Yesterday’s Experiment

Published at 07:00 on 2 May 2014

I ran an experiment of sorts yesterday.

I deliberately chose to be as visibly anarchistic as possible (in the sense of what popular stereotypes about anarchist dress and mannerisms are), yet at the same time to scrupulously avoid causing any sort of lasting damage to any living beings or inanimate objects, and to refrain as much as possible from participating in any physical conflicts or clashes.

You see, I normally don’t dress all in black at demonstrations. It’s something I regard as trite (and, face it, it is trite). So yesterday’s experiment was to get an idea, by personal experimentation, of just how much repressive measures are directed against anarchists per se, as opposed to any unlawful conduct by individual anarchists. I don’t normally find myself the least bit personally at risk, even at demonstrations which are later portrayed as violent or unruly. How much of that immunity is the result of not adhering to stereotypes and thus being seen as not an anarchist and therefore not “deserving” repression?

And after narrowly avoiding getting injured or arrested in what can only be described as a brief police riot, and then again avoiding injury pretty narrowly when one of the so-called superheroes assaulted the march pretty much at random and without provocation, well, there’s the answer.

At neither time did I note any violence or property damage happening before either group attacked the march without warning (had I observed any such things, I would have physically distanced myself from them). That’s not to say that neither happened, only that neither happened near me; both conflicts were initiated not by myself or any other anarchist but by forces in opposition to us.

And note, this Seattle May Day is being reported in the media as tamer than other recent ones.

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