Anarchy in the Hub

What's wrong with peace, love and understanding? For the
anarchists in Boston, quite a bit.

Anarchy in the Hub
What's wrong with peace, love and understanding? For the
anarchists in Boston, quite a bit.

Anti-war protests, I’ve been to plenty. And when it comes to making copies,
the bullhorn and brickbats crowd can take on Xerox any day.

Same impassioned poster board pleas. Same paranoia-ridden, lysergic-
driven rants. Same mixed up, muddled up messages - Liberate Palestine.
Love your Mother. Lend me a dollar. But this one was different. For me at
least, this one singled a change, a growing division between the believers
in the ways of the Woodstock Nation and the culture-jamming disciples of
Tyler Durden.

The day: Saturday, December 3, 2004. The time: 2:59 p.m. The place:
Copley Square.

I had just walked out of the downtown library, and I found myself in the
middle of a protest. I hadn’t come to be a part of the protest nor to observe
it. For some reason, I had gotten a wild hair up my ass to pick up a copy
the Marquis de Sade’s “120 Days of Sodom.”

I’ll be the first to admit I’m desensitized. What with Boston Herald covers, and front page pictures of Mistress Lyndie and the
other doms at Abu Ghraib testing the boundaries of the master/slave
relationship, it’d been a long time since I was shocked by anything. I was
looking for a jolt.

The marquis did his best, but the subject matter wasn’t erotic in any way. It
was surgically frank and about as arousing as listening to Geritol-popping
sexpert Sue Johanson wax on and wax off about rabbit pearl vibrators and
double-pronged dildos. However, I did find it amusing. In fact, I’d go as far
as to call it pure comedy gold, comparable to blue-period Redd Foxx. I
recommend it, but be warned: gas is passed, piss is drunk and most of Old
McDonald’s Farm is buggered.

But neither Sanford nor Sade has anything on the chap behind me. Even
though he has a stud through his upper lip, he apparently has a thing for
Bon Jovi, and he wants to declare his devotion to the world. He starts with a
verse and sings right through to the arena-rocking chorus: “Whoa, we’re
halfway there. Whoa, we’re living on a prayer.” His friends join him briefly
but soon grow tired of karaoke night at Copley Square.

At first I take his affection seriously, and as such, chuckle to myself, but it
becomes apparent his “American Idol” moment is itself a form of protest, a
sneering indictment of the peace lovers across Copley Square preaching
sweet dreams and picket-line sleepwalking as the means by which to catch
the attention of the big men in the boardroom stroking their stock options
and diddling their 401(k)s and the little men in the living room huddling
around their plasma screen TVs living vicariously through Direct TV and

Noticeably frustrated at his threatening-as-a-British-Bobby-with-a-billycub
brothers across the way, the Bon Jovi fan peddles over to his likeminded
comrades – the anarchists. With their black clothes and mouth-covering
bandanas, they’re part Bauhaus, part Cobra Guard.

Fashion statements aside, you have to give the anarchists credit for their
willingness to take protesting to a level the peaceniks, with their double-
decaf, soy lattes and Phish-sticker covered Volvos, have forgotten about –
the sort of in-your-face offensive favored by Abbie Hoffman and his Yippie
brothers and sisters. They at least try to provoke.

Two hold aloft signs that read, “Victory to the Iraqi Resistance.” Another
brandishes an Adbusters-approved American flag in which the stars have
been replaced by corporate logos – Nike, Disney, McDonalds, etc…. One
wears a paper mache skull over his face. Another plays a plastic bucket
like a drum. A boombox plays “Fight the Power.”

However, even among the anarchists there appears to be some dissention.
The matter of division: what to do about their pacifist-minded, Hobbit-weed
smoking kinsmen. A girl with a bullhorn tells the group they need to unite
with the others across Copley Square. Bon Jovi, for one, disagrees, and he
lets his feelings be known. He says, “How about we unify in the streets.”
The girl replies, “We’re not going to have any provocation here. I don’t
want anyone to get arrested.”

The “Slippery When Wet” fan isn’t too pleased. He wants action, not words.
Which is about all that Max Yasgur’s young ‘ens have.

One by one, speakers take the stage. One by one, they plead their case
against the war and George W. Bush. No one is particularly inspiring. No
one is particularly threatening. That is if you ignore the anarchists who
slowly make their way to the pit in Copley Square. Their presence is felt like
a canker sore.

The peaceniks soldiers on, attempting to regain control over the protest.
One speaker, a man in a green jacket tries to give rabblerousing a shot.
His jacket is supposed to appear Army but in reality it looks Old Navy. He
leads the crowd in a chant of “Fuck George Bush.” The crowd responds
enthusiastically. However, I’d be willing to bet it has less to do with political
opinion and more to do with Carlin’s Dirty Seven.

Finished with dropping F-bombs, the speaker then congratulates himself
for the inspired message. “Fuck George Bush,” he says, “how can I top
that?” Unfortunately, he tries, launching into a Der Fuhrer fury of Mean Mr.
Dean screams.

The anarchists aren’t buying it. For them, it’s performance art. It’s Ashlee
Simpson on “SNL.” One yells mockingly, “Argh. I’m so angry.” Another
says, “Blah, blah, blah.”

The Hitler Youth cools down and hands the microphone to a more subdued
comrade, one who is well aware the natives are getting restless.

The new speaker possesses all of the nerdy earnestness of Charles Martin
Smith, and he’s ready to teach the kids a lesson in the proper way to start
a revolution – you lecture and wave your finger disapprovingly. “Today is
not about getting arrested,” he says. “The war won’t end today. It will take
time.” An anarchist shouts back, “Stop being afraid.”

As Chuck reaches the height of his speech, the anarchists gather together
in the pit, staring straight ahead at the speaker. They unveil a banner. It
reads: Disarm the state. The sign includes a little anarchist (A) in “disarm.”

The Glee Club knows something is up. There is a collective tension among
the line of speakers at the lip of the pit and the listeners below. They know
the anarchists are about to do something.

In the end, what the anarchists do is really nothing at all - they leave. As
one, they march across the pit in Copley Square toward the oatmeal soap
and homeopathic cure-all crowd, giving the group a collective “fuck you.”
The anarchists believe that protesting is all well and good, but sometime,
well, you just have to break the law. And in this case that means parading
the streets with out a permit.

As the anarchists pass by their anti-war minded brothers and sisters, a
distraught peacenik shouts at them, “Don’t turn your back. Please come
back,” to which one of the men in black counters, “Anybody who is serious
to the streets.” A hippie adds, “Get a job.”

Approximately 30 minutes later, the anarchists return. Their fellow
protestors have abandoned Copley Square. The anarchists know the fight
against the Bush administration and the war in Iraq cannot be given up so
easily. Innocents are dying every day. They need our support.

And the anarchists provide it. For an additional 20 minutes. Thirty tops.

Chris Haire

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