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Anarchy Is Not the Answer

Anarchy is not the answer for activists or independent media outlets that take their business of reform seriously. Independent Media groups and activists around the country (no matter how loosely organized) can not afford the luxury of either acting like, or being labeled, anarchists.
And yet this very label "anarchists" has even been embraced by some activists and protestors, who have thus allowed themselves to be so branded.
Most activists in reality espouse some form of leadership--how else can you possibly have any kind of society? How could you possibly have reform? How could you possibly have justice?

What advantage (image wise) is there in succumbing to such a political label? The obvious disadvantage is that you marginalize your group from much larger segments of the population, to be stereotyped in anathematic manner, that likely invites rejection, and possibly even animosity by the majority. People in America, on average, do not engage in realizing fine distinctions of political theory. To the ordinary citizen an anarchist is someone who is against any form of government and who espouses chaos (read pandemonium). Such a philosophy offers no real answers except relief from boredom.

Nor can activists or media groups, that hope to be respected for the positions, afford to act like, or allow others who act like anarchists, to dominate and influence how they are viewed by others, especially in the propaganda wars of society. We who read these pages know that lots of good quality and interesting that stuff gets printed on independent media websites, and that by far activist movements across the country are largely comprised of conscientious and responsible people.

But perhaps, to some who think differently, this is part of the problem. Like the Right is trying to paint the Left as unAmerican, spoiled whiners, there will be people actively engaged in trying to distort and disrupt the perceptions about activists and their support centers. For example, IndyMedia Centers "IMC" need to think about what it is there are allowing to happen to their reputation (both intentionally and unintentionally).

Surely there is something romantic about being rebellious and defiant, feeling rage and acting out anger? In fact people have a right and duty to "feel" outrage and defiant, for example against some main stream corporate controlled news organizations (or those that call themselves news organizations that seem to turn more fascist every year). Furthermore, there is a personal duty to
"deal" with these feelings in a constructive manner that is not self-defeating--and does not let such feelings overwhelm the self so as to become the likes of the those that one purports to hate and oppose.

Still people get addicted to all kinds of things including anger and voicing hostility. Politics does not exist without personalities. Like some people are not happy unless they have something to complain about, others are attracted to forms of expression that are vulgar and cheap, if not disrespecting and hostile. There are those that join groups to focus their discontentment on others so that they never have to look too closely at themselves.

Youth has little choice but operate from certain levels of naivete, and such naivete is vulnerable to congeal whatever anger or rage is felt, to whatever becomes conveniently accepted as stereotyped scapegoats--as propped up as the enemy (within one's own chosen circle). It is human nature for "all" kinds of people to scapegoat others and point to the enemy as "out" there (but never or seldom in one's own heart).

Furthermore, we Americans are particularly prone to specialize in promoting every sort of political prejudice, in which practically every group is ready to see "all" faults (both the real as well as the imagined) in "them". For example, despite one's hostility to the wiles of corporate news, the fact seems, that there is still a lot of useful news that get printed in such pages, and many news people are decent people.

The left, on average, is just as guilty of hypocrisy as is the right. One reason that Bush came close to winning the election four years ago is because Gore had to lie out of both sides of his mouth and it was apparent to perceptive viewers that man has little to recommend him as ethical--it ain't like the Democrats have been all virtue. Gore may have been a better President but he adapted a "lie" to the dumb people strategy to win.

The point here is there seems to be a capacity for overly zealous and self-righteous sanctimoniousness on "all" sides of a fence (as black and white labeling is promoted while deeper understanding is little pursued). It is so easy to dehumanize the enemy.

Why is it that when IndyMedia Center New York City (or whatever derivative) people make a film about the protests outside the last RNC the best we can expect is their "obsession" with filming confrontations between police and activists? Why was it there is not more intelligent ideas expressed as to "why" people feel traditional media is not good enough? Why is there instead this focus on confrontations with symbols and agents of authority?

Surely there are a ton of legitimate arguments and examples of how corporate media as failed us? Surely other websites are doing a better job informing and education us of such shortcomings? Where is the actual reading and intellectual work that creates the expertise on these matters by media activists? Any numbskull can harbor hatred and get sidetracked on adrenaline highs. Any inarticulate person of passion can blow conch shells for revolution so as to destroy any and all forms of authority.

I'm not writing this stuff because I oppose IndyMedia Centers? I'm writing it because I see red flags regarding the viability of such efforts and attitudes. I am just as, if not more, concerned about the present state of affairs, as many others who express concern (the few who will bother to read this essay because of a lack of reading habit and curiosity in America).

Who wants to become associated with people who can easily labeled and "profiled" (justly or unjustly) as people who are anarchists? Are those few who are allowed to make a bad impression trying to push concerned people away, such as people who might give worthy contribution? How can your entity benefit by allowing yourselves to be marginalized like this?

It is just like Ramsey Clark's International Action Center or IAC. His organization, that has made available a lot of books worthy of reading, ends up getting surrounded by Marxists and then ends up keeping most fence sitters away because most Americans do not want to be associated with marching along side Marxists or socialists calling for revolution. And this is not a question of whether any particular form of government and economic theory is better than another--it is a question of practical perception (given the real world of politics). Go to almost any anti-war protest and ask yourself: "How many signs that protesters are carrying say: "Democrats against the war!" or "Republicans against the War!" Damn few. And the literature passed around by the socialists and Marxist makes most Americans uncomfortable getting involved with marching along side these people. The fact is that people have preconceptions about such movements--and believe me they ain't good. Therefore IAC helps "ensure" that the anti-war protests remain small (within their little group of peasants). How does that win the peace? Or is this really a covert attempt to sabotage--perhaps as some front operation?

Furthermore, there is such a thing as "reformed" capitalism (a kind of neo-capitalism) that recognizes values besides profit--not all main stream Americans are for laissez faire capitalism that pretty much equates to a capacity for criminal potential. Not all capitalists are interested in allowing private investment pollute the environment, created masses of poverty, benefit financially by selling products that are ultimately dangerous such as depleted uranium weapons.

I know IndyMedia people and activists are primarily interested in justice, but why are certain loose attitudes allowed to be presented to represent the groups as a whole (that ultimately hurt efforts and keep people from participating)? Are certain people more interested in practicing their own form of self-righteousness (a trait already so common in main stream media editorial pages) that they really only put second or third rate efforts in attracting the skills and minds of those worthy of such efforts?

Where are the activists that will say things intelligent enough to be listened to when they get up to expect an audience--even if it be related artistic endeavors such as poetry or creating media messages that inform? Where are the media activists that demonstrate that they are in fact smarter, more informed, and more mature than those who work the main stream corporate media--that they claim are corrupted?

Anybody can vent rage and defiance in callow or rude manner. Any non-thinking animal can be whipped up into a state of expletive spouting self-righteousness? Does media now become an arena of infantile puerilism, in which what substitutes for intelligent argument and confrontation, becomes instead monosyllabic statements like: "XYZ... sucks" or "Fuck ... who or whatever"? What kind of audience is one really attempting to impress? Intelligent people are not going to join in on this mentality to any significant degree--even if they highly believe in the cause.

Where are the wise people in this nation that are ready to say: "You know I have read a hell of a lot of diverse views and books on politics and I am "only" beginning to realize how complex things really are, and how much I didn't know or realize." Where is the wisdom that is more ready to listen and read intelligent and objective discourse than the double-babble that already presumes to know reality as youthful certitude?

Who or what controls information in any society is obviously an area of intense importance. People (the masses) should be concerned with these issues of media control and influence. Propaganda machines are everywhere. The question should be "How can independent media people gain respect and readership?"

Most likely IndyMedia Centers already have infiltrative agents working against such efforts? Most likely many persons in power (such as tradition papers) would like to see your efforts fall to nothing? Why help them by sewing the seeds of your own demise--or is that what you really want--to give bad name to the cause of independent media in general by inviting the wrong sort of personalities and practices?

What really is "authority" if not a derivative of "author-ship." What kind of authoritative book is getting written here? It is not enough to have the latest and greatest technology and communicative capacity. We have all kinds of attention and thrill seekers with fancy cell phones, who want to dominate the airwaves and psychological space of others but they little worth listening to (because there is no articulate agent at the end of the telephone saying something worthy of audience).

What will IndyMedia really accomplish over a span of time? Will it invite every type of discontent with a grudge of every stripe to become part of a process of directing rage at the state? For some this means the overly simplistic practice of directing blame and hostility at police officers who are assigned to crowd control (as if most of the ills of society are not the fault of police officers who happen to be the inter-mediative agents of society and potential unlawful disturbance).

People talk about "homophobia" but what about the excessive promotion of "police-phobia" by some (including the media) in this culture? Do you not think that some people in this culture are not predisposed to hate certain symbols of authority just a little too conveniently as scapegoats? Sure there are police officers that act inappropriately at times and engage in serious offenses--we all know that--there is no argument here. But what should we call it when some activists too readily seem to obsess or focus with confrontations with authority at the expense of the practice of articulating and recognizing the complex reasons for how things have evolved as they have?

Anyone can go around filming protesters chanting: "Smash the State!" Even though such persons filled with anger, fear, and resentment may exist by the truckloads, few have offer "real" answers as "viable" and realistic alternatives to governance. Instead they almost unconsciously seem to promote their rage at the police officers as if the police are responsible for all their animosity.

I happen to have had some positive experiences dealing with police officers in various cities (by far on average). I do not think every officer is automatically a thug and insensitive racist. Yet what about the ranks of so called activists anarchists? Perhaps there is a bit hypocrisy here with a few? Or activists who too readily seem to want to blame society's problems on white males (as if, for example, only white males ever invested in corporate stocks that profit by things one claims to be against).

Some police officers will help more people in one week than many people will do in a year (including and especially media people--who seem to have this elitist attitude that media people are morally superior). Yet it is so easy to stereotype and scapegoat as if only "they" are the problem. Does "fair" evaluation mean that people lie when they promote the idea that police are only interested in protecting corporations? Does this equal "open-mindedness?"

I'm not a police officer. I have no special interest in promoting a police state or a government that excessively snoops in the private affairs of people or disrespects our constitutional rights. But there are times when various police officers deserve some respect and should be recognized as just as human as any one else. They are not all bad apples.

Perhaps some activists are really angry at the apathy of the average American has in general who has allowed this country to become mediocre is various ways? Perhaps they are really angry at the average reading skill level of Americans that have been lackadaisical in allowing main stream media to fall into its complaisance and holier-than-thou self-righteousness (because there has evolved little insight to challenge editors by an intelligent public?) Perhaps activists are angry at the average gas guzzling American (including themselves) for acting like a status quo of a fat American is OK? It ain't like there is this perfectly angelic minority group of people who is taking on a purely demonic force of evil here in America. We are all part of the problem no matter how much we want to say: "I hate xxx politicians."

Still young person today should be angry and scared about the future. The 21st century promises to be the Chinese curse--may you live in interesting times! For example, despite the fact the President Bush said he would not start a draft how can he or anyone predict the future. More than likely that was a Karl Rove stunt and anyone who knows about him knows he will advise Bush to say whatever it takes to win. American youth should be full of anxiety and concern. And it is easy to jump on the bandwagon to respond in typical fashion of seeing the enemy out there and then rage in anti-social manner like it is only them that are the problem.

I'm not trying to get too high on a soapbox here but the fact is that activists do "not" have the luxury of making lots of na´ve mistakes--especially alternative media activists. The mere fact that "anyone" with "any" motive could potentially publish something on IMC websites is radical enough to raise eyebrows. This alone is a form of anarchy (no rule to mean no willingness to provide leadership or to create much as far as certain perimeters of restriction).

Obviously IMC people (including myself) are not happy with corporate controlled media--with their ways of distortion and censorship--so what are we going to do--go to the other extreme--and allow zero censorship so that any stupid thing can be posted and left to announce the obvious--even if you have nothing intelligent to say you can vent your spleen here!!!!!!

Granted I understand that a lot of what appears is interesting and informative but hypothetically, should any and every kind of malicious act or opportunity for defamation be allowed? Should any kind of story--no matter if it relates or not to presumed objectives for activists be OK'd as printed? Should every written response to postings (even when written as acrid hatred and psychological warfare to demoralize) be allowed to stay up as initially posted on sights? Is IndyMedia really setting itself up for its own demise for allowing for easy abuse?

Obviously such as a situation is going to be of some concern for people who have goals of protecting society from criminal activity and threats? And some of these so called protectors are going to jump to conclusions and stereotypes about such people who traffic here, because it is human nature to do so, and if journalist and activist types can't recognize their own prejudices why would they expect agents less astute in word play to do so?

Independent media then needs to be careful about the kinds of personalities and politics it attracts to its enterprise, and the kind of expression it promotes. IMC has and opportunity to make a big difference in a positive way. The founding fathers used phoney names (protecting there right to true free speech) in debates in newspapers when this nation was founded--it is a tradition of this country. Still there has to be a minimum of oversight on the web, conference meetings, and protests. If we do not police ourselves (as in 'polis' city) in a reasonable manner, then policing will likely be imposed from outside in an unreasonable manner.

Yet the fact remains that those unfriendly to enterprises like IMC can and may attempt to ruin the reputation of these activities. They too can post all kinds of malicious and stupid comments, or engage in conspiracies that ultimately lead to lawsuits and judicial proceedings. Some kind of editing needs to be done. Some stuff needs to be weeded out or off.

I'm not talking about blue nose puritanism here--but if people are writing stuff that is not intelligence and not worthy of reading by an intelligent readership than consider discarding it. You do not have to live by some absolute rule or standard like as if a prisoner of a dogma.

The real world is full of people who do not deserve audience. It is conflict and strife and not all are willing to play fair. It is time to wake up for a reality check. Activism has to be more than alienation. For example, even if you hate "capitalism" as the ultimate form of evil--even if you believe that in your heart--it does not automatically make another form of political ideology worthy of sainthood. Every form of government is corruptible--including socialism and Marxism. There is no Utopia here on planet earth.

Any political scientist worth three grains of salt knows that when one revolutionary party takes over a country or territory there is just as likely a chance that the new leaders, who thought themselves so self-righteous, turn out over time to be just as despotic as the government they deposed. The Neo-Cons who stole America's foreign policy started out as what? Leftists, then the jumped to another extreme. Where are the people who recognize, that while there is a dire need to change the world, there also is a need to be willing to change the self (into mature citizens willing to accept some form of viable governance and leadership)?
lacking understanding 11.Oct.2004 20:47

liberty=equality

One cannot write effectively about subjects one does not understand. And I wonder if this piece was even meant to be written effectively given it's lack of any central thesis or supports for that thesis. Just a rambling indictment of that which the author does not understand. I would also suggest that it is wise not not be swayed by those who attempt to define or redefine terminology. As Orwell so elegantly explained, that is the path to fascism. Once we relinquish our terminology to those who would use it against us, we have lost.

Anarchism is about removing hierarchy, something that all who believe in democracy have fought for. For those who wish to learn more check out  http://infoshop.org/faq/.

No, Anarchism Is. 11.Oct.2004 21:03

Bakunin

The author, an obvious liberal, has little understanding of the anarchist tradition. I'd refer readers to Bookchin's 'Ecology of Freedom,' and to two websites, one, for the Institute for Anarchist Studies ( http://www.anarchist-studies.org/) the other, The New Formulation ( http://www.newformulation.org/). The second is a journal which publishes critiques of comtemporary books from an anarchist perspective. The author of the above should check these out as well. Long live Anarchism!


Anarchy = Absence of Power 11.Oct.2004 21:18

wil

Power = Oppression.

I think we're all done here.

Utah's lecture 11.Oct.2004 21:49

unsteady, but not wobbly

The first collaboration betwen Utah Phillips and Ani DiFranco, "The Past Didn't Go Anywhere" features this little anecdote of anarchy. Utah is elucidating on his friend and mentor, anarchist, draft-dodging, one man revolution Ammon (sic?)Hennesey. Hennesey was frequently brought before Judge Ritter (that old fart) charged with illegal picketing.
"Ammon would never plead innocent or guilty. He'd always plead "anarchy." The judge would ask him 'Ammon, what's an anarchist?' Ammon would answer 'Judge, an anarchist is anyone who doesn't need a cop to tell him what to do.' Judge would say 'but Ammon, you broke the law." Ammon would always reply, 'Aw judge, what good are your laws anyway. The good people don't need tham and the bad people don't obey them. What good are they anyway?"
I'm self-employed, middle class, caught between moral imperative to do right and economic imperative to do what needs doing. I'd like to think that the only boss/cop I answer to is me, but the fact of the matter is that there's still a bunch of criminal organizations, who's bosses I resent, telling me what to do. The worst one is probably the the federal government, which takes about a third of the income I earn and uses it for mostly despicable military/imperial purposes. I'm not especially fond of many other bureaucracies-city, multnomah county, state fire marshall, insurance, medical industries, utilities...you name it....if it's a bureaucracy, it's a hassle.
As I see it from my middle class perch, organizations are living entities who's primary imperative is their own growth. Serving the purpose they were created for is always secondary or tertiary. Why solve a problem and put yourself out of a job, when you can make the problem worse and hire your cronies to profit from it, too. It is the same organizational imperative that makes dealing with qwest as fulfilling as feeding the military-industrial complex.
As Utah further explains, ararchy is not a noun, it's a verb. It's what allows me to be a kind enough boss that my staff doesn't feel the need to unionize. It's what makes me go down to the shop floor and sweat with the other staff because I know that heirarchical parasitism is often counterproductive, alienating otherwise happy staff.
Anarchy is not the answer, what it is (in my opinion) is the destination, the withered away state Marx theorized. Anarchy is the end, not the means.
What are the means to wither the state? I don't know, but if these greaseball oil thugs steal another election, I'll join any general strike, and quit paying taxes until something less resembling Big Brother's dictatorship replaces it.

. 11.Oct.2004 22:34

.

I don't mind leadership. It is leadership imposed by force that needs be opposed.

Your characterization of anarchists is itself merely a victim of mainstream propaganda. I know many anarchists who are mature, sensible, and responsible.

Those who aim for power, should have none.

Why don't you go do some reporting. The more meaningful and thoughtful reporting that gets posted to the indy sites, the more they will resemble what you suggest. I guess Indymedia activists aspire to the same things you talk about. Talking is easy. Doing is hard. If everyone like your self who makes criticism, were to actually do what you yourself suggest it would get much closer to being that.

Multiple Types of Anarchy Abound 12.Oct.2004 06:03

soledad

While I appreciate the intentions of this article, and the thought that clearly went in to it, I would advise the author to put a little more research into future articles before believing media presentations of political philosophies.

As several response have pointed out, the author remains unclear on what "anarchy" is and what "anarchists" stand for. He writes" And yet this very label 'anarchists' has even been embraced by some activists and protestors, who have thus allowed themselves to be so branded."

I would suggest that what many activists mean when they embrace 'anarchy' is very different from how the media wants to brand them. It is not that the activists are "embracing" the media label of anarchism (a definition more akin to that offered above) but embrace an anarchy which promotes an accountable and transparent democracy.

Additionally, it would be as fool-heart to suggest that there is one anarchy as it would be to suggest there is one type of communism or socialism. There are very different philosophies that embrace different types of anarchy from a more individualist focused anarchism with philisophical similarities to libertarianism to a more community based anarchy with roots in a more socialist philosophy. While activists may embrace different types of anarchy, many others embrace core modes of anarchist thought from the above mentioned accountability, and transparency, and anti-hierarchy (think an organization that is top down - that one has to be promoted up in - versus one that runs by consensus with open meetings).

There is a different between organizing tactics and unorganized fury at the system which is not reducible to anarchism. That is, screaming obscentities at the cops is not the result of being an anarchist. Many anarchists embrace a code of "verbal non violence" when during a particular action they make a group aggreement not to cuss out the cops. The difference is that the group participating in that action makes the decision, versus an outside group telling them what they can and can't do without equally including their input.

Additionally, I think we need to think about whether or not there is a strategic reason for that kind of angry behavior. Think about the example again where someone screams "XYZ... sucks" or "Fuck ... who or whatever"? Sometimes the goal of a campaign is to annoy the hell out of an individual who is making decisions. Sometimes it is to shut down business as usual for the day. In those kind of situations, creating a public friendly face and educating the public make not be the primary goal - in which case different behaviors may make more strategic sense.

Another example from this article that needs to be re-examined is the author's claim that portland indymedia as an "anarchist" organization has zero-censorship. The author writers< " Should any kind of story--no matter if it relates or not to presumed objectives for activists be OK'd as printed? Should every written response to postings (even when written as acrid hatred and psychological warfare to demoralize) be allowed to stay up as initially posted on sights? Is IndyMedia really setting itself up for its own demise for allowing for easy abuse?"

My understanding rather, is that porltand indymedia has open meetings, so anyone can join the "leadership" and help make those decisions. Posts are censorsed for a variety of reasons (see  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/static/edpolicy.shtml) but rather be completley removed from the website are "hidden" in a location where others can go see them if they wish, promoting transparency and accountability in the censorship process. (See the compost bin for those articles).

Again - I respect the time and energy that went into this discussion. There are real strategic questions raised by the author. But the problems and questions raised by the author do not reduce down into "anarchism."

revolution 12.Oct.2004 06:43

me

he lost me at "business of reform"....

Reply to Original Post 12.Oct.2004 12:13

Steven Argue

Russell you claim that, "The left, on average, is just as guilty of hypocrisy as is the right." To back up this assertion you state, "One reason that Bush came close to winning the election four years ago is because Gore had to lie out of both sides of his mouth and it was apparent to perceptive viewers that man has little to recommend him as ethical--it ain't like the Democrats have been all virtue."

But I must ask you, since when has the Democrat Party been part of the left? The Democrat Party is nothing but a pro-war anti-working class party controlled by the wealthy that supports the racist death penalty, opposes single payer health care, and helped send us into Iraq with the "Patriot Act" attacking us at home, amongst other crimes. The Democrat Party is not part of the left, it is one of the two repressive ruling parties in the modern Rome of U.S. imperialism.

Later on you claim that the socialist led "IAC helps ensure that the anti-war protests remain small within their little group of peasants. How does that win the peace? Or is this really a covert attempt to sabotage--perhaps as some front operation?" Yet you ignore the fact that the IAC (Workers World Party) have been central in organizing the massive protests that have occurred against the U.S. war in Iraq, not your "respectable" Democrat Party. However small you think that these large protests have been, national actions organized by the Democrats have been absent. There is a reason for this and you should think about it before attacking anti-war socialists for organizing the movement.

Likewise it was the revolutionary socialists of the SWP that played one of the most important core organizing roles in the movement against U.S. aggression in Vietnam, uniting with anarchists, liberals, and pacifists to build a movement that shook the foundations of this system. The Democrats and Republicans only went along with that movement in 1972 and 1973 when U.S. soldiers refused to kill and risk death in a war they didn't believe in. A massive movement in the streets had educated those soldiers, not the "respectable" Democrat Party that was drafting soldiers and sending them to their deaths.

So when you ask how the anarchists and socialists will win the peace, you should ask yourself if you are talking like Kerry is about winning the peace by continuing the war to attempt to set up a U.S. puppet regime, or if you are talking about winning the peace by giving Iraq back to the Iraqi the people just as anarchists and socialists organized to do during the Vietnam war.

Liberation News
 http://lists.riseup.net/www/info/liberation_news

. . . 12.Oct.2004 16:29

. . .

Another fuckin' liberal wants to talk about apples & barrels again.

Here we go:

WHEN OUTSIDERS TALK ABOUT PARTICULAR MISBEHAVIORS BY PARTICULAR COPS, OTHER COPS CONCEDE NOTHING AND TRY TO CHANGE THE SUBJECT. COPS "CIRCLE THE WAGONS" IN THE FACE OF ANY CRITICISM AND CALL THEIR CRITICS "COP HATERS." COPS DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE ANY DISTINCTION BETWEEN "GOOD APPLES" AND "BAD APPLES" IN THEIR OWN RANKS.

Why, then, should we?

About the rest of the "article" -- here's a guy who's envious of anarchism's popularity and its fans' support for each other and each others' projects, and he wants in on it somehow without endangering his privileges as an establishment bootlicker. Too bad.

Happy 12.Oct.2004 16:58

Sam

The original poster must have some good intentions behind all these words. Please think more about the ideas you have because they need some refinement. Some of the things you are thinking are too influenced by mainstream media. I suggest as a first course, stop watching TV and reading newspapers. Second, try working with some radical activist group for a while. All people have some blind spots, carry some dogmatic ideas and in general are not perfect. It is easy to sit at some distance and have some criticism and the criticism may even be valid, but spend some time trying to do better, and you will discover it aint easy.

Good Luck

a few things 12.Oct.2004 19:40

tt01

first, i cannot beleive i just read all that. second, i would say mr. reason (i assume russell is a man?) has a severe and acute failure of his primary faculties. can you dig? that means you are not looking at the big picture, russell. as jimi would say "when i say toilet paper thats when you all come rolling out." take this comment:

"Why is it that when IndyMedia Center New York City (or whatever derivative) people make a film about the protests outside the last RNC the best we can expect is their "obsession" with filming confrontations between police and activists? Why was it there is not more intelligent ideas expressed as to "why" people feel traditional media is not good enough? Why is there instead this focus on confrontations with symbols and agents of authority?"

it makes good movies russell. sell sell sell! the essay gets even more bizarre:

"It is just like Ramsey Clark's International Action Center or IAC. His organization, that has made available a lot of books worthy of reading, ends up getting surrounded by Marxists and then ends up keeping most fence sitters away because most Americans do not want to be associated with marching along side Marxists or socialists calling for revolution. And this is not a question of whether any particular form of government and economic theory is better than another--it is a question of practical perception (given the real world of politics). Go to almost any anti-war protest and ask yourself: "How many signs that protesters are carrying say: "Democrats against the war!" or "Republicans against the War!" Damn few. And the literature passed around by the socialists and Marxist makes most Americans uncomfortable getting involved with marching along side these people. The fact is that people have preconceptions about such movements--and believe me they ain't good. Therefore IAC helps "ensure" that the anti-war protests remain small (within their little group of peasants). How does that win the peace? Or is this really a covert attempt to sabotage--perhaps as some front operation?

did you just say "IAC helps "ensures" that the anti-war protests remain small?" let me guess, you read lots of ayn rand? i can help you...just becuase someone wears a mask and carries an 'anarchist flag' and scares the bejesus out of mainstream america does not mean THEY are the reason more people do not protest this war. and your use of "the" anti-war protests, as if it is something you primarially watch on tv sickens me. get off your ass. it has most likely been a long while, and try to organize, becuase your prose is not gonna get you any admirers.

even more from mr reason...

"Independent media then needs to be careful about the kinds of personalities and politics it attracts to its enterprise, and the kind of expression it promotes. IMC has and opportunity to make a big difference in a positive way. The founding fathers used phoney names (protecting there right to true free speech) in debates in newspapers when this nation was founded--it is a tradition of this country. Still there has to be a minimum of oversight on the web, conference meetings, and protests. If we do not police ourselves (as in 'polis' city) in a reasonable manner, then policing will likely be imposed from outside in an unreasonable manner."

and wtf exactly do you think THE VIDEOS YOU INSULTED WERE ABOUT? take a freakin look around...you are obviously NOT paying much attention.

"Yet the fact remains that those unfriendly to enterprises like IMC can and may attempt to ruin the reputation of these activities. They too can post all kinds of malicious and stupid comments, or engage in conspiracies that ultimately lead to lawsuits and judicial proceedings. Some kind of editing needs to be done. Some stuff needs to be weeded out or off."

call a worker bee...you are boring me to death...

"I'm not talking about blue nose puritanism here--but if people are writing stuff that is not intelligence and not worthy of reading by an intelligent readership than consider discarding it. You do not have to live by some absolute rule or standard like as if a prisoner of a dogma."

not intelligence? i'm sorry i couldnt help myself. i feel obligated since i read the whole thing.

"The real world is full of people who do not deserve audience. It is conflict and strife and not all are willing to play fair. It is time to wake up for a reality check. Activism has to be more than alienation. For example, even if you hate "capitalism" as the ultimate form of evil--even if you believe that in your heart--it does not automatically make another form of political ideology worthy of sainthood. Every form of government is corruptible--including socialism and Marxism. There is no Utopia here on planet earth."

good, you're thinking. but this does not apply to indymedia. there are plenty of people who dont get an audience here...go check freerepublic. but there is one difference. if i disagree and confront there, i get banned from posting. here, it might get composted, at the worst. you should read indymedia faq when you get a sec...maybe put down that copy of the virtue of selfishness for 5 minutes.

"Any political scientist worth three grains of salt knows that when one revolutionary party takes over a country or territory there is just as likely a chance that the new leaders, who thought themselves so self-righteous, turn out over time to be just as despotic as the government they deposed. The Neo-Cons who stole America's foreign policy started out as what? Leftists, then the jumped to another extreme. Where are the people who recognize, that while there is a dire need to change the world, there also is a need to be willing to change the self (into mature citizens willing to accept some form of viable governance and leadership)?"

look, you made this sound like it was about anarchism. it isnt. you dont know anything about anarchism. you feel left out. just get involved and it will make more sense.

Two cents. 12.Oct.2004 20:48

Binyamin thisisnomansland@hotmail.com

1. Of course anarchism isn't the answer... there is no such thing as that. What it IS is an approach to reaching solutions to our problems. And it doesn't come out of a book, it's the thread that weaves the fabric of everyday life and decisions.

2. By the way, my interest is not "reform" as your post states from the start, but rather revolution. And secondly, it's not a "business"!

If you want some written sources on what anarchism REALLY is, I suggest Ashanti Alston, Jeff Leurs, Bell Hooks, Chris Crass. Or Wendell Berry perhaps. These folks are actually making real change, you should have a look. And maybe revise your piece.

a reply anyways 13.Oct.2004 03:26

notquick

i giggle with excitement!

everyone pretty well said it all so far:

read something about anarchism, its not all violence or smash the state, its more about building a viable reality. (i wont say viable alternative cause present system doesnt work so hot except for the very few) the last time violence came to mind when i heard the word anarchy was when i relied on the mainstream media for my understandings of anarchism. i recomend Colin Wards _Anarchy in Action_ as a great place to start a voyage into the realistic, "softer" side of anarchism. youre never gonna escape the strong attachment to the truth of peoples' experiences and the rage that accompanys it, its just whether that rage becomes violence or culture building.

abandoning our name to be drug through the mud is not what a group of people do after 150 years of having their name drug through the mud, especially when the name is self explanatory of their most fundamental beleifs. how many republicans are for a republic, democrats for democracy, libertarians for liberty (for anyone besides themself) etc. anarchism is pretty straight up, no power over anyone; not suffered, not weilded. it may be the most mature political philosophy because it requires an incredible amount of individual responsibility over ones own life and the effect leading that life has on those around you. Ive met plenty of anarchists who dont often declare themselves as such, but will happily tell you they lead their life as close to the anarchist ideal as possible. youre a smart guy russel, at least smart enough to put together that many words, so go and read some books about it all.

also, why do you think there are "not intelligence" posts in the first place? id say it was because a culture fixated on censorship doesnt allow people to express themselves enough to let the idiots see their own idiocy, much less give them the information they need to get smarter, or think critically.

word to everyon elses replies. please post back russ.

peace hope