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Permaculture seedballs seized by Sacramento police in dawn raid

SACRAMENTO--This morning at around 7:00 a.m., Sacramento police officers paid a visit to the WTO mobiization Welcome Center and seized over 100 permaculture seed-balls. Activists from around the country have been gathering in Sacramento and meeting at the Welcome Center in preparation for protests against a June 23-25 U.S. Department of Agriculture tradeshow intended to convince WTO member countries to accept new guidelines regarding biotechnology and genetic engineering.
Officers seizing permaculture seedballs
Officers seizing permaculture seedballs
Sacramento police officers
Sacramento police officers
Officer who alleged that seedballs were weapons
Officer who alleged that seedballs were weapons
Another officer
Another officer
Box for pepperspray pellets
Box for pepperspray pellets
Box for bean bag rounds
Box for bean bag rounds
Unmarked police car, license plate #3USP418
Unmarked police car, license plate #3USP418
Unmarked police car, license plate #4BXF371
Unmarked police car, license plate #4BXF371
Unmarked police car, license plate #4LXJ930
Unmarked police car, license plate #4LXJ930
Unmarked police car, license plate #4XSM366
Unmarked police car, license plate #4XSM366
Suggested photo for feature, resized to 200 px wide
Suggested photo for feature, resized to 200 px wide
Mobilization organizers and indymedia reporters were on the spot within moments of the police's arrival. Organizers spoke with the police and the reporters documented the interchange with video and still cameras. More officers came during the visit, totalling at least four unmarked vehicles [pictured above] and eight officers.

The police claimed that the seedballs were illegal under statute 12.48.090, which is "Possession of prohibited weapons during a parade or demonstration". The fact that the seedballs were sitting idly at the edge of the parking lot, drying in the sun, rather than being part of a "parade or demonstration" was an irrelevant distinction to the police, who noted that protests are planned soon in Sacramento. Activists had made the seedballs the day before during a permaculture workshop. Each one contains soil, some straw, and seeds. When left on the ground, the seedballs are supposed to break down and sprout. Seedballs have been used in urban areas to bring flowers and food to areas in need of more green or sustenance. These particular balls contain heirloom seeds for growing clover and mustard, among other things.

In an act of irony apparently unappreciated by them, the officers loaded all the seedballs into boxes labeled "bean bag rounds" and "red pepperball" [pictured above], which of course are weapons used by police during parades and demonstrations. This was a physical manifestation of the mindset created by the police psychological training; that is, by putting the seedballs into weapon boxes, the officers were mirroring the worldview that sees clumps of dirt and puts them in a _mental_ box identifying them as dangerous. Sad and funny, and a reminder that our imprisonment always starts between our own ears.

An indymedia reporter pointed out to supervising officer J. Parker that the permaculture session the day before had been videotaped, and that it would be easy to show the District Attorney that the balls contained nothing harmful. The reporter then suggested that the police might hence want to avoid the embarrasment of bringing such an obviously frivolous charge to him or her. Parker appeared slightly thoughtful, and a few minutes later seemed willing to return the seedballs, though that didn't end up happening.

While the interchange was going on, a property-owning neighbor came over and gave the police a piece of her mind. She told them that the activists could plant the seedballs "all up and down this block", of which she owns a big chunk. We were all impressed by her fire and strength, bless her heart!

The situation ended with the officers saying that the "owner" of the seedballs (not that you "own" a seedball) could retrieve them later. No one was charged with a citation or arrested.

Pigs Get Hungry, Too 21.Jun.2003 11:41

Shut It Down In Sacto!

The sight of all that mud must have excited them so much...

Ha! 21.Jun.2003 12:20

Axelina

Thanks for the great report. This gave me a good chuckle to start the day with.

I can only imagine the scene at police headquarters today. Let's hope that other police encounters are as harmless.


... 21.Jun.2003 12:52

this thing here

this is a ridiculous joke. period.

Pre-Emptive Piggery 21.Jun.2003 13:14

GMOs Threaten the Planet

sue the bastards

Waking up on Maui 21.Jun.2003 17:55

Joy gmofreemaui@hawaii.rr.com

 GMOFREEMAUI@hawaii.rr.com HAS BEGUN ORGANIZING. More GMO's in the Hawaiian Islands pr.sq.ft. than ANYWHERE else in the world.

Check out seedball.com 21.Jun.2003 21:17

Seeds of peace

Some cops are just obsessed by the need to prove that we're making weapons.

I mean, at EVERY action.

This is the funniest one yet.

Everyone should check out seedball.com

May a thousand flowers bloom.

How about filing complaints through the system? 22.Jun.2003 07:28

Mojo

The police should be investigated when they commit crimes too....

From  http://www.sacpd.org (A good, rye chuckle can be had from reading their mission statement)

CITIZEN COMPLAINT PROCEDURE

INTRODUCTION
Sacramento's Citizen Complaint procedure helps you, the community and the police as well. If you have a concern about the practices or personnel of the Sacramento Police Department, what can you do about it? Since 1971, the Sacramento Police Department Internal Affairs Section has investigated citizen complaints regarding police department personnel or policies.
A positive relationship between the police and the public they serve, fostered by confidence and trust, is essential to effective law enforcement. While the police are charged with vigorous enforcement of the law, they must meticulously observe the rights of all people. Police personnel, at the same time, must be free to take action in a reasonable, lawful, and impartial manner without fear of reprisal.

It is important, therefore, that adequate provisions be made for the prompt receipt, investigation and disposition of complaints regarding the conduct of Department personnel. To this end, the Sacramento Police Department welcomes criticism of the Department and valid complaints against its members or procedures. The purpose of the Internal Affairs Section is to ensure complete, fair, and impartial investigations of citizen complaints.


HOW TO MAKE A COMPLAINT
The first step is to call, write, or come in person to:

Internal Affairs Section, Sacramento Police Department, 5770 Freeport Boulevard, Sacramento, California 95831. Hours: 8 - 5 Weekdays, Phone: 433-2290. Mailing Address: 900 8th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

A complaint may be made ANY time of the day or night. You may come in person to address your concern, or you can call or write anonymously, if you wish.

You may also file a complaint on-line, via the Internet:  http://www.sacpd.org/complaint_on_line.html


INVESTIGATION PROCEDURE
The person receiving your concern will ask you to provide as much information as possible regarding the incident. If you were involved in or witnessed the incident, it is extremely important to the investigation that a statement be obtained from you. From your statement, a Citizen Contact form may be completed. If your concern stems from an arrest or citation issued to a family member or yourself, it may not be investigated until the legal matter has been settled.


Depending on the circumstances of your concern, it may be investigated in one of two ways. It will either be forwarded to the member's supervisor for inquiry or to the Internal Affairs Section for investigation. Each allegation is examined on its own merits. Formal investigations require investigators to contact all available witnesses, including police officers, examine any relevant physical evidence and gather all information pertinent to each allegation made in the complaint.


The Chief of Police will render a finding in each case. There are four possible findings:

Sustained: The investigation disclosed enough evidence to clearly prove the allegation.
Not sustained: The investigation failed to reveal enough evidence to clearly prove or disprove the allegation.
Exonerated: The act which provided the basis for the complaint did occur; however, investigation revealed the act was justified, lawful and proper.
Unfounded: The investigation has produced sufficient evidence to prove that the act or acts alleged did not occur. This finding shall also apply when individual personnel named in the complaint were not involved in an act that did occur.


You will be notified of the finding in writing at the conclusion.When a finding of "Sustained" is determined, corrective action will be taken. The type of corrective action imposed is subject to the provisions of the Charter of the City of Sacramento, the rules of the Civil Service Board and, when appropriate, upon approval of the City Manager. Discipline may include counseling, training, and action up to and including termination. If your complaint is sustained and punitive discipline is imposed, the employee has appeal rights. Therefore, you may be required to testify at one or more administrative proceedings.



SUMMING UP
Your valid concerns and criticisms help us protect the community from possible misconduct by employees. At the same time, a thorough and impartial investigation procedure helps protect employees from unwarranted charges when they perform their duties properly.

Per California Penal Code Section 832.5 (a): "Each department or agency in this State which employs peace officers shall establish a procedure to investigate citizens' complaints against the personnel of such departments or agencies, and shall make a written description of the procedure available to the public."

Penal Code Section 148.6 (b) states that any law enforcement agency accepting a concern of misconduct against a peace officer shall require the complainant to read and sign the following information advisory:

"You have the right to make a complaint against a police officer for any improper police conduct. California law requires this agency to have a procedure to investigate citizens' complaints. You have a right to a written description of this procedure. This agency may find after investigation that there is not enough evidence to warrant action on your complaint; even if that is the case, you have the right to make the complaint and have it investigated if you believe an officer behaved improperly. Citizen complaints must be retained by this agency for at least five years. It is against the law to make a complaint that you know to be false. If you make a complaint against an officer knowing that it is false, you can be prosecuted on a misdemeanor charge."


Arturo Venegas, Jr.
Chief of Police


REV. 6/2000

How's about shooting yourself in the head?- That's what i'd do if I were you 22.Jun.2003 10:20

Snapdragon

ps off mojo
your government worships a culture of death and dominance
be true to your state- die a hero
just do it

Cops fear the life in us
remember that
or be rewarded with the fear
of knowing your enemy not

Grow up- Don't advocate violence 22.Jun.2003 10:48

peace

The police action here was paranoid but comical. No charges, no violence, promises to return the eedballs. (Unlike St. Louis, where folks were arrested and harassed pre-emptively.) The chief then writes in and invites us to file complaints. You answer suggesting he shoot himself in the head. That's about, oh, 2nd grade.
Cops do provide a service which our culture has asked them to do. Some are bad, most are good. Similarly with protesters. I'm infuriated when 40,000 WTO protesters hold it together only to be criticized for the violence of 20 Black Bloc'ers trashing Seattle and getting press.
This seedball incident is hardly a call for police suicide. Perhaps you could appreciate their rather calm behavior here. Calling for violence as you have only serves to increase their paranoia, and increase chances that their future behavior will be based on their own fear of folks like you, and therefore more violent. Perhaps instead trying to de-escalate this type of incident would be better. Do you know how?

seedball a weapon? nah...neither is a hammer, or an ice pick, or an axe, or... 22.Jun.2003 12:33

useyourhead

Granted most of those who protest will be peaceful. Some may opt for violence. Is this to prove a point or is it simply to be violent? An officer of the law has chosen his/her profession to serve the public and to keep the peace. I'm sure that an officer would much rather be enjoying their day off, playing with their kids or doing anything anybody else would do on a day off. But because of the radical few who promote violence, their day off is canceled and they find themselves (potentially) in harm's way. While the seedball may be innocent enough, thrown or catapulted from a slingshot it is a dangerous weapon...one that could totally screw up your day if you're the recepient of one coming at you at 90 mph. If you want, truly want, this to be a non-threatening and non-violent protest why bring anything that can be construed as a weapon. The law enforcement presence would like nothing more than to watch a peaceful protest...people exercising their right to free speech and lawful assembly...and will enforce the laws that say you can do just that. Just put yourself in their place...yeah, it's only a seedball, but it can be used as a projectile...would you want to take the risk? As in the title...a hammer's not a weapon either, but how comfortable would you be at a protest if a person 'on the other side of the line' is calling for violence and waving it around...same with an ice pick or damn near anything else. It isn't the object, it's the mindset. Based on past protests where a few have had a violent mindset, the mindset of law enforcement has to be defensive. One seedball in the hands of a violent person sends the officer to the hospital (or the morgue) just as quickly as something that's only purpose is as a weapon. Cops are people, too...they have mothers and spouses and children and dogs and cats...why would you possibly want to threaten them...they're not the ones doing the bio-tech stuff that has prompted this conference. Think a little...

Useyourhead 22.Jun.2003 13:35

useyourhead

I demand the confiscation of all pebbles and other particles that are hard, or if glued together could me made into something hard, that could potetials used as a weapon against the police, for years we have allowed seeds, rocks, sticks and dirt to be unregulated and proliferated in out communities. This must stop. I demand SWAT teams to sweep though our neighborhoods and remove all the dagerous objects we have in our houses. protesters that protest on the cops day off are commiting a cruel and unusual act by exercising their right to assemble when cops would rather be at home with their kids. And not just protesting, but bringing things that could be construed as weapons, such as signs on sticks, puppets, waterbottles and various articles of clothing. The national guard and maybe even the army shouldbe called in if if would stop the proliferation of dangerous thing things.

Pacifists have been Brainwashed by the police 22.Jun.2003 14:05

think

It's so hypocritical how these "pacifists" whine about "violent protestors" yet support the existence of police and government, inherently violent institutions. The whole fucking job of police is to be violent! If you support the existance of police or any kind of state you support violence on a massive scale. These "pacifists" are promoting violence by labelling the police (who are paid to be violent on a regular basis) as non-violent while criticisizng the much less violence of the so-called "radical few." They don't oppose violence, they only oppose violence which threatens the status quo. If they actually opposed violence then they would believe in the abolition of police & government. If the police can bring weapons I don't see why protestors can't. The police are violent terrorists who go around the whole country threatening to use extreme violence on anyone who does not obey their "laws." The "pacifists" are their unwitting agents who act to legitimize their violence. The cop tells us to file complaints because he knows that won't do jack shit.

Notice how we never hear this BS about "violence" when it's violent protestors in Iran? It's only when the protests are against the empire that they whine about "violence."

The Brain washed are the VIOLENT and IGNORANT 22.Jun.2003 15:15

Still free to think

For Think to Think About. Anarchy is what you get when no one enforces the laws that govern society. Anarchy is he who has the biggest stick (or gun or WMD ) makes the rules , is that person you , or are you ready to be ruled by that person or persons that follow a truly violent led culture ( like in the mid east or undeveloped parts of the world). I have had run-ins with power trip'n cops who's ego's barley fit under their hats and I don't care for most of their macho balls out views like "every ones a perp untill I say otherwise", but come on dude they are not all like that. The world we live in was carved out of violence , its a left over gene from our violent evolution from the cave man days and so is the paranoia and the greed in which we are being subjugated with by are so-called leaders (BUSH) who use these ill leftover triats in our media to control and de vide us. People like you with the same left over aggression and fear are on their side, helping them whip up the other ignorant and un evolved Neanderthals into tribal frenzies, instead of raising your voice with intelligence and understanding. I still believe the most evolved and humble leader there ever was, and who should be a model for ALL leaders for any real and good change for ALL people , was Ghandi. If we learn to protest as he did, with our MINDS and our HEARTS, as he did when he helped bring change to the most violently oppressed people of his time then we will have earned the right of such change. The ends are colored by the means (Mr. bush)

Anarchy is not choas 22.Jun.2003 15:40

anarchist

Anarchy is NOT "he who has the biggest stick (or gun or WMD ) makes the rules." Anyone who believes that is just as brainwashed as someone who thinks Iraq did 9-11. Anarchy means the absence of rulers. Instead of being bossed around by states, corporations, etc. we should all have control over our own lives and an equal say in group decisions. Hierarchy should be abolished. GOVERNMENT is "he who has the biggest gun, etc. rules". It is based on using violence to force people to obey a tiny elite of lawmakers (who are usually slaves of the corporations). Please see  http://www.diy-punk.org/anarchy/ for a longer description.

Police, even the "nice" ones, are violent. That is what they are paid to do - use violence on anyone who disobeys the law. If you believe police should exist then you believe in violence and it is hypocritical for you to criticize others for also believing in violence. TRUE pacifists are also anarchists because capitalism & the state are inherently violent. Most so-called "pacifists" aren't really pacifists but are in favor of atrocious amounts of violence. They are brainwashed drones who support state violence (police etc.) while denouncing non-state violence. They delude themselves into thinking it's not violence when a cop is violent. But it is violence.


ouch! 22.Jun.2003 17:04

mudpie

How much damage could a ball of mud really do anyway?

well, it depends on whose throwing it 22.Jun.2003 22:00

broken

It can net you up to seven years hard time. Ask Rob LosRicos. That's what he threw in Eugene in 1999.

spin the bottle 23.Jun.2003 01:31

capt'n crunch

Thats almost as funny as at the WTO mini-ministerial in sydney, november 2002. The Hon. Mr. Costa, minister for police got up in parliment and alledged that "spin the bottle" was activist jargon for molotov coctails or something. The tabloids licked it up. Of course it turned out that when the organising email lists had been talking about making the biggest spin the bottle action ever, they were actually talking about spin the bottle the game, where you kiss who ever the bottle points towards. When the action came the cops stole our huge paper machie bottle (it was obviously a weapon). A few days latter we all got together out side parliment house and once again tried to bring some love into the world. This time the cops didnt stop us and we had a wonderful game of "spin the bottle" (though it was noticed that generaly bloke to bloke making out was less passionate than bloke to shelia or shelia to shelia making out).

VIVA LA LOVING


Anarchy is not chaos? 23.Jun.2003 09:58

tree frog

Merriam-Webster Dictionary provides the following:

anarchy -
b : a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority
c : a utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government

chaos-
3 a : a state of utter confusion

Will somebody let the Iraquis know how much they should "enjoy complete freedom without government" instead of their current "state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority ".

Anybody have an example of anarchy being a viable way of organizing a community?

I don't see seedball.com... 23.Jun.2003 11:51

Tom in Boston

I don't see seedball.com (referred to above) or anything close... Is there a web page about making seedballs? Thank you!

BTW, it looks like seedball.com, as of this moment, is available for registration!

seedballs? 23.Jun.2003 12:35

pdxtech

Maybe the poster meant  http://www.seedballs.com/ which has a lot of information about seedballs.

Laws HELP Make society Civil the rest is UP to YOU 23.Jun.2003 16:33

Still free to think

Our Society Is Being Led By The Violent And Unsympathetic, Who Are In Power Because They Know How To Use Our Emotions To Munipulate And De Vide Us Into Either Backing Their Plans Of Aggression (9-11), Or Keeping Us From Being A People In Solidarity In Our Need For More Freedoms Without Government Interference (Marijuana, The Right To Die With Dignity, Freedom From Laws Made By The Religious) . But We Still Need Laws , And We Need People To Enforce Those Laws , If We Lived In Anarchy And Chaos No One Would Be Safe From Those People Who Choose To Commit Violent Crimes, No One To Come To The Aid Of The Abused Or The Threatened Or The Murdered. No Justice. Some People Are Taught To Be Fair And Just , Others Are Not, And Some People Are Just Born With A Tendency For Violent Behavior Without Compassion For Others, Without Laws These People Would Roam Free And Terrorize Others Without Thought Of Consequence . True A Large Portion Of Our Law Officers Are Ego Driven Brtutalists But After Dealing With Ass holes Day After Day It Kind Of Rubs Off And The Get Their Fair Share Of Abuse Too. I Think The Media Shows The Worst Side Of Human Nature Because It Seems The Most Interesting And Lucrative Asspect To Sell The News To The Masses, Especially If Its About Hypocritical Abuses Of Power Like The Rodny King Beatings (Those Cops Should Be In Jail Damn It ! That Was Not Justice!) But Don't Become What You Hate. I Live In Sacramento And I'm Wondering Who Is Gonna Clean All This Shit Up After Everyone Is Gone On To The Next Big Protest? Stop Being A Pawn Of Punk Fashion . I'm A Punk Too, But I'm Anti-establishment , Not Anti-community, Anarchy Is A Fashion Statement For The Willfully Ignorant, You Can A Make A More Effective Change In Society If Your Part Of It , No Just Against It. http://www.badreligion.com/badreligion/essays/essays.jsp?rec_num=3

Anarchy is not choas 23.Jun.2003 21:50

government is choas

Merriam-Webster was written by people opposed to anarchy. They slander it by making up definitions like that. It's called newspeak. A couple centuries ago the same nonsense was said about democracy - that it is choas. Iraq is not anarchy. There are no popular assemblies. There are no spokescouncils. No self-managed factories. In short, no anarchy. Just because the media calls it anarchy does not mean it is anarchy. Believing that Iraq is anarchy is like believing that Iraq did 9-11. It's utter nonsense regurgitated by the brainwashed. If you want an example of anarchy go look at the Spanish revolution.


Anarchy in Iraq?

After the fall of Saddam's dictatorship, a wave of looting erupted in towns and cities across Iraq. The media was outraged, often more concerned about stolen property than the civilians wounded and murdered by the US invasion. It was proclaimed that Iraq was falling into "anarchy." This is unsurprising, if annoying, for anarchists. It is worthwhile to explain why the chaos in post-Saddam Iraq is not anarchy nor, in fact, a case against anarchism.

Kropotkin once said that "without disorder, the Revolution is impossible" and he was right. Every revolution has been marked by "disorder," by strikes, riots, looting and so on. However, in social revolutions such periods are short lived. Inspired by ideas and hope for the future, the mass of people quickly go beyond the destructive phrase of popular revolt and start the construction of a new world.

So Kropotkin argued against the idea of "one-day revolutions" and the idea that a revolution could occur independently of popular struggle and mass movements. A "structure based on centuries of history cannot be destroyed by a few kilos of explosives," he correctly stated. Anarchy would be the product of collective struggle at the heart of society, not the product of external shocks. "To make the revolution," he argued, "the mass of workers will have to organise themselves. Resistance and the strike are excellent means of organisation for doing this." Thus it was "a question of organising societies of resistance for all trades in each town . . . against the exploiters . . . of federating them . . . Workers' solidarity must no longer be an empty word but practised each day between all trades and all nations." In the struggle against oppression and exploitation, we not only change the world, we change ourselves at the same time. So it is the struggle for freedom which creates people capable of taking the responsibility for their own lives, communities and planet. People capable of living as equals in a free society, so making anarchy possible.

Therefore, what happened in Iraq is not an example of anarchy. As George Barrett put it, the strength of the state lies "in the superstition of the people who think that it is right to obey [it]. So long as that superstition exists it is useless for some liberator to cut off the head of tyranny; the people will create another, for they have grown accustomed to rely on something outside themselves." This means that "if, then, by some external means" the state was destroyed then people would "rebuild the old society." However, if "the people develop their ideas of freedom, and then themselves get rid of the last stronghold tyranny -- the Government -- then indeed the Revolution would be permanently accomplished." Like Kropotkin, he saw anarchist revolution in terms of working class people self-organisation and direct action, with the capitalist class "abolished by the people so organising themselves that they will run the factories and use the land for the benefit of their free communities, i.e. for their own benefit . . . The only thing then that will be put in the place of government will be the free organisations of the workers."

This has not happened in Iraq. Rather, the government has been destroyed by quite a few kilos of explosives. Unsurprisingly, therefore, chaos rather than anarchy resulted. It cannot be denied that

the looting is, in part, a reaction to inequality and class society. It is a form of wealth redistribution. Nor can it be denied that some of the looters see their actions as a form of justice. "Every single item that we take is the blood of the people," said one. However, it is not the end of private property, simply a change in who claims to own it. This can be seen from the irresponsible attacks on hospitals and other resources that should be held in common, not squandered by breaking them up and destroying them.

Aware of this, anarchists are not in favour of looting as such. Anarchists, to quote Luigi Fabbri, "do not think of expropriation in terms of some sort of 'help yourself' operation, left to personal judgement, in the absence of any order. Even were it possible to predict as inevitable that expropriations, once disorder sets in, would take on an individualistic complexion . . . anarchist communists have no intention of adopting that sort of an approach as their own." In other words, collective expropriation must replace individualistic looting. Instead, he pointed out that the working class has its "own, free institutions, independent of the state" (such as federations of unions and co-operatives) to achieve the end of private property and that "during the revolution other collective bodies more attuned to the needs of the moment will be set up."

And this is the problem in Iraq. There has been no popular movement that created the framework of a new society while fighting the old. Rather we have people who, in the main (and so far), have not seen beyond statism and capitalism taking advantage of a break down of the state and its protection of property. Can we be surprised that chaos ensured?

Now the Iraqi people have three choices. They can accept the rule of the US, either freely or be forced to. This seems the most likely, although it will be imposed by force upon a population which, while anti-Saddam, is also anti-US, its occupation and the wealthy, westernised Iraqi exiles it wants to rule the country. Or they fall behind some new nationalist gang aiming for state power. This is less likely. Or, finally, they can start to construct their own ways of getting society back on its feet in a way that will be in their interests. This is the anarchist solution and would result in a true anarchy, a society of free and equal people co-operating together freely.

Impossible, it will be asserted. Far from it. No society could survive without its libertarian elements, elements which often come to the fore in periods of intense struggle and change. Every struggle and revolution has seen anarchist ideas and practices develop spontaneously as people draw the obvious conclusions from their own experiences, They have seen free, self-managed, organisations develop whenever the people have freedom of initiative. The French revolution had its sections and communes, the Russian revolution its soviets and factory committees, the Spanish revolution its unions, collectives and co-operatives. These were the bodies that turned riot into revolution, expropriating capital for the benefit of all and allowing society to be run from the bottom up (at least for a time). So in terms of what anarchism is, we don't need to speculate about how Iraq shows the failure of anarchism. Its necessary preconditions do not exist. The historical examples of anarchism in practice show how very different real anarchy is.

The creation of new socialist and libertarian institutions is, therefore, always a possibility. The Iraqi peoples' experiences may push them towards anarchist conclusions, the awareness that the state exists to protect the wealthy and powerful few and to disempower the many. That while it is needed to maintain class and hierarchical society, it is not needed to organise society nor can it do so in a just and fair way for all. This is possible. There is a history of Shoras (workers councils) in Iraq, so many have an example of working class self-organisation that can be applied. So we cannot dismiss the possibility that the chaos in Iraq may be replaced by true anarchy, the self-organisation of a self-managed society.

Unfortunately the odds are stacked against this. The Iraqi people have had their state destroyed for them and are now subject to an occupying power. So although developments towards real anarchy are possible, it is unlikely to happen. But we can hope. And if this does happen, the Iraqi people will have to defend their freedom from two enemies. Firstly, the US/UK occupation forces. These have no interest in seeing a functional grassroots democracy be built from below. And, secondly, those in Iraq who seek to maintain inequality in wealth and/or power. Without a conscious anarchist presence any libertarian tendencies are likely to be used, abused and finally destroyed by parties or religious groups seeking political power over the masses.

During these events the US occupying power has made its priorities clear. While letting essential services like hospitals and priceless historical treasures be looted, the US army secured oil fields and defended only two government ministries (namely of Oil and of the Interior). When US officials boasted that oil production would restart soon, people across Iraq were wondering when the same would be said of their water, food and electricity supplies. But, of course, this war was not about oil so this must be a coincidence.

Nor should we be surprised by the fact that the US is reintroducing the old regime's police force. They did the same all across Europe and the Far East after defeating the fascists, where they replaced popular anti-fascist committees with fascist politicians and businessmen. We can expect to see the Baath state resurrected, but with a new leaders at the top. And who knows, perhaps this policy of tolerating chaos and looting is part of a plan to "win hearts and minds," to get people used to the idea of a US dictatorship presiding over Saddam's police force as the alternative would be chaos?

And, lastly, it is doubtful that the US and UK government's tolerance for "public disorder" in Iraq will be applied in regards those seeking meaningful regime change at home. Number 10's recognition that oppression and exploitation produces resistance and rebellion will not be applied here. We will be expected to obey the state like good citizens and be punished if we step out of line. After all, we live in a democracy. It's not like the government simply ignores the wishes of the population in favour of pursuing policies that only benefit the few at the expense of the many and the planet we live on...

A theory yet to be unproved: vegitarianism and brainwashing 25.Jun.2003 11:34

Shibbo

I heard on the radio yesterday that jailed protestors in Sacramento were demanding that they had a "constitutional right" to vegan meals. Ever since taking a class in Yoga, I've been convinced that vegitarian diets go hand in hand with brainwashing and mind control. it always makes me think of Hitler, who happened to be a vegitarian and a big fan of Eastern philosophy. In my old yoga class, a few of the studients who seemed pretty desperate to acheive a high yogi state of perfect emptiness, had a serious debate about the violence done to trees when you pick the fruit. "If we wait for the fruit to fall off the tree, then we could avoid doing violence to the tree," one guy brainstormed, smiling in all seriousness. Those people would have cried for days if they saw my Dad pruning a whole orchard of walnut trees. And they probably would never be able to get over it if they saw how our whole family used to sit around plucking and gutting chickens. Or if they saw us cleaning out the intestines of our pigs to make sausages.

The problem with Leftists is that they have no grasp on reality. They insist that they can reshape what is true to fit their purposes. They think they can will themselves to the perfect utopian days before the fall of man. They throw around words like "sustainable" like it's some kind of important, meaningful shibboleth. But it doesn't mean crap. If they cared about sustainability in the third world they'd be all for genetically modified foods. Countries in Africa want GM crops, because they offer the greatest hope for self-sufficiency.

the importance of research; the failures of rhetoric 25.Jun.2003 12:57

someone

"Countries in Africa want GM crops"

Oh yeah, which ones? Seriously, I haven't heard of a single African nation wanting GM crops. The reason? They are the antitheis of sustainability and self-suffiency. Whether through the use of terminator technology or all the other ingenious ways the corporations have figured out how to control the seeds and plants giving GM crops to poor countries will only push them further into debt. If they have to buy seeds every year, or have to buy expensive chemicals in order to get the crops to grow, then they are not self-sufficient or sustainable, by definition. While you question the grasp on reality of others you fail to do any research yourself.

As for your "theory" I'd love for you to try and back that up with any actual evidence. If you're interested in conducting a study of who is more "brainwashed", vegitarians/vegans or meat eaters I would love to be a part of that. I would think "brainwashing" would be defined as strongly held beliefs that have no basis in verifiable facts. So getting the questions would require research but I hav eno doubt what the outcome of such a study would be (the correlation anyway, the discussion of causation is more than I feel like writing at the moment).

Seedball 11.Mar.2004 15:18

Leon Hudson leons_photos@yahoo.com

Funny yet sad.

I think of Permaculture, Forest Gardening, Square Foot Gardening, Organic Gardening as "The Peaceful Revolution". It appears that it is slowly spreading around the world and is not a threat to respective governments, only to big business/agriculture.

Leon

wat up 04.Jul.2007 13:20

pimp daddy

i love to eat eggs with ketchup on the side! who dosent?