If I Ran the Zoo Left

So, the Portland protests aren’t mine to lead, but I am a ConLaw nerd and so they do feel personal in their own way and have since the first day I heard cops had used their powers to murder George Floyd.

That has lead me to fantasize about what I would do if I were to run these protests and I came up with …

… glitter. People tend to believe that the things they aren’t witnessing with their own eyes don’t affect them. But if your neighbor’s best friend gets killed by the cops, are they going to ask you to cat sit while they head out of town to the funeral? You just never know how this shit will impact you and it is ABSOLUTELY true that a once the government decides it can abridge the freedom of one person that that becomes a precedent for abridging the freedoms of all people.

So how do we communicate the transitive property of abuse of power, how it creeps through society, largely unnoticed, creating a small mess of society at first but leading to bigger and bigger messes that eventually get out of control?

Am I crazy or is that a perfect description of glitter?

So if everyone scattered glitter on the ground anywhere a fascist or racist or sexist cop walks, not throwing the glitter on them, not committing assault, but just throwing it where they walk to say: this ground has been affected, however momentarily, by authoritarian assaults on our communities.

Sure, maybe it’s not a big deal in front of the courthouse. There’s already graffiti and leftovers from flash-bangs and fireworks and tear gas canisters. But those cops will track it back to their hotel, and the people assaulted will track it over to their friends’ homes. And the longer we go on with more and more assaults and more and more people spreading the glitter, the more that shit just gets fucking everywhere, like racism, like violence, like corruption, like abuse of power. And eventually someone will track that shit right out of the airport and into their taxi and sure enough, all of Nunes’ district is getting covered in glitter when they thought they had no connection to Portland.

And all of Iowa sees glitter on their way to vote on Joni Ernst’s race. And Matt Gaetz’ district is affected. It’s as spreadable as coronavirus, but sparkly, happily uplifting. Because yes, anywhere touched by that glitter has been touched by violence and racism and authoritarianism, but it has also been touched by the activists who originally threw that glitter. It’s touched by their determination, their liberators intent, their dreams.

Soon everywhere in the US would be touched by activists’ hope.

And sure, we’d have to find a manufacturer who can handle producing 48 tons of biodegradable glitter daily, but just imagine it. We could throw red, black, and green glitter in Portland. Somewhere else they could throw baby blue, pink and lavender after a trans person is unjustly jailed. Throw handfuls of it everywhere white supremacy walks and make the Fox hosts scrub their clothes clean of sparkling Black Pride before they report from their radiant desks that racism doesn’t exist.

Fucking glitter. My dreams are soaking in it.


  1. says

    I think tar and feathers is better. That also gets everywhere, and smells, and – more importantly – it discourages the people you want to discourage.

    It needn’t be hot tar. A modern update would be gorilla glue and feathers. It would permanently destroy a fedcop’s gear. One person squirts the gorilla glue, another throws feathers. Very festive.

  2. says

    PS – I independently tested the gorilla glue and feathers idea the time I was hanging some formboard with gorilla glue and it fell down and, in falling, knocked a bunch of mouse nest all over me. Yes, I tarred and mouse pooped myself. It was remarkably nasty.

  3. says

    @Marcus No. 2,

    As great as a visual Gorilla (Guerilla : ) ?) glue and feathers would be, that could land you in a jail cell for assault.

    The worst they could get you for with the glitter would be littering.

    Also Crip Dyke… saw that the fence came down last night. Well done and thanks for the tip about traffic cones and water. Back in the dark ages we used oven mitts to throw the canister back. Dropping them a bucket of water would also work. I love how the tactics have improved.



  4. Who Cares says

    I love that these protests are mostly peaceful (seeing some of the junk that get tossed over the fence).
    But your suggestion about throwing glitter around but not on the cops I wonder about the following:
    How bad would the reaction be if someone dared to go there with a paintball gun and just paint ball the cops or the windshields of vans they use?

  5. johnson catman says

    So, if you put a traffic cone over a tear-gas cannister, how much water does it take to render it inert? A single bottle of water, multiple bottles of water, a gallon? I think throwing the canister into a bucket and covering it with water sounds great, but who carries around a bucket of water? And can you re-use the bucket after it has rendered one canister inert? So many questions, and I don’t have a copy of The Anarchist Cookbook.

  6. says

    Not sure, but probably not more than a litre (and maybe less), so long as it is correctly applied and not to much of it is wasted slopping nearby.

    Check out this article: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/06/hong-kong-tear-gas-water-bottle.html

    They discuss how protesters set out water bottles around the area they expected to be gassed so no one had to carry them and yet they were handy when needed.

    Note that we’re probably facing aerosolized pepper spray rather than CS gas. CS gas reacts with water, and does damage as it reacts if the water is in contact with your body – this is why the wet mucus membranes of your body are so badly affected. But the steam under the traffic cone also starts that reaction prematurely, so that even if any is released, it’s inert by the time it reaches a protester.

    Capsaicin-based tear gas might seem like it’s supposed to be more friendly, but it’s not: it’s actually less susceptible to inactivation by water, but the water will still put out the pyrotechnic charge that aerosolizes and scatters the toxin.

    So with CS gas, extra water might help. With Cap-gas, the extra water doesn’t help, so you need less, but it also means that was is aerosolized before the charge is put out could conceivably still hurt you. (I don’t know anything about whether the water might “wet” the Cap-gas particles and make them fall out of the air, or if extra water would help any other way, etc. There’s a lot I don’t know here, but what I do know says you have to take lingering Cap-gas more seriously than lingering CS gas…

    …but you probably won’t know which you’re dealing with anyway. So just use 1-litre bottles and treat the toxins with respect.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *