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.