As the weather warms, and the Occupy movement prepares to re-group for their new offensive, the “99 Percent Spring”, the anarchist collective known as CrimethInc posted an article on March 27 arguing that the Occupy movement in the U.S. needs to be willing to expand it’s horizons, if you will, in how it should go about attempting to bring change to the United States. Titled “The Illegitimacy of Violence, the Violence of Legitimacy“, the post uses the high-minded wordiness typical of anarchists to explain, and then justify, the use of violence in protest movements within the United States.
The unnamed author explains how every relationship of power within American society is “violent”:
This is further complicated by the ways our society is based on and permeated by harm or threat that violates consent. In this sense, isn’t it violent to live on colonized territory, destroying ecosystems through our daily consumption and benefitting from economic relations that are forced on others at gunpoint? Isn’t it violent for armed guards to keep food and land, once a commons shared by all, from those who need them? Is it more violent to resist the police who evict people from their homes, or to stand aside while people are made homeless? Is it more violent to throw tear gas canisters back at police, or to denounce those who throw them back as “violent,” giving police a free hand to do worse?
In this state of affairs, there is no such thing as nonviolence—the closest we can hope to come is to negate the harm or threat posed by the proponents of top-down violence.
Those crazy kids at CrimethInc go on to complain about how the Black Bloc anarchists that made their way into various Occupy camps were made outcasts after a time, thanks to two writers who apparently have some influence within the various activist communities. The one shining light, the unknown author argues, was Occupy Oakland, which embraced a “diversity of tactics”, (that beloved catchphrase of the hardcore Left):
But it often happens that the preconditions for a movement become limitations that it must transcend: Occupy Oakland remained vibrant after other occupations died down because it embraced a diversity of tactics, not despite this. Likewise, if we really want to transform our society, we can’t remain forever within the narrow boundaries of what the authorities deem legitimate: we have to extend the range of what people feel entitled to do.
So what’s the answer for the collectivist anarchists of CrimethInc? Well, it’s not a happy one, even though they use vague terms to describe what they feel needs to happen:
Making nonviolence the central tenet of our movement makes good sense if our long-term goal is not to challenge the fundamental structure of our society…But if we really want to transform our society, we have to transform the discourse of legitimacy, not just position ourselves well within it as it currently exists.
In essence, those whacky anarchists over at CrimethInc are arguing that non-violence only works if one seeks to maintain the current structure and flow of power within our society. If that’s not your goal, if the goal is to tear it all down and build something new, then actions that might be considered violent need to be legitimized, and the only way to make those possibly violent actions legitimate is to change what ARE legitimate forms of resistance within people’s minds. The reason this is important, the unnamed author argues, is “that’s the the point of affirming a diversity of tactics: to build a movement that has space for all of us, yet leaves no space for domination and silencing—a “people power” that can both expand and intensify.”
As the Church Lady from Saturday Night Live used to say, “Well isn’t that special?”.
The case of Trayvon Martin, a black boy, has made the opportunistic vultures drool. These are the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton who never miss an opportunity to take advantage of any situation that may advance their racist cause. To them everything is about race even when it’s not. As soon as they heard about the case of a black boy being killed by a white man (he’s not, he’s Hispanic, but let’s ignore that fact), they descended like vultures.
The family of Trayvon Martin, with Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton moved the location of their news conference from the church in Sanford, FL to a church in Eatonville, FL. All previous meetings and conferences were held at the Allen Chapel AME Church in Sanford or in locations nearby. Why, all of a sudden when Jesse Jackson comes to town does everything move to the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Eatonville? They moved it because location is important. Moving the location of the press conferences from racially diverse Sanford, to majority black Eatonville, one of the first all-black towns to be formed after the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, allows them to join together in solidarity as black people. To present a united front as black people and in essence make this about race which was more difficult to do in more diverse Sanford. The plan is simple, rile up the locals, go to Eatonville, get the support of the black community locally and nationally and then bring the race hate back to Sanford. It makes it so much easier to play the race card with the support of the black community. There is no better place to garner support of the black community that than in mostly black Eatonville.
They descended upon the family and dragged them in to the race baiting and into their devious politics because the face of a little black boy is great publicity. Look at how they’ve used it to get the community and the country caught up in their whirlwind. There was not all this rallying and hoopla before Al Sharpton got here. There were no national news outlets, with their big shiny trucks blocking the roads before the vultures came to town.
Hundreds of people lined up in Sanford outside the civic center in the hopes of going inside to speak their minds to the council. There have been other council meetings held prior to the vultures, why now do hundreds wait in line? While hundreds waited in line for the council meeting, hundreds more took to the streets of Sanford with their signs and chants of “No Justice, No Peace” and “We want justice, we want it now” marching in a parade to the rallying point in Ft. Mellon park. Most of the marchers were calling for the arrest of George Zimmerman, with some even calling for his death or injury. Many supported the theory that it was a race related murder. Something must be compelling them to do this.
Of course, the media was there to nibble up every bit of the brouhaha. What makes better news than the martyrdom of a boy? Outside in Ft. Mellon Park, the people gathered and the news crews national, local and independent were mulling around interviewing people. Cameras were everywhere. Many of the national news organizations such as CNN and MSNBC were broadcasting, not from amidst the people, but from a sectioned off area set up just for them. Some of them were even barricaded off from everyone else. They’ve seen it before, send the photographers and videographers in to get some shots and sound bites, but not need to go out and actually talk to people, they already know the story they will present. The only news people out and about among the crowd were local and independent news and citizen journalists. This is why I generally recommend getting your news from local news, they tend to be less agenda oriented.
In racially diverse Sanford, the crowd was primarily black. Though I never felt uncomfortable, I was well aware that I was a small white woman in a big black sea. There were other white people there. Many of the journalists were white, and some of those rallying were white, but the crowd was mostly black. The black community was rallying. Busloads of people from other black communities showed up.
The New Black Panthers were in Sanford too, and they were cordial and respectful when addressed. When we mentioned, “It’s hot out there today,” their leader said, “Issues are hot, police and government are not doing their jobs.” They weren’t nasty or threatening, they did not say anything about “lynching” George Zimmerman. Their words were in contrast to the odd way the Black Panther members stood around their leader in a protective ring. Surely, the negative public sentiment about the Panthers has them on their guard. Even though the Panthers’ verbal statements weren’t threatening, there were chilling elements of the rally due to their actions. As reported at other local Trayvon Martin rallies, the Black Panthers were handing out shocking fliers (below) calling for George Zimmerman to be delivered to them “Dead or Alive” for the “murder-execution” of Trayvon Martin. It was very disheartening to see a modern display of lynch mob mentality, even if the Black Panther lynching threat was limited to a flier.
Here’s the New Black Panther leader I met being interviewed by CNNs Anderson Cooper:
The rally took on a strange, almost a carnival/party atmosphere. Many of people held colorful signs with pictures and sayings, each one trying to be more creative than the rest. There were skittles galore. There were even a few people in costume. There were large screens which showed the council meeting and later provided everyone a view of the speakers.
I ran in to this gentleman, dressed as a jester, who did not agree with the Black Panther reward. He felt that George Zimmerman should be arrested and go to trial.
It seems a bit odd that the one person who seemed to have a somewhat level head about the whole thing is the one wearing the jester’s hat. Most of the people were buying in to what Jackson and Sharpton were selling. As good little followers should, they were appalled that the police would report information that would make Trayvon look bad, even if it’s true. Jackson and Sharpton worked feverishly to denounce the reports. It is not helpful to their cause for the information that was reported in the Orlando Sentinel which the police released, that says witness statements say that George Zimmerman was heading back to his SUV and that Trayvon attacked him from behind, punching him in the face and breaking his nose, he continued beating on George Zimmerman and had him pinned to the ground. Sharpton, Jackson and the family are upset that reports are coming out that show Trayvon in a negative light. Yet, for days, they complained that the police had no proof that George Zimmerman had acted in self-defense. When the police then reveal the information that they had, Zimmerman’s statement backed up by statements from eye-witnesses, they complain because this information can squash their case. They lose ground in the race baiting they are doing. They don’t even acknowledge that Zimmerman is Hispanic. He is a “white-Hispanic,” whatever that is.
We don’t know if any of the information coming out is true or not, because we were not there. This is why a thorough investigation is necessary and if warranted, a trial – and only if someone is found guilty, punishment. Our society can’t skip ahead to punishment. This is what the 5th Amendment is all about, presumed innocence and due process, gathering the facts before passing judgment. Yet there are those who have already, such as the New Black Panthers, found George Zimmerman guilty of murder without an investigation and without a trial.