Anarchists or agents provocateurs?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Dec 2 11:33:55 MST 1999

Ron Jacobs:
>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.

This is silly. The mass demonstrations against the Vietnam war had bad
reputations among the anarchist/punks of those days, who thought it was
more "radical" to wave NLF flags and yell "pigs" at the cops. In reality,
the right to demonstrate peacefully was won over a prolonged period. The
first march in Washington in 1965 called by SDS was held against the will
of the liberal and social democratic godfathers of the SDS'ers. It was the
first demonstration against an imperialist war WHILE IT WAS IN PROGRESS in
20th century history. What was not widely understood at the time is that
the SDS leader Clark Kissinger (now a leader of Avakian's cult) would have
buckled under the pressure and called the march off, but SWP'er Jack Barnes
put enormous pressure on him to go ahead with the protest. The march was
universally condemned in the bourgeois press as pro-Communist. This is how
Marxists organize. In contrast, anarchists are skilled at disorganizing.

>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.

Pure nonsense. It was massive, peaceful and legal demonstrations which
inspired thousands of active-duty GI's in Indochina to challenge the brass
and refuse to fight. 500,000 people in Washington united around the slogan
of "Out Now" has power. A thousand yippies in Washington Square Park
marching around with a pig's head and NLF banners is a demonstration of
frustration. As it turns out, the leader of these demonstrators--one Adam
Fouratt, I believe--was a NYC undercover cop.

Louis Proyect

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