A post just up on the generally more reasonable Minnesota Independent website covers the “lies” and distortions the so-called “corporate media” are supposedly spreading about the anarchists here in the Twin Cities to try and disrupt the RNC. The only problem is, author Andy Birkey made the mistake of taking the anarchists at their word when they accused the media of lying, and didn’t do any fact-checking of his own.
Sorry, Andy; you was used.
If you go and read the article in full, you’ll see that local, pseudonymous activists, apparently representing the RNC ‘Welcoming’ Committee, say they’re being misrepresented and lied about. That may well be true – but if you do a little bit of digging, you sure wouldn’t know it from the claims they make. Here, I’ll take the group’s biggest claims and complaints in the order they appear in the linked article. Some of the more general, nonspecific whining has been omitted, since it’s impossible to rebut meaningfully:
1. Anarchists’ plans “do not include violence”. This isn’t true – unless you are yourself an anarchist, and choose to believe that property damage is not violence. Browse the various anarchist websites and you’ll find that many consider property damage a form of “justice”. We’re not talking spray-painting slogans here, either – we’re talking breaking windows, smashing ATMs, and setting fire to things. I don’t care what they try to tell you – if it walks like violence, and quacks like violence, and looks like violence… it’s violence. Next “lie”:
2. Anarchists set up a “red sector” to clash with police. This is also true – just see this paper (Adobe PDF!) from late last year:
To be fair, it’s unclear at the moment if anything ever came of this plan, but they were definitely planning on designating “red zones”, at one time. (It looks like arbitrary limitations on confrontation are now being left to the organizers of specific actions or “sectors”, rather than being coordinated through the “Welcoming Committee”.) Let’s move on:
3. Anarchists have been compared to terrorist attacks, chemical weapons, et cetera. This makes no sense to me, and I’m unable to find any mention of such a comparison in any of the local news articles about the convention. Unless someone can provide a link or citation, I’m going to guess that by “compared with”, the anarchists really mean “viewed as a potential risk in addition to”, which doesn’t sound nearly as fun, does it? (“People out and about this weekend should be prepared for light rain, high winds, and occasional damaging hail” isn’t really “comparing” damaging hail with light rain, any more than saying that police are making plans for anarchists, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters is “comparing” anarchists to terrorists – or disasters.) Next…
4. Anarchists’ tactics are not terroristic. Once again, it depends on your definition of “terroristic”. Remember, anarchists will tell you that throwing objects is a “defensive” act – i.e. one designed to make police afraid to come near them. So, technically, it’s not true – and if you consider bomb-making environmental activists “anarchists”, it’s not even literally true, either.
5. Nonviolence. Yeah? Too bad nobody told anyone about that, eh? (Does “Give the spineless corporate whores hell” sound nonviolent to you?) I don’t know who the anarchists think they’re fooling – other than gullible and sympathetic citizen-journalists, anyway. News flash, guys: refusal to condemn violence is pretty much an endorsement thereof, okay?
6. Anarchism isn’t really about anarchy. Do you know why everyone refers to self-described anarchists as “self-described anarchists”? It’s simple – because people like the “RNC Welcoming Committee”, and the other groups who will be on the streets during the RNC, aren’t truly anarchists. There are actual topple-the-government anarchists out there – but most of them seem pretty disillusioned with the activist movements that use that name. If the “anarchists” are pissy about being described as, ah, “self-described anarchists”, maybe they’d prefer a quite literally more accurate label – socialists.
I mean, hello!, there’s a reason these groups use the seemingly redundant term “anarchists and anti-authoritarians”, and it ain’t just because it’s alliterative. No, it’s because – just like “violence” – when anarchists use the word “anarchist”, they don’t mean what Merriam-Webster does.
So, what have we learned here? Self-described anarchists lie. When they’re not lying, they’re being weasels, and twisting words around to fit their agenda. Some self-described anarchists, it appears, are almost ashamed of what they and their comrades say, believe, and do, and will stoop to considerable depths to try and distance themselves from those same “neighbors” their “community” is supposedly there to support… the freaking hypocrites. And, quite honestly, if self-described anarchists are being represented a certain way in the “corporate” media, it’s not just for good reason – it’s their own damned fault.