Re: sick of trashtalking the seattle anarchist vandals (fwd)

Anitra Freeman (anitra@speakeasy.org)
Sun, 5 Dec 1999 02:00:11 -0800 (PST)


One of the few things that the right and the left seem to agree on is
that it is the height of moral crusade to attack the left.

In one of this week's many peaceful and joyful marches (the ones that
didn't get televised because they weren't dramatic enough) I saw signs
from many labor unions, environmental groups (Sierra Club and Sea
Shepherd Crew marching together!), Indigenous Peoples, Jews Against the
WTO, Young Koreans United, Free Speech, Free Mumia and Get China Out of
Tibet.  It was great.  A broad spectrum of activist pro-peoples
movements were *united* and working together for the rights of
individuals nd the earth.  Debates about political ideology, the
definition of "poverty pimp", and whether voting is treason were
temporarily abandoned.

I would like to see that continue.  I certainly would *not* like to see 
this great movement of peoples scapegoat a minority of our own to
protect our political image and self-esteem.  Leave that kind of tactic
to Mayor Paul Schell and the Seattle City Council.

I don't agree with everything that my own fellow members of SHARE decide
to do, but even when I disagree I am not going to tear them down in
public.  In particular, I defend homeless people who get rude and
abrasive in talks with non-profit "partners" who refuse to allow us more
than a token voice in decision-making.  While I would not demean
homeless people by saying that they can all be excused abusive language
because they can't help it, I also tell service providers and non-profit
staff, "What did you expect when you got into this work?  A tea party?"

There is a chance that some of the people kicking in windows were
police-supported troublemakers.  It is even more likely that they were
people who have grown angry and frustrated over the apparent lack of
effect from any of the "peaceful" demonstrations.  It is blatantly
obvious that all of their damage was to property, while the Seattle
police damaged people.  The obvious priority for criticism is the
people who caused the most damage -- the Seattle police and those who
gave them their orders.

Let's continue to look for common ground with each other -- including
common ground with the N30 Black Bloc and the rest of the protestors.
We may not agree with each other's methods.  What goals *do* we agree
on?

One of the members of StreetWrites argues that if not for the actions of
the Black Bloc, WTO week in Seattle would never have gotten off the back
pages, and the WTO would continue to meet in Seattle every year because
this is such a nice city with nice protestors who have nice little
marches and never cause any trouble.  You may not agree with him but I
think it's worth thinking about.

It seems obvious to me, though, that the police actions were not at any
time motivated by reacting to the Black Bloc.  The police initially
acted against peaceful protestors in the area around the convention
center, in order to regain control so that the delegates could continue
with their meeting as planned.  That was the only priority -- protection
of Seattle citizens and even property was not a priority.  Much later
the larger businesses -- NikeTown, Old Navy, etc -- were protected with
lines of riot police, but the older businesses like the Bon Marche never
rated more than one cop at each entrance, as far as I saw.

The lines of power could be mapped by the lines of police protection.
International corporate representatives rated most, on down to Seattle
private citizens, who rated none.

Write On! / Anitra L. Freeman / http://www.speakeasy.org/~anitra/
"Never doubt that a small group of imperfect people can improve the
world--indeed they are the only ones who ever have." Not Margaret Mead