To the liberals complaining about anarchist violence: Please Stop

By Paul Messersmith-Glavin (January 24, 2017)

To the well-meaning liberals complaining about “anarchist violence” and broken windows: please stop. Instead, come out to the next protest and look around and see what’s actually going on.

For instance, if you had come out to the streets of Portland on January 20th, you would have seen literally thousands of people, most of them wearing masks to guard against state surveillance and chemical attacks, many with goggles, extra water and food, many trained as medics to care for anyone who is injured, but all willing to put their bodies on the line to resist Trump’s authoritarianism and the emergent fascism he emboldens. 

You would have seen people of many races and ethnicities, people of all genders, and people of all ages. If you would talk to any of the thousands of folks in masks yes, you would have found a lot of anarchists, but you would also have found several other political philosophies represented, or no philosophy at all, but rather a simple anger at what is going on. You would have seen these people repeatedly attacked by the police, using chemical weapons dispensed by fire-extinguisher size sprayers, concussion grenades, and tear gas. That’s real violence against real people. That’s what you should be focused on.

Your outrage over a few (insured) broken windows, whether in D.C. or wherever, emboldens the further escalation of police violence and puts you implicitly on the side of the oppressor because you help justify and rationalize violence against people standing up. If you had come out on J20, you would have seen love, and laughter, and fierce defiance. You would have seen the best of humanity.

17 thoughts on “To the liberals complaining about anarchist violence: Please Stop”

  1. Thank you for writing this. People who don’t come out and see make up all kinds of scenarios. Then they get scared of their own minds.

    Thanks again.

  2. sorry no!, a small business just because they may be insured will still suffer, the excess is often a lot, if it happens more than once this gets bigger trust me I KNOW! it’s also the hassle, the mess and the problems of potential looting if the building is not secured (this is not covered unless happens at the time of the break in)

    some isurance companies will also not cover acts of terrorism or civil unrest which this is, so what the damage is doing is putting small business people in the shit, bigger business will just pass these cost on to the cusomer so we ALL pay!

    Why can’t people protest without fucking up the lives of other people who are already suffering the same issues as the “anarchists”?

    1. Starbucks, McDonald’s, Bank of America, Wells Fargo; perhaps you’d like to tell us which of these qualifies as a “small business?” It may not appear it on the outside, but there IS a measure of accountability that exists within the bloc, and if a particular individual were to start targeting innocent passers-by or small, independent shops that may account for the livelihoods of working-class people, they would most certainly be ostracized or worse. To the symbols of state violence and corporate hegemony? Well… fair game.

      1. The big business may be able to afford it but what about the real people that work there that are out of a job for a while? Is your liberal ideology going to pay their bills? Violence is met with violence.

      2. Fuck em. Their business probably doesn’t benfit society as a whole and probably pays their employees low wages anyways.

    2. I see your point, however the windows being broken are not those of small businssses and individual business owners. They’re windows of incredibly large corporations (aka Starbucks), and in reality, will have little to no effect on most individuals who work there, as they are paid hourly.

    3. P, if only you could express such passion for all of the lives being affected by the policies of those in Washington and elsewhere, about those killed and oppressed by the police, about those who are in prison because of a criminal justice system that relies on mostly black and brown bodies to survive and justify its existence, and the injustices being committed by this wicked system against the dispossessed both in this country and abroad, as you do for broken windows, we might be able to find common ground.

  3. Frankly, I’m concerned that listening to women who are so unhappy with our presidential outcome, their reasons to march have been so random. Many who have been quizzed as to why they joined the huge women’s’ groups, really had little to say…..They’re scared, they want to resist the pro lifers, they hate trump’s views on women. Do they really think Hillary and her horrid husband will make them more safe? (Or that Bill Clinton in his heyday wasn’t so much worse than the Donald, to women?). Why do they deny there is too much terrorism affecting our states? Why would some Christian or Catholic women approve of abortions? Having an unwanted child and sharing this child with a childless women is a much kinder thing Jesus would want us to do.

    1. What’s wrong with having diverse reasons for not liking the current state of things? Does there have to be one true point to it all, or else it doesn’t matter? And yes. Yes they (and I) do think that they would be better off under Hillary. And while Bill is… personally problematic… I’d say that overall his policies were better for women and minorities than Trump’s are.

      And I’d ask you, what terrorism are you talking about? Do you mean all the domestic terrorism that is labeled as “lone wolf” violence because it’s being done by white men? I’m pretty sure the main source of that denial are the people in authority who refuse to call it what it is.

      And why would some Christians refuse to help refugees, and the poor, and allow a multi-divorced man who is on tape saying horrible things about women and going into dressing rooms of underage girls to be come president? And why would they defend a pedophile because at least he’s not a democrat”? Are those the things your kind Jesus would want? Or would he want to tear down the capitalist system, feed the poor and work to give the sick the care they need?

      How about any of those things?

      I mean, honestly, I’m /not/ super comfortable with protest violence. But I get it. Some of it is just opportunistic people. Some of it is agitators. Some of it is accidental. Some of it is responding to direct actions. But being /nice/ isn’t doing anything but keeping things comfortably status quo. The systematic oppression of that status quo is already doing violence to people, even if the comfortable liberal demographic is only experiencing that violence in theory.

  4. I can only speak to my experience. Many are concerned we are loosing rights we have fought for and they are coming for more of our rights. I have marched twice next to anti fascist groups never have they acted aggressively toward property or person. I can not advocate violence and I have not seen the group initiate violence.

  5. The biggest problem is once insurance companies have to pay out for property damage due to more than just one store or home being vandalized, those companies justify raising the insurance rates on everyone in the region. Then those business owners have to figure out how to adjust for paying higher insurance rates by either cutting workers, denying raises, raising prices, or moving out of the area.

    Same thing happens when people drive like a-holes in a region and more vehicle accidents tend to take place. Rates for everyone in the region raise due to it being labeled a high accident zone.

    If you don’t believe me, then contact insurance companies and ask them why insurance rates in an entire region increase if a region appears to be prone to costing a lot for repairs. Keep that in mind a few broken windows can cost more than just the repairs to replace them. Insurance companies are always looking for reasons to raise rates on everyone. Don’t give it to them!

    1. They don’t need a reason, prices in every aspect of life are rising while wages are remaining stagnant. Riots are the only recourse the people have to this; riots work even better as a response to hiking prices of rent and utilities and medicines as they do to some bullshit Trump said. I’ve seen it with my own eyes in Central Athens, where you might have to get further from the city centre in order to access an ATM, but the banks at least know that they can’t get away with the things they do in your country or mine. With all the money saved on rent and cell service and medicine, I’m sure you’ll find the money in the budget to insure your business.

  6. Go to Washington, DC, and lay siege to the White House, if that is the home of your enemy. Burn the Capitol to the ground, with every Congresscritter inside. Bring guillotines for any who escape.

    Attacking symbols is a fool’s game. Attack the enemy.

  7. I have read this piece and all of the comments and have yet to see ANYTHING that resembles a factual, rational reason to commit the property damage that was very definitely done to businesses large and small during the marches in Portland after Trump’s Inauguration.
    I came of age in the late ’60’s and early 70’s and participated in plenty of marches and demonstrations against the Vietnam War and for Civil Rights. During any number of those protests there was property damage done on the university campus and neighboring businesses. None of that damage did a single thing to advance the causes we were advocating for. Nor did burning the flag. All that those actions did was alienate the people we were trying to convince to vote against the politicians who supported the war and for the politicians who supported civil rights.
    Whatever the cause, if you’re going to convince people that you have a better way to live, you have to prove it by modeling it. Starting by the way you advocate for your cause.

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