Santa Cruz has suffered an incident of mass vandalism that is being labeled an “anarchist riot” in the news media. Cowardly and misguided individuals appeared at an un-permitted “May Day party” in Downtown Santa Cruz with masks, spray cans, paint bombs and rocks to destroy the message of international workers’ rights. Instead they terrorized and destroyed our city, for the name of what exactly I’m not at all clear.
These nut jobs smashed a series of windows and sprayed anarchist graffiti on local businesses after turning a workers’ rights rally into a riot. Whatever misguided notions they have about anarchism, or whatever message they were trying to convey, was smashed right along with the glass. Compounded by that only cowards wear masks to get “the word out,” for whatever that means to them. If you have a cause that you are passionate enough to protest about, use your face and real name to stand behind this cause and not the cloak of a mask.
These supposed connections between a local “anarchist’s cafe” and the madness in Downtown are weak, in my mind. Those groups are usually book clubs, not bomb-throwers and masked vandals like in some common misconceptions. But I do not speak from any personal experience on this specific group.
I’ve asked around a little and nobody knows who did this. I’m going with the theory it’s just some cretins with no message at all beyond destruction and fear-mongering the public.
The real tragedy here is the taint to the righteous cause of workers’ rights worldwide that started when the organizing group, who are now under FBI scrutiny, refused to gather the proper permit.
I can report that unnamed local leaders were urging these people to file for the permit, hoping to close the open door to incidents like this one.
I think the poor police response time is the real story here. Reportedly, police were led away from the rally by a pair of false 911 calls designed to distract them from the situation brewing Downtown; however, according to multiple eyewitnesses (of which I am not one) as well as the included YouTube video the police took over an hour to respond.
“We don’t think this was an unsophisticated group of protesters; we think this is an organized group of anarchists,” Santa Cruz Police spokesman Zach Friend said Monday, adding that investigators believe the anarchists had sought to strain city resources.
In the Political Internet this riot is being framed as having some connection to liberal progressives by the far right-wing. This is entirely untrue and goes to show how little these misguided conservatives understand how liberals feel about might-makes-right kind of messages like terrorizing people with riots and the mass destruction of property.
Unlike the cases of obvious tea party vandalism against pro-health care reform Democrats, there is no resounding vocal effort to excuse the actions of all these possibly politically motivated vandals and domestic terrorists on behalf of liberal progressives as there most certainly was on behalf of the “tea party conservatives.”
Whatever Free Speech you want to spread is fine, and odds are we’ll disagree about something somewhere, but making threats, inciting violence, destroying property and wearing masks is just the tactics of terrorists and fascists.