic direct action that worked... therefore actually precisely imitating actions that you yourself cite. But because of media coverage like this, people think it's all about smashing windows and nothing else.

Worth noting again especially on this topic, you cannot eliminate oppressive systems by operating under the rules that the oppressors place on you. This was known in the 30's and 60's, and it's known now.

And these other comments make me wonder if y'all can read? There is no ethical consumption under capitalism. Maybe y'all should get some books, because you DO know that businesses, companies, and money don't necessarily go away if capitalism does, right? Believe it or not, there ARE alternatives. There's this amazing thing going on in Bolivia right now, check it out.

OK, now there's the tying-of-self-in-knots I've been waiting for.

Thank you so much!
Walked through downtown on the commute home. Other than there being more King County police officers clustered around Westlake Station, everything was as usual.

N30 (WTO in 1999, for you young'uns) this was most definitely not.
So pixelsibyl, you're just being boorish to be boorish, or is it because your "movement" is unable to come up with anything new?
@37 "Worth noting again especially on this topic, you cannot eliminate oppressive systems by operating under the rules that the oppressors place on you."

Also worth noting: nothing you say in the comments to any article in this publication or any other will change anyone's mind.
Wow. Comments from a fucking year ago.
Who couldda thunk it?!
Youse guys are outta control!
Let me know next time you fire up The Stranger Bus and head to the Great Frozen North. My Meds is running LOW!
"Back in 2012, former Stranger writer Brendan Kiley (now at The Seattle Times) argued: 'Smashing a window is not violence, it's vandalism. There is a difference—unless you think of people as the moral equivalent of property.'

This argument gets recirculated every year around this time, and it has a certain tweetable simplicity to it, but it also has some obvious problems. I wrote about those problems, as I see them, back in 2012. Briefly, because good lord this has gone on forever: Say a member of the KKK smashes the window of a black church. Following the Moral Law on Smashed Windows of 2012, the most enlightened path would be to describe this incident as merely 'vandalism,' or as just a bit of the 'smashy smashy'?"

Wow, pal.

You're setting the 2012 me up as a straw man KKK apologist? Impressive. I'm flattered that our old argument stung you deeply enough to regurgitate it here. But I'm genuinely surprised that you'd try to pull that rhetorical move.

But let's get to the actual argument: The power dynamics are always key, as they are in all discussions of exploitation and protest. If the KKK in a small town in 1960s Alabama smashed African American church windows, that's one thing. Call it Situation A. The KKK would have the full, crushing weight of cultural and legal force on their side. They would know it when they went to do the smashing.

So turn your scenario around: Members of an African American church smash the windows of KKK headquarters in a small town in 1960s Alabama. Call that Situation B.

Do you not recognize the difference—the moral courage, the legal and personal risk—between Situation A and Situation B?

I completely reject your argument that "a window is a window is a window" and we should all weep for them equally.

As for the future: I humbly request that you don't flippantly toss me into a moral blender with the KKK.
@45: Hey Brendan. I actually wrote this for May Day 2017, and then an editor suggested we just just update it with links to this year's events since the eternal return of the same May Day arguments seems to be, well, eternal.

So, for what it's worth, this was really the 2017 me linking to the 2012 you arguing with the 2012 me.

The KKK scenario came up back in 2012, too. So that's another bit of eternal return.

If we all make it to 2019, I hope something new is written on the subject!

But to respectfully address your argument: We seem to have very different views on what constitutes a "moral blender" in the context of Seattle's May Day.

And no, I don't walk around weeping for windows—although there have been occasions in history when weeping for windows would have been appropriate. So "a window is a window is a window" is not my argument. My argument is that a broken window can be a symbol, an intended warning from people who have decided they're above the law and entitled to destroy in the name of some vaguely articulated great future. Given the lessons of human history (lessons that are hardly limited to the event linked above), I'm always hesitant to cheer on people who want to break other people's shit anonymously and can't offer a coherent reason why or explain where it's all going.

But, to return to something we agree on: I really do share your wish for a future in which May Day comes and something new is said!
Ah, yes. All anarchists riot and break things on May Day. This is obvious because you can identify the anarchists by looking for who is rioting and breaking things. Circular logic, anyone?
Linking to the comments from last year's article was a stroke of genius.

But the fact that a bitter former staffer immediately showed up to whine in these year-old comments is... well that's simply sublime. May Day is off to an especially promising start, and it hasn't even begun yet!
Just getting even more meta....
The perennial cowards in masks and bandanas who like to think the aren’t hypocrites by creating chaos for decent, hard working people and law enforcement. They always remind me of Jihadis who like to strap missiles to people and drop them from buildings. Notice how THEY cover their faces because they are so brave and committed to their cause of destruction?…

Sorry, it took me a couple of minutes to respond, because I was laughing so hard at the thought of an anonymous online troll calling masked protesters "perennial cowards" - I mean, you DO get the irony - not to mention your own clueless hypocrisy - yes?
were you laughing so hard at the thought of an anonymous online troll calling someone else an anonymous online troll?
Have to say I really appreciate the honest acknowledgement that nearly everything that can be said on this subject has been said and can be recycled over and over. It is almost like current events are telling us history likes to repeat itself....

I'll assume for the moment your numeration skills are as deficient as most of your other decidedly mediocre cognitive functions, as apparently all your handle-swapping has left you somewhat bereft of - well, something upstairs. If you ask around you'll find I am probably one of the LEAST anonymous persons on SLOG, and have been since it's inception.
To paraphrase Eric Boucher: when anarchy comes, these losers will be the first to go.
@48- No shit. Can anyone here offer any non-vague or halfway convincing outline of how the glorious future is supposed to work after we're done smashing the state and destroying capitalism? Anyone? Buehler?

“ … I'm always hesitant to cheer on people who want to break other people's shit anonymously and can't offer a coherent reason why or explain where it's all going.” –Eli, above

Me too.

Or am I missing something?

Perhaps Mein Trumfpy can initiate US some good Two Minutes Hate (an awesome way to let off a little steam like they used to, back in ’84) sometime in our near neofascist future. Really helps take the edge off. And keep it off.

Who gives a fuck what the latest (imaginary) target is?

Please wait...

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