The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Sunday, September 29, 2002
BEER WITH THE BLACK BLOC: I ran into a traffic nightmare Saturday evening trying to get to Washington in time to meet some friends for dinner. I ended up arriving 45 minutes late, and found -- no surprise -- that they weren't there. Despondent and hungry, I wandered up the street and spotted a familiar bearded face in a coffeehouse. It turned out that several of my left-anarchist friends were in town for the anti-IMF protests, and I ended up munching on a sandwich and downing a beer while chatting with my Black Bloc buddies about the day's events and other matters.

They confirmed the news that the police had rounded up and jailed about 600 people that morning. I asked if any of my drinking companions had been arrested. No, they told me: The cops had simply grabbed whoever was in the park when they swooped in, missing many activists but picking up several tourists who had chosen the wrong time to wander by.

Their plans to protest the bank meeting by tying up traffic had been effectively aborted. I told them not to worry: In the territory between Baltimore and D.C., several suburban drivers (the word I actually used was "bozos") had picked up the slack.

"Traffic is always tied up around Washington,"
ChuckO commiserated.

"In retrospect, blocking cars probably wasn't that great a tactic," I commented. "It's like protesting in Los Angeles by releasing a bunch of smog."

On a related note, a blogger called AmSoAPundit has posted a response to my earlier ruminations on the anti-globo movement. ASAP agrees with a lot of my comments, but claims to differ on one point: "I think Jesse is wrong to say that [opposing both protectionism and police brutality] leaves libertarians confused. The opposition to all forms of political oppression is not a confusing position."

I actually agree with this, except for the part about me being wrong. I didn't mean to suggest that the libertarian position itself is confused -- it seems perfectly consistent to me. I meant that libertarians appear confused when other people are defining the narrative, and as a result sometimes end up feeling confused as well. As ASAP notes, the solution -- part of it, anyway -- is to offer a compelling narrative of your own.

posted by Jesse 12:30 AM
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