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Michigan Senator Gary Peters condemns anarchists for property destruction while he consistently votes to approves massive US military budgets which murder thousands of civilians around the globe annually

June 8, 2020

Politicians have made all sorts of public comments over the past week, as the country has erupted into mass protests against the police murder of black people.

In Michigan, the comments from elected officials has been fairly consistent with those across the country. State Rep. Thomas Albert (R), who represents the 86th District, which includes part of Kent and Ionia Counties, stated the following:

“The death of George Floyd was a horrific tragedy and justice must be served. While I understand and respect anyone who wants to demonstrate peacefully to bring attention to this injustice, it is discouraging that what was clearly intended to be a peaceful protest quickly devolved into a riot instigated by extremists with an anarchist ideology.”

First, it is instructive that Rep. Albert did not state that George Floyd was murdered by a police officer. However, the more revealing comment from the Republican legislator was his comment that he can respect people if they protest peacefully, but that those who instigated the riot were “extremists with an anarchist ideology.” Albert is doing the exact same thing that we wrote about yesterday, by trying to create a dichotomy about how people should respond when the police murder black people. Albert then adds that the riot was instigated by those with an anarchist ideology. I seriously doubt that Rep. Albert has any real understanding of anarchist principles and practices, but for the State Representative, that doesn’t matter, since he just wanted ton associate rioting with anarchism, thus marginalizing those who embrace anarchist values.

On the same day, Michigan Senator Gary Peters, made a similar statement, along with fellow Senator, Ron Johnson, from Wisconsin. Both Senators stated: 

Over the past few days, we have witnessed widespread protests across the country. The vast majority of protestors are exercising their First Amendment rights to protest systemic injustice and demand change. Unfortunately, a small number of violent actors—reportedly anarchists and other violent opportunists—have taken advantage of the moment to commit violence and destroy property.

Both Peters and Johnson make the same link as Rep. Albert, by linking anarchism with violence. In this case, the statement isn’t just about Grand Rapids, but protests that have taken place across the country.

One significant difference between the statement from State Rep. Albert and Senator Gary Peters, is that Peters sits on the Armed Services and Homeland Security & Government Affairs Committees. Senator Peters has also consistently voted to approve the annual US Department of Defense Budgets, which means he supports US Militarism and Imperialism abroad.

It seems a bit hypocritical to condemn property destruction in protests directed at the police killings of black people and then approve a $750 billion US military budget (2019), which we know is used to destroy communities and villages all around the world. However, the public is not likely to see Senator Peters called out for this kind of hypocrisy, since most commercial news outlets believe that the US military is a force for good, much the same way they associate police departments and public safety. 

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