Saturday, May 12, 2012

My personal view on aspects of "anarchists"

This opinion is personal and mine only, and does not reflect any other person or group.

I was just shown this article and asked my opinion thereof:

" anon - Wed, 2012-05-09 22:01

Although the author of this piece believes that members of the main-stream media should be assaulted *strategically* at any place and time, this piece was heavily influenced by what I saw occur on May 1st 2012 in Seattle Washington. As an anarchist in Seattle, this is written mainly for a Seattle audience although hopefully there are some things people from other places will be able to take away from it. The main-stream media will never be on our side. We don't even need to get into which company owns what media outlet, let's leave all that aside, they are scum and we know this. Beyond this, almost all forms of media that are not "our" media will almost never be on our side. Luckily, in the radical scene in Seattle, this something nearly everybody already knows. There is frequent talk of how the media lies to the public and a common understanding that they will intentionally distort our "message".
While this is an accurate analysis, it does not run deep enough. This analysis places the media in a role that is much more passive than the actual role they fulfill. Many of us have seen the images and videos from the G20 in Toronto, or the Vancouver hockey riots, or most recently the London riots. Those of us who have seen these images are also probably aware of the way that the state attempted to identify people who they perceived to have commit crimes. While much of this footage came from security cameras (which should also be smashed as frequent as possible, obviously), in each case there was also a good deal that came right from the media reporters who were present at all of these actions. In several cases the media either gladly handed over the footage the cops were interested in, or simply broadcasted the crimes in real-time, giving open access to anyone who had a desire to review the footage.
The media is not a passive enemy, but a quite active one. The presence of the media at our demos does not only distort our views or delegitimize our struggles and confrontations, it puts people in jail or prison. All of the major media outlets in Seattle were just handed a subpoena endorsed by Detective Ric Hall, stating that they had to hand over any material or footage they have from May Day, they are specifically interested in the footage in which people appear to be committing crimes (go figure). Although, as of now it is unclear whether or not the outlets will comply with this request, they probably will. However, even if not all the outlets complied, there is already information floating around that KIRO has already given all of their material to the police, and it is currently being reviewed. While we can certainly hope for the best, realistically it will not be a shock if they end up indentifying people from these videos and charges end up being filed.
We have already seen the way the media has portrayed May Day, day where the anarchist terrorists brought mayhem to our peaceful little green city. After all, what's to say one of those windows couldn't have been your living room, or the doctor's office where your elderly mother was attending her appointment. So we can only assume that this trend will continue, and that they want to see us "held accountable" for our terroristic actions. They will most likely offer any information they have to the police, aiding in the apprehension of the criminals. Once, again even if in some miraculous turn of events they don't hand over all of their raw footage, the stuff shot live still exists, and the police will probably not have too hard of a time accessing it.
The police claim that they were well prepared for May Day. However, it is rather hard to imagine why they would let the federal court house (among other things) be attacked on a day where they were (allegedly) so well-prepared. They are eager to identify people and charge them with these crimes. They must be feeling beyond embarrassed about all of the property damage that occurred, and they also have the downtown business association breathing down their neck to apprehend those who destroyed their property. We must assume that they are going to go to pretty great lengths to try to get some convictions. The task force has already been set up, and if they don't already exist, I don't think special snitchlines and websites are very off. They feel embarrassed and need to prove to "the public" that this type of behavior will not be tolerated and that the consequences will be very real.
This is why the media must be assaulted, there is a very real chance that people will end up in jail because of the footage taken. However, many in Seattle did do a great job at scaring away some of the more timid reporters (props to all those who used their flag-bats for the right purpose). Several of the reporters were assaulted by those in the bloc, and a few of them even had to run away because they felt too unsafe. Reporters were paint bombed, struck with flag-bats, punched, kicked, and slapped. Over all I would say the this particular march was not very a peaceful atmosphere for reporters, despite what that guy over at the stranger said. We cannot shame them away. Yelling can be good and invigorating, but it will not do enough, we must treat them like the lap-dogs they are and physically remove from the area. Although this could be done without violence, it would probably take a lot longer, and let's be honest they definitely deserve it.
If we are successfully able to remove the media from core areas of our demos, or at the very least severely limit their access, there is much better chance of incriminating footage not winding up in the hands of the pigs. At this point, it is kind of a given that there will be at least some cameras around while the crimes are being committed, those who are choosing to document this stuff need to be very particular about the way they do it. I would say that it helps if people actually know who you are and have a relatively clear conception of why are there holding a camera. However, don't be surprised if anyone shows any hostility to you for trying to capture images or film, because in most cases it's obviously for the better if our crimes don't get caught on film.
If the media is going to be actively complicit in putting us in cages, then they must be actively attacked."

My opinion, tying in my experience on M1GS and other days in Los Angeles.

1. I am hyper-sensitive and I cannot bear violence. An attack upon my brothers and sisters is an attack against me, viscerally. I want us to be able to avoid violence as we win this. I will not support violence as a means to win this. We are forgetting about the power of a unified front, as most recently seen (or more importantly, NOT seen) Rush Limbaugh. A unified front works; it changes things. That is my wish for strategy.

2. The article is written from the perspective that violence is both their right and their plan. It fully justifies violent attacks. This displays the selfishness and hubris which burned me up when self-described "anarchists" I'd never seen or heard about, showed up at Pershing Square in LA on M1GS and =created= a situation resulting in hundreds of cops showing up in a hurry, who then did not leave for hours. This directly jeopardized the safety of 1000+ (non-Occupy) marchers from local communities who did NOT sign up for a confrontation with police (who joined with us and engaged in a massive, beautiful General Assembly). One large march declined to join OccupyLA during mayday because they specifically did not wish to put their members at risk of arrest. As stated above, we need vast numbers to win this peacefully. We already see an obvious reluctance for some to join us out of fear and worry. "Cops don't need a reason", I was told. Of course they don't, and won't. So...why =give= them a reason? There were riot-geared sheriffs with an armored vehicle across the street from where this happened. Great, bring that down upon those with whom we wish to create bonds, toward an overall victory...selfishness!

3. Violence will only give the DHS a reason for their wet dream of putting Occupiers in the "Terrorist" category, and wipe out the movement, as has been done to how many other budding social movements in our history...

4. The article is written with zero regard for the rights of anyone aside from their own perceived right to do whatever they want, whenever they want. As if Occupy is theirs to use and destroy. Selfishness, hubris. Out of such things comes destruction. Where are their plans to =build= things, not simply destroy them? If they are self-justified in destroying what they wish, as they wish, what is to say they will NOT be destructive after we win? "Meet the new boss; same as the old boss..."

5. They are welcome to gear up and march alone, destroying as they wish and shoving back at police as they wish. Will they do so without the cover of a crowd, who may not wish to be involved?

6. Occupy is not their toy, is not theirs to use and destroy. Hubris. Entitlement. Privilege.

7. Occupy prides itself upon horizontal democracy and transparency. They are not transparent. I did not vote at a GA for the company of those who would =seek= confrontations with police. What incremental loss has occurred to our statement of non-violence?

8. I am personally pissed because I spent time and energy attempting to defuse confrontations with police during M1GS. Cops were very visibly ready, swinging batons like baseball bats, already. How far were they from pulling guns? Thankfully, we won't get the answer to that...but the kid who just ate 90-plus bullets in LA after a high-speed chase certainly knows that answer. But back to the point...I don't like cops, I know they lie lie lie, I know they aren't the 99% (a sad conclusion after months of watching them); when Occupy LA arrived at Pershing Square, we took the nearest intersection and held it for a decent amount of time, as is our right. At the beginning of this, I was at a corner recording cops (sadly got plenty of that sort of thing) and found myself listening to someone then identified as a Commander, who was on his radio getting a sense of where his resources were stationed. This was after the other confrontations where they were swinging batons around in fury, so I did a disgusting thing and identified myself and offered the advice that we'd eventually clear the intersection to go to our GA, and that to send his men into our mass would be the worst possible thing to do; and that the best possible thing to do would be to allow it to take its course. Amazingly, this appears to have been what then occurred.

I had no right to have spoken for Occupy LA in this manner. I had no right to make a decision on behalf of the group, and to act upon it without GA approval. That's how close I felt we were, to being kettled by police, and considering the confrontations along the march, that would then lead to far worse confrontations, giving them the reason they so dearly crave. I am sick over this because I prize Occupy's horizontal democracy. I was later clear to the group that I had done this and that I knew and know it was wrong. Transparency.

     However. After we did end up clearing the intersection, the self-described anarchists marched from inside Pershing Square out into the intersection, fully bloc'd with bandanas, masks, shields, and obvious attitudes. I plead with them to not, having possibly just helped avoid an attack by police. I saw them as giving the police a reason. They called it "holding ground", and I called it taking ground, as it had already been left. Then I shouted in hopes not of getting through to anyone about giving the cops a reason, but about them seeing just what ugliness looked like that they might choose otherwise, given a chance. They cared nothing for those who had joined us, just a hundred or so feet away into the park, or their right to not be attacked by police for the actions of a few, and as the article states, MSM WILL use any and all photos and videos endlessly to demonize the movement (when we need numbers, not violence, to win). It was incredibly selfish of them, it was shameful. And I fear that they would look upon these words with anger and violence, and NOT as an attempt to present perspective beneficial to the movement.

     As was utterly predictable, cops saw this and showed up in huge numbers, then did not leave for hours. Of course they did, what else would anyone possibly expect from such mechanisms? Challenged, how many cops know when to just allow? Seemingly, very few in LA. Much less the armored sheriffs across the street with their armored carrier.

9. I thought this to be a minor victory from much earlier in the day, before we marched and found conflict with police; an MSM reporter stunned at our actions on behalf of the poor, perhaps being broadcast nation-wide. From the same media who otherwise are desperate to demonize us! Are we winning? If so, why jeopardize it?

Some in OLA actually laughed at this video. I fully understand that everyone will NOT be on our side, and that revolutions may only see 10 - 30+ percent of the population joining in, but science shows 10% to be the true tipping point. Any loss from this at this critical time is terrible. We need unity now.

10. The 1% mouthpiece LA Times were happy to publish a photo of the black bloc vandalizing Seattle. And reprinting that photo later on to go with a reader who said "Way to go Occupy Seattle". The actions of the few effect the entire movement. Especially since this is a war of perception. Why give them anything to use against us =at all=? Willfully? That would only attract more violent types to Occupy and then it ends up...losing. This has happened to other movements. The peaceful are shouted down and leave. Have those movements lasted?

11. They REALLY believe they can win this through violence? Seriously? DHS are ready to kick in our doors, and the first to suffer will be those readily identified. They obviously care not one whit about those who would be carted off first.

12. I have no problem if they want to take out surveillance cameras, but do it on your own time, and not during our marches, okay?

13. If they would consider me an enemy for using my 1st Amendment right to say what I will about them, it would only further my worry about them in general, and specifically within Occupy. If they're fine about fucking up reporters (who of course will only blame Occupy in general), are they fine about fucking up any who contest them, even Occupiers?

14. LAPD were out in astonishing numbers and we were not free to march as we wished (meaning, cops stole our freedom). After having been brutalized by a cop for peacefully recording my fellows being arrested (for NOTHING), I just plain don't like cops. Isn't it possible to do this without creating a beat-down?

15. The 1% are con artists, masters of manipulation and rhetoric. If they can turn Occupy into an FTP machine, instead of us fighting the 1%, they've won, and laugh and laugh at us for falling for their misdirection. Perspective and strategy. If cops fuck with us, immediately march upon the nearest bank. Fuck the police, indeed...let's forget them, better still. Always take it directly to the 1%.

16. Who says "anarchists" aren't fucking COPS looking to turn the movement against itself, into something giving the cops an excuse to smash it? A Canadian police department got caught having sent cops in bloc gear, carrying rocks, attempting to get other protesters to do violence...Jordan, chief of police in Oakland, is on record about infiltrating movements and getting them to do what cops want...and cops were indeed caught infiltrating Occupy Oakland. In yesterday's LA Times there is an article about Occupy LA costing taxpayers $4.7 million; it is stated clearly that before the raid, they sent in undercover cops. Cops dressed as marchers are clearly visible in video from the 2007 MacArthur Park police riot, beating someone up =while riot cops who were beating anyone not in riot gear that day, walked directly past!=

     I saw a youtube comment from someone saying they were at the Seattle march, and that the cops nearly were escorting the trouble-makers around, certainly not arresting them!

17. Limiting reporter access is exactly what cops do when they want to do great violence and not be held accountable.

That, and Smedley Butler's words to the Bonus Army in 1932, about how descending into lawlessness would lose them the support of the entire country.

I suppose I've been called a peacemaker by some; that is a compliment. If Occupy has to split in the same manner as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, then let it be, so each set may do their own thing. And in no way do I mean that we should not continue to work to grind the 1%'s machine to a complete halt.

Quite honestly, I have quit Occupy Los Angeles over this issue. I know many shall say good riddance; this to me only increases my worry about the manifestation of a potentially horrible direction. I do not believe that people understand how terrible it could easily become, and how quickly. Are we not better than the violent cops we disdain? Rodney King. Kelly Thomas. Are we not better than those cops? Would becoming like them result in the world we really want?

Kelly Thomas

M1GS Waste of taxpayer money

"Waste of taxpayer money" image by Kylene Wolfstein