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Category mistakes from the Stasi

No doubt I'm too paranoid and foily, but I'm seeing the first wavelets of a moral panic about anarchism. Some data points from the Campaign Countdown series, which is why we do this, to have the data points in usable form for easy assembly:

Counting backward from the present to the past over the past few weeks:

D - 13:

GA. Militias: "Four Army soldiers based in southeast GA killed a former comrade and his girlfriend to protect an anarchist militia group they formed that stockpiled assault weapons and plotted a range of anti-government attacks, prosecutors told a judge Monday." Anybody who pays attention knows that "anarchist militia" is a contradiction of terms; the Atlantic, which should know better, repeats this. Gawker (!) is better, writing that their tattoos are "the extent of the reporting thus far on their political motives."** Which is a tell that the ZOMG!!! Teh anarchists!!! talking point is, gosh, whocouldaknowed, being propagated from somewhere. If you know any anarchists who joined the military to get the tools to overthrow the Zionist Occupation Government, leave a comment. And the timing does seem more than a little odd, doesn't it? Too bad it's too late to put that "diversity of tactics" toothpaste back in the tube, though. [** On the other hand, putting on my tinfoil hat for a moment, Gawker also has evidence that one of the soldiers was a page at the 2008 Minneapolis RNCon. And we know what went down there. An anarchist double agent? A DHS triple agent?]

The key point here is the "category mistake" : An "anarchist militia" makes no sense. A militia, like any military organization, is all about rank and the authority that comes with rank. Anarchy is all about autonomy and specifically rejects the authoritarian relations that define a militia. The Stasi public relations drone that propagated this (literal) nonsense can only have tossed the two cateogories into a mental bucket labeled "This is icky." Which has obvious institutional advantages, since from logically contradictory premises one can derive any conclusion, which is useful for funding (see under "self-licking ice cream cone"); and also useful for mis- and disinformation campaigns.

D - 17:

Police state: "About 60 agencies will convene at this secret [sekrit] location during the RNCon Convention, working side-by-side to improve communication. Each agency, including the FBI, will have a separate command center for its decision-making. So far, the FBI has not gathered information of planned terrorist attacks during the convention, [FBI's Steven Ibison] said. 'At this point, it's just the [which? Sovereign citizens? Putzes] anarchists' criminal activity.'" All this for something the networks won't give more than an hour to. ... Police state: ""FBI and (Homeland Security) assess with high confidence anarchist extremists will target similar infrastructure in Tampa and Charlotte, with potentially significant impacts on public safety and transportation," according to the law enforcement alert." As opposed to non-anarchist extremists, I suppose.

"Anarchist extemists" is also a category mistake; see above. Not all extremists are anarchists; not all anarchists are extremists; and anarchists who are extremists are not extremists in the same way that other extremists are extreme (e.g., "sovereign citizens").

D - 19:

Police state: "The pipes and bricks were found Friday on the roof of a building at 1004 N. Florida Ave. Graffiti, including the numeral '99' and an image of a person wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, similar to those worn by members of the Anonymous collective, as well as Occupy movement protestors, was found on the building." Gee, does the word "planted" come to mind?

Is "competent" the first thing that comes to mind here? I don't mean for the Stasi, I mean for the putative perps[1] . What was the "image"? A print-out? A photo? A poster? And again, we've got a category mistake: The "anonymous collective" ("collective" == "communist" == "icky"), and all I know is what I read in the papers, aren't going to be leaving piles of bricks on a roof in Tampa. Or pipes. They're going to be hacking some corporate website from a Tor-enabled laptop at a Starbucks in London.

D - 20:

Media critique: "[S]ome of the seven people arrested in a fatal shootout with LA deputies have been linked to violent anarchists on the FBI's domestic terrorism watch lists, a sheriff said. [T]he suspects were heavily armed adherents to an ideology known as the 'sovereign citizens' movement." AP, FBI: Clever up. Anarchists and "sovereign citizens" are like chalk and cheese.

Here is another category mistake: Anarchists and Sovereign Citizens. The Sovereign citizens are over in the militia box, not in the Kropotkin box. And when you hear about anarchists filing liens on local governments, or hoarding precious metal, like "Sovereign Citizens," do let me know.

* * *

So, what we've got is heavily militarized police forces making category mistakes, genuine howlers,[2] about those it plans to treat as enemies of the state. What could go wrong?

Oh, and some of you anarchists out there? Nice work on the whole "diversity of tactics" thing. The Stasi is going to do what it does, but when the average citizen who doesn't have the time to follow the detail falls into the trap of making the category mistakes I've listed above, you yourself created blur where there should be clarity.

NOTE Incidentally, the really paranoid theory about false flag operations at next week's DNC is obvious as soon as you remember this episode from 2008...

NOTE [1] "Sand on the floor!¯ said Angua. "Now, isn't that an obvious clue? You can tell they were Klatchian because of the sand in their sandals!" -- Terry Pratchett, Jingo.

NOTE [2] I'm inclined to believe that, yes, these clowns really are that stupid and out of touch. And that they're bringing the war-losing strategies and tactics home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Because all the 1% knows how to do is double down on #FAIL.

UPDATE Well, maybe they're National Anarchists. A photo of the tattoos would help.

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Submitted by ubetchaiam on

of journalistic acuity are bound to be dashed. And the ZOMG talking point also shows the lack of depth in such 'reporting' with a possible exception being here.

Raises the question of whether the Civil War actually settled some issues.

Submitted by lambert on

What I'm saying is that you can discern bullshit by a close reading of the available texts. Always useful, and far better than simply asserting bullshit.

Submitted by jawbone on

WHEN and HOW these things are being presented. And, even if the language is not quite exactly right, it shows what the government wants the public to believe.

And the line is being pretty clearly drawn between protesters in general and these labeled groups. Just another way to try to stifle dissent and put fear into the general public. Occupy must have scared the hell our the Powers That Be.

jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

and can potentially be anyone who posts on a message board that doesn't record IPs. The most prominent of those, of course, is 4chan, but it's not the only one.

Of course the fact that all these people at various times think of themselves as 'Anonymous' just highlights the folly of treating any ideological group as a blanket threat. It's the same problem the US has encountered with Al Qaeda. They're less a group, less even a movement, and more an idea. And how do you bomb an idea?