That’s the thing about “insurrectionary anarchists.” They make fickle allies. If they help you get into power, they will try to oust you the following day, since power is what they are against. Many of them don’t even vote. They are experts at unraveling an old order but considerably less skilled at building a new one. That’s why, even after more than 100 days of protest in Portland, activists do not agree on a set of common policy goals.
Even some anarchists admit as much.
“We are not sure if the socialist, communist, democratic or even anarchist utopia is possible,” a voice on “The Ex-Worker” podcast intones. “Rather, some insurrectionary anarchists believe that the meaning of being an anarchist lies in the struggle itself and what that struggle reveals.”
In other words, it’s not really about George Floyd or Black lives, but insurrection for insurrection’s sake.
The Truth About Today’s Anarchists
“Insurrectionary anarchists” have been protesting for racial justice all summer. Some Black leaders wish they would go home.
On the last Sunday in May, Jeremy Lee Quinn, a furloughed photographer in Santa Monica, Calif., was snapping photos of suburban moms kneeling at a Black Lives Matter protest when a friend alerted him to a more dramatic subject: looting at a shoe store about a mile away.
He arrived to find young people pouring out of the store, shoeboxes under their arms. But there was something odd about the scene. A group of men, dressed entirely in black, milled around nearby, like supervisors. One wore a creepy rubber Halloween mask.
The next day, Mr. Quinn took pictures of another store being looted. Again, he noticed something strange. A white man, clad in black, had broken the window with a crowbar, but walked away without taking a thing.
Mr. Quinn began studying footage of looting from around the country and saw the same black outfits and, in some cases, the same masks. He decided to go to a protest dressed like that himself, to figure out what was really going on. He expected to find white supremacists who wanted to help re-elect President Trump by stoking fear of Black people. What he discovered instead were true believers in “insurrectionary anarchism.” . . .
Mr. Quinn discovered a thorny truth about the mayhem that unfolded in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man in Minneapolis. It wasn’t mayhem at all.
While talking heads on television routinely described it as a spontaneous eruption of anger at racial injustice, it was strategically planned, facilitated and advertised on social media by anarchists who believed that their actions advanced the cause of racial justice. In some cities, they were a fringe element, quickly expelled by peaceful organizers. But in Washington, Portland and Seattle they have attracted a “cultlike energy,” Mr. Quinn told me.
Don’t take just Mr. Quinn’s word for it. Take the word of the anarchists themselves, who lay out the strategy in Crimethinc, an anarchist publication: Black-clad figures break windows, set fires, vandalize police cars, then melt back into the crowd of peaceful protesters. When the police respond by brutalizing innocent demonstrators with tear gas, rubber bullets and rough arrests, the public’s disdain for law enforcement grows. It’s Asymmetric Warfare 101. Continue reading “”