Re: clarification on WTO protests

phil osborn (
Sat, 04 Dec 1999 21:59:44 PST

>From: "Gina Miller" <>
>Subject: Re: clarification on WTO protests
>Date: Wed, 1 Dec 1999 13:08:27 -0800
>I live here in Seattle, this is what's going on, the protestors who we all
>knew were intent on protesting before this occurrence to the so precieved
>greed monopoly WTO. In most parts of down town the protestors remained
>peaceful but from this widespread group evolved an unruly 30 or so people
>who began busting out McDonalds, Starbucks (which was promptly looted) and
>even the US bank windows. (AAAH, that's my bank!) It was these actions that
>inspired the tear gas, apparently there is question as to if there was a
>warning for the morning fumes, however I watched live last night, that they
>did give warning. Last nite a curfew was imposed, and only a few dotting of
>people remained, after curfew in the street and were fumed. Of course Im
>into this tear gas resolve, but it really defeats the purpose of one
>wrongdoer to be confronted by a group who makes their statement by
>committing another wrong. Martin Luther King had the right idea, peaceful
>march, it demonstrates the most genuine class, and can be deemed as
>respectable, if you tear up the city, you tend to tear up your credibility.

One of several aspects to this whole episode that I found really disgusting was some of the media coverage. In particular, one newspaper article focused on the "anarchist" element to some considerable length, getting the majority of it totally wrong.

First, they couldn't figure out what the term "anarchist" meant, and they obviously weren't smart enough to search the web or use a dictionary, as they went off into a vague, meandering description of "anarchism" that utterly ignored the essentials of the (anti)political position.

Even worse perhaps, many of the self-described "anarchists" at the WTO riots apparently had as little grasp of the term as the reporter. Of course, "anarchist" has long been used as a perjorative by all political establishments, as they quite correctly see anarchists as their enemy and are thus very quick to try to associate the term with all forms of chaos and criminality, much as the religious authorities like to try to associate atheism with satanism, etc., altho it is really hard to see how an atheist could believe in the Devil.

(One might also compare all the anarchist violence ever committed, total or percentagewise, with that committed by the state and its wars, pogroms, etc..)

It is discouraging, though, to see such an utter disintegration of meaning in social discourse, especially from the established media, who one might think would at least bother to check the readilly available references on a subject before launching into an extended description.

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