Sunday, February 11, 2007

The IWW Liberates Landmark Theaters

A couple of months back, a journalist from libertarian magazine Reason attended a protest being held by the IWW (aka the Wobblies) outside of a Landmark Theater location in Berkley, California. The purpose of the rally was to support a drive by the IWW (an anarcho-syndicalist union) to organize the theater workers at that location. The Landmark Theater chain is a small business that specializes in showing independent and foreign films, and hardly seems a prime example of corporate greed. Despite this, the protesters decried the “exploitation” being inflicted upon the theater’s workers and called for an end to the wage system. Predictably, the libertarian author had quite a bit of fun in the resulting article mocking the protestors as they compared the sufferings of the Landmark staff with those of Joe Hill and the other labor martyrs of the early 20th century. The article is in general is a stinging and amusing attack on the overwhelming stupidity that permeates the contemporary anarchist movement in the U.S. The anarchist website Infoshop reprinted the article on their page, describing the author as an “infiltrator” working for the interests of the capitalist class. I usually don’t recommend reading the comments section of these sorts of postings, as they usually consist of nothing but poorly spelled insults and arguments riddled with logical fallacies. In this case, however, the Infoshop comments are a riot. Some of Reason’s readers caught wind of the anarchist posting and wrote in, defending the libertarian position and pointing out the absurdity of the anarchist position in this case. The anarchists respond with comments that would be laughable if they weren’t so sad. One such comment follows:

"This seems like a good idea to quote Gandhi:

First they ignore you,
then they laugh at you
then they repress you
then you win
obviously the US movement has reached stage 2 -- the advance guard of capitalism (the right-wing "libertarians") are trying to mock us. Good -- shows us they are worried."

To which as libertarian replied, in a manner that could speak for most of us:

"Uh, it might make you feel good to think that libertarians are worried about the kind of folks described in the article. But, trust me, they're really only laughing."


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