Anarchists Colin, left, and Cameron, right, who declined to give their last names, gather at the Minnesota capitol building with anti-war protesters (WND photo)
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The spokesman for the coalition of 130 groups engaged in a “peace” protest outside the GOP convention yesterday told WND he had no problem joining forces with activists as extreme as anarchists, but it was anarchists who, nevertheless, grabbed the headlines with a violent rampage resulting in at least five arrests.
“We’re glad they have come to speak out at the RNC,” Mick Kelly told WND prior to the anarchists’ attacks, which included smashed cars, punctured tires and bottles hurled at police..
“A diversity of views is, in fact, welcome when we’re united about opposing the occupation of Iraq and demanding peace, justice and equality,” said Kelly, spokesman for the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War, which included a Teamsters union branch, the ANSWER Coalition and Iraq Veterans Against the War.
You’re concerned about how extreme some of these groups are?
“Not at all,” he replied before the march, as a group of anarchists milled about near his media tent in front of the Minnesota capitol building.
At least one anarchist – or “anarchist-syndicalist” to be precise – told WND before the march he was “kind of” against using violence to accomplish his aims.
Protesters gather in front of the capitol building in St. Paul (WND photo)
Cameron, a 20-something barista from Mankato, Minn., who laughed as he was asked for his last name, explained he subscribes to a branch of anarchist philosophy that takes a more pragmatic approach, regarding anarchy as utopia but recognizing it probably will never be achieved.
“It’s kind of the activist anarchy,” he explained. “Basically it’s saying you make immediate changes when and where you can. I might advocate universal health care; the next day I might advocate immigrant rights. It’s social Darwinism is what it is.
Recalling the anarchist rampage at the World Trade Organization in Seattle in 1999, Cameron was asked if he advocated violence to help bring about his ideal world.
“No sir,” he replied.
But he qualified his answer when asked if he identified with the Eugene, Ore., anarchists that smashed storefronts in unprepared Seattle, bringing an ugly, early end to the WTO meetings.
St. Paul police prepare for the worst ahead of a planned protest march yesterday (WND photo)
“A little bit,” he said. “I understand their anger.
“I don’t think destruction of property is violence,” he quickly elaborated. “Hurting other people, that’s violence … when you make a big deal about smashing windows when there’s a big war going on, or killing tens of thousands of civilians, if not hundreds of thousands, it’s the pot calling the kettle black.”
Starbucks was one of the targets of the Seattle rampage, but Cameron said he serves coffee at an independent local shop in Mankato.
In St. Paul yesterday, with police on high alert with a fully equipped riot team, some anarchists reportedly started a trash bin fire and later tried to block a major intersection. Police dispersed the group, firing two tear gas canisters at the fleeing anarchists. Another mob, of about 100, threw garbage in the streets and at cars from a trash bin they commandeered. Blogger Jim Holt of Gateway Pundit reported his bus was hit by sandbags thrown from a highway overpass.
Anarchist prepares for the day’s activities in St. Paul yesterday (WND photo)
While destroying property is a simple, straightforward endeavor, describing what an anarchist America would look like proves more difficult.
For starters, there would be no president or Congress.
“There’s no hierarchy,” Cameron said.
How do people organize themselves? Can you get sewer and water?
“You work together,” he said. “Groups of people all over have been providing basic services for each other before creating a military state. Always, people who don’t understand it compare it to total chaos and a lack of organization and community. But it’s really an absence of the state, and allowing people to collectively organize among themselves.”
Cameron’s colleague standing nearby, Colin from Milwaukee, chimed in, pointing to the Rotary Club as a helpful example.
“The last time I checked, they don’t have a military presence, and they seem to organize just fine,” Colin explained.
Asked if there’s an example from history of a successful anarchist community, Cameron pointed to the Spanish Civil War, when thousands of anarchists in Catalonia and Barcelona rebelled against the regime before being dismantled by the communists.
Cameron said that while he has many communist friends, he isn’t one, because “they don’t have such a great track record.”
What’s your track record?
Book table at the anti-war protest in St. Paul yesterday (WND photo)
“Well normally the anarchists tend to be the soldiers, like the Russian revolution – that was mainly fought by socialists and anarchists, and in the end, the Bolsheviks took us over, and they threw us in jail and they killed us,” he replied.
“The same thing happened in Catalonia … and in all of Europe during the 1800s,” he said.
Is that an inherent problem – that the neighbors who are more organized are always going to wipe you out?
“That does tend to be a problem,” he said. “We just hope to get stronger.”