Hamburg Riots - Prelude to G8 Trouble (Plus Pics)

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Terry
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Jun 6 2007 15:53

No one mentioned the state needing an excuse and indeed no one argued from a pacifist position. My point is the isolated...and to many folk inexplicable .... nature of the violence. It is different from violence that is a part of a popular movement, eg hit squads during the miners strike, poll tax riot *. Force threatens the state? you must be joking me, those are rocks in peoples' hands not armalites. It is the lack of a threat, plus political considerations, that allows such events to happen. If it was a matter of force versus force I somehow think that summit protests would have ended sometime in the 80s.

* mind you I don't think that should be glamourised or fetishised either.

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fkschulze
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Jun 6 2007 15:58
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but it's just an image of struggle, a simulation. there is no militant class movement behind it so the state is not threatened at all - even if a 10,000 strong black bloc breached the fence and lynched the G8 leaders, the state wouldn't be weakened. rather strengthened, i'd imagine.

how could they be strengthened? whats there to strengthen? it may make them redirect their cannons but hows that going to look to the 'common man' when his favorite elected is official is screaming for white european blood instead of the good ole' arab stuff thats fed these last decades? shooting into crowds of white people would also be a spectacle, an image, and one that would probably shake allot of folks up. i dont think the state is willing to go that far yet. and i certainly buy that it is a simulation, or, like i suggested above, a model. its a display of theory, a work of art even. its a visual representation of "TACTIC" or whatever. but the simulcra aspect of it also gives it an air of commodity which, unfortunately, means that its even more digestable to your day to day consumer. its an image someone can understand. people vs. state. "oh, wait... those arent the same thing?" people vs. state and capitalism "what? i thought capitalism was free market, not state..." and then, of course they will become instant kropotkin scholars. wink my point is these acts are so fucking dramatic that they can't be avoided. the spectacle of this level of force kicks the media spectacle in the face. they have to cover it and their explanation sucks, it wont satisfy young people. i've had allot of folks in denton call me or meet me in bars and ask me questions about it. this is the sort of thing that starts debates in cafes that would otherwise have been about whether or not the new animal collective records are selling out.

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fkschulze
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Jun 6 2007 16:01
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Force threatens the state? you must be joking me, those are rocks in peoples' hands not armalites. It is the lack of a threat, plus political considerations, that allows such events to happen.

to clarify, its less the ontological aspect of the force so much as the epistemological aspect of the force. its is not the brick that scares the state, but the willingness to throw it.

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Joseph Kay
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Jun 6 2007 17:25
fkschulze wrote:
it may make them redirect their cannons but hows that going to look to the 'common man' when his favorite elected is official is screaming for white european blood instead of the good ole' arab stuff thats fed these last decades?

as i suspected, we on the machiavellian vanguard approach of provoking the state to "point its cannons at the common man" in the hope the proles will rise. you might want to think the implications of this through a little bit ...

fkschulze wrote:
the spectacle of this level of force kicks the media spectacle in the face.

it seems to provide perfect fodder for the media spectacle - flaming cars sell newspapers. i don't dispute that some people are politicised by these things, but that's true of all sorts we could be spending the tens of thousands of pounds and man-hours spent organising these things on instead - a friend's mum is getting critical of the state and class by fighting a local council scheme they weren't consulted about. less sexy, but if it's politicisation you're after ...

the other thing is to get over the inflated self-importance 'kicking the media spectacle in the face' implies - nobody at work has even mentioned the G8, let alone the protests or the arguments of the protesters, it's all but invisible. and when visibility threatened at gleneagles, Geldoff flew in and taught us all a thing or two about spectacular protest - outspectacling the spectacle seems a bit like dousing fire with gasoline.

Mike Harman
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Jun 6 2007 18:28
Cardinal Tourettes wrote:
Wow, everyone will find it useful!

grin

Mike Harman
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Jun 6 2007 18:40
rata wrote:
Another thing is that these kind of events are a great practicing place for organizing large-scale rebellions against the authorities. Experiences from this events can be used on any mass strike, or workers action against the ruling class.

Yeah, it's a shame that only one side is actually learning lessons from them effectively.

Mike Harman
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Jun 6 2007 19:02
Joseph K. wrote:
nobody at work has even mentioned the G8, let alone the protests or the arguments of the protesters.

ditto.

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Rob Ray
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Jun 6 2007 19:09
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nobody at work has even mentioned the G8, let alone the protests or the arguments of the protesters.

Same, and I work in the news.

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oisleep
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Jun 6 2007 19:16
Tacks wrote:
Vaneigemappreciationclub wrote:
On the whole G8 pantomime if people want to take time off from encouraging class struggle in their communities and workplaces and go and have it with the police then fair play. However i think the people who spend all year publicising and organising the demos could oviously spend their time more constructively, say by picking up dog shit wink if you think of it as a big social for anarchists from around europe to get together and have a ruck then its fine, however if you think that having a ruck with the police within a 40mile radius of some heads of state is actually going to contribute to the downfall of capitalism then obviously you need to seriously reassess things.
oisleep wrote:
well said that man!

Mate if you agree with the bits i just put in bold thats actually a 180 turn in opinion. Bollocks do you think its ok.

Perhaps you just saw 'picking up dogshit' and it pressed your magic button.

i think your mistaken and you've 'bolded' out of context

i think its ok if they actually admit it achieves fuck all

i think its ok if they don't fuck about with people who just want to get on with their lives

i think its ok, and here is the crucial bit "if people want to take time off from encouraging class struggle in their communities and workplaces " to do something that they realise achieves fuck all

i think that's ok, because frankly i don't give two shits about the anarchist movement, what it does that embarrasees itself or detracts people from supporting them doesn't really bother me, anarchists poncing about and achieveing fuck all and acting like silly wee vanguards is hardly going to put off the type of people who would be attracted to an IWCA style approach to politics is it, so on that basis it's not my battle, i'm not their keeper

i mean we all have outlets for stuff like this when we're young, 15-20 years ago it was rucking at the football, no one involved in that ever thought it was achieving something it was just sheer adrenalian rush and outlet for frustration/alientation, this stuff is pretty much the same imo, it's the idea that these people think they are actually moving the battle on that does it for me, it's top down elititst shite that doesn't move anything on apart from their cocks

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jef costello
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Jun 6 2007 19:32
Joseph K. wrote:
as i suspected, we on the machiavellian vanguard approach of provoking the state to "point its cannons at the common man" in the hope the proles will rise. you might want to think the implications of this through a little bit.

leave Machiavelli out of this he was pragmatic and sensible.

lem
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Jun 6 2007 19:53

yeah! lefort says that machiavelli inaugerated something important into politics. and damnit, i agree!

Convert
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Jun 6 2007 19:54
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it seems to provide perfect fodder for the media spectacle - flaming cars sell newspapers.

Isnt this based on the assumption that people wholesale accept what mainstream media tells them to believe - which surely is an over simplification?

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jef costello
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Jun 6 2007 19:59
Convert wrote:
Isnt this based on the assumption that people wholesale accept what mainstream media tells them to believe - which surely is an over simplification?

any generalisation is likely to be a simplification. Pretty much everyone I know has an implicit trust in the mainstream media and even when they don't have much faith in it they don't seem to try to look past it or loook for other sources.

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Joseph Kay
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Jun 6 2007 21:16
jef costello wrote:
leave Machiavelli out of this he was pragmatic and sensible.

unfortunately the meaning of 'machiavellian' is a bad caricature of his thought innit sad

Convert wrote:
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it seems to provide perfect fodder for the media spectacle - flaming cars sell newspapers.

Isnt this based on the assumption that people wholesale accept what mainstream media tells them to believe - which surely is an over simplification?

i'm more getting at that whatever 'counter-spectacle' is created only reaches the wider working class via the mediation of the media - it's not that people believe everything they read, but all the protests are images for the spectacle, stripped of meaning by the mediation - "the spectacle is not a system of images, but a social relationship, mediated by images" innit; the fact the riots are now ritualised and expected exasperates this, i mean arguably seattle achieved something like 'kicking the media spectacle in the face' because they had no idea how to mediate it, but i wasn't politicised back then so i can't remember the media coverage.

Vaneigemappreci...
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Jun 6 2007 21:19
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anarchists poncing about and achieveing fuck all and acting like silly wee vanguards is hardly going to put off the type of people who would be attracted to an IWCA style approach to politics is it

well the IWCA certainly appear to have a better relation with the police.

Terry i dont think i contradicted myself, if someone thinks this sort of coreographed rebellion has a real impact beyond enticing angry and disaffected people towards anarchist ideas (which i suspect it once did with events like seattle and genoa for people on here) then they need to reassess their ideas. However if people want to go to a summit and treat it as some sort of anarchist holiday camp where they can have a riot with fellow anarchists and they have no illusions then fine.

Convert
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Jun 6 2007 22:20

Yeah they are a spectacle but I think its unfair to say they represent nothing. Ok they dont represent a hug organised class struggle, but they do represent thousands and thousands of dissafected youth who are sick of waiting for someone to do something about the fucked up state of affairs (be it poverty, war, work etc)

lem
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Jun 6 2007 22:33

i reckon that political activity really change one's values n that. but that this sort of stuff only makes one hate management more, rather than forming strong bonds of solidarity. and, somewhat tentaively, i think agression toward management is surplus -not really needed in the "class struggle". imho anyway.

thanks.

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madashell
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Jun 7 2007 00:33
Joseph K. wrote:
i mean arguably seattle achieved something like 'kicking the media spectacle in the face' because they had no idea how to mediate it, but i wasn't politicised back then so i can't remember the media coverage.

'nuff said wink

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fkschulze
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Jun 7 2007 02:29
madashell wrote:
Joseph K. wrote:
i mean arguably seattle achieved something like 'kicking the media spectacle in the face' because they had no idea how to mediate it, but i wasn't politicised back then so i can't remember the media coverage.

'nuff said ;)

i recently watched a documentary on archive.org which included allot of media coverage and it actually felt more hostile towards the protesters than what i've seen out of msnbc and cnn in the last week. seattle radicalized me, though well after the fact.

to be fair, when i said allot of people asked me about it, i meant three embarrassed which, sadly, is allot for me. (one at work)

and i wasnt really saying one ought to bash the po' with the intention of getting them to kill white folks, its just that the state is already engaged in killing lots of people, but its not spectacular, the spectacle is the authority and drama of war, but not the slaughter. i was speaking more mechanically rather than suggestively. it doesnt mean the revolution begins when the bullets end up in european bodies, but that such actions make obvious the function of the state, which is usually occluded.

regarding joseph's dousing the fire with gasoline, i can believe that but not so much that its a bad thing. it gets attention, all sorts, bad and good, but its a spectacle that we've got our foot in. if the spectacle is the seductress that distracts Man as the thief steals his wallet, this sort of thing is like the cold sore on her lips. what a horrible metaphor... whatever i'm not erasing it. point is, the media purveyors are doing a terrible job accounting for this stuff and folks aint always as stupid as they seem.

and i think your right about flaming cars and newspapers, but thats also a good thing. the sexiness of 'violent' force is like, as somebody already mentioned, a gateway drug. the news is the dealer but if folks want the good shit, they gotta come to us... or the maoists... or the fascists... or the libertarians... or the evangelicals... but thats why we got such a catchy logo --> circle A

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Joseph Kay
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Jun 7 2007 06:16
fkshulze wrote:
and i think your right about flaming cars and newspapers, but thats also a good thing. the sexiness of 'violent' force is like, as somebody already mentioned, a gateway drug.

but is it though? i mean when i started getting politicised by the iraq war i started reading up on seattle and stuff - but i could have read up on any recent struggles. if i'd have read up on the miners' strike i might not have spent several years (and several nights in police cells) doing kick it til it breaks activism.

fkshulze wrote:
and i wasnt really saying one ought to bash the po' with the intention of getting them to kill white folks, its just that the state is already engaged in killing lots of people, but its not spectacular, the spectacle is the authority and drama of war, but not the slaughter. i was speaking more mechanically rather than suggestively. it doesnt mean the revolution begins when the bullets end up in european bodies, but that such actions make obvious the function of the state, which is usually occluded.

they make it obvious to participants for sure - certainly my move away from liberalism was aided and abetted by police batons - but for the wider public that's dependent on the media portrayal, and it's not difficult portraying a thousand youths dressed all in black issuing macho statements about threatening the state and injuring cops as violent extremists - not least because they actually are, essentially. while that might attract people who think violent extremism is a bit edgy, or outright nutters, it's more likely to help build a subculture around fetishised, ritualised confrontations than a class movement against capital.

Convert wrote:
Yeah they are a spectacle but I think its unfair to say they represent nothing. Ok they dont represent a hug organised class struggle, but they do represent thousands and thousands of dissafected youth who are sick of waiting for someone to do something about the fucked up state of affairs (be it poverty, war, work etc)

yes i suppose that's true, but isn't that essentially saying they represent our weakness as a class, that we can only fight on the spectacular terrain by gathering disaffected youths from across europe together every summer, as we are in no position to launch a good old revolution of everyday life?

Terry
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Jun 7 2007 06:34

Vaneigemappreciationclub I wasn't saying you contradicted yourself, what I'm saying is that it doesn't make sense to diss people who think they are making a worthwhile contribution by rucking at the latest summit, by comparision with people who are just there for the craic. The first lot have the wrong idea, but are doing something for the right reasons, the second lot are just being self indulgent. The first lot are wrong, but not half as wrong as the second lot.

Summit protests contributed some limited but real growth to the anarchist movement, a lot of people will ctie Seattle, Prague or Genoa as one of the reasons they got involved, but it is growth in a box, summit protests are one of the walls of that box....especially the rioting bits.

While they are around a limited intervention in them is worthwhile.

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Jun 7 2007 07:26

joseph k, maybe extremism is helpful in that it resets the limits of the defining hegemony. "Those boys in black went too far! How far would i go and why haven't i done it yet?" it helps make praxis, as opposed to theory, the central issue which can't be bad.

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Jun 7 2007 07:37
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it's more likely to help build a subculture around fetishised, ritualised confrontations than a class movement against capital.

this is a killer insight and if i do get to the UK to start my social anthro doctorate (awaiting loans) in october this might make a really great thesis. the ritualized confrontation could potentially become a steam valve which would merely prolong the structures which inspire them rather then force change as Turner and Geertz would say OR as peter kropotkin's 'spirit of revolt' implies, these regular ritualistic theatrics could create a comfortable space for authentic, non-artistic, non-spectacular action to stand out. that is to say, maybe right now, all praxis is destined to be viewed as one of many sacred symbols emulating some ideal type but if the spectacle became ritualized and regular, authentic positive praxis would stand out as a counter-hegemonic device within the anarchist spectacular hegemony. i cant wait to get outta TX...

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Joseph Kay
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Jun 7 2007 08:07
fkschulze wrote:
joseph k, maybe extremism is helpful in that it resets the limits of the defining hegemony. "Those boys in black went too far! How far would i go and why haven't i done it yet?" it helps make praxis, as opposed to theory, the central issue which can't be bad.

i think seattle and genoa did help reset the limits of the defining hegemony. the hegemony now involves ritualised pitched battles between violent thugs dressed all in black and a black bloc wink

i dispute that the persistence of summit protests represents much of a praxis as opposed to 'actionism' (the mirror image of detached theorising). after every summit there's a debate about 'the lessons learned' and every time it's a case of declaring 'our' overwhelming success and saying we're going to do it bigger and better next time. check out some of the post-gleneagles debriefs on imc and elsewhere - apparently the anarchists won with their amazing diversity of tactics. it's this kind of inward-looking, self-deluding thinking that makes it blind actionism rather than meaningful praxis imho.

it's also plain wrong to suggest the alternative to smashing up a few cop cars and a burger king every summer is 'theory' - there's all sorts of alternative praxes which can be pursued. often less glamorous for sure, but also with the potential to actually challenge capital, which is kinda the point after all. i mean the way i think about it, what is the best case scenario for a summit protest, what is the most that can be achieved? as far as i can see, if a 10,000-strong blac block breached the fence and lynched the world leaders, all this would mean, insofar as the summit protest was as detached from everyday struggles as it is now, would be a massive militarisation of the state, mass arbitrary detention of anarchists, closure of/attacks on our websites/press, quite possibly the whole guantanamo bay treatment, and quite probably all with broad public support. maybe i'm just pessimistic, what's your best-case scenario?

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Tacks
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Jun 7 2007 12:08
Joseph K. wrote:
i might not have spent several years and several nights in police cells

Shit i didn't know that. Sorry to hear about that. sad

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Joseph Kay
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Jun 7 2007 12:17

oh shit no - i mean several years in activism and several nights in police cells!

edit: gone back and added some punctuation, 'twas a little ambiguous

IrrationallyAngry
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Jun 7 2007 14:23

I'm well aware that the few thousand black blockers don't need agent provocateurs to go looking for a ruck with the police any more than the cops need to be tricked into starting a ruck themselves. It is, as many here have said, a ritual at this stage and both groups want and and at some level need the fighting to happen. (The same is not of course true as far as the much greater number of protesters who don't wear black hoodies and go looking for a fight are concerned, but neither the black block nor the cops are much interested in their opinions.)

Even still, claims that plain clothes police have tried to infiltrate protesters and to incite further violence have been a fairly consistent feature of major summit protests. This often comes from a number of different not always reliable sources - people who want to discredit the black block, people who don't want to accept that a section of protesters do in fact come looking for a riot, people who have a slightly conspiratorial view of the state and so on. Given the nature of the allegation, and the nature of rumours in general, this kind of thing is notoriously difficult to prove or disprove.

At Rostock there have apparently been a whole series of reports of men dressed as black block members, but not with the main black blocks, trying to encourage peaceful protestors and NVAD people to attack the cops. Those kind of rumours aren't at all unusual but this time it seems that there may be a little more solid evidence. According to German leftists on another email list there is an interesting video on the mainstream Spiegel news service which, it is claimed, shows just such a black clad undercover cop being captured and dragged back to police lines. I, unfortunately can't speak German, but if anyone here can I'd be interested in hearing if this is actually what the report says:

http://www.spiegel.de/videoplayer/0,6298,18864,00.html

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Jun 7 2007 19:18
Joseph K. wrote:
fkschulze wrote:
joseph k, maybe extremism is helpful in that it resets the limits of the defining hegemony. "Those boys in black went too far! How far would i go and why haven't i done it yet?" it helps make praxis, as opposed to theory, the central issue which can't be bad.

i think seattle and genoa did help reset the limits of the defining hegemony. the hegemony now involves ritualised pitched battles between violent thugs dressed all in black and a black bloc wink

i dispute that the persistence of summit protests represents much of a praxis as opposed to 'actionism' (the mirror image of detached theorising). after every summit there's a debate about 'the lessons learned' and every time it's a case of declaring 'our' overwhelming success and saying we're going to do it bigger and better next time. check out some of the post-gleneagles debriefs on imc and elsewhere - apparently the anarchists won with their amazing diversity of tactics. it's this kind of inward-looking, self-deluding thinking that makes it blind actionism rather than meaningful praxis imho.

it's also plain wrong to suggest the alternative to smashing up a few cop cars and a burger king every summer is 'theory' - there's all sorts of alternative praxes which can be pursued. often less glamorous for sure, but also with the potential to actually challenge capital, which is kinda the point after all. i mean the way i think about it, what is the best case scenario for a summit protest, what is the most that can be achieved? as far as i can see, if a 10,000-strong blac block breached the fence and lynched the world leaders, all this would mean, insofar as the summit protest was as detached from everyday struggles as it is now, would be a massive militarisation of the state, mass arbitrary detention of anarchists, closure of/attacks on our websites/press, quite possibly the whole guantanamo bay treatment, and quite probably all with broad public support. maybe i'm just pessimistic, what's your best-case scenario?

well i suppose the best case scenario for a situation like this would be an inspiring performance smile have these things gotten bigger every year? if so than it seems like the actionist theater is useful and good for the movement. and if it does end up attracting those who fetishize violence, at least they're on our side and can be entered into the normalizing discourse about ethics within the movement. it seems like your saying above, lets topple the state, but not do anything to make them mad. shouldnt we expect gitmo vacations, newspaper shut downs, imprisonment, executions? i mean, if we really were any kind of threat to capital, that'd be the sensible response. could it not be said that b/c those things are not happening to us in earnest we are clearly no threat to them and only when those sorts of policies meet implementation can we be sure that we're actually causing a problem for state and capital?

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Jun 7 2007 19:23

or perhaps its the 'public support' part that is the crux of your critique. itd be right to say that a situation where the state rounds up leftists and persecutes em' would be and produce an entirely different significance w/ public support than w/o it. so how about this, instead of wagging the finger at anarchists with paving stones, we oughtta focus on gettin folks to hate and fear state and capital MORE than they fear us. "Those kids in black sure are scary, but they're no Dick (mothafuckin) Cheney!" let the kids throw the bricks but don't let Regular Joe shrug his shoulders at it.

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Jun 7 2007 20:33
Mike Harman wrote:
Joseph K. wrote:
nobody at work has even mentioned the G8, let alone the protests or the arguments of the protesters.

ditto.

yup.

Still, they can be alright at bringing in a few angry young people, who will hopefully get some good politics soon. Although this is probably non-existant outside the country the events are in now because the media coverage and "cool" factor has evaporated.