Protest is dead. Long live global guerillas

John Robb

Very cool demonstration from Minnesota of how police forces have been militarized. In addition to the five fold growth in SWAT forces since the 90’s, there’s been a shift in attitude. All likely due to a misdirection of  GWOT [Global War of Terror] Homeland security $$ and thinking towards domestic protest. The side effect: The heavy handed approach here will cause a quick shift protest to the open source/disruption model if things deteriorate. Protest is dead.

Note: Robb means “very cool” in the sense that it proves his point.

What we are seeing now on the streets outside the RNC is the open source / disruption model -decentralized, fast-moving, linked by technology. In Left terms, it’s a mostly leaderless bottom-up anarchist political model rather than the top-down Marxist model with the cadre in control.

Robb is right, protest in the sense of thousands marching in the streets probably is dead. It’s become ineffective and pointless.

FutureJacked (who is no Leftie)

Wow. The Powers That Be have become so insecure that big protests are now considered dangerous and a threat. In the past, huge protests and civil disobedience were a way to vent frustration and send messages – great ways to do that, in fact, that usually kept the property damage at a minimum.

For some reason, the elites seem terrified of any sort of dissent these days. It’s amazing and unnecessary. By crushing these protest groups through pre-emptive strikes, you are are making the same mistake the Forest Service made back in the 20th century [by not allowing controlled burns], you are priming the political landscape with the tinder for a huge firestorm in the future.

Indeed. what are the elites so afraid of? At the police press conference yesterday they actually said police officers were frightened by masked criminals. I am not making this up. A phalanx of cops in riot gear is scared of a few unarmed kids wearing black bandanas over their faces?


  1. In my experience, the typical cop tends to be pretty unimaginative (there are exceptions, of course). I can’t imagine those guys are going to be able to respond to 4GW-style disruptions with any serious measure of thought or creativity, so they’ll just ramp up the violence — it’s what they understand. Should make for interesting times ahead.

  2. Those cops who may be inclined to ramp up the violence need a violent “enemy” just as much as the 4GWs themselves do. Those who don’t believe will quit (or get retired).

    That’s the cycle of violence, in which extremists on both sides benefit and the center becomes irrelevant (or worse).

  3. Good point. It seems sometimes like we used to be smarter in the way we handled things. Now, nearly everyone wants to get their war on against the “other.” I increasingly fear that our society will become like the one in Children of Men: endless cycles of violence with the rest of caught in the middle and forced to take sides or take cover.

    I do my best not to hate the people who perpetrate the carnage (on all sides), but sometimes it gets the best of me. I need to meditate more.

  4. Its about time somone got out there and did something. The leftist protesters haven’t yet realized that they need to use violence to acctually illicit any response besides a scared group of old white guys and a wall of stony faced cops. There seem to be very few groups or even people willing to physically willing to stand up to our goverment now, why?

  5. Saul Alinsky said in the 60’s, “it’s just idiocy for the [Black] Panthers to talk about all power growing from the barrel of a gun when the other side has all the guns.” I agree.

    What’s happening on the streets of the Twin Cities is unfocused, random protest. It can’t win any converts to its political agenda because it doesn’t really have one, except being (quite justifiably in reaction to the early raids) pissed off. But that doesn’t make a movement, even if some of those being radicalized (radical <> violent) there now may well end up as future movement leaders.

    Violence solves nothing. It only leads to more violence. DJ who comments here knows that well from his peace work in Sri Lanka. I don’t advocate violence at all and anyone who does is an adventurist or has other agendas.

  6. Violence begets violence. It has advantages for those seeking power, especially in this postmodern, post nationalist period in history. But it solves nothing. A leadership of new thugs is still made up of thugs.

    Can nonviolence make a difference? Yes. The team on which I worked helped make the 2002 CFA in Sri Lanka possible. Then we dropped the ball, believing (or maybe wishing we believed, even against our own analysis) that once a cease-fire had been declared, the leaderships would do the right thing. We were wrong, and they didn’t, and the war is back in full swing now. But that doesn’t alter the sucess of what we did.

    What I’m talking about isn’t just nonviolent protest. It’s analysis and strategic planning, seeking ways to move violence out of the mainstream dialog. It takes work and patience– and fortuitous timing. And it’s something I’ve seen very little of in this country.

    The first step is to see anyone who advocates violence or holds an extremist, exclusionary position as part of the problem, taking a position against the Whole. In Sri Lanka, we postulated that the GOSL and LTTE together were making war against the People.

    The next step is not to vanquish those who advocate violence, but to convert them to advocates of the Whole– and to marginalize those who can’t be converted.

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