A Harbinger Of 2008?

We’re almost exactly a year out from the Republican National Convention, and we’re already seeing agitators arrive in the Twin Cities. Yesterday, a bicycle rally turned into a melee when police attempted to arrest a rider who had reportedly acted provocatively (via Power Line):

Police arrested 19 bicyclists, including three juveniles, after a protest ride took an ugly turn in downtown Minneapolis Friday night.
About 200 bicyclists were riding on La Salle Avenue, with two officers monitoring the protest that called for reduced reliance on automobile transportation. The ride was also linked with weekend protests of next year’s Republican National Convention in the Twin Cities.
When officers tried to arrest a rider they felt had been trying to provoke them, a scuffle broke out, said Minneapolis Police Lt. Marie Przynski.
“When the officer went to arrest him, his buddy came up, and they started to struggle with the officer,” Przynski said.
A group surrounded the officers, and begin to chant “Let them go!”Then several people tried to prevent the officers from arresting these individuals,” she said, and a skirmish ensued.

Critical Mass has held several rallies in the Twin Cities, and police have never had a problem with them before. Police believe that infiltrators created the provocation in hopes of starting a riot — and they seem to have succeeded. Investigators have videotape of the incident and plan to carefully review it to identify the source of the disturbance.
It will be a long year.

Organized Anarchists For Authoritarianism

Mitch brought this story to my attention last night on our NARN broadcast from the State Fair. Local anarchists have begun to organize for the 2008 Republican National Convention, and they started off with an implicit threat of violence and lawbreaking:

A group of activists who describe themselves as “anarchists and anti-authoritarians” will hold a private strategy session over the Labor Day weekend to discuss plans to protest at the Republican National Convention to be held in St. Paul Sept. 1-4, 2008.
The group, called the RNC Welcoming Committee, held a news conference on Monday at the Jack Pine Community Center on Lake Street in Minneapolis, where Bea Bridges, speaking for the commitee, showed a video that hinted at confrontational tactics, read a statement and walked out, taking no questions.

First, let’s muse for a moment on the concept of organized anarchists. Isn’t anarchy the rejection of any kind of command structure, wherein each person decides for themselves how to act? Anarchy, as defined by Webster, is a “utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government”. A real anarchist wouldn’t attend strategy sessions conducted by a hierarchical organization.
And what about taking no questions? Isn’t that just a little authoritarian?

The group had sent out an announcement last week, saying questions had to be submitted by e-mail a week in advance.

What? There are rules in an anarchy? Why wouldn’t they extend the “complete freedom” they seek to members of the media reporting on their public statement?

Bridges said the group favors “ending capitalism, imperialism, patriarchy and all other forms of hierarchy” to be replaced with “direct, participatory democracy.”

Direct and participatory, unless you want to participate in their news conference, in which case you have to ask permission to ask your questions.

She said the group would not seek permits to demonstrate, and said efforts to restrict protesters in that way constituted repression and a “violent threat.”

They can demonstrate all they want on private property without a permit. Perhaps someone will lend them their private property for that purpose. If they use public property, which belongs to the entire community, then they will need to abide by the community’s laws in using it. If not, the community has a place for them to stay a while. It’s along the same lines as demanding that people follow rules at press conferences …. you know, that rule thing again.

In discussing future tactics, she said, “Some may choose to resist state violence using pacifist tactics, while others use whatever methods they deem necessary and appropriate.”

We’re going to free you, and if we break a few of your heads to do it, you’ll thank us for it later. Anarchists always resort to violence to get their point across — at least those organized anarchists that like to hold press conferences. In point of fact, these “anarchists” are in reality just lunatic-fringe authoritarians of another stripe, the kind that want to impose their vision of how the world should be run at the point of a gun or the blunt side of a brick. Their website complains of unjust war, but they have no problem with their members conducting their own wars against the local police.
Anarchists? Not really. Thugs? Yes.