Zombie

Anarcho-Left Meltdown as Radical Infighting Turns Violent

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.


The publication of the mini-manifesto set off a revelatory (and occasionally hilarious) barrage of comments from members of the multifarious West Coast anarchist factions, exposing some of the ideological and practical rifts and conflicts that are literally tearing the scene apart. Here’s a sampling:

Lierre Keith pied with hot pepper not cream

The pies used to attack Lierre Keith were heavily laced with hot pepper and effectively she was pepper sprayed in the eyes, etc. This post claims PM Press & Bound Together have “crammed” Lierre “down our throats” — which I think goes a long way toward showing the bizarre and warped mind set of the middle-class toxic fetuses responsible for this attack. This apparently was carried out by a group of young people of privilege who have never had to deal with much hardship of any kind, and who have had to opportunity to sit around and dream up theories about the earth and universe that they desperately can’t abide any challenge to, from any quarter, no matter how well meaning. They remind me of some super politically correct counter-culture friends I used to have back in the 60’s. I could never measure up their ideas of what was “right” and they were fairly brutal to those who could not measure up. Every one of them crashed and burnt in some bizarre way.

Loved this

She was pied, get over it. Big deal, even IF it was a spicy pie. Somebody call the waaaambulance for this loser. This action was both hilarious & totally appropriate. Anarchist resources should not be for posers just promoting the status quo. Her very presence there was very inappropriate.

fundamentalist idiots

This is pretty much what I expect from fascist vegan fundamentalist assholes. Heaven forbid that someone disagree with you and point out errors in the half-assed emotionality that you mistake for thinking! May your teeth all rot out (most vegans’ teeth do) and you suffer from the myriad deficiency related diseases for your sins of stupidity. Meanwhile, leave the rest of us alone to pursue our health and happiness!

She called the cops

No one has mentioned yet that the first thing she said after being pied was “Call the cops.” Sure enough, twenty minutes or so after she had cleaned off, many people saw her surrounded by a small group of supporters filing a police report, right in front of the bookfair.

to anyone who justifies this . . .

She was violently assaulted . . . of course she called the fucking cops.

You people (whoever did it, whoever posted the original message above, and whoever justifies or celebrates this attack on Lierre) are pathetic, cowardly, sadistic assholes.

Perhaps filing a police report wasn’t the best response. But how every so-called “anarchist” present stood by, idly, while 3 young men attacked a women without giving them a boot party is beyond me. You people aren’t anarchists, you’re Stalinists with a black flag.

Sorry, “anarchists”, you’re wrong.

To those who pied Lierre Keith: Your “self-congratulatory” note of ASSAULTING an ALLY was… fucked up, and flat-out wrong. Sorry, but you lose this argument. If you were part of my community, I’d vote you leave (banished) for highly abusive behavior.

Let me remind you, this was THREE (young) MEN assaulting a 45 YEAR OLD WOMAN! This is MISOGYNY and disgusting behavior. I am very anti-police, but anyone who demonizes someone for calling the police for a MAN ON WOMAN attack, seriously has their priorities fucked up, and is without a doubt anti-woman. Let’s not let the police oppress, but goddamn it, if they can be utilized to SOMETHING/ANYTHING useful (like preventing very REAL, very TRAUMATIZING abuse), then so be it.

Stop being so immature. We’re supposed to be allies (and diet, like others have said, is not revolutionary – actually fighting power is, not shooting yourself in the foot), but now I have less faith than ever in the people involved in the “movement”.

What? Nobody intervened? Nobody grabbed the perps? A room full of so called anarchists lets a woman be assulted by 3 men and nobody stands up to it? I’m disgusted. Lierre’s book is well reasoned, well researched and balanced and it’s a call for a compassionate way of living. To the Anarchist’s who did this it’s called dialogue you had an opportunity at a public event to question, cross examine Keith’s book and you took the lowest possible road exposing your own pathology.

To the perps: This is no movement… you are members of a lifestyle cult. Oh, how I wish I could join your elitist, pain free, cruelty-free club. Do you sense the irony in all of this?! You attacked a defenseless 45-year-old woman at the very moment she was speaking out AGAINST factory farming. Were you listening? Did you even read Lierre’s book?

Thank goodness these brave guys had the courage to assault this woman. More so, thank goodness they had the good sense and honesty to do so anonymously.

If we keep letting her discuss her issues openly, allowing her arguments to stand for themselves, then people might actually change their minds.

We can’t have that.

No! It’s time to mobilize, to silence dissenting voices, and to humiliate people who, through years of personal suffering, are motivated to share their personal revelations with others.

Thank goodness there were three of these men. Strength in numbers is always essential when you attack women with degenerative spine diseases.

This behavior is insane, and not surprising. I don’t understand why people are all like, “don’t call the cops”. What other accountability is there? Are there anarchists who will hunt down these three assholes and beat the fuck out of them? I didn’t think so. As much as I wish I could beat the fuck out of people who harass women (and men) like this, I’d end up going to jail when they called the cops on me. That’s sort of the joke of anyone saying “don’t call the cops”. It comes from a privileged position of not being the one who got fucked with. Let’s fuck with you and see what choices you have. It’s easier to bitch at someone for calling the cops then it is to come up with a different choice that brings balance and justice. Not that cops do that, but it’s the only choice we have cultural support for.

Interestingly, the pie-ing incident is not the only evidence of a Bay Area anarchist meltdown. Elsewhere on IndyBay (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/02/26/18638853.php), for example, is this listing for a Bookfair afterparty which reveals that half of the anarchists have banned the other half from their clubhouse:

“Banned in Berkeley” A Bookfair Afterparty

For the ever growing list of individuals who have been ostracized by the Insane Banning Posse at Berkeley’s Long Haul Infoshop, there will be an alternative Anarchist Bookfair afterparty in Berkeley at Kip’s
…. There’s no reason why sane, rational radicals in the east bay cannot get together after the annual anarchist bookfair for a chat and a brew.

And there’s more. Though most of the Bay Area anarchist groups have an extreme far-left anti-American anti-capitalist tendency, the recent emergence of some far-rightNational Anarchists” — as I captured on film at an anti-Israel event in San Francisco last year — has caused yet another massive conflagration of anarchist infighting, as the youngsters try to reconcile the irreconcilable conflict between the “total freedom” of political anarchy and the need to violently suppress all dissenting viewpoints.

And so it goes. Over the last 100 years, the various manifestations of radicalism have repeatedly self-imploded once confronted with the non-viability of their beliefs. It’s almost pathetic to watch these incredibly ignorant political buffoons destroy themselves. Let’s hope the rot spreads to other areas of the radical scene, so we can all sit back and enjoy the show.