Leftist I-93 Blockers: What Did They Intend to, and Actually, Do?

by John Spritzler

October 12, 2018

On the morning of January 15, 2015 commuters on Interstate 93 were blocked from driving to work in Boston, MA, on both the northbound and southbound parts of I-93. An ambulance with a patient was also blocked.

I posted about this event on Facebook in the Egalitarianism group (on September 21, 2018 at 8:38 pm eastern). In my post (see the full text copied below) I said that the people who blocked the commuters were Leftists who "in the name of 'fighting racism,' treated ordinary random white working class people as the enemy by carrying out a deliberately hostile action against them: they forcibly blocked the mainly white commuters from driving to work in Boston on Interstate 93." And I explained why this action was a terrible action that only benefited the ruling class and weakened the movement against racism.

Some people, because they agreed with me that it would indeed be totally counter-productive for the anti-racism movement to deliberately treat ordinary random white working class people as the enemy by blocking mainly white working class commuters from driving to work, expressed doubt that the activists really did that, or at least doubt that they did it intentionally.

I cannot blame these doubters for their doubts, because if the I-93 action was truly what I claim it was, then it was so incredibly stupid (and that's putting it kindly) that it would indeed be hard to believe that people would actually have done it.

But the fact is that the I-93 blockers did do what I said they did, deliberately. Here is the evidence:

First, what did they actually and deliberately do?

#1. Go to the Boston Globe article here to see a gallery of photos of the protesters. Note the 11th photo from the top with the caption: "Two protesters chained their arms together inside a barrel in Milton." Note the 13th photo from the top with the caption: "A State Police officer used a saw to cut into a barrel that protesters attached themselves to." Note the 15th photo from the top with the caption: "Protesters attached themselves to 1,200-pound barrels." Note the 17th photo from the top with the caption: "One of the barrels protesters attached themselves to." Note the 20th and 21st photos from the top with the captions "Protesters could be seen next to the barrels" and "Protesters laid in the middle of the highway." Look at the remaining photos too!

#2 Go to this digboston article and look at the video (it starts out with stills and then goes to full video) of the I-93 event that is included in it. Also watch another video of the protesters here and another one here (showing that some protesters used PVC piping to lock their arms together to block the cars.)

As these photos and the videos make quite clear, the protesters in advance of the action created "1,200 pound barrels" (using cement, according to some accounts) to link their arms to, for the specific purpose of blocking the commuters. This was not an action that just happened, inadvertently, to block the commuters. Blocking the commuters was the specific aim.

#3. Go to the Boston Globe article here and read the protesters' press release #1, which contains these words:

"And so, for four and a half hours, we disrupt access from the predominantly white, wealthy suburbs to Boston’s city center."

One of the protest coordinators, Megan Collins, told The Guardian reporter that the protest

wanted to confront "the predominately white commuters who come into Boston, a city that is deeply segregated.”

This is evidence that the aim was to block "predominantly white" commuters, not just any commuters of any race.

Why did they do it?

Return again to the digboston article and read the op-ed by one of the protesters explaining why she did it. Note that most of her explanation consists of simply pointing out that blacks suffer from racism, as if that somehow constituted a good reason for blocking mainly white commuters. The reason she thought it DID constitute a good reason is indicated by these words of hers:

"Because we saw disrupting the rush hour commute as a necessary sacrifice for justice. And because mass murder is being committed to keep white people safe."

In these words the protester expresses the absolutely false view that racism benefits ordinary white people ("keep[s] white safe") and that, therefore, it was appropriate for the anti-racism movement to treat ordinary white working class people as the enemy just because they are white.

Another protester is quoted in this article saying:

"As a white man, I know I benefit and am protected by a racist society. I am participating today because it is necessary for those who are the least vulnerable to step up and put our bodies on the line if we ever want to build a just world,” said Eli C.

Here is a post by Black Lives Matter Boston that includes quotes from the protesters' press release and the following statements by individual protesters:

“As white people in the United States, we refuse to align ourselves with a state that carries out violence against Black people. We are taking direct action to challenge white complicity and amplify the demands for an end to the war on Black communities,” said Katie Martin Selcraig.

"As a white person, my only options are to act against white supremacy or to be complicit in it. I’m here today because I refuse to be complicit” said Emily O.

“As a white man, I know I benefit and am protected by a racist society. I am participating today because it is necessary for those who are the least vulnerable to step up  and put our bodies on the line if we ever want to build a just world,” said Eli C.

Again, the theme is that ordinary white working class people deserve to be treated with hostility by the anti-racism movement because of "white complicity" and because "As a white man, I know I benefit [from] and am protected by a racist society."

Is All of This Evidence Just Fake News?

If all the above evidence for what the I-93 protesters deliberately aimed to do, and in fact did, were fake, and if the protesters had never actually intended to block, and treat as hostile, ordinary white working class people just because they were white, and if the protesters are being wrongfully accused of doing something that they would never really intend to do, then there would be at least some evidence of the protesters DENYING this supposedly false accusation.

But there is no denial on the part of the protesters, only assertions that they are proud of what all the media say they did.

Anybody who clings to the notion that the media and the left organizations that have all reported the same story about the I-93 action are lying about it needs to provide at least one example of an I-93 protester denying the supposedly false accusation. I don't think anybody can find such a denial. I don't think there is one.

Virtually the Entire Left Approved of the I-93 Blockers

The unfortunate fact is that the Left organizations and writers reported the I-93 action uncritically, as an anti-racist action.

Here are examples of Leftists of all different stripes supporting the I-93 blockade either explicitly or by reporting it uncritically as an "anti-racist" action: see here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here. (In some of these linked articles you need to read other stuff before you get to the I-93 part.) The Leftists who did not explicitly praise the I-93 blockade refused to say it was a bad thing to do: see here and here . No Left writers or organizations that I am aware of--not a single one!--have said the I-93 blockade was a bad thing to do.

Try to find a Left organization that condemned (or even mildly criticized) the I-93 protesters for wrongly--and totally counter-productively--targeting ordinary white working class people as the enemy in the name of anti-racism. If there is such a Left organization or writer I haven't been able to find it yet.

The I-93 protesters are surrounded by an approving Left. Once one recognizes this unfortunate fact it becomes easy to understand why the I-93 protesters did something that, to most people, was obviously stupid. The fact that the Left approves of attacking ordinary white people is consistent with the Left's actions in general, as I discuss here. This is why we will never succeed in uniting the vast majority of the have-nots against the ruling class until we sharply reject the Left's wrong and contemptuous view of ordinary people.

What Was the Reaction of the Commuters to the I-93 Blockers?

The commuters were, quite understandably and predictably, pissed! One commuter (who happened to sleep late that day) wrote: "Anybody who chains themselves to a barrel on 93 South during rush hour deserves to die a horrible gruesome slow death." But note what else this same very angry commuter also wrote about the protesters:

"Everybody with a brain knows they aren’t proving a point. They aren’t changing anything. They aren’t making people think about Ferguson or Eric Garner.  They are clinically insane if they think that.  The ONLY thing they are doing is being a menace to society."

This pissed off commuter is clearly a person who thinks it would be a GOOD idea to make people think about racially biased policing such as what happened in Ferguson and to Eric Garner, and that it would be a GOOD idea to change things.

Clearly this is the kind of person who likely would have honked if the protesters had displayed banners on the I-93 overpasses that said "Honk if you oppose racially biased policing."

If the protesters had even a clue that plenty of white working class people such as this quoted commuter are against racially biased policing, then they (the protesters) would have used a tactic (such as the banners) to help white working class people express their solidarity with the anti-racism movement. This would have strengthened the movement. It would have encouraged white working class people to join the anti-racism movement by expressing support for it, and it would also have put the ruling class on notice that it cannot count on support from white working class people in implementing racially biased policing, and this could make the ruling class decide to back off on its racist policing a bit.

The Boston Globe printed some tweets by Boston area residents. One was this:

— Elizabeth (@ElizabethEv) January 15, 2015

Protesters blocking highways during rush hour is not the way to promote your cause but a great way to turn public against it #bostonprotest

Again, it is clear that this person's anger at the I-93 blockers was NOT due to racism. This person actually criticized the protesters because their action HARMED the anti-racism cause. The fact that the Left pisses off people who want the anti-racism cause to succeed shows that the Left is one of our main obstacles to making it succeed the only way possible: by uniting ALL the people opposed to racism against racism.

The text of my Facebook post:


In 2015 Leftists, in the name of "fighting racism," treated ordinary random white working class people as the enemy by carrying out a deliberately hostile action against them: they forcibly blocked the mainly white commuters from driving to work in Boston on Interstate 93. You can read about it in the Guardian's article at https://www.theguardian.com/…/boston-black-lives-matter-shu… .

Members of PDRBoston (including myself) posted a "Notice" (see below) in public places explaining why those who blocked I-93 were WRONG, and were actually helping the real racists in the ruling class by spreading the Big Lie that the ruling class wants us to believe, namely that ordinary white people benefit from racial discrimination against blacks and non-whites. (If you don't understand why this is false, the please read "Is It a Privilege Not To Be Discriminated Against?" at http://newdemocracyworld.org/culture/privilege.html ).

To achieve unity of the have-nots against the haves, this kind of Leftist action must be sharply condemned. But when I searched online and in Boston for any Leftist individual or organization who condemned this I-93 blockade, I found not a single one. The Left praised the action explicitly, or implicitly by reporting it uncritically. This is why I say that THE LEFT IS PART OF THE PROBLEM, NOT THE SOLUTION.

The Left is HELPING the Ruling Class Persuade Working Class Whites that "Anti-Racism" Is Code for Anti-White

The ruling class wants working class whites to perceive "anti-racism" to be code for anti-white. This is why the ruling class promotes the phrase "white privilege" and why President Nixon initiated Affirmative Action (as I discuss in "We Need THIS, Not Affirmative Action" at http://newdemocracyworld.org/culture/affirmative.html and "Why and How Big Money Promotes 'White Privilege' Rhetoric" at http://newdemocracyworld.org/culture/white.html . The ruling class uses its liberal/Democratic Party wing to make it as easy as possible for its conservative/GOP wing to turn working class whites against anything claiming to be against racism.

And how does the Left respond to this ruling class strategy? The Left praises the very policies that the ruling class uses, in the name of "anti-racism," to keep us divided. This is why THE LEFT IS PART OF THE PROBLEM, NOT THE SOLUTION.

We need to start being egalitarian revolutionaries, not Leftists. Read more about this in "FAQ: Why & How to have NO RICH AND NO POOR" at http://newdemocracyworld.org/revolution/faq.html .





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