Posted December 6, 2012 by Cooper Point Journal in Letters & Opinion

“This is why I stand with Maddy Pfeiffer…”

“They’re asking us who believes in things.” – L.A. Times, “Anarchists targeted after Seattle’s violent May Day protests”, Oct. 19, 2012

Seattle certainly observed Law/May Day this past spring as both sprightly celebrations were contested by the very disorder the observances dispute. As protesters from the Black Bloc broke from their more lucid companions and essentially regressed to sullen fifteen-year-olds, a wave of derision snorted from the more stable and certainly better-read peacekeepers. Who could forget a Black Bloc protestor overseeing a beating of the downtown Seattle Nike store wearing some pretty sweet Nike’s (cool kicks, bro – tell your parents they have good taste.)

The feeling I got from the whole debacle was a pretty sour and apathetic view of civil disobedience. If you’re going to destroy the property of a place where terrified grannies and your less-fortunate peers work to acquire basic necessities, then your anger is slovenly misplaced.

Your violence doesn’t reach the ears of the manipulators behind the screen, and when you rage in a shared space, your outburst amounts to a tantrum. That’s why when the Grand Jury convened this November 7th to try one of our own alumni, Maddy Pfieffer, the results seemed, in contrast, less disappointing. Yes, the Black Bloc is a fringe group with apparent rage manifesting itself in plotted and plodding hysteria, but when a federal case without sufficient foundation is built on the scrap metal of belief and principle, the anarchist comes to resemble order more than the structure enforcing it.

Curiously enough, this is a story about belief and two diametrically opposing viewpoints: the anarchist community that sees a culture capitalizing on hierarchies, and a system designed to profit. Both are concerned with the ultimate gain of their conflicting ideologies and both have no apprehensions about using violence to achieve it. The only problem is that one half of these intriguing credo cultures is definitively “in charge” – the one that won’t break the rules, because they made them. When they do – which is, of course, commonplace – solidarity is crucial to their necessary reproof. When the agents of this ruling system begin to raid homes of “anarchist” and “anti-government” literature, served on warrants, all credence of a lawful state gets misappropriated by a state expecting everyone to be full of law.

This is why I stand with Maddy Pfeiffer when they refuse to answer Prosecutor Dion’s questions. The gist of the hearing outside a gloomy courthouse in Seattle’s perpetually murky weather wasn’t one of a red-handed thief, but a community devout in belief and application and knowledgeable in the fact that a witch-hunt relies on doubt and turn-coats. Their violence may be coincident with the betrayer system, but at least their questions aren’t meaningless, and if there’s anything that I’ve learned from Maddy Pfieffer, it’s that I am exercising my state and federal constitutional rights including the 1st, 4th and 5th amendment.

By Carson Ball