My First Battle
From The Foreward to Anti-Hero: Memories of a Black Bloc Anarchist.
It was an icy cold morning in D.C. I awoke on the floor of a stranger’s basement, exhausted after only a few hours sleep which had been preceded by a 20 hour bus ride. My body ached from sleeping on the hardwood floor, and I craved coffee. But despite the physical discomfort and exhaustion, my heart beat with excitement the moment I opened my eyes and remembered where I was. It was the morning of January 20, 2001 – the day of George W. Bush’s inauguration.
I had not come to D.C. to celebrate the inauguration. Far from it. I was one of tens of thousands who had travelled into the city to protest the most contested election in memory. Certainly my memory, anyway, as I was only 22 years old. It was only the second election I had been eligible to vote in. Not that I was necessarily sad about Al Gore’s defeat either. My vote had gone for Ralph Nader of the Green Party. The year before, I attended protests at both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. I believed both political parties were bought and paid for by multinational corporations. Even my vote for Nader was cast grudgingly. My belief that all electoral politics were doomed to failure was growing deeper by the day.
This protest was particularly significant for me, because it represented a moment of stepping over the line. For the first time, I was going to participate in the Black Bloc.
Through various online channels I had acquired the phone number for a contact at the “Spokescouncil Meeting” which had been held the night before. I had hoped to attend myself, but our bus did not make it to D.C. in time. Prior to receiving this phone number, I had to provide two references from within the Leftist community. Fortunately my experience at a direct action in Los Angeles the summer before, where I was arrested and spent 10 days in jail, passed muster with this crew. I was given a time and location for the “convergence.”