The piece was published without an individual byline, but clearly argues in favor of the act of throwing rocks at events such as May Day. I quote: “Some will rightly point out that tactics need to be escalated…” “Anybody who is swayed against our cause by seeing people fight back was … never on our side in the first place.” These quotes are from an imaginary discussion with 20 imagined “anti-imperialists.” They are laid out in argument, counter-argument style in a common form of propaganda called false equivalence. The arguments are presented side by side as if they are equally valid, and the piece does not openly state that one or the other view is correct, except in its choice of the phrase “…rightly point out..” and “…our side,” as if we the readers are on the side of those who threw these rocks. The good intentions of those who threw rocks are also assumed by the author, opening the question of whether the author participated in this act.
The story is also full of critical inaccuracies. Three people were reported arrested in the WIP story. Six people actually were arrested. The story incorrectly claims that the Olympian falsely accused the marchers of traffic disruption, despite statements by organizers that the route was not intended to go down 4th Ave against the flow of traffic, as it was doing when people threw rocks at the windows of US Bank. But the most glaring inaccuracy was shared by most journalists in their accounts of that day: a person with the Medics’ Collective was hit in the head with one of the rocks which failed to penetrate a window, with minor injuries not needing medical attention. WIP not only failed to report this, but actually failed to consider the possibility in its piece. The person hit by this rock had yet to receive an apology from anyone for what happened as of Saturday, May 10, 2008.
In my opinion, throwing these rocks at these two banks was not an act of “fighting back.” A broken piece of glass does not change the relationship of people to money, or people to property, or anything other than the account balances of the glass company and the bank’s insurer. Opening up a “red zone” action during a “family friendly” event disrespects the notions of consent, democracy, choice, etc. And hitting another participant in the head with a rock is simply not acceptable behavior among 5-year olds, much less adults.
The police violence that day (at least one undercover officer pulled a gun and directed it at people, and another officer named Richard E Allen shot a pepper ball at the groin of a person at close range, who was not arrested afterward) is also not acceptable, and my arguments should not be construed to defend the arrests or the street violence police engaged in to stop the un-arresting of persons grabbed by the cops. But the WIP made a serious error in judgment to allow this piece to defend actions which we would loudly decry if they had been undertaken by an agent provocateur. In fact, we should assume they were - since they achieved the same end.