anarchist faces six year sentence in Spain

Brent Finnegan -- October 5th, 2007

25-year-old radical leftist and former JMU student, Peter Gelderloos, used to be an anarchist organizer in Harrisonburg. Now he stands trial in Barcelona for allegedly organizing a protest in April that police say got out of control.

I’m reading say Gelderloos could face up to six years in prison if convicted, because an explosive was set off at the end of the protest. His alleged involvement in the explosion may seem somewhat ironic, considering that when he was in H’burg, he was involved in an organization called Food Not Bombs.

This isn’t the first time Gelderloos has been in trouble. In November of 2001, he was one of the “Harrisonburg Four” that were arrested at Fort Benning, Georgia, while protesting the Orwellian-sounding Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (a.k.a. School of the Americas). In 2002, he was sentenced to six months in prison.

Gelderloos has written a few books. He’s been critical of pacifists like Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. for promoting nonviolence, when violent action would have produced quicker results.

13 Responses to “anarchist faces six year sentence in Spain”

  1. danno says:

    I looked for the guy on Myspace to see if I could recognize him (I saw those kids around all the time at JMU), and came across this.

  2. finnegan says:

    Gelderloos has ties to the Rocktown Info Shop on Elizabeth Street. Briggman recently posted about that place.

    Back in January 2002, my band played a Food Not Bombs show at The Crayola House, so I’m sure I met his friends, but I don’t think I’ve ever met Gelderloos.

  3. Marty says:

    Go Dukes!

  4. Jeff White says:

    None of this in any way surprises me.

    The tactics and in fact the aims of the far left in America have not changed much since John Kerry’s bunch, the VVAW, entertained the notion of assassinating sitting Senators – which makes perfect sense for subversives and revolutionaries, I guess.

    “Food not Bombs” has always been ironic to me – as those who oppose us most certainly use bombs – and food is a very poor anti-bomb – at least in the immediate tactical sense. Piling food on a bomb isn’t nearly as effective as running a plastic explosives-laden robot up to it and blowing it…

  5. Kelly says:

    I remember that collective space and went to a few shows there when it was open. It seemed harmless at worst and like it had some potential to be pretty cool given some time. The reasons for shutting it down did seem to be arbitrary, which disappoints me considering how much pride we all take in our freedom of thought and expression.

    Gelderloos argument against pacifism fails to answer one critical question for me. How do you violently remove an oppressive element with out being viewed as oppressive yourself? Seems to be be an issue we’re dealing with in the real world at the moment.

  6. Tim says:

    That last one under, Kelly’s name was me, I don’t want to put words in her mouth.

  7. Kyle says:

    Your NEOCONic attempt to blame everything in the world on Clinton and leftists is so old, pathetic and passe. I’m certainly not defending any group’s choice of violence but if you took the time to look around the world, and throughout much of history, you’d find that your right wing fundamentalists have been pretty evil (I happen to think that the Bush administration falls in this category).

    The last time I checked, no peacenik was shooting doctors, creating “Armies of God,” or declaring a Jihad.

  8. finnegan says:

    I’m fairly certain that someone like Gelderloos would hold just as much contempt for Clinton and Kerry as he would for Bush. Let’s don’t try to over-simplify the political spectrum.

    Please don’t antagonize commenters into a spat over Republicans and Democrats when Gelderloos has nothing to do with either group.

  9. Del Marvel says:

    Well, if you have to out on bail and stuck waiting two years for trial I guess there are worse places in the world to be than Barcelona.

  10. Bubby says:

    If we are rounding up folks for detonating “petardas” in the GWOT, I might need to drop a dime on the terrorists…err kids up the street. They appear to have recently returned from that terrorist supply camp – South of the Border. Or maybe it was Boom City. No matter, they wear weird clothes, yell ‘woo woo’ late into the night, and are probably up to no good.

  11. MF says:

    I helped him and his roommate Pat put together a short audio documentary about a rally against mountain top removal. They played it on the radio show the two of them had on wxjm. Sad to see Peter go that far as to set off a bomb, I hope he is proven innocent on that charge. If I remember correctly he was also arrested and detained for 2 days at the 04 republican national convention.

  12. MF says:

    From what I have read about the case it doesn’t look like he did anything at all. He is alleged to have set off a firework that scatters pamphlets in the air. That does not sound like something that should carry 6 years.

  13. finnegan says:

    Agreed, MF.

    I understand that Spain has pretty tought antiterrorism laws on their books, what with ETA and all that, but it’s being described as a “big firecracker.”

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