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News :: Education : International : Organizing
Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
06 Dec 2004
Up and coming youth activists may be just the thing to breathe fresh life into Boston’s anti-war movement. Protesters at December 4th’s rally, which started at the Boston Commons bandstand and included a march down Newbury Street, exhibited an enthusiasm not seen at earlier demonstrations this year. More than 15 persons spoke and led the crowd in chanting various slogans, such as “Drop Bush Not Bombs!!!” and “Money for Schools Not War!!!” The day was peaceful for the most part, although after the march a group of about 50 persons decided to challenge the police and “take to the streets,” blocking traffic. Pushing matches and harsh words ensued but no arrests or serious injuries have been reported.
The Boston Student Mobilization to End the War, an ad hoc group of students from local colleges, universities, and high schools organized the event but a healthy cross section of society attended. Howard Zinn, famed author and activist, estimated that about 400 persons had come. During his speech, he stated simply, “We have sent our troops half way around the world for reasons no one can explain adequately, except with lies. . . We don’t belong in Iraq.” He also commented that Vietnam era rallies in the Commons had started with the same attendance but with time they had grown to 100 times this size.

The vitality demonstrated by speakers such as Matt Stuart leaves little doubt that support for the anti-war cause will similarly increase. Matt, a student at U Mass Boston and member of Socialist Alternative, called the Bush administration, “Profiteering designers of Hell on Earth,” during his speech. Huge sighs rang out from the crowd when he cited statistics that an estimated 84,000 college students will lose their Pell Grants next year due to budget cuts, while tuition will increase 7%. The gradual decrease in social programs constituted a major complaint of the protesters.

As Marissa Brookes, another speaker pointed out, “We’re not just anti-war: we’re for building a Boston wide progressive movement.” Each speaker, in fact, focused on a different theme. For instance, Bina Ahmad demanded the Boston anti-war movement include the liberation of Palestine as one of its objectives. Her passionate speech, inspired by a recent trip to the Middle East, cited 56 years of on going war and occupation in Palestine. Another activist, Gan Golan, from a group spearheading the proposed Ban on Less Lethal Weapons, asked everyone to make impromptu calls on their cell phones to the Boston Police Commissioner and the Mayor. He even went so far as to give out the telephone numbers (617-343-4250 & 617-635-4500 respectively) so every one could call and at least leave messages for the public officials in support of the ban and the formation of a Civilian Review Board for all complaints of police brutality.

This type of diversity in the topics being discussed did not enliven everyone, however. During Golan’s presentation a heckler remarked that this was just supposed to be and anti-war rally. Ahmad’s portrayal of Palestinian issues also left some members of the crowd visibly confused. A more moderate, perhaps less well informed, minority in attendance, did not seem to understand the direction that the so-called “radical left” has taken in recent years. Nonetheless, when Patrick Ayers of Socialist Alternatives railed against the Democratic Party, saying “We need to build a party for the millions against the millionaires,” an array of people offered resounding applause. Likewise, Mike Gould’s raging screams for everyone to “Rise up and fight” were favorably accepted. He said, “Our democracy isn’t a democracy until we take to it the streets,” and overwhelming cheers came back in response.

After the speeches, the large group marched to Copley Square, chanting, playing drums, screaming, and dancing. Several people shopping or hanging out on Newbury Street joined the parade but the exact route to be taken seemed to be a point of confusion. As the crowd got split up, several people began to see an opportunity to challenge police, who were trying to herd the throng onto the sidewalk. The surly attitude of some of the officers instigated this mood further but nothing of significance took place.

As the rally in Copley Square dwindled in the cold (it was about 31 degrees), a group of about 50+ persons decided to “take to the streets,” marching arm in arm, blocking traffic and chiding pedestrians with the chant, “Keep shoppin’ while the bombs are droppin’!!” The group made it all the way down Newbury Street to Massachusetts Avenue and back up Boylston Street to the Boston Public Library. Along the way, police repeatedly attempted to disperse the crowd, even driving a motorcycle through the locked arms. Ultimately, after a few minor but passionate confrontations, members of the break away protest seemed satisfied that at least some act of civil disobedience had been accomplished and they left.

[Editor's note: Link to video of the march at http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/31698/index.php ]

This work is in the public domain.
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March, Protest: Huge Success!
05 Dec 2004
Modified: 09:55:12 AM
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A real success today! I'd say at least 500 people showed up, up to 1000. There was a rally in Boston Common, marching to Copley Square.

Thanks everyone for your support!

####

Editor's note: Additional pictures are available at

http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/31661/index.php

http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/31772/index.php
Re: March, Protest: Huge Success!
05 Dec 2004
finally!
Re: March, Protest: Huge Success!
05 Dec 2004
i think it bears mentioning that a majority of the demonstrators (of which there were certainly less than 1000) only "took the street" for about 10 minutes, between the common and copley, and then contented themselves to literally stand in a hole in the ground, invisible to even adjacent street traffic, and harangue each other with so much of the "preaching to the choir" for which the left is notorious, some organizers devoting a lot of energy attempting to prevent a breakout/return to the streets to actually speak to the rest of society about how we feel, rather than just the same 300 college lefties whove heard it a million times.

yeah, i do not think you could call this a "huge success" and i will post a more detailed critique later.
Re: March, Protest: Huge Success!
05 Dec 2004
but then the breakout returned to the streets with a bloc over a hundred strong, and proceeded to raise a ruckus in the heart of the commercial district. this much was a huge success.
Re: March, Protest: Huge Success!
06 Dec 2004
It's great that you expressed your right to protest, but how many of these people actually came to protest? Many of them just join because they're sheep who can't make up their minds.

Also, compared to other marches, this one was a failure.

I also find some hypocrisy in "No Blood for Oil." I mean how many of them support greedy Hollywood personalities who fly around in private jets, ride around in limos and RVs, and live in 50-room mansions?
Re: March, Protest: Huge Success!
06 Dec 2004
"It's great that you expressed your right to protest, but how many of these people actually came to protest? Many of them just join because they're sheep who can't make up their minds.

Also, compared to other marches, this one was a failure.

I also find some hypocrisy in "No Blood for Oil." I mean how many of them support greedy Hollywood personalities who fly around in private jets, ride around in limos and RVs, and live in 50-room mansions?"

so you say "oh, protests are irrelevant, and as far as this one goes, it was small, too" - so something irrelevant matters more if it's bigger? what the hell are you talking about?

and who cares about hollywood?
Re: March, Protest: Huge Success!
06 Dec 2004
Rocky,
Supporting hollywood personalities? Which march were you at? With logic that weak, you must be a cop.

Go have another jelly donut, report to the big man that all is fine on boston IMC, and shut the f*%k up!
Re: March, Protest: Huge Success!
06 Dec 2004
only right wing trolls like you think "hollywood celebrities" actually represent, or have any significant import to, the left/opposition. get a clue shithead.
Re: March, Protest: Huge Success!
06 Dec 2004
A qoute from the Boston Globe:

Police reported no arrests yesterday, but the day's events ended with minor conflict between students and police. After the march ended at Copley Square, a smaller group of about 50 students kept marching, blocking traffic as they moved up Newbury Street to Massachusetts Avenue and down Boylston Street. On Boylston, as police tried to break up the march, one officer drove his motorcycle through a group of students holding a banner, and another officer swatted at a woman holding the banner as he tried to pull it away from her.
Re: March, Protest: Huge Success!
06 Dec 2004
There is also a very decent piece in the Boston Herald.
Re: March, Protest: Huge Success!
06 Dec 2004
yeah that quote from aimee in the herald is good, also they focus on police assaulting demonstrators. although saying the protest "erupted in violence" kind of makes it sound like it was totally nuts and that it was our fault, hopefully it got someone's attention.
Re: March, Protest: Huge Success!
06 Dec 2004
Any more appropriate pictures would be nice, especially one of the entire march with the (A) contingent.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
06 Dec 2004
it is really disappointing that organizers were either a) taken in by the police's hollow threats, b) consumed with their own egos and building their reputation as "career activists" or c) a little of both to the point where they ran around screaming at people not to take the street, or else somehow 6 motorcycle cops were going to arrest 400 people. we marched for 5 minutes, then stood in a big dried up fountain where no one could see us. that only 60 people had the nerve to keep marching, and that no one even got arrested for doing so, shows what a farce this was. i really hope we all learn something from this and i wish you had held back on your report and commentary until after today's meeting.
ps.
06 Dec 2004
it is interesting to combine zinn's comment with the nature of todays rally. he's right, there were enormous protests in the late 60s and early 70s which utterly failed to stop the u.s. incursions in southeast asia. it's not just the numbers that count but the spirit and the willingness to confront the status quo and challenge the system of "business and usual" which has given rise to this war. the spirit was there yesterday, but a small handful of so-called organizer were doing their damnedest to undermine it, however benevolent their intentions. that is fucked.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
06 Dec 2004
The garbage pulled by the liberals and commies at this rally was ridiculous. Instead of challenge the state and it's war machine, they were content to have a large crowd sit still in a pit and freeze. No wonder so many folks left.

It's a positive sign then when the anarchist led breakoff left the pit, almost everyone who was there joined it. Succesfully linking up and holding newbury street also showed a level of solidarity that hasn't been shown in boston in a long time.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
06 Dec 2004
Actually, maus, there is a 4th possibility why some organizers were upset when the march went off its planned route to Copley. At our meetings we decided, by consensus, that there would be a rally at Boston Common, and then a PERMITTED march to Copley. I agree that the march was way too short and we should have made sure we had a better route, but that was the agreed upon plan so it bothers me that a small group decided to change that plan mid-march.

However, I am glad that people decided to take to the streets again after the gathering at Copley. Our planned march was over at that point and it's great that people had the energy to keep going.

I encourage anyone who was at the demonstration to come to our meeting tonight, 12/5, at 5pm at 45 Mount Auburn st. in Harvard Square to voice their concerns.
Re: March, Protest: Huge Success!
06 Dec 2004
Think about this: Where does your money go every time you see a movie by a major Hollywood personality or a concert by Grammy winners? That's right, you're helping fuel their jets, limos, and mansions.

If you have a problem with oil, then why not protest people like Sen. Kerry? Why not hold a "no blood for oil" rally at one of his mansions? Plus, I wonder how many of these people voted for Kerry. Didn't he vote for the war?

And anarchy will never work! An anarchist started World War I!
Re: March, Protest: Huge Success!
06 Dec 2004
Rocky: Many of us did in fact protest Kerry, ever hear of the Black Tea Society. And as a far as World War 1, even completely ignoring the push for capitalist market expansion, if you're referring to Black Hand, who assasinated Franz Duke Ferdidand (I don't even know why I'm getting into this seeing as 1) your a troll and 2) this incident was irrelevent to the war) despite their name was not anarchist. They were nationalists.
Re: March, Protest: Huge Success!
06 Dec 2004
haha. rocky must be a cop.
Re: March, Protest: Huge Success!
06 Dec 2004
I didn't vote for Kerry. The thought never even crossed my mind. But I guess that's where rocky and a bunch of agree: the dems are no better. But that's another discussion!!!!
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
06 Dec 2004
"but that was the agreed upon plan so it bothers me that a small group decided to change that plan mid-march."

free association. We weren't part of your group and we came with our own consensed plan. People chose to follow us for the most part and that's not something we had even planned on. Marching up newbury street was important and I'm damned glad it happened.

here's two things to remember: permits are a hassle. If a thousand people show up for a march, you don't need one at all, which alleviates frustration on the organizers part in trying to keep people to a set route. this allows the group of protesters, in the moment of the protest, to go where they feel they will be most visible.

also, as an organizer, you can't control every aspect of everything. your job is to set the base for this to happen and let it bloom from there. You need to keep in mind that different people come from different agendas, but are there because they agree with yours. Not everyone protests the same way. We didn't go there planning to flip cars and burn down the statehouse, we went there meet up and get the Boston movement going again and that's just what we did. There was no harm done in going down newbury and those who did it feel like this was more effective than what had been laid for them.

Basically, have an open mind and be willing to accept an array of protest instead of restricting everyone to what *you* feel is the best.

as for rocky's socialist comment. They weren't marching down newbury. they put their tail between their legs and stayed at the copley pit and spewed shite into a microphone. Because, you know, pre-set speeches and selling newspapers obviously equals change.
Re: March, Protest: Huge Success!
06 Dec 2004
Actually, I'm not a cop. I'm just a 20-year-old college student. I am, however, a politcally active conservative.
Re: March, Protest: Huge Success!
06 Dec 2004
People. Rocky is what we call a TROLL. Responding to trolls just encourages them.

Anyway, word to what Mothra said. Props to the anarchists AND everyone who stood with us. I think an anarchist-fronted breakoff march is a great tactic because a lot of people start to think to themselves, "wow, there are actually ways to protest other than standing around listening to the same old speakers and walking in a permitted circle." The re-routing of the main march was also wicked sweet. As has been pointed out, people chose to follow us, we certainly didn't force anyone. Those liberal self-appointed march "leaders" can shout and scream all they want, but some of us are actually serious about doing something, and know the the cops are not our friends.
Re: March, Protest: Huge Success!
06 Dec 2004
"Think about this: Where does your money go every time you see a movie by a major Hollywood personality or a concert by Grammy winners? That's right, you're helping fuel their jets, limos, and mansions.

If you have a problem with oil, then why not protest people like Sen. Kerry? Why not hold a "no blood for oil" rally at one of his mansions? Plus, I wonder how many of these people voted for Kerry. Didn't he vote for the war?

And anarchy will never work! An anarchist started World War I!"

actually, i don't see their movies or concerts. and picking celebrities as the poster children of oil consumption, is just, well, idiotic. i'm sure that both the space program and interstate trucking use more oil than celebrities, who aren't real people anyway. and you're missing the point of "no blood for oil' entirely, which just suggests that you're of subnormal intelligence, or possibly have been blessed with an extra chromasome.

frankly, a lot of people at that protest didn't vote for kerry. because it doesn't matter all that much which war monger is in power.

that, and you're wrong. catalan, spain, 1936.

maybe you should watch out. i hear some russians were out looking for the moose and squirrel.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
06 Dec 2004
"...they put their tail between their legs and stayed at the copley pit and spewed shite into a microphone. Because, you know, pre-set speeches and selling newspapers obviously equals change."

...way to build solidarity. Socialist Alternative put a lot of work into organizing the demonstration.

There are definitely valid criticisms of the way "the organizers" handled the march. However, the personal attacks on them are inappropriate--they only increase the animosity between groups that have more to gain by working together than fighting with eachother.

The main problem I have with the break out march is that a lot of people didn't know it was going to happen. I don't think it's too much to ask to make your intentions known to everyone else who is marching so that people aren't confused and know which part of the march is permitted and which is not. That seems fair to me if you are "willing to accept an array of protest." It goes both ways.

I also don't understand people couldn't stay together on the route to Copley and then break off on their own. Is it too much to ask for that little bit of solidarity?

That said, the people in the break-out group were the most energetic and I'm glad they came.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
06 Dec 2004
I'd like to put in my two cents as an anarchist who supports direct action, but has also helped organize permitted marches in the past. First, permitted marches have their uses--they will attract groups far larger than direct actions will and they are a good way to ease new-comers into activism. Most people are not going to be up to risking arrest right off the bat. Legal marches and direct action work best in synergy, like we saw in Seattle. The legal march provides a face that seems legitimate to people who might be receptive to its message, but do not yet understand the need for direct action. The direct action provides the punch, gives the action its force, which puts pressure on the powers that be. A nice, long article exploring this point of view is available at http://www.ainfos.ca/99/dec/ainfos00189.html (if it matters, you will note that this is an anarchist website).

I don't have a problem with break away marches in principle, but did you let people know that it was an unpermitted break away march? (I wasn't able to make it, so I honestly have no idea if you did or not.) Many people at such protests have never heard of the idea of a break-away march and might not have known it was unpermitted--in which case, if they had followed you, you might have been leading them into an arrest situation for which they were unprepared. And having large numbers does not protect you from mass arrests--I would have thought we'd learned that lesson from the RNC and other big summit protests.

Finally, if you're going to organize a break-away protest, as someone who has organized legal marches, it would really be polite to let the organziers know what you're going to do, so that they're prepared to deal with it. When you've put all this work into organizing a permitted march (and it's a lot of work) and something unexpected (like a break-away march) comes up, your first instinct is often to try to keep things going according to plan. I'm not saying this is a good first reaction, but it is a natural one and you need to account for it. Better communication ahead of time would go a long way towards solving the problem. I'm uncomfortable with the attitude of, you do your thing, we'll do ours. I think it takes the principle of autonomy to far and looses sight of other anarchist principles, like federalism and direct democracy. Even with political difference significant as liberal and anarchist, we're all in this struggle together--we have the same short term goals and some ideals in common, even if our long-term visions differ. Cooperation would behoove us if we want to succeed. Further, when you've organized a protest, it feels disrespectful when someone does something to alter it without asking you. I remember a couple years back, there was a major march organized by some anarchists; they got to Copley, only to find ANSWER had set up there and hijacked their rally. The anarchists were, quite rightfully, ticked off. It's the same sort of thing when you try to lead a break away march from one someone else has organized without consulting them, although a good deal less extreme--no matter what was intended, it can come across as disrespectful. You need to show a certain amount of respect for the consensus reached by the organizers--they were the ones who put in all the work to get people there. To take actions without consulting others who may be affected by them is in some ways undemocratic. Revolutionary pacifist George Lakey has an interesting commnetary on this here: http://trainingforchange.org/content/view/76/33/ (and I don't think you have to be a pacifist to get something out of this--just someone committed to radical democratic practices). If actions are going to take place within the same general time and place, they really should be coordinated--such cooperation and communication is central to building a democratic movement. The whole thing could have been as simple as going up to the organizers and saying, "We'd like to organize an unpermitted break-away march. How can we do that in a way that won't screw things up for your plans?"

To be clear here, I'm not accusing anyone involved with organizing the break-away march of being sectarian, malicious, or anything else like that. I just think everyone could benefit from a little more communication and cooperation--then we wouldn't need to have arguments like this.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
06 Dec 2004
If folks are thinking about direct action that has an much stronger effect. Check out this resource from the San Francisco Bay Area: http://actagainstwar.org/
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
06 Dec 2004
Muskrat: your points are insightful and well-taken. But I would like to point a few things out, given what I saw at the rally and march. (I was there from the very beginning to the very end.)

First of all, just for clarification's sake, the event that people are referring to as the "breakoff march" was actually two things. First, during the main, permitted march, the anarchists and many others who were at the front of the march chose to march down Newbury rather than follow the (incredibly short) route straight to Copley. The entirety of the march chose to join us, despite being frantically shouted at by the "leaders" that the march did not go in that direction. Later, after the rally on Copley at the end of the march, a smaller group (50-100) of us chose to illegally take to the streets again. There is no doubt that every member of that group knew that we were marching without a permit.

Also, many of the organizers of the event were anarchists and have been in meetings for quite a while advocating a support for diversity of tactics. A few friends of mine who have been at meetings from the very get-go were EXTREMELY excited about the breakoffs. It actually seemed to me that the organizers frantically trying to keep the march to its "planned route" were in a pretty small minority.

It should be pointed out that this was NOT a case of some small group of people hijacking an event organized by others, as was the case in the event mentioned by Muskrat in which ANSWER took over an anarchist-organized event. This was quite the opposite: the entirety of the march spontaneously CHOSE to join the group that had decided to march along a route other than the permitted one, despite the attempts by SOME of the organizers to play cop.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
06 Dec 2004
Uh, one quick clarification for Mr. History aka Xhawk2 in a previous comment: Gavrilo Princip, the guy who shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand and precipitated World War I, was an extreme Serb nationalist, not an anarchist. And also for the record, he didn't start WWI - the various imperial states started it, rather like today the United States of Torture has today. "Politically active conservatives" should maybe learn a little about history and how it works - it might change their outlook a little. From a UK anarchist, good luck to the folks in Boston.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
06 Dec 2004
"...they put their tail between their legs and stayed at the copley pit and spewed shite into a microphone. Because, you know, pre-set speeches and selling newspapers obviously equals change."

...way to build solidarity. Socialist Alternative put a lot of work into organizing the demonstration. "

I don't build solidarity with statists. They have fucked us before and they'll do it again. I once was a socialist and got fucked over too. I'm not going to say everyone who works with that group is a jerk or an idiot, but in general I do not work side by side with socialists and this is a personal thing.

But it is true, the kid I was specifically referring to was yelling into a mic for 20 minutes while people kinda wandered away and the break away march organized and walked by him. The only thing I've ever seen that specific person do is give the same speech at every event and then shove newspapers in people's faces.


"The main problem I have with the break out march is that a lot of people didn't know it was going to happen. I don't think it's too much to ask to make your intentions known to everyone else who is marching so that people aren't confused and know which part of the march is permitted and which is not. That seems fair to me if you are "willing to accept an array of protest." It goes both ways."

We made it pretty clear that we were going to keep marching regardless of whether the entire crowd or just fifty followed us, We even had someone go up on the mic at Copley and state this. If you were confused after that, I'm sorry, but we had made it pretty clear that we weren't going to sit through another rally and go home once we got into Copley. We even waited for people to join up and we went when a bunch of non-A's grabbed our "Disarm the system" banner and said they were ready to go.

Also, break away marches tend to happen spontaneously by nature. Hence why they're called breakaway marches. Its usually a group of people who are marching and decide that this route is not appropriate, they tell people around them and then break away and people choose whether to follow or not.
Interested in writing about this apparent conflict
06 Dec 2004
I am one of the Globe reporters who covered the protest on Saturday, and though I've been thinking about it for a few weeks, the events of the protest brought the idea of the conflict between (what seems to me to be) anarchists and non-anarchists (although I know that is probably over-simplifying). I'm wondering if any of you would be interested in talking to me about a possible story for the Globe....Please feel free to email me.

Thanks much,

Martha
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
06 Dec 2004
'Pre-set speeches and selling newspapers do not equal change' - unlike skillshares about arts and crafts making, which historically have been the vehicles of revolution all over the globe.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
06 Dec 2004
" An anarchist started World War I!"

nope, serbian nationalist. any fucking high school history textbook will tell you that. moron.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
06 Dec 2004
Mothra -

The break away march at the end was great. I guess I was a little unclear; I was reffering to when the march went off the permitted route to Copley. I actually have no problem with people not wanting to follow the permitted route to Copley either--I just have a problem with the fact that the plan was not announced and a bunch of people thought they were following the permitted route. I'm not saying the A's were trying to take over the march, or that they are solely responsible for the lack of communication. I just think we should all work harder on communicating our plans.

And I agree, the rally at Copley was lame.

Also--"I don't build solidarity with statists." Don't you think trying to build a movement to stop this war is more important right now?
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
06 Dec 2004
1.) it wasn't clear that there even was a permit,in fact, most people thought there wasn't (see my newswire post, "anarchists, the left and saturday's demo"
2.) most of the As thought we had been asked to lead the way, (cf ibid) and therefore
3.) organizers acting as basically deputized cops committed a far more serious breach of faith, by fucking up the momentum and morale of a protest that was clearly moving under its own power, when they had specifically agreed beforehand to do no such thing
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
06 Dec 2004
why must some anarchists be so confrontational with those who they might find their closest allies?
also the lesson which must be taken from catalonia in the 30s is that you must build solidarity on the scale of millions. if you can't hold a demonstration with only 500 people without having major infighting, are you really TRYING to build solidarity?
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
06 Dec 2004
"Don't you think trying to build a movement to stop this war is more important right now?"

Until the ISO and other organizations stop barging in on anarchist meetings and events and causing huge issues (like pulling fire alarms, disrupting consensus and trying to sell newspapers at a time when people need to sit down and discuss things), it's really hard for me or a lot of other anarchists and AA's to even begin wanting to trust them. I don't work with people I don't trust. Would you?

Also, I actually thought the march was going up Newbury street myself during the original march and I was one of the ones in front. It wasn't until we had all started officially turning up that street when someone yelled at me and a few others in the front that we weren't following the permit.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
07 Dec 2004
No, I wouldn't work with people I don't trust. Personally I've never had a reason not to trust people in the Boston branch of the ISO, but you obviously do...so I understand why you are uncomfortable working with them.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
07 Dec 2004
"also the lesson which must be taken from catalonia in the 30s is that you must build solidarity on the scale of millions. if you can't hold a demonstration with only 500 people without having major infighting, are you really TRYING to build solidarity?"

no, the lesson we can learn from the spanish civil was is "never trust a stalinist".
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
07 Dec 2004
The march on Copley Square was awesome. It wasn't so great compared to the previous marches, however it's still encouraging to see so many people united. I go to a school that primarily pro-Bush so you can imagine my reaction to hundreds of people rallying for peace. There should be another one soon. If for no other reason as a chance to talk politics with people other those whose parents work for Haliburton.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
07 Dec 2004
" 'Pre-set speeches and selling newspapers do not equal change' - unlike skillshares about arts and crafts making, which historically have been the vehicles of revolution all over the globe."

your sarcasm fails because skillshares about arts and crafts obviously are never looked upon as a way of making drastic societal change. People do them because some people want to learn how to say, soder glass together or learn how to silkscreen. apples and oranges my friend.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
07 Dec 2004
Since the rally at Copley Square was so lame there should be another one
Marchers vs. Organizers
07 Dec 2004
Was it a good thing that the "organizers" spent 4 weeks talking to people, flyering, postering, emailing, calling people, going to meetings, collecting endorsements, writing to newspapers, building campus networks, getting up early to flyer high schools, and building the anti-war movement?

Congrads to all those who worked hard on this. Shame on the cynics.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
07 Dec 2004
it was a good thing so many people put so much work into it, but a really bad thing that what they put all that work into was boring, lame, and really disheartening and disempowering for many people.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
07 Dec 2004
Once again, shame on the cynics...
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
07 Dec 2004
I'm all for people having different tactics and preferring to do whatever they think is most effective, and offering each other constructive criticism. Unfortunately, some of the comments in these posts aren't constructive criticism. Rather, it's just pissing on the work of other people. Organize your own event your way or work with other people and suggest your ideas, but don't just sit back and insult and demoralize the energy of young students who DID find their voice and effectiveness through their work.

Everyone prefers her own method and come away from it. The first time I ever went to a rally, it was energizing just to meet other people who felt the same way. Since I've been to more, I want different things from a rally than just being together. But that's not a reason to put down people who still get a lot from just coming together and inspiring each other.

Organizers: thanks for your hard work.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
07 Dec 2004
coming together and inspiring each other is awesome. i think the point some of us are trying to make is that once that happens, we don't need the organizers to lead us around on a leash! that's not what this is about. all of the coming together and inspiring was undermined when a few people started freaking out and screaming that people had better stop protesting or they'd get arrested, even though clearly the majority of people were pumped, were enjoying the march and wanted to keep airing their views to as much of the city as possible, rather than huddling in a hole to hear dull speeches.

what use is gathering peoples' energy if you are just going to bottle it right back up again? do you authoritarian leftists out there really believe this is any way to "build a movement", or was it just a desperate play to retake control of a crowd that was obviously uninterested in the latter part of your agenda for the event?
truce summit?
08 Dec 2004
i was not at this protest-- but i observe once again various different groups arguing.

suggestion.

perhaps some sort of "summit meeting" or other such truce- creating, trust making event might be in order? so that people using different organizing tactics, and coming from different political backgrounds- students, ISO-ers, a.n.s.w.e.r. people, anarchists, socialists, leftists, outsider anarchists, ujp-ers, deaniacs, and so forth might sit together, explain to one another why they do what they do- RESPECTFULLY-- and figure out where they can work together and where they can split off to work on separate things? maybe focusing on learnign where everyone AGREES? for instance, ALL these people think the war really is NOT a good thing. . . . . . and each group has their own way of workign to stop it-- couldnt' some respect be developed between groups about their tactics? or at least some understanding?

because although i wasn't at that march, my roomate who works at a coffee hous came home and said people from both sides of the arguement came in all day afterwards adn complained to people at the counter. and here i see the disagreement rising again. there's even a reporter here, now, wanting to do a story on this sort fo in -fighting. wouldn't you rather she coudl do a piece on how effective we all were, how much we WERE able to trust one another, work through our differences, accept those we dont' absolutely and completely agree with on all things, and work on thigns we all DO agree on?

sounds like two tactics-- an organized permitted march with students and a proffessor-- and a break-away march which took teh streets-- happened simultaneously. . . . is it so bad? i don'y know, i wasn't there. . . but i *do* think it'd be great if all tehse different groups were to stop bickering and come to understand and possibley even trust oen another a little better, so that differeing tactics could be used without rufflign feathers. . . i dont' know, seems like having both happen at once is a GOOD thing. . . papers, speakers, street taking, rallying, marching. . . it *sounds* like an all out yee-haw hello from all kidns of people who really do not like the war, teh bush, or the bullshit. . .

is there anyone all the people in these diffrerent groups respect enough to have as a moderator for such a meeting? or perhaps there's a space that woudl be considered safe ground for all invovled? is there interest? because ALL thiose tactics have accomplished thigns at one time or another- they are ALL tools-- from rallying to skillshares to newspapers to speakers to break-away marches to skipping up and down. . . . obviously i've pissed off too many people by being emotional and opinionated. . . .anyone want to do this?

anyway. thats my two cents. --sigh-- i'll probably get called names again. oh well.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
08 Dec 2004
oh, katt...

next meeting of the (officially nameless) ad hoc student antiwar coalition is 5pm, sunday, 45 mt auburn st, cambridge.

unfortunately, "ISO-ers, a.n.s.w.e.r. people, anarchists, socialists, leftists, outsider anarchists, ujp-ers, deaniacs" don't really all want the same thing, so the best we can do is to organize together around issues like the war. even then, it becmoes painfully clear that some people are interested in agitating against the war and others are more interested in sellling newspapers and "buliding a movement", no matter how it plays out in the streets.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
08 Dec 2004
Katt, I think your call for dialogue is a good one (although from experience, some of the groups you name are unfortunately simply not interested in dialogue, since they are convinced they have all the answers). A face-to-face dialogue would be wonderful, but there is also a dialogue happening right here, as people make comments in reply to each other. And so far I haven't seen much name-calling.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
08 Dec 2004
Thank you Katt.

If we want to stop this war, I think a "summit" in front of the public is in order. We can't go on being pulled in 4 different directions.
what i am trying to say is...
08 Dec 2004
such a forum already exists, kind of, because it put on this demo.

"next meeting of the (officially nameless) ad hoc student/youth antiwar coalition is 5pm, sunday, 45 mt auburn st, cambridge."
positive lessons
08 Dec 2004
"no, the lesson we can learn from the spanish civil was is "never trust a stalinist""

i hope this was a joke.


"It should be pointed out that this was NOT a case of some small group of people hijacking an event organized by others, as was the case in the event mentioned by Muskrat in which ANSWER took over an anarchist-organized event. This was quite the opposite: the entirety of the march spontaneously CHOSE to join the group that had decided to march along a route other than the permitted one, despite the attempts by SOME of the organizers to play cop."

the same incident could be described in very different terms: a group with a consensed plan to march along a proscribed route was surprised when another group jumped into the front of the march (a consensed plan, thanks mothra) and undemocratically decided to lead the march on a route (consensed upon earlier?). they then proceeded to ignore, in fact treat with hostility, members of the first group when they tried to let the "supposedly confused" leading group know that the consensed plan was to take a different route.

my point is not to attack the people in the front, but instead to present a question to those people who refuse to hear anything from any authority. unfortunately with a march the people in the middle and back are forced to accept the "authority" of the people leading the march. when a group that is not directly responsible for organizing the march takes it upon themselves to take the leadership of the march and then refuse any discourse with the organizers, they are acting undemocratically.

question: is there a conflict between anarchists and people who want to "build a movement"? if so does this mean that anarchists are not trying to swell their own numbers?

ps. crafts and glass blowing are actually fairly revolutionary skills, capitalism is based upon leaving workers with no skills, so they have to purchase everything they need. to give a good example: if privately distilling salt was illegal, wouldn't you go to the nearest salt water and make your own salt (like gandhi)?

i think that what i am trying to say is that everyone wins if we continue to communicate and organize and increase the number of people attending events like the one on saturday. let me reitterate that it is vital to everyone, no matter your goal, to constantly WORK (hard) to increase your numbers.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
09 Dec 2004
the question of how the march from the common to copley happened as it did has already been addressed elsewhere, and im afraid you're just plain wrong.
anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
09 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.
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
09 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
09 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
09 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
09 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
09 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
09 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
09 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
09 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
09 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)...
http://mondediplo.com/2004/11/16roy
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
09 Dec 2004
ward churchill is awesome.
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
09 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
09 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
09 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
09 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
09 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
09 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
09 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
09 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
09 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
09 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
09 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
09 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
09 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
09 Dec 2004
hey nathan - you sound an awful lot like a troll
Re: anarchists, the left, and saturday's demo
09 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.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
09 Dec 2004
I find it humurous that someone named Sabate is critizing another anarchist for poor street tactics, seeing as NEFAC won't even wipe the dust off their face, step out of the LPC's attic to come onto the streets to organize and resist.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
09 Dec 2004
is anyone commenting here interested in creating something? Because nearly every post on this thread seems to be an attack on someone else.

People have way too much ego involved in this. We're trying to save the world here and were disputing whether to take to the street or not?

Let each do as they will. there is a place for all in this movement. Toleration and mutual respect is the name of the activism game. Divisions play in favor of the enemy, but we can refuse to be divided. Personally I pick my tactics based on the battle at hand. Non-violence here, block the streets here, and maybe occupy the state house over here... but no where in my play book is there a chapter titled "fighting potential allies."

Many of us are young, especially at this particular march. But the wise ones among us realize that we will need all the help we can get to get anywhere at all with this. And if we really do want to win in the long run, we can't afford to shun an outstretched hand.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
09 Dec 2004
"Amused", even assuming "sabate" is in Sabate:

1. There *were* NEFAC comrades in attendance, who were students.

2. I would have gone, but didn't, because it was advertised as a "student and youth march", and, like most people in boston NEFAC, I'm neither. Why would NEFACers march under a NEFAC banner? It's not a student group.

http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/31322/index.php

Some students from this effort came to a (non-nefac) meeting that I was at, where at least a third of us weren't students, and tried to get us to end our meeting early and go to plan this thing which, they said, would "unite students on all the campuses..." Then they took off in a group. It was pretty tactless, and clueless. Honestly, between that and the call, I really thought it was a student march. I hoped it went well.

Besides, it was just another street protest that "mobilizes" without organizing a base first. Those are sooo covered in dust.

3. "to come onto the streets to organize"... sigh. I really wish "organizing" was as simple as just having a street demo that's militant enough. Geez, I'd break out the old gas mask and welding gloves and be out there in five minutes. I love that shit.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
10 Dec 2004
I agree that labelling this a student organized march was a dumb idea. That still didn't preclude hundreds of other non-students from coming though.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
10 Dec 2004
It wasn't labeled a student march. It was labeled a "Youth March and Rally" at least on many of the posters we gave out and put up and e-mails we sent out. We decided to focus it directly at youth, though since many of us are on college campuses and many youth are students that meant a heavy focus on students. This is something to think about for the next event though.

What's with the negativity on Boston IndyMedia? Is it like a precondition for posting here?
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
10 Dec 2004
Yeah, what is with the negativity. Can't people say some good things about what went down? And if your going to criticize why not do it constructively. You say that the students (or youth) gave you a call and came to a meeting. Sounds like they reached out to you, they share some of the same goals, and you rejected them based on their "tact."

So let's just assume for a moment that groups like yours are old and wise and youth groups do make mistakes, given the energy they put into this, and the amount of attention this is generating on our newswire, don't you see any opportunities for collaboration????

What does a group have to do to form a coalition with yours? Do they need to be an exact mirror of it?
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
10 Dec 2004
"the call" was the publicly posted call.

the "outreach" was coming to a meeting on a specific-issue group, telling us that what we were organizing around wasn't as important as the antiwar organizing that would "unite students on all the campuses," and that we should cancel our meeting and join in organizing the march. I only brought it up to illustrate why I, as an individual, thought it was a student march. Which I only brought up in response to complaints that a different non-student group that I happened to be a member of, which was certainly not "reached out" to, didn't join the march. I didn't really see "NEFAC won't even wipe the dust off their face, step out of the LPC's attic to come onto the streets" as a particularly positive criticism either. Though it is kind of funny that people either complain that NEFAC is out to dominate the anarchist milieu, or complain that NEFAC doesn't magically show up to their marches.

There are plenty of opportunities for collaboration, I'm sure. But does the only thing people collaborate on have to be marching?
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
10 Dec 2004
ps: just to make it perfectly clear, I am not speaking on behalf of NEFAC, ACUB, or any member collectives. I am an individual member speaking in an individual capacity.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
11 Dec 2004
honestly, though, i don't see nefac showing much of a public face at, well, anything.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
12 Dec 2004
To appease all the anarchist scorecard keepers, there were some people from NEFAC who came to this particular demo. They might've forgotten to bring the giant neon sign identifying themselves as such,
but they were there. Thanks for the concern.

I dunno, I thought it sounded like a good demo and made plans to go, but unfortunately got caught up with other things and didn't manage to make it over to that side of the city in time. I know some other people in NEFAC who also wanted to go, but also couldn't make it for whatever reason. Doesn't mean anyone of us is any less supportive of the anarchists who did make it out and pulled off a good breakaway march.

Here's the thing. Most of us aren't students. This isn't an insult to comrades who happen to go to college, but please understand that there are anarchists who work 40-hours a week, partcipate in many uncelebrated, non-public forms of anarchist activity (labor solidarity, housing activism, immigration, running bookstores, producing magazines, etc, etc) in their free time, and still try and keep something of a personal life together (complete with grocery shopping, doing laundry, and making it out to be social once in awhile)... basically, people who's life schedules are alot more restricted than the average student or young person.

If you are trying to build an anarchist community that is inviting to ordinary working people, you are going to have to accept the fact that people are only able to contribute to the best of the capacities. Sometimes, as much as you would like to, you just aren't able to live up to super-activist standards and make it out to every demo or action.

I know for myself personally, it is incredibly frustrating to contribute a majority of your free time to "the movement" only to receive nasty insults thrown your way by supposed comrades. I work at a paying job for 20 hours a week (which I consider a privilege, since I am healthy, livefairly cheaply, and have no dependents to take care of). When I get out of work, on most days I go directly to the Lucy Parsons Center and work on average another 20 hours a week unpaid to help do my part in keeping the store afloat (y'know, so all the anarchist who don't lift a finger supporting the LPC continues to have a free place to meet, among other things!). I also manage to work on one of the largest anarchist magazines in the country (The Northeastern Anarchist), which is another time and energy consuming responsibility (though obviously I find it meaningful and rewarding, otherwise I wouldn't do it). Other internal NEFAC responsibilites. Dealing with mail and email correspondance. Plus I also work with JWJ's solidarity committee doing labor support work.

Anyways, so knowing all this, you'll have to excuse me if I get a little annoyed at the kind of slaps in the face like the above post that accuses "NEFAC people" (I assume me in particular) of "collecting dust in the LPC attic". Yeah, let's here it for solidarity and mutual support!

It's no wonder the public face of anarchism in this city continues to be young punks and students. There is such a lack of respect for other anarchists, some of whom contribute immensely (albeit in less public ways) to the local community! This is why older anarchists become jaded, cynical, resentful, and often leave the movement altogether.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
12 Dec 2004
I don't think anyone's saying that missing one rally, or not liking public events in general is a bad thing. What really gets to me though, as another anarchist in boston (who probably has less free time than you do) is NEFAC's seeming unwillingness to work with any other anarchists in the city.

Honestly, would it been too much for NEFAC to have helped, one bit, in the planning for DNC. It seemed to be something ever other (A) group in boston rallied around.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
12 Dec 2004
My impression, watching causally from the sidelines, is that NEFAC is more involved in community organizing than it is the anarchist scene--which I think is one of the points MaRK was trying to make. I don't know how successful they've been (I assume it varies from city to city--it sounds like really interesting things are happening in Vermont though, but that's just from what I've seen over the a-infos e-mail list) and I don't entirely agree with their platformist approach, but I think their community organizing approach is ultimately going to do far more to build a revolution than creating an anarchist subculture. Having an anarchist subculture was valuable when radicalism was in a period of abeyance, but there's been a recent resurgence in radicalism, but if it is to get anywhere it needs to break beyond that once worthwhile subculture, to which most people can't relate. If NEFAC is successfully connecting with real live working people through their community organizing, they're probably doing a lot more to spread anarchist ideas than a bunch of kids from the punk scene who spontaneously decide to block a street. As MJ said, you need a mass base for those actions to be really effective. Most people aren't ideological--they're interested in making their own and other people's lives better in practical ways. American community organizing is particularly non-ideological, leading to vague social democratic visions. If people see anarchists doing serious community organizing work, they're a lot more likely to take anarchist ideas seriously--may be they won't convert, but they may adopt parts of the philosophy and the organizing approach, leading to a more radical community organizing scene. There are actually a lot of anarchists (including myself), not just NEFAC folks, who aren't involved in the anarchist scene at all and work with non-anarchist groups, with the idea that such a strategy is a better way to go than building countercultural groups that have little connection with oppressed communities. NEFAC is probably a good deal more explicitly anarchist than a lot of these other folks, actually.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
12 Dec 2004
Word to what MaRK said. As an anarchist who is a student, and isn't in NEFAC, I'm pretty sick of hearing people trash NEFAC'ers who "don't show up to things." All of the serious anarchists in Boston are working their asses off to make a fucking revolution and just because people are working in different ways doesn't mean you have to piss on their work. Anarchists in Boston need to realize that a diversity of tactics means a lot more than different street tactics at a protest.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
12 Dec 2004
Thanks Muskrat and Max...

Responding to Pete: You're right, Boston NEFAC, as a whole, was not at all active with the organizing against the DNC. Huge props to the comrades (largely from BAAM!) who sacrificed a year's worth of their time and energy to pull together Black Tea Society, and the activity that revolved around them. Unfortunately, we weren't interested in making the same sacrifice.

This does not have anything to do with not wanting to work with other anarchists. It's more a reflection of where our priorities are at. We did not see the benefit of dropping practically everything we were doing to organize against the DNC.

Frokm the start we were lukewarm to the idea, but did not come to a formal decision until after some NEFAC members attended early planning meetings, and it seemed like the primary focus was not reaching outside of the anarchist community and actually linking up with community and labor groups (and actually trying to develop something more longterm in this city), but to invite anarchists from outside the city to come and do decentralized actions for the week. I am not against this per say, but it is not something I would be interested in putting effort behind.

[note: To be fair, towards the end BTS did try and network and outreach to other groups, but for many non-anarchist activists unfortunately it seemed too little too late.]

Now with that said, in an individual capacity, there were people from NEFAC who contributed to Black Tea Society. I personally bent over backwards helping to secure the convergence center, and dealt with alot of the behind-the-scenes headaches as a result (particularly from the downstairs resturant); another NEFAC person did the legal training at the consulta and observing during the Convention; another person worked as medic; many of us attended marches (in fact there were members from both Boston and Montreal NEFAC at one march, and everyone we talked to kept lamenting about how we were the only people passing out anarchist literature the whole day!); as a group, we contributed money to the Anarchist Black Cross for the bail fund; many of us helped distribute BTS flyers; you get the point...

So, yeah, echoing what Max said: Anarchists in Boston need to realize that a diversity of tactics means a lot more than different street tactics at a protest.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
12 Dec 2004
I agree in the need for a diversity of tactics, but its completly meaningless without mutual aid as well. Everyone can go off and do their own thing but if we don't help one another then we won't get anywhere. In my view, the way things should work is that people go off and do their own organizing, in their own way, but when they need the numbers or support of a larger community, they have one they can tap into.

This hasn't really been the case in boston (and this certainly isn't just a NEFAC issue at all, it works both ways; i'm not attacking you). When a group organizes something, or does something, or just needs input, the only place they can really turn is to their own org. There really is no broader base anarchist community, even though the numbers of (A)'s in the city certainly exist.

Please don't take my above post as an attack on NEFAC or diversity of tactics, only as a call for more support and solidarty between anarchist groups.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
12 Dec 2004
As far as BTS goes, I can name half a dozen members of the group who commited two or three nights a week trying to branch out and organize with other non-(A) groups in boston. BTS members succesfuly built very strong, and long lasting ties with numerous members of other groups.
it's @lways nice to have the last word
13 Dec 2004
I'm afraid I slept through this event (I'm not saying it was boring--I stayed home...) It seems though that something was accomplished, at the very least a mention in the major media, which is always good. Doesn't always require "tens of hours" of planning, but kudos nonetheless. Movements are necessarily complex, and I think the small amount of discord sparked by the independent thought and action of the anarchists is a sign that the movement in Boston is evolving naturally. I appeal to all sides in this rather minor dispute to continue their efforts and even to use this early schism to advance a spirit of friendly competition. There is a role to be played by organizers as well as by agitators, by socialists and by anarchists in this struggle. Don't be afraid to work with groups, but don't be afraid to work alone either. If the movement is reduced to that which can be discussed on Indymedia, then the movement is indeed in trouble. When your side is ahead, it pays to simplify. When your side is behind it is essential to complicate things. So a Globe reporter is wondering about this rift in the anti-war camp--get ready for the BS designed to frame the debate to start percolating through our city's consciousness. This is only a problem if we fail to keep things moving, and interesting. It's fine to follow groups now and then, just remember never to stop acting as an individual--it's ALWAYS your move. Make it often, and make it count. See you all in the streets, the papers, and on TV.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
13 Dec 2004
I agree with a lot of what Pete said, and i think that the Boston (A) and AA community needs to work together a lot more. We do have significant numbers, but are seperated with such efficiency it may have well been engineered by Cointel Pro. I think there needs to be a general Boston (A) and AA meeting, bring the factions together, BAAM, NEFAC, JP (A)s, everyone in the area, to atleast keep eachother updated with what we are all doing, and to see if we could help eachother out. We dont even need to make decisions, but there needs to be a lot more unity if we want to acheive anything. Email lists dont have the same effect. What do you all think?
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
13 Dec 2004
" bring the factions together, BAAM, NEFAC, JP (A)s, everyone in the area,"

I thought that the whole "JP anarchists" project was just NEFAC trying to get another foothold for Platformism now that BAAM won't stand for it.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
14 Dec 2004
"I thought that the whole "JP anarchists" project was just NEFAC trying to get another foothold for Platformism now that BAAM won't stand for it. "

You're joking, right?

I hate to burst your Freemason conspiracy theories, but anyone who knows anything about Jamaica Plain Mutual Aid knows there is minimal NEFAC involvement. Some of us live and JP, and show up to meetingsand participate like anyone else. Actually, I think on the whole the few NEFAC members that do make it to meetings have participated in fairly passive way (giving report-backs of what we're up to, and trying to be supportive of other people's work), specifically because we do not want to try and influence the direction of the group. We want it to have it's own identity and agenda which reflects the participants involved.

I think at most, some of us have weighed in discussion in favor of focussing more heavily on community issues in Jamaica Plain as anarchists, rather than gearing activity in a more introspective direction. But we are hardly the strongest voices coming from this perspective, since many people (including people who continue to be way more active in the group) seem to agree with this direction.

I think people have a strange conception of exatly what 'platformism' actually means, and how various anarchist groups apply the ideas to their activity. More than anything it is a pretty basic for HOW YOU ORGANIZE YOURSELF. As in, the internal dynamics of your own organization.

In our group we stress the need for collective resposibility and tactical unity among our membership. Many of us have years of experience organizing within more vague anti-authoritarian groupings, and many of our criticisms of OUR OWN past activity has led us to specific criticisms which has drawn us to platformist conclusions. This is why we are attracted to a group like NEFAC, which although is far from perfect, at least offers a basic framework that we feel has the ability to move US in the direction we want to be moving in as anarchists.

The other half of platformism is the idea of trying to actively build an anarchist pole of influence within SOCIAL MOVEMENTS (note: social movements and mass organizations are different from specific political organizations... i.e. other anarchist groups).

Many anarchist groups avoid social movements altogether, and remain divorced from the larger class struggle and focus only on specific anarchist projects. Others take part in them in an individual capacity, and whatever anarchist voice they contribute is almost always drowned out by the dominant reformism that is prevelant in these groups and struggles (which is an inevitable product of living in non-revolutionary times).

Platformists argue for a middle ground (this is referred to as "revolutionary dualism"): organize yourselves into specific revolutionary groups, and participate in social movements as an organized force. Really, for anyone who knows anything about anarchist history in this country, it is a concept that goes all the back to the days of the IWPA (of which the Haymarket Martyrs were all active members of).

Anyways, that's platformism in a nutshell. Obviously not everyone comes to these same conclusions. Which is fine. I know all kinds of solid anarchist activists and organizers who are critical of platformism (which is different from dismissive), and I am more than happy to work side by side with these people, and support them however I can. I am glad there are different anarchist groups in the city that speak to different people's experiences. The more the merrier, so long as there is mutual respect and solidarity.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
14 Dec 2004
Mark: Obviously Carl's an idiot.

That said, besides troll-bashing, you still haven't addressed the issue that Unite and myself brought up. The need for a much more cohesive boston Anarchist movement. I'm interested as to what you think about that, and what approach you think should be taken.

Personally, I've seen many attempts at doing so over the last year or two, and the one group that is always absent from any unified anarchist event (in any real numbers) is NEFAC. I'm wondering what you would suggest, what sort of thing would help build a strength of solidarity between NEFAC and the rest of the Boston (A) community. I know we see this from two different perspectives.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
14 Dec 2004
"That said, besides troll-bashing, you still haven't addressed the issue that Unite and myself brought up. The need for a much more cohesive boston Anarchist movement."

Try and understand things from our perspective. In most of the areas of struggle where we are currently working there is practically no other anarchists around. At least not ones that identify with "the scene". It just doesn't seem to be a huge priority to bend over backwards establishing "cohesion" with people who are totally removed from pretty much everywhere you are active.

I have heard people from NEFAC say that they never see members of Boston ABC at any political prisoner event in Boston that they have not organized themselves. Where are all the wobblies and non-NEFAC class struggle anarchists/anarcho-syndicalists when there is shitwork to do for workers in struggle? Where are all the Homes Not Jails enthusiastists during larger housing campaigns (like rent control, community stablization, evictions) in the city? Who else does clinic defense?

I don't say this to berate and belittle people or downplay the activity they do take on in their respective groups. I know there is good work coming out of the anarchist scene, and I like to think that all of our activity reinforces each other's efforts (even if it is not as conscious as we would like).I just want to point out that it is a two-way street.

Now, with that said, even if there is not alot of crossroads in our day-to-day work to find cohesion, I think there are areas where more commonground can be established.

I think someone already brought up the idea of having city-wide meetings once in awhile. I think this is a really good idea if for nothing else than to meet new faces, hear about each other's activity, and see if there are areas where we can actively support each other.

I think anti-war activism is another area where we have alot of common points of unity with each other as anarchists. I personally want to see NEFAC more active on this front, and work more closely with other anarchists in the city in the future.

We could also talk about a big common project that everyone could get behind, regardless of specific affinities. Like another New England Anarchist Bookfair.

I don't know. I think a city-wide meeting would be a good first step, and who knows what could develop from there...
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
14 Dec 2004
Forgot to also mention that there are also already existing areas where people from NEFAC do work fairly closely with other anarchists: Lucy Parsons Center, Jamaica Plain Mutual Aid, and Northeast Antifascists.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
14 Dec 2004
Mark: For starters, HNJ isn't really active anymore from what I hear. I can't really comment on ABC since I don't want to speak for the group, but personally I have real reservations working in a coalition that includes the RCP. As far as clinic defense, I've been going to the clinic (where some NEFAC folks go) almost every week for a year now.

I also agree, a boston wide anarchist meeting would be a great step. I'm just not down for organizing it. I've already tried multiple city-wide (A) events and frankly no NEFAC folks show up.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
14 Dec 2004
As a sidenote, let's take this discussion off Indymedia on the Boston A's list.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
15 Dec 2004
"I also agree, a boston wide anarchist meeting would be a great step. I'm just not down for organizing it. I've already tried multiple city-wide (A) events and frankly no NEFAC folks show up. "

It might have something to do with the fact that no one contacted us about it.

If you are trying to pull together a Boston-wide anarchist meeting and you want to try and make sure that every local group is represented you should probably go the extra step beyond sending out a general announcement to a few email lists.

You should actively contact each group, and try and get actual confimations that they can participate, or at least send a few people. Maybe even mail out some invitations by post. BAAM! has put together a comprehensive local resource list with contact information for every anarchist and anti-authoritarian group in the city. They are all easily contacted if you put the effort into it.

Anyways, yeah, I think we have probably exhausted this IMC thread so it makes sense to move this discussion to the Boston A's list...
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
15 Dec 2004
Pete, I am curious what coalition with the RCP you are referring too?
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
15 Dec 2004
Hey. I had been under the impression that the RCP plays a role in the Jericho movement. I'd personally be very weary working with maoists. Let me know if I'm wrong. Once again let's take this off Indymedia.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
15 Dec 2004
Let you know if you are wrong? Why don't you take some responsibility for yourself and do a little research to figure out whether or not a claim is true before spreading rumors on Boston IMC?

I'm sorry, what were you saying about backbiting in the scene?
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
15 Dec 2004
http://rwor.org/a/v19/950-59/951/jerico.htm

Jericho rallies have had RCP members speak at them. This particular one was addressed by the RCP chairman. I've also been told before by people in Jericho that they work with the RCP.

Instead of presenting the information I had as a fact, since I'm not a member of Jericho, i tried to present what I knew and leave room open for others to comment.

I've done my research and frankly don't need an ass like you to attack me on the fact that I don't ignorantly claim to know everything in my comments, as so many others do on here.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
15 Dec 2004
I don't care to know the party or affiliation of every speaker that every Jericho event in the country has had, these folks here are good people who are dedicated and committed. The founders of the Jericho project have a solid reputation of being committed, dedicated and sincere.

Pete, I bet you work with some democrats and have been to rallies where democrats addressed the crowd. The one in this parent article is no doubt a case in point. Does that mean you shouldn't have attended (assuming you did.)

I think this is an important thing to consider - you should judge local people working on something, such as Jericho, by their degree of autonomy, inclusion, the work they do here locally. And realize that COALITION means working with people you don't always agree with, but if you are working together, you will need to allow the different voices a chance to give their perspective at a rally or event... even as it may at times be a bitter pill to make such compromises. Can we be united without requiring uniformity? I sure hope so...
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
15 Dec 2004
No, I wouldn't organize an anti-war rally with a democrat. Democrats were pro-war. That's a foolish notion. Likewise, maoists, in china, controlled massive prison gulags and locked up tens of thousands of political prisoners (and killed even more). Thus it's silly to work on prison abolition work with maoists.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
16 Dec 2004
The Chinese are the only country in the whole world with a higher number of incarcerated people than the United States. They also account for over 80% of all state-sanctioned executions of prisoners in the entire world. The idea of working on prison abolish with Maoists who run the most populous and death dealing penal system in the world is insane.
Would not. could not work with a Dem. They're pro-war, all of them.
17 Dec 2004
Pete: "No, I wouldn't organize an anti-war rally with a democrat. Democrats were pro-war."

The Democratic party leadership was pro-war. Many Democratic party members however were against the war. While it is your right to refuse to work with any registered Democrats I think it is short sighted. It is through working with our neighbors and co-workers in a common struggle that we build relationships of resistance. Someone may start out a Democrat and through organizing in the movement come to realize that electoral politics are a dead end. But they are less likely to come to this realization if we refuse to work with them.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
17 Dec 2004
I never said I wouldn't work with a registered democrat. I said I wouldn't work with a party member. If I extend your logic to my comments about maoists, then your straw man argument would have me saying that I wouldn't work with anyone whose chinese. Don't mistake the rulers for the ruled, or assume that a registered democrat has any control over their party.
Re: Youth Organized Anti-War Rally Sets the Mood for Resistance
17 Dec 2004
oh wow, I can't believe this is still being argued about.