Because I write a lot about my son, I thought that I would ask him if he'd be willing to speak in his own voice, about his own ideas. He recently returned from the protests in St. Paul, MN, and I sent him some questions to answer. They aren't very original, and mostly, I want to ask him more personal questions, things we can talk about while sitting on my deck.
But I thought that those of you who have been reading my blog would appreciate seeing his point-of-view.
What drew you into the anarchist lifestyle/beliefs?
I was initially drawn towards anarchism by participating in a demonstration in San Francisco in 2004. While everyone else was making speeches and being controlled by the police, the anarchists were attempting to disrupt the everyday functioning of the city by clogging streets and attacking property. To me, this seemed a fitting response, given that San Francisco is in the USA, the country that was and is murdering innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan. I took part in that demonstration and, regardless of the fact that we changed absolutely nothing, I felt more genuine in my dissent there than I did walking in circles holding a sign. My guilt for doing nothing was a little less gnawing after that. After that I began to read actual anarchists texts and found that many of my preexisting beliefs synchronized perfectly with anarchists beliefs. I have always wanted to write and have written for much of my life. Once I began to learn more about anarchism, I began to question the very nature of the publishing industry and the way in which it converts all types of art into a commodity to be bought and sold. I stopped trying to be published by a big press and began publishing my own work in my communities. Because those communities are what birthed many of the themes that are in my writing, my work resonates in those communities far more than it would elsewhere. I imagine this is what it was like in small villages before mass production began to strip local attachment and meaning from a book. Faulkner's work meant more in his Mississippi home town than it did in Juneau, Alaska.
As an anarchist, what do you feel that your mission or goal is?
As an anarchist I feel my mission is to do whatever I can to stop the current world system (i.e., Capitalism) before it kills the planet and to eradicate every hierarchical system on the planet. This is obviously very difficult and there is no one way to accomplish this mission. Some people build self-sufficient, tolerant, non-hierarchical communities in the cities and on farms. Others agitate in the cities and try to wake people out of their slumber. Others commit property destruction and sabotage against destructive corporations and government institutions. All of these strategies go hand in hands. Creation and destruction must be balanced, otherwise we might become like what we are trying to fight.
As you set out to the RNC, what did you imagine your group might be able to achieve?
None of us felt we would achieve anything on our own. Our highest ambition for the RNC was to contribute our strength to the collective strength of everyone there. This strength enabled us, by the end of the night of September 1st, to bring the city of Saint Paul to a standstill. When anarchist soldiers were sent to the front in the Spanish Revolution of the 1930's, the various groups gathered information to determine where they were most needed. They went to the front not because they were ordered to, but because they were desperate to help wherever they could. Anarchists are still acting in this way today, in 2008.
Did you have a plan? Was there an organizing group? Was there a plan?
No, there was no plan other than to go to Saint Paul. As I mentioned above, we went where we were needed. In Saint Paul there was an above ground (i.e., public) organizing group called the RNC Welcoming Committee who helped arriving anarchists figure out where they could apply their energy. This group did not plan any specific actions but merely acted as a clearing house for information about the layout of the city, numbers of police, available housing options, etc. Despite the fact that they did not planning for any of the property destruction or rioting that occurred in Saint Paul, eight of the Welcoming Committee are now being charged with “conspiracy to riot in furtherance of terrorism,” a Patriot Act charge. Basically, they are being charged for thought crimes and officially being labeled as terrorists.
What are the incidents that most troubled you at the RNC? What do you think they mean about the state of the US?
The terrorism charges are the most disturbing things. These people did nothing whatsoever. The people who did the rioting at the RNC did so without orders or encouragement. There was no conspiring or order giving. In addition to this, someone I knew had a bag tied around his head by the police and had the shit kicked out of him for over an hour by five police officers. He was spitting blood and vomiting into a bag which they would not remove. In addition to this, a young woman was picked up off the street, beaten by four police officers, and then dumped back on the street in the middle of nowhere. What I saw displayed in Saint Paul can be summed up with one word: Fascism. We are living in a fascist country.
What was most gratifying about protesting at the RNC?
Those few moments when the police were lost and confused and we were absolutely free to go wherever and do whatever we liked. When people run naked through a forest and feel total freedom they do not start cutting down trees. When people run clothed through a city and feel total freedom, they start breaking everything they can. I think that says something about what this system does to our minds.
What do you plan to do next?
Keep my mind sharp and look out for infiltrators, stay one step ahead of the government and, as was mentioned above, do whatever I can to end this horrible nightmare all around us.
Do you envision this current life as the way you will live for a long time?
At least until I am dead or in jail. By the mid 1970's, it was clear to many that neither the proletarian revolution or the death of capitalism was coming anytime soon. Many abandoned their lifestyles as the government either jailed or liquidated what remained of the resistance. Now, in 2008, the North Pole is rapidly disappearing and we are headed towards total environmental devastation. Atrocities like Fallujah and New Orleans are commonplace. Idiotic ideas like “clean coal” are being peddled by the corporations that are killing the planet. This system, as evidenced by the recent plunge of the DOW, is losing the ability to adapt to the world it has created. There is no point for either me or others like me in investing any of our lives in this culture. We are building something new in the waste of the old. We are not merely rebelling. We are attempting to ensure the survival of the people and places we love.
For more information on events at the RNC, click on the below links:
Causes Jessica Inclan Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org