As a witness to some of the events this past week in St Paul, I wanted to write about it. As well as having friends who were arrested, in jail and looking at prison sentences, I took it more personal.
I've thought about the fact of how many have brought up how they've been arrested and/or fellow comrades and how that may take away from the movement and any issues going on in the world. However, I think that bringing that up is so important because of the police repression that happened in Minnesota this past week, simply for organizing, protesting with a WIDE variety of tactics (whether that is deemed legal or not) and other things that "apparently" people arrested did.
The Welcoming Committee brought up the diversity of tactics for other groups of all kinds on the left to sign on to, as a lesson to the WTO Protests in 1999 in Seattle. Of course, not everyone is going to agree on what Anarchists do and what Liberal kids do ... I certainly don't agree that voting is the change of everything or signing petitions in mass numbers will do much. However, I can agree it may work better at a local level.
An article from May of 2008 (about Diversity of Tactics):
Simply put, "diversity of tactics" means that activists will respect each others’ methods of protesting, allowing each other time and space in which to conduct their protests. Many cited the World Trade Organization demonstrations in Seattle as a successful protest from which lessons on mass mobilization should be drawn. Others spoke of their experience as anti-war activists during the Vietnam War.
The diversity of tactics and respecting that, clearly wasn't from what I saw, which is not very solidarity-like or whatever. Mostly because almost everyone there was on the "left" and I heard liberals yelling stuff to Anarchists that they looked stupid in the masks. As I am sure there were Anarchists that yelled at Liberals (However I did not witness that).
I can understand how bringing all these arresting and charges to the media can take away what has been going on forever. The 'isms' in society. However, the people that were arrested were organizing to fight against the 'isms' of society and other issues, regardless of what the tactics were - so if that was what the state would deem to be "civil disobedient" or marching in a permitted protest that has a permit to be there. I think bringing up the fact that people of all views have been arrested for various various things whether that was breaking windows, barricading or leading a march ... they were all fighting against the oppressive powers of society. I think it's good to let the rest of the world know of the police brutality that DID go on and also that people were arrested for these things. And again, whether that was in the law or not - the state is far more violent than an Anarchist breaking a window at Macy's (I think).
It CAN be hard to bring the left together, I think. I have a hard time having discussions with Liberals because I find so many times they work with what is already set in place... as in what is violent? Is it always what the hierarchy of powers says? I don't think so. Getting out of the entrenched thought of what the powers have said what is good/bad was/is hard for me. My professor once said (as I heard many others): someone's terrorist, may be someone's freedom fighter. And I think that is so true. I think political violence CAN be justified at a certain level, however I don't think attacking innocent bystanders and what not is a part of that (and from Anarchist thought and literature I've read and others I've talked to) agree with me on that.
I don't think that working within the system and allowing them to control shit is going to change anything. Even looking back at the Womyn's Suffrage movement - they were throwing bricks in England at the Parliament. The Zappatistas, the IWW back in the day, the Stonewall Riots, etc etc. There's been so many stories of political violence in our history as humanity and to me, and tactically, it has been a way to make change. However, I will respect others who don't agree and I would never judge someone for signing petitions and working within the system.
There needs to be critique in all movements and communities. I am sure there are many Anarchists that have NO clue what privilege is and the same as Liberals. So many people are caught in their own lives, they don't even realize the power and privilege they may have just for being white, male, heterosexual and even looking as the "gender" they "should" because society has stated that's how that "gender" "should" look. And a lot of this, I think, is a constant deconstruction. It is for me. It's not like, oh I'm an Anarchist - I have it all figured out. I think it's good for people to constantly deconstruct to figure this shit out. I know I do. And I admit it to myself when I may have been really offensive to someone and use that lesson to figure it out. And I know not everyone does.
Regardless if you are an Anarchist, a Liberal, a Radical, whatever ... what happened in Minnesota was messed up regardless. And regardless whether the marches and protests WERE permitted or not - there was no reason for cops to act the way they did. Solidarity for all the people in the prisons! I am going to write letters to the prisoners and try to raise money and donate personal money for them.
RNC Welcoming Committee's website to donate money:
Coldsnap Legal Collective, AWESOME Legal Collective that helped out pre-RNC, during RNC and post. They have a donation link, too:
This is a great time for Solidarity on the left. Remember a diversity of tactics and we can help get our fellow comrades out of prison. I think all of these events are a good check into the future, as well. For me, it looks like a long road ahead.