After Pittsburgh G20, an anarchist asks, are we addicted to rioting?

g20 pittsburgh

From InfoShop, a major anarchist site

Big media and the police have vested interests in inflating what happens at protests, either to get better ratings or to justify increased funding. Anarchists can do the same. But does this accomplish any actual political goals?

To match these two forces, the protest groups, especially my own comrades in the anarchist groups, inflate their stories, numbers, and actions to try to gain support and build momentum, and to make them feel better. So a dumpster getting rolled down a street into an intersection will be heroized in well-designed pamphlets to come and talked about for years.

What is so crazy about all of this, this inflation is that it doesn’t seem to help. As an organizer with a decade of experience in all types of work, from anarchist organizations to peace groups to labor organizing, I don’t think over-hyping our actions does anything for us. In fact, I think it works to our disadvantage.

Further, he says anarchists sometimes talk tough before the event but aren’t anywhere nearly prepared for the police overreaction that then inevitably occurs. Like in Miami when he saw a middle-aged woman get hit in the mouth with a rubber bullet.

After that incident I began a long reflective process, one that started in the bloodstained streets of Miami and hasn’t stopped yet, hopefully it never will. Something clicked when the blood poured out of this woman’s mouth; this is for real. I am really here and we are really getting the shit kicked out of us. What before seemed sort of fun, sort of therapeutic, sort of educational, now seemed totally dangerous, serious, and life-threatening.

Are we looking to create real political change by being in the streets or just to get an adrenaline rush then go back home proud that we struck a mighty blow against the state when in reality it was just a Starbucks window that got smashed. Real change comes from serious tactics, strategy, and goals, supported by genuine masses of people. And not by playing acting at being a street fighting man.

Let’s take anarchism out of the streets for a while and put it back in the communities where it was born.