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Why no one likes anarchists

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Petworth house finds itself Occupied

The retired contractor said he had never heard of the Occupy Wall Street movement until Occupy D.C. protesters thrown out of their camp downtown took over the house next door.

“I don’t even know who these people are. I’ve never seen them before,” Joyner said recently as he stood outside his home on Varnum Street. “They beat bongos. They play guitar. They stay up all night. And they [have sex] on the porch.”

Even allowing for the fact that the Washington Post has always had it in for Occupy, these people are just self-indulgent squatters. It captures what I never liked about the McPherson Square crowd.

Clearly this is complete fail for the DC system of justice. The squatter in the house should have been put out long before this all started. Small landlords have it tough.

It also speaks to the necessity of structure and, gasp, leaders. Withut structure and leaders there is no accountability, and without accountability this is what you get. Idiots acting out without regard to other people's property and rights.

One more thing, they would not have dared to have pulled this stunt in a white neighborhood, neither would the DC courts and police have tolerated this in a white neighborhood.

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reslez's picture
Submitted by reslez on

Looks like a standard anti-Occupy hit piece to me. Only one guy associated with Occupy is quoted and anarchism is never mentioned anywhere. I'm sorry your knee keeps jerking like that, maybe you should have it looked at.

Poole said the trouble on Varnum began a few years ago

these people are just self-indulgent squatters

Oh? What else are "those people"? Looks more like standard grade poverty to me.

Submitted by Lex on

I read the article twice, but still couldn't find any mention of anarchists in it. Nor does your post indicate that you have any first-hand knowledge of the situation. Therefore, the reader is left wondering if you are just pointing fingers at the wreckers and counter-revolutionaries who you consider to be sullying the reputation of a movement you're invested in?

You might be interested to know that the author is now in the comment thread answering questions. The "tenant" that invited people to stay at the house still lives there and was interviewed in the house, which suggests that he's just a jackass since he never did anything about the "mayhem" in his own home. And the article's author claims to have spoken to OWS and while they do not consider this an official action, they do consider it "land liberation".

Apparently they don't hold your opinions on the difficulty of being a small landlord. I'd think you should be careful, before your bourgeois sensibilities get you labelled a counter-revolutionary or wrecker by OWS. It's never good to run afoul of the revolution.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

But I was at McPhearson Square several times. And while I think they did some really great things, there was a very destructive element at McPhearson Square. I think the good people at McPhearson continue to work on things like stopping evictions while the more selfish element apparanetly wound up at the house on Varnum Street.

The thing that interests me the most is the failure of the DC court system to give that landlord justice.

Submitted by lambert on

... that the way to win adherents to their cause was to insult or threaten them, so I'm a little surprised to see such tactics used here.

* * *

At a high level, I think what they're doing makes perfect sense; we've got a big housing surplus, even though banks are holding foreclosed properties off the market to manipulate prices, and we've got a big homeless population. So why not just give the homeless homes? Heck, let them take them.

But if that's going to work out in practice (both in propagating the idea and concretely in any particular house) then, well, the people seizing the homes shouldn't be assholes, and should be good to the neighbors.

It's easy to throw around seventy-five cent phrases like "bourgeios sensibilities" when you're not the one being kept awake at night with bongo drums and sex on the porch.

As for the revolution, we've already got assholes in charge. I can't see a real good reason to replace them with another set of assholes.

UPDATE Adding... Shorter: Way to prefigure, guys.

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

history. I knew virtually nothing about anarchism and I realize that I'm reading about the intellectuals of the movement, but it is a good place to start. Even the intellectuals didn't always agree on what to call themselves. The term "left libertarian" seems to work best now. The themes of anarchism are quite wonderful. Non state solutions in voluntary organizations and direct action are liberating ideas. Electoral politics is crazy making meaninglessness, so alternatives are refreshing. The Occupy movement reminded unions that direct action is potent, far more potent than collecting dues and negotiating contracts. OWS started out as a confrontation with the symbols of capitalism and through the physical direct action exposed more about homelessness and poverty in a few months than we have seen in years.

I look forward to reading more by Colin Ward about "squatters" and housing and urban planning. I'm interested in the idea of personal versus private property. I look forward to more thoughts by people like David Graeber.