The anarchists I know don't drive. Or shouldn't because they don't have licenses. In fact, none that I've met but two have a driver's license. The anarchists I know often hitchhike or elicit rides from other people who don't hold environmental values and anarchical ideals too dearly. Meaning, they mooch. Mooching might be necessary because none of the anarchists I've met have "official" jobs and are always trying to economize. They often participate in medical studies to help them get by. They dumpster dive. They learn how to shoplift. But it seems strange to bewail the melting of the ice caps and oil policy and still use fuel--even tangentially--to get anywhere. Anarchists should walk and bike only. Those forms of transportation, however, might limit their effectiveness. My son would have had to leave for the Republican convention about a year ago to get to Minneapolis in time.
But never mind that argument. It often goes no where, as so many discussion with my son do.
during my son's stay here in the Bay Area--in which they lost the borrowed car to the Oakland Police Department and Howie's Tow and Pay Through the Nose--I drove the him and his anarchist friends around a lot in my Volvo station wagon. It was like old times, except instead of the drama clique or the water polo team, I now had the anarchist squad in the back seat. They needed to be picked up from a variety of spots: police stations, anarchist meeting halls in Berkeley, friend's apartments. While in the car, the windows open (these anarchists don't believe in using beauty products because "the man" gives us the idea of how we should smell and humans should smell like humans), they told me about their beliefs.
James told me "All police suck. They aren't human."
I thought about the woman who had been at my home just weeks ago. Okay, so Kate was only a CHP officer, but I think he'd have lumped her in there in the group of non-humans. Kate was raising her two children, a lesbian working in an often macho and male dominated field, a woman who was generous and kind and very helpful. What James didn't know was that when my son had been arrested, Kate had helped and given me information about Mitchell's jail time.
"so," I said. "Every single human who works in law enforcement is non-human."
"Yes," James said. "I mean, if they aren't non-human when they go in, they are non-human when they are there. I had this friend, man, he like started beating his wife when he was a cop."
"So he didn't have deep seated issues before he went into the police force?" I asked. "He didn't need a lot of therapy five years ago?"
"Police work calls for a certain kind of person," my son said. "It calls them."
"But if he wasn't a cop,he'd be a wife beating bread maker," I said.
"But he is a cop. He's a pig," James said.
"You are generalizing, " I said. "You are making huge assumptions about thousands of people. Maybe millions."
Patchouli and cigarette odors wafted through the car. I made a left onto Ashby.
"You haven't seen what the pigs have done to our friends," my son said.
I almost braked, causing a pileup near Whole Foods. Pigs? I thought that term went out in the seventies. "But what were your friends doing?" I asked. "Were they where they shouldn't be, doing something they shouldn't be doing?"
"What is wrong with peaceful protest?" James asked.
"Nothing," I said. "But there are laws."
"Right," my son said. "Laws to keep people from their rights. Laws that force people into inhumane situations. Like the war. Like the ICE detention centers up north. Like all this shit with Homeland Security and immigration. Mom, we need to be able to stand in protest."
"I agree. You should," I said, gunning through a yellow light. "But they have the right to move you off of private property."
"Anyone who would move us is a pig," James said.
"So what if they said 'All anarchists are pigs,'" I said. "Would they be generalizing?"
"Yes," my son said.
"And are you generalizing?" I said.
"But we are right," James said.
At the intersection of College and Ashby, I looked in the rear view mirror at the men in the back seat and then at my son sitting next to me in the passenger's seat. Two of them barely said a word the whole time, and I wondered if my son and James were the mouths, the voices, of their group. But they were so young--between the ages of 19 and 23--and they were living their ideals as only people that age can. Their bodies exuded that belief, the smells, the used clothes, the backpacks full of their possessions, so much needed in case of emergency like a towed car. They were itinerant idealists, roving the country, spreading their message.
They had given up so much to do what they were doing--or was it they were scared of doing what people have to do in order to be "successful" in this country. Did my life make them sick? Did they think that my writing and teaching and standards of living make me a pig? What did they say about their parents? I didn't hold any of their beliefs, except for the idea of getting us out of the war. They believed in the rights of people, the disbanding of government, the complete reformation of society. I believe in some really nice modifications. They thought all police officers are pigs. I believed that there are sick individuals in every group of human beings. I believed that it's possible for change to happen. They actually believed it's too late.
"Don't bother thinking about your retirement," my son told me earlier. "It won't happen. The economy will fail before that."
"When I call," he had also said. "Believe me. Move to the country. Don't ask questions."
They held firm to what they thought. They believed strongly and wrongly, and we went through the argument one more time before I finally just pulled into my driveway and turned off the car.
"Do you want some waffles?" I asked.
They all smiled.
"Yes," my son said. "Please."
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org