My step-daughter, who happens to be an awesome person, once wrote a song for a punk band she was in. I don't remember the whole thing, but the refrain was "smashing beer bottles instead of the State". Her point at the time was that the "drunk-punks" (a scourge upon the scene at that time) weren't actually effecting any change in the world, and should redirect their self-destructive tendencies on the institutions that oppress them. That song came to mind when I heard the news that a bunch of "anarchists" went on a "wilding" and smashed a bunch of business windows near my neighbourhood. So far a teaching assistant at the local college turned himself in after his car was caught on video surveillance.

"Police arrested a University of Wisconsin Milwaukee graduate student and teaching assistant on Monday after he turned himself in. What police want to know: is he part of group of 20-to-30 anarchists intent on committing violence? The vandalism was extensive and expensive for east side businesses. Windows were smashed late Friday night by an apparent anarchist group wearing black ninja costumes. They did more than $25,000 in damage at five businesses near Prospect and North."

So which businesses did these awesome anti-capitalist ninja-heroes of anarchy vandalize? A bank, a Whole Foods, a Subway, a mexican-food chain, and a bagel chain. Yes, Bruegger's Bagels, enemy of freedom and love! Why do you oppress these freedom fighters with your kettle-boiled dough! WE MUST RESIST! GRAH!

Now, as much as I like to kid the anarchists, I do find some of their ideas appealing, though the whole mindset and philosophy just isn't my bag (I'm more a democratic socialist). Sadly these "ninjas" do anarchism no favours. Worse, I already imagine that many anarchists are already preparing to lionize these wanton window-smashing "heroes", prepare "solidarity" actions for those arrested, and construct an argument that these individuals were somehow striking a blow for freedom. But really, aren't they just smashing windows instead of smashing the State? Who are they hurting? Certainly not the well-insured corporate chains, certainly not the local, state, or federal government. You want to know who they made life difficult for? The workers they claim they want to free from the shackles of capitalist slavery. They created some extra work and nuisance for some under-paid workers. Bravo. But then they are capitalist tools, no doubt giving police statements, sweeping up glass, and dealing with endless questions from customers will enlighten them to the anarchist cause.

Or maybe not. Maybe they're just smashing windows instead of smashing the state.
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