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Tactical Escalation

At the RNC, I noticed two conflicting trends, one hopeful and one disturbing.

At two separate events, fire was used as a tactic at the RNC protests. In both instances, organizers claimed that the people who had set the fires were undercover police and provocateurs. There was one trend, initiated by an unknown source to escalate confrontations, there was another to decry such escalation.
In both of these instances, I was confused. I wanted to find out the truth, but all investigation I could make, mostly with online sources, resulted in nothing. The most well known instance of this was the green dragon fire, but the other came in the benign form of a text message along the lines of "trash fires being set on 47th st. Possibly by provocateurs".

In both instances, I tried hard to find the evidence that these actions were done by provocateurs. In the months leading up the the RNC, there was much debate about how any "misconduct" by protesters would be used by the right for the advantage of the Bush campaign. Many seemed to believe that this was the case. Undoubtedly, such a large mobilization would bring in many, many people with varying political and tactical beliefs, united by the lowest common denominator of opposition to the Bush administration.

Nevertheless, if we are inspired by the power and breadth European social movements and movements in the global south, why should we not look to them for tactical inspiration as well? Some will say that the social and economic situations in the global south are wildly different from our own. Still, as we watch the structure of our society crumble around us, as we watch our electoral system, our economy and our media descend further into corruption and fascism, when will we say that we have seen enough?

Surely people in South American countries face harsh economic conditions and farcical regimes, but we do as well. Instead of decrying the escalation of tactics by more militant areas of our movements, we need to look to them as indicators. How many more youth have to choose between jobless poverty or poverty accompanied by meaningless exploitation? How many more people in this country have to watch their children die of curable illnesses due to lack of health insurance while the rich start wars to fill their pockets?

Some will say that property destruction, and fire, will only be used as an excuse for more violence by the police. In response, many will say that we have seen unprovoked violence, rubber bullets, bean bag guns, tazers and concussion grenades at picket lines and rallies, not at riots. I say that we should not stand and wait for it any longer. What can be more violent than the abject exploitation of our lives? Is a deportation that tears a family apart less violent than a smashed window? Is the news that your brother, sister or friend has died in an illegal war for profit more violent than a trash fire?

Even Ghandi, who is most often associated with non-violence made a clear distinction between violence against living beings and violence against property. The concept of Ahimsa which has been a part of Indian culture for centuries embodies the doctrine that one should not inflict pain on any living being.

By no means am I advocating unplanned, reckless destruction for destruction's sake. I am saying that when we look to the Piqueteros and the European Anarchist movements for political and ideological inspiration, it is perfectly natural to look to them for tactical inspiration as well. I am saying that the time is now. We have seen enough destruction of our own lives. It is time to destroy the mechanisms and structures which are causing us so much harm, so that we may open up a space in which to create. We are at a critical time. If our emotions tell us that our situation is dire and we feel so strongly about our rejection of our government, then our resistance must take a form that is as fierce as our feelings are, if we are to be honest with ourselves and truly resist.
nice 15.Oct.2004 01:01

Community building

Good post, but I fear it will fall on deaf ears here at IndyMedia, home of chem-trail obsessed flamers and die-hard Kerry flag wavers. Seriosuly though, maybe "subverting" indymedia is just what we need... um, nope, it's not, what we REALLY need is serious anti-authoritarian community building!
There are several groups doing this, (CIP, APOC, possibly Arissa, etc.) and I know that there are people looking for serious groups for effective direct action. If one such group would just form, I know they would not be without support and dedicated members.
However reactionary it may sound, rallying around social crisis' can sometimes be very effective, and if I'm not mistaken, there are a good number of people who would consider a certain president being re-elected a social crisis. Rally the masses around this (should it occur) and I bet people would be willing to take more drastic steps than waving peace signs; ala March 20th... of course this could amount to just so much aggression if it werent carefully planned and acted out in an organized manner. I.E. get organized and score a real blow against the state.
I'm deffinately not saying we should hope for W's succes, nor should we breath a sigh of relief (atleast not a very serious one) if Kerry is elected, for Presidents are incapable of doing anything but screwing vast quantities of people, but I think W's re-election would certainly stir emotions and raise the stakes. For better or worse.

Peace through Social Justice. Anti-statism all the way.