Thursday, February 25, 2010

Once upon a time there was a war. Now it has to admitted that it wasn't much of a war. One side had division after division, a navy, an air force, excellent logistics, an army and the ultimate in artillery. Christ, did they have artillery. The other side, well they had a few ragtag troops, often burdened with outdated weapons or, what was worse, new weapons that were worse than useless, tending to blow up in their hands and hurt the handlers much more than the enemy.

Now the general principle of the smaller army should have been simple...avoid pitched battles, sneak around and wear down the enemy by small victories. The smaller army, however, operated under another handicap...that of some its own soldiers. Now it had been demonstrated over and over during the course of this long war that the larger army had often infiltrated the smaller one and encouraged its agents to sabotage the actions of the small army. Despite this repeated demonstration the smaller army steadfastly refused condemn their so-called "comrades" who did, out of stupidity, what the agents of the larger army did out of guile.

What exactly did they do ? As I said it was a long war. Over the course of over a century the smaller army had been parasitized by some who, when the small army was engaged in a march to achieve a small victory would jump up out of cover, yelling insults at the top of their lungs at the enemy, and, instead of using what little firepower they did have would throw sticks, stones and spittle in the general direction of the large army. Did I mention that the larger army had excellent artillery ?

As time wore on these people seemed to undergo a metamorphosis. Instead of seeming like mad fools who wanted to get themselves killed they would only do their little pantomime when they had a clear route of escape. To say the least they didn't consider it important that the rest of the small army should have such an exit route. In their more honest moments they said that it was "good" that the others had to take the shells because it would make them as "brave" as those who provoked the shelling.

That was all fine and good, but what was really to the detriment of the smaller army was that they occasionally made allies which they would attempt to treat with more or less respect. Some of these allies were actually quite larger than the smaller army. Now, if the 'jump up and yell brigade' had little consideration for their fellow soldiers in the small army they had a great hatred for these allies, much more hatred than they had for the enemy in fact. It was a great source of joy to them that these allies would often take the consequences of their actions. When questioned the screamers would say that it was good that the allies would suffer causalities because that would convince them that the enemy was bad and that no truces could be signed with them. Of course it, more often than not, convinced the allies that the enemy was far less evil than the small army. It was also well beyond the limited comprehension of 'Loud Company' that the allies wouldn't be allies unless they were already convinced of the perfidy of the enemy...until it was demonstrated that the small army was worse.

This situation went on and on and on. In most wars how such a situation would have been dealt with would depend basically upon the availability of transport to military prisons and the humanity of an army in allowing a "psycho-discharge" to such people. The smaller army, however, both because it was small and hated to lose any adherents and also because it was a totally volunteer force that often held up individual freedom over military efficiency usually failed to deal with such disruptive elements in any effective way. There were rare exceptions, such as in the mid-1930s, when the smaller army gained a temporary advantage over the larger in a small area of operations. At the very beginning of that campaign the smaller army put its disruptive elements on notice that their antics wouldn't be tolerated in a serious war. In most other situations the smaller army allowed the yellers the delusion that they were the "real soldiers", and allowed them to insult their comrades (to say nothing of the allies) as much as their little hearts desired.

La guerre continue. The smaller army is burdened by what is probably an inherent genetic tendency to attract its eternal share of perpetual saboteurs, to the great delight of the larger army. There is probably no way to ship all the bastards to the rear and put them to work doing something useful for a change. The best that the small army can do is recognize publicly what their loose cannons are. If nothing else this would make smoothing matters over with the allies easier when they see-rightly- that idiots have messed up their own actions. It might even lead to just enough control, even if not perfect, to prevent at least a few artillery attacks. Without this honest description, which the saboteurs want to avoid at all costs, the small army is remain the small army forever. You cannot run real campaigns with allies when you are burdened with such detrimental adherents.


CanNurse said...

Perfect! Sharing with some friends who keep trying to support Van. Black Bloc actions.

mollymew said...

I've been fighting this sort of thing for over 30 years, and I suspect the fight will go on long after I am dead. It certainly started before I was born.
My point is simple. I'm an arachist and I would DEARLY like anarchism to bcome an important political movement. I know that that will NEVER happen if some who call themselves "anarchists" (even if their identity lasts for all of two years) disgrace the name.
Also, as I get older, I have more and more moral compunctions about exposing "allies" to unfortunate consequences. An anarchism that seems destined to disgrace any allies that it makes hardly deserves any support. I know that the BB don't give a shit about such things, but I do, and I think that any anarchist worthy of the name should feel the same.

Larry Gambone said...

As you know I used to think strongly about this myself. While certainly not supporting such actions, I have become somewhat neutral about the issue. In the recent past we were such a tiny group and the ignorance about us so profound that it was an uphill battle to get people to listen to us without the usual cliches about bomb throwers. Since then we have advanced to a situation where political and social activists see us as part of the spectrum rather than as crazies.

In my previous concern for establishing ourselves as a tendency and the need to overcome the bomb-thrower image, I ignored one important aspect of the history of social struggle. That is, that pretty well all movements have had a "ultra" faction ie, John Brown, window-smashing feminists, the unemployed marchers who smashed up Hastings St in 1938, the bank and ROTC building burnings during the anti-Vietnam war movement etc. and the negative impact of such actions is minimal, if any. I think it is like this – the people that count, ie the people who broadly support the movements are smart enough to distinguish between the factions. Those that are too stupid to do so probably wouldn't support us anyway. It is the enemy of the movements who tries to tar the whole movement with the actions of a few. But with such people, and we know this from experience, if our side doesn't do something they can hypocritically bellow about, they will invent it. Or they will demonize you for just existing. I remember well, back in the early 1960's, just standing quietly and peacefully with a picket sign would send the political ancestors of todays right-wing ranters into paroxisms of rage.

mollymew said...

Well...we'll just have to agree to disagree on this matter Larry. A lot of this depends upon our own sympathy to the circus in downtown Vancouver (I have no sympathy whatsoever)whereby some people tried to play act "revolution". You obviously have more sympathy for this theatre than I do.

How postive or negative was this little play acting ? What is actually "positive" is the fact that the public memory is as short as the fingernail of my little finger. It was demonstrated, in no uncertain terms, that at least a subset of anarchists thought that they had the RIGHT to interupt the lives of other people. The Olympic Resistance Network LIED about how significant this disruption was. What this proves, whatever other justification may be given, is that the people involved think of the ordinary people of Vancouver as some sort of "enemy" whose lives have tyo be disrupted to "raise their consciousness".

YES, their consciousness has been "raised" very much. They now know that there is a subset of people who hate the fact that they exist, but they are reassured by the the fact that this subset consists of 200 rioters.

I'm sorry. I can't be a traitor to the people that I have always lived with just because I think they should act differently. The ordinary person c ondemns this sort of thing for VERY GOOD REASONS. When I see rioters, even if the riots are pitiful, I see Stalinists, and my own experience in "debating" same says that these people are worse than the way things are.