On the streets of Ashvegas: Police protest

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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Photo by Jerry Nelson /journeyamerica.org

Wednesday night a group of about 75 people marched through the streets of Asheville to show their support of the so-called Asheville 11 and to denounce police. The protesters banged drums and called the cops “pigs” and “murderers.” A strong contingent of police – I counted seven Asheville Police Department cars and one unmarked State Highway Patrol SUV at one point – kept close tabs on the marchers.

Back in the spring, a group of people ran through the streets of Asheville in a May Day rampage. They broke a bunch of windows and did some other damage. The dozen or so people who were arrested and charged have their cases working through the court system as we speak. I think some of the folks involved are scheduled to be back in court on Monday. 

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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  1. Dan December 7, 2010

    I love how people complain about their crappy jobs but are able to come up with money to support their alcohol and drug habits.

    And if people want to be "anarchists" they should expect to be punished.

  2. Shop Girl.... December 5, 2010

    So Barista, Let me get this strait. You are willing to fight the Man, so someone who only has the skills or desire to pour coffee can have a better class lifestyle?

    You get what you pay for, and you get what you work for… If that were not the case, then everyone would pour coffee. If I did not know that to be the way it is, and felt entitled , I would not have busted my ass to become an enterpriser. Perhaps, I would have sat back, poured coffee, done drugs and whined why I don't live better, and expect other people to pay for my upkeep. And if they had what I wanted, I would wish for the destruction of what they worked for.

    Perhaps people who have a upper end lifestyle did not fall into the temptation of rampant drugs and alcohol, or interpersonal violence. Perhaps they don't encounter the police, because they were too busy being productive and proactive with their choices.

    Capitalism and a free market give people the opportunity to succeed and to choose. You are free to choose to pour the coffee or own the store. Sounds to me, your angry about your own choices.

    For the record, I do not buy into any believe system, liberal or otherwise, or the marketing of a lifestyle. Only thing I believe in is personal responsibility. The anarchist, or more aptly named angerists are personally responsible for racking havoc on personal and public spaces. Regardless of the cards life has dealt them, or their political ideologies ,there are consequences.

    Please do us a favor, and don't liken the noble plight of the working man and civil rights to a bunch of discontents breaking windows. It insults the beauty of true civil disobedience.

  3. your barista December 4, 2010

    Crank and Shop Girl,
    I'm not sure if it matters if the mob that wrecked havoc on May 1 were anarchists or not,or that the protest against police and prisons and gentrification is the expression of anarchy in Asheville, but everybody responding seem to think that "anarchists" are a good strawman for your weird arguments about buying farm land or paying for insurance. So i guess I'll go with that.

    As someone who work's downtown and whose entire life revolves, one way or the other, around a cultural market, I don't really care if anarchists, sportsfans, or graff heads smash or vandalize the business I work at. Its nice if that stuff happens to banks and ATMs or whatever, but its really not my shit. And yeah, maybe its resentment or something, but its like you said Cranky, I don't have healthcare, and my boss and his buds do. I mean that literally but also metaphorically. Why would I care if its not my property? And Its specifically the place where I am constantly reminded that I will NEVER have healthcare, a stable income with job security, much less all the nicities of upper middle class or upper class living? Yall can blame whoever yall want for that, the fact remains the only community in Asheville is that of wealth. Everyone else is pretty fucked.

    You can say pull yourself up by the bootstraps and stuff, and we've heard that story for a while now. I started working at some Kmart when I was 16, now I work at some hip cafe. I'm thirty and none of the fundamentals have changed. Add the rampant alcoholism and drug addiction that comes with ease for my generation, stir well with interpersonal violence and the stress of work, managers and police everywhere, and you get our contemporary situation. This is a hopeless and cruel world we live in. It doesn't surprise me that when people rebel, property gets destroyed. And while yall are shifting the blame, you shift your gaze from the pure facts.

    Here's my strawman: You "liberal" Obama-generation types, with your love for locally made organic whatever are just a marketing ploy. And those of you who really fell for it, those of you in their 20s and 30s who really believe this crap are worse than the generation of our parents who destroyed the world and are trying to employ us to clean it up. Think about it: you're complaining about health care when you know deep down the only way you're gonna anything close to affordable healthcare (much less "free") is if we fight. Remember the eight hour work day? Remember so-called civil rights? Even for the little bit we won from that, people had to fight long bloody battles. So I think its kind of ironic that all you hope and change babies are gonna cry when anything happens that upsets your comfortable peace, especially when you don't know a damn thing about winning politically.

    prove me wrong, cuz its getting lonely in my cynic's chair.

  4. Jason December 4, 2010

    Quoted from communia
    There is no reason that an anarchist should prefer a "local business" over a larger corporation, as they only represent different frequencies of the same system of exploitation. Indeed, in a place like Asheville, local businesses represent the tyranny of servitude in the guise of a friendly alternative. What you describe as a "wonderful city", is in fact a hell for those upon whose shoulders it rests, namely the service workers stuck in dishpits and behind cafe counters, miserably serving tourists and selling them the myth of our sad utopia.

    That sounds like damage control If I ever heard it. When it became apparent that these "anarchists" really messed up by attacking local businesses, and drawing the ire of the larger community, the it was time for someone to step in and put their anarchist spin on it, making it sound justifiable. You are no better than those talking heads on Fox News who say that civilian causalities are acceptable when your fighting a war against a larger enemy.

    As an Asheville Native, who is by no means rich, and has to miserably serve those tourists behind my cafe counter prison, I say; No love for the Asheville 11. No love for self righteous outsiders who pointlessly trash my "sad Utopian" home.

  5. Shop Girl.... December 3, 2010

    Communia… You are so delusional, if it were not so tragic it would be humorous.

    What pray tell would your shoulder burden brothers and sisters in arms do, if they were not employed by local shop owners or some form of capitalism? They would be wards of the very system you loath. I.E either in jail or the recipients of welfare, paid for by capitalism. Pick your prison. It's called being an Adult. You and your friends should try it…

    What if you really walked the walk, instead of posing? . Perhaps, for the sake of debate, lets say you started a independent communal farm with your delightful friends. How would you feel, if someone came in and trashed the fruits of your labor, just because they did not agree with your politics? Walk a mile in the shoes of the shop owners and you might just see what a ridiculous pompous notion, trashing these business were. The only act that made sense was the ATM. If you would have trashed every bank in this town, I would have given you your props… Now thats some anarchy.. Ma and Pa shops?
    Puss Ass Move. My point: The Establishment can be disheartening and corrupt, I get it, but pick the right Establishment to fight.

    You will never be free, and there is no freedom without responsibility. So either become a respectful citizen of this beautiful but dysfunctional place or move to Anarchyville because Asheville doesn't need you or want you.

  6. cranky December 3, 2010

    if you and your ahem "anarchist" friends don't like the status quo of asheville – then go elsewhere – if you hate your service jobs – quit – looks to me like the majority of the asheville 11 seem to be a upper middle class white backgrounds who are having their 20s dabbling in radicalism

    when they make their first health insurance payments they'll change their minds and will become little corporate suburban drones – just like where they came from

  7. john simmons December 3, 2010

    id respond, but i think communia already said it best. love for the a-11! I used to live and work in downtown asheville, at shitty "local" restaurants that paid poverty wages and sold themselves off of asheville's countercultural image. fuck that. i cant tell you how many times i wanted to take a brick to that burrito shop's windows.

    and of course we anarchists dont call the cops when we got problems….we solve shit the old fashioned way(s)…

  8. Asheville Dweller December 3, 2010

    Then why run amok and destroy "Local" downtown Businesses? They broke the law, whether or not they believe in the current law of the land, tuff deal with it. You want to practice Anarachy, or the real term Tribalism then go somewhere that practices it and stop being whiney about it.

    Just because you believe in "Anarchy" it doesnt make you immune to what you do, dont these same folks believe that a group can police themselves without an official force. So would these folks "Jail" those that destroyed their property? Whats the punishment?

  9. communia December 3, 2010

    Mr. Giezentanner,
    Your confusion is understandable, given the circumstances. However, it is a confusion borne of ignorance: clearly you don't understand what an anarchist is. Anarchists oppose the state form and the system of class relationships called capitalism – and they seek their abolition. There is no reason that an anarchist should prefer a "local business" over a larger corporation, as they only represent different frequencies of the same system of exploitation. Indeed, in a place like Asheville, local businesses represent the tyranny of servitude in the guise of a friendly alternative. What you describe as a "wonderful city", is in fact a hell for those upon whose shoulders it rests, namely the service workers stuck in dishpits and behind cafe counters, miserably serving tourists and selling them the myth of our sad utopia.
    Unfortunately, it would be unwise for anarchists to be forthcoming about their identities in the current political context, living in conditions hostile to their interests. As the man said, anarchists have powerful enemies.
    Finally, our grooming habits notwithstanding (many of us happen to have a keen sense of fashion and grooming, and already have jobs we hate, thank you very much) in the country with the highest incarceration rate in the world, and where black prisoners account for 44% of the prison population but only 12% of the general population, it would seem that all prisoners are political prisoners. The asheville 11 were swept up haphazardly and given outrageous bails and charges, by a police force committed to keeping up the appearance of being a friendly tourist town at any cost. Regardless of the circumstances they deserve the support of any thoughtful people who value life and freedom over the wealth of the few.

  10. Answer December 3, 2010

    Why should anyone talk to the corporate media? If one is opposed to capitalist institutions, and representation, then logically, taking part in the capitalist media script is the worst way to proceed. The media, obviously, are capitalist firms. Secondly, to break the script means non-participation in "accepted" guidelines. Lastly, obviously calling the police for social problems is a horrible route. When people talk about abolishing police and prisons, one should assume that calling them for anything is ruled out. There are plenty of ways to live without relying on a coercive police force doing your bidding.

  11. Randy December 2, 2010


    Words of wisdom brother.

  12. pbnj December 2, 2010

    so I'm confused as to who these would people call then when they are getting held up or even worse and need help? the same police they called "pigs" and "murderers"???

  13. chuck giezentanner December 2, 2010

    I cannot belive these kids. First: Those Asheville 11 attacked independently owned businesses employing locals, selling locally, and trying to make it in our local market. They did not attack The Man, they attacked local people working locally in our wonderful city. Secondly: Those that protested did it under anonymous guise and would not speak to media. If you are going to protest, please have the balls to stand up and be counted! Third: The protestors and the supporters of the terrible Asheville 11 need to get informed, open your minds, get jobs, and take baths. The Asheville 11 are CRIMINALS. Not political prisoners working for a better cause. THEY ARE CRIMINALS.

  14. plastic paddy December 2, 2010

    Please stop giving these children more press.

  15. Davyne December 2, 2010

    Hmmmm, looks like the uni-bomber..but with less depressing colors.


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