Violent May Day clashes in Seattle, what is May Day Anyway?!
I personally can’t stand violent anarchist protesters. I understand and respect the concept of diversity of tactics. But don’t show up and disrespect other movement’s tactics of peaceful protest or peaceful civil disobedience. A small group of violent anarchists can show up, wreak havoc, and give peaceful protesters a bad name, discrediting an entire movement with completely different goals. Go wreak havock on your own time, not during my peaceful protest that obtained march permits. I ran into this problem at many of the protests I attended through Occupy Wall Street.
The horizontal structure of OWS made it impossible for us to kick them out. And for good reason, where do you draw the line? Who gets to decide who is and isn’t included? Participatory direct democracy, contingent upon consensus building, necessitates a diverse inclusion of voices and perspectives to come up with truly unique, and original proposals, solutions and reforms.
Our Congress and Senate were predicated upon the same concept (albeit representative and not direct democracy), to include healthy debate from a variety of voices, representative of the people, and protecting the rights of the minority……However the influx of big money into politics through the Supreme Court decision Citizens United, has eroded the diversity of voices to only those capable of ‘paying’ for their speech, or bankrolling candidates for elections.
I thought with the clashes in Seattle this May Day it would be appropriate to include two different perspectives on the events. The roots of and motivation for starting this blog emerged out of the frustration I felt towards the mainstream media for their gross distortion and misrepresentation of OWS— a movement I had a deep first hand experience in.
The media continually focused on a small sub-population of hippies and anarchists, deemed undesirable social deviants by the larger culture, to be a representative whole of all those participating in OWS, which over time sucseffuly discrediting the movement. However, that could not be further from the truth on the ground, where protests and General Assemblies included a diverse group of participants of every immaginable age range, race, socioeconomic background, and education level. Some of my professors at UCSD attended with their children. Some homeless people came for the food. Veterans, teachers, and nurses donated their time and services. It wasn’t just a movement of dirty violent hippie kids.
I’ve since found it invaluable to consume media from a diverse variety of sources to obtain a more accurate and enriched reflection of current events.
The first article is from CNN and covers this year’s Seattle May Day Protest.
The second article offers a historical perspective on the origins of May Day, the violent clashes in Seattle in 2012 initiated by a faction of anarchist protesters among the ranks, and an academic description of real life contemporary anarchism by David Graeber. Graeber is a professor of Social Anthropology at the University of London, a respected author, and one of the first initial activists whose meeting in Bowling Green Park unknowingly sparked the emergence of the Occupy Movement months later rooted in Zuccotti Park.