Yes and No: Late Reflections on the May Day March in Minneapolis

Anonymous submission to Conflict MN

This year, a few of us decided that even if we didn’t have much of a plan for May Day, that we were none-the-less determined to have a presence at the May Day march on May 1st, which for as long as people can remember of the recent years has been dominated by leftist organizations like the Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FRSO (a soft Maoist sect), their front groups and others who willingly play along with this sad circus.The circus goes like this: arrive and stand around your little sect if you have one, someone gives you a newspaper or a flier for their next event, signs you up for something, round after round of people talk at you, so much so that you can barely keep awake, then you slump along since in reality it can hardly be called a march, sometimes there are chants, they speak in confusion and accentuate our collective awkwardness, more speeches, more chanting, all so orderly, and one feels their aching lack of power, the power that should be collective, is driven by sadness into our individual bodies. And by ideology, weak thought or sheer will we march on, miraculously even showing up again the next time to receive our lashes.

This time we met, masked up and marched behind a banner featuring a flaming cop car with only the word “yes!”, which was a reference to a banner made and marched behind during the Trump inauguration protests that was a black sheet with only the word “no.” painted on. There’s a little conversation going on here between the two. One emphasizes negation and another affirmation. As revolutionaries we must bow to both. We always contain within us the power to say as Bartleby did “I’d rather not” or “not this time mother fuckers!” We must also affirm what is vital, what is worth living for, what is unique and different according to our taste, and importantly the how of our ethical dispositions. The mobile sound system played pop music and anti-police hip hop. Sometimes this interfered with the sound of the speeches, sometimes it cut through the silence, sometimes it set the tone. Though small, these were attempts to add an open and unruly energy to the event, which the organizers work hard to contain and thwart. Even the peace police sensed a potential (if only symbolic), as one young man nervously and sadly stood arms outstretched between a few in bloc and a police car as we flicked the police off and a few minutes later between us and a wall to prevent the wall from being sprayed, while we weren’t even considering it. They think anything is possible, we simply need to give belief materiality.

We won’t lie and say that it felt great to be there as the awkward extreme end of a protest knowing full well that our lives do not justify protest. We know we’re at war. Our enemies know we’re at war. What is achieved by polite and orderly wimperings of indignation, but a call to better manage the catastrophe? The parade itself seemed a fairly weak showing for all present, as clearly others don’t go and expect to feel their own power there either, so they don’t go. We write to ask ourselves and others what would it take to feel like we aren’t weak, to feel that there is a stake in living, in our commitments to each other and the worlds we share? In the past, marches meant “do not fuck with us” or “we will burn down parliament.” A demonstration demonstrated not our ability to listen to boring speeches and be corralled by police and then go home, but our power to make or unmake worlds (or at least the threat and manifestation of a physical desire to do so). A speech instead stoked an ember that grew to flame. And the powerful trembled because they knew we were also powerful.

Aside from grand words, how do we get there?

It starts by building from where we’re at and recognizing what could be done better. It means starting from a small crew and coming with a bigger crew, multiple crews and affinity groups. There were several random people in the crowd that seemed to want this too. They came alone and bloc’ed up by themselves and gravitated toward us. We decided to be present to make it known that we desire this with others, that we invite you to come the next time there’s a call. You don’t have to wear all black or even cover your face. Bring your friends. Practice staying close and building your trust in each other. Simply being together with others who practice this art as a responsive crowd opens the situation up to other possibilities. For the purpose of breaking down the barriers between those who would bloc up and others who weren’t we decided to attempt a “casual bloc.” Admittedly this is something new to us or perhaps we just have too many black clothes, so instead people were mostly a poorly done black bloc rather than a casual bloc. This distinction doesn’t necessarily have be made along the lines of whether black is worn or not. It is determined by the open character of the bloc—essentially what makes it feel like something others can see themselves within. If covering one’s face is not simply an aesthetic practice of a revolutionary subculture but a necessity for confrontational practice then it needs to become a practice shared by all who desire to engage in militant resistance despite identification. Space must also be made for varying levels of risk to coexist within a bloc. It must be acknowledged that those who come just to be in the street, needing to to leave in the event that the situation becomes too risky still allows for others to hold the streets with them that much longer. There as many ways to be unruly as we can imagine and being a bloc is only one experiment among others. Our intention is to open that door.

The Gentleman Bank Robber

From TC Radical Calendar

Wednesday, June 6th

Bryant Lake Bowl & Theater

810 W Lake St

6:00 PM

A film screening of The Gentleman Bank Robber, a film by Julie Perini, and a panel discussion to follow (panelists TBA).

The Gentleman Bank Robber is a portrait of revolutionary rita bo brown, a white working class butch from rural Oregon who became known as “The Gentleman Bank Robber” for combining her butch style of dress with a polite way of demanding funds from bank tellers. The film moves between everyday moments with bo in and around her current home in Oakland, California, and historical retelling of the events of bo’s extraordinary life through interviews with bo and her collaborators, archival materials, and rare social movement ephemera. The Gentleman Bank Robber weaves together personal and political perspectives on 20th century social movement histories, including queer liberation in the 1960s; militant, underground activity with the George Jackson Brigade in the 1970s, a revolutionary prison abolitionist group; political prisoner support work in the 1980s, and prison activist work into the present day. bo brown is a model for how to lead a life of committed activism while maintaining a sense of humor and humanity.

Doors at 6pm. Film at 7 sharp.

Sliding scale admission 3-12 dollars, costs split between the venue and bo brown’s health care.

Info Night On La Zad

Anonymous submission to Conflict MN

Thursday, May 10th

Boneshaker Books

2002 23rd Ave S

7:00 PM

On April 9th, 2018, the French state began evicting the liberated territory known as la zad, an experimental commune across 4,000 acres of wetlands, fields, and forests. The land is occupied for nearly a decade by local farmers, villagers, activists, naturalists, squatters, and more. Thousands of officers accompanied by armored vehicles have flooded the zone, and demolished dozens of homes. It is only thanks to the brave resistance of the zadists that the entire territory has not been destroyed.

Come learn more about la zad and the struggle to defend it.

Against The Smart City

Anonymous submission to Conflict MN

Starting April 20th, Hennepin County will be test driving a new self-driving, “smart” shuttle bus over the weekend. They chose a portion of the greenway bike path that passes through the heavily gentrified Uptown to demonstrate what is to come for other sections of the city slated for similar lines of development—as a laboratory of future control.

On the night before they unveiled their project to their corporate partners, some antagonists hung a banner right in the shuttle’s path, with the intention of physically blocking the sensors of the shuttle, thwarting the test, if only for a moment. Against The Smart City! it declares.

While touted as progress, there are still those of us who see these projects as only the further deepening of the desert. As our cities become increasingly automated, this process attempts to eclipse not only the possibilities of revolt, but even that of a life of anything but its perpetual (re)production. These automated shuttles will be yet another vehicle for funneling citizens between where the work, shop, and sleep, as mindlessly as the shuttle which carries them.

This action was intended to demonstrate that these projects will face resistance. It was simple to carry out and took very little planning. The smart city is fragile, and opportunities for disruption are everywhere. While their fantasy is to build a terrain where all that can happen is what has already been predicted and planned, we know that fundamentally life cannot be reduced to data and in its flux escapes prediction and control. Don’t wait for others to take action for you. Take it yourselves.

Mutual Aid Disaster Relief On The Road

From Mutual Aid Disaster Relief

Wednesday, May 2nd

Walker Church

3104 16th Ave S

6:00 PM

Part One: Protectors v. Profiteers (South Side)

An illustrated presentation about disaster capitalism and the rising resistance to it.

Thursday, May 3rd

UROC, Room 105

2001 Plymouth Ave N

6:00 PM

Part One: Protectors v. Profiteers (North Side)

An illustrated presentation about disaster capitalism and the rising resistance to it.

Friday, May 4th

Walker Church

3104 16th Ave S

1:00 PM

Part Two: Giving Our Best, Ready For The Worst

A participatory workshop about solidarity, building grassroots power, and community organizing as disaster preparedness.

Two Spirit, Trans, and Womxn’s Action Camp in So-Called Minnesota

From Earth First! Newswire

Anti Line 3 Action Camp (+ long term encampment with no cis doods*!)

A direct action camp with workshops, skill shares and comraderie for people who identify as two-spirit, womxn, trans &/or gender variant to come together, establish a resistance camp & fight the patriarchy!

Interested in attending, set up, training or facilitation? Email twats@riseup.net

The action camp is May 31st – June 5th but will continue on to be a long term encampment. Have you ever wanted to live in a pipeline resistance camp with no cis doods? Well this is your chance!

Come throw down in occupied Anishinaabe territory! So-called northern Minnesota.

Please bring your own shelter and a dog leash if you have a dog.

*Cis dood: someone who identifies with the gender of ‘male’ that they were assigned at birth

Who We Are

  • We are a collective of individuals, not a non-profit. We oppose the non-profit industrial complex, capitalism, white supremacy and heteropatriarchy.
  • We are a group of non-cis male people who have been fighting Line 3 and although we are not indigenous led, we focus on uplifting indigenous voices and being fiercely anti-colonial.
  • We operate through a consensus decision making process which will include daily check ins with the entire group at TTWAC.

Our Agreements

  • Cis men are core to the oppression of two-spirt, trans and gender variant folks and womxn. This is our space to be away from them, build skills and fight with a clear mind.
  • Our fight is not just against Line 3, it is to build a liberated future for TTW, black, indigenous and POC folks (The current Line 3 movement has emulated racism, patriarchy and transphobia in many ways and we intend to make a space hostile to these).
  • Thus, those who have or do make TTW and POC folks feel unsafe are not welcome.
  • We are hostile to cultural appropriation, sexism, racism, ableism and all oppressive isms.
  • Physical/sexual assault and abuse is not permitted at all. Perpetrators will be kicked out with no second chances. Other conflicts can be mediated through the conflict team.

Warmed By La ZAD

Anonymous submission to Conflict MN

We met under the statue of Emiliano Zapata for this simple gesture on the second day (or third night) of the resistance to the eviction attempt by a small army of pigs against La ZAD (Zone to Defend) in Notre-Dame-des-Landes. It’s still winter in Minnesota and although there’s snow on the ground we’ve been feeling so near to you at La ZAD that we’ve felt warmed. Not only now, but since we learned of your beautiful existence, of this world which we believe is also a part of us too. We send you love and strength now and always.

All power to the communes!

ZAD Forever!

Tout le monde déteste la police!

 – Your Friends

Punishment Park – Film Screening

Anonymous submission to Conflict MN

Thursday, April 19th

Boneshaker Books

2002 23rd Ave S

6:00 PM

“…an indictment against the United States.”

With escalating political unrest, a state of emergency is declared giving law enforcement the power to arrest anyone judged to be a security risk. Captured dissidents are given the option of participating in Punishment Park, where they have to fight for their lives as they are hunted down by the forces of law and order.

Love & Strength To La ZAD

Anonymous submission to Conflict MN

Over the weekend a banner was hung in so-called Minneapolis reading Defend la ZAD. We take this opportunity to send a message of strength to the ZAD occupants on the eve of their eviction. The autonomous zone established in France has been the source of endless inspiration for rebels near and far—it will live on, regardless of what happens on Monday.

Prisoner Letter Writing Nights 2018

Anonymous submission to Conflict MN

Third Thursdays

Walker Church

3104 16th Ave S

6:00 PM

Prisoner letter writing night is back! The third Thursday of every month at Walker Community Church from 6-8pm.

In hosting this event we will provide, monthly, a prisoner to write to who is generally referred to as a political prisoner, particularly/often around the time of their birthday in order to send them well wishes and cards—or if they’re undergoing tough times, etc.

Feel free to write in advance if you’d like, just know that sometimes the addresses are subject to change and it’s always good to check the address in advance.

However, we’re also hoping that this letter writing night will encourage folks to come prepared to engage in sustained relationships with folks locked up. We’re open to providing names of folks to write in the event that someone doesn’t have a pen pal but wants one.

Bring yr own envelopes and stamps if ya have em, if not, we’ll provide. Additionally, we have a p.o. box if you feel uncomfortable giving your home address as the return.


until all are free,
NMPSP

An Anti-Fascist’s Experiences From Eastern Europe

Anonymous submission to Conflict MN

Saturday, April 7th

Boneshaker Books

2002 23rd Ave S

6:00 PM

In the last few years we have seen the far right taking more public space, in the news and in the streets of the U.S. Obviously there is a need to organize against it and increasingly people are seeing anti-fascism as a way to do that. To make our organizing more effective we should take into account experiences from other contexts. This presentation will be a critical introduction to the history of anti-fascism mostly in Russia but also Belarus and Ukraine spanning the last few decades. The talk will ask some critical questions and reflect on comrades’ experiences in Eastern Europe. What tactics, strategies, and organizing have been most useful? How do anti-fascist actions influence the anarchist movement, and does this collision with fascists change our collectives? How can we avoid ‘antifa’ becoming just another youth subculture and not a broader political movement? In Russia, how was it possible that anti-fascism became an essential part of state ideology, with clear conservative connotations? What actually is anti-fascism, and how can anarchists relate to such an ambiguous concept? Questions will be raised and discussion moderated by a visiting anarchist comrade from Russia.

Solidarity with the Revolution in Rojova

Anonymous submission to Conflict MN

In connection to the International day of Solidarity with Rojova on March 24th several posters went up in and around Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis, MN. The posters are a reminder of the struggles of Kurdish revolutionaries in Rojova. Several posters have a call out that was published after the city of Afrin was taken over by the Turkish state on March 18th, 2018 and calls for international solidarity and action in English, Spanish and Kurdish.

Death to Fascism!

Death to all States!

Defend the Revolution in Rojova!