Honest reflections on Riot Porn, Goals, Strategy, Hope and The Better World

From Ryan Harvey with RiotFolk 

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By: Ryan Harvey – September 24, 2009

Original Link Here

My decision to release this writing took me some time to consider, but I think it’s for the best. If you disagree with this, that’s good. It means you are thinking critically at least. I want this to be taken seriously, it’s something that has been brewing in me for a very long time, and this is the first real attempt, besides my DNC/RNC writing last year, to convey my thoughts on this subject…

The G20 is upon us, and though BBC world news featured some of “the troubles” in Pittsburgh, on the ground reports hardly match up with the media-inflation, police-inflation, and activist-inflation of the actual thing.

As is often the case, the media makes things look a whole lot crazier than they actually are, if it’s in the interests of higher ratings. And though most Americans if surveyed would be against rioting, they love to watch it on TV. So the media is hyping the G20 protests up enough to get some extra points, but not enough to anger their parent companies.

The police of course have to inflate the threats posed by relatively small numbers of protestors to justify the gigantic amount of city, state and federal tax-payer money used to buy new weapons, vehicles, chemical munitions, and armor. They get to keep all these goodies to use against whomever crosses their path in the future. So little pebbles getting tossed at robo-cops become boulders and little marches becoming security threats.

To match these two forces, the protest groups, especially my own comrades in the anarchist groups, inflate their stories, numbers, and actions to try to gain support and build momentum, and to make them feel better. So a dumpster getting rolled down a street into an intersection will be heroized in well-designed pamphlets to come and talked about for years the way my generation still talks about the fence-chasing incident at A16, (World Bank/IMF protests on April 16, 2000 in DC).

What is so crazy about all of this, this inflation, is that it doesn’t seem to help. As an organizer with a decade of experience in all types of work, from anarchist organizations to peace groups to labor organizing, I don’t think over-hyping our actions does anything for us. In fact, I think it works to our disadvantage. It adds to a culture of dishonesty, of not addressing our short-comings, of not reflecting and refining our work.

Now Pittsburgh had a crowd of 4,000-10,000 people according to different reports. While this is a big number in general, it’s not so big compared to public opinions on such issues at the bailout, corporate executive bonuses, or the global economic order in general. Most folks in the U.S. are pretty angry, from the far left to the independent right/libertarians. Instead of congratulating ourselves on a “large turnout”, we should be asking why it wasn’t nearly size of most anti-war demonstrations that have happened. Continue reading

Bioregional Secession

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Hey all, sorry for the lack of posts recently. Life, as you may know, can be obnoxiously real and demanding. before this gets real, I want to just throw it out there that I am definitely looking to have more contributors to this thing, so if you have articles worth sharing, poetry, short stories, videos, drawings or anything else, yours or others, definitely email me.

This comes from the Earth First Journal (original). This is a thought ive talked to a few people about recently. It seems sometimes like the system is failing under the weight of its own size, and we can certainly talk about the alienation between representatives and the represented, the gross corruption and politicizing and polarization and apathy that is rooted in the scale of our current system. People are unable to make decisions on issues that effect them in this country because the federal government, trying to represent 300 million people, has decided for them. The US Federal government inhibits democracy?

what do we do? secede.

“Yes, I said secession: the breaking up of large nations into smaller independent political entities that run their own affairs, have their own governments, operate their own economies and control their own environments on a bioregional scale. It’s a word that scares people even now, and most of the time it conjures up ideas of treason, illegality, racism or just plain futility.

But it really is as American as, well, the Declaration of Independence, which states that “it is the right of the people to alter or abolish [wrongful government], and to institute new government in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” As American as the war that followed from that—not a revolutionary war at all but a secessionist one, since the colonists had no intention of taking over the British government, only of separating from it to run their own governments as they saw fit. As American, in fact, as the separation of Maine from Massachusetts, Tennessee from North Carolina, and West Virginia from Virginia, all of which were done in an orderly and peaceful fashion.

There is a myriad of reasons to contemplate secession these days. On the one hand, it frees a territory from the incompetent, corrupt, militaristic and illegal government in Washington, DC, as well as the empire that Washington has created to spread its corporate owners around the world. At the same time, it provides a scale of decision-making that allows something close to true democracy (representation that truly reflects a constituency’s wishes); a scale of trade and commerce that allows full employment, healthy food, nontoxic material goods and a sound currency free of the volatile and perilous dollar; a scale of administration that replaces the bloated federal bureaucracy with smaller, more efficient and responsive operations; in short, a scale of human affairs at which—as the success of countless small nations has shown—people have control over the decisions that affect their lives and the institutions that serve and protect them.”