"They'll Be Fighting in the Streets..."
We've all read about the possibility of violence at the RNC in New York next week. There were stories in Salon and the NYT about these concerns las week. Police are already keeping dozens of "known anarchists" under surveillance. Some members of the moderate Left are worried that any violence like the "Battle of Seattle" in 1999 will backfire and cost the Dems support in the election.
As you can imagine, this doesn't worry me at all. But in a larger sense, I believe that the Left and the so-called "Progressives" should think long and hard about unleashing violence in American streets. (By the way, I hate that term, progressive. Everyone except Luddites are for progress. It is the definition of progress that we are struggling over.)
When discussing the potential for violence the Salon story uses words like frustration, anger, rage, radicalized, and "supercharged emotional situation". Many groups are openly calling for violence, at least against property. Others are refusing to disavow the use of violence.
The Left and it's pet anarchists are playing with fire here. They should remember that they do not have a monopoly on rage or frustration or free-floating hostility. There are people on the Right who are just as angry and frustrated.
The Battle in Seattle was a violent protest against the WTO, an international regulatory body. No one is emotionally invested in the WTO; no one is going to defend it. But violence outside the Republican National Convention, against a president in war time, will arouse passions on the Right that I do not think the protester want to arouse. If there is wide-spread violence in New York, is the Left prepared for Rightist violence in the event Kerry wins? How can they oppose then what they support now?
Is the Left ready for counter-violence against their protesters? Hardass Right-wingers with aluminum baseball bats coming down hard on the vegetarians and professional students? Does America really want political violence in the streets like it's the 1930s? Red shirts and brown shirts battling with clubs and fists? The seeds are being planted. Let's hope the soil is not good.