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Anarcho-Left Meltdown as Radical Infighting Turns Violent

March 17th, 2010 - 10:38 am

Like starving wolverines in a canvas sack, they tear at each other until there’s nothing left but shredded fur.

That’s essentially what’s happening on the West Coast anarchist scene, as far-far-far-far-left radicals have taken to assaulting the merely far-far-far-left radicals for being insufficiently revolutionary, opening up a huge rift in a political milieu that is now hemorrhaging adherents as we speak.

It all came to a head at this weekend’s Anarchist Bookfair in San Francisco, an annual convention of left-leaning anarchists and anti-civilization activists (which I covered extensively in previous years). One of the invited speakers was Lierre Kieth, a 45-year-old anarchist who spent decades on the cutting edge of environmental extremism, but who recently wrote a book explaining why she abandoned her once strict vegan diet after realizing that it probably wasn’t going to save the Earth after all. She’s still a committed anarchist, mind you, who “believes in militant action, even property destruction, if it can lead to change,” and who wants an end to all mass-production of food (i.e. agribusiness and factory farming), with the goal of restoring the Earth to its pristine pre-civilizational state if possible. Oh, but you see, that’s not radical enough for many of the deranged San Francisco Black Bloc anarchists, who somehow got it into their heads that she was a traitor to the cause and a puppet of the meat industry because she abandoned her vegan diet. And so, while she was speaking at the conference on Saturday, three masked young men rushed onstage and threw cayenne-pepper-laced pies in her face — an incident which was (as is everything these days) naturally captured on video:

Not only did the mostly male audience sit there and do nothing to defend her, but many reportedly cheered and clapped at this own-goal bit of political self-negation:

Pies-in-face attack roils anarchist-vegan world

An ex-vegan who was hit with chili pepper-laced pies at an anarchist event in San Francisco said Tuesday that her assailants were cowards who should direct their herbivorous rage at the powerful – not at a fellow radical for writing a book denouncing animal-free diets.

Lierre Keith, a 45-year-old Arcata resident, was attacked at 2:15 p.m. Saturday at the 15th annual Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair while discussing her 2009 book, “The Myth of Vegetarianism.” A 20-year vegan, Keith now argues that the diet is unhealthy and that agriculture is destroying the world.

As Keith stood at a lectern at the Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, three people in masks and black hooded sweatshirts ran from backstage, shouted, “Go vegan!” and threw pies in her face. While they fled, some in the audience cheered or handed out leaflets.

Despite the fact that Lierre Keith has written that “agriculture is a relentless assault against the planet” and is (compared to the American mainstream) an extreme radical seeking to dismantle industrialized society, her decision to nibble on some free-range chicken and cruelty-free beef has rendered her Public Enemy #1 among the glassy-eyed anarcho-vegan perfectionists who scream “Meat is murder!” and who want to use their last drop of testosterone to implement their philosophy by force, if necessary.

(I should mention that, although I myself am a vegetarian, I fully understand that my diet is simply my personal preference; and I’m perfectly OK with other people eating meat or whatever else they want to eat. For me, politics and lunch do not mix. Not all meat-avoiders are demented revolutionaries.)

The perpetrators bragged about their exploits in this explanatory screed issued at the far-left radical site IndyBay (cut and paste the URL into your browser because IndyBay blocks links from “incorrect” sites like PJM: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/03/14/18640886.php):

Bound Together Books and PM Press continue to try to prop up and foist veg*n antagonist Lierre Keith onto the radical community in the Bay Area. Today, at the 15th Annual San Francisco Anarchist Bookfair, where she was scheduled to be a featured speaker, Keith was served her just deserts for her obnoxious attacks on veg*ns in The Vegetarian Myth. She was pied in the middle of her speech in the main auditorium at the SF County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park.

Some will condemn the pieing as a useless symbolic action. Others will object to the breaking of decorum at the bookfair. Many of those who might condemn the action would not think twice about praising other symbolic direct actions, pieing or otherwise. It is doubtful if her book were “the anarchist myth” or “prison activist myth” that anyone present would do anything but cheer the action.

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