22 July 2009

Old County jail coming out of retirement for G20.

Local media has reported that the old Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh may be used for holding arrested protestors at the G20 summit in September. The old jail, located right accross the street from the Allegheny County Courthouse, is an imposing structure and well known Pittsburgh landmark. I always thought it would have made a great redevelopment project as a downtown brew pub.

Anarchists, and Rumors of Anarchists

In advance of September's G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, the local media has already begun to build the pre-game hype. Recent television, and print, reports have both hinted darkly of the police training in the use of riot equipment and anarchists training for confrontation. One breathless reporter carried the story of a group of squatters, some of whom were from Europe, found living in an abandoned house in the Polish Hill neighborhood. Maybe they were actual anarchists, maybe they were confused kids from Warsaw that looked on the map and thought they found a friendly place to stay.

Pittsburgh is a small media market. I think that those that come to our city in September for the first time will be surprised at how small the city actually is both in terms of geography and quality of our local media. As competitors in a small market, the local media can be expected to increase the crescendo of hype to near Superbowl proportions by the time the summit kicks off. Whether it is police attacking anarchists, or anarchists attacking the police, it's all going to make for great ratings for them. Expect little, or no, analysis concerning the protestor's causes and lots of feedback from Uncle Stosh on the television callback lines- "Yinz are being too nice, beat all them anarchy people n'at."

As I stated in an earlier post, now is one of the few brief moments in history where the Anarchist message can gain widespread support from a public tired of government as it currently exists. The G20 can be a platform to spread this message to the populace and, for once, paint the governments of these nations as the enemy, not the anarchists, and not the rank and file police. Violence will only destroy this message. Violence on television will focus on a few anarchists breaking windows which will be the image repeated round the clock across the country. The message will be lost.

If you really want to screw the powers that be this September, join me and demonstrate peacefully. That will really piss them off.