Friday, September 25, 2009

G-20 protests

I've had fantasies elsewhere on this blog of teabaggers getting their comeuppance from rowdies of our own with fists and I've just barely held myself back from rooting for anti-racist rioters in Lund, Sweden.

I'm also disappointed by the media's unwillingness to take anarchists seriously. If students and professors in my international affairs classes were comfortable with the idea of states weakening and CEOs replacing or at least joining elected governments as the big players on the world state, what's so outlandish about horizontal, non-state structures that serve local, long-term needs, not short-term profits? Such a system existed in the Middle Ages, after all, when guilds controlled cities and princes had to ask permission to enter.

But the self-centered-ness of some of the G20 protesters is hard to escape. In their videos, posted at G-finity and elsewhere, the police are dehumanized from the get-go and are fought in an almost ritualistic manner, despite officers' working class roots. Local residents sympathetic to the anarchists are interviewed, but mostly as a sort of loyal workers' chorus. Sort of like, "See? They like us!"

I know that this grassroots support for anarchists can be genuine. At an anti-death penalty rally in Columbus, Ohio many years ago, the family of the condemned man in question spoke movingly afterward, away from the main event, about the support they had felt from those "masked bandits" (or some phrase to that effect). Leftists---not just anarchists, but the ISO and Socialist Alternative activists known from campus campaigns---often put down real, productive roots in urban communities. This dynamic was hinted at in a superficial way during the Reverend Wright controversy last year.

Nonetheless, there's a forced feeling to the thing in Pittsburgh, at least the marches with black banners and trash cans. As if it's time to search for a new mode of resistance.

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