Overheard on CNN.com: Politics of anarchy
FBI photos show Brandon Baxter, top from left, Anthony Hayne, Connor Stevens; bottom, Joshua Stafford and Douglas Wright.
May 1st, 2012
08:03 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Politics of anarchy

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

One of the most talked-about stories on Tuesday was about five men arrested for allegedly conspiring to blow up a bridge about 15 miles south of Cleveland, according to court documents released Tuesday. Authorities say at least three of the men are self-proclaimed anarchists, and a lot of readers pondered what kinds of philosophies the men held and how they could be classified politically.

5 arrested in alleged plot to blow up Cleveland-area bridge

Readers speculated about the political backgrounds of the men. Several readers suspected they might identify with the Occupy movement, but some had other ideas.

BobRoss: "I love how some of these leftists try to deny reality (aka lie) by saying that anarchists are from the 'far right.' All of the major anarchist movements have been led by leftists and have been closely aligned with Marxism. By the statements for these guys it is clear that they are not in any way libertarians or 'right wing,' but sincere anarchists. I can understand though. I would try to deny their affiliation if I was you also. My guess is the Occupy Wall Street crowd is going to enter into a full PR campaign to distance themselves from these guys."

djfl00d: "Two flaws with your argument: Anarchists are anti-government. This is hardly a far left ideology, rather is closer to a far right ideology, yet is still inaccurate because if anarchists are anti-government, they are anti-political. Secondly, you have to think of politics as a circular scale, not a linear one. If you lean too far to either the right or the left, you begin to incorporate ideology from the other side."

Samilcar: "I'm certain these guys aren't connected to any Occupy groups. They all look like those violent tea partiers."

We heard from a lot of people who said it's not possible to know the men's affiliations at this point.

SavoryBrown: "It's definitely Obama's fault ... well, or maybe it was the tea party's fault. But either way it was definitely either the left wing or the right wing, for sure. There is no way it was just a few crazy people. Most assuredly, it was the fault of the political party I align with the least."

stateschool: "Although the FBI is providing no details, the sleuths in the comments section have already determined that the would-be bombers are Muslim Christian anarchist communist liberal conservative tea bagger Republican Democrat FBI agents."

Are conclusions about the men's views too self-serving, or do they hold merit?

pinetree51: "7ruthere wrote: 'Funny how the liberals are saying, "these guys are conservatives!!" and the conservatives saying, "these guys are liberals!!' That's because we live in a two party political system which closely resembles a sporting event. Since many Americans are so sports-driven, you are either on one team or another in their eyes. One team = good. Other team = bad. No other nuances or variations are possible in the sports world. Two teams. That's it. You are one or the other. Like dealing with grade school children."

TommyNIK: "Very well-said. It's the old 'black and white, no shades of gray' argument. There are shades of gray. It generally takes people of intellect both to recognize this fact and also to deal with it in a sane manner."

Who is the responsible party here?

Trilithium: "This is all Obama's fault."

Henne: "Nope, Bush's - still."

A few folks put the blame elsewhere ...

Icreatejobs: "I blame their barber."

davidp44022: "What barber? It looks like they cut their own hair."

If you're an anarchist, does that create additional problems?

Mike Drake: "The problem with anarchy is that it's very difficult to enforce."

sumguy2006: "It's funny when 'anarchists' try to organize something. Pretty much doomed to failure from the start."

A few of the commenters were critical of the sting operation.

Corey Warner:
"FBI: hey...you wanna blow some stuff up?
"Anarchists: Well...I don't know....
"FBI: C'mon, it'll be easy!
"Anarchists: OK...
"FBI: Here, take these explosives....
"Anarchists:.....are these even rea.....
"FBI: You're under arrest! Hooray! We caught us some terrorists!!!!"

Branamsays: "I agree. People say and do strange things under the influence of meth. These guys don't look like they could start a campfire, let alone blow up a bridge."

Cleveland, Ohio, can't get a break.

tequilala: "A bridge in Ohio is the first thing I would think of to blow up."

clemjones: "These guys were just trying to help the economy of Cleveland. If they blow up the bridge, it will put people to work, rebuilding it, burying the dead and planning how to stop future attacks. It's the same as Pelosi's philosophy on how unemployment stimulates the economy."

judahMaccabee: "If I was stuck in Cleveland, I'd probably be ready to blow up something too."

Keeping it clean.

astounded1: "Occupy a shower" (also suggested a washing machine)

WatAnon: "They'll have plenty of time for that with their new friends soon."

Or are they ...

JECD: "The Ted Nugent Fan Club. (It only has 5 members....)"

Some people couldn't get past the hair.

pOdPeOpLe: "Saw these guys play Coachella. They were pretty good."

astounded1: "Didn't they call themselves The Spin Doctors in the '90s?"

ENDFEDNOW: "So this is what happens to washed-up boy bands?"

tinwatchman: "Well, at least now we know what happened to the other members of N'Sync."

foreverwar: "Seems like they all get their hair cut by the same lawn service."

Or, maybe they're something far more sinister.

justincase04: "I'm pretty sure those are my sister's past five boyfriends ..."

What's your take on this story? How would you classify anarchists? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. hamsta

    @chrissy just teasing you to.did you ever get that bum off your couch?would you like me to move the couch to the curb for you?

    May 2, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yrmex

      @everyone
      I'm an anarchist and it seems that no one is really familiar with anarchist philosophy. I can't explain it in a simple comment, but I want people to know that most anarchists are anti-violence because the state (any state, capitalist or communist) is founded upon the threat and execution of violence to maintain order and acquiescence to laws which preserve hierarchical power structures. Furthermore, no true anarchist would ever vote for either party or have any political affinity towards the right or the left. And to protect myself from the inevitable snarky comments to come, I have a job, a family, and a clean-cut appearance....and I am not affiliated with occupy b/c of my responsibilities, whether they be coerced by love or threats of violence. Anarchism-–Google it, you might like it.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. hamsta

    but just to let you know there is a country somewhere that practices anarchy.i cant remember what country it is or where but i have read about it.that country has no government and no military but lives free and peacefully with no violent crime because everyone there is armed to the teeth.anarchists only become violent when forced to defend themselves.waco is a perfect example.

    May 2, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. hamsta

    i experienced complete and total anarchy after hurricane katrina.i have never failed the government.i pay taxes religously.i havent been out of a job in 20 years.i am a law abiding citizen.the government has shown me nothing but failure.after katrina the government took away my guns and left me defenseless against looters and mexican gangs that the government sent here on buses.i survived with no thanks to the government.

    May 2, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Chit

    Which government? Local, State or Federal?

    May 2, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. the real deal

    banasy and her band of no nothing trolls posting their stupid comments why dont you losers get a life

    May 2, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • babyham

      Thank you for posting an asinine comment yourself.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • babyham

      I'l bet they KNOW how to spell and use punctuation. I'll bet YOU'RE the real troll here. Grow up, fat boy.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. babyham

    Oooooooooooh, profound!

    May 2, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. the prophet

    Give me a brake a bridge? who are why so many want to take down America or shell i say the United States the Corporation incorporated in Delaware County? people the Roman Empire collapsed without terrorism so relax its a matter of economics stop rushing history.

    May 2, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. hamsta

    @chit all government.

    May 3, 2012 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. hamsta

    @greek american i never said anarchy was a good thing.face the facts it isnt the tea party bush or the republicans that are extremist and terrorists.that finger is being pointed by a guilty conscience.look up the suspects names.they are with the occupy movement,your people.i never said anarchy is good,but it is better than a socialist oppressive communist government.i am a 99 percenter and i am telling you a poor man has the best chance under capitalism.take that socialism back to greece with you.its unamerican and isnt welcome here.

    May 3, 2012 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
  10. raven

    Looking at the pictures, I thought it was an open audition for the role of Lurch on the Addams Family. Especially the guy in the lower right. Yeegh.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:35 am | Report abuse |
  11. Greek American

    @hamsta
    I am not a rich person either. And you said capitalism is the answer? Ha! Look where that got us, nowhere. So an anarchy with capitalism is basically our economy without government around to get involved in anything. This sounds familiar. Oh that's right, the rich banks and investment firms already tried that a few years back until the bottom fell out of the stock market. My suggestion to you is to start thinking for yourself and not use and repeat tea-bagger rhetoric, especially when you do not know what it means.

    And as for Greece, believe me, you would choose to go live there over where you live now. By the way, there are anarchist parties and beliefs for some people there. In fact, they will get a percentage of votes this coming May 6th elections. Hmmm imagine that!!! More freedom for you and your anarchist buddies there in that Socialist country than what you have here.

    But seriously, we all have our opinions but yours seem to be blanketed GOP tea-bagger statements that are just not true and irrelavant. Wahhh Occupy Movement, waahhh Socialism, Waahhhh Obama, Waahh 1 percenters, Waahhh woe is me, Waahhh all the government's fault. That's what I hear when reading all your tea-bag comments.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
    • BCohio

      The Left wing Liberals GOT us into this MESS!.. Starting in 06 with Franks and DODD Pelosi and Reid, These Fools ran America INTO the ground! With the Housing and Controling the BANKS!... Thats HOE WE GOT HERE!...Open your EYES AND EARS!... Now we have a Socialist Muslim In the White House Thanks to THE LIBERAL SOCIALIST!...

      May 3, 2012 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  12. BCohio

    Just watch and SEE how much UNIONS had to do with THIS!... These ARE Obammys THUGS!...

    May 3, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
  13. Dynamic

    They look like crack-using, white supremacists.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  14. harry zoyster

    The Communist Nonsense Network sure has gone out of its way to bury this story about their violent socialist buddies. Folks, this is what unchecked Liberalism looks like, on the streets and in the left wing media.

    May 3, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  15. spence

    These knuckleheads aren't anarchists, they are a bunch of obviously brain damaged morons that are out for a nice beer and cookies. It's about as serious as they will ever be in the world of men that they will never be a part of.

    May 3, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
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