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t3knomanser's Fustian Deposits

Weekend Revolutionaries

How Random Babbling Becomes Corporate Policy

run the fuck away

Mad science gone horribly, horribly wrong(or right).

Weekend Revolutionaries

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The G20 protests haven't gotten too out of hand, but there's a lot of broken windows. Thus far, only 66 arrests and 6 injuries, nothing serious or life threatening from what I can get from the news.

But there was something else I caught on the news that gave me pause: some of these kids out on the streets are under the impression that they're fighting a revolution. They wear masks because the government could "vanish" them away into a prison. The various G-20 protest organizing sites use the terminology "revolution" and "images of revolt".

What an incredible degree of inflated self-importance. These kids show up for their "revolution" for a few days, throw some rocks, pretend that they've done something and taken a significant risk to life and liberty, and then go back to their lives. A few months later, some other protest-worthy event comes up, rinse and repeat.

They're revolutionaries like a guy driving a Prius is an environmentalist. As someone pointed out, Pittsburgh was home to the Homestead labor strikes. Steel workers wanted to unionize and it turned into a gun battle between them and the Pinkertons. Cannons were involved.

That puts a little pepper-gas in perspective, doesn't it?

With all that in mind, I would like to clarify a few things for our visitors:
  • Protesting is awesome. Seriously, enjoy the fact that you live in a country where this can happen. The Beijing G20 Summit in 2005 didn't see these kinds of protests- and we all know why.
  • Permits are awesome too. Chants of "Who's streets? Our streets!" resonate on a deeply emotional level, but the reality is large clusters of people pose a safety risk. So when the police attempt to disperse the crowd, they're not doing it to silence anyone, they're doing it because they are concerned about property damage, injury, and the ability of emergency vehicles to get through. Also, people actually live and work on those streets, and they have just as much right to use them as a protest does. There is no conspiracy to silence you, and requiring permits for large gatherings is not an unreasonable requirement.
  • There is no revolution. Don't kid yourself. If there were a revolution, you wouldn't do this for the few days when G20 was in town, but every day. You wouldn't be facing down pepper-gas and rubber bullets. You'd be dealing with real bullets, made of metal, that would kill and maim you.
  • The idea that the protesters and the police are adversaries is a dangerous and wrong idea. Everyone is responsible for keeping an event like this safe. Only someone deficient in basic humanity would actively wish harm on the protesters or the police.
  • Property damage is not communication. It's shitheaded jackassery. If you want to achieve social change, you need people to build a consensus. Smashing windows isn't a good way to do that.

I could go on, but this covers the key points. As I said, dont be a jackass, and you'll go far.

Also, Pamela's was one of the places that got its windows smashed. That's just not cool man, not cool at all. Pamela's is a Pittsburgh institution and home of the best pancakes in America. Not. Cool.
  • Remy, I gotta say thank you for this post, especially the bit about Pittsburgh being the hometown to Homestead Labor Strikes. One of the reasons I don't protest is because of how out of hand people can get. Violence just tunes people out. Even I don't want to listen to anarchists who start smashing things.

    I also wish today's "revolutionaries" actually could read a book or speak with the labor strikers of the past. My uncle was shot in the back by the Pinkertons in Albany. He had no recourse as a striker. Today these kids throwing rocks at legitimate establishments, like a person's home or mom and pop store, get the full benefit of the legal system. The strikers of the past, my uncle included, either got shot - maimed or killed - and it wasn't nothing for the Pinkertons and the Government to fuck around with their families.
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