Sunday, September 27, 2009

An anarchist reflects on riotous protests

This article gives a lot of insight into the minds of the people who start riots at G-20 summits. Progressives are supposed to be so peaceful and non-violent. And some are-- don't get me wrong. Yet they seem unwilling to acknowledge the violence amongst themselves, even though they expect pro-lifers to do the same.

Are We Addicted to Rioting?


I have been around the bloc a few times. (...) In Miami in 2003, I heard the explosion of "less-lethal" weapons and heard a loud pop next to me. As I turned, a middle-aged woman was starting to run away with blood literally pouring out of her mouth. She had been hit in the face with a rubber bullet.

After that incident I began a long reflective process, one that started in the bloodstained streets of Miami and hasn't stopped yet, hopefully it never will. Something clicked when the blood poured out of this woman's mouth; this is for real. I am really here and we are really getting the *** kicked out of us. What before seemed sort of fun, sort of therapeutic, sort of educational, now seemed totally dangerous, serious, and life-threatening.

And you just woke up to that, huh?

Do you ever feel like some leftists live in a parallel universe?

It also became clear that our actions in the streets were not usually connected to any real strategy to achieve change, no goals that we could attain, no real meaning for being there at that time, besides to ruin the party for the bigwigs.

And you just came to realize that, huh? You mean you thought there was a point to breaking shop windows and throwing rocks at the cops?

That's how winning movements think. Those are the critical questions to ask, among others. Unfortunately, I never experienced a single anarchist group that considered any of this. We just went out and did the craziest stuff, had a few parties/events in the next few months, and started the next round of last-minute militant protest organizing, building for our next street-fantasy, the omnipresent and mythological "next Seattle". We were chasing a high that we didn't even understand.

Next time anarchists crash your pro-life witness, just remember that a lot of them are clueless.