While in high school I went through all the phases a typical teenager traverses but none were more dangerous than my (albeit brief) membership with an unnamed anarchist political organization.
Picture this: I’m sitting in my Trigonometry and Geometry math section early in the morning and I’m bored. I’m tired of doodling, solving meaningless proofs, and just generally unmotivated by mathematical learning. I start talking to my table mates about what their plans were for the week. One of them informs me that her boyfriend had just joined an organization whose aim it was to highlight the inefficiency and unfairness of our current political system. My budding activist self was intrigued. Upon further inquiry she informed me that I should seek him out to gain more information about this organization and how I could become more involved.
I really shouldn’t have.
I found him during my lunch period that day and he started to tell me the story about how this was the perfect time to get involved in politics (the Democratic National Convention was scheduled to be in Boston that weekend) and that this newfound group was planning some public display of political dissent.
I had no idea what I was in for.
That evening I met up with this group in a (admittedly shady) location in Downtown Boston so I could get more knowledge about why young people like me were needed. I received a telling ‘manifesto’ detailing all the reasons why action was needed, how we were living in a police state, and detailed plans that the Bush Jr. had for deploying paramilitary troops in Venezuela to influence the political situation there. In my defense, I was looking for a new group of friends, people who would accept me for who I was, and who could use my skills and ability to further an organizational goal. About 30 minutes into our inaugural planning meeting the Boston Police Department shows up with 15-20 officers.
They commanded us to stay where we were and informed us that if we attempted escape we would face a more serious fate (more serious that what?) and we complied. I calmly asked why they were interrupting our meeting and that the last time I checked “Freedom of Assembly was still a constitutional right or was that another exception under the Patriot Act.”
Why did I have to be a smart-aleck?
My dissension infuriated them which led to them demanding that we lay on the ground with our hands clasped behind our heads (are you scared yet? I sure as heck was) and informed us that they heard about everything our organization was planning. How did they even know what we were planning? I hadn’t even gotten that much information yet. With my stomach glued to the floor I managed to ask “What exactly did you hear we were planning” to which the ranking officer responded “You little sh**s are planning on throwing bags of sh** at Boston’s finest during the DNC this weekend”. Oh we were? No one asked me to put together the logistics for that action yet…
Why did I insist on talking so much?!
After his declaration of our (alleged) upcoming display and our stone-cold silence he assumed that he was right and indeed he’d found the right group and he’d be doing the W a solid by crushing this resistance. Seconds later each of us had officers holding guns to our heads demanding contact information for each of us with the explicit warning that if we lied we’d be in hot water. Most of us complied with a few exceptions. One girl who I’m sure introduced herself to me as Rebecca stated her name as Emily Johnson (fake) and recited a bogus address. Brave.
After we were all finished giving them our information I was sure they were going to arrest us (not quite sure for what) and haul us away to spend the night in a jail cell somewhere. I started to play out the scene of me explaining the situation to my family followed by free-flowing apologies and it-will-never-happen-agains. To my pleasant surprise they let us go with the warning that we should all steer clear of the DNC at all costs.
I definitely didn’t show up.