halloween costumes

In the last couple of days, the media has been absolutely freaking out over what would otherwise sound like the plot to a bad action move. It’s called “The Halloween Revolt.” The script goes something like this: the FBI has gained intelligence that on Halloween of this year, a shadowy anarchist group called the National Liberation Militia is asking people to dress up and randomly attack police officers, and only the most righteous defenders of the Thin Blue Line can stop them.

Traced back to the New York Post, other news agencies snatched the story up, including CBS News, Fox News, and the Daily Mail.

PINAC recently debunked the propaganda. The National Liberation Front, a supposedly fearsome anarchist organization, has no social media account or website associated with it – in fact, it has has no online presence whatsoever. Using Google’s search tools, you can limit your search to stories that predate October, and you’ll find that outside of the recent furor over this “revolt,” this dangerous radical organization yields exactly 0 results. The FBI doesn’t even have them in their database.

It’s unclear whether or not this alleged FBI report is limited to New York City, or whether we are supposed to think this is a nationwide threat. So far, though, it seems the New York Post must have received some exclusive information. Considering the recent controversies involving filming police and a certain director, it would make sense that the NYPD, the FBI, or a combination of the two would stir the PR pot in their favor.

Predictably, in light of the dearth of other sources to substantiate the “threat,” CBS News was left to draw tenuous conclusions and scare their readers:

“Anarchists infamously were blamed for being the main instigators in the 1999 the ‘Battle of Seattle’ during a World Trade Organization meeting.”

Well of course. We Voluntaryists have heard this story before. Anarchists have a notorious reputation, beginning in the first half of the 20th century. Anarchist movements in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America gave endless fodder to newspapers and cartoonists when they would be blamed for bombings, assassinations, and riots (despite the guilt in many of these cases probably lying with police and agent provocateurs). Like the kids with bandanas who smash store windows in the name of “Anarchism,” these early radicals were overwhelmingly associated with the extreme Left. As Voluntaryists and advocates of free trade, we have had to fight a near-impossible uphill battle to shake off the preconceived images of mustachioed contrarians lobbing cartoonish bombs at dignitaries. Chances are you’ve dealt with these stereotypes.

While this whole affair stinks of fabrication, just to be completely safe, we here at The Art of Not Being Governed would like to clarify something:

We have never been advocates of aggression against anyone. It doesn’t matter if they’re a civilian or an employee of the State. When you initiate force against another person, you simultaneously pass judgment and punish them for a crime they have not yet committed. That’s injustice, and injustice is exactly the thing we’re fighting against. Governments use police as agents of aggression – enforcing the opinions of bureaucrats with billy clubs, tasers, and guns – and to ape their behavior goes against everything we stand for. We cannot ever stoop to their level.

Not only would participation in such a “revolt” be doomed to failure, it would forever discredit our cause. Of course, we are not pacifists – the right to self-defense is the essence of freedom. But if you are an Anarchist and you want to actually effect change, the best thing to do is to educate those you can and to live by example as a peaceful and enterprising person.

Knowing the media, this story will be spun into a sensation, and come Halloween, there will be people checking their newsfeeds and their TVs, waiting to hear about those petulant radicals who want to hurt police. Instead, show those scared people they don’t need to be afraid. Show them who you really are: you’re a normal person just like them, and you’re an Anarchist.