Thursday, September 24, 2009

you don't know what we do



To the dudes smashing bank windows as a protest against the G20 this week in Pittburgh: what exactly is your goal here? Yes, you don't like capitalism. And what then? Anarchy? Are you 13 years old?

I can't remember the context for this quote at all, but someone on NPR made the very good point that while Al-Qaeda and Bin Laden etc had a massive following they don't really have an endgame. Oh you want to establish a Caliphate? How exactly do you plan on doing that? I guess it would be something like a military dictatorship except with more random stonings for women who think out of turn. But law and order is a small fraction of actually running a government.

My least favorite type of people are those who complain without proposing a solution. Saying something is wrong is easy, fixing a problem is hard. I understand the problems with the G20 and why people want to protest it. I have no beef with Free Tibet protesters because that's a movement with a goal. The Chinese government are a bunch of assholes and need to fall the fuck back and let the country of Tibet live. That's pretty straightforward.

I don't think I'm really breaking new ground with this rant, but I think it's important to restate this in the era of Obama. I protesting Bush. I protested the war in Iraq. I cut my teeth campaigning for John Kerry, Jeff Smith and really just anyone who was on the left and progressive and forward thinking. Honestly, were it not for Bush being such an easy target, I may have never joined Billy Wimsatt's League of Pissed Off Voters, gone to Columbus, OH for the national conference in 2003 and really gotten a taste of how shit works.

I don't think I'm the only one for whom Bush was a catalyst for political action and, to make a very easy analogy, a legion of politically active and motivated leftists could have been the crop that sprung from the fertile soil left behind in the wake of a destructive volcanic eruption. So here we are, with the most progressive president in American history. This should be an insanely productive period! There's stimulus money out there! We're in the middle of a green revolution! Put down your damn black flag and go write a grant! Or start a bike exchange! Or a local garden!

But those things take effort and organization and responsibility and hard work, significantly less so than squatting under a bridge for a week, putting on a bandana and screaming until you get shot with a rubber bullet.

Don't get me wrong, the fear-mongering jackasses on the right telling tales out of school about piss balloons and "Children Of Men"-style attacks using burning cars can eat a big bag of dicks too. And cops are cops, some are real cool, some are genuinely enjoying tossing tear gas canisters at the commies. But if you are destroying private property and you can't tell me succinctly what your long-term agenda is (and I don't mean "the end of capitalism"), you are on some Benedict Arnold shit.