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Monday, January 16, 2017

Anarchists, stay home

Editorial: Anarchists, stay home

Far be it from us to discourage civic engagement, but if the actual goal of that engagement is to disrupt Friday's Inauguration by violent means, endangering the safety of anyone within the vicinity of the Capitol - well, may we suggest in advance that the authorities throw the book at any wannabe anarchists.

A group known as DisruptJ20 intends to "paralyze" Washington, D.C., on Friday, the Herald reported last week, blockading security checkpoints and holding protests and sit-ins to undermine the proceedings.

(Maybe, chaining their arms through 55-gallon drums full of concrete?)

There are actually a host of demonstrations planned for the nation's capital this week, including on Friday. The National Mall is so overbooked, in fact, that the Jan. 21 Women's March has to take place away from that site.

But that will all take place under the restrictions that come with a designated "special national security event."

And, well, anarchists don't do permits.

DisruptJ20 organizers aren't planning "a boring walk in the street," a spokesman for the group told the Herald. Their website calls for "massive direct actions" that will shut down all Inauguration ceremonies and celebrations. They also plan to "paralyze the city itself," shutting down traffic and public transit.

It's entirely possible the plan will fizzle, maybe for lack of available anarchists. Or maybe it will fizzle in the face of a massive law enforcement presence, but not before endangering the safety of Inaugural attendees, police officers, even the peaceful protesters.

Here's an alternative: Why not write a nasty post on Facebook instead. Odds are it will have about the same influence on public opinion - and it won't require bail money.

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