Ok here is a burnt out anarchist perspective on what I saw this weekend in Charlotte.
I saw the state values property over the lives of its citizens.
I saw moms walking with childrens in strollers and carrying them. I saw nuns, students, Hispanics, African-Americans, Asian-Americans—peaceful citizens walking and exercising their first amendment rights in the purest expression of dissent and struggle against injustice.
It was done in a way recognizable all the way back to Athens where this thing we call democracy sprang from class warfare.
I saw a mother with a double stroller—one side had snacks and the other had water. Everywhere I went during the marches and rallies people brought entire packs of water and came up to me offering me something to drink.
At the park rally site where African-American, Native Americans and Hispanics side by side spoke of justice, equality and maybe just kill us a little less, I saw a woman set up a little card table and offer biscuits and barbeque chicken to anyone who wanted.
I saw street medics offering medical help and telling people to remain hydrated. I saw the medical tent open to anyone who needed help. I heard the beating drums of the Kalackalak drum corps beating in rhythm, stopping, and rocking the block.
I did not see a single act of violence. I did see organization, resistance and hope.
When I first arrived the church where things were happening before the rally in the parking lot there was a food kitchen feeding the neighborhood hungry in a manner I think that man the Christians call Jesus would have immediately recognized and rejoiced in. I saw hope.
Meanwhile organizers and activist had meetings in a manner in the Church that I believe Thomas Paine would have immediately recognized and rejoiced that in America democracy is not dead. It was amazing, inspiring, organized in the purest spirit of a democracy. I saw hope.
Then I saw the state.
I saw soldiers with grenade launchers with their backs to banks to protect property over protesting non-violent citizens. I saw reinforced military vehicles equipped with sonic weapons that my friend I was with told me drops people and forces them to disperse within 75 feet.
During countless blocks of marching with thousands not a single incident of violence.
I saw cops everywhere on bikes and in police cars circling the citizens like predators circling a prey. I saw them with bullet proof vest walking watching every citizen as if they were deadly animals recently released from the cage to be watched and shot. I saw cops with fire extinguisher size mace in paramilitary gear.
The other citizens marching, humans—saw it to. Allot of the poor and minorities growing up after the state had wiped out the employment base with NAFTA and GATT had to go into the military to kill and fight brown people on the other side of the ocean as one of the few means of advancement in life in a society which values guns and white lives over education and brown lives.
As drones buzzed overhead we saw a state that values tanks and weapons over citizens, that values property over human lives and human rights.
All of the protestors knew exactly what those soldiers were for. Out of thousands for a single night a few did less damage to private property that you see after some football games and the state calls in the military to make sure the brown skin people did not get out of control.
In fact when I got home to Knoxville I found that the proud citizens of Knoxville had set couches on fire in public to celebrate winning a football game—and not a single soldier was mobilized.
Military on civilian streets should offensive to every citizen in a democracy. It's the clearest proof our educational system has failed that every citizen is not outraged whenever they see the military paid for and constituted of citizens—is used to intimate and put citizens in fear who are non-violently utilizing their first amendment rights to protest injustice.
To protect property over people.
Everywhere we marched I saw a military presence that was more reminiscent of Iraq than America. As the air shook periodically from helicopters watching every citizens move I wondered if this is what it felt like under occupation.
And after marching with thousands of citizens without a single incident of violence I read the outraged comments of pinkies howling about how BLM is violent—how they are "rioters" not the outraged Americans I witnessed firsthand using their first amendment rights daring to ask to be murdered slightly less by the state they pay taxes to and fill the military with their bodies.
Because a handful among thousands broke some windows and slows traffic a constitutional law professor tweets "run them over."
And listening to the television as I type this I hear hate television telling me that those nuns, medics, mothers, children and citizens I marched with non-violently are "thugs", "rioters", "criminals" who should be rounded up and put in prison.
And the song which haunted me when I heard it sung last night acapella as it echoed between the walls of the city rings in my head.
"Which side are you on boy, which side are you on."
I saw the sides and lines being drawn between corporations—their media lackeys and little barking dog politicians who they keep on a leash—and we the people.
There is a struggle right now between citizens and the state and its corporate masters. Of course the state and the media is barking the same tune as its owner demands as it pulls their leash. I saw that struggle clearly on the streets of Charlotte this weekend.
And I heard "which side are you on boy, which side are you on?"
I took photo of an expensive hotel with our military standing protecting the hotel and white corporate men in suits interspersed among them glaring at the Americans.
It was the purest expression of the struggle.
Which side are you on is on my mind.