Monday, June 27, 2005

Worldview Through Eyes of Anarchists

This is one of the only decent articles in the mainstream press leading up to the anarchist organized anti-war march in Palo Alto on Saturday June 25th. It's from the San Jose Mercury News.

Thank you Anarchist Action Palo Alto for organizing such a wonderful event. Check out their website:

anarchistaction.org/paloalto

-Peninsula Anarchist Collective



Mercury News

Between press conferences, day jobs and preparations for tonight's protest in downtown Palo Alto, it's been a busy week for the leaders of the Peninsula Anarchist Collective. But they took time out to talk with me because they wanted to clear up some misperceptions about who they are and what they stand for.

First, they are real anarchists, so don't call them ``self-described'' anarchists. They're gathering at Lytton Plaza to protest crimes committed by our government -- the very existence of our government, actually -- and not to give bored rich kids something to do on a Saturday night. They wish the corporate media would focus on the principles of anarchism instead of the window that was broken at the American Express office during their May 20 protest -- or the possibility that more windows will be broken tonight.

A broken window is nothing compared with people dying in Iraq, they say. I can't argue with that.

No piercings, no profanity

I spend a lot of time around teenagers, having two of my own. This bunch is earnest and articulate. No pierced tongues, no profanity. They speak in complete sentences that don't begin with, ``Like . . . .'' One 16-year-old girl who showed up in a ``Puppy Love'' T-shirt took advanced placement classes her sophomore year and works as a camp counselor.

They want me to print their comments, but not their names. Their parents might not approve.

But Rob Genevro doesn't mind seeing his name in the paper. At 20, he's the veteran protester, having been arrested several times. He's an anarchist communist, and has ``ANTI-CAPITALIST'' tattooed in block letters on his arm. He hands me a pamphlet on Noam Chomsky and talks about the rich history of anarchism in America: labor unions, the Haymarket riots, etc.

Even as a member of the corporate media, I agree with some of their positions. The war in Iraq was a bad idea. The divide between rich and poor in this country is obscene. Our political system is dysfunctional. Yes, it's wrong that cosmetic surgeons and basketball players live in luxury while the people who actually contribute to society -- farmers, nurses, teachers, writers -- barely get by.

Why our windows?

But why protest in Palo Alto? I ask. We sympathize. We recycle and write checks to Second Harvest Food Bank. Can't you leave us to shop for designer sunglasses and sip our vente chai lattes in peace?

Well, no, they explain to me. If you're protesting conspicuous consumption and the Starbucksization of America, there's no better place than Palo Alto. So smug, so full of BMWs and Range Rovers, so protected from the real world.

OK, so protest peacefully. Why break windows? Doesn't violence just alienate folks who might support your ideals?

Anarchists only perpetrate violence in response to far greater crimes, they say. Besides, bringing down capitalism means hitting 'em in the pocketbook, disrupting commerce, destroying the old system.

One window at a time, I suppose.

It's hard to argue with someone who sees the world so clearly. Freedom and equality are good. Capitalism and authority are bad.

For parents, city leaders and police, it's not quite so simple. A broken window may be nothing compared with killing people in Iraq, but if it's your window, it's not nothing.

I couldn't help slipping into mother mode. If they want to change the world, wouldn't a college degree be more useful than a rap sheet? Why risk getting arrested -- or worse, hurt -- in some minor protest?

Yet, I remember how important every Vietnam War march seemed when I was their age.

We raise our children to know right from wrong, to stand up for what they believe. We urge them to challenge the status quo.

Then one day they're off to a protest march, to stand up for what they believe. We trust them, but we don't trust everyone else. We're afraid they'll get into a situation they can't control.

So, we tell them to be careful. We can't bring ourselves to tell them we'd rather they stay home and watch MTV.


Patty Fisher writes about the Peninsula on Wednesday and Saturday. Contact her at pfisher@mercurynews.com or (650) 688-7510.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Solidarity Call Out From South Bay Mobilization for Anarchist Anti-War Protest

Many South Bay Mobilization (SBM) members were there last night [June 25th] to support the anti war protest and also the young people in Palo Alto [and the area] who are coming together to protest war. They are taking it to the street.

There were 400 police in anti-riot gear, it was an ARMY of police there from Morgan hill to Redwood City and all the area in between including Milpitas police compare to the # of the protesters.

I have several pictures of them in anti-riot gear, horses, helicopters, undercover police, motorcycles and 2 very big fire trucks to block the protestors and maybe use water pressure against the protesters (they parked two streets down from the plaza).

How will the police chief justify the expenses for this army to come out to scare these young kids mainly from high school?
We have to ask them.

I was happy to see we had so many SBM people there last night and I'm glad that many of us will be supporting those in the anti-war movement regardless of their strategy & tactics. By the way, I was on Channel 5 on the 11 o'clock news saying the same thing last night.

Last night was great, very spirited and full of energy with very good anti-war songs.

Police took 'Anarchist' sound system and I suggest to raise money for them to buy another sound system.

The anti-war music was great and at the last note it was the best entertainment on Saturday night in Palo Alto that we all ever had. It was lots of fun being with these young political people at an anti-war rally. Don't miss the next one on July 8th in SF anti G8 rally.

This was the most serious anti-war rally that I have attended. These kids were willing to sacrifice for their anti-war beliefs. They are not e-mail activist by any means!

They are taking it to the streets peacefully and forcefully and we have to support their efforts.
As an antiwar group we have to support them regardless of their tactics and strategy.

Vida of South Bay Mobilization.

<>www.sbm4peace.org

SBM is a progressive group of activists from the San Jose area. I appreciate their call for solidarity with all trying to do away with the miserable conditions that are perpetuated on this earth by the institutions of power and the economic system of capitalism. As Martin Luther King said, whether you read Gandhi or Frantz Fanon, regardless of tactics, we must show solidarity with those who are posing a threat to the status quo. Solidarity between militants, like myself, and pacifists is a step towards a true “Rainbow Coalition,” the likes of which organizations like the Black Panther Party and Fred Hampton tried to create. I don’t care if I’m at risk of being called a Marxist, I’m just going to say what I feel: All Power to the People!

-Rob of Peninsula Anarchist Collective

Friday, June 24, 2005

Short Press Statement

The media have distorted our collvectives' message (could we have thought otherwise?). I offer one statement the press can quote me on:

"To be silent and passive while people rot and die at
the hands of the US government is a an act of
violence. To stand up to the crimes of government is
a form of violence prevention. I am not a violent
person and that is why I am an anarchist. Anarchism
is a peace movement that is bent on doing away with
the system of power that creates so much pain and
suffering all over the planet."

-Rob of the Peninsula Anarchist Collective

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Holy Shit! We're famous!

Well, not really. Meg is! A local celebrity I suppose!

So all of the sudden a google search of "peninsula anarchist collective" reveals a bunch of hits. Not bad! I hope people will get our message, which is basically a rather simple one. "We'd like our freedom and we'd like our autonomy!"

I'd like to discuss something I read today that affects all of us. Yes, even the police can relate to it.

Let's say you're sitting in your living room watching the latest episode of desperate housewives with your families (yes, even anarchists have families). There's a knock at the door and it's the police, you ask through the door (you dont expect us to open it do you???): "What is it?" and the reply is, "We're taking your house, looks like we need to make room for a strip mall!"

Christ! That's terrible, but you know what, thanks to you're elected leaders and the Supreme Court, governments (fed, state and local) now have the complete power to take away the house you live in. Yup, the house you or your folks struggled to buy. Poof, gone, why???? Cuz we're putting in a strip mall, its in the states "economic" interest that you get the fuck out of your house and surrender it to the developers.

Why Ken, you sound angry?

Damn right I am, why shouldn't I be? This is terrible, this kind of stuff should be illegal, this kind of stuff WAS ILLEGAL, and now this kind of stuff can happen to everyone!!!! Nope, we're not just bulldozing the ghetto these days, the laws been changed and now not even white people are safe!

That's right!! I'd like to welcome all the REAL americans to the party!

With changes like this, do you still think autonomy and free will (aka anarchism) are bad?

When you hear news like this, do you still think the anarchists have got it all wrong?

Anyways, there's a protest in Palo Alto this weekend. I'm not from Palo Alto but if they want to get together and voice their opinions, that's a good thing. The city belongs to them, the police need to remember who pays them as well! If they start beating up high school kids, maybe the good folks of palo alto will stop paying their taxes? OK, thats highly unlikely. But who knows.

And if your skin color ain't white, I suggest wearing running shoes!

Ken

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Military Recruitment

A couple weeks ago we attended a discussion with Fernando Suarez del Solar. I had intended to write something sooner, however, for some reason I put it off.

Fernando Suarez del Solar is the father of one of the soldiers killed at the beginning of the Iraq war. His story by now is probably not that uncommon given that everyday we hear of more people being killed during the occupation. His story is touching none the less. He is Mexican and came here to California from Tijuana, BC Mexico. If anyone reading this has ever been to Tijuana they'd know why he left with his family.

Anyways, immigrant families generally tend not to have the same opportunities as those who have been here much longer and have assimilated. They are looked down upon by the ruling class, and seen as subhuman. No one thinks twice of asking them to do the most difficult manual labor. They are resented by the middle class, viewed as a leach on society. Yet, we have no problems asking them to go to fight a bullshit war to defend our lifestyle. To defend the right of Shell, Exxon-Mobil, BP and the rest to supply our insatiable appetites for oil.

Fernando was sincere in his speech. He spoke of the recruitment tactics used by your military to deceive his son and other people of color. He spoke of what he saw at the frontlines. I was pissed when i heard him say that ten of the 11 soldiers working the Faluja checkpoint were brown, with the only white person being the commanding officer. It shows me what this country thinks of us, and thinks of me. We're good enough to work and we're good enough to die. However we're not good enough to take advantage of simple necessities. In the past, during years of high immigration, money for education was increased, except now. I suppose we're not worth it.

I sat thinking about this reality for so many of my people here. For so many of the other poor and working class people regardless of their color. We're all fucked. Not just brown but the majority of whites, blacks and yellows as well. We are the ones who have the most to gain from embracing anarchist ideals. We have nothing to gain by providing the system with cannon fodder.

I'm writing my thoughts down in the hopes that other anarchists can get a glimpse into this reality that other normal poor and working class people face. Many of my own family members sign up and consider signing up because we just don't have the resources to continue with education or even the knowledge that there are other ways to move on without having to resort to supplying the country with warm bodies to kill. These are the people you fight for, don't lose sight of that. Don't lose sight of the goal: freedom and complete autonomy from this bullshit system for everyone.

Ken
Peninsula Anarchist Collective