Are you now, or have you ever been, an anarchist?
By Lynn Stuart Parramore
November 11, 2013
Just ask my 81-year-old mom. In the state of North Carolina, she is a suspected anarchist for wanting children to go to decent schools.
A new era of protest
America has gone through plenty of protests that have made us stronger and better, from the Revolutionary era and the abolitionists to the sit-down strikes and the lunch-counter civil rights demonstrations.
Now we’ve entered a new distinctive era of protest — the pushback against economic inequality, stagnant wages, attacks on public programs, and two-tiered justice that’s popped up in Wisconsin, the Occupy Movement, and, most recently, North Carolina’s Moral Mondays, a progressive charge against a wave of knuckle-dragging GOP legislation that seeks to turn the state into a Mid-Atlantic Mississippi.
Protests inevitably fire the energy of those who are allergic to change. Many Americans are old enough to recall the Second Red Scare, which blew across the country like poison gas in the 1950s and had everybody from Martin Luther King to Burl Ives branded a communist. Hundreds were locked behind bars and thousands lost their jobs. Blacklists spread not only through Hollywood, but also through schools and universities. If you were a union activist, you were labeled a communist. Gay? Definitely a communist. Feminist? Ditto. Arthur Miller compared the hysteria to the Salem witch trials in his play, The Crucible.
Now when those in power want to question someone’s patriotism or values, the term “anarchist” comes in handy. The fear of anarchists in the U.S. goes way back to 1870s, when businessmen, religious leaders and editorial writers tried to stoke opposition to dissident railroad workers and again to laborers fighting for an 8-hour-day during the Haymarket affair in the mid-1880s. The same dirty, reckless tactics are deployed now as they were then: Fear-mongering, bending the law, and the red-baiter’s favorite tactic of all, spying.
Continue reading at: http://www.alternet.org/activism/anarchist-and-communist-labels