When we were their age, we went out and broke other people’s stuff, just for the hell of it.

As a matter of protocol, we commend the antiglobalization protestors for going out and breaking other people’s stuff, too.

But no matter what the motivation, whether it be a bottle of raspberry MD 20/20, an aluminum baseball bat and the keys to your old man’s 73’ Chevelle, or toppling the pillars of capitalism, the reaction from Ma and Pa status quo is always the same: you’re automatically labeled a no good punk.

It’s, like, the image thing.

A movement that hopes to enlist the help of the middle class to effect progressive social change does not do so by telling them that their comfortable lives, and the lives of their children, are shit.

But that’s exactly what antiglobalization protestors did during this past weekend’s demonstrations against the World Bank and IMF in Washington, D.C.

By engaging in “direct actions” at various locations throughout the city, antiglobalization protestors from the Anti-Capitalist Convergence and the Mobilization for Global Justice attempted to “shut the city down” by disrupting morning rush hour traffic, and preventing people from getting to work.

While getting the press’ attention is important, disrupting the lives of working stiffs is not the best way to get penciled onto the agenda. These people have mouths to feed, bills to pay, elderly parents to take care of, and will quickly become hostile to ‘the cause’ if their livelihoods are threatened.

The movement cannot alienate the very people whose minds it hopes to change.

The antiglobalization movement will get the attention it truly deserves only when it grows up and demonstrates it willingness to incorporate those whose idea of a good time isn’t acting like wannabe S.W.A.T teams and paramedics, eating organic granola, and listening to second rate punk rock at a self-congratulatory “dude, that’s my 17th arrest” party.

And protestors cannot run around dressed in black, wearing gas masks and bad army-navy surplus gear, banging on empty five-gallon buckets and spray painting “Die Capitalist Swine” on the sidewalks in front million-dollar Dupont row houses.

D.C. bureaucrats and Dupont queens alike are terrified at the sight, sound, and smell of these roving packs of unshowered hooligans.

For heaven’s sake, boys and girls, clean up your act.

And while you’re at it, take a few lessons from the burgeoning antiwar movement.

Did you see the show that those guys put on Sunday?

Completely organized, inclusive, successful. The antiwar protesters avoided arrest, extended a warm welcome to everyone, including the cops, and still got their message out.

So, no more whining.

If you’re going to take on the cops, then take on the effen’ cops.

If you’re going to hold a peaceful demonstration to speak truth to power, then hold a peaceful demonstration.

If you’re going to try and win over to your side the people who matter most, then by all means, do so with tact, and not with conceit.

Otherwise, please don’t bother us anymore with your half-assed antics.

With them, you’re not shutting down anyone but yourselves.

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