Fwd: ARTICLE: Anarchists Unmask A World Of Concerns (fwd)

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at SPAMdojo.tao.ca
Tue Dec 14 15:52:38 MST 1999




Food for thought?:...

Forwarded From: David Barbarash <otter at vcn.bc.ca>

> Anarchists unmask a world of concerns
>
> Activists say environmental issues shape actions
>
> Monday, December 13, 1999
>
> By D. PARVAZ
> SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER
>
> EUGENE, Ore. -- A Seattle TV reporter with blond, frosted highlights
and a
> preppy leather jacket is interviewing two anarchists in front of the
Out
> of the Fog Organic Coffee House.
>
> He leans in, attentive and sincere, as his subjects try to explain
> themselves. The two are part of the community that led the Nov. 30
rampage
> in Seattle, day one of the World Trade Organization talks.
>
> Their ski-masked faces were splashed across TV screens and front
pages --
> there because they had brazenly smashed windows and left graffiti
> throughout downtown.
>
> Since the WTO mayhem, the attention the press has focused on them is
> forcing anarchists here to adopt a strangely tolerant stance toward
the
> media.
>
> Answers are being condensed to sound bites: "Property destruction
does not
> equal violence." "Peaceful protests aren't effective." "Trans-global
> corporations are killing the planet."
>
> It's an awkward process at best for Eugene's anarchist community,
because
> each of them defines and lives out anarchy in his or her own way --
be it
> smashing a window, handing out free food or creating public art. For
the
> majority, environmental concerns, not rioting, matter most. The
economic
> changes they seek are tied to issues like sustainable farming and
forest
> preservation.
>
> Squeezing all this into a brief interview is tough enough, but what
sort
> of sound bite would work when Glamour magazine calls, asking to speak
to a
> female anarchist between the ages of 20 and 35?
>
> "Wanna know what shade of lipstick I wear when I'm smashing the
state?"
> jokes Shelley, who was called the day before because she fit the
> demographic.
>
> Shelley, 34, is a petite anarchist with short-cropped hair and a wit
> inversely proportional to her size. She says she read the riot act to
the
> writer, telling her what she thought of fashion magazines. "I really
don't
> think I gave her much of an interview," she says with a laugh.
>
> She also tells the story of what happened the last time a glossy
fashion
> magazine came around. The magazine had featured a group of women from
The
> Ruckus Society (a Berkeley, Calif.-based group specializing in non-
violent
> protest). But Shelley was aghast at what she saw. "When the article
came
> out with the photo, they'd airbrushed all their underarm hair out!"
>
> Shelley helps run Out of the Fog, which is where young
> anarchists/environmentalists/outsiders hang out. The mouth of the
moment
> is Tangent, a 20-year-old with clear green eyes and his fair share of
> piercings, including a piece of carved madrone, a half-inch in
diameter,
> through his left earlobe.
>
> He is staying in Eugene now, but has spent most of the past year in
the
> Willamette National Forest, where he's done stints as a tree sitter --
> living in old-growth trees to protect them from being cut down. One
of 10
> children, Tangent doesn't say much about his family. He's barely
spoken to
> his parents in the past year because he says they have drug problems.
>
> Tangent didn't join his friends in their trek to Seattle, but says he
> supports their destruction of corporate storefronts, like McDonald's
and
> The Gap. He says he is interested in humanity and preserving life.
>
> "I do consider myself an anarchist to a certain extent, but to be an
> anarchist is to disagree with all views. I don't disagree with all
> establishmental views," he says.
>
> One thing most in the community believe in is the concept of free
food.
>
> About three days a week at 4 p.m., vegetarian and vegan food is
served to
> whoever shows up, no questions asked. The food is prepared by a
different
> household in the community each day.
>
> 'Leftier than thou'
>
> It's meal time (also known as Food Not Bombs) at Washington Jefferson
> Park, also known as Carbon Monoxide Park because of its proximity to
heavy
> traffic. The hungry, some anarchists among them, have arrived.
>
> Pi, a girl with a Cheshire Cat grin is working on a bowl of tofu stir-
fry.
> She says she was in Seattle during the WTO and may be willing to talk
> about it, but not at the park.
>
> Back at the house she's sharing with four friends, Pi starts talking.
>
> "The atmosphere in the DAN (Direct Action Network) space was very
tense. .
> . . There was the sense of getting ready for something big, something
> large. A fair amount of paranoia, actually," says the 21-year-old from
> Toronto.
>
> She goes on to describe conflicts between some of the anarchists and
other
> protesters. "There was an ideological tension. A lot of people were
> wearing 'This is a non-violent protest' T-shirts, and there were
stickers
> that went up like, 'Non-violence is a position of privilege.'"
>
> There was a lot of talk before heading to Seattle of rioting, but Pi
> thinks it was mostly "leftier-than-thou" rhetoric.
>
> She is an advocate of property destruction, which she does not
consider
> violence. "Violence is only something that is done from one person to
> another person." Even then, allowances can be made.
>
> "If you're going to be violent towards a Nazi, I'm going to pat you
on the
> back . . . because their very existence is violent," she says, adding
that
> she feels the same about police.
>
> That said, Pi believes the property destruction in Seattle diminished
> rather than emphasized that point of the WTO protests. "I do know
that in
> the long line of protests that I've been to . . . this is the only one
> that I've ever seen non-violence be effective."
>
> Pi invites her friend, Phineas, a 25-year-old from Kansas City, Mo.,
to
> come into the room. Phineas is wild-haired and soft-spoken, his thin
frame
> holding up a pair of black overalls.
>
> He says his actions were justified because the targeted corporations
rape
> the environment and exploit workers. "These companies are really
hurting
> families . . . they aren't able to keep themselves fed and clothed,
while
> we here get all the benefits of their pain and torture."
>
> He says he went to the WTO protests with a very clear political
agenda and
> was not among those looting stores.
>
> "That is very improper. Why would I want to break windows and grab
> products for myself that I consider to be nasty and awful? I'd rather
burn
> those products."
>
> Pi says she knows anarchists who took part in the looting simply
because
> it felt right to be taking something away from a big corporation.
>
> Living off garbage
>
> Ideological splintering is acceptable in the community because it
fits the
> meaning of anarchy: No leaders. Everyone does their own thing.
>
> Which, by the way, means that while most anarchists respect John
Zerzan, a
> local anarchist author, they by no means consider him their guru or
> spokesman. Some have trouble reconciling his
> anti-technology/anti-capitalism views with the fact that his works are
> marketed on the Internet.
>
> Older activists have a different take on the anarchist culture in
Eugene,
> a culture that has been thriving since the '60s and accounts for the
> city's reputation as a liberal haven. In fact, anarchists here are the
> most visibly active group in the Pacific Northwest.
>
> "There's such a diversity of people doing different things," says
Mawb,
> 48, who has been active in the Eugene scene since 1979.
>
> Indeed, there's more to the anarchist-activist life here than just
black
> masks and broken windows. There's the Jawbreaker co-op art space, the
> Center for Appropriate Transport (where youths and adults can learn
how to
> build and maintain bicycles) and the Free Skool, where community
members
> share whatever knowledge they have in various areas. Mawb says most
people
> in the community have one thing in common: "We make a point of living
off
> the garbage of this incredible wealthy country."
>
> Recycling and trash bin-diving are part of this community's daily
> activities. These things become a necessity when an activity like
> tree-sitting precludes any means of earning dollars, and a good
number of
> tree-sitters rely on trash containers for supplies.
>
> There are about six "sits" in the area. A couple are in the Willamette
> forest, including the Red Cloud Thunder (www.efn.org/redcloud), sit in
> Fall Creek, about 40 minutes outside of Eugene. Tangent offers a
guided
> tour.
>
> The air there is crisp and clear. The only sounds are of squirrels and
> other forest creatures. That is, until Tangent yells his greetings to
the
> trees, each with its own name.
>
> "That's Ygdrassil, the Norse word for 'tree of life.' Calima is
obvious,
> the goddess Cali. Happy is happy; Fanghorn is out of a book. And this
is
> my friend's wife. Yup, he married a tree," Tangent says.
>
> He points to Grandma, a 100-year-old Douglas fir his friend, Lorax, a
> red-haired, blue-eyed, drum-thumping 24-year-old, has been in wedded
bliss
> with since May 1.
>
> A chorus of affectionate cussing echoes from the sits above, each 165
feet
> to 190 feet high. After all, Tangent has come bearing two boxes of
food.
>
> A line comes down with a black backpack attached. Tangent loads up
bread
> and yells "K1!" The backpack makes its way up.
>
> This is how they survive -- friends bring them supplies when they can
and
> send them up. The sits are built on platforms, connected with traverse
> lines that sitters use to go from sit to sit.
>
> A masked, dark-eyed 19-year-old named Atticus comes down from his
tree and
> pulls Tangent aside. Atticus tells Tangent that he'd like to make one
> thing clear: The tree-sitters here had nothing to do with the WTO.
They
> did not abandon the trees they're working to preserve in order to take
> part in the protest.
>
> After all, not all tree-sitters are anarchists; some are just radical
> environmentalists.
>
> The sits are stocked, further arrangements are made and the visit is
over.
>
> Arrested by the FBI
>
> Hitching a ride from Fall Creek back into Eugene are Red and Midnight.
> Red, a long and lean 16-year-old from Northern California, has had a
very
> busy couple of weeks. First, there was the WTO protests. Then there
was
> being arrested and detained for three days.
>
> "I'm not going to say if I was or wasn't (rioting), but I got
arrested for
> doing something -- four counts of malicious mischief. They said they
saw
> me breaking four windows."
>
> He went into town with the Black Bloc, the now infamous group of 30
to 50
> black-clad anarchists.
>
> Red says he was standing in front of the U.S. Bank building on Pine
Street
> on Nov. 30 when two men from the FBI choked him with his necklace and
> threw him to the ground. The agents were wearing black masks and
black,
> hooded sweat shirts -- just like the Black Bloc members. He says the
two
> flashed their badges before dragging him "kicking and screaming" to
the
> fourth floor of the Westin Hotel.
>
> He says they roughed him up in the elevator, shoving him head-first
in the
> corner, popping his neck and hurting his arm. "I had, like, six guys
on
> top of me in that small elevator."
>
> He was taken to the former Sand Point naval station for processing and
> then to a juvenile facility. Red says he was released without charges
> being pressed. He figures it was because the undercover FBI agents who
> arrested him didn't have time to file reports.
>
> Although Red says he was mistreated, he doesn't seem surprised or
> outraged. This probably has something to do with how anarchists view
> authority. Just ask the local police.
>
> "I don't believe that it plays into the anarchist philosophy to
establish
> a relationship with authority," says Eugene police Capt. Thad
Buchanan,
> who joined the force in 1979.
>
> "The police department has always had a relationship with political
> activists. Surely in the 1960s it probably wasn't all that great, but
in
> the time that I've been here and up until a few years ago, we've
always
> had very good success," he says.
>
> Buchanan says efforts to establish a relationship with the anarchists
> haven't been well-received.
>
> "Day to day, we co-exist," he says. "We both live and work in the same
> general vicinity. . . . The occasional clashes generally come when
they
> openly and consciously decide to violate the law on a fairly
significant
> level." He mentions protests that have resulted in broken windows and
> blocked traffic.
>
> It's hard to tell whether the look on Buchanan's face is that of
> frustration or resignation.
>
> Either way, he seems to know that the Eugene police are at an impasse
with
> the anarchists -- whoever they are.
>
>



--
Macdonald Stainsby

check the "ten point platform" of Tao at: http://new.tao.ca

"We believe that socialism is the fairest system and we
are devoting our lives to it, but we have to demonstrate its
viability. It has always been a complex process, even though we
thought it would be easy. We have lived under pressure from the
start, and more so today, but we are not going to give up. That would
be crazy."
-Raul Castro, General of the Cuban Army, 1999.














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