Observers Misconstrue May Day Violence: Anarchist "Street Party" is not "Immigrants' Rights" March, as Documented by Event's Flyers

Numerous commentators are drawing attention today to the vandalism and riot that took place in Santa Cruz Saturday night, based on reports in the Mercury News and Associated Press. See Memeorandum for an overview of the discussion. Scroll down to see exemplars of the flyers from the event. From the Mercury News article:
A large group of protesters demonstrating at a May Day rally for worker's and immigrant rights downtown broke off into a riot vandalizing about a dozen businesses around 10:30 p.m. Saturday, police said. Many in the group were carrying makeshift torches as they marched, breaking storefront windows and writing "anarchist graffiti" on buildings, according to Capt. Steve Clark.
The AP story provides a bit more detail:
Close to 20 businesses were damaged after what started as a peaceful immigrants' rights march in downtown Santa Cruz turned violent, requiring police to call other agencies for help, authorities said. Police spokesman Zach Friend said an estimated 250 people started marching through the city around 10:30 p.m. Saturday. It was a harmonious but "unpermitted and unsanctioned event," he said, until some in the crowd started breaking windows and spraying paint on retail shops that line the downtown corridor. Friend said he wasn't sure if the damage was caused by people marching in support of immigrants' rights, or if the group was "infiltrated by anarchists." [Emphasis added.]
Republican blogger Dan Riehl writes:
the AP goes out of its way to suggest the group may have been infiltrated by anarchists at the end of their report. And contrary to a Mercury News report, this is about illegal immigration, not immigration, or worker's right's. Jim Hoft has more - including video.
Obviously, Riehl is of the opinion that the "liberal media" are employing the anarchist infiltration angle to falsify the story in an effort to downplay the significance of the violence. Riehl is only half right, however. The AP is only as clueless as the local police are. The demonstration and parade was not "infiltrated" by anarchists, it was rather much more likely organized by anarchists!

To fully understand the anarchist connection a bit of history is in order. May Day is known around the world as "International Worker's Day" to commemorate the Haymarket Riot in Chicago in 1886. From Wikipedia:
The Haymarket affair (also known as the Haymarket riot or Haymarket massacre) was a disturbance that took place on Tuesday May 4, 1886, at the Haymarket Square in Chicago, and began as a rally in support of striking workers. An unknown person threw a bomb at police as they dispersed the public meeting. The bomb blast and ensuing gunfire resulted in the deaths of eight police officers and an unknown number of civilians. In the internationally publicized legal proceedings that followed, eight anarchists were tried for murder. Four were put to death, and one committed suicide in prison. [Emphasis added.]
The rally and march in Santa Cruz was not an "immigrants' rights" rally like those held in cities across the US, as the Mercury News and AP reports lead one to believe, and as numerous bloggers continue to assert. It was a planned, "unpermitted and unsanctioned" anarchist "street party" celebrating International Workers' Day. This is clear from the video linked by Riehl, which shows a parade of dancers and revelers, none of whom are chanting political slogans or even holding signs as one would expect from an immigrant and workers' rights rally. It becomes all the more obvious when one sees the flyers and web calendars advertising the event.

The event's blog ( has been shut down by its admin, but the cache can still be found online. On April 3rd, under the headline "May Day 2010" the announcement "celebrating international workers' day" read: "On May 1st 2010, come join us for a street party at 9pm*, the clock tower downtown." This event was in the works long before the immigration issue was catapulted back into the news. Here are two exemplars of flyers lifted from the cache:

Clearly, the idea is not for an immigrants' rights rally but rather a "massive street party." Consider also this flyer:

Another announcement for the event can be found at the Santa Cruz IMC, which provides the following information, including the web address of the event blog noted above and references to the fliers posted above:
Title: May Day Street Party - Downtown Santa Cruz
START DATE: Saturday May 01
TIME: 9:00 PM - 6:00 AM
Location Details:
Clocktower, downtown Santa Cruz, 9pm until the sun comes up
Event Type: Party/Street Party
Contact Namewage earners everywhere
Email Address
Phone Number
May 1st 2010
Clocktower, downtown Santa Cruz, 9pm until the sun comes up

May 1st is International Worker's Day! How appropriate that this year this day should fall on a SATURDAY. As we all know along with the 40 hour work week and minimum wage the weekend its self was created by and for working people in this country through long and militant struggle. What better way to celebrate than by dancing in the streets?


meet at the clock tower at 9pm sharp and let the revelry begin. Bring drinks, bring fun, bring friends!

print a flier, post a flier!

Such acts of violence were not confined to Santa Cruz. Vandals smashed windows in Asheville, North Carolina on Saturday night as well. As Confederate Yankee notes: "The article goes on to mention that two of those arrested are anarchists, affiliated with known radical left-wing groups." Reports of other such acts are likely to surface. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the response to these incidents in the blogosphere are the many comparisons with tea party protests accompanied by claims of partisan hypocrisy. Confederate Yankee writes:
Imagine, if you will, what would happen if a group split off from a Tea Party protest and went on a rampage, smashing windows and vandalizing cars.
Ed Morrissey writes at Hot Air:
Will the same hyperventilating media that sees a militia in every Tea Party make the same broad-stroke analysis of the open-borders Left after a real show of violence and demands for revolution?
Left Coast Rebel asks:
Can you imagine if limited government Tea Partiers did something like this?
The difference, of course, is that tea party activists present themselves as the embodiment of the American mainstream. Anarchists, on the other hand, are obviously quite a different story and present themselves as the resistance to the American mainstream. But, for some reason, tea party supporters are literally comparing themselves with anarchists. Coincidentally, none other than Marco Rubio drew the distinction himself in an interview on a Sunday talk show, saying that he is "not an anarchist" and emphasizing that conservatism is mainstream. From Sunshine News:
Rubio also dismissed assertions that he is too conservative to win a general election, despite his success to date in the Republican primary. “I think that limited government - conservatism, is what most Americans are,” he said. “I think that's mainstream American thought. I'm not an anarchist. I believe government has an important role to play in society. I just don't think it should play a dominant role. I don't believe government is the most important institution in society.”


Anonymous said...

Third Option dream team...good stuff from libertarian blog..wahtcha think?

d.eris said...

Interesting. You should check out the Humble Libertarian and the Liberty Ticker blogs. Right up your alley.

A. J. Barragan said...

It's good to see someone do the work of wading through the various political delusions posted on the web and get down to the hard facts at the bottom. Of course it won't make much if any difference to the original crowd of posters who essentially use the false equation that anarchism = leftism = liberalism = big government and so dismiss all of the facts in favor of their propaganda.