In the early hours of the morning on Tuesday an explosion outside of a Manhattan Starbucks destroyed a bench and shattered windows.  Though an “investigation” is on-going, all signs point to a bomb.  From the New York Times:

The authorities said that investigators were trying to determine whether Monday’s blast was linked to three others that occurred at similar times of day around Manhattan. The previous attacks were on the Times Square military recruiting station in 2008; on the Mexican Consulate at 27 East 39th Street in 2007; and on an office building housing the British Consulate at 845 Third Avenue in 2005.

Each early-morning explosion inflicted little damage and caused no casualties. A bicyclist was spotted or caught on surveillance video at the scene of the three previous attacks. There have been no arrests, the police said.

Of course, the far right has jumped in with their accusations against “Islamic terrorists” (and if you hit the right-wing blogosphere, which I don’t necessarily suggest for the weak-of-stomach, there’s a few already jumping on the meme of Obama’s “soft on terrorism” guilt for the explosion).  Of course, it was one of the right’s own who ended up being responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing (to say nothing of countless other atrocities) but that fact seems to conveniently escape these people.  

As the investigation goes on, don’t be surprised to start hearing things about anarchists.  This particular Starbucks is one of a handful that has been engaged in a long, drawn-out unionization battle with radicals apart of the IWW.  There is no reason, that I know of, to suspect the Wobblies for this action- what they would, could, or would even imagine they’d gain from an anonymous bomb that broke some windows of a single storefront of a multi-billion dollar international conglomerate is hard to fathom.  But the unionization efforts against Starbucks have not been easy on the company; they’ve been long, difficult, and have brought the company several court and NLRB losses in the process.  Starbucks does quite well with their branding as a “progressive” and “conscientious” company, and the union drive (and subsequent court rulings of illegal labor practices against IWW members) has been quite a thorn in their side.

All of which is to say that any thorough investigation into this bombing needs to include a long, hard look at Starbucks itself.  I’m not saying with any certainty at all that they are responsible in one way or another.  But if they were, it wouldn’t be the first time that a company has used such tactics in order to deter support for organizing worker’s.  Starbucks’ general message throughout the whole organizing campaign has rested heavily on “we’re a good employer, these union-folks are just a handful of ‘anarchists’ looking to cause trouble and weaken our company”.  A bomb blast outside one of the most focal shops of the union drive is suspect at the least.  Starbucks and investigators will almost certainly shift the conversation from ‘Islamic terrorists’ to ‘anarchists’ and ‘domestic terrorists’ at the first opportunity.  That such accusations weren’t the first thing out of either party’s mouth- although likely one of their first thoughts- may be good evidence of just how calculated their plot is.

In radical circles, this is known as a “false flag”; capitalist and State forces will tie any and everything unpleasant to radicals and popular movements in hopes of detracting their public image and splintering the movement.  From a good little piece up on Infoshop:

While others are prepared to “round up the usual suspects”, any through investigation would not dismiss the possibility that it was an inside job. Businesses large and small commit insurance fraud that involves destroying their own property, especially through the use of arson. Corporations in the US also have a long history of using unscrupulous tactics and outright violence to prevent workers from organizing. If management was somehow connected to this incident, it would not be the first time that the elites have used explosives to erode popular support for workers’ struggles.

Pinkerton Detective Agency spy, James McParlan, was famous for these kinds of “false-flag” operations. McParlan framed the immigrant miners known as the “Molly Maguires” for murder and other violent acts in Pennsylvania coal country and coerced a miner who used dynamite to assasinate a former Idaho governor responsible for atrocities in an usucessful effort to frame the leaders of the Western Federation of Miners for the bombing. The Pinkerton Agency, infamous locally for its role in the Homestead Massacre, frequently employed these kinds of tactics to erode popular support for organizing efforts and to kill or imprison workers, especially their leaders.

During the famed “Bread and Roses”, textile strike of 1912, in Lawrence, Massachusets there was another attempt to discredit the mostly female workers, by planting dynamite in several locations around Lawrence. The press was quick to blame the strikers, but a local undertaker who had recieved a substantial cash payment he could not explain, from the owner of the textile mill, was arrested and fined $500 for his efforts to discredit the strikers. Union organizers were also blamed for the death of a striker who was shot and killed by the police, but later acquitted.

Time will (possibly) tell who’s responsible.  In the meantime, you’ve been warned about believing everything you hear.

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