mob party

Seattle Anarchists Against Commercialization of Pride, Marriage Equality, Maybe Even American Apparel Booty Shorts

Looks like not everyone is happy to have Budweiser beer gardens and Trojan condom tents popping up for pride. Nor are they happy with equality victories in the military and institution of marriage.

During a dance party in Seattle’s Capitol Hill this weekend, a flash mob of rainbow flag-wielding “anarchists” created havoc in the streets: dancing on top of a cop car, smashing an America Apparel storefront and a Bank of America ATM.

Masked and armed with spray paint cans, the unruly crowd didn’t stick around long enough to get arrested, dispersing faster than glitter in the wind.

But did these rebels have a cause besides corporate marketing to gays? According to the pamphlet that was being passed out that night, it was military and marriage equality that had them all hot and bothered.

We’re not interested in buying into State-sanctioned monogamy. This is nothing less than assimilation into straight society, the same society that enacts violence against queer people every day. This is sold to us as equality, but what does that mean? It means becoming acceptably heteronormative, begging for tolerance from the same people who have criminalized, marginalized, and murdered us throughout history. We’re not interested in enlisting in the military so that we can kill, be killed, or both, for US imperialism.

Basically, a few west coast  self-styled “queer hooligans” are saying thanks but no thanks to two huge political victories this year. Well, we’re guessing they won’t be moving to New York any time soon.

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  • David C

    Hmmm. Are they still using “heteronormative”? Really?

  • Ian Awesome

    A friend of mine (I used to live in Seattle) attended, and most people there were just as exasperated at the violence and rioting as we “assimilationists.”

  • Laughriotgirl

    1) The commercialization of Pride has been an ongoing debate as long as I’ve been around.
    Particularly when the sponsors have really sketchy history with the community (Coors beer for example) or didn’t offer benefits/protections for GLBT employees.

    2) I’ve been involved with Anarchists in college – it is a common frustration that there seems to always be a group who won’t help plan stuff, drinks all the beer, and then spoils the message by breaking stuff. Not sure if that is the case here, but it is a thing.

    5) I refuse to adhere to oppressive conventions of numbering!!!!!!

  • skzip888

    What do you call an Anarchist who just turned 40?

    Senior VP of marketing.

  • Jperon

    Most of these so-called anarchists are just nihilists inspired by hatred. And I would bet you that most of them were not gay, just stupid, childish thugs doing the only thing they know now to do—destroy.

  • nice


  • seaguy

    As someone who lives in Seattle near where the anarchy broke out I wish these people would go away. They are not residents of the Capital Hill neighborhood and they do not represent what the residents are for. They simply seem to have one goal and that is to cause trouble and make otherwise drama free events have an event that get’s carried in the media and ends up being a black mark on an otherwise wonderful pride weekend.

  • Jeffree

    These thugs know as much about anarchism as I do about topology*: Translation = zilch, nada, niente, rien, nothing.

    They’re hitting targets that represent capitalism (atm, UO window, etc.) not heteronormative accomodationism, whatever the hay that is.

    Some people just like to break stuff; that’s not a political statement, it’s just Project Mayhem writ small!

    *it’s a branch of math & the topologists draw donuts on napkins when they try to explain it.

  • Jeffree

    @Laughriotgirl: p.s. *Laugh* is what I did when I was your point #5! That was brilliant. Thank you for that, & the other info too.

  • Mark

    I have to say the San Francisco pride parade was sooo incredibly boring. Corporations, family groups, churches, and every other organization and their dogs had to walk in the parade. I’m sorry but it’s boring. I want to see naked people, drag queens, protests, and gay night club floats not bank of america, google, wells fargo, virgin america, and 10000 church groups. zzzz I love the support of all our allies, but that’s what the watching and cheering the parade on is for!

  • Kev C

    Gays are the only ones who give sociopolitical reasons for drunken looting.

  • iantombower

    The violence is most certainly wrong but their message should not be discounted without thought.

    I agree with what they say and have done for decades. However, I also believe, for many LGBT people, that marriage equality brings huge benefits. We just need to show that ‘our’ marriages can be better than traditional hetero marriages! :)

    And, as for the comercialisation of Pride, indeed it is ironic that we allow corporations, some of which still oppress LGBT people, to take part.

    There will always be the radical extremes, but we shouldn’t discount their message because of the way it is delivered.

  • Jeffree

    @iantombower: Anyone engaging in political discussion needs to back up their rhetoric with appropriate targets.

    If you believe that their complaints merit their rampage, please explain how they furthured any agenda. When you can do so, you may be taken seriously.

    Until then, you are the weak buzz of static, not news.

  • iantombower

    You say – ‘If you believe that their complaints merit their rampage’
    I said ‘The violence is most certainly wrong but their message should not be discounted without thought. ‘
    I think I was clear that their complaints do NOT merit their rampage.

  • jason

    I have to agree with the anarchists on this. The gay scene is appallingly commercial. In fact, it is the epitome of consumerism and marketing. Honestly, if this is the trajectory for the gay rights movement, I’d rather ditch it and go back to the days pre-Stonewall.

    Gay people need to take stock of themselves. Commercialism is harming us and turning us into brain-dead, corporate zombies.

  • Stace

    Well just because you’re married doesn’t mean you have to be monogamous.

  • ait10101

    jperon: so right

    Most anarchists are pacifists. These are thugs looking for legitimacy in all the wrong places.

  • Matthew

    I disagree with some Anarchist methods, but we’re united in principle. I think any radical agenda within queer politics is usually co-opted by moderate liberal movements (hello Democratic party, or Liberals here in Canada), and measures of liberation become things like which companies will advertise to the community, march in the parade (i.e., take our money). Now, I don’t have much sympathy for American Apparel, Starbucks, or Banks for the “violence” inflicted upon them – usually masking the real, structural violence they inflict on others by means of slave wages in the global south, anti-unionization tactics in North America, and a HOST of other things, and arguments that vandalism is disrespectful make me ill. However, smashing a window or car up usually wont unite the people against the ruling class. In fact it is often a means to build public support for repressing movements. The G20 in Toronto last summer was a perfect example. Even if the Black Bloc was not infiltrated by agent provocateurs the police used it as an excuse to arrest many peaceful demonstrators.
    Also, they are right about state-sanctioned monogamy, unless the US government legalized polygamous marriage recently. But, we should celebrate recent state-level victories because they have immediate benefits to queer families, even if we agree that marriage is an outdated institution that needs to be abolished.

  • valentine ghost

    I could get behind a gay terrorist group (Pink Panthers maybe…?), but this seems a bit messy.

  • stephen

    valentine ghost. i hope you aren´t suggesting the black panthers was a black terrorist organization.

  • Kamuriie

    They’re absolutely right, when it comes to the people who try to convince christians, as an example, that they’re mistaken about the bible, and should accept gays. That absolutely is tantamount to begging for tolerance from immoral people who have perpetrated enormous discrimination, hatred and violence against not only gays, but people who belong to other faiths or none at all.

    And the reality is that while certain passages have been translated in certain ways for political gain, there are numerous condemnations of same-sex behavior throughout the book.

    What anarchists like the Seattle group want people to see is that you don’t *have* to make those arguments in order to justify your existence. You don’t need the approval of immoral bigots, and you don’t need to have a state-sanctioned marriage with your partner in order to “prove” to someone that you’re just as good. You *are*, and if they don’t agree, then they’re not worthy of being in your life.

    Equality under the law, however, is always worth fighting for.

  • oh_hell_no

    I attended seattle pride this year & heard all about this and saw some of it. bust up American Apparel & BofA all you want, they’ll recover. but when you are a group of mostly white, cis-gendered, straight men, why the hell don’t you start with critiquing the MILLIONS of other things you & yours are doing to mess up the planet instead on focusing on a marginalized community that you have NO stake in on the ONE weekend a year they might actually feel safe fully expressing who they are. This group targeted the ONE lesbian bar in all of Seattle, threw smoke bombs into the business while it was packed w/ people & also attempted to pull down & destroy outside seating/fences. this is a locally owned/run small lesbian bar. critiquing the commercialization of pride is something i am all for. I too cringe at the Smirnoff & Nike floats, but I’m also crying my face off when the PFLAG & any queer youth organization goes by. If you dont like corporate pride, organize something else. ever heard of gay shame in SF? this critique should start w/ queers & when a group of white/cis-gendered/straight dudes decide that its THEIR responsibility to police everyone else’s celebrations, well if that doesn’t smack of hypocrisy, I dont know what does. if these people would put all their energy/rage towards working on/with other white cis gendered straight dudes, say educating them on how to not rape, not sexually harass, not intimidate women/queers/people of color, they’d be doing a lot more good & have a hell of a lot more friends in those communities.

  • oh_hell_no

    @oh_hell_no: to clarify, i could give a shit if either American Apparel or BofA “recover”.

  • Kev C

    The funny thing about commercialization of pride is that some think they’ll get rich catering or exploiting the gay market. Hahaha.

  • classygay

    These people can’t find a job because they stink and nobody wants to be with someone that stinks. Total losers who don’t like soap, but have no problem using computers and social networking infrastructure created by “evil corporations”. Disgusting stinky hypocrites.

  • Robbie K

    I guess these people never got enough out of their system from the Vancouver riot…

  • Jeffree

    @iantombower: I misread you. My apologies.
    There are many LGB people who don’t want to get married someday. That’s their choice. Denying my right to marry someone of the same gender, however, doesn’t sit well with me.

    These pseudo-anarchists seem to have been looking for an excuse to break sh1t up, but they failed to make a coherent statement.

    Totally agreed with above commenters about Pride being too filled with pr0duct placement & p0litics. But dang, I turn into a heap of tears when the LGBT vets & PFLAG people stream past. I missed my local Pride this year because of work, but I was there in spirit.

  • nycmattman

    Totally understand that some people don’t like the corporate involvement and it has made things more “boring” in some ways. I regret that to some degree, as well. Know, however, that Prides are EXPENSIVE. You have to get city permits, security, volunteers, trucks, medics, etc. Corporate sponsors are a significant help to the financial needs of non-profit Pride orgs. Also, a good portion of the sponsor dollars are re-distributed in the form of grants to local LGBT orgs.

    Other comments:
    * Presence of corporations is driven in large part by each company’s LGBT organization, not by marketing and sales departments. Most corporations are at Pride because of their LGBTA employees who are leveraging the financial resources of their employer to benefit the community.

    * There are crappy companies out there with piss poor LGBT policies (think Exxon). The majority of companies involved with Prides have what most would consider good workplace policies. Many Prides require this or they will deny the sponsorship. Again, I’m sure there are some “bad apples” to weed out but I think we should be a little careful not to lump all companies at Pride as bad guys. If a corporation has crap policies, we should yell loudly about their participation and call them out.

    * Having corporations involved has obvious downsides but I prefer that corporations recognize me as a gay person vs. wholly ignoring me and my community as was done for decades. In the 80s and 90s we used to complain that no major companies were willing to support the LGBT community. Today, you hear complaints about the opposite.

    Two points that I think are important to remember: 1) Corporate sponsorship is driven in large party by LGBT employees volunteering their time and getting their bosses to write checks; and 2) most corporations at Pride have good or very good LGBT workplace policies (again, driven in large part by the hard work of their LGBT employees).

    And finally, I think anarchists suck. It’s easy to destroy things but far more difficult to build up your community. Go volunteer, mentor, educate…

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