no third solution

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Violence and Vandalism are Not Solutions

July 16th, 2008

Mike Gogulski opines about the “wrong kind of anarchism“, in reference to an article posted on AnarchistNews.org, which highlights the actions of some (probably juvenile) delinquents who decided to celebrate the fourth of July with their own rendition of Kristallnacht.

You’re supposed to be smashing the state, not private property, you fucking nitwits!

I occasionally browse the headlines posted at AnarchistNews.org, but I find myself often sharing in Mike’s sentiments, exactly.  Every time I visit the site, I’m welcomed by an article championing the virtues of paint-bombing, or shit-bombing (no, seriously), or breaking windows.  Why don’t go smash some mailboxes while you’re at it?you know, to protest the monopoly on first-class mail.  A hell of a lot of good that will do!

But let me put on my Proudhon hat here for a minute and play Devil’s Advocate to Mike.

If, as according to the article, poor families were indeed evicted through some variant of “eminent domain,” then we can’t rightly refer to the new condos developed on their former homesteads as “private property.” It’s stolen property, under the veil of statutory and positive law which aim to legitimize such actions if they are deemed to be in the best interest of the government(s). I can take exception to the message that is conveyed by vandalism, and I can take exception to its inefficacy at acheiving a better world, but I  I can’t take umbrage with the vandalism as an affront to private property, because it’s not.

Look: breaking windows is 100% ineffectual at restoring the lives of the people whose homes were stolen from them.  If you really care about the poor, the evicted, spend your time and effort helping them get back on their feet. If the message is about community, get the fuck out there and start building one.

Violence is rarely the answer and in most circumstances, makes the perpetrators look childish at best.  If you have a message that doesn’t amount to “let’s fuck things up,” breaking windows is no way to convey that to most people, who will simply equivocate delinquent vandalism with your cause. If the message is not about violence and destruction, stop being violent and destructive.

This childish nonsense is not the truth about what anarchists want, and nobody will ever take you seriously as long as you’re modus operandi include flaming bags of dog-poop and lightbulbs filled with latex paint.

Comments

3 Comments

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  • Mike says on: July 16, 2008 at 8:43 am

     

    Unfortunately what little digging on this I did didn’t turn up any information on the actual construction site. The original post said that people were “evicted”. That does not necessarily mean that the evictions were carried out relative to an eminent domain seizure, as private property owners are likewise entitled to evict (contractually) their tenants in order to improve their property.

  • shiva says on: July 20, 2008 at 5:26 pm

     

    And what if you believe that the only valid “ownership” of a house is living in it, and therefore that no one has the right to evict anyone?

    Rentiers are parasites and oppressors just as much as government is. Rent is extortion with threats of violence just as much as tax is.

  • Mike says on: July 20, 2008 at 7:59 pm

     

    Dear Shiva,

    While I do very much appreciate the left-anarchist critique of private (land) property and rent within the context of what we have today, I completely reject the notion you put forward here, or to which at least I believe you refer.

    At the risk of offering the personal example, I used to own three houses in the US, while renting space in a fourth. Those I did not live in, I rented to tenants. In each case, we contracted for the rent and conditions of tenancy. Would there at any time arisen a situation in which my tenants would have been morally justified in expropriating my property? Perhaps, but such never occurred. I didn’t inherit what tenuous and ephemeral wealth I had, but my situation then was such that I was able to control a few bits of land and make a very small profit thereby.

    Are there very very many claims of property today existing which are unjust and which should be rightly dissolved? Certainly. Were my claims such? Well, you’d have been welcome to argue that with me, but you can be equally certain that had you attempted to escalate from argument to action I would have met you with every force at my disposal.

no third solution

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