Tea Party Anarchists? Anarchist News and Info-Shop News Respond to Tea Party Rally Story

Following the publication of an anonymous call for anarchist actions at tea party rallies on April 15th, the hysterical reaction of some mainstream political blogs resulted in a flood of new visitors and vocal commenters to anarchist websites. As I wrote on the initial engagement:
Tea party activists and supporters have now flooded the comments threads attached to the initial call to action at Infoshop News, though they do not seem to have yet discovered those at Anarchist News and Indymedia. The resulting "discussion" at Infoshop is a fascinating object lesson in the politics of mutual mis-recognition. I would relay a few choice quotes, but the page is now failing to load, likely due to unusually high levels of traffic. [Public Frenemy provides some more commentary on the possible future contours of the confrontation between anarchists and tea party activists.]
Info-Shop News has now published a statement on the "tea party rally story" to clarify a number of points about their news service for folks who are likely unfamiliar with the anarchist website. Here's the statement in full:

A recent story posted to the Infoshop News newswire about upcoming Tea Party rallies has generated quite a controversy beyond our website. Several false accusations have been published by other websites about our news service. We want to take this opportunity to clarify several things about our news service for people unfamiliar with Infoshop News.

Infoshop News is one of the oldest online news services, having operated since 1997. Infoshop News is part of the larger Infoshop.org website and is run by an editorial collective. We publish original news, reporting and opinion. Infoshop News also re-publishes articles and opinion from other sources and links to many stories published by independent and mainstream media. We rely heavily on user-submitted stories, including material from anonymous sources.

Infoshop News is run by anarchists and libertarians and features news and opinion from anarchists, libertarians and anti-authoritarians. The news service also includes material from non-anarchist sources, as we think it's important to provide news, information and opinion from different sources. We aim to buck the dominant trend among American political news projects, which focus on providing selective news and opinion for people who already agree with that news and opinion. We favor a cross-pollination of ideas, within some parameters. While our news service is popular with anarchists, we also have many readers from other political persuasions.

The story about anarchists and Tea Party rallies was not written or authored by Infoshop News. We may not be the first website or blog that posted this anonymous call. Since it wasn't written or authored by Infoshop News, it doesn't necessarily reflect the views of the Infoshop staff, volunteers or contributors. Therefore, “Infoshop anarchists” did not make any call to action, nor did this fictional group author the story about Tea Party rallies.

The Tea Party rally story was probably written by one individual, so people should assume it reflects the views of one particular, anonymous person.

Much of the fuss about the story appears to be directed at a paragraph that calls for a defense of liberal social programs. People seem to think that this is an example of anarchist hypocrisy about statism. Again, this story is the opinion of one person. Several anarchists we've talked to this week have expressed criticism of the call, pointing out that it represents a liberal take on the Tea Party movement. One anarchist pointed out that several of the links in the story point to articles on liberal websites.

Tea party activists unfamiliar with the site might be surprised by the fact that Infoshop's editorial team is quick to denounce liberal statists and has not effectively doubled down and endorsed the "call to action." It appears, however, that the Info-shop statement is also an indirect response to an article published at Anarchist News, which criticized Info-shop for "calling for “anarchists” to crash the Tea Parties for not supporting big government." Perhaps this author simply does not realize that the very same call was published at Anarchist News as well! Nonetheless, the article, which is entitled "Fake Anarchists Plan to Crash Tea Parties," warns that calls for violence and acts of violence may well be the work of "statist plants," and justifies the suspicion with numerous examples of government and police agent provocateurs infiltrating anarchist protests in the recent past. He writes:
This post is simply a warning that people calling for the initiation of violence may be statist plants, or simply misguided. It is my opinion that anarchists — of whatever variety — should not antagonize the tea partiers; who are already angry at the state, and some may be ready to reject it. My view is that anyone who heeds this call to action should attempt to reach out the tea partiers, and not to simply counter them for the sake of countering them.

That’s all we mean to communicate in this post. Kurt Nimmo and the sources/videos linked in this post may have other views; but they are posted here to illustrate proof of statist infiltration in the recent past. We believe in cooperation with anyone who wishes to get out from under the state system; so long as they don’t advocate initiating violence; or engaging in racism. — Ben

PS: If you do decide you want to interface with the tea partiers to try to win them over; the talking-points discussed here are perfect material for doing so.

We shall see if tea party activists and conservative Republican political bloggers are willing to continue to follow this story, or if they are merely interested in composing hysterical headlines.

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