Mom as the New Face of Anarchy? Police Terrorize Americans Who Object to Right-Wing Lunacy by Using "Anarchist" Label
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“I was born in 1932 and am a child of the Great Depression and World War II. My oldest brother went into the army in January 1942 and I knew many older brothers of my friends who did not survive. Part of my DNA is being concerned about family and neighbors and helping each other whenever we could….Back then, neighbors and citizens knew how to care about each other, which brings me to my concern about what is happening right now to families and communities around the state. The list of bills proposed by one or both houses of the North Carolina General Assembly in spring of 2013 is long. Too many of these proposals appear to be poorly thought out. As a citizen who has never missed the opportunity to vote in local, state and national elections, I now have the feeling that my voice is not being considered. Participating in a protest is my way of letting members of the General Assembly know that there are other voices that they need to hear.”
Mom described herself as “most concerned about the bills affecting the public schools and opportunities of post-secondary education.”
In the feverish imagination of North Carolina police, Mom could be a terrorist fomenting violent revolution. (It’s true that she shot a squirrel in her yard with a pellet gun, but that was an isolated incident).
As the Charlotte Observer reported, when the first trial of the hundreds of North Carolinians arrested during the peaceful Moral Monday demonstrations commenced, the chief of the General Assembly police admitted that protesters were spied upon, “and that his department ‘collected intelligence’ on the ‘anarchists’ among them.’”
When Mom learned that the police were sent to the church meeting where she and others had gathered before the protest, she was bewildered: “If we had known they were there, we would have been glad to talk to them, welcome them in.” I am quite certain that Mom would have gotten them a snack.
But the police went to church undercover, presumably collecting tidbits about the praying, singing and other signs of subversive activity.
It appears that “anarchist” became the preferred term of denigration in North Carolina because plain old “outsider” slander wouldn’t stick. When Governor Pat McCrory tried to pretend that the Moral Monday protesters were outside agitators, the facts quickly proved him wrong. What’s a scaremongerer to do? The communist label had gotten kind of tired since the Cold War ended (the same types of folks used to call my late father, a history professor, a communist because he advocated desegregation).
But “anarchist” has a nice ring to it. Most ordinary people have little idea of what it means, vaguely associating the term with revolution and chaos, even though the more accurate face of anarchy would be that of someone like Professor David Graeber, the American anthropologist associated with the peaceful Occupy protests who likes to talk about cooperation and mutual respect among citizens.
Never mind reality. Anarchist is now the term for any person with the temerity to suggest that the poor deserve compassion, that all children deserve decent schools, and that a widening gulf between haves and have-nots is not good for the country.
Mom would probably be comfortable with the label “Democrat” or “Christian” or even “uppity female.” But I doubt that the term “anarchist” ever crossed her mind.