Terrorism?

A PorcFest Debate About Force (Larken Rose, Carla Gericke, Varrin Swearingen, and Josie Wales)

At the beginning Varrin Swearingen discusses the rationale of the Free State Project in “unwelcoming” Christopher Cantwell. The board of the FSP — the Free State Project is a corporation — decided that Cantwell breached a policy on “violence, racial hatred or bigotry.” Specifically, violence. Larken Rose and Josie Wales protested this policy, both individuals having ethical (if not tactical) view similar to those of Cantwell on the use of force. Rose & Josie expressed their concerns that the FSP was excluding discussions on the use of force in the video R.I.P. PorcFest.

Although Cantwell didn’t make it to PorcFest, it seems as if Larken Rose and Josie were able to have their forum on the use of force. A few highlights:

  • (19:30) Josie makes a good point, explaining that the slave on a plantation is legitimate in using force to escape from the plantation. And there are still circumstances today where it would be ethical to use force. Josie uses the example of an innocent man who is arrested. He would be, morally according to Josie, within his rights to use force against the police even if it would not be a smart move tactically.
  • (33:00) Swearingen gets a half-boo from the audience for police apologism, specifically, opposition to state agents as “bigotry.”
  • (35:50) Josie on when it is acceptable to use violence against a politician. “It’s pretty much morally justified to do that to every single politician as well. Almost every single politician is participating in the oppression.” Josie rejects this type of violence from a tactical perspective.
  • (49:50) A good question by an audience member in respect to the police who killed Kelly Thomas. Larken Rose responds.

Study: 95% of terror convictions used “preemptive prosecution”

‘Inventing Terrorists’ Study Offers Critical Examination of Government’s Use of Preemptive Prosecutions

Nearly ninety-five percent of individuals on a Justice Department list of “terrorism and terrorism-related convictions” from 2001-2010 included some elements of preemptive prosecution, according to a study by attorneys which they say is the first to “directly examine and critique preemptive prosecution and its abuses.”

The study is called “Inventing Terrorists: The Lawfare of Preemptive Prosecution” [PDF]. It was released by Project SALAM, which stands for Support and Legal Advocacy for Muslims, and the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms (NCPCF), a coalition of groups that “oppose profiling, preemptive prosecution and prisoner abuse.”

What does “preemptive prosecution” look like? Well, try to put yourself in the shoes of a young Muslim. 18, 19, or 20  years old. You watch the news. You may be more politically literate the most, particularly on foreign affairs. And you see Muslims getting killed by the United States overseas on a daily basis.

Naturally, over time you begin to develop radical feelings. (This is now known as blowback.) You join an Internet forum of people who share your newly developed radicalism. And the topics of discussion bolster the collective ire and radicalization of all involved.

Eventually you make a good friend. You meet in real life. Coincidentally (wink, wink) he just happens to lives in your city. He may have an interesting background. For example, he may be a refugee. He may be the relative of a martyr. He or his family may have been victims of the American war on terror.

You and your new friend start attending a mosque and praying together. You continue your discussions on the unjust wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. You read about innocent people killed daily by drones. And the media inundates you with reports of torture and abuse out of Guantanamo Bay. The environment you have been inducted into is a further breeding ground for radicalism.

Then one day your new friend suggests that you commit a violent act. You may not even want to. But the rationale is sound: the United States has committed war crimes. The act would be legitimate. You would be a martyr. The response would be justified. Your new friend also says he knows people affiliated with real terror group. Militants that can provide explosives. After a long period of rage, ire, abuse and feeling powerless you decide to commit to an act of war. You consent to the violent plan. The trap is set.

Your friend talks to his foreign contact to acquire the materials. The explosives are delivered. You take them to an agreed point to carry out your attack: a public gathering, a park, or a mall. Upon your arrival the police rush in. They are sporting black balaclavas pointing rifles in your face. You’re under arrest.

You’re a terrorist, now. Your life is over. Your friend was an informant all along. There were no explosives. They were an inert dummy. Even the forum where you met  your friend — the place that contributed most to your radicalization — turned out to be an FBI honeypot.

The entire terror plot, from the planting of radical seeds, to singling out vulnerable individuals, to religious rhetoric and the focus on (justified) feelings of abuse, have all been set up and fostered by the FBI. They pulled the long con with a finesse that would put the professional grifter to shame.

That’s the modus operandi of the FBI. This, more or less, how 95% of “terrorist attacks” have been prevented. Few of these individuals would have engaged in an attempt at violence if not guided by the bit by the FBI.

That is your “terror threat.” That is how the state manufactures terrorism.

Punishment & Protection: A Libertarian Defense of the Cop-Killers

Put your emotion and knee-jerk reactions aside. To understand when and if violence is permitted, based upon the libertarian nonaggression principle forwarded by Murray Rothbard, we may have to wade into uncomfortable waters. Take it as an exercise in philosophy. And take the following events as the uncomfortable waters needed for our exercise to bear fruit.

Three Recent Events

“I’m sorry for the lack of mercy that people are displaying for [Justin] and for the friend [Daniel Levesque] he lost and for the lack of justice in this world and that he felt it was necessary to take justice into his own hands and set things straight for the family and loved ones of the dead boy [Levesque].”

“I’m sorry for the lack of mercy that people are displaying for [Justin] and for the friend [Daniel Levesque] he lost and for the lack of justice in this world and that he felt it was necessary to take justice into his own hands and set things straight for the family and loved ones of the dead boy [Levesque].” – Jasper Stam, friend of Justin Bourque.

Justin Bourque

On June 4, Justin Bourque ambushed and killed five Moncton RCMP officers. His friend would later state that Bourque’s actions may have been retaliation for the RCMP shooting of Daniel Levesque, a friend of Justin. Daniel Levesque was killed by a Codiac RCMP officer in July of 2013. The investigation, conducted internally by the Fredericton Police, cleared the RCMP officer of all wrongdoing. Despite Levesque having been shot four times, it was ruled that his death was the result of previous stab wounds suffered from an unknown assailant. This has aroused some controversy and local Canadian media outlets have now begun to ask if the Moncton RCMP are paying the price for a pattern of abuse that has received little publicity.

Dennis Marx

On June 6, Dennis Marx drove his SUV up the steps of the Forsyth County courthouse in Cumming, Georgia. He brought homemade explosives, homemade spike strips to delay oncoming vehicles, tear gas canisters, a gas mask and zip tie restraints. Local police stated that his intention was to occupy the courthouse. After engaging in a three-minute gun battle with Deputy James Rush, local SWAT arrived on scene and ended Marx’s life.

Marx was to enter a plea at the courthouse that day on ten counts of the manufacture, possession and sale of illicit drugs, including marijuana, plus one count of having a firearm while in the commission of a felony. In essence, Marx was called to court for victimless crimes. Marx was growing marijuana (a felony) and was in possession of a firearm while growing marijuana (it is a felony to possess a firearm in the commission of a second felony, such as growing marijuana, in the United States). If Marx were convicted he could receive multiple decades — an effective life sentence — for nonviolent crimes.

Amanda & Jared Miller

On June 8, Amanda and Jared Miller, who I previously wrote about here, walked into a CiCi’s Pizza Buffet in Las Vegas and shot two uniformed police officers. They then entered a nearby Wal-Mart, ordered everyone to leave the building and fatally shot a concealed weapons carrier who attempted to defend himself. Although it was initially reported that Amanda shot Jared Miller in a suicide pact, it has now emerged that a Las Vegas officer shot Jared Miller and Amanda shot herself. The initial reports of links to white supremacist movements or neo-Nazi ideology have also been repudiated (as I predicted in my previous article):

Investigators said they believe the shooting was an “isolated act,” and that the couple is not believed to be white supremacists. Instead, they said, the couple appeared to believe the government as oppressive and officers as the enforcement of that oppression.

Understand The Assailants And Their Motives

Amanda Miller Las Vegas Shooting

Amanda Miller had no criminal history, but suffered as her husband Jared Miller was imprisoned and had his rights restricted due to a victimless, nonviolent marijuana conviction.

Neither Justin Bourque, The Millers, nor Dennis Marx had a violent past. Justin Bourque had no criminal history, nor did Amanda Miller. Jared Miller had a felony drug conviction stemming from a marijuana-related arrest for which he served time in a county jail. Dennis Marx was facing serious felony charges for the production of marijuana. Marx, facing multiple decades in prison, had nothing to lose.

None of the past “crimes” of these individuals — before the violence of course — would be criminal in a libertarian society.

Even in the case of firearms charges, to quote Rothbard: “It should further be clear from our discussion of defense that every man has the absolute right to bear arms — whether for self-defense or any other licit purpose.  The crime comes not from bearing arms, but from using them for purposes of threatened or actual invasion.” The state has no legitimate authority, not from a libertarian point of view, to restrict firearm ownership. Not even for felons. Not even for violent felons, much less nonviolent marijuana felons.

We must admit that these laws are unjust. And the Millers, as well as Marx, were the victims of unjust laws. They had a legitimate grievance with the state. They shared the same legitimate grievance that all nonviolent, victimless offenders share. This may not excuse what came next, but it does explain it. Jared wrote extensively on Facebook that he believed he had the right to own a firearm. The United States prohibits nonviolent felony offenders from owning firearms. Marx knew he was going to spend the rest of his life in prison for growing a plant. Can we truly be shocked that these individuals were goaded to violence?

Rothbard, The Ethics of Liberty & Self-Defense

Murray RothbardMurray Rothbard began his chapter on self-defense by stating: “If every man has the absolute right to his justly-held property it then follows that he has the right to keep that property — to defend it by violence against violent invasion.”1 Rothbard clarified that “defensive violence may only be used against an actual or directly threatened invasion of a person’s property” and that “defensive violence, therefore, must be confined to resisting invasive acts against person or property.” This was not restricted to a defense against physical force, but included “two corollaries to actual physical aggression: intimidation, or a direct threat of physical violence; and fraud, which involves the appropriation of someone else’s.” Rothbard explained that if one were to use “the threat of invasion to obtain your obedience to his commands” that this would be “the equivalent to the invasion itself.”

The “threat of invasion to obtain your obedience” is ever present in the modern state. This is the threat that compelled Dennis Marx to appear in court. It is the threat that prevents you from smoking marijuana in public. It is the threat that stops you from opening a lemonade stand without a permit. It is the threat behind every arbitrary, moralistic or victimless law.

The legitimacy of force used to fend off such a threat does not permit what Rothbard described as a “grotesque” use of disproportionate force. He rejected the idea that the shopkeeper may use force against the street urchin who steals a pack of gum: “By concentrating on the storekeeper’s right to his bubble gum, it totally ignores another highly precious property-right: every man’s — including the urchin’s — right of self-ownership.” Yet this is not a universally accepted premise in the context of the nonaggression principle. Rothbard admitted, but personally rejected, that the “maximalist” position would allow lethal force to be used against the urchin.

Nonetheless the maximalists who would shoot the gum-stealing urchin have no place in our discussion. Justin Bourque, Dennis Marx and the Millers did not face off against an urchin. They confronted the what Murray Rothbard had previously described as a “gang of organized criminals”2 — state law enforcement. It is important to understand the Rothbardian paradigm of law enforcement. As a gang, state law enforcement agencies take on a new character. What we call an arrest is kidnapping in the Rothbardian paradigm. What we call incarceration is slavery in the the Rothbardian paradigm.

Keep this in mind, because from here on out we will be working under the Rothbardian assumption that state law enforcement is a gang whose primary actions consist of kidnapping and enslaving individuals. And the same may be extrapolated to correctional officers who work in jails, court officials and legislators.

It is Defense, Not Collective Punishment

The Ethics of LibertyLibertarianism asserts both the autonomy and the responsibility of the individual. There is no collective punishment. There is also no absolution from individual responsibility. The law enforcement officer who kidnaps a man for growing, selling or possessing marijuana cannot hide behind the facade that his career requires it any more than the assassin can hide behind the facade that his career requires assassinations. As an individual the law enforcement officer is as guilty of a kidnapping as the assassin is of a murder. As an individual the judge who sentences a man to imprisonment is guilty of enslaving a fellow human being.

A misunderstanding of libertarian ethics may make the actions of the Millers, Justin Bourque and Dennis Marx appear to be a form of collective punishment. But they are not. Every law enforcement officer who has arrested a man for a nonviolent, victimless crime is guilty of kidnapping. Every agent of the court who has sentenced a man to incarceration is guilty of an act of enslavement. Even the legislator, far removed from the actual event, is culpable in the Rothbardian view. While the legislator’s mere endorsement of a law is not sufficient to make himself or herself culpable, if they conspire to pass such as a law they become an accessory to the conspiracy: “It is obvious that if [a politician] happened to be involved in a plan or conspiracy with others to commit various crimes, and then [that politician] told them to proceed, he would then be just as implicated in the crimes as are the others—more so, if he were the mastermind who headed the criminal gang.”

These are the “mastermind[s] who headed the criminal gang” in the Rothbardian view: the legislators. They share the culpability of every arrest, every incarceration, made by a law enforcement agent or a court official. Again, this is not collective punishment. This is the direct result of an individual’s participation in a specific gang action.

Rothbardian Retaliation

Rothbard reigned in retaliation under what he called the “theory of proportionality.” This is distinct from defense as outlined above. And many misconceptions arise when defensive actions are misunderstood as retaliatory actions. When people accuse Justin Bourque, David Marx or the Millers of “collective punishment” they are mistaking defensive actions for retaliatory actions.

If defensive actions are not required to be proportional, retaliatory actions require proportionality without a doubt. “We have advanced the view that the criminal loses his rights to the extent that he deprives another of his rights: the theory of “proportionality.”3 Rothbard wrote that proportionality defines “the maximum limit on punishment that may be inflicted before the punisher himself becomes a criminal aggressor” and that “under libertarian law, capital punishment would have to be confined strictly to the crime of murder.”

Clearly, few police officers are guilty of murder. And, as such, they do not merit fatal retaliation. Nonetheless, almost all are guilty of both kidnapping and slavery. And according to Rothbard’s standard of proportionality slavery is a permitted response: “The ideal situation, then, puts the criminal frankly into a state of enslavement to his victim, the criminal continuing in that condition of just slavery until he has redressed the grievance of the man he has wronged.” The practical implication is that while the Millers, Justin Bourque, or Dennis Marx would not be justified in using homicide as retaliatory punishment they would be justified in capturing and enslaving any, and all, officers who have engaged in acts of kidnapping and slavery themselves. And that describes most officers.

But we must remind ourselves — because this is where it gets mixed up — the actions of the Millers, Justin Bourque and Daniel Marx are not necessarily retaliatory. They can also be interpreted as defensive. And as defensive actions individuals would be within their right as per libertarian ethics to use lethal force in response to the “physical aggression: intimidation, or direct threat of physical violence” perpetrated by all uniformed officers on the street.

Rothbardian Retaliation and Restorative Justice

Up to this point it may appear that Rothbard has endorsed “an eye for an eye.” But this is not the case. Rothbard rejected slavery, or imprisonment, as an ideal solution. This is because slavery and imprisonment do very little to restore damages to the victims. Yet, if a man is arrested (kidnapped) and enslaved (imprisoned) — if a man or woman is raped or murdered — how can true compensation be made? Rothbard noted that arbitrary fees, just as arbitrary prison sentences, do little to compensate the victim; they are “wholly arbitrary, and bear no relation to the nature of the crime itself.” Rothbard’s solution was that, as we cannot put a monetary price on kidnapping or enslavement “for proportionate punishment to be levied we would also have to add more than double so as to compensate the victim in some way for the uncertain and fearful aspects of his particular ordeal.”

And what is more than double the price of a kidnapping, the price of enslavement or the price of a rape? We have no clear answer here. Yet, we know that Rothbard’s conception of libertarian ethics permitted the death penalty. And it is not a stretch to assert that the double of a 20, 30, or 40 year prison sentence is the death penalty, nor that the double of a violent rape could be capital punishment. This is speculative, but it is worth examining in more depth. If this is the case, it would also open the door for the actions of the Millers, of Justin Bourque and Dennis Marx to enact lethal retribution upon any law enforcement officers who have taken part in a kidnapping or enslavement.

A Silver Lining

Rothbard wrote, “Many people, when confronted with the libertarian legal system, are concerned with this problem: would somebody be allowed to “take the law into his own hands”? Would the victim, or a friend of the victim, be allowed to exact justice personally on the criminal? The answer is, of course, Yes, since all rights of punishment derive from the victim’s right of self-defense.”

This sounds akin to vigilantism; passionate, imbalanced and brutal. Yet, this is because a libertarian system of criminal justice allows — just as libertarianism as a whole allows — maximum liberty. The capricious individual, the Shylock who wants his pound of flesh, may seek it in a libertarian society. But so may the individual who wants absolute mercy:

In the first place, it should be clear that the proportionate principle is a maximum, rather than a mandatory, punishment for the criminal. In the libertarian society, there are, as we have said, only two parties to a dispute or action at law: the victim, or plaintiff, and the alleged criminal, or defendant. It is the plaintiff that presses charges in the courts against the wrongdoer. In a libertarian world, there would be no crimes against an ill-defined “society,” and therefore no such person as a “district attorney” who decides on a charge and then presses those charges against an alleged criminal.

The state does not allow this and, as such, prohibits forgiveness. A crime against an individual is a crime against the state. The punishment or sentence may have no utility in restoring the rights or damages to the victim. Or, to put it another way: “If [the victim] were a Tolstoyan, and was opposed to punishment altogether, he could simply forgive the criminal, and that would be that.” But not with the state.

What, then, of Bourque, Marx and the Millers?

It is clear from Rothbard’s libertarian ethics — the ethical framework that has come to define the nonaggression principle — that the acts of Bourque, Marx and the Millers can be justified unquestionably as defensive acts in response to the ongoing intimidation, threat and persistent force of institutionalized state policing. This is not a palatable position for most, but it is fully consistent with Rothbardian libertarian ethics and the nonaggression principle. It is less clear, but there is also a strong argument that said attacks could also be legitimate reprisals, in addition to defensive acts, for kidnappings and enslavement committed by state police. When we remove emotion from the picture, when we consistently analyze the ethical principles of Rothbard’s libertarian magnum opus, these are the conclusions we must arrive at.

But, justified as they may be, these are not prescriptions for libertarian criminal justice. That is the beauty of libertarian ethics. Yes, if you are abused you may go the Jared Miller or Dennis Marx route. But you may also go the Leo Tolstoy route. You may forgive, fully and completely, those who have trespassed against you. As a victim of (multiple) violent crimes I have chosen the latter simply by refusing to call the police. But at the same time, as a libertarian, I cannot condemn the Millers, Marx or Bourque for seeking justice as they see fit.

Resources

1. Murray Rothbard, The Ethics of Liberty, Ch. 12.

2. Murray Rothbard, 1969. Confiscation and the Homestead Principle, The Libertarian Forum.

3. Murray Rothbard, The Ethics of Liberty, Ch. 13.

How The Media Misleads: Jared & Amanda Miller, its not guns or race, it’s the cops

The Bare Facts

On Sunday at 11:00 officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo were having a snack at CiCi’s Pizza. Jared and Amanda Miller entered the restaurant and exited. Jared immediately returned. He shot Soldo in the back of the head. As Beck tried to respond, Jared and Amanda both opened fire on Soldo. Both officers died.

Jared and Amanda then draped a Gadsen flag over the body of Beck and Soldo, stripping them of weapons and badges and leaving a swastika on two of the bodies. The Millers also left a note: “This is the beginning of a revolution.”

Jared and Amanda walked out of CiCi’s Pizza to an adjacent Wal-Mart. Jared fired a warning shot into the air and ordered everyone to leave.

A concealed weapon holder, Joseph Wilcox, attempted to confront Jared. Amanda shot Wilcox in the ribs. Wilcox was the third casualty. At that moment a police response team arrived and exchanged gunfire with Jared and Amanda. Amanda was hit.

Jared and Amanda moved to a different area in the Wal-Mart and erected a barricade, preparing to face off with the two law enforcement response teams on site. As the teams closed in, Amanda, who was wounded, turned and shot her husband Jared. And then Amanda shot herself.

How The Media Misleads

The mainstream media immediately focused on the fact that a swastika was left on the bodies of the deceased officers. This was described as having “found paraphernalia associated with white supremacists” and, without a doubt, is intended to lead the reader to believe that Jared and Amanda were white supremacists. According to the Las Vegas Sun, unidentified residents of an apartment complex shared by Jared and Amanda said they “had a reputation for spouting racist, anti-government views.” A resident identified as Brandon Moore claimed the couple “were handing out white-power propaganda.”

Jared’s Facebook Tells A Different Story

Naturally, when I visited the Facebooks of Jared and Amanda Miller I expected it to be full of neo-Nazi, white supremacist propaganda. I was prepared to read the Fourteen Words, hear about racial purity and subject my mind, however briefly, to the racist tirades of two hate-filled psychopaths. Amanda’s Facebook was almost entirely personal, filled mostly with wedding photos of her and Jared.

Jared, on the other hand, was very political. But I found little racism.

Instead, I found a series of memes that could be described as anti-war, anti-government and anti-police. Memes that could be found on any libertarian website or even this blog. It wasn’t the words of Adolph Hitler or William Luther Pierce that had influenced the Millers. It was the words of Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr. and Benjamin Franklin.

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The quote from Martin Luther King Jr. sheds some light on the way Jared viewed the world. He was mad about the state. He was mad about the laws. And he compared the state to Nazi Germany, as well as to the political system of fascism. Nazis and fascism were, for Jared, dirty words. He did not identify as a fascist, a neo-Nazi, a white supremacist or a racist. He advocated multiculturalism and a classless, raceless society.

Additional excerpts from Jared’s Facebook show as much:

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Far from being a white supremacist, or a neo-Nazi, Jared viewed his own country as an equal opportunity oppressor. He bought trouble by calling a judge a fascist and a Nazi in a courtroom setting. (This would lead to a short jail sentence, home monitoring and probation.) He said he wished he could escape to Brazil or Argentina. And, contrary to the anti-immigration stance of racist platforms Jared endorsed an American revolution that included immigrants willing to fight for a better life. He was secular — he rejected the Bible and the Koran — but said that we could do without the bigotry and intolerance.

Jared and Amanda Miller may have been extremists. They were not racial extremists.

Could it be that, by design or accident, the police and media misinterpreted the act of decorating the bodies of the slain officers with a swastika? Was this an endorsement of Nazism (knowing what we know now, unlikely), or was it Jared’s way of calling the dead police officers Nazis just as he called the judge presiding over his marijuana trial a Nazi?

If you have not made up your mind yet, if you are not convinced, Jared also posted this:

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Jared embraced the almost stereotypical American idea of a raceless American melting pot. He openly supported a Reform Jew for Sheriff. He subscribed to and re-posted memes from a LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) Facebook page. Was he, then, a closet racist? Well, he’s dead. We’ll never know. But the image he left in the form of his Facebook — his beliefs, causes and thoughts — don’t exactly shout out Stormfront.

It’s The Cops

If we can’t blame the blind hatred of the other, racism, Nazism and the supremacist we cannot relate to, who do we blame? Jared told us, unequivocally, who to blame. He blamed the police and the politicians. Must we still look for an even more sinister motive despite the fact Jared told us what his real motive was? For example, the idea that he might have wanted to shoot anybody he came across? Jared condemned indiscriminate school shootings on his page as well:

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At a first glance it seems ironic that the perpetrator of a shooting would condemn mass shootings. But in his mind the two were not alike. The revolutionary — and that is what Jared believed he was — has a target. Jared saw no contradiction in condemning the indiscriminate violence against children while endorsing violence against police officers. The police officers, in the mind of Jared, may have been akin to a soldier or military target. And there is a fundamental difference between the two. We must admit that regardless of what we think of Jared’s actions.

What triggered the Millers, then? The cops. The state:

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Now we know what Jared and Amanda Miller were really mad about. Jared faced a custodial sentence for a victimless crime. This hurt Jared’s financial, physical and mental well being. The Millers further felt repulsed by American empire-building and foreign military adventures. Jared posted his Facebook apology to the world on behalf of the United States.

The Millers shared a fear of tyranny. They saw the dangers of the TSA and the NSA as do, now, most Americans. This young couple lost faith in the United States, its politicians, its law enforcement and its criminal justice system. They witnessed police brutality, living in a particularly rough neighborhood, and also experienced first-hand the dysfunction of the legal system.

This is the perspective the media can’t report. Instead, headlines focus on how the couple dressed like comic book characters or that they were street performers. As if to illustrate some unconventional behavior. Unconventional behavior that by its inclusion in the story we are to assume is tangentially related to the attack that transpired.

The media refuses to discuss the fact that two people, more or less normal individuals, reached a point where they were willing to strike out at the state over the very same concerns shared by most Americans. We all hate the drug war, the NSA and police brutality. The only difference between you and the Millers is that you haven’t responded with violence.

Imagine these headlines:

“Two Police Officers Killed By Couple Angry At Police Brutality.”

“Officers Slain by Victim of Drug War.”

“American Citizens Feel Oppressed; Kill Police Officers.”

Do you see where I am going with this? Random, violent events are not the problem. They spring forth from the problem. They are an effect. The problem is how people feel toward the American state.

And nobody wants to talk about that problem.

Revolutionary Struggle in Athens

Greece: Revolutionary Struggle claims responsibility for car bomb explosion in Athens city centre

In the early morning hours of Thursday, April 10th, 2014 —after two warning phone calls to the media— a car bomb with 75kg of explosives was detonated outside one of Bank of Greece’s offices, located at Amerikis Street in Athens, causing extensive material damages in the surrounding area (but no injuries).

Fifteen days later, the urban guerrilla group Revolutionary Struggle (Epanastatikos Agonas) claimed responsibility for the bombing. Below are just a few excerpts from their lengthy articulate communiqué (a complete translation is always welcome!).

As many of you may recall, three anarchists revealed their membership in the group four years ago, in April 2010: Nikos Maziotis and Pola Roupa, who have gone underground since the summer of 2012 (recently, the government placed a huge bounty on their heads), and Kostas Gournas, who is currently held captive in Koridallos prison.

You can read the article above for the English-language excerpts from the communiqué. However, here is their summarized revolutionary platform if you want to get a general idea of what they are about:

  • Unilateral termination of payment of the Greek debt.
  • Exit from the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the European Union (EU).
  • Expropriation of assets of the Capital, large companies, multinational corporations, of all movable and immovable property of the capitalists.
  • Abolition of the banking system, erasure of all debts to banks, handover of small possessions that were seized by banks, and socialization of bank assets.
  • Expropriation of state property and utilities companies; expropriation of church property.
  • Socialization of the means of production, industry, ports, means of transfer and communication, transportation, utilities, hospitals and educational institutions; the workers will engage in their managing.
  • Abolition of the State and the bourgeois parliament of professional politicians, to be replaced by a confederal system of popular assemblies and workers’ councils, whose coordination, communication and decision-implementation will be achieved through delegates elected and immediately recallable. At national level, in place of the old representative bourgeois parliament there will be a supreme Confederal People’s Assembly, whose members will be authorized members-delegates elected and immediately recallable by the local popular assemblies and workers’ councils.
  • Abolition of the police and the army, to be replaced by an armed popular militia, not a mercenary one.

A final thought — it is noteworthy that Revolutionary Struggle made two warning phone calls to the media. This seemed to ensure that the area would be clear of human casualty. And it worked. There were no human casualties. While in a modern context we might view this as an act of “terrorism” — and regardless of what we believe about Revolutionary Struggle or their agenda — the tactics draw many parallels to revered Western “heroes.” In the American Revolution, the destruction of property was an instrumental tool in the struggle against the Crown. The Boston Tea Party being one of the most famous examples of an act of “terrorism” targeting property. A failed attempt in the modern struggle for Israeli independence, the King David Hotel bombing 1946, utilized similar tactics. But the warning was ignored and it resulted in many fatalities.

I give these examples to distinguish motive from tactics.

The knee-jerk reaction is to condemn any act of violence, even an act of destruction that harms no human being. However, it is important to distinguish between acts of violence against random individuals and acts of destruction against infrastructure or property. This is important both in a clear historical context and a modern moral context. Americans accept drone assassinations, even if they result in innocent deaths, as long as the intent is perceived as good (to target terrorists). This is due to the state narrative of the United States of America as the “good” and the Pakistani or Yemeni as the “bad.”

An unbiased eye will have to view the actions of Revolutionary Struggle in Athens with some degree of nuance. And, imagining a future history, it is conceivable that the acts of Revolutionary Struggle today might be viewed in a future Greece as Americans view the Boston Tea Party, or as Israelis view the King David Hotel operation, in one hundred or two hundred years.