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Commentary ::
anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
07 Dec 2004
overall, it was a good time. this is important. there has been some feuding, disappointment, misplaced congratulations and other drama. this critique is based on my own opinions and observations as well as conversations with other participants in the anti-authoritarian contingent and breakaway.
let's start where my first face-to-face involvement with all this began: last sunday, at an organizing meeting of the loose coalition of campus groups who put together the rally and march. at this point, there was no permit, nor apparently any clear prospect of one. some people suggested the appointment of marshalls to force demonstrators to stay on the sidewalk (in case the cops didn't do a good enough job). after some debate it was agreed that this would be silly if we had sufficient numbers to take the street unchallenged, and that we should all just play it by ear. this would be aided by the use of a police liason, who would relay communications from the police to the crowd, but was not empowered to tell anyone what to do.

apparently, this decision came up for review at another meeting friday night, and was postponed further to a spokescouncil meeting to take place the next day before the rally at one. this never happened. apparently, the march also obtained a permit to march a whopping five blocks straight to copley for another rally. this information was not widely disseminated.

around the time zinn finished speaking, somehow word rapidly circulated among the drum-and-banner-armed AA contingent that we had been asked by the central coalition organizers to lead the march to copley. maybe we should have checked up on that, but i think most of us assumed that this meant there was no permit, and they were asking us to go in front because we're brave or crazy or whatever. we were more than happy to oblige. in recent years, protests of similar size have repeatedly taken the streets without a permit in boston, with minimal police harassment, snaking through downtown commercial zones. we were especially excited at the prospect of all the holiday shoppers on newbury st being forced to contemplate the horrors being visited on the middle east in their name while they placidly consumed.

so off we went, and pretty soon after hitting the streets our "police liason", who apparently appointed theirself a marshall despite the last standing decision against such a role (and was joined by one other student organizer), started yelling at everyon to go to copley, that we had a permit to copley. this was confusing, we were expecting to have a snake march through back bay and downtown, we had just stood through an hour and a half long rally and it really seemed that everyone, as in all 400 of us, was excited to be out in the streets. there were only about 5 cops at this point, and this number remained constant til the very end.

upon reaching copley, about half the marchers at least wanted to keep going, and proceeded to do so with rather half-hearted police interference. however, the police were able to get the two socialist organizers to do what they were unable to, which was terrify a lot of the marchers by screaming at them that they would be arrested unless they went into copley square. of course, this was nonsense, as mentioned earlier there were 5 cops and 400 marchers, and protests have often taken the streets in boston without problem. it would seem that the biggest problem here was the fact that there actually was a permitted route, which almost no one had even known about but which the police were attempting to hold us all to.

to make a long story short... some marchers proceeded to have another rally in that big empty fountain in copley, below street level so that cars thirty feet away on boylston st could not even see most of them, where they heard from yet more speakers about why the war they were already out protesting was bad. many people started to leave out of cold, frustration, boredom and fear. attempting to reinject some life into the flagging demonstration, a group of around 60 anarchists, palestinian solidarity activists and another announced that they were retaking the streets, and proceeded to loop around back bay, scuffling occasionally with cops but avoiding any arrests or injuries til we returned to copley, where the second rally had already fizzled away.

the globe and herald both referred to the breakawy march, with the herald placing such heavy emphasis on it that it seemed they might have not covered the whole event at all otherwise. they also refered to repeated instances of the police's violent behavior towards marchers, in the most protest-sympathetic herald article i've ever read, as well as featuring a few great quotes from our side.

today at the reportback meeting of the student groups' coalition, i saw socialist speaker after socialist speaker pat themselves on the back about how good the turnout was, and how they were really "building the movement", and just what a fabulous rally it was. i blinked; were they at a different protest? because the one i was at was short and barely noticed by anyone until a motley crew of rebels took the streets, permits and schedules be damned, and went where we pleased. for this, they scolded us. apparently it was "undemocratic" of us to not follow the permitted route we weren't even told existed, and more important to "build the movement" by standing in a big hole in the ground then to take to the streets in protest.

but four hundred people turned out! and we flyered a lot! and signed up people for our mailing list! and sold newspapers! and BUILT THE MOVEMENT!

and there you have the essence of the so-called schism. they want to "build a movement" and we want to stop a war. they want to appear legit and play nice with the cops, and we want to go out into the city and make a complacent society listen to our outrage. this was reflected not only in their manipulative, fearmongering, authoritarian behavior in the streets, but in the meeting where they attempted to force a majoritarian decision-making process into the coalition's framework, apparently setting it up to become yet another marxist front group. fortunately, there were enough A-types present to hotly debate the issue, and to point out how undemocratic majoritarianism really is. still, there were signs that many of the leftists involved hope to turn this new alignment of campus antiwar groups into a hierarchical group expressing sectarian socialist political lines.

many of us believe that this coalition is valuable as a space for student and youth led groups to interact on the common ground of our opposition to the war. also, there are a number of people involved who are clearly not yet aligned to any dogmatic, authoritarian leftist group. it is unfair that an organization worked on by people of so many different political persuasions is being primed for a takeover by one sect. so, basically, i think it's safe to say that most of the dozen or so As at tonight's meeting feel that we can and should continue to work with this coalition. it may involve some compromises, but the alternative is to bail en masse, and let it turn into a socialist circle jerk which will then inevitably collapse under its own boredom. for their part, the dedicated leftists seem to be glad of the energy and momentum we bringing to organizing and events, but don't understand that depriving our actions of autonomy and spontaneity would just kill it all. it may be hard but we don't have to let it be that way. we can demonstrate through the effectiveness of our way of doing things that it really isnt such a bad way of doing things after all. and hopefully, we can help this coalition create situations where resistance to the u.$. war machine can flourish, in the schools and in the streets.

it's time to ride the lightning.

big ups to the As, palestinian solidarity and everyone else who didn't drop the beat!

love & sol,

xxx maus.

This work is in the public domain


Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
06 Dec 2004
I agree with you and disagree with you. I agree that those people, socialists or not, that yelled at marchers warning of arrest was not the best method to keep people alert of the always present chance to be swept up by the gestapo. However it was not just socialists that organized this, nor that controlled the rally. I heard a couple of great speakers who I know for a fact were not socialists. I think the crowd was pretty diverse, at least politically, and I was fired up to see some black and red flags (I was under the assumption the A's would not be coming due to the organge armband brigade.)
I also agree that numbers mean only so much, but! I surveyed the crowd and found a ton of first timers, a good number of high school students, and a handful of 7th and 8th graders. What was not achieved by a lack of visibility, a lack of direct action, a lack of whatever else the rally was a huge success as it engaged new people, young people.
I hope you stay involved and work to build something.
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
06 Dec 2004
totally, that was sort of my point, socialists/authoritarian lefties weren't the only organizers and certainly weren't the only ones there, but they attmpted to terrrorize people into obeying them when it was clear things were going differently than they planned. or... they really believed that they were saving our asses from being all of us arrested by six motorcycle cops. and yes, it is great all those kids came. i actually dont live in boston, but i hope they stay in it. some of those young kids were really, really brave when we were attacked on boylston.
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
06 Dec 2004
"and there you have the essence of the so-called schism. they want to "build a movement" and we want to stop a war" -- You have a lot of really good criticisms about how the march went, but I think it's unfair to imply that you want to end the war anymore than they do. You may disagree on the best way to do it, but everyone that came to the demonstration wants to stop the war.

"they attmpted to terrrorize people into obeying them when it was clear things were going differently than they planned" -- It seems like one of the problems is that both sides have accused the other of motives that I'm not sure are true. Some of the non-A organizers have claimed that the A's "took over" the march and tried to lead everyone on a different route. But that obviously was not the case, you were just marching where you wanted to go and others went with you. On the other side, you are accusing the socialists of
trying to control your actions, which I agree they did when they yelled at you to go a certain direction; however, I think the organizers who did this j ust wanted to make sure that people who were following the A's knew they were no longer following the permitted route. This was done by screaming at the A's to turn, which I think was the wrong way to handle the situation.
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
06 Dec 2004
i found myself dismayed in the last year at attneding events similarly set up like these, and to find a complete lack of anarchist presence. i know people didn't like the peace police, but this whole debate and battle with the left could have happened a LONG time ago.

EVERYONE (especially anarchists, heh), whether or not you like the organizers, the nature of the rallies, the wording of the message, or whatever, should attend every single rally, protest and demo they find out about.

the orgainzers SHOULD not be in control of these things. they've limited the movement. imagine, what we could have achieved, if these self appointed leaders of the movement didn't so heavily control and police their demos in washington dc or new york city, or here in boston? instead of allowing the people to express their views and take action, and guiding people into shutting the system down, they've just turned the movement into part of the illusion of american democracy.

in short, i believe they have been more damaging to the movement then the state could have EVER been. the actions (regardless of the intentions, which i'm sure are at least kind of in the right place) by these organizers are simply, disgusting.

HOWEVER, it's easy to take the power back. we saw it on saturday. EVERYONE reading this, who feels the same way, should attend EVERY SINGLE event coming up. the demos are what the people attending the demos make them.

we should not succumb to state, bourgouis or commie oppression any longer, and we should take back the streets, from all of those groups.
a friend saw un-arrest at Saturday march
07 Dec 2004
I couldn't make it to the march, but spoke with a friend who saw a foiled arrest take place -- where the cop got entangled with a Palestinian flag, started cursing, and let go of they guy he was trying to arrest.
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
07 Dec 2004
the people did a good job of preventing the cop from reaching the man he was trying to grab. it was a great examaple of resisting arrest
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
07 Dec 2004
well written article.
i think people tend to ignore some of the things maus mentioned: for example...trying to sell newspapers instead of having conversations.
we also have to think what we are about doing (and i don't mean "to stop the war! dur"), like whether we are talking to ourselves, either in the pit at copley or by simplifying our opinions to "smash the state". i also mean that we should have goals for these events: to shut down a company for a day that is a war profiteer, to inform people on things they didn't know about the war, to cause a disruption, or to speak our mind. Not to say that speaking our minds and making ourselves feel better is bad, but it will not stop the war. speakers said how we are going to "stop the war" when all they were doing was standing around talking to friends. talk is cheap. let's get moving.
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
07 Dec 2004
also, we can't just pat ourselves on the back for a protest well done. it's not over. nothing concrete has changed. we have to get right back into those streets.
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
07 Dec 2004
non-profits have sturctural limitations - people need to worry about salaries, office rent, and not "alienating" Zionist and/or white upper middle class donors and things like that. They also tend to have typical employee hierichal structure or employee/intern employee/volunteer hierarchies. This affects orgs like Mobe, AFSC, ACLU and ultimately any coalitions that they dominate, such as UJP (which ends up being horribly undemocratic as a result.) These institutional committments drive the desire to control who can and cannot speak and keep power over things like email lists, etc.

Socialist groups believe in democratic centralism and hierarchy. They also tend to think that class struggle here is the vision for change - that can allow some of these groups to be more racist than they othewise would be because they think that everything has to be driven by self-interest otherwise people won't care. They build by getting their org name out there, so naturally they want to avoid tactics that will get the org in trouble.

Anarchists tend to be more idealistic, tend to want more direct action, don't act in the name of a group, and don't have any institutional baggage and thus have a lot more flexibility and freedom.

Greens should be more in the anarchist camp, but since it is partly an electoral party and partly a named org, some of the other contraints can come into play.

I am trying to be honest (even though I am certainly biased - feel free to give your take) and just lay out what the differences are and the constraints are so that people can understand why different visions exist going into a joint project and so that we can work to take advantage of the diversity of tactics rather than let them be any sort of a stumbling block to working together and amplifying eachother's voice... and the only hope for this happening is young people showing the old-hands how to do it since many of the long-time activists around town have settled into their particular camp long ago and won't work with the others unless we shame them into it.

Something to think about...
All of these types of organizations are very susceptible to failing to break out of "Western" cultural supremacy - for example, anarchism might be practiced in indigenous communities, but they may not give a shit who bachunin was and socialists/communists can be a little too tied to proliferation of technology as a metric for the level of "progress" of a society. Non-profit types too often don't even really want to fundamentally end the US empire and think that democracy is some great "invention" of the West. I think there was definitely something to the idea of the model of national liberation struggles within the US such as the Black Panther Party, AIM and others and those currents are still needed today. Racism continues to make it very hard to have multiracial organizations that do not impose white middle class culture on everyone. Male domination is the same story - those lesbian seperatists were definitely on to something...

I think the concept of indigenism, which means sovreignty, local control and respect for cultural/religious/spiritual differences is the path that the green movement and really all of us should be on if we are willing to confront the baggage of Western cultural imperialism honestly. Ward Churchill is a First Nations man who writes about this kind of way of framing the "vision" for what we would hope to see the world become, but it is also something that can be sensed from looking at various liberation struggles, such as the struggle to end the racist Zionist project (so-called Israel) by Palestinians and the resistance in Iraq to US sponsored genocide...

PS a good speech about NGO's (which are basically like non-profits on the local level)...
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
07 Dec 2004
ward churchill is awesome.
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
07 Dec 2004
In response to the original article: I'm an anarchist and I would consider myself anti-Leninist, but I'm still bothered by some of the generalizations being made about "socialists". First, I think it is important to distinguish between democratic socialists (like the Socialist Party or the Democratic Socialists of America) and Marxist-Leninist groups. Second, while most Marxist-Leninist groups are sectarian, there are a few that aren't--the Communist Party and Freedom Road. (Then there is the ISO, which sometimes acts sectarian and sometimes doesn't, as if they can't make up their mind about it.) While I disagree with them on issues of organization structure and strategy and find their romantic notions about Lenin and such butchers disturbing, I have not had problems working with them in coalition and would gladly do it again.

In response to spectator's comment: If we did what you suggest, we would have chaos, not anarchy. Most people who show up at a big rally like this are not interested in self-organization--they just want to go along with the program. The sort of self-organization you advocate makes a lot of sense at a direct action, where people have been trained for it and generally expect it. At a permitted march, you got a lot of people who aren't up for that--whether they don't have the time to be that involved, because they're new to activism and are easing themselves in slowly, or some other reason. If people want to take different sorts of actions--particularly in the same general location and time--they really need to communicate with each other, so they don't end up stepping on each others' toes. You know, the anarchist principle of cooperation?

Calling the organizers' actions "disgusting" is pretty extreme. Have you ever organized a big rally like this? Try putting yourself in their shoes. Perhaps they made a mistake (although it sounds to me like there was poor communication on all sides), but it's an easy one to make--you've put a lot of work into something, you want it to go a particular way and it's natural you'll try to keep it going that way, especially if someone tries to change things without consulting you. I've made that mistake--helped organize a big rally, had people show up who want to do something a little different that what we had planned (but completely harmless) and tried to stop them. I hope I don't make the mistake again, but it's not something people do out of malice--they do it because they are human and humans make mistakes. Using really derogatory language when people make perfectly human mistakes like that is really counterproductive--it does not contribute to dialogue about these issues. It just creates hurt feelings and alienates people from each other. And that doesn't help any of us.
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
07 Dec 2004
As someone who has participated in this coalition from the beginning and put a lot of time into organizing the rally, I am extremely upset to see this post by maus at the top of the Boston Indymedia website. It is filled with numerous accusations that are completely off-base. Here is my take on what happened at the rally:

1. We agreed at the first meeting of the coalition to have a rally at Boston Common and that we would march to Copley, but that the decision would be left to the crowd as to whether or not to take the streets or not during that march.

2. We had a long debate over how best to make this happen and to make sure we were organized were any problems to arise with the police. Unfortunately, in my opinion, some people refused to consider having any organization to the rally, labelling any idea of having people to help make sure the march was going smoothly as an attempt to force "protest police" on the group. Nevertheless, we chose to have several police liaisons, some of whom did a great job.

3. No one, to my knowledge, asked the anarchists to go to the front of the march. I was the MC, and we had announced the march route from the bandstand, and assumed that we would probably be at the front of the march. Instead, we had to run down from the bandstand because a group of anarchists just took off and started marching, with everyone following them. I would really like to know how this happened. Anyway, the main problem was that there were no avenues of communication between this group and the people who organized the rally and had planned the march, as far as I know. I think this is something we can improve on next time, and I hope we will.

4. The anarchists placed themselves at the front of the march with a big banner that said, "Disarm the state." Don't you think that the coalition's banner should have been at the front - the one that says "Boston Students Against the War"? Don't you think this is what most people thought they were marching behind? It's clearly your right to carry that banner, but it's not your right to put it at the front of the march. What would you have said had Socialist Alternative had a contingent with its banner at the front of the march? or ANSWER? Or the ISO? Suddenly the cry would be "Authoritarians! Authoritarians! We can't be part of this march." I think this is ridiculous.

5. Again, there was a decision to march from Boston Common to Copley where we would have a short rally. This was democratically decided on, by consensus, by the student anti-war coalition. The people who were trying to make this happen were only trying to make sure that the decisions that the group had made were carried out. I think there was a lot that was unclear to everyone, but I want to be clear on this point. Your accusations of authoritarianism are way off the mark. Is it authoritarian to try to implement decisions made by consensus?

6. I think the accusation has been made that it was the socialists who somehow didn't let the spokescouncil happen. Again, completely off base - others had agreed to organize this, and for some reason they did not. Why do anarchists seem to blame everything on socialists? It's really not fair and not cool if we're trying to work in a coalition.

7. No one attempted to foist a majoritarian decision-making process on the group. The coalition has a decision-making process, that was decided upon at the first meeting - that is to try to reach consensus, and if this doesn't work, then to make decisions by majority vote. I'm sorry that you weren't at this meeting and that some people who were choose to conveniently forget this fact. Once again, I don't see where the claim of authoritarianism comes in except as a way of writing socialists off for no apparent reason.

8. The accusation that one sect is trying to takeover this coalition is the most offensive. SA has worked to build a democratic coalition and to get as many people as possible involved. We want more people to come to the meetings. But we also want to make sure that the decisions that are made at the meetings are carried out! Isn't that what democracy means? I'm glad that anarchists are coming to meetings and will voice their opinions - but I sincerely hope it won't be done in the sectarian, red-baiting spirit that this article was written in.

9. Finally, my opinion is that the best way to build the anti-war movement is to reach out to the largest number of people possible and get them involved. The best way to do that, for me, is to organize rallies and marches, and to try to, if possible, get permits for them so we can guarantee people's safety. That's just what I think.

10. How is it that this type of sectarian, red-baiting article has any place on Boston IndyMedia (let alone being the #1 article on the website!!!)? This is disturbing, seriously.
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
07 Dec 2004
Having been part of this coallition from the start and not being on the socialist or A side, here are my thoughts on this:
_ A variety of political opinions exist within the anti-war movement and never will we come to a consensus.
_ Although the political aspect wil never be alligned, the tactical aspects can be.
_ I strongly believe both groups can work together like different blocs, each with its own specific goals but with constant communication through spokes and true solidarity.
_ Although this wasn't the case for the first march in a little while, we can probably reach some sort of consensus before taking the streets again.

Our divisions only make the other side stronger,

See ya in the streets,
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
07 Dec 2004
"What would you have said had Socialist Alternative had a contingent with its banner at the front of the march? or ANSWER? Or the ISO? Suddenly the cry would be 'Authoritarians! Authoritarians! We can't be part of this march.'"

Exactly. If there had been a bunch of authoritarians at the front of the march, it is quite possible that some anarchists would have chosen to break off. But as it was, there were anarchists at the front of the march, and no one chose to break off! In fact, a number of people, actually everyone at the event, followed us down a route that they must have been aware was not the permitted route (since ya'll were screaming it in their ears). It's free association and disassociation. If people had wanted to march the permitted route without us, we sure as hell wouldn't have stopped them.
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
07 Dec 2004
dan, i'm glad that even though you had big problems with what i said, that you nevertheless tried to dialogue reasonably about this.

as far as "we agreed to do this and that", well, i suppose this really cuts to the root of the division, i guess - as protest organizers, is our role to facilitate, catalyze expressions of dissent, to get people together and get them psyched - or is to gather a bunch of people together and then berate them to follow a schedule? i realize that's a rather slanted way of breaking it down but it represents a very real dichotomy. and i would say the former. once all those people got there, the event was no longer your property! it was theirs! and they made it what it was, or tried to.

as max above points out, there is a contradiction here. on the one hand we hear, "the anarchists hijacked the march, no one had any idea what was going on!!" and on the other "y'all should have known where to go, we announced it from the bandstand, everyone must have known where to go!" sorry, but you can't have it both ways. i too would like to know why all of a sudden everyone though we had been asked to be in front, but either a) there was just a breakdown in communication or b) people knew we weren't following the route, and chose to follow us down newbury st anyway because it seemed like a better route. which, i might add, it certainly was, if we wanted anyone to see or hear us, which seemed to be a very incidental concern at best to the likes of SA.

and again, as far as "doing what we agreed to", most of the As were in any event not present to agree to anything, and understood that there were no marshalls and no permit, as has been the case at many boston demos of recent years; the coalition as a whole, on the other hand, had as of the last general meeting on the topic agreed not to have marshalls. and yet, there were at least two people from the coalition, one of them from SA, screaming at everyone to stop marching or they would get arrested, reciting the police's outrageous lies and threats for them. i don't think "disgusting" is really too strong a word for that, personally. the march to copley went absolutely fine. these people destroyed the morale and momentum that had been built. that was far worse of a breach of trust and damage to the event than the 60 of us who continued marching, getting more press attention and being seen by more people (does that even matter to you?) without a single arrest.

this coalition's actions only have a future if it can adopt a less servile way of interacting with the police, and less dishonest ways of dealing between its members.

*this is not to justify every single thing every single person in black and/or a keffiyeh did or said on saturday, but i am placing my criticism for what i saw as the major failings of this action towards what i think the major responsible players were.
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
07 Dec 2004
also, and not that this should really have to be mentioned again but i'd like to point out that now that the video is up, there is proof: numerous people were at or near the front of the march to copley who weren't wearing black or in any other way appearing anything other than, well, random liberal college students, as well as palestinian solidarity activists. some of these people came with us on the breakaway. you cannot pin this all on the As. some of your target demographic were with us the whole way. sorry!
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
07 Dec 2004
"As at tonight's meeting feel that we can and should continue to work with this coalition. it may involve some compromises, but the alternative is to bail en masse, and let it turn into a socialist circle jerk which will then inevitably collapse under its own boredom. for their part, the dedicated leftists seem to be glad of the energy and momentum we bringing to organizing and events, but don't understand that depriving our actions of autonomy and spontaneity would just kill it all."

I really, really don't understand this. Perhaps its just a turn of your language, but you seem to be suggesting that its better for anarchists to prop up the socialist left than allow them to collapse due to its sheer absurdity. As far as I can tell, this is precisely what is happening around the country: anarchists are devoting their valuable time and energy to coalitions that are structurally designed to favor the authoritarian/dogmatic/etc. left.

Why not let them just busy themselves with a socialist circle jerk? Why not act in new, creative, and effective ways? Why not form coalitions on the basis of an autonomy from political parties and sectarian cults? I think there are enough (non-anarchist) people in any major city who have been burned by these grouplets or are just sick of politicians ("revolutionary" or not) to organize such a coalition without it being either explicitly or implicitly dominated by anarchists.

Finally, on the last sentence in that quote: That would seem to imply that these various parties just don't "get" the importance of autonomy and spontaneity and that maybe someday they will and they'll give you a stamp of approval. Anarchists who believe this are far too generous. The authoritarian left has always sought to limit social movements- that's their special contribution to the continued existence of this murderous, exploitative society. They are not our friends, and this also isn't a matter of suggesting that revolutionaries isolate themselves through sectarianism. Rather, we might be able to more meaningfully paricipate in the real movements of the oppressed (which really do exist, even if leftists are blinded to these movements by their fascination with beauracracy and state power) if we didn't waste so much of our time dialoguing with the left.

A non-anarchist, ex-socialist confused by why other sincere revolutionaries persist in working with the enemy.
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
07 Dec 2004
contra la izquierda - excellent points all. perhaps this was unclear, but the coalition that organized this demonstration is brand new and was started for that purpose. some of us do believe that its existence is a useful forum for antiwar student groups in the boston area to meet, dialogue and organize. it is still in a very nebulous, formative state. it is NOT controlled yet by authoritarian leftists, some of whom attempted at the follow-up meeting to impose a majoritarian decision making process on the framework, but by the end it seemed that many present were expressing interest in having a consensus process training and using that process instead. also, there are a lot of people involved, and there were a lot of people at the meeting, who are not anarchists, but are not aligned as sectarian ALs yet either, and were very enthusiastic. i think we need to work with people like that more than to worry about ideological purity. you raise very good points and i hope you pursue them - i also hope you check out the next meeting (sunday, 5pm, 45 mt auburn st) and see what its like, as well as getting down with the AA caucus. maybe you are right and its a long shot, but this coalition seems as if it could be a potentially useful tool, both for galvanizing antiwar and student/youth activism in the area, and radicalizing the consciousnesses and processes involved.

like i said.. ride the lightning. we'll see what happens i suppose. i don't think its time to junk this coalition yet, its barely off the ground and not clearly committed to any one framework yet.
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
07 Dec 2004
"radicalizing the consciousnesses and processes involved.

what i mean is, people who are sincerely down, even if not anarchists, should appreciate not only the energy we brought but the extra coverage we gathered with our breakaway. most of the ALs involved are just young college SA kids who i think have their hearts in the right place. eventually, they will have to choose between genuine action and newspaper sales, hopefully we can guide them in the right direction.
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
07 Dec 2004
im not an anarchist or socialist but i took part in the second march and i think that even with fewer people, it was stronger and had a bigger impact than the march from the common to copley. I personally was freezing my ass off listening to speeches at both rallies and it felt great to get up and do something that had an impact. Also, the public seeing the cops drive their motorcycles into the crowd of people had more of an impact than the "mag mob" cellphone gag.
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
07 Dec 2004
Wow, I am really surprized by what I've read here tonight. You people are so out of touch with reality it's a joke. I am a member of Military Families Speak Out, Socialist Alternative, a student at UMass Boston, a member of the UMass boston anti-war coalition AND I worked with the Boston Students Mobilizing to end the war coalition and I'll say I don't know anyone working in any of the organizations or coalitions named "half and half", "4indig-whatever", or whoever this person is that can't spell "mouse." That's probably because they didn't actually do any work to build for december 4th's rally. What most likely happened is that this handful of people woke up the morning of dec 4th, decided they wanted to have a protest rally, were not successful, and now have to wine about their failures.
An important lesson for these utopian fashion police, aka "A's" is that if you want to do something that works, you actually have to WORK for it.
I am sorry if you were bored by the speakers, the rally, and the march, but maybe if you had even slightly attempted to work to build the rally you would have had the opportunity to suggest something more "exciting" within the democratic structures (you seem to despise) that was the coalition and the december 4th rally.
The reason I personally began to direct people towards the designated copley sq rally point is because the people I knew in the march, and who had spent tens of hours building for saturday's march never expressed desire or need to "challenge" the four cops as a method of ending the war in Iraq. In fact I know several people who couldn't afford to be arrested or shot dead (as boston police just showed us the're willing to do) because they had to get up and go to work on sunday or even monday. I am sure this must be hard for the fashion police "A's" to understand as they can clearly afford to rot in jail for however long it takes their parents to bail them out, but for the many organizers I worked with in this coalition, that wasn't an option.
The reality is the presense of the "A's" only exists on indymedia and the boston herald. for the people at the rally all this crap was a tiny bump in the events of a good day for the anti-war movement, and at a time when the rally was basically already over. Many people at the rally have since been joining in the movement. to include the fashion police "A's". Even the "A's" are energized by what the organizers of saturday's rally did. They can't deny it, but, as they've shown everyone here, they can only work to smash it.
Good luck with yourselves "A's" as it stands you have nothing in common with anyone I know, let alone my brother in the war. What all this really shows is that the people writing here want to deny other people the right to have a permitted protest rally. We decided to do this; we worked to do this: why can't we do this? I would go so far as to challenge the writers on the indymedia webpages to build their own rally where they are free to break off into their own protest protest march, but as we shall see, they'll probably just protest that suggestion.
These writers are just privilidged little reactionaries who can't get out of their own way.
Thank you for all your hot air but, as history has shown, you don't have the stamina to keep up. so goodbye, until the next time that the hard long hours of work that someone else does breathes life into you and energizes you back into the anti-war movement.
Today looks like a nice day: why don't you hold a protest today? how about right now?
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
07 Dec 2004
chill with the name-calling, patrick.

i was at one of the meetings, on nov 28, when it was decided that the march should be allowed to take the streets, if it looked feasible, even though there was no permit at this point. you were there too. you agreed, along with everyone else, that it was best left to the spur of the moment, and that no one should be empowered as a marshall to direct the crowd.

well, we took the street and had no problems doing it, just like we have at numerous demos in this town in the past few years (i recall you admitting at that meeting that you are "pretty new to all this"). somehow, you got hysterical really quickly and decided you were the boss, and i guess you still feel that way.

not everyone believes that organizing a protest makes you the boss of everyone involved, or a deputized cop. not everyone believes that 51-49 majoritarianism is democratic. not everyone believes that you had the right to go back on what the coalition planners agreed on, and i don't think anyone really believes that those cops were in any position to arrest or murder anyone (considering they weren't able to arrest a single unpermitted marcher even when our numbers thinned to around 50).

just quit it with the name-calling and punk-baiting already, it makes you look even more desperate than you obviously are. and you are right, we did get the event a surprisingly good write up in the herald, i doubt they would have covered it at all otherwise.

maus is german for (you guessed it) mouse, and the title of a graphic novel by art spiegelman about the holocaust.
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
07 Dec 2004
and also, come on, do you honestly believe ANYONE wanted to march for FIVE MINUTES and then go to ANOTHER RALLY? if so, are you high?
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
07 Dec 2004
hey nathan - you sound an awful lot like a troll
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
08 Dec 2004
Face it, Maus. 400 people just ain't that impressive - even by Boston standards. And your lament about 'peace' marshalls is laughable -since six bike cops with attitude could have managed to derail this street action with very little effort. Way too much testosterone in this post. Protest is simply not just about making you feel good. Any rhetorical flourishes about taking the 'street' are meaningless, unless you have the numbers capable of having an impact. Put 5000 folks in the street, and measure the difference. But first, you have to mobilize them. One principal requirement is paying more than lip service to the concept of diversity of tactics. - which cuts both ways - not only for direct action groups, but for those who simply want to participate in a relatively legal protest - no matter how mind numbingly boringit may appear to you. - a lesson that anarchist groups like CLAC in Montreal embraced during the FTAA protests - and put into practice with good effect. But one that seems to have been misplaced in Boston.