"Violence" and tactics against the WTOIn Seattle

From blackshirt5@netzero.net (blackshirt5)
Date Fri, 10 Dec 1999 02:35:32 -0500

People need to be very cautious regarding their acceptance of the corporate media's portrayal of events and reactions in Seattle. The idea that a few anarchists, who engaged in property destruction, ruined the anti-wto message of the demonstration is absolutely ridiculous. More than that, it is the main idea that the corporate media wanted to disseminate - and effectively did because people continue to spread it. It was not the property destruction that distorted the message on November 30th, it was the corporate media's focus on the property destruction that did. Let's not forget that, unlike Clinton's assertion that small 'mom and pop' stores were hit, those businesses that had their windows smashed were well-chosen targets of multinational corporations as well as symbols of capitalism's overarching tendancy to commodify all of our lives.

By portraying the 60,000 protesters as good-ole' americans (much like Clinton did) in their taking of the streets to shut down the WTO ministerial, while simultaneously holding to the story that 100 anarchists proceeded to smash windows and paint the streets with grafitti thereby ruining the day for everyone else, the mainstream media managed to divide (in the general public's mind) one highly organized and cooperative group of activists that agreed that the tactics to be used on N30 stretched nearly as far as the imagination could! There were 4 guidelines however: 1)we will use no violence, physical or verbal, towards any person 2)we will carry no weapons 3)we will not bring or use any alcohol or illegal drugs 4) we will not destroy property. Now obviously, not everyone willingly submitted themselves to these. They were there to legitimate the majority of the work that was going on prior to N30 so that the establishment forces didn't have any obvious reason to come down hard on organzing activists before the big day. Interestingly, the 4th one was modified at a general meeting the day before the 30th to 'property will not be destroyed provided it does not obstruct the achievement of our goals' which were to shut down the WTO. I am not trying to argue that the property destruction became legitimized with this statement - it didn't need to be O.K'd by anyone - rather, to show the acceptance of tactics by the large group of activists that had assembled in Seattle prior to the demonstration.

Having been in Seattle, in the tear gas-infested streets of modern-day insurrectionary America, I can tell you that the unity and solidarity expressed by all was immense. Anarchists supported people locked down in civil disobedience by building barricades of street debris between them and the cops, college students alerted protesters as to the new movements of the riot cops at different intersections, longshoremen reinforced young militants at conflict-ridden intersections, balancing the scales. Throughout the day, the protesters worked as a united group delivering global capitalism its deserving hard-hitting blow after hard-hitting blow. Unfortunately, there were a number of extremely dogmatic passivists who were not content with just themselves sitting down to be brutalized by sadistic cops. People who came to be dubbed the 'Peace Police' interfered throughout the day with protesters who were not only sick and tired of capitalism but fed up with the cops true, brutalizing colors. The Peace Police physically restrained and obstructed other activists from engaging not only in property damage, but in any form of activity that wasn't exactly what the cops wanted. If people are going to begin laying claims of agents provocateurs, they may want to analyze the role of the Peace Police, which managed to get a number of anarchists and other militant protesters nicked by the cops.

Don't let the media's misinformation warp your intuition. The property destruction and economic sabotage didn't ruin anything but the profits slated for the capitalists' pockets - that alone is cause for celebration. The corporate media has just proven to us once again that we cannot believe them nor rely on them to put out information. Certainly, all those who were in the streets in Seattle know that along with ALL THE OTHER PROTESTERS there, the anarchists were throwing the tear gas canisters away from unprotected faces, rinsing burning eyes out with saline solution, locking arms to block delegates, and most importantly, hitting the capitalists where it hurts the most. Anarchists just happened to be the marginalized group that was singled out as a scapegoat on November 30th because the last thing this system wants people to think is that the unrest and dissatisfaction was as widespread as it truly was. Don't let them create divides in the international solidarity that was created this November 30th.

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