“Anti War” Activist Calls for Violence Against America!

In a recent essay in The Utne Reader that can only lead readers to conclude that social change can only come through violence, Peter Gelderloos lauds the Madrid bombings and claims that Blacks rioting had more to do with the success of the civil rights movement than Martin Luther King. Worst of all he ends with this clear incitement to violence:

The Madrid bombings do not present an example for action, but rather, an important paradox: Do people who stick to nonviolent tactics that have not proved effective in ending the war against Iraq really care more for human life than the Madrid terrorists? From India to Birmingham, nonviolence has failed to sufficiently empower its practitioners, whereas the use of a diversity of tactics got results. Put simply, if a movement is not a threat, it cannot change a system that is based on centralized coercion and violence.

Time and again, people struggling not for some token reform but for complete liberation — the reclamation of control over our own lives and the power to negotiate our own relationships with the people and the world around us — will find that nonviolence does not work, that we face a self-perpetuating power structure that is immune to appeals to conscience and strong enough to plow over the disobedient and uncooperative.

We must reclaim histories of resistance to understand why we have failed in the past and how exactly we achieved the limited successes we did. We must also accept that all social struggles, except those carried out by a completely pacified and thus ineffective people, include a diversity of tactics.

It is clear that Gelderloos, author of the book How Nonviolence Protects The State, is preaching terrorism. He’s saying that the democratic process should be cast aside, and countries should be ruled by the mobs that can be incited to action. In the Gelderloos world, might makes right and the dedication to ones principles can be measured by the bodies one is willing to leave in one’s wake.

More disturbing is that Gelderloos has a lot of followers who buy what he’s selling, and you can see praise heaped on his nihilistic philosophy at sites like Phoenix Insurgent and CrimethInc. Phoenix Insurgent is even raising money for Gelderloos to help pay his legal bills, it seems he’s been putting his direct action philosophy into practice in Spain, and has run afoul of the law.

But truthfully let us call this what it is: rich, White brats who believe they’re entitled to commit violence to further whatever political agenda they’ve attached themselves to at the moment while their parents support them. Peter Gelderloos cares little for his cause, only the thrilling rush of excitement when he sees fear in the eyes of others, the sense of power that comes from injuring police officers and the love of mob violence. Peter Gelderloos and his ilk aren’t activists, or Anarchists as they like to style themselves. They are degenerates, and the main reason I keep a gun (or four) in my house.

11 thoughts on ““Anti War” Activist Calls for Violence Against America!

  1. I’d like to see any evidence you have that I am either rich, white, a brat or supported by my parents, please. Thanks for the free publicity, though. Sadly, your slanders about me are not even the worst of it. You have wholly misunderstood and mischaracterized that article. I wonder, was it because you a liar or is because you cannot understand it? Either way, beware readers of this blog! On another note, thanks for the link to my site,.

  2. I’d put forward that your site itself is proof that you are a rich white kid living out a fantasy. I mean, really, Phoenix Insurgent? Insurgent?

    C’mon. It’s like you’re playing Shadowrun.

    Show me you aren’t some white kid and that you’re gainfully employed. I dare you!

  3. Uh, dude. The thing is that the burden is on you. You made the claim. What I hear you saying is that you can’t back it up with facts. I imagine it’s like that a lot with you. You say something and then can’t back it up.

  4. Uh Whitey, Why should I?

    But to humor you:
    1) Only rich white kids get angry for being called a rich white kid. If you called me that I wouldn’t bother responding.
    2) Didn’t you once write a post where you said that showing I.D. to vote would interfere with the rights of “people of color”? The idea that Black folk just don’t have I.D. is kinda racist, and if you’re including Mexicans and other Latin Americans in “poeple of color” it proves you’re not Black and certainly not Mexican, as Mexicans aren’t real fond of Black folk and no Balck person I know thinks Hispanics are “colored’
    3) Anti-War.com host articles that are cross posted to White Nationalist sites. Check out the interesting places articles by Paul Craig Roberts and Ron Paul show up. If you’re having trouble look for a site called the Civic Platform. Now that you know this, what’s your reaction?
    4) Who says dude any more? It isn’t “people of color”
    5) Aren’t you PHX Insurgent on photobucket? Aren’t you the pasty white guy with no fashion sense?

    Why does being called white bother you? And you certainly aren’t poor. Why be afraid to just put it out there, it doesn’t make you less of a radical.

  5. You know, I thought I would check in on you before work and I think I see now what the problem is. You have not developed a political argument here (probably, as I said before, because you have not understood Gelderloos’ article). Instead, you have opted to create a person to argue against and then use that to discredit the piece. The problem is, the descriptors, save white, you attribute to me in order to attack the position do not apply. For instance, I am not rich (not that you would know). My parents do not support me (again, not that you would know). And, while “brat” is subjective, I would be careful if I were you throwing that word around: you’re more emotional, vengeful and incapable of having a rational argument than my 12 year-old sister.

    So, if we take your attempt at a rebuttal here, we are only left with the conclusions that, since your personal attack on me fails, and since that is the underpinning of your point, that you are wrong and that, further, I must be right. Further, you hint that you yourself may in fact be rich and supported by your parents which, if we take your own logic, shoots your own arguments down as illegitimate. Sad hypocrite.

    Keep trying. I know you can make a legitimate argument about ideas if you really try. I believe in you still.

  6. Actually, my article was never about a political arguement, it was a moral one. I think you don’t understand what Gelderloos is saying when he says that non-violence without the threat of violence simply doesn’t work.

    I haven’t “created a person to attack” I used you as color for an otherwise dull story to show that Gelderloo isn’t just some lone wacko with no pull, but that subversive sites like Crimethinc promote his ideas, and that individuals (you’re an example) who see themselves as Anarchist are also enthralled. Then you came here to argue.

    I’m not sure you know what vengeful means, but it isn’t how an adult describes a 12 yer old, certainly not his sister.

    “So, if we take your attempt at a rebuttal here, we are only left with the conclusions that, since your personal attack on me fails, and since that is the underpinning of your point, that you are wrong and that, further, I must be right” That’s not quite logical. First off you demanding how I came to a conclusion (You’re white) isn’t me making a rebuttal. That isn’t what rebuttal means. Secondly your thesis is the classic non-sequiter, If A than 2 kind of logic. If you proved that hitler wansn’t an Aryan, would it follow that what he said about jews was true?

    Now, none of these comments were about ideas, they’re about a (fairly) young guy having his feelings hurt because someone he doesn’t know thinks he’s a completly average example of the young “radical”, your arguement isn’t about Gelderloos, you barely mention him. You have a carefully cultivated image of yourself that is, in my opinion, typical of white, rich (or upper middle class if you prefer) brats. Now if these thing weren’t true you wouldn’t say “Rob prove this or that” you’d say, “Hey I work”.

    But you haven’t. If you had of wrote in and said, “hey I have a job” I would have accepted you at your word, but even though you’re basically demanding I prove you’re not of the substantial means you won’t go so far as to say you’ve got a part time gig in retail. You’re a vegitarian, which means you can’t be poor because poor people can’t afford to be vegitarians (it’s an expensive lifstyle) you’re rallying against economic development in your anti-yuppie party, so clearly you’re not interested in gaining access to their wealth. Isn’t this attitude more indicitive of the downwardly mobile than working class or poor people.

    But whatever, I’ll tell you what, you shoot over a picture of you cashing a check, with a paystub, and I’ll publish it and say I was wrong.

    I’m not sure when I said I was rich, though me and the mrs. do make money hand over fist but I know I never mentioned my mother, who works very hard for child services in NYC, or my father (who’s dead) and full disclosure I work at home, on websites like this one. I do it so well that I stopped working in non-profits (where I did pretty well actually) to sitting here full time. Well part time I guess since I get up around 2:00pm and work about four hours a day. But you understand.

    Now you tell me “insurgent” is peaceful protest legitimate, or is terrorism and the threat of violence the only way for the antiwar movement to achieve it’s goals? I understand you want to talk about the issue, and there it is.

  7. What a ridiculous question. Is peaceful protest legitimate? I don’t think anyone would ever say otherwise. But there are other important questions. Like, is it always legitimate? Is it always the most effective means? Is it always effective? The point is that other kinds of protest are also legitimate, including violent ones. I don’t see why this is an extreme position to take. It’s easily backed up by the history that shows that violence does often provoke social change. It’s one reason why the system uses it so much.

    As for me, I was not raising the identity stuff defensively, I was pointing out that you were making a caricature to enhance an otherwise very weak argument. I came on to dare you to prove your points, which you have not, in order to show that you are being manipulative and not engaging the real point. You hope to paint me and others in a certain way in order to discredit a political argument. But, if I am not that way, then it goes to your motive and your inability to make a solid argument on its merits. It isn’t up to me to prove anything. If you claim something, you need to be able to back it up.

    And, anti-yuppie organizing comes from having occupied the lower third of the income ladder (thanks to two layoffs and two recessions) for a decade in my neighborhood and having a bunch of high wage white johnnie-come-latelies move in (thanks to government subsidies on development), raise the rents and then threaten to price me out. I can’t afford to buy a house in this neighborhood, and if rents go up, I’m out. That’s also a legitimate reason to oppose the gentrification of a neighborhood. If the rents go up here, I cannot afford to live here anymore.

    By the, way, you certainly have my age wrong, given your post above. Another thing about me that you have wrong. Additionally, I can tell you that it is certainly possible to be vegetarian and be poor. I wonder, will you ever just give up trying to argue against an image you have in your head and instead deal with substance. We’ll see…

    A more interesting question would actually be to flip your question around. Is other than peaceful protest ever a legitimate means to achieve a political goal?

  8. But you’re a white johnny come lately, right?

    Coming from a poor family myself (a Black one at that) I can tell you it is a fact that if you’re poor, you can’t afford to pay extra money for specialty diets. I grew up on pork and collards, what was cheap and available.

    You are saying peaceful protests aren’t legitimate, just like Gelderloos which was the point of my post. If thery aren’t effective sans violence, and terrorism is effective sans peaceful protest (the point Gelderloos makes in his article when he talks about the Madrid bombings) than peaceful protest is an illegitimate form of social action because it leads nowhere and empowers the state to ignore dissent.

    You’re caricaturing yourself by refering to yourself as “Phoenix Insurgent,” I used you to illustrate to my readers that a sub-culture of predominatly white middle class young people who indulge in a lust for violence under the guise of political activism. No offense.

    Now look, I’m “sorry” you’re so upset by this, but who cares? If you want to debate the point about Gelderloss book, that’d be fine, if you want to type out four or five paragraphs that boil down to “I’m not rich, you are, dick” than you’ve already said it, have a nice night. If you want to pretend you’re oppressed (and not care about the poor people whose lives are improved by “gentrification, I know I was one of them) and that “yuppies” are going to come in and make everyone drink Merlot and eat fois gras, that’s cool. But you want me to tell you I believe your ‘net credentials, that you grew up poor and work hard but the man is keeping you down, etc., that you’re a hard working even tempered anarchist who uses a man in a ski mask with an AK-47 as his header as a metaphor for lively political debate, well, it ain’t gonna happen.

    Sorry P.I., but this is the site of a right wing, bi-racial, free marketing, gun toting, cat loving, meat eating, polytheistic, gothic literature loving, old fashioned metal head. Unless you love Sabbath or read Radcliffe’s The Italian, you’re not going to get any kind of validation here, it’s just not what I do.

  9. Metal’s great and all. One thing we may have in common. But, the point is that you hoped to create a type of person that you thought would validate your perspective that a certain type of politics comes from a certain type of person. That turns out not to have been accurate. Nevertheless, note that I have not opted to return the favor by inventing a net personality for you in order to discredit your argument. And man, that’s a good thing, too, because judging by your self-description, just like you did, I’d have guessed wrong.

    But, you can’t decide what I am now anyhow. First I was rich, then I was upper middle class, now I am just “not poor”. Well, that covers about everything. Here’s an idea: it could be that I am just like a lot of people – I have a job, I don’t have a college degree, I work, I pay my bills and I don’t get health insurance. And I want to keep living where I am because I like it. Either way, my coworkers will get a kick out of knowing that you think a non-cdl truck driver is rich. I wish, believe me! Maybe you’ve spent too much time working from home… only you know for sure, but that’s hilarious.

    Whatever. First off, I never said that peaceful protest wasn’t legitimate. Still, I don’t think that “legitimate” is really a useful way of judging a protest, since the right to engage in politics and “protest” is a human right, not one that needs to be sanctioned as legitimate or not by some higher authority.

    Social change happens in a wide variety of ways, but certainly the threat of force is always present in one way or another. There is no such thing, in reality, as non-violent or peaceful protest. There are degrees and relationships to violence, but there is no such thing as non-violence. States are violent, and they use a monopoly of violence to back up their political will, regardless of whether that political will comes from a congress, a dictator or an initiative process. People participating in social struggle are really no different.

    So, your proposition is empty at the get-go. Now, if you want to ask if less-violent, or less-directly-violent protest is valuable as a social tool, I wouldn’t disagree with you. Indeed, it is the most popular form in the US today. But we shouldn’t have any illusions about it: violence is always lurking behind politics, whether it be the reaction of the state or the prospect that people, fed up with a political process that is firmly in the hands of elites, will opt for more direct measures. These don’t have to involve weapons. The range of political tools available to people is broad, and also included riots, property destruction, strikes, sabotage, war, terrorism, etc. And people engage these tactics because at various times they work, not because they are viewed as legitimate or not by some authority or not.

    I would suggest the example of the BLA in the 70’s and early 80’s. Many of them engaged in armed struggle because of the failure of less-violent protest in their eyes. And many of them completely rejected the right of the state to try them when they came to trial, thus refusing the right of the state to label their actions legitimate or illegitimate. Further, many of them were busted out of jail, further reflecting their refusal of the state’s right to determine their method of struggle or even to pass judgment.

    Since you’re right wing, I must ask you if you were or are in support of the war. If you were, then you already agree that violence can be used to accomplish political goals (albeit not so successfully in the case of Iraq). If, in fact, you were for any war at any time, you must also concede this point.

    You must, then, ask yourself what it is that makes a protest legitimate in your eyes. Who bequeaths legitimacy? The state? The people? The Church? Is your point, actually, that the only kind of protest that is legit is holding a sign, or signing a petition or voting in an election? Is that it? The problem with that is that large sections of the planet’s population disagree with you, starting with (in the American nationalist tradition) the revolutionary Americans and continuing through to today. One has to wonder then, if you would travel back in time, given the opportunity, and lecture the Minutemen of yore on the necessity of non-violence and the art of petitioning. Are you adding “pacifist” to that long list of attributes with which you self-describe?

    On a slightly different note, although I am not one, I don’t dispute that these people you talk about do in fact exist. Believe me, I am as frustrated as you are by what we call “trustafarians” or “sandalistas”: rich kids who come into the radical movement and use their privilege and resources to dictate projects and tactics. At the same time, the rich kids who play poor and never recognize their own economic (or racial or gender) privilege are just as frustrating. Self-imposed downward mobility is hard for me to understand as well. I like having some money in my pocket and, believe me, while I’m not now and never have been competing for title of “most oppressed”, I know the hardship of not having money while trying to put food in my mouth and maintaining a roof over my head.

    Anyhow, that’s just the opinion of this white, working class, anarchist-communist, gun-owning, vegetarian, hardcore and metal listening, Vonnegut reading, athiest, Phoenix Suns fan, dog-lover from a multi-racial family.

  10. Well played.

    O.K. my point is that I’m not “creating” a type of person. I extrapolated, and you are right to say “that’s not me” but my intention isn’t to misrepresent the man behind the insurgent, but to use your site as an example. I would put forward, with all due respect, that the image you project from your site is of the modern radical, which perhaps unfairly has a stereotype associated with it.

    But your point about violent vs non-violent protest is well taken, how ever I’ll caution you on using the BLA and similar groups as an example. Black nationalist groups promote a hateful violent ideology that doesn’t end with “the stuggle” and certainly a BLA member, or a Black panther or what have you would be quick to shoot you or me if given the chance. I think when people on the left associate with groups like that it’s akin to Republicans and Libertarians being associated with Pat Buchanan or the website VDARE. Pat and the VDARE crowd would gladly round up Republicans and Libertarians and throw them in a gulag if they could, and the BLA would be happy to see the entire city of Phoenix put to the torch.

    I’m a supporter of armed self defense, and of liberation. Now where you and I would differ is that (I assume) you think people need to be liberated from “the slavery of Capitalism” say, while I look at liberation in terms of the actual slave states where Black Animists and Christians are traded in Africa and the Middle East. This doesn’t just happen in the Sudan, but is a byproduct of Salafist theologies taking control of areas.

    I was always a little leary of the war stratigically, but I’ve been anti-Baathist since I knew what Baathism was. I think the Allied powers of WW II allowed National Socialist governemts to set up in various areas and we are ultimately responsible for the crimes they continued to commit. Every person killed by Baathists is another victim of Hitler’s National Socialist cult, and we (and I mean the world) are responsible for allowing for decades in Iraq and Syria the same excesses and racial genocides that we rightfully decry Hitler for. So short answer, we should have crushed the Nazi’s 50 years ago, instead of letting them set up in various countries we didn’t care about.

    Blacks in America needed to defend themselves from groups like the Ku Klux Klan, which had infiltrated many southern governments, so armed struggle was necessary to some extent. Gunning down police who make traffic stops or drug dealers who are on your turf doesn’t count. Sadly these are often the examples of armed resistance many people are talking about.

    Likewise, kicking in the windows of a Starbucks or setting off bombs in the U.S. aren’t valid either, because of two reasons. The first and most important is that for armed conflict to be morally right, especially in the context of intra nation conflict, there has to be no recourse left to the parties. This is what happened in the civil war, and why it’s hard (but certainly not impossible) to attack Black Power movements, because in both cases normal political means doesn’t work.

    If there are elements of the left or right that think that peaceful protests aren’t working to promote their agenda, they should actually stop and think about whether or not there’s some problem other than “the state” keeping Americans from supporting them. Maybe most people don’t want Socialism/White Nationalism/AnarchoCapitalism etc. Maybe they can compromise with Americans to get some of what they want. But when you start shooting and bombing, you’re going to get shot and bombed.

    I get a lot of hate mail and death threats from Tax Protesters and White Nationalists. Both these groups state as fact that they’re gearing up for an armed revolution because “they’ve got no choice”, is that legitimate? In terms of the tax protest movement, it happens to be true that they’ll never get what they want peacefully, are they morally right to use violence to get it? What about Fundamentalist Muslims in America, they can’t peacefully make America Muslim, would they be right to arm themselves and rise up?

    But more importantly, what would you and I do if any of those groups did? Tax protester, Nazi or anyone else, if someone starts burning my house, or looting my favorite deli or burning crosses on my lawn they’re going to get shot. Armed protest begets armed response. That’s why it has to be the last resort and in self defense or to defend the lives of others, and not just because someone wants the economy to run differently or for the county to go green.

    Just my two cents.

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