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CONTENT AND FORM--> activists under infowar fire

by Emma M.M.D. Friday, Aug. 18, 2000 at 5:37 AM

We have, of late, experienced a backlash from the Empire, as it were, and much of that backlash has been through the infowar with the media covering both conventions, but also with police propaganda. And like all wars of position the ideolodgical casualities are often as serious as the phisical ones.

We have, of late, experienced a backlash from the Empire, as it were, and much of that backlash has been through the infowar with the media covering both conventions, but also with police propaganda. And like all wars of position the ideolodgical casualities are often as serious as the phisical ones. There has been a lot of recient talk of faluire in Philly, or lack of organization on the outside, but also some talk of it on the inside. While I think that it is extreamelly important to keep critical and constantly changing and adapting to changing conditions, I also think it is eqaulliy imporatant to recognize that there is a decided attempt to not only convince the American public that we are ill-informed vandels and trouble-makers, but also to convince US, the activists.

often I find myself chiding fellow activists about actions that will appear extremest to the media, such as property "distruction", absurdist humor, and just celebrating in the streets. But it is then that I realize that from a broader stance there is absolutly nothing wrong with any of these things, besides the fact that it allienates the media. And are the public really buying what the New York Times dishes out? Can we really judge our stance to the public baised on the articles the media publishes? Number two, this sort of self-censorship for the causes of media, has a sort of internalized beleif in the ideolodgy of the industry, per example, that defacing private property is somehow "violence". Talk about a capitalist notion, that we are what we own. Yet, I still find myself thinking that my friends in Black Block shouldn't do that. Should they not use those tactics because I think It's wrong, or because I know it will discredit us in the eyes of the elites.

The bottom line is that we are already discredited in the eyes of the elites, and playing up to them won't change that. However, I do recognize a need to make sure that we don't "scare off" the approval of the Americain people, or that we don't give police the excuse they need to use excessive force, but at what cost? The whole point of collectives like Reclaim the Streets, is preserve the right of people to gather in the streets to have a celebration, and a good time, reclaiming the cities as the people. But still I think, "if only the police hadn't stole our puppets and signs, then our messege would be clearer." The fact of the matter is that it doesn't matter if the messege was completelly conveluded, the messege IS the event.

The messege in Philly, and now in L.A., was/is manifested not just in statements and signs decraying corporate america, but in people just being together in a wonderful, absurdist environment, that was the living embodiment and antithisis to corporate america. The messege was in people dressed as clowns and cheetas with puppets walking down the street, un-checked and free, chanting and celebrating and living in revolution, not just talking about what we want, but showing it there, for all to see. That is why you can't say we failed, the truth is that we succeded in living our words, a hard feat these days.

Yes, there were tactcal problems and issues to discuss, and yes there were communication problems, but OF COURSE there are going to be communication problems when we are trying to communicate with the system we appose; because our ideolodgies and philosophies are completly different. Frankly, I start to get a little worried when we can communicate with the mainstream media, it means we aren't speaking out as much, or saying what really needs to be said. When we see a group of people dressed up, taking the streets with puppets, and passion against corporate control over our lives and resorces, we see democracy and unity and love and hope. What does the mainstream press of the elites see? Rowdy, ill-informed wierdos challenging the very structure of the sacrosanced system. And brave police turning these ruffiens back. The more we hear that, we, as activists, start to beleave it. "Well, there were SOME ruffiens, and wierdos out there...but NOT ME!!" Some of us even yern for more discapline and education. God, maybe we should start taking aplications to be an activist.

"Yes, well let's hear how many sound bites you can rattle off. hmnn... and you have extremist views about the government. Well, we sympathize, but it mighnt look bad on CNN."

The kind of movement we want should NOT be some well oil-ed machine that gears ourselves towards a certain agenda, and takes ourselves extreamelly, militantly serious. Our greatest weapon is our humer, and we shouldn't take on the ideolodgy of the police. Our whole freedom is in the fact that we're NOT like that, that we're sloppy, that we have many varrying opinions. And, yes, we should also be a movement that doesn't condemn those few people who just love being in a crowd of people who aren't all going to work and churn money for big faceless molichs. We have to be free in form and in content.

Having said that, I think that that doesn't mean we shouldn't plan hard, and change to fit these new tactics. In fact, we must re-think our entire approch. But never so much that we destroy that amazing vitality of real direct Democracy. We must never forget that in order to defeat corporate america, we must BE that which we preach, in form and content.

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by Chuck0 Friday, Aug. 18, 2000 at 11:52 AM

Hey, those were some wise thoughts. The media and the ruling elites want to keep telling everybody that we're failing, or that we are "losing steam after Seattle." Don't believe the crap that the opposition throws our way. We are successful and the momentum from Seattle continues to build. The thing that everybody should realize is that you can't compare the DNC and GOP protests to A16 and N30. That's the equivalent of comparing apples and oranges. A16 and N30 were primarily protests against the global capitalists system. This months protests have been against a bankrupt political system in the U.S. If you want to compare these protests to something, compare them to the anti-DNC protests of 4 years ago. If you do that, you'll see how far we have come.

We need to constantly re-think our tactics, but we already have a menu of ones that are pretty effective. Puppets are great and should be at as many protests as possible. The cops look really stupid when confiscate our puppets. The ruling class may be applauding, but the working class relates to our problems.

We should also remember that we're not trying to be an ad agency. The media will always distort our message because that's what they are paid to do. We're not going to win the approval of the elites or their SUV-driving lackeys. We need to win the love of working class people and I think we're winning that struggle.

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