The Media’s Spin On Anarchists

True anarchism is ineffective and of a non-threatening nature! Power to the sheeple!

By N. Zero

Nihilo Zero

There has recently been a growing and disturbing trend whereby right-wing idealogues, organizations, and terrorists have been presented in the media as being “anti-government” or even anarchists. This effectively serves to confuse the public about the philosophy of anarchism and what anarchists actually stand for. And this practice will, undoubtedly, have negative consequences for actual anarchist communities.

This inaccurate media portrayal of right wing extremists really caught my attention after the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin – when Amy Goodman subsequently interviewed a former DHS analyst on the subject of “right-wing extremists.” In that interview her guest dismissed the idea that Timothy McVeigh was a racist and no mention of his Christian fundamentalism was put forward. He was described primarily as being involved with “anti-government” militias. This despite the fact that McVeigh constantly praised the Turner Diaries (a novel that romanticizes a race war), which he sold below cost at gun shows, and despite the fact that he was associated with the fundamentalist Christian Identity movement. And, actually, McVeigh was not really anti-government. Rather, he was merely opposed to certain aspects of the government currently in charge. So, while I am a frequent member of DemocracyNow’s audience, I think Ms.Goodman dropped the ball in this particular interview and should have been a little more challenging with her questions.

More to the point along these lines… a prominent headline in the news recently has been about a supposed “anarchist” cell within the U.S. military which was allegedly planning to carry out political assassinations, blow up dams, and poison Washington state’s apple orchards. However, despite numerous headline’s referring to them as “anarchists,” when one looked a little deeper it was discovered that these “anarchists” were actually just “true patriots” who were essentially looking to take the country back. Later it was revealed that the alleged ringleader of the group was an usher at the RNC in 2008. Like McVeigh, this group seems to be comprised of fairly typical right-wing militants – who are not really “anti-government” and certainly not anarchists.

The problem is that much of the general public doesn’t really know much about anarchism or anarchist history and, so, they are likely to believe that  the aforementioned people are actually anti-government anarchists. However, as an anarchist, I can tell you that I find this to be seriously troubling and inaccurate.
And the effect of this mislabeling and the demonization of anarchists will not stop the right-wing hate groups from continuing to perpetrate massacres like those in Oklahoma City or at the Sikh temple. Nor will it work to stop the murder of doctors who perform abortions. Nor does it work against anti-gay or racially motivated hate crimes.
This mislabeling and demonization will work against actual anarchists who often directly oppose the perpetrators of such attacks. The anti-fascist movement around the world, groups who physically confront Nazis and other fascists when they march, are predominately made up of anti-racist anarchists. You can find countless articles and videos about anarchists actively resisting fascistic racists. However, according to popular media portrayals, anarchists and fascistic right-wing racists are one and the same.

So… what is the real reason for this mislabeling and demonization of anarchists?


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