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[P]
Black Bloc Dares to Speak Out!

By Anatta in MLP
Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 08:11:16 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

On AlterNet I ran across this letter from Black Bloc member "Mary Black".

In the letter, she attempts to defend her position and explain why destroying property helps to free workers in the developing world from the curse of jobs and goods. She also gives a bit of insight into the Black Bloc, pointing out that they rarely give interviews (yet seem to want press coverage), and that their masks are not signs of cowardice, but rather solidarity and "many before one."

I found her explanation of Black Bloc tactics very interesting, yet it seems to me her logic is very easy to attack (for example, she believes that destroying a NikeTown doesn't harm anything but Nike, but seems to miss the idea that those costs will have to be paid by consumers through higher prices.)

There is a rebuttal on Alternet by Corpwatch member Kenny Bruno.

On a side note, this link is an interview with ex-Black Panther Minister of Information Eldridge Cleaver. In it he explains some of the mentality of a violent protest movement, and gives some insight that only an "ex" member would be willing to give.


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Black Bloc Dares to Speak Out! | 103 comments (95 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
Speaking of poor logic (4.14 / 7) (#3)
by mantrata on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 10:49:28 AM EST

I found her explanation of Black Bloc tactics very interesting, yet it seems to me her logic is very easy to attack (for example, she believes that destroying a NikeTown doesn't harm anything but Nike, but seems to miss the idea that those costs will have to be paid by consumers through higher prices.)

A $160 dollar pair of shoes made by workers paid $1.25 per day has nothing to do with cost. They set their price not on cost, but on the maximum amount people will pay and they're miles away from not making a profit.

Well, of course (4.20 / 5) (#5)
by qpt on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 11:13:29 AM EST

In a capitalist system, that is how prices are determined. However, in a perfect market, price will limit to cost, because of market competition. Since perfect markets do not exist, prices in the real world only approximate the costs of producing the items.

As for your comparison of the price of the shoe to the daily wage of the worker, that is silliness. Without looking at their financial statements, you cannot really know what Nike's profit is. Merely making the comparison that you have is deceptive.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

More silliness (4.66 / 3) (#10)
by wiredog on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 12:34:04 PM EST

Comparing the price of the shoe to the wage of the worker, without noting the worker's cost of living.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]
I can see you, too, understand how marketing works (4.55 / 9) (#7)
by Anatta on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 11:37:47 AM EST

They set their price not on cost, but on the maximum amount people will pay and they're miles away from not making a profit.

That would be price discrimination, and it is almost impossible to get on a consumer product. Nike has a range of products because it can't ask people "how much would you pay for this?" and expect an honest answer. So it creates a bunch of products at different prices and attempts to get people to purchase the most expensive product they're willing to buy. If Nike attempts to raise prices too high, Converse (which the Black Bloc irrationally gives the ok to!) will capture sales.

Bottom line, Nike does not capture all consumer surplus by selling its products, and therefore does not charge the maximum amount (assuming all) people will pay.

A $160 dollar pair of shoes made by workers paid $1.25 per day has nothing to do with cost.

Really? So you're saying that Nike doesn't have to pay Tiger Woods $55,000/day, and it could still sell as many shoes at the same price? Could it be that for Nike, marketing costs are more significant than manufacturing... just as for Merck, R&D costs are more significant than manufacturing? This makes neither entity evil nor exploitave. Of course Nike has to look at its costs when examining its pricing strategy. Suggesting that it doesn't shows a complete lack of understanding of economics.

The $1.25 and $160 are chosen to be extremes and to make a point. You could also show that the wages paid to developing nation workers are on average (from a US Chamber of Commerce study) 8 times higher when multinationals are paying them compared to local firms (from this article.) To me, that would be a much more relavent statistic. But by using $1.25 and $160, you're just showing that you, too, understand how marketing works.
My Music
[ Parent ]

Living wage = good (3.00 / 3) (#15)
by mantrata on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 02:07:30 PM EST

So it creates a bunch of products at different prices and attempts to get people to purchase the most expensive product they're willing to buy.

First, Nike is not an it. They are people who make decisions and should be accountable for them. But, that's a minor point.
You've just said that they charge whatever people will pay, which is what I said. Under your explaination, how does a broken window raise the price of a shoe?

So you're saying that Nike doesn't have to pay Tiger Woods $55,000/day, and it could still sell as many shoes at the same price

Most companies in the world find that they don't need to spend billions on advertising and they still make a fine profit.

This makes neither entity evil nor exploitave.

Exploiting ones workers does happen to make one exploitive. I am sorry, this is just how it is. A large corporation affects a large number of lives. With this power, there must be some responsibility.

The $1.25 and $160 are chosen to be extremes and to make a point.
Does it cost them three times as much to make a $160 shoe as a $50 shoe? Why does there have to be a $160 shoe. Converse does not have a $160 shoe. They only have a bunch of different $33 shoes.

[ Parent ]
Why I buy Nike (4.81 / 11) (#20)
by weirdling on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 03:33:41 PM EST

I exclusively buy Nike shoes these days, happily paying three times as much as anyone else, although I have *never* bought a $160 athletic shoe. The reason I buy Nike is simple: Nike makes the highest quality product available. For my wear patterns, a Nike shoe will last me upwards of two years, whereas other brands generally last six months. Also, Nike is generally more comfortable on my foot. These are personal decisions; my father finds that Reebok lasts longer on his wear pattern.

Anyway, having lived overseas, trust me, these jobs are plum jobs if you can get them. They pay quite a bit more than local going rate, and comparisons based on dollar exchange rate are generally specious, as the local purchase amount in the local context isn't taken into consideration. For instance, in Rwanda, when I was there, $1.25 an hour would amount to 212.50 FrRws (Franc Rwandaise), or around 70 FrRws more than the average worker made *in a day*. In other words, working ten hour days (not uncommon), one could expect to make 2,125 FrRws, or enough to feed one's family for a month, if careful. That's over fifteen times the average wage.

Anyway, I notice you didn't answer this point, neatly sidestepping the issue by claiming speciously that Nike can sell its product (often technically superior and normally of higher quality) for the same price as Converse, as if a shoe were a commodity item. That other companies make money without advertising neatly ignores that shoes are *fashion*, and fashion *cannot* move into a premium position without advertising. Witness Old Navy; without advertising, their revenue streams would dry up; it certainly doesn't cost $40 to make a tshirt.

Anyway, Nike doesn't have armies of jack-booted thugs forcing people to work for them, so it must, ipso facto, be advantageous for these people to work for them. As well, Nike doesn't have armies of jack-booted thugs forcing people to buy Nike, so, ipso facto, it must be advantageous to some people to buy Nike. Where, exactly, is the exploitation? Where, exactly, is Nike behaving badly enough to warrant destruction of their property? And how, exactly, do you intend to fix this problem?

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Internal comparison (2.75 / 4) (#30)
by marx on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 07:15:45 PM EST

Anyway, having lived overseas, trust me, these jobs are plum jobs if you can get them. They pay quite a bit more than local going rate [...] In other words, working ten hour days (not uncommon), one could expect to make 2,125 FrRws, or enough to feed one's family for a month, if careful. That's over fifteen times the average wage.

You describe these as "plum jobs", which I interpret as really good jobs. Would you want such a job? Would the average American want such a job? Why are you only making comparisons inside Rwanda if this is supposed to be a global market? Would any American live a happy life on 2,125 FrRws/month in Rwanda?

I could find a country: "Slave Country", where every citizen was a slave. Now, by your metric, any job with any wage would be a "plum job", because the alternative is slavery. I could then set up my corporation to employ workers in this country for next to nothing, and I would go free from accusations of exploiting the people of this country.

This is an excerpt about Nike from here:

Nike's pledge to end child labor, follow U.S. occupational health and safety standards, and allow non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to participate in the monitoring of its Asian factories is an important step forward. Nike has finally admitted to the public that the conditions in its factories need to be drastically improved.

Now please explain why we should "trust you" about how these are amazing jobs.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

apples && oranges == bad comparison (4.50 / 4) (#37)
by f00b4r on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 12:59:07 AM EST

You describe these as "plum jobs", which I interpret as really good jobs. Would you want such a job? Would the average American want such a job? Why are you only making comparisons inside Rwanda if this is supposed to be a global market? Would any American live a happy life on 2,125 FrRws/month in Rwanda?

I think it would be safe to say that most Americans would not want a job in Rwanda. Yes I am fairly certain about that. In fact, you know the answer too. If you had the choice of a job that pays minimum wage in America (say 5$ an hour) or a job that pays 2,125 FrRws/month... what would YOU choose. Yah thats right, you would choose the one that paid significantly more.

So lets put the example to use in Rwanda. There are two jobs... a LOCAL job that pays x, and a job from a NONLOCAL company that pays 4x. Which would you choose? What one is the 'plum job'?

The reason you comparison is totaly wrong is that people in different areas of the world have different standards of living. You can not swap and intermix people from different cultures and expect to get a valid result when you compare their preferences.

In general, an individual is going to choose the job that pays better. Period. So take for example your "Slave Country." An individual X has the choice of being in slavery or taking a job that pays very badly. Whatever is best for his needs (food, shelter, compensation) is what he will take. So if X choose to work for next to nothing, he is making a decision based on what is better for him. He is not being exploited because he doesnt get paid extremly well, he is actually better off otherwise he would have choosen slavery.

Now please explain why we should "trust you" about how these are amazing jobs.

The term "amazing job" is relative. The job may not be good to you, but for that worker in Rwanda it may be pretty darn "amazing." How are you to know? Sure it sucks compared to jobs in America, but this worker is not in America nor does he have the skills to work most jobs in America.

So, I guess that was the roundabout way of saying that, even in a global econonmy, you still have to compare local jobs to local jobs.

[ Parent ]
Which One Is the "Plum" Job? (3.50 / 2) (#50)
by moshez on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 08:55:51 AM EST

I'll tell you which one. The one in which the labourer gets the full worth of his product.

None of them do, you say? Well, then both of them are exploiting the worker.

I fail to see how exploiting a worker slightly less somehow exonerates Nike. They are using the property to rob workers of their rightful money. They should be destroyed, simply by people stopping to acknowledge the fictional entity called Nike which exists as a way to move wealth from poor people to rich people, and acknowledge real existing poor people.

[T]he k5 troll HOWTO has been updated ... This update is dedicated to moshez, and other bitter anti-trolls.
[ Parent ]

what company doesnt exploit their workers? (4.66 / 3) (#66)
by f00b4r on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 01:47:20 PM EST

Do you think for a second any company in America doesnt exploit their workers to some degree? A company will NOT ever pay their workers equal to the profit made from the workers labor. EVER. A company always takes some kind of percentage. Sometimes its high, sometimes it not, but without taking some of the profit for the company.. the worker would not have a job at all. That is how business works, the laborer provides a product or service... the business receives money for it... and the worker get some kind of compensation in the form of a pay check.

Take for example telemarketing companies in America. Say each phone call the telemarketer makes creates 50 cents income for the company. Is it exploiting the worker to pay them 10 cents per call? By your definition yes that is exploitation because the workers "rightful" money is 50 cents per call.

Umm no, it doesnt work that way. Telemarketing is a shitty job and the only way it can attract workers is by paying higher wages than other shitty jobs (read fast food). Is it still exploiting the works even though they are receiving a higher salary then they would normaly get? Or are the workers exploiting the company because they are only going to work for a few weeks and then quit? I guess it depends on your point of view. But if telemarketing companies really "exploited" their workers then they wouldnt have many workers would they?



[ Parent ]
But you have forgotten history (4.50 / 2) (#68)
by weirdling on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 01:58:47 PM EST

The US went through this period; every industrialized nation has. In order to create the capital and infrastructure, one *has* to do shit jobs. Why? Because the locals have no skills that will earn them more. I'll tell you what will happen if Nike is forced to abandon slave-wages: they will make machines to do it. There's no way they're paying $5 an hour to produce those shoes; they can't afford it and remain competitive. So, they'll make giant machines to produce shoes, do it in a Western country, paying exhorbitant rates to highly-skilled workers to make and maintain the machines, but saving money over paying workers. Upshot: local economy loses hard currency and thus is that much worse off and that much less likely to ever be able to afford the kind of infrastructure required to attract the kind of work that will make their situations better. Yes, folks, short-sighted people kill off your only hope to get out of the pit of the third world, film at eleven.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Classes of people (2.00 / 2) (#77)
by marx on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 07:34:43 PM EST

The thing is though, that the wages they are getting would be illegal in the US, and probably most of the world. This has nothing to do with skills.

Take two persons, A lives in the US and B in Rwanda. They have an equivalent skill set. No matter how shitty the job is, A will get a reasonable wage, because there are laws about minimum wages. Also, A is protected not to become sick from working, because there are laws about work safety and working hours. B has no minimum wage, or a ridiculous minimum wage. B also has not protection from working himself sick or to death.

Now you can say, "hey tough, if B and his countrymen don't want labor rights, expect to be exploited". The thing is though, that most of these countries don't have democratic political systems, or perhaps no real political system at all. So B has no influence over the laws of his country. Couple this with the IMF and the World Bank interfering with the legislation process in budding democracies, and B has no hope of ever getting out of his situation.

What you are saying is that the people in very poor countries should have less rights than people in developed countries. This is essentially a fascist ideaology. Are you sure you really want to endorse this?

The G8 controls 40% of the votes in the IMF and World Bank. Let's simplify and say that the US controls the IMF and World Bank. Now, George Bush (and thus, the US population) has stated that the national interests of the US are the most important in international affairs, thus the rejection of Kyoto. Since most of the companies which are profiting from this "no labor rights shopping" among nations are US-based, or at least contribute to the US economy, it is not in the interest of the US to change the situation, i.e. to create labor rights in these countries. How do you expect these countries to do what you describe when doing so will mean a financial loss for the US?

It saddens me that the only hope you are offering these countries is to somehow, against the interest of all these multinationals, the US government and the IMF/World Bank, succeed in building up companies in the global capitalist economy, with their own slave wages, which would somehow be able to out-compete these multinationals and thus be able to bring tax income to their country, which would build up enough infrastructure so that they could finally legislate about labor rights. Both you and I know this will never happen. Why not just give them what they want at once, and create global labor rights which the multinationals will have to obey? This is also in line with the UN declaration of human rights, and the US constitution, that all people are equal, and should have the same rights no matter what.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Bad analysis (5.00 / 2) (#83)
by weirdling on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 10:55:10 PM EST

First of all, there is no comparison between person A in Rwanda and person B in the US. Sorry; an idiot in the US is more technologically savant than the average college graduate in Rwanda. The simple fact is that if all other things were equal, Nike wouldn't bother even putting a dime into these local economies because workers are available in more stable and less corrupt countries that will produce far more shoes for the same money, so Indonesia will have *no* foreign investment, resulting in *no* cash.

Frankly, I don't give a damn if I appear fascist. It is not the US controlling them, neither is it Nike. It is their idiotic local government. In other words, Nike has to pay locals using foreign currency; this can be taken in taxes and will be spread through the economy by workers purchasing things (yes, I know it's converted to local currency, but that is basically the same thing). Anyway, should the government try intelligent money handling, keep out of debt, and invest in appropriate improvements, they will see their economy improve much the same as Taiwan and Japan saw.

My biggest gripe, though, is that simply forcing a wage equivalent to the US will destroy this kind of trade, costing the locals more than it helps, not to mention make tennis shoes cost more, all to avoid having Indonesia go through a stage the ENTIRE FRIGGIN WEST went through a hundred years ago. If we give them everything, they will never learn to earn anything and will never be equals on the international stage.

Then there's the US and the IMF. For all I care, the IMF could be disbanded tomorrow; it does absolutely no good and much wrong. However, I also firmly believe in suspension of foreign aid. Sorry, but I don't care for the power nor responsibility involved and certainly don't think there's anything inherent in the US that would give us the ability to solve problems I'm cerrtain nobody understands.

Anyway, the US should always behave *EXACTLY* in its best interest; all nations do. Honesty dictates that we at least be up front about it, and any other reason for using force would result in the US destroying local freedoms.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Honesty (4.00 / 3) (#84)
by marx on Thu Aug 02, 2001 at 12:10:44 AM EST

First of all, I appreciate your honest style, it makes these discussions a lot more efficient.

I think the major disagreement lies here:

all to avoid having Indonesia go through a stage the ENTIRE FRIGGIN WEST went through a hundred years ago. [...] If we give them everything, they will never learn to earn anything and will never be equals on the international stage.

If you truly want these countries to be "equals on the international stage", I don't see how what you prescribe will help that. Sure, I can see the argument that having sweatshops is better than having nothing at all. However, it's not as if the rest of the world is static while these countries will catch up. Say that Indonesia will catch up to the current standard in 50 years. Then the developed nations will be in some post-IT stage, and Indonesia will be classified as "developing" anyway, and there will be the equivalent of sweatshops again. I claim that there needs to be a different solution anyway, because this will not solve itself automatically.

As I said, it is also very useful for corporations to have these countries in the current state. The capitalism mechanism optimizes for stockholder profit. If these corporations can maneuver for example the US government to keep these countries static, then that means profitability, and thus this is inevitable. Even if there was a chance of these countries catching up, this alone will prevent that.

I'm not saying some evil capitalist will explicitly do this, this is a system behavior. This is why unrestricted capitalism does not provide a consumer of public benefit, the mechanism is too powerful. People seem to ignore that companies can influence politics, thus politics is simply just another variable in the capitalist mechanism.

You either don't care about these countries and people, or you believe that the capitalist mechanism somehow magically will make everyone prosperous and happy. You're entitled to the former opinion, but the second is a delusion. If you have that idea, I think you should try to make some scenarios or simulations, and I think you'll see that everything does not end up so rosy. Sure, if you regulate capitalism, it can be a very useful tool. But to get back to the topic, the G8 protests are not against regulated capitalism, they are against trying to solve every problem with capitalism and free markets.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Two things (5.00 / 2) (#89)
by weirdling on Thu Aug 02, 2001 at 02:52:22 PM EST

First, your theory that US capital interests are controlling the world bank to keep these countries in debt is an interesting one and worth investigating. It certainly fits the facts and would qualify as egregious behavior on the part of governments. More reason to tear down the world bank and the IMF.

Second, I can provide proof by counter-example: both Japan and Taiwan drug themselves up this way. It's not really hard to catch up, as the developments are the hard part; once a first-world country has built the internet, it is several orders of magnitude easier to simply create a local one. Technology tends to be that way. The problem, of course, would be to become a leader, as Japan has in the world of physical science and Taiwan in the world of business. However, if Indonesia puts its efforts exclusively into creating a way for economies to flourish, it will see them grow and soon overtake economies such as the US and the EU, both of which have heavy defense and socialism costs that slow the economy down. Yes, it will hurt, but Japan and Taiwan show that it can be done if you try hard enough.

I'm not saying they'll ever catch the US, as as long as I remain in the US, I shall endeavor to keep the US ahead of all other nations, but they can join the ranks of first-world nations with effort if a) we quit meddling in their local economy, and b) they enact some sort of sensible monetary policy.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Why I don't buy Nike (3.50 / 2) (#60)
by mantrata on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 11:32:42 AM EST

Anyway, Nike doesn't have armies of jack-booted thugs forcing people to work for them, so it must, ipso facto, be advantageous for these people to work for them.

In truth, these factories have already weeded out the workers who could afford to quit. Haven't you ever had to save up money to quit a job? What if ou couldn't save up money and still eat and you worked 15 hours a day 6-7 days a week? What would you do then?

Just because you pay people does not give you a right to treat them any way you wish. Should I go beat up homeless people and then hand them a dollar? They would be better having received by dollar. Right?

There are many tricky ways to take advantage of the disadvantaged. As a consumer I avoid companies that don't treat people as I would treat them myself.


BTW, I'm only addressing these one issue because I believe everything else has been covered in this thread.

[ Parent ]
However (5.00 / 2) (#67)
by weirdling on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 01:50:41 PM EST

You failed to notice that these people are often doing *much better* than those around them. This isn't beating someone up, it's giving them a *better* job for *more* money. Until someone demonstrates this is clearly not the case using actual statistics and not comparing what Western workers make on a currency-exchange basis but rather what Nike employees make compared to the national average, your argument is forceless, as it is based on the idea that working for Nike in the local context is a step down, when it is not.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Just ask them (3.00 / 2) (#71)
by mantrata on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 02:55:05 PM EST

Here are some numbers for you. A Nike worker in indonesia does not make enought in a day to buy a chicken. I don't know what other statitics to give you. I'm sure I can find whatever you ask for with a simple web search. This has been going on for a long time and is well documented.
That is just the money. You must read about the working conditions to get the whole story.

[ Parent ]
Worthless numbers, or microcosmic analysis (5.00 / 3) (#74)
by weirdling on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 04:11:10 PM EST

I really don't care that Nike employees cannot buy a chicken in a day. This is indicative of Indonesia's ruinous economic policies, not of Nike's payment policies. To show exploitation, you'll have to show that Nike pays significantly less than the local wage, which is not true: here are government statistics on wage. Here is Nike's expected payraise for 2000. In March 2000, the median income in Indonesia for the manufacturing sector was 272,000 Rupiah per month. Nike paid 332,000 Rupiah total compensation per month, or 22% more than the median. Now, play with the numbers here, and you'll find that just 21% of the economy is employed. We can't even begin to assess whether or not those employed do better than those not employed, although it seems that, with the disastrous economy currently extant in Indonesia, that subsistence farming is seeing a resurgency.

Anyway, here is an interestig paper that studies the results of doubling Indonesia's minimum wage: to wit, 10% increase in real wages, 2% reduction in employment, mostly in small businesses, and 5% reduction in investment, although the sector of the investment is missing. However, a 5% reduction in foreign investment means 5% less hard currency, 5% less infrastructure, and 5% less manufacturing base, which, in the long run, will result in greater unemployment.
I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]

Fascinating, but... (5.00 / 3) (#75)
by Anatta on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 04:30:01 PM EST

In order for the study to be relavent, it must examine the amount a Nike worker in Indonesia would receive for pay vs. the amount a worker in a local job will pay. My guess is that the Nike worker will actually do fairly well (as a US Chamber of Commerce study showed, internationals pay on average 8 times the prevailing local wage in newly developing countries, and 3 times the prevailing wages in more developed countries).

The evidence presented in the pages you linked is virtually all anecdotal... powerful but not really useful in determining broader facts.

Though I have not been to Indonesia, I have been to third world countries before, and have seen what is available at the average bazaar/market. Many of the items presented on that site look distinctly western and distinctly new/shiny. They are probably of a much higher value than the typical items in a bazaar, and I would guess that if I were to go to Indonesia, I could find somewhat comparable items for significantly less than what is being presented on the site. Also, items like small bottles of milk and bottled water are somewhat disengenuous to include, too, as small bottles generally are higher priced than large bottles. I notice some brands (Mickey Mouse, Pokemon) on the clothing... those may be knockoffs, but if they aren't, surely those symbols raise the prices as well. Finally, I notice the chicken to be laying on nice, shiny tile... not exaclty what I have experienced walking through the markets in Marrakesh, for example. I would guess that down the street from that shop is a place that sells many similar goods at a significantly lower price.

The website author explains that these items are the cheapest available... if they are, I think we have a good business opportunity to go undercut these suppliers on price, because I'm sure we could get tons of items in there for quite a bit cheaper than that.

If the website does a study using a normal developing nation bazaar/market instead of a traditional western "store", and compares the wages of Nike workers to the wages of local workers, it will have much more compelling evidence to present to us. Of course, my guess is that evidence will slightly alter the positioning of the website, politically...
My Music
[ Parent ]

Praise the Freedom to Pay Too Much for Sneakers! (3.42 / 7) (#22)
by Anatta on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 04:03:36 PM EST

First, Nike is not an it. They are people who make decisions and should be accountable for them. But, that's a minor point.

Yes, you're right; Nike is a Greek Goddess. But if you are suggesting I call a multinational corporation "him, "her", or "they", I will refuse. Nike is a group of individuals, however the entity itself is an "it"; it has a corporate veil and referring to it as "they" is incorrect English. Your 7th grade teacher would be ashamed.

Under your explaination, how does a broken window raise the price of a shoe?

Basic formula for profit: revenues minus costs... if costs go up, profits will go down... that will make investors pissy, so therefore revenues will have to go up, meaning prices will go up. Of course, I would guess the whole discussion is moot because I'm sure Nike is insured...

Most companies in the world find that they don't need to spend billions on advertising and they still make a fine profit.

Are you a Nike shareholder? Do you have any right to tell them what they don't need to do? Do you work there, in management? Seems to me that Nike should do what it needs to do, and if you want to stop them, you should make your own sneaker company to undercut them on price, while keeping the fashion up. You could make billions, which you could give away to sweatshop workers.

Exploiting ones workers does happen to make one exploitive. I am sorry, this is just how it is. A large corporation affects a large number of lives. With this power, there must be some responsibility.

A corporation affects only those who purchase its products and work for it.. and they do so willingly. Corporations may also affect those not involved with production or consumption through what is known as "tragedy of the commons": pollution of a property with no property rights, like air and water. Such properties are owned by all and therefore get polluted by all. The obvious solution is to privatise wherever possible. And let's not forget people who work in "sweatshops" get higher wages than they otherwise would...

Does it cost them three times as much to make a $160 shoe as a $50 shoe? Why does there have to be a $160 shoe. Converse does not have a $160 shoe. They only have a bunch of different $33 shoes.

I would guess the costs are about the same. I would also guess that Nike sells very few of its $160 shoes; generally companies put one very high-priced item in their list of goods, because on average people don't like to buy the cheapest product, nor do they like to buy the most expensive product. By simply creating a high priced product that doesn't sell, Nike may well increase its profits of its other shoes.

In any case, as to why there has to be a $160 shoe... there doesn't, of course. You could go make your own shoe company and put Nike out of business... no more $160 shoes. You could also use your free speech rights to create an anti-$160 shoe campaign. You could also encourage Converse to spend more on advertising and try to capture some market share from Nike.

hmmmm... let's see, on this site I see some Nike shoes that go for $25... $39... $17 for sandals... not exactly killing consumers on price there!

Now let's look at Converse... here we have a list of Converse shoes at the same price.

So Nike has a line of shoes that are higher priced, but have plenty that compete with Converse, yet have the Nike logo and name. What's the problem here? On the face of it, this whole argument is patently ridiculous.

Anarchists are supposed to be about freedom, but they seem to be for only the freedoms they want -- if I want the freedom to pay Way Too Much for a sneaker, then Thank You, Capitalism (this freedom is also known as freedom of choice). I can already see that under Anarchy, I have less freedom than I currently do.
My Music
[ Parent ]

economics (4.66 / 3) (#33)
by kataklyst on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 09:01:59 PM EST

Basic formula for profit: revenues minus costs... if costs go up, profits will go down... that will make investors pissy, so therefore revenues will have to go up, meaning prices will go up. Of course, I would guess the whole discussion is moot because I'm sure Nike is insured...

The point is that Nike has already priced its products to maximize profit. If Nike thought raising prices would increase profit, they wouldn't need a broken window to prompt a price hike. If all shoe manufacturers were being attacked, there could be a general increase in shoe prices. If only Nike is attacked, Nike's profits will be reduced.

[ Parent ]

Aah, the Black Bloc has it all figured out. (4.00 / 1) (#76)
by Anatta on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 04:41:20 PM EST

If only Nike is attacked, Nike's profits will be reduced.

Except that you're missing insurance. I'm fairly certian Nike has insurance on its properties, which it pays for, and should the property be damaged, the repair costs come out of a large pool of money paid for by all those who want insurance. The insurance company then must raise rates in order to get that money back, which results in higher costs for all.

Add to that Nike's accountants could probably figure out a way to use that damage as a tax loss, and get away in essence with a gain.

Everybody, including the Black Bloc, loses, except Nike. Nike also gets the PR of a company under assault from deranged anarchists, which will likely cause those who think the anarchists are ridiculous loons to be more inclined to purchase shoes from Nike.

Sounds like the Black Bloc has it all figured out...
My Music
[ Parent ]

still seems absurd to me (5.00 / 1) (#96)
by kataklyst on Fri Aug 03, 2001 at 02:10:53 AM EST

First off, I don't speak for or agree with the Black Bloc. I just disagree that being attacked by the Black Bloc is in Nike's interest. Maybe I should just give it up and hope some moron sees your post and decides not to riot.

If Nike is attacked more than their competitors, eventually the insurance companies will notice and pass the cost along. IANAA, but I don't think they can claim a loss if they get the money back from an insurance company. Maybe some people have sympathy for Nike, but others are reminded about reasons to dislike Nike. Probably very few people are even aware that the Black Bloc is targetting Nike, much less care strongly about it.

Also, could you remind me how everyone loses again? It can't be Nike raising prices. I don't think it was the government swallowing Nike's losses through tax credits. Maybe it was the insurance companies raising riot insurance rates on everyone equally? I don't think that's likely if the Black Bloc is successful in focusing its violence.

If being targetted by anarchists was so good for Nike, why didn't they do it to themselves long ago. They could just dress up in masks and destroy their property, then watch the cash come rolling in.

[ Parent ]

Actually, Nike Is an "IT" (3.50 / 2) (#49)
by moshez on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 08:50:58 AM EST

It does not consist of people who make decisions and are accountable for them. It consists of people who are obligated by law to make the decisions that will maximize share-holder revenue.

That means the law makes Nike into an It. And if you do not see how much this is evil (someone could be punished for making a moral decision when an immoral decision would have generated more money), then you obviously have a diffent definition of morality.

[T]he k5 troll HOWTO has been updated ... This update is dedicated to moshez, and other bitter anti-trolls.
[ Parent ]

Interesting article... (3.71 / 7) (#4)
by TheophileEscargot on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 10:52:16 AM EST

...but as someone who's been on occasional peaceful protests, I UTTERLY despise these idiots.

This woman basically admits that the organisers of protests don't want masked "black bloc" rioters there, but seems to attribute this to jealously of the media attention they get.
If the "black block" genuinely cared about their causes, they would stick to peaceful protests. As it is they just seem purely interested in the "thrilling rush of adrenaline" she boasts about, and they don't give a stuff if it discredits the cause.
----
Support the nascent Mad Open Science movement... when we talk about "hundreds of eyeballs," we really mean it. Lagged2Death

An abyss (4.00 / 1) (#29)
by mrBlond on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 05:38:53 PM EST

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. - Friedrich Nietzsche

> as someone who's been on occasional peaceful
> protests, I UTTERLY despise these idiots.
> -- TheophileEscargot

I'm an active Green Party member, and I agree with the core Green principle of nonviolence.

Now, these violent protesters disagree with me to the same degree that I disagree with neo-liberal parties. I believe the neo-liberals and the Black Bloc are wrong - it's glaringly obvious to me; but that is just my opinion. Should the "centrist" fascists and Black Blocers not be allowed to express themselves even if I vehemently disagree?

> Violence is a tricky concept
> -- Mary Black

No it's not, I know it when I feel and see it.

All I can say to fellow peaceful protesters is be careful to not to allow agents provocateurs to infiltrate.

Also check out earthDot's tomphwulio's smashing the military-industrial complex comment.
--
Inoshiro for cabal leader.
[ Parent ]

Can't have your cake and eat it too (4.18 / 11) (#6)
by OOG THE CAVEMAN on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 11:29:57 AM EST

So "she" claims that destroying property and using violence are acceptable ways to get one's methods across. Yet somehow it's not acceptable for people (i.e. police) to protect their city and their own lives by using force to defend against the violent protests. By her logic, people should be able to "protest" the annoyance of the Black Bloc by lining up and beating the crap out of those thugs. But I guess since she has some kind of divine mission which only she and her fellow looters can understand, they have the right to use violence while being exempt from recieving it.

They also talk of cruel exploitation of innocent people... hmm, doesn't that remind anyone of the way violent protestors went to Genoa and destroyed local property, rudely harassed the local citizens, attacked local police, and then left the city damaged after "exploiting" it to get their whiny message across (though it was more a message of "We're bored and full of adrenaline! Let's go break things and burn stuff! Heh heh heh!").

Oh well, maybe the discussion here will be better than on *vomit* Plastic.com, where the exact same article was posted a full day ago.
OOG BREAK HEAD WITH OPEN SOURCE CD!!!
Violence against property, not people (4.12 / 8) (#14)
by Nick Ives on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 02:03:11 PM EST

You seem to misunderstand. Anarchists dont believe in capitolist property rights, they see them as capitolist tools for explotation. By having a protest and destroying a McDonalds they see themselves destroying the means of exploitation. Real anarchists never use violence against people as that is directly against everything that anarchism stands for, which is the destruction of all forms of cooercian and violence against people (including government and capitolism, to name but a few).

For more information about anarchism I suggest you read the FAQ.

--
Nick
I used to be socialist, but disliked the idea of centralised state socialism (for numerous reasons) and was searching for a socialist political philosophy where the people doing the work had more immediate control over their environment and community instead of some centralised burocracy. Then I discovered anarchy. Its nice when that happens.

[ Parent ]

Total BS. (4.37 / 8) (#16)
by slaytanic killer on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 02:21:02 PM EST

While I can accept violence against property, I will never delude myself into believing it's not violence against people too.

You mentioned McD's. Why not mention the small shopkeeper who has to support a large family? Yet those shops are attacked with equal abandon. Why did you not offer that example, if either is equally arbitrary?

I'm not attacking your point that private property is bad. I am asking you why you chose to say "McDonald's" instead of "poor shopkeeper supporting a large family"?

[ Parent ]
distinguishing characteristics (3.83 / 6) (#25)
by samth on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 04:56:03 PM EST

I am asking you why you chose to say "McDonald's" instead of "poor shopkeeper supporting a large family"?

Because the rationale being used here (which I don't neccessarily endorse) would not advocate attacking some stores run by poor shopkeepers, but would advocate attacking others. The distinguishing characteristic here being that one was a McD's and one was a corner store.

Given a choice between Libertarianism and ravenous martian spores, I ask you, do I look good in this Bernaise sauce? -- eLuddite
[ Parent ]

True, however... (4.60 / 5) (#28)
by slaytanic killer on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 05:20:15 PM EST

Reading the provided faq carefully, I find that they are against all forms of private property. "Property is theft. Property is despotism." There are no mitigating circumstances, and they certainly have had the freedom to list them.

And still, they talk about McDonald's and not poor shopkeepers. There is something fundamentally dishonest about that, and I only bring it up because I would think anarchists are above that. So I hold them to a higher standard than say, Microsoft or Bush.

[ Parent ]
property vs shops (3.50 / 2) (#45)
by samth on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 08:36:41 AM EST

First, most small-time shopkeepers do not own their stores, so the analysis you make doesn't apply. Furthermore, that link only deals with private property in land, not in goods (of the kind a store would sell).

Second, McD's is a global corporation, and is an important player in many of the things that are wrong with globalization. Since the property destruction is done to make a point, the point is made more effectively with McD's.

Third, being a large corporation, McD's is much better able to recover. The idea is not to put store owners out of business, but to make a statement.

Finally, many people think that small shops are ok, and would be even in an anarchist society.

Given a choice between Libertarianism and ravenous martian spores, I ask you, do I look good in this Bernaise sauce? -- eLuddite
[ Parent ]

Not Carefully Enough (3.50 / 2) (#53)
by moshez on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 09:08:34 AM EST

Because you failed to search for their definitions of property. Specifically, in "property is theft" what is meant is that using property to extract profit from people doing the labour is equivalent to using guns to rob them. Which it is.

[T]he k5 troll HOWTO has been updated ... This update is dedicated to moshez, and other bitter anti-trolls.
[ Parent ]
no, this is a misrepresentation (4.33 / 3) (#58)
by eLuddite on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 10:34:04 AM EST

All of socialism distinguishes between property and bourgeois property. Even the Communist Manifesto allows the former. From the same FAQ:
Even Marx and Engels did not define socialism in terms of the abolition of all forms of "private property." Like anarchists, they distinguished between that property which allows exploitation to occur and that which did not. Looking at the Communist Manifesto we find them arguing that the "distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property" and that "Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labour of others by means of such appropriation." Moreover, they correctly note that "property" has meant different things at different times and that the "abolition of existing property relations is not at all a distinctive feature of Communism" as "[a]ll property relations in the past have continually been subject to historical change consequent upon the change in historical conditions." As an example, they argue that the French Revolution "abolished feudal property in favour of bourgeois property." [The Manifesto of the Communist Party]
Furthermore, anarchists distinguish between ownership and the combination of (use + occupancy).

Finally, capitalist regurgitation of Lockean principles is a sham for at least two reasons: (1) Locke's entire theory of property rest on the assumption that there is enough to go around:

Sec. 27. Though the Earth, and all inferior Creatures be common to all Men, yet every Man has a Property in his own Person. This no Body had any Right to but himself. The Labour of his Body, and the Work of his Hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of the State that Nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his Labour with, and joyned to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his Property. It being by him removed from the common state Nature placed it in, it hath by this labour something annexed to it, that excludes the common right of other Men. For this Labour being the unquestionable Property of the Labourer, no Man but he can have a right to what that is once joyned to, at least where there is enough, and as good left in common for others.
(This is actually quite defensible by the anarchist if read as written in the social context of Locke -- ie, before industrialization and at the dawn of capitalism. Before, in other words, capitalism's historical, excessive exploitation of labor through private property.)

(2) Locke invests human beings with inalienable, God granted rights. Whatever one thinks of the mechanics of such a religious concept, its only importance is the premise that humans have intrinsic value. OTOH, Capitalist ideologies of 19th century on, reject this premise entirely. In it's place, they subordinate all other rights to "property rights" and hold that humans have only, broadly speaking, market value.

So for the people who cite Locke as justification against anarchists, sorry, no, you do not have the luxury of stipulating Lockean rules while playing in a non Lockean areana; the concept of capital property eluded Locke by almost 200 years.

(In any case, this is a defensible position.)

Finally, as long as I'm baiting capitalists without a clue, let me end with the following letter written by a famous classical liberal:

"...I set out yesterday morning to take a view of the place.... As soon as I had got clear of the town I fell in with a poor woman walking at the same rate as myself and going the same course. Wishing to know the condition of the laboring poor I entered into conversation with her... She told me she was a day labourer, at 8 sous or 4 d. sterling the day; that she had two children to maintain, and to pay a rent of 30 livres for her house (which would consume the hire of 75 days), that often she could get no employment, and of course was without bread. As we had walked together near a mile and she had so far served me as a guide, I gave her, on parting, 24 sous. She burst into tears of a gratitude which I could percieve was unfeigned, because she was unable to utter a word. She had probably never before recieved so great an aid. This little attendrissement, with the solitude of my walk led me into a train of reflections on that unequal division of property which occaisions the numberless instances of wretchedness which I have observed in this country and is to be observed all over Europe. The property of this country is absolutely concentrated in a very few hands, having revenues of from half a million of guineas a year downwards. These employ the flower of the country as servants, some of them having as many as 200 domestics, not labouring. They employ also a great number of manufacturers, and tradesmen, and lastly the class of labouring husbandmen. But after these comes them most numerous of all the classes, that is, the poor who cannot find work. I asked myself what could be the reason that so many should be permitted to beg who are willing to work, in a country where there is a very considerable proportion of uncultivated lands? These lands are kept idle mostly for the sake of game. It should seem then that it must be because of the enormous wealth of the proprietors which places them above attention to the increase of their revenues by permitting these lands to be laboured. I am conscious that an equal division of property is impracticable. But the consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property, only taking care to let their subdivisions go hand in hand with the natural affections of the human mind. The descent of property of every kind therefore to all the children, or to all the brothers and sisters, or other relations in equal degree is a politic measure, and a practicable one. Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise. Whenever there is in any country, uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. The earth is given as a common stock for man to labour and live on. If, for the encouragement of industry we allow it to be appropriated, we must take care that other employment be furnished to those excluded from the appropriation. If we do not the fundamental right to labour the earth returns to the unemployed. It is too soon yet in our country to say that every man who cannot find employment but who can find uncultivated land, shall be at liberty to cultivate it, paying a moderate rent. But it is not too soon to provide by every possible means that as few as possible shall be without a little portion of land. The small landholders are the most precious part of a state."
Yes, that was written by the arch socialist Thomas Jefferson.

---
The NRA Song: I got a gun, it's a meanie, it makes up for my teenie weenie.
[ Parent ]

Fascinating quote by Jefferson... (5.00 / 2) (#61)
by Anatta on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 12:29:28 PM EST

But yet, the first thing that springs to my mind is maybe the federal government should sell/give away portions of the huge amount of land it controls to those who wish to reap the benefits of it, just as it did so long ago. The government owns well over 30% of the landmass of the US (I've read figures up to 55%, though they may not be current); and there is no question the government could get the land to those who need it very easily, and such land would greatly benefit the poor.

It almost seems like the US Government is acting like the Catholic Church: the Catholic Church is supposedly "for" helping the poor, yet they have so many priceless works of art it's ridiculous. You'd think they'd start selling them off and getting the money to those who need it.

I'm a libertarian, yet a graduated tax system makes sense to me... I would just like to see it from 0% for the poor to 15% to the wealthy, rather than about 40% now or 70% as it was during Carter. It seems to me that such a system would help all involved, but I don't see it happening.

Turning government land into private property, sold to the poor at very low prices, makes a lot of sense to me, though I'm sure it would cause the environmentalists to freak out. My guess is that if the government did that, however, environmental quality would go up, not down (the government is the worst polluter of all in the US)... clearly the government needs to keep some land (key wetlands, environmentally sensitive areas, defense areas, etc.) but it could sell off a WHOLE LOT and greatly increase the wealth of the poor. Both the libertarians and those who seek to help the poor (I consider myself part of both categories) should support such a policy...
My Music
[ Parent ]

Guess you never read Locke (4.00 / 10) (#17)
by OOG THE CAVEMAN on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 02:35:25 PM EST

or you seem to have a lot of disdain for his philosophies, which like it or not, are pretty fundamental to the existance of modern democracy. Anyway, Locke basically argued that property is created/acquired through the fruits of human labor. When one puts his labor into an object, the object becomes his property, and thus an extension of himself. Therefore there is almost no distinction between property and people.

Violence against property IS violence against people. When you attack or destroy a McDonald's you are attacking the owner of the franchise, as well as the employees who put their labor into the franchise. Do you really think destroying a McDonalds is a victimless crime (oh, wait, you guys consider it heroism, not a crime)? If McDonalds is such a mighty faceless corporation, do you think violent attacks against a single part of it will do any damage? Instead, you're doing damage to the community and members of the community who earn the livings through that McDonald's. You're pointing at one target and shooting at another, and in the process only harming the people for whom you claim to be fighting.
OOG BREAK HEAD WITH OPEN SOURCE CD!!!
[ Parent ]
Matter of degree (3.60 / 5) (#19)
by slaytanic killer on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 03:25:17 PM EST

I'll actually agree that attacking McDo is reasonable, if not victimless. I believe they're more likely to carry insurance than poor shopkeepers, and it is important in a game-theoretic sense to be somewhat against powerful players. (Still, the enterprising anarchist should take care to not hit the better franchises; the community shouldn't be made to suffer because they didn't happen to agree with someone.)

However, I tend to think that anarchists are free enough to be as truthful as they want, and in using an example like McDo instead of a poor shopkeeper, there was a whiff of dishonesty.

[ Parent ]
Sorry for the appeal to emotion (none / 0) (#103)
by Nick Ives on Sun Sep 09, 2001 at 09:05:05 AM EST

I really should check the "your comments" link more often, I have the worst habit for posting and then not reading replies.

With that out of the way, I accept that saying McDonalds instead of the small shopkeeper I was being a little dishonest and appealing to emotions. Most people find it easier to condone action against the large corporations instead of the small guy. I think that is quite valid as a form of protest though, as going after the big companies causes less harm to those companies and its employees than it does to the small guy (because the big companies can afford it), it also generates more publicity (which is vital for a protest of any form to be sucessful). Sure, the employees of the franchise that gets hit might loose some wages, but dont you think McD's should pay them anyway whilst the franchise gets refurbished? Companies used to talk alot about "employee loyalty", these days its all been replaced with crap about "flexability" which to me just looks like the flexability of the companys to fire who they want when they want for whatever reason they want. McDonalds can afford to pay its employees for however long it takes to refurbish a vandalised franchise, if they decide not to then that would be just another reason why McD's is such a bad company.

I'd like to say that im some respects I sympathise with people who talk about "ethical capitalism". If companies were fairer to their workers and to society, and worked more to contribute back to society, then maybe the world would be a better place and there wouldnt be so much death and poverty about, but I think the profit motive that is inherant in capitalism makes that way too hard to properly enforce. The company that makes the most profits wins and as long as there is a mass of people who are living just above the poverty line and struggling to make ends meet then they will have to buy the products from that company wether they like it or not.

Fineally, I wouldnt personally condone destruction of property. If I had the decision as to what form of protest should be used against McDonalds (or any other large company) I would advocate more non violent methods, such as maybe a sit in or something. I just dont think that the full force of the law (clad in riot gear) should be brought down upon people whos sole aim is the destruction of private property, but I also think that the people involved in such destruction should be more willing to make themselves known and should probably be willing to goto jail for what they believe. Nothing tends to bring as much publicity to a cause as a political prisoner.

--
Nick
Replying about 6wks after the parent comment was made. Is that a record? =P

[ Parent ]

Of course We Have Disdain for His Philosophy (4.00 / 2) (#54)
by moshez on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 09:10:42 AM EST

And you apparently haven't read him carefully enough either, or you'd see the horrible things he advocated. Like, that it is completely moral to violently take someone's property *if* you also happen to use that property to make both of you better off. I guess, better off by the taker's reckoning...

[T]he k5 troll HOWTO has been updated ... This update is dedicated to moshez, and other bitter anti-trolls.
[ Parent ]
I'm still curious - OT (5.00 / 1) (#21)
by weirdling on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 03:36:31 PM EST

How, exactly, do you propose this anarchy to work?

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
RTFM (3.00 / 2) (#52)
by moshez on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 09:06:18 AM EST

He already gave you a link to the faq, but here it is again in case you missed it.

[T]he k5 troll HOWTO has been updated ... This update is dedicated to moshez, and other bitter anti-trolls.
[ Parent ]
Sorry; missed that (4.50 / 2) (#65)
by weirdling on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 01:44:42 PM EST

<p>Ok, I have this to say, dang, you anarchists are long-winded, but, after reading through the faq, it appears that this is direct-democracy with available secession and worker-ownership, in other words, something you could jolly well do right now without any real effort. Perhaps I don't understand, though, how direct-democracy and the destruction of hierarchies will automagically cause socialism of any sort and the destruction of 'wage slavery'. I'm not against anarchy; I still don't see how, exactly, one expects that a highly anarchical society would result in socialism, and that's *after* wading through the vast, uncharted waters of flawgic that constitute that particular faq.

<blockquote>A society-wide economic federation of this sort is clearly not the same thing as a centralised state agency, as in the concept of nationalised or state-owned industry. As Emma Goldman argued, there is a clear difference between socialisation and nationalisation. "The first requirement of Communism," she argued, "is the socialisation of the land and of the machinery
of production and distribution. Socialised land and machinery belong to the people, to be settled upon and used by individuals and groups according to their needs." Nationalisation, on the other hand, means that a resource "belongs to the state; that is, the government has control of it and may dispose of it according to its wishes and views." She stressed that "when a thing is socialised, every individual has free access to it and may
use it without interference from anyone." When the state owned property, "[s]uch a state of affairs may be called state capitalism, but it would be fantastic to consider it in any sense communistic." [Red Emma Speaks, pp.360-1]
</blockquote>
<p>How, again, does this *actually* differ? Anarchism as here stated merely has this pseudo-republican direct-democracy that, according to the previous statement, has direct interest and therefore direct control in every operation of the state and all its contributory economies. This is government.
<p>To me, anyway, the faq makes it clear that anarcho-socialists are not true anarchists, as they merely replace the compelling force of faceless government with the compelling force of the people. At least they allow one to secede from the system of operation, my first order of business, but I'm sure it'd take nearly five minutes for that idea to lose credence, as well over half the system seceded. The reason soicalism doesn't work is that it totally fails to take account of greed, the strongest force in human nature. It is a political system built around the idea that if we remove government completely, everyone will play nice, which simply isn't so.
<p>True anarchy states that governments are no longer necessary; the functions governments enable can be accomplished through other means that are more efficient, and less injurious to freedom. Since it is a tacit admission in the system of socialist anarchy here described that actions of others in the same economy impinge on the lives of those in unrelated sectors, it follows that they must have some sort of power over the other sectors. This is the libertarian concept of 'common good', where laws must exist to compel the common good and to allow for arbitration of disputes, but it is not a part of anarchy, which claims that corporations can be constructed that will deal with these problems adequately.
<p>Anyway, the faq did explain what it is these people intend to do, but it did not explain how, exactly, socialistic practices would spontaneously arise from the dust of our current society. I still await that explanation.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
masks (4.00 / 8) (#11)
by Delirium on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 01:26:31 PM EST

their masks are not signs of cowardice, but rather solidarity and "many before one."

I'm very skeptical of this. It's rather obvious that the primary purpose of wearing ski masks when conducting criminal activities is to prevent identification of the criminal by authorities. Maybe this justification would be believable as a symbolic gesture if a bunch of peaceful masked protestors were just marching down the street, but in this case they're engaged in criminal acts while doing what criminals always do. They certainly didn't think this idea up in the first place - it's not much different than the guy wearing a ski mask while he loots the local 7-11 (and in fact many of the "black bloc" are that guy looting the local 7-11).

Thoreau and Disobedience (4.55 / 9) (#13)
by Anatta on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 02:01:35 PM EST

Yes, I agree, the black masks are very hypocritical, and enable the "protesters" to destroy with impunity.

From what I understand, H.D. Thoreau is one of the heros of the modern protest movement (including the violent movement), however they seem to miss that Thoreau advocated breaking the laws in full view of all, including the authorities, so that all can know who is performing the disobedience. He said that the protester must be prepared to face the punishment for his deeds. It's a much more "honorable" form of disobedience than the one the Black Bloc practices. Maybe if they started behaving as Thoreau suggested (and did -- he went to jail to protest unjust taxation), they might get a little more credibility among the media. I fear smashing Niketown and "wealth redistirbution through looting" won't (and shouldn't) get them any brownie points.
My Music
[ Parent ]

Masks are more than masks... (3.62 / 8) (#18)
by BlackStripe on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 03:18:40 PM EST

and the enemy wears no less.

Among many purposes and welcome side-benefits of wearing the black bandana, the most central of all is self-defense. Anyone who has been to one of these protests and posesses an IQ over six knows enough to not only wear a bandana, but to smear it thoroughly with chapstick and carry a container of vinegar to dowse it with. This helps to dramatically reduce the effect of tear gas and pepper spray, which is very important considering the large number of people who can have severe allergic reactions to both.

I have seen a seventy year old woman with severe burns/boils on the side of her face from an allergic reaction after being hit with pepper spray at point blank range. Keep in mind that when pepper spray is referred to in the context of these protests, it is not the little can you take with you to feel safer on the subway at night. The pepper spray we are talking about comes out of twin canisters mounted on your back that shoot a jet of liquid as thick as a fire hose.

Speaking of the seventy year old woman (who I met in D.C., April 21 2000), her story provides an excellent counter to those who complain about the anonymity the mask provides. Ask anyone who has ever been to an anti-globalisation protest what the first thing is cops do when you approach them, if they haven't done it already, and they will tell you it is remove their badges and/or cover up their badge number. Even higher ranking officers in charge of a group of other officers will cover or remove their badge the moment you approach them, even within the context of a negotiation process. U.S. Marshalls and the L.A.P.D. have made this tactic famous for years, and it is admittedly very effective in reducing the ability of protestors to file grievances against particularly violent officers. This is exactly what happened to the seventy year old woman, a photographer for Indymedia, who was trying to take a picture of a line of officers to get their badge numbers when they abruptly removed them, so she went in closer to get a close-up of their hands clasped around their badges and they shot her in the face with pepper spray from less than five feet away. Ugh. Anyway, my original point was simply this:

1. The masks primary purpose is self-defense, while this inherently includes protection from identification, it's a lot more complicated than that, and

2. The cops do it, too. Furthermore, the violence they participate in is dramatically worse than that which protestors participate in. Throwing a brick through a window at Wally's World is one thing, the violent repression of a social movement is quite another.

Against Capital and State,
Blackstripe



[ Parent ]

Your point is because the cops do it, it's okay? (3.33 / 3) (#41)
by Trepalium on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 03:49:41 AM EST

I somehow fail to see the point. Just because the police do it, doesn't make it any more right to hide behind anonimity. Cowardice is cowardice, no matter who commits it. Obscuring a badge number to prevent prosecution is no different from someone who wears a mask to allow them to commit their acts with impunity. The point of the other poster still stands, refusing to take responsibility for your actions when intentionally ignoring the law weakens the statement that you are trying to say since you're obviously not willing to put your own well-being into the statement.

Secondly, the seventy year old should file a lawsuit against the police for both those actions. There's no reason either one should be tolerated.

[ Parent ]

not a standalone (3.50 / 2) (#69)
by BlackStripe on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 02:01:11 PM EST

My point was that they are used as a safety measure. Wearing a mask saturated with chap stick and/or vinegar can help reduce the effects of the various weapons used by police when you aren't lucky enough to have a gas mask. This was my most important point. Pointing out that police officers also do it isn't a defense, simply an anecdote. Both were pointed out because they were not included in the article. The article presents the most fundamental reasons the masks are worn:

1. To protect yourself from identification during peaceful actions. (Very important distinction-- if you are acting illegally then you are busted and the mask is off, the rest of the time the mask simply protects you from undercover cops with cameras and videotapes who are trying to collect information on everyone present, violent or otherwise. They did this in the sixties, and while it's illegal now, they still do it.)

2. To eliminate individual recognition. This is very important to almost all of us as anarchists because we believe that, as much as is reasonably possible, we need to be a movement without recognition for individuals. We realize the inherent weakness of movements with figureheads and we don't want any. We prefer nameless and unified groups that act as a demonstration of their cause and their values, not talking heads that run their mouths til they end up in a gutter somewhere like too many other heroes of the 20th century.

She named a lot of other things as well, but these were the two that were most significant to me. I wasn't trying to make a standalone case for the mask, simply adding to hers (which is a solid stand-alone case). If you haven't read her letter already, you should. All of the negative responses to it that I've read so far choose to selectively address individual points she makes while ignoring other supporting points or the general message she is presenting. In an online forum you have to really stretch to be fair to the people you respond to because they're not right with you to keep clarifying themselves.

PS - Have you ever seen what happens to police in court? Not much. Her case was dismissed before it even went to court, and she even had photographs of the entire thing as it happened. If it had gone to court the cops would have been found guilty. They always are. No one sends a cop to jail, no matter what they do. Look at Rodney King. The reason is because police ARE society, they represent the laws society wants and therefore they can never be seen as guilty of violating those laws. As long as anyone has power over anyone else the world will always be like this. I don't know about you but I go to bed at night dreaming of a better place, and wake up each morning eager to fight for one.



[ Parent ]

Actually, No (4.00 / 4) (#57)
by moshez on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 09:27:16 AM EST

H.D. Thoreau is not followed by anarchist protestors. Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience", while a wonderfully written classic, and has the seeds of anarchism, is much more reformist then true anarchism.

Next hypocricy argument, please!

[T]he k5 troll HOWTO has been updated ... This update is dedicated to moshez, and other bitter anti-trolls.
[ Parent ]

It's very different (3.33 / 3) (#36)
by abe ferlman on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 12:21:49 AM EST

it's not much different than the guy wearing a ski mask while he loots the local 7-11 (and in fact many of the "black bloc" are that guy looting the local 7-11)

It's very different. The person looting the 7-11 is making a profit, the person destroying the Nike property is making a statement. If you can't see that, you obviously didn't think very hard before making your mind up.



[ Parent ]

masks (3.33 / 3) (#38)
by Delirium on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 01:09:16 AM EST

I meant that the function of the mask is the same in both cases - to conceal the identity of the perpetrator from authorities. In other words, I don't buy their claim that the masks aren't due to cowardice.

[ Parent ]
What's Your Point? (4.50 / 2) (#42)
by yooden on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 06:36:12 AM EST

It's rather obvious that the primary purpose of wearing ski masks when conducting criminal activities is to prevent identification of the criminal by authorities.

That probably the reason why Mary writes:

I've been yelled at by protester and cop alike to take off my mask. This idea is impossible for most of us. What we are doing is illegal. [..] We are well aware that police photograph and videotape demonstrations, even when they are legally disallowed from doing so. To take off our masks will put us in direct danger of the police.


[ Parent ]
Mary Said That... (3.33 / 3) (#56)
by moshez on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 09:24:53 AM EST

The purpose of masks was also to avoid being photographed by the police because what they are doing is illegal (a euphemism for "hurting the interests of the rich and powerful, and standing up for people everywhere"). I happen to think that the fact the police has large armories backing them is more cowardly then anarchists not giving the police a cleaner target to shoot at.

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[ Parent ]
Violence breaks the social contract (4.62 / 8) (#23)
by pauldamer on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 04:18:09 PM EST

Mary Black argues that violence against a nike store is OK because it only hurts nike( a company of questionable morals).
This argument is false for two reasons.

1: A broken window doesn't hurt nike whatsoever. The cost of replacement (at most 1000$us) is quickly offset by the advertising value airtime of the store in local news. (any coverage is good coverage) In addition nike becomes the "victim" of terrorists and gains the sympathy of millions.

2: It violates the social laws of the community and thus will never get the People on your side. Who wants to live somewhere where window breaking is an acceptable form of protest. People in most communities have given up the right to break things and vandalize at will in exchange for the security of their neighborhood. When people violate that security it obviously creates a backlash.

Breaking Windows Of Whom? (4.00 / 1) (#47)
by moshez on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 08:42:45 AM EST

Of large exploitative corporations? I sort of hope more people will want to live in a place where corporations are hurt when they hurt *real* *physical* people. They don't right now. This is sad. Hopefully, enough people will gain enough respect for their freedoms. And until they do, the Black Bloc will remind us, each day, that compromise with capitalism is not a necessary evil, it is just evil.

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[ Parent ]
Breaking the windows of Joe Smith. (5.00 / 1) (#92)
by NovaHeat on Thu Aug 02, 2001 at 05:38:50 PM EST

On one level, these criminals are indeed breaking the windows of Nike, the massive multinational corporation. On another level, they're breaking the windows of Joe Smith, employee of Nike who is trying to run a store and sell shoes. Does Joe Smith make the decisions to "exploit" people in poor nations (exploitation is a dubious term anyways, since Nike isn't FORCING anyone to work in their factories instead of the family rice-plantation)? No, he's not. He's trying to make a salary and feed his family. Is Joe Smith the one lobbying government officials? Nope. Joe Smith is the manager of the Nike store on 11th and Jones street, who might have to lay off a worker (who also might have a family to feed, or perhaps have college debts to pay) to offset the costs of replacing the windows, cleaning the graffiti, and replacing the shoes that were stolen or destroyed by angry rioters.

Blaming "evil exploitative" corporations is a common way of attempting to justify one's own illegal actions.

I bet I can guess what these "protestors'" reactions would be if Nike hired thugs to throw bricks *BACK* at the protestors. Hell, I can imagine these protestors' reactions if they heard what the people they're supposedly representing had to say about Nike, rather than some expatriate from one of these "exploited" nations who is paid to drive around and speak the evils of the Great Corporate Empire.


-----

Rose clouds of flies.
[ Parent ]

Violence is drama (4.33 / 3) (#31)
by anansi on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 07:40:47 PM EST

Instead of trying to tie themselves with anarchism, the black block would do well to distance itself from nihlism. When I see or hear of people in black masks at a demonstration, they are trying hard to provoke police, damaga property, and generally raise the drama level as high as it can go.

As a nonviolent protester who believes we can get the job done without cracking heads and breaking windows, the black block makes my job infinitely more difficult. I have no patience with them at all.

Don't call it Fascism. Use Musollini's term: "Corporatism"

Maybe (4.50 / 2) (#32)
by physicsgod on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 08:01:13 PM EST

The peaceful protesters should start carrying stun guns and wire ties. That way if they see anyone violent they can incapacitate and immobilize them for the police. Sure would generate publicity and increase my (and probably others) respect for the peaceful ones.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Nah, you can spin that, too. (5.00 / 1) (#40)
by Trepalium on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 03:36:13 AM EST

Then the demonstrators were armed, dangerous, and attacking fellow demonstrators, and the police would HAVE to step in to prevent protestors from assaulting other protestors. In these situations, you can't win. If you fight the people who want to make trouble, you hand the police a reason to attack you. If you let the people who want to make trouble, make trouble, you give the police a reason to attack you. And either one gives the press ammo to discredit your cause to the general public. Ever wonder why protests these days don't seem to accomplish anything?

[ Parent ]
Depends On What You Consider Your "Job". (4.00 / 1) (#51)
by moshez on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 09:02:20 AM EST

...and on whether the Black Bloc is doing its job properly.

I always felt that the major responsibility of the Black Bloc is to terrify the cops enough that most of the police force will go after them and let the peaceful protestors have an easier time.

Note that Mary agrees with it, and she also says that sometimes this things go awry.

When you're up to your knees in aligators, you forget the original project was to drain the swamp.

And don't forget, some of the so-called Black Bloc are actually cop agents looking to tarnish reputations. If you someone who is not following Black Bloc ethics, it's usually an undercover cop. I am sad to see that even in your eyes, the cops managed to tarnish are reputation. Be aware that if they succeed, you'll be the next target -- they'll send agents into your midst, and make you sick with your friends for being violent.

[T]he k5 troll HOWTO has been updated ... This update is dedicated to moshez, and other bitter anti-trolls.
[ Parent ]

Boston Tea Party (4.28 / 7) (#34)
by marx on Tue Jul 31, 2001 at 10:37:21 PM EST

Dear American Hypocrites,

Those of you who are American and are slamming the Black Bloc's actions should be ashamed of yourselves. I am not an expert in American history, but at least I know about the Boston Tea Party. It is seen as one of the most heroic moments in your history, and almost perfectly mirrors the behavior of the Black Bloc.

Here is an excerpt from the page I linked:

Everywhere there was opposition to landing the dutied brew, and on December 16th, a crowd of several thousand persons assembled in the Faneuil Hall-Old South Church area and shouted encouragement to about 60 men disguised as Mohawk Indians, who boarded the three ships at Griffin's wharf. With the aid of the ships' crew, the "Indians" tossed 342 chests of tea, valued at 18,000 into Boston Bay.

These Americans were pissed off at some British behavior. Instead of demonstrating peacefully, they formed a mob and violently destroyed some British property as a demonstration. During this event they were disguised as Mohawk Indians.

Please, with your infinite wisdom, describe why the Boston Tea Party was perfectly OK, while at the same time the actions of the Black Bloc are not.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.

Well... (4.50 / 2) (#35)
by BloodmoonACK on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 12:19:50 AM EST

Maybe it's because destroying every McDonald's or Starbucks which is unlucky enough to be near a summit is slightly different from destroying a shipload of tea (note, they did not destroy the ship...I know this is a fine point, but it does make a difference)...a better comparison would be if the black bloc was storming delivery trucks and destroying the meat or even if the Tea Party had demolished the stores that were going to serve the tea.

"It's like declaring a 'war on crime' and then claiming every (accused) thief is an 'enemy combatant'." - Hizonner
[ Parent ]

It is close to the same (2.75 / 4) (#39)
by NuPhreak on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 01:44:25 AM EST

The blac bloc is aiming to destroy an inequitable system of oppression which does rob the working class (capitalism) by destroying the major proprietors of that oppression. The colonists were aiming to destroy an inequitable system of oppression which robbed the working class (imperialism) by destroying the major proprietors of that oppression. In each case the delivery of the product was blocked/destroyed. Besides all of that do you really believe that imperialism is nearly as an abomination on the working class as capitalism is? Why spend time knocking the only people who are fighting for a fair economic system along with personal liberty, seems the capitalist only mind the liberty, and the communist only mind the economics, long live those who fight for both!

[ Parent ]
apples and oranges again... (4.50 / 2) (#70)
by f00b4r on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 02:04:43 PM EST

In each case the delivery of the product was blocked/destroyed.

The equivalent of destroying a window in a McDonalds store during the Boston Tea Party would be destroying part of the ship or part of the store that served(purchased) the tea. Todays McDonalds version of the Boston Tea Party would be throwing the hamberger patties into the dumpster when they are being delivered. To the best of my knowledge that hasnt happened.

I think these comparisons are hard to make because in the case of the Boston Tea Party the enemy was a government, and in the case of the protestors the enemy is a corporation.

[ Parent ]
Just not enough space to argue these points (3.00 / 2) (#72)
by NuPhreak on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 02:56:43 PM EST

Your right, I would say I did a bad job making the comparison because there is none to be made. As an anarchist I can tell you the Blac bloc is aiming to END Capitalism. Now Capitalism is part of American society because of many different things, the government which keeps it in place, the corporations who use it to rape the working class, the police who guard capitalist institutions, and a majority of American politicians. So although I disagree with alot of blac bloc tactics I think they are on the right track. They are attacking those who use capitalism to exploit. Those who use capitalism to exploit are the ones who are easily seen by a majority of politically apathetic Americans to be bad, hence they are the best ones to target for direct action type tactics. On top of this I think this type of protest should be compared to the American Revolution. Was there no violence in that? This type of protest is wholly revolutionary so compare it to past revolutions.

To quote an asshole:
"A revolution is not a dinner party"
Chairman Mao

To quote another asshole:
"How fortunate for governments that the people they administer do not think"
Adolf Hitler


[ Parent ]
Please Elaborate (3.50 / 2) (#79)
by marx on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 08:05:43 PM EST

I think these comparisons are hard to make because in the case of the Boston Tea Party the enemy was a government, and in the case of the protestors the enemy is a corporation.

Why does that make a difference? You could just as well have written:

I think these comparisons are hard to make because in the case of the Boston Tea Party they dressed in brown clothes and in the case of the protestors they dressed in black clothes.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

comparisons (4.00 / 2) (#81)
by f00b4r on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 08:46:15 PM EST

The main difference is that in America, the government has the responsability to listen to the peoples wishes, corporations do not.

Protestors can smash 1000 McDonalds windows, but McDonalds is not obligated to change a thing. If enough protestors make themselves heard when dealing with the government, there is more of a chance of action being taken. I am not going to guess what the polticial equivalent of braking a window is, but what I can say is the bottom line for a corporation is profit, the bottom line for the government is support.

So in that respect they are very different. In the case of the Boston Tea Party the citizens of Boston (or more specifically the Sons of Liberty?) destroyed the tea as a protest of the Tea Act of 1773. They did not do it to hurt the East India's profit. It was a political action... breaking a window at McDonalds hardly creates a statement of the same magnitude.

Funny how a submission about the Black Bloc can spawn so many seperate threads heh.


[ Parent ]
Effectiveness vs. Principles (4.00 / 2) (#82)
by marx on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 09:36:12 PM EST

What you are saying is that the Black Bloc using violence against property is ineffective. What I was aiming at though was that people are attacking the Black Bloc for demonstrating violently. I showed that violent protest was glamorized in American history, and thus attacking the Blac Bloc on that basis is hypocrisy.

I think you will agree that the condemnation of protest violence from the G8 and the media is not because they think it's ineffective, but because it violates the principle of peaceful demonstration.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

[nt] good point.. the thread has gone astray (4.00 / 1) (#86)
by f00b4r on Thu Aug 02, 2001 at 02:25:06 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Yes, I Agree (4.00 / 1) (#46)
by moshez on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 08:39:33 AM EST

I would too prefer to just destroy the food at the local McDonalds (at least, I would be doing a real service to the community as well as hurting the profit of an exploitative corporation). Sadly, the easiest way to get in is throwing a brick, and since this already brings the police to the scene, one needs to run away.

But your idea is pretty cool. When can we expect to see you organizing a McDonald's Burger Party?

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[ Parent ]

How about we don't (4.00 / 1) (#44)
by Anatta on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 08:15:46 AM EST

I'm not exactly thrilled that the Boston Tea Party occurred in my city, and that such tactics resulted in a violent revolution which created my country.

I would also say that much of what the Boston Tea Party did was largely irrelavent to the revolution in and of itself. All it did was really piss off the British, which lead to the new laws which ultimately lead to revolution.

I am not very proud of the founding fathers' treatment of slavery and woman's sufferage, nor do I think its record on native americans was stellar. I have to wonder if American society (and potentially the rest of the world) would have been a less violent place if the founding fathers hadn't violently revolted, but rather attempted a peaceful succession.

I am very proud of the fact that after a violent revolution, they managed to set up a government which allows me to criticize it. That's pretty cool.

While I have a feeling that a student of American history could probably find some diffrences between the Black Bloc and the Tea Partiers, I'll just go the easy route and condemn them both.
My Music
[ Parent ]

[OT] Allowing to Criticize (3.66 / 3) (#48)
by moshez on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 08:47:13 AM EST

Yes, of course the government allows you to criticize it. That's because in the USA, the major power is the capital. You can criticize capital too, but you will be effectively silenced or ridiculed as soon as you do. Much more effective then classical censorship, since you do not even feel censored "the news network just think it would not interest their customers".

[T]he k5 troll HOWTO has been updated ... This update is dedicated to moshez, and other bitter anti-trolls.
[ Parent ]
It's your job to get the word out, not The Media's (5.00 / 3) (#63)
by Anatta on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 01:14:44 PM EST

Much more effective then classical censorship, since you do not even feel censored "the news network just think it would not interest their customers".

It probably wouldn't interest their customers, but that speaks more about the customers than it does about the newswriters. There are plenty of ways to get your word out... and people are constantly succeeding getting their word out.

Think Fox News. Even though most K5ers would say it's a bad channel, from what I understand it has the highest viewership of any news channel on cable, even higher than CNN. The content is clearly different from CNN's (much more conservative) but yet it managed to attract a large audience quickly. There is no reason the far left couldn't achieve a similar accomplishment. Look at Rush Limbaugh... from what I understand, he started out small then became a huge radio sensation.. again, like him or not (I don't, I would guess you don't) he's obviously a compelling personality. The left could achieve the same if they so desired.

Finally, look at the internet. You can say whatever you want, and if it's done well, you may attract hundreds, thousands, millions of viewers. If your message is persuasive enough, people might make their own sites and spread the word that way. Look at Indymedia and Pacifica... think about what you could do if you went to Live365 or one of those outfits and created your own anarchist radio show. You could conceivably get thousands of listeners, and then get picked up by an offline radio syndication outlet, and be broadcast to millions around america.

The thing is, you have to do it. Most americans are pretty pleased with what's going on in the world right now. Economic prosperity, little war, a fair amount of cooperation abroad, etc. Though alarmists can point out the horrible things, for the most part, life is good for America. If you want to be an alarmist or a revolutionary, the onus is on you to attract the people's attention... you're not just going to be given some airtime just because you have the Right to it. If you can convince enough people that there's some serious shit going down that they don't know about, chances are the mainstream media will start to cover it. Hell, I was in the eye doctor today and in the waiting room, there was a Time Magazine with a story on Genoa. Clearly the mainstream has sat up and noticed at least somewhat... now is your chance to sleaze the moment, as Thrill Kill Kult so eloquently put it...


My Music
[ Parent ]

They tried peace first (5.00 / 2) (#55)
by wiredog on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 09:11:38 AM EST

Ben Franklin and others, including several English politicians, tried to come to a peaceful solution. If you read the Declaration of Independence you will see that what the founders wanted was the same rights as other Englishmen. No more, no less. When Parliament refused to give those rights, and after talk had failed, they resorted to violence.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]
Anatta and George Bush (3.00 / 2) (#80)
by marx on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 08:26:03 PM EST

I'll just go the easy route and condemn them both.

This is a logical conclusion, and I think I agree with you. However, I think you'd have a pretty hard time getting George Bush to condemn the Boston Tea Party, or any leading Democrat or Republican, and implicitly the US as a whole. This makes the moral system of the US inconsistent (you can prove that things are both true and false), which I think you'd agree is a dangerous position for the most powerful nation in the world to be in.

There was an article about what makes people pissed off at the US, and I think this is it for me. People will never be able to agree on moral systems or political systems, but any system must at least be consistent, or it is arbitrary. The US is not exactly a master of consistency, and thus can make pretty arbitrary decisions.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Terrifying Title! (5.00 / 2) (#87)
by Anatta on Thu Aug 02, 2001 at 09:03:15 AM EST

This is a logical conclusion, and I think I agree with you. However, I think you'd have a pretty hard time getting George Bush to condemn the Boston Tea Party, or any leading Democrat or Republican, and implicitly the US as a whole. This makes the moral system of the US inconsistent (you can prove that things are both true and false), which I think you'd agree is a dangerous position for the most powerful nation in the world to be in.

On the other hand, you probably won't see Europe mentioning it's own colonial past and its transgressions. The US may be hypocritical, but I am quite certain Europe and much of Asia has plenty of the hypocritical sentiment going around, too.

You're right, W probably wouldn't say it, nor would Ted Kennedy. But that's an indication of why I didn't vote for either.

There was an article about what makes people pissed off at the US, and I think this is it for me. People will never be able to agree on moral systems or political systems, but any system must at least be consistent, or it is arbitrary. The US is not exactly a master of consistency, and thus can make pretty arbitrary decisions.

You're right, of course, the US isn't exactly consistent. However, I can recall reading how in Germany in the mid-1990s, Juedism became "cool" among the young, and many young Germans began studying Hebrew as a language, learning history, etc. That doesn't sound consistent with Germany's behavior in the 1930s, but I'll definitely take it.

The point is that countries are not consistent because generations of people change, and one generation of Americans is not the same as another... and I certianly wouldn't want to tell Egypt that its current generation is in essence the same as the Pharohs that ruled thousands of years ago. People change, countries change. It's a good thing, for the most part.

It's most certianly not an American thing, and if you're looking for reasons for the rest of the world to be pissed off at the US, you should keep looking, cuz you haven't found it yet.
My Music
[ Parent ]

Admitting mistakes, and leadership (4.00 / 2) (#95)
by marx on Thu Aug 02, 2001 at 07:55:06 PM EST

[...] many young Germans began studying Hebrew as a language, learning history, etc. That doesn't sound consistent with Germany's behavior in the 1930s, but I'll definitely take it.

You're either intentionally misunderstanding what I was saying, or you're responding too quickly. The point I was making was not that the US did not condemn the Boston Tea Party while it was happening, this is irrelevant, but that today's leaders do not condemn it, while at the same time condemning similar behavior by the Black Bloc.

You pick an unfortunate example in Germany, because it is really an example for the rest of the world in how to behave with such a horrible past. It is very difficult to find German politicians or Germans, outside neo-Nazi organizations, who do not extremely strongly condemn Germany's actions during the 30's and 40's. All of Germany is ashamed of what they did, and they are not afraid of saying so. Note the difference, Germany is not glorifying its past, it is condemning it, even though it means they must admit they were wrong.

Perhaps you're right that many European and Asian nations also are hypocritical when it comes to glorifying their past, but this does not make it right. It is not entirely relevant either. When you take on the role of a leader, you're stating that others should follow your example. If you have faults, it is not enough to say that others have the same faults, but you must admit them and condemn them. Noone is demanding that for example Indonesia has a consistent moral and political system, because Indonesia is not claiming that their system should be a model for the rest of the world, as the US is.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Good point (4.50 / 2) (#94)
by BloodmoonACK on Thu Aug 02, 2001 at 06:18:07 PM EST

That's some good reasoning. Let's hate the US because it's inconsistent. I can't think of a better reason, can anyone else? How many nations can you claim have total consistency? Didn't think so. How about the black bloc? I saw a good post somewhere else (sorry, don't have the time to look for it) that made a very important point: how would you like it if a bunch of Capitalists came to your house and smash in YOUR windows and destroyed YOUR home? They're fighting for what they view as the most just system, but I don't think you'd lay down and take it very calmly. How much do you want to bet that you'd be outraged because they were destroying your stuff?

"It's like declaring a 'war on crime' and then claiming every (accused) thief is an 'enemy combatant'." - Hizonner
[ Parent ]

Dear (apparent) non-American (4.00 / 1) (#73)
by Robert Hutchinson on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 03:56:03 PM EST

Please, with your infinite wisdom, describe why the Boston Tea Party was perfectly OK, while at the same time the actions of the Black Bloc are not.
Let's quote a bit more extensively from the page you linked to, shall we?
Because the American tea market had nearly been captured by tea smuggled from Holland, Parliament gave the company a drawback (refund) of the entire shilling-per-pound duty, enabling the company to undersell the smugglers. It was expected that the Americans, faced with a choice between the cheaper company tea and the higher-priced smuggled tea, would buy the cheaper tea, despite the tax ...

The plan might have succeeded had not the company been given what amounted to a monopoly over tea distribution in the colonies. The threat of other monopolies alarmed the conservative colonial mercantile elements and united them with the more radical patriots ...

According to the law, if the tea was not unloaded within 20 days (by December 17), it was to be seized and sold to pay custom duties. Convinced that this procedure would still be payment of unconstitutional taxes, the radical patriots resolved to break the deadlock. (Emphasis added.)

These Americans were pissed off at some British government behavior. After complaining peacefully, they violently destroyed (as all destruction is violent) some ill-gotten British property as a demonstration.

When Converse has to resort to smuggling shoes into the U.S., we'll get back to you.

Robert Hutchinson
No bomb-throwing required.

[ Parent ]

About means, not end (3.50 / 2) (#78)
by marx on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 07:57:59 PM EST

These Americans were pissed off at some British government behavior. After complaining peacefully, they violently destroyed (as all destruction is violent) some ill-gotten British property as a demonstration.

"government vs British in general" as well as "ill-gotten" are just subjective judgements. You could just as well say that since you don't agree with what the Black Bloc are protesting against, you condemn their violence. However, if you would agree with what the Black Bloc are protesting against, you would not condemn their violence.

I'm pretty sure that most, if not all Black Bloc members started out as peaceful protesters, but became frustrated. Mary states that she was in a peaceful protest, which got no media attention, but then someone broke a window, and the media was all over.

What we are arguing about is whether violence (against property) is an acceptable form of protest. Saying "only if the cause is good", does not contribute anything to this answer, since this is sort of the whole point of the protest, that people are disagreeing. What I am saying is that if you do not condemn the Boston Tea Party, then you cannot condemn the Black Bloc. However uncomfortable this is, you must accept it.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

About the means that mean something (4.50 / 2) (#90)
by Robert Hutchinson on Thu Aug 02, 2001 at 03:27:03 PM EST

"government vs British in general" as well as "ill-gotten" are just subjective judgements.
They are not subjective judgments--do you confuse yourself with your government often? Tried collecting taxes from your neighbors lately?
You could just as well say that since you don't agree with what the Black Bloc are protesting against, you condemn their violence. However, if you would agree with what the Black Bloc are protesting against, you would not condemn their violence.
I could (and will) say that since I don't see any evidence that Nike has aggressed against anyone, I condemn the Black Bloc's violence, yes. If Nike really were forcing people to work and setting unagreed-upon wage ceilings and price floors, I could easily support the Black Bloc's response.
What we are arguing about is whether violence (against property) is an acceptable form of protest. Saying "only if the cause is good", does not contribute anything to this answer, since this is sort of the whole point of the protest, that people are disagreeing.
Violence against property can only be acceptable behavior when the owner of said property has previously initiated an act in kind. I shoot the man who's running at me with a knife; I don't shoot the man who's stocking groceries. I am not arguing for action or inaction based on what the protesters think the world should be like, as such an approach is idiotic.
What I am saying is that if you do not condemn the Boston Tea Party, then you cannot condemn the Black Bloc. However uncomfortable this is, you must accept it.
What I am saying is that you are completely missing the point. You are equating tea propped up by government with windows bought peacefully by a shoemaker. However incredibly simple this principle is, you must ignore it.

Robert Hutchinson
No bomb-throwing required.

[ Parent ]

doesn't follow at all (none / 0) (#101)
by anonymous cowerd on Wed Aug 08, 2001 at 09:26:39 PM EST

What I am saying is that if you do not condemn the Boston Tea Party, then you cannot condemn the Black Bloc.

Nonsense! The mere fact that two disparate acts can be described by the same word does not in the least require me to make no further distinction between them!

Even assuming I were a red-white-n-blue Americano who wholly believes in, nay, worships Betsy Ross, the cherry tree, and Paul Revere's midnight ride, I might find it difficult to convincingly condemn the Black Bloc solely on the ultra-simplistic grounds that political violence is ipso facto bad. Still I could, for example, condemn them because, I don't know, say I idolize "legally possessed" private property and find even the tiniest encroachment upon it abhorrent (but I don't). Of course, to jump through that hoop I'd have to plead that the tea in Boston Harbor was somehow "illegal" whereas the Starbucks's windows were "legal," a position that seems at best precariously rebuttable.

Alternatively, even one who supports their goals could condemn the Black Bloc on the tactical grounds that the Tea Party Mohawks enjoyed greater popular support in the town where they held their riot than the Black Bloc troops, and equally importantly the rioter-to-police ratio in Boston was whole orders of magnitude better than in Genoa, Quebec or Seattle.

However uncomfortable this is, you must accept it.

Pish pash! I'm absolutely with strlen here on this issue (and consequently, deeply opposed to the deliberately dumb and grindingly ugly logico-mechanistic worldview so persistently promoted by that trhurler troller). It's howlingly obvious to me that aside from a few handy but limited tautologies in mathematics, human beings possess no logical concepts of such solid and indefinitely extensible reliability that anyone could settle any wide range of practical moral decisions by the blind application of series of syllogisms. I mean, I defy you to show me any axiomatic moral system anywhere, expressible in ordinary language, that can not be extended by by a little easy lawyerly sophism to where it collapses, amidst jeering laughter from onlookers, via reductio ad absurdam.

Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

The one thing that really disturbs me about America is that people don't like to read. - Keith Richards
[ Parent ]

Confused!! (4.00 / 1) (#88)
by bil on Thu Aug 02, 2001 at 11:24:17 AM EST

These Americans were pissed off at some British government behavior. After complaining peacefully, they violently destroyed (as all destruction is violent) some ill-gotten British property as a demonstration.

Not sure how this differs from:-
These Black Blocers were pissed off at some corporate behavior. After complaining peacefully, they violently destroyed (as all destruction is violent) some ill-gotten corporate property as a demonstration.

Any pointers to the differences?

The similarities between the Black Bloces and the Boston Tea Party-goers are quite close (in as far as two situations two hundred years apart can be similar) except that one group succeded and the other hasn't (yet) and as we all know history is written by the victors...

Im also fascinated by how a tax can be "unconstitutional", especially one that is presumably imposed by Britain, a country with no written constitution, but maybe that is a topic for another day.

bil


bil
Where you stand depends on where you sit...
[ Parent ]

Clarifying!! (5.00 / 2) (#91)
by Robert Hutchinson on Thu Aug 02, 2001 at 03:35:59 PM EST

These Americans were pissed off at some British government behavior. After complaining peacefully, they violently destroyed (as all destruction is violent) some ill-gotten British property as a demonstration.

Not sure how this differs from:- These Black Blocers were pissed off at some corporate behavior. After complaining peacefully, they violently destroyed (as all destruction is violent) some ill-gotten corporate property as a demonstration.

Any pointers to the differences?

I gave a very clear pointer, but I didn't explicitly remention it, so I guess it might as well not be there ... why was tea being smuggled into America? Because the British government had forbidden any companies besides the one they handpicked from selling tea to the colonies. Nike has not done anything of the sort, and if they ever do, I will condemn them just as thoroughly, I assure you.

Paying someone $2 an hour, or $0.02 an hour, is not wrong unless the worker didn't agree to it. A group of vandals' desire for everyone to make a certain wage, to hell with reality and what the workers actually agree to, does not make the actual agreed-upon trade of labor for wages ill-gotten.

Robert Hutchinson
No bomb-throwing required.

[ Parent ]

Ahh so violence CAN be justified : ) (3.00 / 2) (#97)
by bil on Fri Aug 03, 2001 at 06:41:40 AM EST

So, ignoring the implied insult, you're saying the Boston Tea Party was justified in using violence because it was directed at a government granted monopoly, where as because global corporations do not have a monopoly (or at least not an explicit one) violence against them cannot be justified, correct? (at this point I have to point out that the only real knowledge of the causes of the Boston Tea Party I have comes from your original quote which is not the clearest beginnes guide)

So basically your problem is not so much with the methods the black bloc use but more with their choice of targets correct? And therefore if they choose their targets more carefully you would agree they were justified right?

From this it follows that if Nike (or any other Global Corp. you care to name) were forcing people to work for a pitance you would agree they were wrong and join the protests (in spirit at least).

Now the workers in these factories work 10-12 hour days 6 days a week in order to make a living wage (i.e. to be able to feed themselves and their families) by your logic they choose to do this and therefore its ok. Now nobody would choose to work hours like these if they didn't have to so lets look at the choices, they could starve on the streets, they could get a different job (with similar or worse conditions, assuming one was available at all), or they could stay where they are. How much of a choice is that really? Does working for Nike really count as optional if these are the other choices personnally I dont think so.

You wouldn't work in those conditions, neither would I, so why do we expect people in Third World countries to do so just so we can have cheap goods, and companies can make big profits.

Or is just that violence to protect the interests of the merchant class is justified, but that to further the interests of the poor is utterly unjustifiable under any circumstances?

bil


bil
Where you stand depends on where you sit...
[ Parent ]

Of COURSE violence can be justified (5.00 / 2) (#98)
by Robert Hutchinson on Fri Aug 03, 2001 at 04:53:12 PM EST

So, ignoring the implied insult, you're saying the Boston Tea Party was justified in using violence because it was directed at a government granted monopoly, where as because global corporations do not have a monopoly (or at least not an explicit one) violence against them cannot be justified, correct?
Solely within the terms you've laid out, yes, that is what I'm saying.
From this it follows that if Nike (or any other Global Corp. you care to name) were forcing people to work for a pitance you would agree they were wrong and join the protests (in spirit at least).
Again, yes.
Now the workers in these factories work 10-12 hour days 6 days a week in order to make a living wage (i.e. to be able to feed themselves and their families) by your logic they choose to do this and therefore its ok.
"By my logic" ... what an interesting way to put it. By any decent logic, when two people agree on a trade of labor and money (or money and money, or labor and labor), such a trade is perfectly ok.
Now nobody would choose to work hours like these if they didn't have to so lets look at the choices, they could starve on the streets, they could get a different job (with similar or worse conditions, assuming one was available at all), or they could stay where they are. How much of a choice is that really? Does working for Nike really count as optional if these are the other choices personnally I dont think so.
I would really like to know how you reached your definition of choice. The fact that life sucks for a lot of people does not magically turn not-so-great options into no options at all.
You wouldn't work in those conditions, neither would I, so why do we expect people in Third World countries to do so just so we can have cheap goods, and companies can make big profits.
If I lived in a Third World country, I sure as hell would work in those conditions, as the alternative would be starvation. My support of the current situation has nothing to do with cheap goods or big profits. Name any freedom imaginable, and you can provide a similar criticism: free speech is just so you can shoot your mouth off, privacy is just so no one will find out you're a criminal, etc.
Or is just that violence to protect the interests of the merchant class is justified, but that to further the interests of the poor is utterly unjustifiable under any circumstances?
I'm sorry, but I don't live in a world where wrongs are committed by classes. Individuals act, not society or government or any other nebulous entity that people like to pretend isn't composed of individual actors. It is always wrong to initiate violence (both overt and covert); it is always right to retaliate to such violence. Are you willing to justify any action, so long as it "furthers the interests of the poor"? I prefer principles, thank you.

And while you're at it, how exactly would you go about giving people in Third World countries more--excuse me, any choices? Don't go coercing anyone in the process, remember.

Robert Hutchinson
No bomb-throwing required.

[ Parent ]

Yeah, ok, whatever. (2.00 / 1) (#99)
by Anonymous 6522 on Wed Aug 08, 2001 at 05:11:18 PM EST

So you saying, that since mob violence was associated with the birth of someone's country, they should automatically support all mob violence? Are you on crack?

[ Parent ]
your stretch (4.50 / 2) (#100)
by anonymous cowerd on Wed Aug 08, 2001 at 08:38:26 PM EST

So you saying, that since mob violence was associated with the birth of someone's country, they should automatically support all mob violence?

No, he's saying that if violence is associated with the creation of the U.S.A., and of course it was - violence at a far higher level than merely tossing crates over a ship's rail, as six thousand or so soldiers died in the revolution and another six hundred thousand died 85 years later in the civil war - and if you consider that creation, nevertheless, to be on the whole a good thing, then it is inconsistent to hold that any and all acts of political violence are inevitably inherently bad.

Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

The one thing that really disturbs me about America is that people don't like to read. - Keith Richards
[ Parent ]

Rule of law (3.50 / 2) (#102)
by marx on Thu Aug 09, 2001 at 12:21:26 AM EST

So you saying, that since mob violence was associated with the birth of someone's country, they should automatically support all mob violence?

No, it's the other way around. If you state that all mob violence is wrong, then you can't support it just because it was associated with the birth of someone's country.

Why is the G8 condemning the Black Bloc? Do you think it's because they don't agree with their theories? No, of course not. It's because they are violently protesting. This is the only complaint. They are not condemning the peaceful protestors, even though they disagree with their theories. They are condemning the violent protestors solely because they use violence.

If you have such a principle, then it is impossible to support the Boston Tea Party.

This is a trivial argument, I don't understand why so many refuse to accept it. Apparently the most important thing in the US is "rule of law", and law of course has to be a consistent logical system. It is not OK for a judge to acquit someone of murder just because he agrees with the theories of the murderer. Similarly, it is not OK for the G8, or you, the "acquit" someone of violent protest just because they happened to be part of a successful revolution.

Sure, you can state that you are an opportunist, and that everything depends on the situation (i.e. if it benefits you or not), but then you're some kind of extreme anarchist, and I fail to see how you can criticize the Black Bloc, since they're also anarchists.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Meta (2.50 / 2) (#43)
by yooden on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 07:03:11 AM EST

I notice that both AlterNet and Anatta use a disclaimer. Whether I like what Mary says or not, hers is an interesting view and she should speak for herself.

I also note that the so-called "rebuttal" is among the flimsiest rebuttal I can remember. It goes like:

  1. Violence is bad.
  2. Let's not be violent, uh?


Turn the tables (3.50 / 4) (#59)
by Trollspotter on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 11:21:21 AM EST

How would everyone take this if a company, say Nike, turned the tables on the protestors?

What if Nike ascertained the addresses of the Black Bloc members and next time they went to a protest, sent a few people over to their houses in black masks to smash all of their windows. Maybe burn down their houses. Would Nike get some sympathy? Would anyone question whether they were good or bad?



Confusing organization with member (4.00 / 1) (#85)
by marx on Thu Aug 02, 2001 at 01:16:46 AM EST

The symmetric act you're describing is wrong. The correct act would be if Nike sent some people to smash the windows of the local Black Bloc HQ, or Black Bloc information center of whatever. Unfortunately this is not possible, since the Black Bloc doesn't own any buildings as far as I know.

If Black Bloc members smashed the windows of Nike employees, absolutely everyone would condemn them.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

higher nike prices (5.00 / 1) (#62)
by fonebone on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 01:03:16 PM EST

I found her explanation of Black Bloc tactics very interesting, yet it seems to me her logic is very easy to attack (for example, she believes that destroying a NikeTown doesn't harm anything but Nike, but seems to miss the idea that those costs will have to be paid by consumers through higher prices.)

the costs will have to be paid by consumers?! which consumers? the ones who buy things from Nike?! i think that's the whole point!

if nike prices go up, and less people buy nike, they've succeeded in some way.



---
PHP and Ajax Web Development
Or will everybody's insurance premiums go up? (5.00 / 1) (#64)
by Anatta on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 01:37:04 PM EST

Nike probably has its property insured... so by destroying a Niketown, Nike's insurance kicks in and has to pay to rebuild it from a pool of money generated by insurance premiums... this will cause higher insurance costs to many, and will in effect harm all. My guess is that Nike, through its army of accountants, could probably figure out a way to call the property destruction a tax loss, and make out in the deal. But that's a guess.

In any case, whether they be higher shoe costs for Nike or higher insurance premiums for all, consumers still get hurt.
My Music
[ Parent ]

hahahah! (5.00 / 3) (#93)
by NovaHeat on Thu Aug 02, 2001 at 06:16:38 PM EST

Man, this "Black Bloc" stuff is a riot.

Most of us believe that if cops are in the way of where we want to go or what we want to do, we have a right to directly confront them. Some of us extend this idea to include the acceptability of physically attacking cops. She later goes on to complain that Everyone seems to call Black Bloc protesters violent. Gee, I wonder why?

.Instead, we imagine a society where there is true liberty for all Even the true liberty to drive an SUV, be a rich capitalist, or to wear Nike shoes? Of this statement, I am, with good reason, dubious.

We believe that we have the right to defend ourselves when we are in physical danger from tear gas, batons, armored personnel carriers and other law enforcement technology. But when the cops shoot back, it's brutality? Hmm..... going on.. We reject the idea that police should be allowed to control our actions at all. And the police (and society in general) reject the idea that you have the right to smash up shops and throw bricks at cops. What makes you more right?

Most of us believe that if cops are in the way of where we want to go or what we want to do, we have a right to directly confront them. AHA! Now we've hit the crux of the matter. You're throwing a tantrum because the cops are stopping you from "doing what you want to do". Imagine if everyone "did what they wanted to do." Then maybe alot of angry people would show up at your places of residence and shoot you. But of course, that'd be the evil globalistic system being brutal, wouldn't it? What if people "want to do" things like "drive SUVs" or "work for Nike without having to be harassed constantly"? Aren't *YOU* standing in the way of doing what *THEY* want to do? What makes you better than "the system" in that case?

I think poverty and suffering could well be described as violent, or at least as creating violence. I think attacking cops and busting up shops is creating violence too. So you're a hypocrite.

...corporate media never covers the real content of demonstrations. Yeah, and the "alternative media" is totally unbiased too!! *cough*

We are well aware that police photograph and videotape demonstrations, even when they are legally disallowed from doing so. Who cares? You're "legally disallowed" from smashing shop windows, but that doesn't seem to stop you. What you seem to want is for everyone to have to obey the rules except you.

I find it increasingly ironic that my actions are labeled as violent and dangerous while even the left seems to think that the police are "just doing their jobs." Well... they *ARE* just doing their jobs. Maybe the cops feel they have the right to defend themselves when they're physically threatened by bricks, fire-extinguishers, firebombs, etc.

We don't have a party platform, and you don't have to sign anything or go to any meetings to join us. We show up at all kinds of demonstrations, from actions to free Mumia Abu Jamal, to protests against the sanctions in Iraq, and at just about every meeting of international financial and political organizations from the WTO to the G8. So in other words, you dont really beleive in anything at all, don't have a goal, and just show up to protests to wreak havoc and bust things up? Then you expect the cops to roll out a red carpet for you, otherwise you'll accuse them of brutality. Way to take the moral high ground!!

It seems tough to take these guys seriously... really. Everything they say is easily contradicted by common sense and logic, everything they do is flagrantly illegal and their justification for it is that they posess a moral superiority over everyone else. When the police defend themselves or the property of others, these folks accuse them of brutality. I can't beleive people actually delude themselves into thinking this kind of crap is righteous. It's juvenile, illegal, and above all, it masks any sort of positive message that these protests might otherwise be putting out.

-----

Rose clouds of flies.

Black Bloc Dares to Speak Out! | 103 comments (95 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
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