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Flag Burning Hurts the Cause

by Hugh Stegman Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2000 at 2:37 PM

Flag burning = media suicide. Check today's Times. Why give the oligarchy more opportunities to demonize a whole movement?

Personally, I do not care if people burn a damn piece of cloth with some arcane 1700s symbols of independence or something. If they personally hate it as a symbol of all the crap in this country, then that's fine with me. Unfortunately, as a street tactic, it's media suicide.

Look at today's Times. Do 2 million people see brave marchers staring down a rogue police department on its own turf? No. They see one clown burning a flag, and a few other people running around like chickens with their heads off. The text is a little better, if you read it all, but not many people will. They'll just sit there and cluck, there go those street hooligans, burning Our Great Flag again. Cluck, cluck, cluck, and we're fucked.

This is how the sixties ended. We still see that same damn flag burning picture on TV, over and over again, every time the news types need to demonize a generation which ironically is now their own generation. That one fucking picture of that one burning flag practically got us Reagan right there, so he and his supply-side cretins could hand the country over to the rich.

I know there are people who think this country is beyond salvation, that more should be burning than just one of its flags, but this won't happen if a 99% majority see pictures like this and react by demonizing another generation out of semiotic existence.

Please: rage, confrontation, protest, political action, but also media savvy.

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And Another Thing.......

by Biscuit Guttertrash Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2000 at 2:56 PM
standout909@aol.com (909) 387-0956 25571 Walker st., San Bernardino, CA 92404

Another thing that has great potential to seriously harm our movement and has in the past is these masked anarchists running down the street after the march ripping newspaper machines and trashcans from the ground. When the people of Los Angeles see people from our group running down Broadway ripping things up do you think they're going to show us support?

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Fuck the media

by frank Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2000 at 3:05 PM

The media is choosing to place the image they think will sell the most papers. They don't give a fuck about what is really going on and they will continue to subvert the messages of the activists no matter how peaceful, loving and correct the activisits are. It is time to make our own media and forget about the corporate owned advertisements. Every time you buy a newspaper you are supporting their message not the message of the people. If the media only focuses on the negative aspects of this global movement how exactly are we going to change that? Not by silencing our own expression. No matter what a protest actually looks like the media only needs to grab one snapshot to frame the protests they way they see fit. Isn't it time to wake up and see that all over the world people are rising up against the same power structure (corporations, government, esp. police) everyday. The corporate media is intentionally ignoring this movement because they are afraid of its power and know that it is not some isolated event but a continuous clash betweent the powers that be and the slaves that want what they have wanted forever: freedom.

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Symbols of oppresion

by Stormshadow Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2000 at 3:45 PM

We live in a sick and dieing empire that is despetly cluthing at it's symols. Let not the media additude snap you back into line. Burning the sybols of oppresion are one of the first steps in waking up the bainwashed ameriKKKan mind. we must rid ourselves and our lives of the empires symols. Only then can the people work on new sybols, new ways of thinking. If you see all street action as some PR campain to be filtered through the mainstream media we're gonna lose. We must tell the story; how we have burned away the old rotten sybols of the red white and blue and replaced it with our own sybols of hope and freedom.

As for the "black masked anarcists"; these people should be seen as heros not foes. They have milatantly stood up to the violence and repression of the system. What do you find more moving, TALKING about ripping down the walls of oppresion or actualy taking swings at those walls. I know that it my seem over the top, to run a contradiction to itself, but power has NEVER stepped down without a fight. It' one thing to beat the system in our own minds it is another to beat it in the street. Lets make no mistakes, The Black Bloc is an insperation to a hell of a lot of people. If we can beat back the cops, how far behind is beating back this whole system? Our freedom must be won, and I for one am glad that the Bloc is helping win that war.


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I found the Times photo damning to the cops

by Tom Gorman Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2000 at 4:20 PM

The photo shows an officer levelling his riot shotgun at a mere handful of protesters. Most media accounts claim the cops aim at the ground and "bounce" the rubber bullets off the pavement. It also shows people fleeing from the police, another interesting aspect of the photo.

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by A friend of the IMC Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2000 at 5:16 PM

I support flag burning. It's the international language. But that's not the question. The DNC protest showed very clearly to those who were there that our movement is strengthened by unity. Put another way, does anyone really believe that our movement would be stronger if we could exclude some points of view, or forcibly limit people's expressions of anger and outrage against the system? This has never ever been the case at any time in history.

One more thing. The writer refers to the 60s. We burned flags, banks, ROTC buildings and a lot of other stuff. Our movement grew in strength and militancy until the system could no longer count on being able to continue its murderous escalation in Vietnam without being overthrown, or at least seriously challenged in the streets. Some of us died, at Kent State and Jackson state, but the war ended.

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Black Bloc

by Hugh Stegman Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2000 at 7:02 PM

Actually I think they're pretty damn brave. Committment like that you don't drive away.

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Burn MORE flags!

by Jason McQuinn Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2000 at 7:03 PM

Those who don't like to see flags burned might be better off joining the American Legion or the Demopublican Party than arguing that radicals should stop burning flags.

If some people don't want to see something that's perfectly healthy, sensible and sane, then those people need to change, not the people burning flags--and those burning the flags are taking the first steps to help this happen. Burn MORE flags! Not fewer. Burn them ALL!

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Burning The Wrong Flag Is Symbolic Stupidity

by Paul H. Rosenberg Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2000 at 11:21 PM

Fifty years of polling data convincingly shows that the American people are well to the left of the Republicrat political elite. A substantial majority of the American people support the basic notion of environmental, labor and human rights protections as part of *any* international trade regime. Yet, the American right has experienced enormoused political success, while the Left has almost disappeared. Why? There are plenty of reasons for this. Some are beyond our control, at least at this point in time, but some clearly are not.

Our own acts of self-definition play a key role:

* The right, which is fundamentally opposed to everything positive that America stands for (however imperfectly or hypocritically) never hesitates to think of itself as the epitome of Americanism. Folks who wave the Confederate flag at home don't hesitate a moment to wrap themselves in the American flag in public.

* The left, which is deeply committed to the utopian promises of America -- promises of freedom, equality, justice and limitless human development -- somehow manages to think of itself much the same way as J. Edgar Hoover did... as something deeply alien and hostile to America. Given this kind of mindset, flag-burning is a logical form of self-expression. The problem here is one of self-image, a tragically mistaken, even perverted idea of who we really are.

You wanna burn a flag? Fine. Here's two simple guidelines: (1) Never burn an American flag unless a politician has wrapped himself inside it. (2) If you've got the flag-burning itch and there's none around with a politician inside, then burn a CONFEDERATE flag. After all, THAT is the symbol of America's dark side, THAT is the symbol of all that needs to be destroyed.

Now, think about these simple guidelines and check out your own reaction to them. Look at what kinds of thoughts and feelings resonate inside you in response to these ideas. What do these thoughts and feelings say about how YOU conceive of yourself?

For a butterfly to be born, a chrysalis must be destroyed. But the butterfly is never so stupid as to burn the chrysalis down and denounce it as a symbol of evil. So what are you? A butterfly bent on spreading its wings to fly? Or a pupae bent on self-destruction, burning itself to death in the symbolic purification of burning its chrysalis while trapped inside?

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US flag is as evil as Confederate flag

by Tom Gorman Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2000 at 12:07 AM

"then burn a CONFEDERATE flag. After all, THAT is the symbol of America's dark side, THAT is the symbol of all that needs to be destroyed."

Ask any of the Native Peoples of North America how much of America's "dark side" is represented by the US flag. Or ask a Guatemalan, Chilean, Palestinian, Vietnamese, or Serb what the US flag represents to them.

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Flags? Rags!

by johnk Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2000 at 2:32 AM

May I get stupid? Yes? Thanks.

"You cannot go against nature/ no matter what you do/ because going against nature/ is part of nature too." - the dude from Love and Rockets.

Sometimes, I think there's nothing more typically American than burning the American flag. Why do some of us do it? Because we can! Because it pisses someone off! Because nobody will kick your ass for doing it!

Does anyone care anymore? Can anyone care anymore? We're so post-modern these days. After you reject nationalism, whether by becoming an anti-nationalist, by realigning your personal national identity, or by becoming a cog in the global machine, it's hard to care about someone's national symbol being defiled. Especially one so vague and all encompassing as the stars and stripes. When flag burning appears this meaningless, what good is it? It can't organize anyone. It won't even appear very daring. It might upset a few people who still hold onto a narrow view of American society.

I propose something a little more rebellious and interesting. Next protest, let's get some old rags, and fly them as our flags. The rags represent our labor and our pollution. Actually, they are our labor and pollution, so they're more than symbols, they're artifacts!

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The U.S. Flag represents oppression.

by Marlin in Seattle Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2000 at 4:42 AM

To be a "Proud American," either means you are unconscious of its international implications, or, consciously a fascist.

I am inspired by those who confront the police in the streets.

I am inspired by those who try to regain control of their lives.

I am inspired by those who try to rip down the evil system of exploitation by trashing corporate property & burning American flags.

But we need to organize! We need to build coalitions! We need to educate! We need to make internal interpersonal changes.


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Let's demystify this Flag business, eh?

by Ringo Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2000 at 12:18 PM

Come now. Nationalism is a tool of oppression, repression, an excuse for torture murder, any number of barbarisms. As someone said earlier, burn all flags, burn all emblems of nationalistic pride. These are the shameful icons of imperialism. We express our solidarity with humanity by destroying them. Life, beauty, creativity, liberation: the destruction of vile symbols is an embracement of these ideals. You say good ol' Johnny American doesn't want to see his flag burned. You're right. Why, such a thing neccesitates a diversity of tactics. Revolutionaries: live as an example of your revolutionary ideals. If we live only to fight in the streets, we waste our glorious individualities.

Take it to the streets. When we're not in the streets, take it to our neighbors, our classmates, our peers, our coworkers. This mysterious 'majority of the people of the world' aren't opposed to our fundamental ideas. What reasonable person trying to make something meaningful out of their lives objects to ideas founded on compassion, mutual aid, the beauty of the individual? They just need a bit of work to side with our conclusions. How could they not, after lifetimes of watching liars on the television screen tell them it's ok, after liars in school told them that they had to toil for their boss.

Burn their flags, their banks, their machines of exploitation. Just try to communicate with your neighbors first. Talk to them. They may never agree with violent [or any] tactics, but let them know why we're here. Let them see that the people in the streets aren't violent maniacs. That they are human beings. Try to show them that the media is a joke, that the cops are tools used by the power against the people, that neither Bush nor Gore nor Congress gives a fuck about them, that our destiny is ours, and we must wrest it from the hands of our oppressors.

Look at the Angry Brigade. They tried desperately to unite the working class against their insidious oppressors, they pleaded with them to join them in their fight. But they issued their communiques of solidarity only after blowing up some wanker's house. The media, though not always and not entirely damning of them, painted them a certain 'mad anarchist bombers' color, enabling the police to conduct a shakedown of all leftist elements in Britain without an unmanageable public outry. The Angries got busted. They further radicalized those already in the movement and have served as inspiration for the revolutionaries of today. But their revolution never came in their time.

There will always be opposition. There will always be those against us. But it is in humanity's best interest to be with us, and we must fight to provide our brothers and sisters with that revolutionary consciousness that is vital to the survival of their own spirit.

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How Bout you fuckign Liberals stop whining

by nope Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2000 at 3:32 PM
nope nope nope

why don't you stop telling people how to use their "1st amendment right" and do your own thing...too many of your types were at the DNC shouting at other protesters, not jsut the anarchists, to do things their way and protest this way or that...people wanna burn a flag let them burn it...if people wanna burn a police station let them burn it...you can still make your puppets.......AND REMEMBER NOT ALL PEOPLE IN BLACK OR WITH MASKS ON ARE ANARCHISTS...EVEN SOME IN THE BLACK BLOC AREN"T ANARCHISTS, ALOT ARE JUST KIDS WHO WANT A THRILL, THEY JUST SHOW UP!

so stop your authoritarian D.A.N. style of controling protests..............i swear on the presidents grave i'm sick of living in this bullshit

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re whining liberals

by Bert Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2000 at 11:30 PM

Point well-taken. You want people to check the urge to control others. Okay, I hear you. But what about cooperation and consensus? Can't we work together, or do we all have to do our own thing? Is there room to dialogue about what does and doesn't work?

It seems to me that those who do the hard work of getting the march permit and organizing the event have a right to ask others who show up to cooperate. Perhaps those who don't wish to cooperate and instead want to cause a greater ruckus can do so at another time and place. I can understand arguements for and against flag burning or destroying certain property, but might we at least respect each other's right to organize protests (or not organize them)? I may be wrong about this, but the D.A.N.L.A. protesters only sought to give guidance to those protests that they worked hard to organize. I don't see that as controlling, esp. since all the decisions were made by consensus and anyone was welcome into the consensus process (exept police and media).

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Manipulating the Media

by Jules Thursday, Oct. 26, 2000 at 1:02 PM

Here's how I see it. The media ARE the corporations we are fighting against. If you want positive media, then don't threaten the system. Sit around at permitted rallies singing peacefull songs, and the coverage will be "ohh aren't they cute excercising their first amendment rights". When you start to break stuff, and produce at least a symbolic threat to the status quo, then you are going to get "Eww...their scary. Good thing the cops are here to protect us". These newscasters are the Lexus SUV, million dollar house in the suburbs assholes that are screwing the world up to begin with. Don't expect them to cheer for you as you tear the system down around them.

Building alternative media is, in my opinion, the most crucial task facing this movement. There need to be pirate radio and TV stations in every city. Mass media is a weapon, perhaps the most important weapon. We must learn to weild it effectively or we will surely loose.

As for the people that are going to see a flag burning or a black blocker breaking a window and get all feaked out....I say fuck em. The only reason why they get freaked out is that they see themselves in the symbols that are being destroyed. US exploitation of the poor has allowed them to live a two-car-garage-and-a-schnauzer lifestyle. They like that Starbucks provides them with a shinny caucasian place to buy a cup off coffee near their newly gentrified apartment. They don't want to give it up. So I say fuck em. They are not what this movement is about. This movement is about the black kid that can't afford a cup of coffee at Starbucks. It is about the hispanic kid for whom that US flag represents an exclusive club that wants to deport his mother. There are enough pissed off disenfranchised people in this country that I have no desire to pander to the affluent.

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Masturbation vs. Communication

by Paul H. Rosenberg Thursday, Oct. 26, 2000 at 3:05 PM

The vast majority of the American people identify with the American flag. They don't identify with it because they support imperialism, and genocide, they identify with it because of what they want and believe it to stand for--which is not a bad thing. You want to burn the symbol of imperialism, but you burn their betrayed aspirations instead--and they wind up hating you for doing the burning instead of learning how their aspirations were betrayed in the first place. You turn potential allies--indeed, people who are *already* allies in their hearts--into enemies.

Unlike others in this little debate, I'm not just making this up. Some relevant poll results from the 1990s:

· A March 1991 L.A. Times Poll (height of Gulf War) asked if “the U.S. should be playing the role of world policeman.” Yes: 21%, No: 75%.

In other polls:

· 75% agreed with the statement, “When thinking about things like UN peacekeeping, whenever it can, the U.S. should look beyond its own self-interest and do what’s best for the world as a whole, because in the long run this will probably help make the kind of world that is best for the U.S.” [PIPA July 1994 p. 53]

· 67% agreed that “as one of the world’s rich nations, the United States has a moral responsibility toward poor nations to help them develop economically and improve their people’s lives.” [PIPA Jan 1995 p. 52]

· 77% agreed with the statement: “I regard myself as a citizen of the world as well as a citizen of the United States.” [PIPA October 1993, p. 52]

In prioritizing aid, PIPA’s 1995 poll found that[p 132]:

· 52% wanted to cut military aid in general.

· 91% wanted to maintain or increase spending for child survival programs.

· 90 wanted to maintain or increase spending for the Peace Corps.

· 87% wanted to maintain or increase spending for humanitarian relief.

· 79% wanted to maintain or increase spending for environmental aid to poor countries.

· 75% wanted to maintain or increase spending for assistance to foster development.

· 74% wanted to maintain or increase spending for family planning for poor countries.

These aren't perfect positions, but they're a whole lot closer to agreeing with us than they are to agreeing with the corporate elites. We can win these people over if we communicate with them, and respect them--even when they're honestly mistaken. Or we can totally alienate them by masturbating ourselves into pseudo-revolutionary bliss.

It takes a lot of real hard work to get through to people who've been lied to all their lives. It's a whole lot easier to sit around in a circle jerk, telling each other what a bunch of losers *THEY* are.

There's nothing quite so ludicrously anti-radical as the radical poseur, madly scrambling for position as more radical than thou. It's just the same old outer-directed, status-seeking game of appearances that has *EVERYTHING* to do with outwards style and *NOTHING* to do with substance.

It's the ultimate in bourgoise self-indulgence: "I'm not a radical, I just play one on TV. *If* I can get this flag lit while the cameras are here. So outta my way all you thousands of people who put months of hard work into getting this together--I want my 15 minutes of fame!"

Real radical, dude. You should be in advertising.

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concerned citizen

by Flagstone Thursday, Oct. 26, 2000 at 7:19 PM

Give up!

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