Erik (eriktrips) wrote,

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coffee table chat

the anarchists were out in my neighborhood last night, smashing windows and creating general mayhem. they concentrated mostly on multinational corporate entities, but apparently also smashed a local shoe store, for the crime of gentrifying the Mission.

I have a certain sympathy for these people, or at least for their political leanings, and, to a degree, the frustration that leads them to come out on the streets of San Francisco and bust things up, but I think their energy is wasted, so long as they are a small group who will never be able to, say, mount an armed revolution. who cares if a few windows are broken at the bank? all this really does is make the neighbors mad.

realizing of course that an anarchist demonstration is not a public-relations ploy, I still think that protesting in arguably the most liberal city in the country is futile at best, and when you start destroying your city, then you start defeating your own aims. how many of us took to the streets here prior to the Iraq war? what difference did it make? when the anarchists broke windows downtown last year, whom did it affect and to what end?

I don't mean to be utterly nihilistic in my hopes for political change, but I do think that tearing up San Francisco won't help us meet any goals whatsoever except that of simple attention from those closest by. a broken window in a bank budget is not noticeable at all, and destroying the livelihood of a neighbor only stirs more resentment. as much as I dislike the notion of private property and advancement through greed, if my neighbor wants to sell shoes here on my street, I'm going to grant him or her the opportunity to do so, if only out of pragmatic tolerance for those who simply want to survive in society as-is; you tear up the store, and its owner might not be able to make the rent next month. hardly neighborly.

but so if protesting in San Francisco turns out to be preaching to the choir while the real targets look at us from far away and laugh, and if penny-ante violence gets us nowhere, what should we do? as I mentioned in a comment to zyrc this morning, I think that what we should do is to choose a few conservative towns in the heart of the US--however you want to interpret "heart"--and then march there. seriously. two million people in the streets of Twin Falls ID, or Meridian MS: do you think that would start to get our point across?

suppose we don't trash those towns either. suppose we talk to the people there. would that be possible? if two million lefties showed up in Jefferson City MO, would the townfolk simply try to yell "faggots" at us over and over? I'd like to know what would happen if peaceful protest took it home to where our opponents really are, rather than running around our own streets breaking things out of impotent rage.

the other place we should march, of course, would be Washington DC. not that GWB gives a flying fuck what the other 49.9% of us have to say, but a show of numbers has to make some sort of impression, doesn't it?

if nothing came of this, then I might say well let's go smash some windows. but even then I wouldn't do it here.

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