Is there a line that Black Lives Matter protesters should be hesitant to cross? Today the NY Times reports that there’s an ongoing debate about that question in places like Portland where protests/riots have increasingly moved away from federal buildings downtown and into the suburbs. The story opens with a group of protesters who got angry with a homeowner who was flying an American flag. Terrance Moses, a veteran who was marching with the protesters at the time, didn’t appreciate that very much:
“It went from a peaceful march, calling out the names, to all of a sudden, bang, ‘How dare you fly the American flag?’” said Mr. Moses, who is Black and runs a nonprofit group in the Portland, Ore., area. “They said take it down. They wouldn’t leave. They said they’re going to come back and burn the house down.”
Mr. Moses and others blocked the demonstrators and told them to leave.
“We don’t go around terrorizing folks to try and force them to do something they don’t want to do,” said Mr. Moses, whose nonprofit group provides support for local homeless people. “I’m a veteran. I’m for these liberties.”
But for every person like Moses who thinks the protets/riots are loosing focus, there is someone like Stephen Green who said watching a protest without participating is tantamount to racism. “We don’t need allies anymore. We need accomplices,” Green told the Times. And the significance of that comes into stark relief later in the piece when the Times reports that one night this month two marches were scheduled an explicity “nonviolent” protest in the city center one and one promising “direct action.”
No one appeared to be at the city center protest. But around 200 people were at the other event…
A small free literature selection was set up on the grass and overseen by three people in ski masks. It was a popular offering, and people crowded around, craning to see the pamphlets.
Titles included “Why Break Windows”; “I Want To Kill Cops Until I’m Dead”; “Piece Now, Peace Later: An Anarchist Introduction to Firearms”; “In Defense of Smashing Cameras”; and “Three-Way Fight: Revolutionary Anti-Fascism and Armed Self Defense.”
The energy was something like a carnival in the dark.
Wow! How the hell does the Times go from reporting a pamphlet about killing cops to describing this as a “carnival in the dark” as if it were all good fun? I didn’t see the pamphlet in question but there is a piece in the anarchist library by this same name so I’d bet this is the content of that pamphlet. It promotes not just killing police but their families as well (no link for anarchists):
To begin, we wish to address a simple yet potentially contentious issue which will form the basis of our appeal here. Police Officers must be killed, the families of Police Officers must be killed, the children of Police Officers must be killed, the friends and supporters of Police Officers must be killed. We mean this both materially and immaterially (though both meanings do not necessarily apply to all of the above examples); in undoing the murderous reign of terror inflicted upon us by the guardians of ‘civilization’, it is required not only to wipe them from the face of the earth; but further that we act in such extremity that the reemergence of any ‘police style’ force inside the reality proceeding policings’ annihilation is not only discouraged, but is in fact impossible…
Moving to our understanding of ‘killing’ then we want to present a definition of what it means to kill beyond the limits of a purely material approach. We wish to split killing into both its material (e.g. gunning down a uniformed officer), and immaterial (killing the voice that tells us not to throw the Molotov) components, to dissect there meanings and advocate for there proliferation.
We believe in the necessity of both the material and immaterial killing of police in order to fully annihilate them (which as earlier stated is our goal).
The essay ends with three suggestions for potentially killing police including cutting the brake cables on police vehicles.
It’s hard to believe that if the Times had seen a similar pamphlet at a right wing gathering, i.e. let’s annihilate this group of people, it wouldn’t be taken as far more threatening and obviously symbolic of the movement itself, not brushed aside as part of a “carnival” atmosphere. That’s especially the case given that two LA Sheriff’s Deputies were ambushed just a week ago. It seems like an obvious connection but it never gets mentioned in the piece.
Nellie Bowles, the tech reporter who wrote this for the Times, is the same person who wrote a really terrible profile of Jordan Peterson back in 2018. Not only does her current piece not mention the LA shooting, she also doesn’t ask anyone who supports the confrontational tactics to defend or explain the brochure. So Stephen Green, who is quoted twice in the piece (“We need accomplices.”), is never asked what he thinks about it. Why not?
The question at the center of this entire piece is this: What, if anything, counts as going too far for BLM. And yet evidence the group is recommending the murder of police officers barely rates a blip. The Times could be a much better paper if all of its writers weren’t knee-jerk leftists.