Anarchists promise disruptions

Aug 30, 2004 They don't have permits to demonstrate, and they don't want them."We don't ask for permission," said John Flannigan, a member of the A31 Coalition, the anarchist group so named for the dozens of protests it has organized for today, Aug. 31.The protests are not about ousting George W. Bush or promoting John Kerry. For the organizers, today's plans of direct action and civil disobedience across the city are about challenging the nature of modern politics."We feel permits are part of the problem here," said A31 member Eric Laursen. "We're challenging a system that requires you to get a permit in order to speak your mind."Among some of the events the anarchists are planning for today are actions at the Manhattan office sites of companies that the group feels have benefited from the war, such as the Carlyle Group, Rand Corporation, Hummer and Chevron. In addition, people who want to join the group's events are invited to meet up at 4 p.m. at Union Square.Anarchists bristle at the idea of regimented authority and have been loosely banded to exchange ideas and plans, so it's unclear exactly what could happen Tuesday.In preparation for the convention, anarchists have met in coffee shops and art lofts, churches and Internet cafes for more than a year planning a spectrum of action -- everything from street theater, die-ins and teach-ins to a convergence on the Garden and disruption of RNC events.One action will remain a secret until moments before its execution. Anarchists will text message one another when the location is determined."As many people as there are in the street, there are going to be that many different kinds of civil disobedience," Flannigan said. Police officials say that, as with earlier protests, officers will not engage protesters unless they have to and do not want to create conflict where it's not necessary."We're aware of them and we have appropriate measures in place as part of the overall security plan," a police spokesman said.A police source was more blunt."If they do bad things we're going to stop them," the source said.Laursen recognizes confrontation may be inevitable. But he hopes the din of conflicts and arrests does not drown out A31's central message."This is part of building a movement," he said. "It shows people that you can take charge of your own dissent. You don't have to let a politician speak for you."