May Day "violence is our enemy"

Ian Murray seamus2001 at
Tue May 1 13:21:24 PDT 2001

ChuckO wrote:
> Free speech? How about the cocept of being tactful when talking to the
> media? Did the black bloc or other anarchists publicly diss the
> pacifists who attacked us in Seattle? No.
========= People aren't likely to exhibit tact with regards to strangers who have not made explanations/justifications of their motives clear to all the other groups b4 such acts that others don't approve of go down. And if they don't approve of PD, they can't be expected in situations of chaotic creativity, to have a gestalt of the magnitude your talking about so as to appreciate the reasons for PD and communicate that effectively to media etc. This is water over the bridge, really, and from now on a lot of ex ante communication between groups needs to be done in order to increase mutual understanding. I do feel we've made progress on this.

>Have we made a big deal about
> the SalAMI pacifists who PEPPER-SPRAYED black blocers in Quebec City?
> No. I'm all for debate and disucussion, but it is plain stupid to air
> our dirty laundry in front of journalists who are looking for stories
> and information that will help them drive wedges between us. My friends
> in the Mobilization for Global Justice understand this quite well; I
> thanked them for issuing a press release last week that stood by the
> anarchist involvement in the World Bank protests, after the Assistant
> Chief of Police had been quoted about "criminal anarchists."
=========== I don't know about the SalAMI episode; clearly it needs to be understood by all parties. Journalists and others can only divide us if we let them. What the fuck should we care about what the police call us; cops are nothing more than protection rackets that "made it", just like governments.

> Yes, the asshole contingent needs to be addressed, be they pacifists or
> black blocers. What I don't think people understand is that in Quebec
> City, most of the fighting was done by local residents. I understand
> that the cops are not the enemy and underscored this in my interview
> with W-FIVE. The capitalists are our enemy and the cops get in the way.
> For some working class anarchists, the cops are also the enemy because
> they harass them. If you want to see this in action, I suggest you watch
> the next time the black bloc joins a larger demo like we did several
> weeks ago at the NOW rally. The Park police surrounded us instantly and
> the MPD harassed us over our tame sign.

I hold the Pogo position on this one dude. Capitalism needs to be morphed into something else no doubt, but enemy rhetoric is bogus self-referentiality. As for the NOW rally, what'd you expect? Sometimes anonymity is best a la Hakim Bey's suggestions.

> I wasn't in Quebec City, but I understand that most of the
> bottle-throwing came from the locals. Do you have problems with working
> class people fighting back against an invasion of their neighborhood by
> the violent elements of the state?
======== Of course not, but hurling the weapons of the state back at them is different from bringing something other than the only weapons we need...our words. Hey, didn't somebody write a book with that as a title :-)

> In Seattle people threw stuff back after the cops started stuff. I'm not
> sure rules will do much good when the cops are being violent. I agree
> that communication about tactics at actions is necessary. I think those
> discussions have been pretty good so far.
========== That's why I wrote "rules"; see above. Yes the discussions have been good but they need to get better especially with regards to strategy about how to keep our issues on the "global attention span" so that people don't disjointedly see issues as just this or that is wrong with capitalism and can be fixed ceteris parabus. It's about getting more people to see that more capitalism is not the solution to the problems created by capitalism [poverty, racismsexismclassism, ecosystem destruction and their roots in property and contract etc.] and that others have thought deeply about alternatives and need to be heard.

> I'm sorry, but that doesn't hold up to careful scrutiny. On one level,
> its a problem with what the media decides to cover. For example, a local
> IMC videographer told me about a conversation he overheard on the plane
> to Quebec between several Reuters journalists. They had already written
> their story and were only going to QC to get pictures of the fence being
> knocked down and molotovs being thrown.
======== What'd you expect from alienated journalists?

> I watched the TV news coverage of Quebec City last weekend. What I saw
> was that when they decided to talk about issues, they interviewed folks
> from NGOs like Public Citizen and Earth Justice. I think the only time I
> heard "anti-capitalists" mentioned was on ABC Evening News. The NGOs and
> other groups benefit from the more militant tactics that are being
> practiced on the streets. They know this and they wink at us when they
> get a chance.

They're the ones we need to communicate more effectively with so that they can see capitalism as the problem and that capitalism can't be fixed even though we suffer a Neurath's boat [see below] problem with regards to deconstructing it.

> Ian, I understand what you are saying, but I think the majority now
> accepts property destruction as necessary on when the situation
> warrants. Anarchists who do black bloc certainly understand that p-d
> isn't always the wisest thing to do. If p-d has become accepted by a
> majority, how do we make it possible for those who don't like p-d to be
> able to participate? Do we segregrate protest by physical zones? Do we
> do it temporally? Does 50 Years is Enough to their march on Saturday and
> the black bloc on Sunday?
============= It seems the larger issue is whether BB's will accept the wishes of a majority to refrain from p-d, especially after said majority understands but rejects the viability of it's effectiveness. Yes, I agree we've come a long way on this and we do need to do some more thinking about the "pacifism at any cost" groups as these are emotive as well as rational arguments we're dealing with. I have no problem with p-d in many contexts as you know. I do wish we could get to that point where it is no longer necessary however. I hate seeing anarchists targeted, there's already enough repression.

> I forgot to limit my statement to the past 30 years. A good example of
> pacifist failure were the protests against the Gulf War.

> I agree with you, about the propensity for PD to become an end in
> itself, but frankly, I don't think it is used enough. If we're going to
> do any critique about tactics, we should examine any form that becomes
> and end in itself, be it p-d or civil disobedience.
> << Chuck0 >>
========== Iraq protests were ignored so they didn't "catch fire" as it were and Yugoslavia was an even speedier "war"; this is one of the more frightening aspects of assholes with high-tech weapons systems; lord help us when the DOD has quantum computers [see Gerald Milburn's "The Feynmann Processor", chapter 4]


RE: Neurath's boat... There are various problems with foundationalism in general and one of the most obvious is known as Neurath's Boat: it is simply not possible to demolish everything and to start again because our beliefs and knowledge are not like a building (with strong or weak foundations) but like a boat on a voyage of life. If a boat is discovered to be faulty while at sea then it is not possible to affect repairs. At least until dock is reached, that is. The argument is that one cannot and will not destroy the total of ones beliefs because they support us through life (we would sink). But is there a possibility of a 'dry dock' in which we can be safe and completely rebuild our boat of beliefs? This is where we actually have to determine what some of the foundations are (the main timbers in the boat).

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