Some Unimaginative Anarchists Think the May Day Smashfest Is Going to Be Awesome

Comments

1
"For her, anarchism is about both tearing down oppressive systems and building up new [oppressive] systems."
3
Haha, Ansel Herz of all people was put in charge of tying to make it seem like you guys don't enjoy and encourage the annual May Day Smashing Festival every year?

This has to be trolling, right?
4
So, on the one day a year that anarchists actually have people's attention, even if it's only in one part of one city, the example they want to set for the glorious, anarchic future is as follows: People in gas masks roaming the streets breaking windows for no apparent reason and with the expectation that there will be no consequences.

I don't think this is the appealing advertisement for your ideology that you think it is. I like my "oppressive" and window-filled present.
5
Oh boy I hope you guys aren't tone policing.

That's just wrong and you should be ashamed.
6
@4: Not that any of us knows, but let's just take a guess: How many people are behind that video? Do you think some anarchist federation of Seattle did focus groups and came up with a message, then worked out a promo video to support it? Or, is it possible through the wonders of personal computers and the You-Tube that a single person put this together and published it?
7
What is the difference between anarchists and nihilists then? As long as they cover up their faces while causing damage and breaking laws, it's unlikely that they'd get support. How can we be sure that they're immigrants and poor people instead of those disgusting Trump/Cruz people and/or white supremacists, trying to make poor minorities and immigrants look like thugs and criminals.
8
@7, "how do we know they're not Trump/Cruz people."

Couple hundred pounds underweight?
9
@5 stole my comment. Ansel better hope Charles doesn't see this post.
10
Sometimes a movement or system of beliefs is perpetually damaged in the public eye that there is no hope for it. Anarchy is one of those, where the association with riots and vandalism has become a self fulfilling prophecy where idiots that want to smash shit grab the anarchist flag, they become the loudest and most prominent voices among anarchists, the association between anarchists is reinforced, drawing in more people that want to smash shit, etc.

How about the following guidelines for the march - anyone with a mask has to take it off and leave it off, anyone with rocks, sticks, tire irons, hammers, or anything not related to a holding a sign is summarily pointed out to the police as "this is a motherfucker intent on smashing shit", and the rest of us agree to watch videos of peaceful demonstrators.
11
We all know what May Day riots are for: Hooking up. Riots are arenas in which young homo sapiens at the peak of their fertility can signal their sexual fitness to hundreds of potential mates. Peacocks in hoodies.

Thinking of all the ways we (I) try and fail at dating the Anarchies might be on to something.

12
I also have to agree with some of the above posters, your abhorrent policing of these anarchist's tone is simply you lording your privilege over the unprivileged anarchists, using your privileged tones to make the anarchist's grievances illegitimate and enforce your own privilege. It is basically Nazism.
13
Anarchists are so passé.

14
Wow, it only took 12 comments to Godwin this thread.
15
Nevermind the fact that anarchists have reserved Westlake Park from 10am-5pm on May Day to create a space for local bands to play and local organizations who do the kind of "good work" Ansel seems to be referencing to discuss their projects and try and expand their reach. But yeah, let's keep playing up the fear factor. All it does is feed into insurrectionists' desire to fuck stuff up. I'd expect this kind of lazy May Day fear mongering piece from one of our local network stations but come on.
16
@15 can the Insurrectionists have their march on a different day then to help mitigate the confusion? How about May 2?
17
This time, with the cringeworthy promo video, some anarchists seem to be saying to the police: This is what we want. Bring it on. We want to fight you.


That's what these petulant little children playing goth revolutionary Cosplay have ALWAYS been saying. You've just finally started to gain the maturity to recognize it. In a couple of years you might even join the rest of the civilized world and see them for the joke the they are.
18
@9: I assume the rest of the stranger staff treats muedede like the public at large does: avoidance whenever possible, and sad head shaking or disbelieving laughter when forced to interact with him.
19
Yeah, speaking of Brendan Kiley, where is he? Did the anarchists take him too?

[I miss his work.]

20
When is Situationist Day?
21
@14: that seems like a lot.
22
@15: Can you send me more info about daytime activities planned for the park, or post a link? ansel@thestranger.com.

@19: http://www.seattletimes.com/author/brend… 😢
24
@23: Thanks. Working on a potential follow-up post.
25
Sad...a hundred years ago an Anarchist revolutionary set the whole damn world on fire. Now, victory is breaking a window at Nike Town. Anarchy has really fallen on hard times these days.
26
@15: On April 20, in response to my public records request for all special event permits for events scheduled on or including May 1, 2016, Shanyanika Burton at Seattle Parks and Recreation wrote, "Seattle Parks and Recreation holds no records responsive at this time."
27
I always get a kick out of the fact anarchists always seem to be white (usually) men. Yeah that seems like a crowd who has been wronged enough they can go walk down the street picking fights with minimal retaliation from the police. Yup nothing wrong here....
28
@20 - Everyday, Max, everyday is Situationist day.
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Considering that a number of the local visible anarchist elements have put notable effort into promoting this simplistic "ACAB" concept ("all cops are bastards") on posters & graffiti around town, and have organized torchlight parades past Police Depts. on Oct 22nds, I'd say a number of them are spoiling for a fight with the cops...

...which is the most short-sighted & idiotic "strategy" ever. 1) The cops will win. 2) You will have your name/ mug/ prints in their system. 3) The public will recoil from what appears to be random destruction. 4) Nothing will change. Oh, except the cops will breathe down your necks all the more, making your life harder.

Good job, you've now simply increased the system's pressure on your own head. What next?

If there is some greater message to "confronting" the police, it is lost on those of us who can also see the bullshit in the system and who also strive to work towards greater liberation for all.

Fighting cops is terrible agit-prop, has negative outcomes for everyone, and makes no change. Why do it?

I'm glad I'm going to be out of town this weekend. Christ.
29
@28: How the hell else are you going to convince your lily-white trust fund supported ass that you are "real?"

These events are not about protesting anything for the window-smashers, they are all about going out and feeding their own egos. Fighting cops is a status symbol for them.
30
The tone police, they live inside of my head
The tone police, they come to me in my bed
The tone police, they're coming to arrest me, oh no!

Sorry. That was a cheap trick.
31
"For her, anarchism is about both tearing down oppressive systems and building up new systems that reflect those tenets."
Bullshit. Anarchism is by definition solely destructive. It's right there in the word itself: "an" = without + "archos" = ruler. Anarchism is opposition to any and all forms of political/civic authority. And those favoring anarchy are invariably those who are so accustomed to the rule of law that they take it for granted and no longer perceive the most basic benefits of government. They're no different than the Tea Partiers complaining about taxes while driving their government-certified car on the government-maintained roads to deposit their government-backed currency at the government-insured bank.

@30: Don't give yourself away!
32
The people are not marching because they are anarchists. The idea of an anarchist theory calls for self governing institutions. They could start their governing by stomping on all the shitheads that are acting like morons just to run around breaking stuff.
33
@15: And if just there's just a few smashie-smashies its still within your acceptable parameters, right?
34
Could ya'll just not smash stuff on my birthday!? Protest, fine. But don't be dicks, its my birthday!
35
@14- Stop being such a Godwin Nazi.
36
@15: I know after hundreds of hours of research on May Day 2015 that Black Bloc actions do get people hurt. At the very least, the actions of these narrow-minded wannabe hooligans give justification for SPD to use blast balls and other less lethal munitions. I'm more than happy to listen to your message and help spread it if it's reasonable, as long as it is focused on solutions to the problems we are all concerned about. But if people insist on being assholes, I anticipate they will be treated as such. Wanna throw rocks at cops and the windows of locals? Then don't be surprised if you get hit by one. Violence and destruction by Anarchists will almost certainly result in violence and destruction of Anarchists.
37
There are other things going on in honor of Mayday. http://seattle.cedar.greencitypartnershi…
38
@31: You are wrong, my friend. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-sy…
39
@38: They're accustomed to getting away with smashing shit and threatening locals while calling it "anarchy" or "activism". I think you're trying to reason with people who don't want reason, or justice. They want to fuck shit up and some are proud to do that to our neighbors. Keep writing, man, but don't expect reason from half stoned punks posing as activists.
40
@38

The syndicalist offshoot of anarchism has been dead for almost 100 years now, and never had anything to do with the word's etymology.

Have you forgotten about all the fights* between unions and anarchists in Seattle over even just the past decade, let alone the past century?

--

* Fights involving what you call "real" violence, too. As if intimidation (via, e.g. property damage) were not a form of violence anyone should find any reason to oppose.
41
@38: I'm glad that you took your Wikipedia medicine this morning, but excuse me, what exactly the fuck kind of institution does anarcho-syndicalism propose should be built up? According to the encyclopedia entry that YOU YOURSELF POSTED, the philosophy maintains that the state should be abolished and that society should be dominated by voluntary associations of workers. That is entirely consistent with what I said.

Ansel, you are a twit. You have no compunction against bending the truth to fit whatever opinion happens to float through your head in a given day. In toto you are callow and naive and yet oddly conniving, apparently ignorant of how transparent your deliberate skewing of the facts is to a moderately educated reader.
42
Hello, as an anarcho syndicalist myself, I would invite you to plant community gardens, vollunteer at a bike collective or serve free food with other people who feel the same way. Can I just remind everyone that the classical anarchist period had all of the text book definitions you are using, contemporary anarchism has undergone a few transformations, but we still use the same terms. confusing, huh? Kind of like when republicans were the radical reformers and the democrats were the party of slavery. https://kpfa.org/episode/against-the-gra… roboslave, miss ya, buddy it's been too long.
44
@38: Damn, are you in a contest with Mudede for who can post the dumbest shit today?

Using a Wikipedia page for evidence is bad enough for a "journalist," but to use one that you did not even bother to read? My god man.

@41: We call that "low cunning." Not smart enough to actually convince anyone of anything or make a solid point, but smart enough to fool morons into thinking he can.
45
@42

Oh hey, here's a surprise. A contemporary anarchist wants you to ignore the history of anarchism? Gosh I wonder why. And also the discouse now should be tightly controlled by the anarchist, with widely understood meanings of terms nullified and replaced in deference to the authority of the contemporary anarchist?

My god, man, you people are the world's richest irony mine.
46
@38

With the number vibrant anarchistic nation-scale institutions thriving in the world as an example, surely it will be a smooth, painless transition to model our system on one of those.

Which ones are they again?
47
@45 It's amusing, isn't it. If it wasn't such a tragic waste of imagination and effort.

Anarchists are the LARPers of politics.
48
@45

geeze, RS, didja read the link I sent out? History is what me an anarchist, as the narrative of this article will tell you, we control almost nothing of the discourse around the terms and definitions the state institutions and the media paint us with. and @38, an anarchist nation state would be the last thing we would create as a vibrant example of what we believe. If you bothered to talk to any anarchist outside of a mayday event, you'd get the nuances of the thing. But that would be straying from the media narrative Ansel is selling wouldn't it?
49
@48: It's not an article that ya read. It's an hourlong podcast. I don't know about robotslave, but I'm in grad school and have research to do, some papers to write, my girlfriend to chat up, vidya to play, and sleep to catch up on. It's hard enough even finding the time to recreationally shitpost here at all.
50
Hahahahaha! Ansel (or someone at the Stranger with particularly thin skin) pulled my comment (#2), and all it said was, "'by Ansel Herz.' Pass."

Ansel, for the record, I think you are exactly as brave as you are trustworthy. But if you really think I'm too critical, please talk to Charles Mudede. I've said far more negative things about him over the years, and he's learned to live with it.
51
@49

I'll summarize: Classical anarchism peaked in 1910, after the assassination of Pres. McKinley by an "anarchist" and WWI state suppression of radical political ideals, anarchism merged with anti-war pacifists and labor radicals of the depression era. Post WWII politics molded the movement even further with literary and philosophical influences, Mass movements imploded following the vietnam war era, spurring a further revision of the tenets of anarchism with christian and gandhian civil rights veterans. The entire self definition of anarchist has moved from a party style revolutionary movement to a collective based autonomous action philosophy,

The newly initiated of course have their own idea of what Anarchy means: running wild in the streets once a day clad in fashionable black hoodies and scarves. Can you blame them? their future is looking increasingly bleak, our crumbling meritocracy is now trying to make believe we can democratically choose a president, wage inequality is at an all time high. People need something to believe in, anarchism is mine.
52
I watched the May Day march on May 1 2012 come down sixth avenue past the Sheraton, and then a group of 5 PREPARED and fully clad in black AND MASKED RIOTERS (not stopped by police) broke off the parade to break windows at Niketown and American Apparel. At the center of the group of the masked attackers were three caucasian young men in the center, one of which was wearing a Skipper hat like in Gilligan's Island - hardly the attire of the far left. I immediately thought frat party, not multicultural or organic economic protest, like Occupy started out. Let's not forget that May Day mini-riot put an end to the warmth and happy nature of Occupy. 'You won't get anywhere breaking things' the couch jockeys all yarned on...

One of these clowns took his wooden dowel (sp?) and shoved me back out of the way with it, like he was well-versed in its use. These so-called 'anarchists' are as likely to be infiltrators and provocateurs employed or freelancing for some shadow groups in the govt/corporate power structure, than actual protesters. Young people need to brush up on the history of the Black Panthers and other 60-70s political groups as to how this breed of phonies are used to dilute the organizations and sully the image of true protest, as well as drag newbies into stupid criminal acts like smashing car windows.
The media immediately brand them as anarchists as well, since most people find the concept of anarchy laughable, and the brand changes the topic and ends the conversation about why the protest is happening in the first place.
53
Check out Your Band before coming down this Saturday, we'll be selling CDs after!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ux0LAtT8…
54
@51: I'm well-enough-educated to know the difference between anarchists and rioters, despite the substantial overlap.
The fundamental concept of anarchism is the absence of a state, of any sort of authority. This is an entirely untenable fantasy, which is why anarchism is an ideology subscribed to mainly by starry-eyed ideologues and embittered narcissists. In your eagerness to rid yourselves of the burdens of the nation-state, you forget that there is very little distance between "collective" and "mob", between "autonomous" and "lawless", and between "philosophy" and "dogma".

And hey, maybe if you anti-war anarchist types had gotten your way back in the '30s, I might have even FEWER relatives alive today.
55
I wanted to be an Anarchist... but then I grew up.
56
@51: I didn't mind your comment and I didn't ask for it to be pulled, for the record.
57
@56: Well, that's good to hear. You may want to speak with the other folks that moderate the site then, because it reflects poorly on you, since it's a reasonable assumption that it's the author of the post that moderates it.