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News ::
We Are Not All Nader Supporters
04 Oct 2000
Coverage of the 'o3' protests focus almost exclusively on the inclusion of Ralph Nader into the presidential while ignoring other issues involved.
Yesterday's demonstrations saw a healthy diversity of issues and groups involved with these protests (pro-Nader, anti-State, anti-capitalist, anti-death penalty, environmental, anti-corporate, pro-Palestinian, queer, Free Mumia, U.S. out of Colombia, etc.), unfortuantely the mainstream media have focussed almost exclusively on the issue of Third Party canidates being excluded from the debates (most notably Ralph Nader).

Speaking for the anarchist presense, we came out in force yesterday against government, capiatlism and the fundementally authortarian nature of representative democracy (yes, most of us are against Nader as much as any other candidate), in favor of direct democracy, free association, and self-management. Unfortunately, much like any mention of Mumia Abu-Jamal, abolishing the death penalty, or the imperialist U.S. military build-up in Colombia, we found our message completely drowned out by pro-Nader constituencies.

The majority of the blame for this lack of coverage of many of the issues involved at the 'o3' protest obviously falls on the lap of the mainstream media, however, I feel that on numerous occasions throughout the day the Green Party activists and assorted pro-capitalist (pro-Nader) socialists readily exploited what was meant to be a broad-based, multi-issue event for their own narrow purposes.

Many of us did not get clubbed, pepper sprayed, arrested and nearly trampled by police on horseback in order to further the agenda of an aspiring ruling class (no matter how progressive this aspiring ruling class may appear on certain issues). We did not act as activist fodder for the agenda of Ralph Nader and his supporters. Our involvement was our own.

For Anarchism.
For Humanity.

--MaRK (Sabate Anarchist Group)
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have some tolerance: stop being hypocritical
04 Oct 2000
Your comment about the mainstream's exclusion of other protest issues besides getting Nader into the debates is justified. Your placing the blame on Greens and pro-Nader activists is nothing less than hypocritical. Look at what you're saying: WE want THEM to pay lip service to OUR cause because THEIR cause is not the only one. You need to realize that not everyone is out on the streets for the same reason. Realizing this, though, does not entail taking up everyone else's cause. Not only would this be impractical, it's logically inconsistent for you to criticize others for not being tolerant and then demand as a result that they bow to your cause!!!! After all, Greens aren't expecting YOU to take up their cause. We all need to realize that while we may be on the streets for different aims, much of our motivation and many of our aims overlap. To strive for absolute overlap is neither feasible nor politically desirable (that's fascism, not anarchism). Have some tolerance for others and others will show the same for you.
See also:
http://www.missouri.edu/~ldd0aa/sdu
Nice Action Everybody
04 Oct 2000
I wasn't at the Boston actions last night, but I'm pretty impressed with the turnout. I also just looked at some of the pictures and it's pretty obvious that a diverse crowd turned out last night. Way to go.

The way I read Mark's comments, it seemed to me that he was talking about tolerance and diversity. It would be a mistake for anybody to characterize the actions as just being pro-Nader.

The capitalist spectacle is starting to show its age. The positive energy that was evident last night, for whatever cause, just goes to show that the people will win one of these days.

So, is the U.S. election going to have election monitors?
See also:
http://www.infoshop.org/voting.html
Protest in San Diego
04 Oct 2000
We had a protest in San Diego on the night of the debate and the group was very diverse. Eventhough in our press release we stated the names of the other organizations involved and that it was mainly because of corporate money having too much influence in the election process, the credit was mostly given to the Green Party. One news program gave the credit to both the Green Party and the International Socialists Organization. This was all unintended but it just so happened that the group was mostly made up of Students for Nader/Medea and Activist San Diego members. Two Green Party members organized it but the idea was for these groups to come together behind a common theme. We were also there in support of the Boston protests but then again, I only heard about that for 5 seconds in the news. I have to say though that Fox gave the best coverage not only by showing us on tv for a longer period of time but they also talked about Boston and showed Nader being turned away fron the debates. It is as thorough as you could get here in San Diego.
I'm very encouraged to see the activity nation wide. I heard San Francisco also had a full day of protests.
See also:
http://www.geocities.com/openthedebates
Protest in San Diego
04 Oct 2000
We had a protest in San Diego on the night of the debate and the group was very diverse. Eventhough in our press release we stated the names of the other organizations involved and that it was mainly because of corporate money having too much influence in the election process, the credit was mostly given to the Green Party. One news program gave the credit to both the Green Party and the International Socialists Organization. This was all unintended but it just so happened that the group was mostly made up of Students for Nader/Medea and Activist San Diego members. Two Green Party members organized it but the idea was for these groups to come together behind a common theme. We were also there in support of the Boston protests but then again, I only heard about that for 5 seconds in the news. I have to say though that Fox gave the best coverage not only by showing us on tv for a longer period of time but they also talked about Boston and showed Nader being turned away fron the debates. It is as thorough as you could get here in San Diego.
I'm very encouraged to see the activity nation wide. I heard San Francisco also had a full day of protests.
See also:
http://www.geocities.com/openthedebates
non-violent protesters turn facist?
04 Oct 2000
I agree that the anarchist and anti-capitalist contingent at the Boston demonstration was drowned out. Many of these protesters where responsible for the most direct action of the night. However we clashed repeadetly with non-violent proteseters. They were almost facistic in their treatment of our movement, trying to squash and exclude the revolution.

It was obvious to me that many people fail to link the problems of the debate with the on going battle against capitalism and imperialism. Many were just Nader supporters and as i heard one person say "i feel like I'm at a block party." It seemed more like some college students doing something to better their resume for a good job when they graduate.
Direct action is nessecary and sometimes violent. If you are non-violent I understand and respect, but not everyone believes there can be revolution without revolutionary action.

Greens and Anarchists
04 Oct 2000
Hi Mark, and everyone,

I've also been surprised by how exclusively the mainstream media have focused on the pro-Nader part of yesterday's actions, probably because we're used to being ignored completely. The way we saw it was that we were one of several organizations participating. Nader supporters definitely turned out, though - I think a safe estimate is that over half the crowd were Nader supporters. If Green activists were drowning out other voices, I think it's important to realize that it's not something we tried to do - we didn't even spend much time trying to turn people out, besides providing the information about where to go. People just came out, from all over the place, on their own.

It's not right, though, for Greens to accept the misinformation that they've been raised on about anarchism. Lots of Greens are anarchists (green anarchists don't participate in the "party" part of the movement), and the vision of the greens is actually very much like the anarchist vision - anti-authoritatian, anti-capitalist, and for decentralized, direct democracy and community control of the economy. There's a difference of opinion among the greens about whether running candidates helps us get there. I don't know whether my mind is made up on the issue, but I know that thousands and thousands of people are being introduced to these ideas (not to mention their introduction to police repression) for the first time through the Nader campaign, and I think that's a good thing.

Anarchism has been misunderstood and persecuted for over 100 years. I don't expect much from the mainstream media, but I do expect that greens will bother to educate themselves about it and make good decisions about what kind of society they want to live in and what actions they can take to get there.

Stacey Cordeiro
Co-Chair, Massachusetts Green Party
Campaign Manager for Massachusetts, Nader 2000
(but I speak for myself.)
See also:
http://www.massgreens.org/
Green Shame
04 Oct 2000
As both a member of the Green party and a member of the Boston
Coalition for Mumia Abu-Jamal, I was disappointed last night by those
Nader supporters who tried to take the lead of the anti-death penalty march.
While I am very excited by all of the energy and support added to the
march by many groups, I feel it was not at all appropriate for Nader
supportors, predominantly white, to take over the leadership of a march
called to address structural racism and making its way through communities
of color. (By leadership here, I mean strictly overtaking the front of the march.)

Many complain about the whiteness of the US part of the anti-globalization movement (which this group of Nader supporters may or may not consider
themselves a part of), but until we white folks challenge our own patterns of
domination, control seeking, and exclusion, our movement will never be about more than a transfer of power from one group of white men to another group
of white men. I, for one, am looking for a lot more than this.

Thanks to all who were respectful and supportive of this march! It saddens
me how little coverage this very multi-racial event of historic proportions
(cosidering Boston's very racially divided past and present) has gotten in
the mainstream media, but then again, that is how structural racism
manifests itself and all the more reason for us to struggle against our own
inadvertent bolsterings of this system. All the more reason for us to
celebrate the IMC and to help build it into being a truly multi-racial news network. All Power to ALL the People!
See also:
http://web.mit.edu/justice
Anarchist/BlackCloc Constituency
04 Oct 2000
I agree wholeheartedly with what MaRK has to say. I originally came to the protests with the idea of supporting Nader about the debates, but was incredibly frustrated by the fact that many Naderites were focusing exclusively on getting their issue voiced, sometimes at the expense of other issues they claimed to be organizing around. This was particularly evident at the Mumia protest. We were all out there at an event organized (incredibly well, I might add), for the purpose of voicing anti-death penalty and Mumia support. It was absolutely the wrong time for Naderites to chant about Nader and the debates. There were other, more appropriate times throughout the day and week to do so. When an anti-death penalty march is made into a Nader march, it undermines the power that we have to give a united voice regarding the issue that we had all agreed to march for. I understand that Nader supporters have a cause too, but they shouldn't have come to the death-penalty march if they weren't willing to put Nader himself aside for long enough to unite surrounding the issue itself. Even if the two are related, an anti-death-penalty march is not a time to chant that we should let Ralph debate. The organizers of the march did an incredible job, and I think that Naderites would have come across as a much more respectful group if we had let them and helped them get their issues voiced. We were all in Boston to support each other, but we were all at that march to support Mumia and resist the death penalty.
I would also like to voice my respect for the assistance and organization that the black-bloc provided to protesters as a whole. I immediately worked with them upon arriving at the march, and they saved my ass and other's asses on a number of occasions: from pepper spray, horse trampling, crowd trampling, and batons. As a supporter of direct action, the black-block was definitely instrumental in my participation in the protest as a whole. I hope to work with a lot of those kids in the future. It was frustrating when some other protesters, many of whom called themselves peaceful, tried to prevent the block from protesting in its way: with direct action, arguing that it risked their safety. If they were so worried about their safety, they should have moved back a few rows off the front-line, allowing those of us willing to take more radical steps to do so. It's frustrating when anyone tries to prevent people from protesting in their own way. We need all types of protest to accomplish our goals.
As a whole, I wish I'd seen more unity and cooperation, or at the very least support, from the crowd as a whole for the actions of the anarchists and the block. We could have made many more practical gains if we had had the support, or at least a lack of suppression from the "peaceful" protesters. Some of us are ready to go one more non-violent step past peace. If you don't wanna practice civil disobedience, step aside and at least don't try to whip us into obedience. We're all working against the same oppressive system.
Solidarity,
Nell
Anarchist Tactics
04 Oct 2000
Just my thoughts and observations on the tactics of the anarchists at the debate protests.. They struck me as being almost cowardly at some points. At one point they all came streaming to the front of the protest pit, and then a little while later, all of a sudden, came running back out. Later I found out that what had happened was they picked up the barricade and threw it at the cops, then fled, leaving the non-violent protesters to take the brunt of whatever the cops were going to dish out in retaliation. This just really did not sit with me well. If you want to be included, then that's great. Just don't do things that get non-violent protesters attacked by police.
Solidarity!!!!
04 Oct 2000
Infighting will destroy this movement.
We were all there for the same purpose.
Let's quit the whining and continue
to plan for the future. A future without corporate rule.
Now is not the time to argue.

Solidarity !
respect isn't fascism
04 Oct 2000
I have to agree with Kevin. There were plenty of us there who were not convinced we needed to injure or be injured to accomplish something. And for Jason to call us fascists for not cooperating with the violent efforts of a minority is cowardly in itself. You can't simply tar anyone you choose with the epithet "fascist" whenever they get in your way. Well, you can. Just don't expect it to stick.

In fact, the most violence I witnessed was on the part of the Gore campaigners. If anyone was interested in a fight, they would have been more than happy to oblige you. Just leave out the people who have no beef with you. We weren't being disrespectful of you by being non-violent. We were simply not limiting our respect to you.

More than just "Let Ralph Debate"
04 Oct 2000
I definitely share Mark's disgust at how the protest was taken over by supporters of Ralph Nader. I think that Nader should be allowed to speak and I will probably vote for him, but I think that organizing simply around Nader is a very poor decision. Making "Let Ralph Debate" the focus of the protest is not good for the movement or social justice in general. First, it gives a very false impression of what the left and social justice movements are all about. The whole idea of socialism/anarchism is that when power is concentrated in a few hands, those without power suffer. The solution to the severe problems facing society is not to put power into the hands of a "progressive" person, but into the hands of everyone. Making the protest a cult of Ralph Nader is putting forth the idea that somehow if he became president, everything would be o.k., and that is just wrong. The problem with our society is obviously not just who is president; it has to do with capitalism, racism, sexism, homophobia - the underlying forces that create an unequal division of power and resources. The goal is to end exploitation and hierarchy, and replace it with democracy, not to change those doing the exploiting into nicer people. Sure, if Nader became president society would be a better place, but it would not come close to solving most of the major problems that we face. Our goal should be to build a broad movement for social justice, not to build a cult around a millionaire progressive leader. Second, by focusing on letting Nader into the debates, it is setting up the movement for failure. If somehow he did make it into the debates, people following the line that the protest and movement is all about "Let Ralph Debate" would think that their job is done and they would feel fine going back to not being politically active. It allows our enemies an easy way undermine the movement. Obivously getting Nader into the debate would expand the range of issues discussed in mainstream politics and this in turn would likely move candidates to the left, but this would not end capitalism, it would not end racism, etc. - it would not even come close to major change. Focusing all of our energy on such a short term goal will undermine the momentum being built for social justice.
Justin Conlon
Nell has a point
04 Oct 2000
I seriously doubt there was any malice or disrespect intended by pro- nader marchers
during the Mumia March.
It is difficult with so many people and so many issues to coordinate things
in such a way as for each group to be vocal without confusion.
In the future I belive things like the Town Meetings should proceed before
the marches begin , with all of these things discussed and forworded to all
of the marchers.

Peace and Solidarity!
"Anarchists" somewhat unapproachable
04 Oct 2000
I covered the UMASS protests for several radio stations and Boston IMC and yes, many of the anti-capitalist messages got somewhat lost as the media attempted to wade through the pro-Nader, pro-Gore confrontations, the pro-lifers, the Palestinian contingent and many others. But as a journalist, I found many of the young anarchists unapproachable. Several yelled anti-media epithets in my direction while many others wearing masks gave the distinct impresion they DID NOT want to be interviewed. One person walked around holding a cardboard microphone, disparaging my work while I was trying to record the sounds of the people taking back the access road. On the other hand, several people were very helpful in identifying and describing the confrontations between the riot police and those who were defying them. But the point is this: you can argue that even a progressive in the white house is STILL in the white house, but even the indy media journalists covering the action are going to demand respect for their work and courage in the face of armed and mounted reactionism.
Fractured Protests
04 Oct 2000
Reading this discussion about the O3 mobilization, as well as reading about other similar protests and participating in the Seattle WTO actions, has led me to think qte a bit about the effectivenss of mass direct action/protesting.

It seems that some of the more recent protests, like the RNC and DNC actions of this summer, were so fractured and covered so many issues that nothing really got across in a meaningful way. In Seattle and, to a lesser degree in D.C., the mobilizations sent a much clearer message than did the summer actions at the conventions.

I believe that this is because in Seattle and D.C. the statement was directed towards particular institutions that were cogent to the place and time of the protests. In Philadelphia and L.A., protests covered an incredibly broad range of issues, and lost much of their message in the ensuing confusion.

Perhaps anarchists/mumia-activists/Opponenet of GMO food etc.. etc... etc... should hold their own actions seperate from the more broad anti-corporate protests, or at least seek to intetegrate their issues better into the context of the cause for mobilization.

O3, as I understand it, was driven by the CPD debate being held in Boston on that date. So, it seems perfectly acceptable to me that the loudest and most recognized voices be those that are speaking directly to issues relating to the debate. Protesting in front of a presidential debate is a much more appropriate and effective for Nader supporters than it is for anti-government anarchists and death-penalty opponents.

I would never suggest barring different viewpoints, issues, or groups from direct actions, but I do think that people need to realize that these actions are held at certain places and times to highlight certain issues. I believe that worthy progressive causes should make sure that they are not holding "piggyback" protests on larger mobilization's directed towards different things. And, if they do, they should not be surprised when the media does not cover the fringes of a movement instead of it's core.

What protest where they at?
04 Oct 2000
Kevin and Pete, who claim we endangered others and were cowardly, one has to wonder what debates they were at.
Folks, please correct me if anything of what I say is incorrect as I point some things out...

-When we first charged the police line after the gassing and beating, which I'm pretty sure we withstood not you, some people told us that the police were flanking us in order to arrest us. We ran back to verify whether this was true or not, and to escape possible arrest. It took about twenty seconds for us to realize that this was not the case and we were right back at the front line. Furthermore, at no time did police even hint at passing the barricade to get people or club people, so what exactly was so dangerous for you? There was no cops after you and no gas at the time? It seems you just missed the block being there to defend you.

-When we blocked the road, who do you think got the police barricades and effectively shut off the street? The pacifist folk in front of the barricade told us they wanted to stay as the cops advanced, which was fine by us (see, we are real anti-authoritarians and as such respect diversity of tactics). However, when the cops were beating them and gassing them and they were stretching there hands back to be rescued, who were the people at the front getting clubbed and gassed to pull them away from the cops? Again, the cowardly black bloc.

-When the cops got by the pacifists and were attacking the barricade, who kept it together for a good ten minutes by sacrificing, again, their bodies while folks like you watched and chanted? Us again.

-How many black blockers did you see pulling peace signs out of people hands and then throwing to the ground to stomp on them? None, but maybe you missed when some idiot grabbed a black flag from a black blocker on the barricade, ran away with it and did just that.

-And finally, the best of your statements, that we endanger people. Maybe you didn't hear about Seattle, Washington, LA, Philly, etc, but did you happen to notice that cops shoot, gas, and club demonstrators doing disobedience, violent or not. So which seems more dangerous, walking at cops, hands in the air, slowly and totally unprotected (as people did yesterday) or keeping mobile, being adequately prepared, and resisting agression? Again, maybe you didn't notice, but the cops gassed people walking with their hands in the air and beat people sitting down, as well as trying to step on them with horses. Voluntarily putting oneself in that situation is stupid and reckless, but wannabe martyrs like you just can't seem to think of anything better.
Getting one thing straight
04 Oct 2000
I have to disagree with one thing Nell says: "We were all in Boston to support each other, but we were all at that march to support Mumia and resist the death penalty."

Not true. Many of us were there because it was the right time, place, and opportunity to protest an electoral system which is, as it exists now, of little real meaning to anyone.

I agree that the Naderites are cultish, but they need to keep in mind that he's not the issue, but rather a catalyst around whom electoral reform can be built. I'm sorry if that doesn't sit well with some, but if you have a viable means for everyone to get all worthy messages across fairly in a setting like last night's, I think there are plenty of people who'd like to hear what it is. I just haven't heard any suggestions so far other than "you should have stayed home" or "you should have let us fight like we wanted."
Speaking for the anarchist presense...
04 Oct 2000
"Speaking for the anarchist presense"
Can you do that?
Sorry, I've been spending too much time reading slashdot.
the pro mumia/anti-death penalty march
04 Oct 2000
To the pacifists who continously yell, at the front line of a direct action, "it's not about the police, it's about the debates," I have a few things to say.

When the police "decide" to suspend protestors Constitutional rights, and keep the protest, far way from the very people we were trying to reach, ON PUBLIC PROPERTY. I don't mean, keeping protestors from storming the building, I'm talking about keeping them 200 feet from any of the attendees or Gore/Bush/CPD/State employees. So who exactly where they protesting to? The cops, the Corporate Media and the independent media. So it does then become about the cops, because the media members, even the corporates, were not dangerously attacking a crowd, that wasn't wearing RIOT GEAR. The cops, who initiated the violence, by swinging their batons at anyone waving a flag or banner over the metal barriers. The cops, who sprayed people in the face with chemical weapons and beat people over the head with metal ones. Where we armed? I did not see any knives or guns in the crowd, not even a roll of quarters in anyone's fist. A few ppl, behind the front line, insisted on throwing plastic watter bottles and a few of the wooden sticks designed to hold signs, but did this necessitate random beatings and sprayings? Careful to note, I did not see anyone throw anything at the police, before they attacked over the barrier with their batons and started pushing the crowd back, by rushing the barriers. They were endangering peoples lives, by requiring them, pushing them into a protest pit against a sloping hill with a backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. If they had let the protesters get close enough to actually voice their message to the people they were trying to voice it too, maybe things would have been different.

As a member of the black-bloc, who participated in the daytime and nightime activites, in the Anti-Death penalty/Free Mumia march, the Freedom Trail for Sale, and the direct action, I too found it downright silly for the Nader supporters to chant for Ralph during the free mumia march. Perhaps more appropriately, the could have instead handed out fliers, with Mr. Naders public comments on Capitol Punishment. THAT WAS NOT A NADER MARCH. It was designed and organized for one purpose, to coincide with the Gore/Bush debate, as all we know they both support the capitol punishment. By, chanting "let ralph debate", you appeared to be using the ORGANIZATION of the intent of the march, for your own purposes, and even if they did coincide with the overall message, it would have been best to do your work without trying to overshout the anti-capitol punishment folks.
You don't read well, do you
04 Oct 2000
You're twisting my words. You should read what I said before you respond, or at least be honest.

I said that crying "fascist" is cowardly, while you implied I said you were cowardly for the events of Tuesday night (or perhaps you feel your bravery then makes you immune from such criticism, anytime). Crying "fascist" -- especially generalizing about people who were never fighting against you -- is common, easy, and yes -- cowardly.

As far as endangering people, my idea of endangering people (and a good example of cowardice, too) is to put your own agenda over the safety of the crowd. You're right, police do strike back indiscriminately. In my opinion, it's reckless, irresponsible, and mostly dumb to do things you know will bring indiscriminate reprisal. If you push cops to the point where you know they'll break, you can't deny responsibility just because they threw the first punch. Understand that everything you do in a crowd of that kind has consequences on people you don't necessarily have any right to bring those consequences upon, unless you feel your ideals are paramount. What I seriously object to -- and to me this completely discredits the ideals of anyone who makes such a claim -- is this idea that "you shouldn't have been there in the first place" if you were concerned for your safety. That's endangerment. That's cowardice. And in this discussion, it's already been defended as if it's simply an individual's right to a choice of tactics.
Leave the isms home
04 Oct 2000
The Greens were at the Mumia rally because we support freedom for Mumia, an end to this sick fetish our country has with throwing people (particularly people of color) in prison, and an end to the death penalty (same reason you were there.) The Greens were one group of many that encouraged people to come out for the debate protests. Because of the attention we've been getting through the Nader campaign, we were very successful at this.

Folks, I'm not hearing you say that the greens were offensive in any way except showing up in large numbers. I don't know of any way that greens kept other voices from being heard, save from being so many. I hope you don't hold _that_ against us. I don't find it more offensive to show support for an anti-death penalty candidate at an anti-death penalty march than, say, chanting "whose streets? OUR streets!" while walking through Orchard Park.

You're right: this stuff is NOT about Ralph Nader! And maybe some people don't know that yet. New people are being attracted to our movement through the Nader campaign - let's educate them on things that don't revolve around Nader and put them to work. That's why I'm in this, and I suspect that's why Nader's in this.

If anything, people of all shades need to know what they're getting into in a situation like yesterday's. They need to understand direct action: what is helpful, what is not, what role this plays in a movement. Don't condemn people for ignorance. If they showed up yesterday, it's probably because they're ready to learn.

peace,

Stacey
Black block again
04 Oct 2000
Hey genius, it was Jason, not you, who called our tactics "almost cowardly" to be precise. Relax.

And sorry, yes, it is a matter of tactics. These demonstrations, which many anarchists (including those in the black bloc) helped to organize, grouped together a variety of different groups, with different aims and different tactics. We can handle that, why can't you?
Your claim that our engaging in direct action somehow violates some sort of "right" of yours to demand everyone work the way you do demonstrates the moral authoritarianism that honestly makes me hate most pacifists. Many are not like you, but those who insult and disparage us, who interfere with us and in some cases even try to turn us over to the cops, are just as much my enemies as cops and capitalism.

And this is not a question of bravery vs cowardice, as some complex of yours makes it out to be. I stated facts, facts with many, many witnesses. The fact that people from the black bloc risked their physical well being as well as arrest to help others who, in most of our eyes were in those situations because their tactics inevitably led them to that, shows that calling us cowards is simply wrong. Nobody is asking for a medal, we are asking that those who are supposed to be our allies stop insulting us and lying about us.
I wonder what the point is sometimes
04 Oct 2000
Moral authoritarianism is such a loaded term that it allows just about anyone to interpret it however they want. There is no right. There is no wrong. Who am I to say there is? If I do, aren't I being morally authoritarian? I claim to have the right not to be punched in the face. But aren't I depriving someone else of the right to hit me? So there are no rights. Or are there infinite rights? Or is it both?

What I'm saying is this is reaching a point where I'm curious how you feel about these ideas. Belive me, it would at least allow me to understand better where you're coming from. Right now that's muddled.

Why I can't handle the simple idea of "different tactics" is that I have problems when those tactics meet and one set of ideas threatens the safety of those who do not share them, where the reverse isn't true. Is that moral authoritarianism? It seems to me that the alternative is just to get out of your way. To me, that's you practicing moral authoritarianism, because you've made the decision for me.

Which brings me back to my earlier puzzlement. What are your ultimate ideals? When does "the end justifies the means" stop? What's the ultimate goal? Rather than goading you, I'm saying this because the goal defines the tactics, and vice-versa. I really don't know of violence (or direct action, as the buzz-phrase seems to be) creating anything stable, even when it was justified.

So just what are you after, anyway, if I may presume to ask?
A Few Comments About Black Bloc, Movements ..
04 Oct 2000
First of all, let me state that I speak for myself, not for the anarchist movement, the black bloc of last night, or any othe rmovement.

I'm getting a bit annoyed at the shallow politics that keeps saying stuff about "the movement." Folks, there isn't ONE movement, there are many.At these big actions these currents flow together and create change. There isn't one movement, nor should there be. The great thing about these actions is that all kinds of causes come together to amplify their voices collectively. At some events, we scream about the World Bank. At others we bitch about the American political system. Everybody had their say last night. The pro-Nader people got some deserved media coverage, the anarchists had some fun, and others made a noise about the U'wa, the death penalty and so on.

A bunch of folks got together last night to make a fuss at the debate spectacle. That's cool, but I don't see how this relates to the anti-capitalist movement. It seemed like more of a pro-Nader event to me.

There is a comment somewhere on this site from a member of the Green Party which states that anarchists and Greens have some things in common, and that there are anarchists in the Greens. That is true. We have many common goals. We like hanging out with Greens and pro-Nader folks. But you have to understand that while we sympathize, anarchists for the most part don't vote and pretty much reject electoralism. That doesn't mean that you guys have some legitimate beefs about Nader being shut out of the debates. Kudos to you guys for raising a stink last night. You got some good media coverage.

I'm sure some of the anarchists were happy to help you make a scene.

There will bemany anarchists turning out on Election Day to make fun of this bankrupt political system.

Whover you vote for, the governmnet wins.
Whoever you vote for, we are ungovernable.


See also:
http://www.infoshop.org/blackbloc.html
Concerned citizen and 1999 grad SIU Illinois
04 Oct 2000
What you have stated is relative to my state of cognative dissonance with Southern ILL University Carbondale. I have run into a constant eye in sky road block of neo-liberal ultra-right wing conservative promoters,protectors and propagaters of the status quo. I know of at least two professors who have been fired for being too far to the left which dosen't have to be any farther than Richard Giphart here. We are 50 mile from Rush Limbaugh's home town and 15 mile from Marion IL. where the Fed's super LOCK UP is. I have a bachelor's degree in Social Work and an Associate's in Tool & Manufacturing. The job market sucks
you just don't work here unless you suck up to the status quo or kiss up to the two parties of property, owned lock stock and barrel by the Corporate oligarchy. I am 58 years old but have some local contact with young students and I would like to get them active and informed like you are. If you have any suggestions for me they will be well received. Paul Lynch
is
We Nader-supporters are not all non-anarchist
04 Oct 2000
I consider myself an anarchist, but I don't quite see why the majority of the anarchist community should be anti-Nader. I see the Nader campaign as an important step in the right direction. In the right here, right now, this offers mainstream America a chance to make a break with the Democratic Party, the graveyard of all social movements. There is a fundamental difference between the Nader campaign and the others. Nader is not just a more authentic liberal. Nader is not a politician. The Nader campaign is not about electing Ralph Nader to lead us. Nader is simply a catalyst to funnel our power into the electoral system, to fight the battle on all fronts. In the words of Nader "This campaign is not about leaders producing followers, but about leaders producing more leaders." Nader has said the difference between him and Bush and Gore is that he is not presenting himself as a solution to our problems, but rather he is functioning to encourage people to take matters into their own hands. In all his speeches, instead of bragging about what plans he has, he spends most of his time trying to inspire people to take action themselves.

Nader might not be an anti-capitalist, but a huge portion of the movement to campaign for Nader, maybe even the majority, are radicals, anti-capitalists, anti-statists etc.

I loved the Radical Cheerleaders, I'm all for abolishing private property, direct democracy, I've got no respect for the law, etc, etc, but I'm voting for Nader and actively campaigning. This is a unique chance to reach out to mainstream Americans. Instead of being anti-Nader, it seems the best strategy to me is to support Nader and add the appropriate education and context that we see fit. Nader is not just a lesser-lesser-evil. He is a step in the right direction. A small step, but a step there nevertheless, significant enough to support, in my view.

chris
what are you talking about?
04 Oct 2000
When did the direct action people clash with others? I was there until around 11:30, and what I saw was nearly everyone being supportive, a huge number of people participating in breaking down the police barricades, taking them apart, and almost everyone that was left at the time that the direct action folks went into the street joining them within 20 minutes or so. Sure, I heard some people mumble some things against the general spirit, but generally the entire crowd was supportive. That includes us Nader supporters who were in the streets, cheering the direct actioners on, ripping down the barriers, or being otherwise supportive. ..... You are talking about Boston, right?

chris
pardon?
05 Oct 2000
I hate to burst your bubble, but NO demonstrations have been covered by the mainstream media. None. A small paragraph in the NY Times about Nader's exclusion - but pretty much all I've seen are three thousand journalists discussing such lofty subjects as "What's with Al's hair?" or "Tipper's gained a lot of weight!".

We may have to do this one without the press, guys. Remember what the real fight is about.

Solidarity, and thanks to ALL of you out there in the streets yesterday. You were heard... if only by the rest of us, unfortunately.
fascist, stupid, divisive, pro-korporate
05 Oct 2000
great idea, let's come up with a new way to split the movement. really, where did you come up with that, anarchists, mumia supporters and anti-GMO activists? is it because we are some of the most radical and effective people in the movement and you want to cut us off so it's easier for the feds to rip us all to pieces? thanks a lot, why don't you go look up the word 'SOLIDARITY' before you ever open your mouth again.
SOLIDARITY, YES! FACTIONS, NO!
05 Oct 2000
I have to agree 150% with Solidarity's message. come on now folks. If we're ever going to be taken seriously by anyone as we protest in the streets than we need to be together in what we're doing. Yeah, sure 9,000 people protested outside the debates in Boston and they were there because they want to affect some sort of change in the way our country is be governed; this includes many aspects whether it be the admittance of third party candidates to debate issues important to the electorate for an upcoming election, or to show support for an indivdual who is being perscuted by the criminal justice system, but the bottom line is we are all out there for the same basic reason which is to right the injustices in our political system.
If we're going to divide ourselves and form smaller factions, seemingly at war with each other in the streets than the only message that's going to be received is the one showing us all as nothing but a bunch of arrogant, self absorbed individuals looking for a fight. We have to be together; therre is only strength in numbers and by dividing ourselves we loose that strength and we will accomplish NOTHING!
See also:
http://www.cannabisfreedom.org
SOLIDARITY, YES! FACTIONS, NO!
05 Oct 2000
I have to agree 150% with Solidarity's message. come on now folks. If we're ever going to be taken seriously by anyone as we protest in the streets than we need to be together in what we're doing. Yeah, sure 9,000 people protested outside the debates in Boston and they were there because they want to affect some sort of change in the way our country is be governed; this includes many aspects whether it be the admittance of third party candidates to debate issues important to the electorate for an upcoming election, or to show support for an indivdual who is being perscuted by the criminal justice system, but the bottom line is we are all out there for the same basic reason which is to right the injustices in our political system.
If we're going to divide ourselves and form smaller factions, seemingly at war with each other in the streets than the only message that's going to be received is the one showing us all as nothing but a bunch of arrogant, self absorbed individuals looking for a fight. We have to be together; therre is only strength in numbers and by dividing ourselves we loose that strength and we will accomplish NOTHING!
See also:
http://www.cannabisfreedom.org
A long way to go...
05 Oct 2000
There are alot of people pushing for change... but one thing to remember is that there are millions and millions more in this country who are terrified at the idea of even stepping out of the lines drawn for them. Millions and millions that will need to take steps towards change. The brainwashing into the general public is so deep that the idea of even Ralph Nader as a president is inconceivable. Try to talk Socialism or Anarchy to them and watch the fingers go into their ears in terror while they loudly "La la la la.. I don't hear you I don't hear you". There are very few out there with any hopes that he'll actually win, but we need something to ease people out. It will be a long struggle to get people to even look up "Socialist" or "Anarchist", much less accept it. There will be a few people who are turned out to what's happening via the Nader campaign who will think that Nader & Greens are the be-all end-all, but I believe that most people who are first turned on to Ralph Nader and the Greens will be open enough to consider what is beyond that. This also can explain why alot of people didn't know how to go forward at the protests. There are a large number of people who got turned on through the Greens and the Nader campaign who will be wiser next time, due to the experience of being at the protests, and hopefully through interaction and discussion with others pushing for change (thank you indymedia for these forums! these will be of tremendous help!). Everybody just stick with it....
Mis-information
05 Oct 2000
personally I was in town to protest the debates as a member of the green party and as someone disgusted with coporate america. tuesday started with the freedom for sale march which was predominently greens. when other events throughout the day were announced at the march, i had the impression that they were organized with or by the greens... i didn't expect that not all of the people protesting would be pro-nader. i think that a lot of other greens may have had the same impression (since a lot of us found out about the events on tuesday at the nader rally on sunday), so when we met anarchists protesting next to us with different agendas, we were slightly confused.
Lack of Coverage a Blessing in Disguise
05 Oct 2000
The lack of media coverage was a blessing in disguise for the anarchists. Masked, hunched over, and snaking through the crowd they looked like they were auditioning for a Marx brothers movie. At one point they caused a near stampede when, like a school of fish, they suddenly darted from the front of the crowd to the back, leaving those in their wake stunned, fearing a police charge was close upon them.

I find it amusing that the anarchists, of all people, should bemoan a lack of media coverage. Haven't they heard, "the Revolution will not be televised." But, you never know, maybe they should hire a media consultant or, better yet, a good PR firm.
What were the Arachists Protesting?
05 Oct 2000
Anarchists have a right to protest, and I do not want to take away those rights. But I do not understand why the Umass Boston campus last tuesday was the time and place to promote Anarchy. (I suppose, if you are an Anarchist and believe in your heart EVERYDAY is the day to voice your views.)

It did seem like the time and place to discuss the injustice at the non-acceptance of any other candidates into the televised debate.

While I saw the hostile stance of the anachists being a potential threat to my own cause, I didn't feel it my place to stop sopmeone else's protest.

I stood up front where the confrontation was to observe and see how the cops and Anarchists interacted.

I didn't see the Anarchist as a group do anything I thought was wrong, but I guess I just don't agree with their antagonistic standpoint with the police.
See also:
http://mymagnificentmachine.tripod.com
Debates
05 Oct 2000
It was a protest at the *debates* against the exclusion of third party debators. If you are protesting for other reasons don't expect people who were specifically there to protest an action occurring there to dilute and scatter their message for every other bandwagon-jumping protester around. Protests become ineffective when everybody protests everything all at once and there is no clear message (um, sorta like anarchy ;). Everybody should take their turn and protest independently (or with related causes). Protesting about everything at once just increases the noise-to-signal ratio and makes it easier for Joe Blow to think "there go those loudmouth trouble-causing protesters again *click*".
The Greens Won't Do Anything Progressive
05 Oct 2000
If the Greens were to get power, they very likely would not do any of the progressive things that Magali lists. The German Greens, the oldest Green party, entered the bourgeois German government a few years back, and in 1999 the German Greens were major supporters of NATO's murderous bombing campaign against the Serbian people. The Greens in power in France and Germany are today the opponents of the popular struggles in those countries against the fuel taxes. The Mexican Greens ran on a common ticket with the reactionary rightist PAN party.

The Green parties worldwide are bourgeois parties, dedicated to upholding capitalism. The Green party program in the U.S. does not even mention socialism or the proletariat.

And Nader, whose entire career has been connected with the Democrats, is a multi-millionaire capitalist who has explicitly expressed his opposition to socialism (in a speech this year on March 9, at the University of Maryland).

We don't get socialism by voting for bougeois candidates like Nader and Gore.

Two things to remember: there is no future for working people and the other oppressed in this society without socialism; and there is no future for socialism until socialists stop supporting bourgeois candidates and start building a socialist party.
See also:
http://www.angelfire.com/ma/khaver/EMANCIPATION(mac).html
Minority view
05 Oct 2000
While I was at the protest for my own reasons, being a Libertarian and mad with the exclusion of my own favored candidite from the debates, I had no trouble joining with the greens in calls to "let Ralph debate". Letting Ralph specifically into the debates was not my own agenda, but neither was it an innappropriate rallying cry for other third party supporters. I was in the front lines virtually the whole time, along with my brother and three of our friends, only one of whom professed interest in voting for Ralph Nader. Incedentially, he was the one of us most seriously injured, being held beneath a riot shield while another cop beat him over the head ( he was taken to the hospital with a concussion and had 13 stitches in his head by the end of the night ). I saw no major division within the ranks of the protestors, and no concerted attempt to retaliate against the violent army which was besieging our school ( how many of you noticed that the cops were lined up in military formations? Infantry...cavalry....Heavy Infantry, with large flanking groups ).
There are many things I would do differently the second time around, and I praise the anarchists for their direct action, anyone who came to that protest without the expectation of possible violence by the police was a fool, at least this was probably as much of a learning experience for others as it was for myself.
Critical
05 Oct 2000
As someone who has both worked for Ralph Nader has been involved in direct actions and joined the Black Bloc in April in D.C., I do believe there is common ground between Anarchists, Socialists, Greens, and Naderite 'Capitalists' which we must build on. We are all anti-corporate, all want major systemic changes and we all are at least on the edge of having an anti-capitalist perspective. Sure Nader is a believer in markets but in my opinion his critique is radical enough to be a step toward greater changes and yet open enough to galvanize youth and others who have yet to come to the point of anti-capitalism.

It is really difficult in our propagandistic society to reach an anti-capitalist conclusion and thus we must keep lines of communication open with those who are unsure but pissed off. This is not to say that Nader or the Greens should not be critiqued or that we should water down our critiques, we just need more, not less open borders of inclusion. For example, we must be vigilant in our critique of the German Greens without dismissing automatically as just the same as any bunch of capitalists. There is a great difference between someone like Oskar LaFontaine (green Finance Minister dismissed by Schroeder's 'Social Democrats') and, say, former right-wing leader Helmut Kohl.

We need to build this into a larger movement that is open to as many people discouraged by our system as possible. Check out Michael Albert's new article "The Trajectory of Change" on the ZNet website (www.zmag.org) for a compelling argument for building the "movement" beyond its somewhat static borders.

One last point, I know that Nader vision is much more fluid than it is perceived to be and that many people who work in Nader's organizations are committed to anti-capitalism.
building solidarity
05 Oct 2000
Hopefully we can establish some common ground. Otherwise we will continue to get screwd by Corporations, and Global Capitalism, and isms in general, by screw ourselves. Nader speaks out against the racist criminal justice system, the death penalty, militarization, the 'drug war' , economic injustice, and corporate welfare and control . I support Mumia and Leonard Peltier , Winonna LaDuke, and Ralph Nader.
actually...
05 Oct 2000
actually,to whoever said there was no coverage, the boston globe had tons of coverage, at least two articles specifically on the protests, and with mentions of the protests in the articles about the debates, plus an article about nader's exclusion, all in wednesday's paper.

chris
have some consideration...
05 Oct 2000
Aaron,

This is pretty arrogant. Myself, my main reason for going to the protests was to protest the exclusion of Ralph Nader. But I think it is highly arrogant of you to tell other people to "take their turn." The debates are only coming to Boston once!!! Why don't you take your turn? No one has a right to tell anyone ele whether they can protest or not. People aren't as stupid as you think they are. Most peopole are sick of the way things are. Connecting issues makes people see things as systemic, it doesn't confuse them. The pro-Nader message didn't get diluted. It was loud and clear. But the exclusion of third-party candidates is just one way that the ruling class maintains control, and it is an issue connected with other issues, which others highlighted You are not in the position to determine whose cause is more important.

chris

"It was a protest at the *debates* against the exclusion of third party debators. If you are protesting for other reasons don't expect people who were specifically there to protest an action occurring there to dilute and scatter their message for every other bandwagon-jumping protester around. Protests become ineffective when everybody protests everything all at once and there is no clear message (um, sorta like anarchy ;). Everybody should take their turn and protest independently (or with related causes). Protesting about everything at once just increases the noise-to-signal ratio and makes it easier for Joe Blow to think "there go those loudmouth trouble-causing protesters again *click*"."
re: the greens won't do anything progressive
05 Oct 2000
you should check out the greens' organizational structure. it is 100% bottom-up. no authority can go down, and all representatives are 100% bound by all decisions from the bottom. the green party will do whatever its members do. one of the founders of the green party in mass who i've seen speak several times is an anarchist. almost everyone who's organizaing the umass-amherst umass for nader group and the amherst green party are radicals. this campaign is not about nader, nader is just a catylist. nader believes in markets, but he also bel8ieves in democracy, unlike the other candidates. nader in power would put power in the people's hands with community radio, and other stuff. but in the broad picutre, the main function of this campaign is not to elect nader, but to bring millions of people into "the movement" that would otherwise not be brought in. it's working.

chris
FOCUS
05 Oct 2000
it's impossible to respond to all these messages at once so i'll simplify my opinion

let's focus on the POSITIVE more than on the negative
stop INTERFERING with other's tactics
remember what our COMMON GROUND is
stay DECENTRALIZED
stay CREATIVE
stay DIVERSE
stay UNITED
and not expect everyone in this/these movement(s) to agree with absolutely every little issue and opinion--including this one

-S
Good signs
05 Oct 2000
I arrived at this discussion with an optimistic feeling, got discouraged at the bickering, and now I feel a lot better than I did at the outset, since people are talking out their similarities and differences.

On the ground, outside the debate, I felt like I was among a lot of people with whom I had a lot more in common than I did with the people inside. That was an encouraging feeling, and I think it was the most important thing for me to come away with. I had really no idea there'd be anywhere near that many people -- whatever their focus of opposition -- out there to say "I'm really not happy with the status quo."

I was talking to a friend about all this on the bus today, and random people began turning around and talking with us, and agreeing to whatever degree that something's rotten under our noses. That felt great. To me, that's where it's at -- tapping into what is really a huge ugly pool of dissatisfaction and getting people to talk about what their ideas are, and what can be done about it. Regardless of our differences among ourselves, there remains the fact that there's a wall of silence that we *all* need to keep breaking through. As long as we're talking, there's hope.
Congrats...
06 Oct 2000
Congratulations to all on getting out there voicing against atrocities no matter what the press coverage was like or how it could have been better. Reading your comments is as close to being there as I guess I could get. I'm looking forward to pulling my weight and working with some of you when I make the move from Bogotá back home to Boston.

Psyched,

Bill Spirito
No "Black Block" in Boston
08 Oct 2000
There was no Block in Boston, black or otherwise.

Perhaps a side point, but from my observations there was no militant "Block" during the Boston protests. Protestors march in blocks to defend ourselves against police attack by linking arms and being tight. A "Black Block" is one form of block formation from germany where participants are masked and dress in black to defend against surveillance and prevent individuals from being singled out. While I did see small groups of masked protestors wearing mostly black, they did not constitute a block, neither by their numbers nor their formation.

This is not a criticism of anybody's actions in Boston, but a plea to use clear language when debating tactics.

-Lutha