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Modern day anarchists short on message, long on destruction

Post by Brian O'Neill on May 3, 2012 at 9:55 pm with 8 Comments »
May 4, 2012 7:37 am

Over the last several hundred years, while repressive monarchs, dictators and fascist governments terrorized their citizens, anarchists were often the lone voice demanding change. It is not hard to picture them as folk heroes, especially when their foes were communists in the Soviet Union or the Nazis in Germany.

Fast forward to the present, from the WTO riots in 1999 to the Mayday debacle last Tuesday, and one is left with the inescapable conclusion: Anarchy ain’t what it used to be.

The modern day anarchist presents the image of a jack-booted thug, dressed in black clothing and mask, armed with a baseball bat and spray can. Besides the obvious thought – if they all look alike, doesn’t that make them conformists? – this image of the anarchist is completely disconnected from anarchy’s history and tradition of nonviolent protest.

To put it more bluntly, these idiots have traded in their message for an opportunity to smash other people’s things. Lacking a clear expression of purpose, anarchists are nothing more than a pre-formed mob waiting for a reason to ignite.

Anarchist symbol sprayed on a Seattle storefront/

That much was evident during Tuesday’s Mayday demonstration in Seattle. Anarchists mingled in deceptive anonymity until, at a signal, they donned masks and pulled spray cans and blunt tools out of their backpacks. Then they got down to business breaking windows, throwing objects at the police and spraying any window they forgot to smash. After the fun was over they tossed the gear back into their bag and climbed back into their holes.

Whatever message these people were attempting to convey was permanently obscurbed by violence. This type of organized criminal activity, conducted under the symbol for anarchy  (a capital A inside a circle), goes well beyond the actions of those with a righteous cause.

In fact, state law actually uses those descriptors to define a more popular term for this type of group - a criminal street gang.

Disagree? Here’s the state law defining gangs (RCW 9.94A.030, if you’re interested): an ongoing organization, association, or group of three or more persons, whether formal or informal, having a common name or common identifying sign or symbol, having as one of its primary activities the commission of criminal acts.

So to the list that includes Bloods and Crips, Surenos and Nortenos, the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and the Gangster Disciples, we might add the anarchists. Those associated with this movement who choose a baseball bat over a banner, who mask their face and run with the mob rather than show their face and speak their peaceful truth, deserve nothing more from our justice system than the treatment dealt to other street thugs and bullies, like gang-bangers.

That day may not be far off. Police agencies that have been hardest hit by anarchist violence have been investigating these groups in the exact same manner (and under the same federal law) normally used to keep tabs on criminal street gangs. Police in both Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. are actively sharing information on the anarchists that flit back and forth across the border. The destructive riots following last year’s Stanley Cup finals were every bit as shocking to Canadians as the WTO riots were to us.

I anticipate that anarchists’ destructive tendencies will soon bring them special attention. That would be in the form of resources already in place – intel analysts, specialized gang units and prosecutors utilizing new state laws specifically drafted to target gangs. Anarchists should consider that their pathetic desire for attention will have unintended, and unpleasant, consequences.

I don’t expect this observation to change anarchists’ behavior. If anything, the minimal brain function exhibited by those arrested Tuesday suggested that a perp walk is part of the game plan. That could change if the rampant destruction caused by anarchists is prosecuted with the same sentencing guidelines reserved for the more colorful criminal street gangs.

Increased jail time isn’t the best solution. However, when the victim is the heart of a city it will just have to do.

Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. speechfairy says:

    They can call themselves anarchists, or they can call themselves marigolds; they are thugs and that’s what I’ll call them.

  2. Chippert says:

    The black-clothed hooligans are not anarchists but call themselves that in an attempt to legitimize (at least to themselves) their actions. Anarchy has nothing to do with vandalism, with rioting, with indiscriminate destruction. I can call myself a bluebird but that does not make me one. What they are doing has nothing to do with politics.

    They should be looked on with contempt. They are nothing but criminals who grab the opportunity to smash and loot. No mercy for these thugs. Give them them maximum sentence and incarcerate them as soon as possible with others of their ilk.

    A true anarchist is ashamed that they are now being grouped with these dregs of society.

  3. rivitman says:

    Quote Theodore Roosevelt:

    “Anarchy is no more an expression of social discontent than picking pockets or wife-beating.

    The anarchist, and especially the anarchist in the United States, is merely one type of criminal, more dangerous than any other because he represents the same depravity in a greater degree. The man who advocates anarchy directly or indirectly, in any shape or fashion, or the man who apologizes for anarchists and their deeds, makes himself morally accessory to murder before the fact. The anarchist is a criminal whose perverted instincts lead him to prefer confusion and chaos to the most beneficent form of social order. His protest of concern for workingmen is outrageous in its impudent falsity; for if the political institutions of this country do not afford opportunity to every honest and intelligent son of toil, then the door of hope is forever closed against him. The anarchist is everywhere not merely the enemy of system and of progress, but the deadly foe of liberty. If ever anarchy is triumphant, its triumph will last for but one red moment, to be succeeded for ages by the gloomy night of despotism.

    For the anarchist himself, whether he preaches or practices his doctrines, we need not have one particle more concern than for any ordinary murderer. He is not the victim of social or political injustice. There are no wrongs to remedy in his case. The cause of his criminality is to be found in his own evil passions and in the evil conduct of those who urge him on, not in any failure by others or by the State to do justice to him or his. He is a malefactor and nothing else. He is in no sense, in no shape or way. a”product of social conditions,” save as a highwayman is”produced” by the fact than an unarmed man happens to have a purse. It is a travesty upon the great and holy names of liberty and freedom to permit them to be invoked in such a cause. No man or body of men preaching anarchistic doctrines should be allowed at large any more than if preaching the murder of some specified private individual. Anarchistic speeches, writings, and meetings are essentially seditious and treasonable.”

  4. Gandalf says:

    You guys are giving these morons too much credit. To give them descriptions like “thugs” gives thugs a bad name. Thugs intimidate people. These idiots intimidate inanimate objects. They are gutless wonders of devolution. They lack the cajones to do anything but smash windows and spray paint graffiti. They are nothing more than petulant upper middle class white kids that didn’t get enough attention from mommy and daddy growing up. They are two year olds stuck in young adult bodies.

    I have nothing but utter contempt for their ilk. The police and the court systems should lock them away in prison for a few months just so they can be introduced to real criminals as fresh meat. Perhaps by then they’ll decide being a jackass isn’t as glamorous as their own little minds have made themselves out to be.

  5. BlaineCGarver says:

    The Seattle LEO tactics puzzle me. They hang way back, but if meyhem breaks out, they engage, but then have no clear idea of the those that had done it….I’m, of course, just guessing, but shouldn’t the LEOs be with the crowd to observe and take out individuals that are attacking and destroying? Again, I’m guessing, but if violence is iminate, shouldn’t the drama be closed down and people sent home, and those remaining do so at their own risk?

  6. Brian O'Neill says:

    A uniformed cop, or even two, wandering through a large mob is a recipe for disaster. I have seen that first hand and it is absolute doctrine to “not do that.” Ideally, plainclothes officers are present to assess the crowd. As far as uniformed officers, however, sometimes the mere presence of cops in riot gear is enough to set off the mob. It is a very delicate situation.

    Though it’s not my area of expertise, that much I do know.

  7. Reiker01 says:

    Trust me…..we have people in the crowd.

  8. Brian O'Neill says:

    I thought as much. Thanks.

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