I’m 100% sure that provocateurs and police will coordinate their activities for maximum prime-time coverage, and that the leaders of previously-unknown violent anarchist groups will mysteriously disappear at the key moment, leaving their hapless followers to battle the police and eventually do hard time.
A significant proportion of the violence during the 60’s was found afterwards to have been instigated by undercover agents posing as protestors. If it is not supported by the great majority of the population, “direct action” has a polarizing effect which helps the right wing. The right-wingers will produce their own anarchists if none show up naturally.
Provocateurs played a role at the 2000 Republican Convention in Philadelphia, where there were many arrests — arrests which were aggressively prosecuted.
Police also have the ability to turn a peaceful demonstration into a violent one by crowding in on demonstrators who have no way of escape. Some of the demonstrators will resist, allowing the police to say that the demonstrators started the whole thing.
Anarchists are by definition not Kerry supporters; as far as that goes, they really can’t be Nader supporters either. This is an example of a case when the Kerry team should have a media response ready to go instantly at any hint of trouble, and it wouldn’t do any harm to put out a preemptive statement disavowing disruptive activities. We can be sure that the Bush team has something ready to go blaming everything on an “anti-war left” defined nebulously enough to seem to include Kerry supporters.
(Based on a comment I left at The Talking Dog. I will now return to my retirement).