Legal? Peaceful?

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at
Fri Dec 3 03:30:14 MST 1999

Like Jay I have no interest in digging over this territory again. But the
action in Seattle does raise interesting questions about the relationship
between Marxists and Anarchists and the mass movement.  Before posting some
random thoughts on the issue, let me point out how wonderful it is
that  the issue has emerged once more.  Oh joyous days!  We are actually
arguing over how 50,000 people should behave.

My own experience in the mass movement here in Brisbane has been that the
anarchists represented the pacifist tendency.  It is I suppose a comment on
Australian Anarchism, but it is shot through with Tolstoyanism, Ghandiism,
Dorothy  Dayism and all sorts of vegetarian non-violence.  It seems to me
looking back on it over the years that they always seemed to pick on me as
the most violent demonstrator. So at the usual rally not only had I to
worry about the Special Branch wedge, but I would be surrounded and
harangued by extraordinarily aggressive pacifists. It was very wearing on
the spirit. I should hasten to add here that generally my 'violence'
consisted of refusing to raise my hands in the air to make it easier for
the police to arrest me.

Re the looting of Nike. I do not have it in me to criticise anyone who
loots Nike.  What is the crime of looting Nikes compared to the crime of
owning it? (apologies to Brecht).  As for the idiot professor of theology
who struggled to protect capital it is too kind to call him 'counter

I would also like to point out here that during the big MUA dispute in
Melbourne the union bureaucracy used the discourse of non-violence to
safeguard their collaboration with the police and to keep control of the
mass movement.

So of course we should by and large be non-violent in the current
conjuncture.  But frankly this is a tactical rather than a dogmatic option.
I know we would all generally subscribe to that but sometimes in our
discussion of actual incidents we can forget who the real enemy is.  It is
certainly not the looter in Nikes, downtown Seattle.



More information about the Marxism mailing list