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Originally published Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 3:57 PM

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Editorial: May Day’s muddled messages

Vigorous, peaceful marches on behalf of workers rights and immigration reform shared Seattle’s May Day with message-less street tantrums.

Seattle Times Editorial

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And the emphasis should be on the peaceful organized marches that have a real point to ... MORE
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ANARCHY indeed. Seattle was treated to another display of nihilists with nothing to say and clownish protesters dressed in the revolutionary fashion of the moment.

The politics of outrage? No, more like an SNL skit waiting to happen.

May Day 2013 was no repeat of May Day 2012, and the preparation and performance of the Seattle Police Department deserves the community’s thanks.

For all of the noisy drama of the evening hours in downtown Seattle, the police kept the pointless protesters moving. The evening ended with 17 arrests and some injuries, including to eight police officers.

Praise for the work of the SPD came, from among others, the Downtown Seattle Association. All were aware things could have been worse. As Matt Driscoll of the Seattle Weekly noted, a handful of marchers “seemed hellbent on enticing police into use of force.”

Seattle witnessed two distinct events. Marchers turned out earlier in the day for potent declarations of support for America’s labor force and to support political progress for immigration reform.

Even the anti-capitalists, no doubt tweeting their sentiments on smartphones, were present to decry the oppression of making a buck.

The so-called anarchists were something else. Turning out to throw rocks and glass bottles at police in the name of repudiating compulsive state authority: quite a message. Do what we say, in the name of personal liberty, or we will break your window.

Mikhail Bakunin would be embarrassed.

Some messages and values do carry forth from May Day 2013: fair wages and treatment for all workers, and passage of federal immigration reform. Thank police who laid it on the line, again, to help others get their message out.

Thanks to Seattle Times reporters and photographers, KIRO 7 and KING 5 for aggressive reporting from the streets. Powerful images and context.

Protesters hidden behind masks lobbing glass bottles at police made their cowardly vacuousness most evident.


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