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June 20, 2009

Pittsburgh G-20 Resistance Project PG-20RP




This link announced the Meeting to Form Anti-Authoritarian Working Group to Organize Resistance to the G20 in Pittsburgh, which met last weekend (June 13-14).


The details of scheduling an anarchist meeting are fascinating to me. There was a draft agenda, a call for review and revision, and a small verklempt moment over the use of non-inclusive language (one person thought the phrase "get 'r done" was misogynist).

The shallow mocking part of me wonders: is anybody in charge at an Anti-Authoritarian Working Group? Do they take minutes at the Anarchist Section? Surely they can't embrace Robert's Rules?

Apparently they did conduct an effective weekend seminar, because these colleagues reported back that over 60 anarchists, radicals, and anti-authoritarians from the Pittsburgh area attended the summit, and that from that summit emerged the Pittsburgh G-20 Resistance Project (PG-20RP).

The PG-20RP has a website, of course: http://resistg20.org/. The site has some angsty posters, and also some posters advocating violence. Check out the poster (below-right) presenting the two Bubbas talking. The file name is: yinzer.png, which should tell you something about their view of - well, of me, I guess. The source image can be here. (I've used it myself elsewhere.)

 


 


An Open Letter to Pittsburgh G-20 Resistance Project


I believe in the right to assembly. I believe in confronting power. I support civil disobedience. I completely support civil, peaceful protest at the G-20.

I am old. I remember the summer riots - the New York race riots of 1964, the Philadelphia race riots of 1964, the LA (Watts) riots of 1965. In 1967, 128 American cities suffered 164 riots(source). I saw a riot for the first time in NY City in '67. It was not a pretty thing. Newark in '67 was that year's worst. Chicago in '68. New York's Stonewall riots in '69. Burning cities. Dead cops and dead kids. Black Panthers. SDS. The Weathermen. What a pointless, immoral, ineffective waste of time, lives, treasure, and passion.

I cannot support local activists generating support with chest-thumping pictures of burning streets, and posters of hooded activists carrying bricks to throw. I reject the "firebomb the police car" presented in the color poster.

I call on the PG-20RP to explicitly renounce violence, to remove the violent imagery, and to ensure that each communique calls for peaceful means.

If local activists want to organize, demonstrate, and make their case - great. I can support that. If local anarchists want to incite violence and set a violent tone for a Pittsburgh event, that's unacceptable. When their propaganda results in death and damage, I doubt these activists will go to the funerals.

The PG-20RP's purported rationale that the "power leaders" need to have physical meetings, and that The Man's hegemony over The People can be disturbed by blocking streets so they can't meet, denies the understanding of the modern world that their website indicates. Does anybody believe that the Davos crowd is incapable of a Web Conference?

If the Pittsburgh G-20 Resistance Project wants any public support, they're going to have to develop and present a cogent argument for the effectiveness of their demonstrations, and they're going to have to conduct peaceful demonstrations. On the other hand, if they're going to riot and burn, I hope they get put away forever.

Finally, the PG-20RP would do well to consider the details of the Chicago police riot at the 1968 Democratic Convention protests. Democratic activists descended on the Democratic-controlled city. When faced with widespread civil disturbances, melees ensued as the police attempted to maintain order.

If you look at Pittsburgh's boy mayor and the Pittsburgh police department, which just buried three of its members who were surprised on a domestic call, the situation is ripe for local police to be overwhelmed, resulting in a repeat of the Chicago 1968 scenario.


Comments are open, welcome, and un-moderated.

9 comments:

Orville Wright said...

I bet the anarchists will be flying into Da Burgh on some cool rides. Could you suggest the best spotting position near KPIT?

Anonymous said...

Different language and imagery attracts different people. Young working class kids are probably gonna be more hyped by the fact that we actually want to whoop that which oppresses us, and Old ass white men will probably be more interested in the boring shit.

my point:
"I am old." "I call on the PG-20RP to explicitly renounce violence, to remove the violent imagery, and to ensure that each communique calls for peaceful means." "I reject the "firebomb the police car" presented in the color poster."

I don't want peace. I don't want peaceful means. We are at war with the state and capitalism. We are being brutalized by a society that gives us nothing but pain and misery, boredom and death. so get the fuck out of here with peace. tell that to my oppressors for the life time of brutality they have rained on me and my friends.

Tell that to my friends who have od'd and died, or jumped off bridges in search of joy. It is disrespectful as fuck to try and regulate, manage, or control what tactics someone uses when they are striking at their oppressors.

I'll be on the streets wrecking everything that has ever oppressed me. You are absurd in your thinking that that being passive will create social change in a radical direction. that is some middle class shit right there. passive aggressive social change? wtf?

also:
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME WITH THIS:
"If local activists want to organize, demonstrate, and make their case - great. I can support that. If local anarchists want to incite violence and set a violent tone for a Pittsburgh event, that's unacceptable. When their propaganda results in death and damage, I doubt these activists will go to the funerals."

you inconsiderate asshole. a whole social movement and insurrection was pushed with the death of Alexander Grigoropoulos. --> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Greek_riots
or if you want to think that the greeks are somehow special: How about Oscar Grant. You are out of touch.
Hundreds of thousands attended the shooting site and funeral for Alex. So you sir can eat some dick and be more concerned with the actions of the G20 that result in death and damage.

you think we are not honest? you think we are not people who have feelings? you think we want to live in shitty ass apartments and type on the internet. you think we aren't creating the future world we are in by destroying the old one?

The urge to destroy is also a destructive urge.

"I believe in the right to assembly. I believe in confronting power. I support civil disobedience. I completely support civil, peaceful protest at the G-20."

good, well how about you go supporting by actually supporting, solidarity ya know. doing something. why bash others and play the role of the g20 and put away forever?

my cogent argument for the effectiveness of their demonstrations is this: you come around me and my crew on the streets in september with your current attitude of trying to put us away forever, yeah: you'll see effectiveness.

Bram Reichbaum said...

Anon 5:31 writes:

"I don't want peace. I don't want peaceful means. We are at war with the state and capitalism."

What we have here is a failure to accept or even understand one another's premises. If capitalism and the capitalist state are really so intolerable and oppressive, then yes eventually it would reach a point where a warfare mentality would be justified. However the exceedingly vast majority of Americans do not agree; they equate regulated capitalism with freedom and they equate communism, socialism and especially anarchy with a greater incidence of oppression and misery. And when 99.95% of the population you are purporting to fight on behalf of is against you, you're not a soldier, you're a terrorist.

There are about 3 months between now and the G-20 Summit. I hope the PG-20RP folks channel A LOT of their energies between now and then communicating their ideas. What decisions have been made EXACTLY at past G-20 events that have caused people harm? What EXACTLY are we trying to replace, and what to replace it with?

"We are being brutalized by a society that gives us nothing but pain and misery, boredom and death."

Right now in saying this I feel about as old as I've ever felt in my life (I suppose appropriately enough) but all data points suggest that LIFE serves up little besides pain, misery, boredom and death. I've absolutely zero confidence in any other system or mode of being improving those odds, and if you can convince me otherwise then sure maybe you'll see me out there with you chucking rocks. But if you skip the communications aspect and go straight to self-righteous saber rattling and complaining about boredom and the difficulty of seeking joy, then you've lost me utterly.

Finally, Vannevar, when you write:

"If you look at Pittsburgh's boy mayor and the Pittsburgh police department, which just buried three of its members who were surprised on a domestic call, the situation is ripe for local police to be overwhelmed..."

I think that's way out there. Skipping over the security that will be provided by the FBI, CIA, Secret Service and their counterparts all over the globe -- I have massive confidence in Pittsburgh's police department, and yes its mayor to provide them with everything they need. Complete confidence.

Orville Wright said...

Anonymous Anarchist,

You sound like you have a bitchin' plane. Can't wait to watch it land.

Orv

http://vannevar.blogspot.com/2009/05/g-20-pittsburgh-airplane-geek.html

kentropic said...

"I'll be on the streets wrecking everything that has ever oppressed me.

And that would be what, exactly? I mean, where do you start? Do you go and blow up your 1st grade classroom, or what?

And is there anything you'd like to build? Or is it all wrecking, all the time?

Bill said...

PIT Spotting Guide:

http://www.tarmacphotos.com/PIT_Spotting_Guide.html

Anonymous said...

The civil rights movement would have failed without the confrontations. We'd still be in Vietnam without the DNC Riot. Unfortunately, this government ignores peaceful protests and responds to violent pressure...or money.

michael said...

A good post.

I wholly understand the frustration on the part of some commentators. Having marched against the war in Boston again and again and again, fully aware that both the Bushies AND the Democrats were simply rolling their eyes at us, I know well the tempation to escalation. And I'm reminded of one particant said recently about the Newark riots--to paraphrase, when we sat down at the table with the city rulers, they only listened to us because of the invisible particpant--the kid with the brick.

But, willy nilly, smashing shit up will 1. not have any effect at all on the capitalists you despise--NikeTown will have new plate glass windows installed in two days, the glass will be swept up, and it will be as though you never came to town; and 2. only piss off the working people you claim to support--the ones with families who will be docked a day's pay when you shut down their places of employment, who won't be able to buy a new car when you torch theirs, who will be paying higher taxes to clean up the mess you leave. Your symbolic attacks have concrete repercussions, but not against those you like to think.

If there were any real, substantive, lasting value to violence, it MIGHT be justifiable. But sadly, the end results are the same as throwing a tantrum. The only people who are going to be genuinely affected in any way are the working people. Causing a MacDonalds to lose business for a day isn't jump-starting a revolution. Its' depriving the folks behind teh counter of a day's wage. Maybe you can afford that. They can't.

Smashing shit up is, I'm sure lots of fun--no joke. It's a hell of a lot harder to say in town, work a crap job, and slowly, ever so slowly, work at unionizing your fellow employees, or getting them to turn out en masse for rallies supporting single payer healthcare. Or negotiating with a local power plant in re emissions control. What one commentator calls "the boring shit." That's it, exactly--revolution IS boring. Wonky. Dreary. But I can tell you this: one nerdy legislative aid to a Democratic rep gets more done ina day for his constituents than all the anarchists have this decade. I don't like saying it--but it's true.

There's nothing romantic or heroic about breaking a window or throwing a bottle at a cop (probably a minority member with a family who spends more time breaking up domestic disputes than "oppressing" you). Knwo what's heroic? Studying the hell out of an unsexy subject, making yourself an expert, putting on a jacket and making a royal pain in the ass of yourself in the legislative halls until--whaddya know!--you get actual meaningful legislation passed that has a real and direct impact on the folks in the hood.

When the time comes to play Che, we'll turn to you. But if you haven't noticed. America isn't quite ready to respond to call for armed struggle and class warfare. And running wild in the streets isn't going to pull the workers off the plant floors to support ya.

Make your point. Disrupt the actual event--and the event only, but do it strategically, so that folks read smart explanations of what teh anti-globalization movement is all abouit, and leave them with something to do--something to boycott, some simple action they can take. Most of us take pride in our towns and cities, and waking up to see pics of smashed-up shit does not, I can tell you from experience, rile up the masses on your side. They have no freaking clue what the point of that is.

michael

http://www.nosuppertonight.com

Anonymous said...

People who starve don't object to rioting.

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