Anarchists or agents provocateurs?

Jay Moore research at
Thu Dec 2 10:07:28 MST 1999

There is a similar dialogue about "violence" at the Seattle protests going
on, as I think it must be going on in a great many places right now, on the
Antiwar List at the University of Vermont.  Below is a piece written by my
colleague Ron Jacobs (who used to be on the marxism List) which I think gets
to the very heart of the matter.



ON anarchists and "bad" protestors--there is a phenomenon in western
capitalist societies that Herbert Marcuse labelled repressive tolerance.
Basically, this means that the leites allow a certain amount of proetest
that is legal and civil, then they do what they want, sometimes even
coopting certain elements of the protest movement with some empty promises
or minimal concessions (we'll let you sit at the table guys).  This dynamic
is very similar to what "enlightened management" does in workplaces--they
ask for your opinion and maybe even let a worker sit on the board.  It
doesn't matter thoug because they have six members on the board, so your
vote is mere tokenism.

The only proetest that makes any real effect is that which steps out of the
legal and civil bounds that the elites and their police set (and hope the
protestors will self- enforce).  The anarchists, like radical union
ranknfile and anti-imperialists and militant african-americans, etc in
history, say screw civility and go for the jugular.  Of course, this type
of action sets up a potential where just plain old nihilists and others who
hate everything or are only in it for themselves can take advantage of the
situation created.  HOwever, in SEattle (as in most places) it was the
police who attacked first and from there things just escalated.  In
addition, it is the elites and the police who have enforced martial law.
NOw, if I were a citizen of the planet who didn't know much about the WTO,
what has happened and continues to happen would definitely make me
investigate.  So, in that regard, the actions of the anarchists and other
like-minded folks did raise awarenesss about the WTO and its designs.
The cops are always in the background ready to take their orders and stifle
anything that threatens their bosses.

as for free trade--come on it's just another euphemism for imperialism,
which is not a marxist myth--just ask the worker in africa, asia, or latin

-ron j

What Ron was responding to:

At 10:09 AM 12/02/1999 -0500, you wrote:
>I am not sure of that. There is More interest perhaps. But now it's
>interest. There was a lot of television coverage of the peaceful protestors
>and almost a carnival air of seeing creatively decorated protestors....esp.
>the environmentalists with their butterfly and turtle costumes....
>Now we have mostly negative coverage of anarchists run amok.
>It'll leave a bad taste in the mouths of the average American viewer ...
>the Seattleites. In the future environmentalists could be further shut out
>city organized events as a result. And more police presence will be the
>result... Expect to see those heavily armored Black Troops at every event
>now... making it more unpleasant for the average American to even be
>associated with it.
>The anarchists fail to see that they can never win. Not enough discipline,
>enough muscle, not enough stick-to-it-ovness. With the curious result that
>Police revenues will now have a new reason to be increased.
>Now everyone's talking about those losers, the violent ones without a clear
>agenda... and not about the WTO.
>For one, I'd like to know Why the UN isn't a forum for trade talks?? Why
>the US have to set up it's own "World Trade Organization"???
>Why are the interests of Europe, smaller nations being overrun by
interests of
>US based corporate interests within the WTO framework?
>Why is Clinton Such a Fake??? He says he is concerned about the
>Yet Global Warming increased during his adminstration even more than the
>Reagan years. And why are SUVs and Trucks not abiding by stricter emission
>standards unlike cars??? What has the Clinton administration done about the
>Why is Mexico given a "free ride" (within the WTO) on its terrible human
>rights record, its poor environmental standards, and we are expected to
>Mexican mega trucks bringing in their goods into the States ... whereas
>can demand 800 bucks from tourists driving into Mexico????
>Is there such a thing as FREE TRADE? Like "CAPITALISM" and other Marxist
>and Capitalist Myths.. there isn't really any "Free Trade".
>So why even have a WTO? Maybe that's the question!!
>"Lee D. Fried" wrote:
>> If the Anarchists had not been in Seattle most of this country would
>> have known that there where protests against the WTO. They gave the media
>> a story that they couldn't ignore.
>> Now everybody knows.

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