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

    @everyone thank god everyone is starting to wake up and see that all this craziness isnt coming from the tea party bush or the republicans.it is all coming from obama the occupy movement and friends.nice of cnn to keep spinning the truth after the obvious truth leaks out and list them as anarchists.they are not anarchists occupy wants communism.obama has been behind the scenes the entire time.he is doing a better job of destroying america than al qaeda wishes they could.this is his people doing all of this and blaming bush and the tea party isnt working any more.i have been telling you lost sheep this for 6 months solid but you were to busy drinking the obama flavored kool aid.this man needs to be impeached NOW.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. juandos

    No wonder CNN is in a race to the bottom of the ratings toilet with MSNBC...

    Confusing these parasitic, liberal, losers with the TEA party?!?!

    Really?!?!

    Aren't any of you people tethered to reality at least a little bit?

    May 2, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Steve J

    This article is nothing short of Yellow Journalism. It's quite plain these guys were firmly connected with the Far-left Occupy movement. To use a bunch of non-sequitur quotes to drum up a conversation in attempt to cause public confusion about where the political source of this bombing conspiracy comes from is deeply propagandist

    May 2, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • nsaidi

      Steve, thank you for your comment. This is a post about reader comments, nothing more and nothing less. You are welcome to disagree with what these people said and make your case about what you believe.

      May 2, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jimmy cracorn

    I don't feel the need to have my views justified by a group of troubled young people. Thats where I stand. Rabble on now. Rabble Rabble Rabble.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chit

    Reading these comments, it is obvious that the hatred for the GOTP is as equal as that. For OWS. How about this....they're sodding nutjobs.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. chrissy

    Roflmao @ hamsta, EVIL has no party affiliation! And there are evil people in EVERY party! That assumption of yours makes as much sense as saying *they were MEN therefore all men are criminals!*

    May 2, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. chrissy

    Exactly Chit, and THEY are responsible for their own actions! Also @ steve, this thread is an *overheard thread* meaning its based on comments by bloggers, not necessarily the opinion of CNN. Good, bad, or indifferent!

    May 2, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. hamsta

    @chrissy are you aware that eve was not the first woman?before eve was lilith born of dirt just like adam.lilith denounced god then denounced adam.god banished lilith from the garden of eden.he then took one of adams ribs and created eve.he did so because women are to be submissive and obey god first and man second.eve chose to disobey god and led adam astray by eating of the tree of knowledge opening pandoras box.WOMEN ARE THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Karen

    CNN fails again. In a effort to censor the truth for partisan reasons, they refuse to inform that these guys are OWS members. Google their names, check their facebook pages. CNN gives example of why it is at the bottom of ratings.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • nsaidi

      Hi Karen, this particular blog post is part of a series of similar posts that are meant to show some of the comments from readers that we've gotten, and a lot of them wanted to talk about the concept of anarchy and what they thought about these men's philosophies. It's not intended to force any ideas on anyone; quite the opposite. We want to start a dialogue, and indeed, it's possible we may even follow up on this post based on the conversation that takes place here and new information we confirm. Certainly, there's a lot more investigating to do in this case, and this is a developing story. We encourage respectful conversation about these issues. Thank you for stopping by.

      May 2, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jwntx

    These "anarchists" in the US don't meet the dictionary definition of a true anarchist. They are radical leftists who have taken the mantel of "anarchist" to shield the Democratic Party from embarrassment. The "anarchists" in Louisiana that attacked two young Republicans, breaking one's leg and the other's jaw, had all kinds of Democratic talking points on their website–anti-gun, pro-healthcare, anti-business–in fact, every one of the things they were for would require MORE government regulation and intervention. Quite an irony.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jon B

    This CNN fake effort at phoney even-handedness is laughable. Powerline.com, unlike CNN, simply links to their Facebook pages were they all self-identify as Occupiers. No one in fact really does have any doubts about this. Anarchism is a venerable leftist variant, always has been, and never has been a part of libertarianism or conservatism. Don't even bother to act as if there is a debate about this. There isn't. But about the media, yes, we do have doubts - about its simple honesty and competence as well as its partisanship

    May 2, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • nsaidi

      Thank you for your comment, Jon.

      May 2, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jan S.

    The 5 anarchists were members of the "Occupy Wall Street, Cleveland". Why won't anyone report that? Because, they weren't associated with the Tea Party.

    May 2, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • nsaidi

      Thank you for your comment, Jan. There's certainly been a lot of conversation about this story, both here and on many blogs around the internet, and we appreciate readers' feedback. The second half of the story from which the comments are taken talks about Occupy Cleveland's response to this incident.

      May 2, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mary

    Respectfully saying, It takes one sentence to inform the reader that these guys are also involved in the OWS movement.
    This would be a prime example of a news blog steering the reader in a certain direction for it's purposes... not for the purpose of "laying out *all* the evidence" of a given Article and letting the conversation take it's *natural* course.

    Would this also be called *censorship* of information

    May 2, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • nsaidi

      Thank you, Mary. Again, this is a blog post about comments based on the original story. By posting a comment, you are making yourself heard and we appreciate it. The story from which the comments were taken talks a little bit about the background of the men.

      May 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. chrissy

    @ jon b, no one is forcing you to read cnn. And @ hamsta, yep and dont you forget it! Lmao im teasin you, seriously tho it does NOT matter if they were TP, OWS, GOP, DEMS, VFWs, ELKs, MOOSE, or BOOK club members! THEY are responsible for their own actions

    May 2, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. hamsta

    im with you karen, cnn wil blame bush,the tea party or republicans but it was actually obama, occupy and the democrats which none of the above are anarchists.if they where dealing with true anarchists the target would have been government buildings such as the white house or pentagon and they would have went after government officials and not civilians.

    May 2, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
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