Smash White Power

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota

mngaOn April 23rd, anti-fascists converged on Stone Mountain, GA to confront a white power demonstration. Barricades were erected and burned while participants used rocks and fireworks to attack the police tasked with protecting the white supremacists. A multiplicity of tactics were deployed by a variety of groups that effectively shut down the rally. This multifaceted and autonomous approach is inspiring and should be used as a reference point for all who wish the ungovernable spread of anarchy.

The Stone Mountain confrontation marks one of many conflicts erupting from the resurgent far-right, just like the shooting that took place in North Minneapolis. The struggle against white supremacy (as one arm of domination) is global, and each confrontation finds resonance all over the world. Expressions of solidarity remind us of this connection.

After hearing the news from Georgia, a banner was promptly painted and hung in Minneapolis. The banner read:

MN 2 GA

SMⒶSH

WHITE

POWER

Nine anti-fascists were arrested in Stone Mountain, donate to their legal
defense here.

Mask For Zapata

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota

zOn the morning of April 10th the statue of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata at 12th Ave. and Lake St. in South Minneapolis was adorned with a mask. This occurred in commemoration of the anniversary of Zapata’s assassination and in response to a call made by compañerxs in Mexico for actions in solidarity with political prisoners and in support of their unyielding struggle against the state and the cartels, which we know are not just linked by a few bad apples as the authorities would have us believe (sound familiar?) but are instead two facets of the same organization of society that produces poverty and destruction across the globe.

A small gesture no doubt, but one that helps remind us that the struggles of the past are not dead, cast in bronze with no relevance to our daily lives, but rather continue to breathe through us whenever we stop waiting for change to come and begin living our lives as insurgents in the here and now, whether this looks like masking up and resisting the police in the street, taking care of our loved ones and ourselves, or simply telling our friends about how and why people in other places and times resist/resisted and what lessons their struggles might hold for ours.

As of the 13th the mask had yet to be removed.

Anti-Police Graffiti in Minneapolis

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota

pwpIn the dead of night came the messages:

PIGS WILL PAY

OFF THE PIGS

ACAB

After Jamar Clark, Terrence Franklin, Marcus Golden, Fong Lee, Michael Kirveley, Phil Quinn, and so many others being murdered by the police, we cannot simply stand by and watch these bastards continue to get away with it again, again, and again. If the State refuses to enforce its own laws because it was never meant to give us justice then obviously we have to do it for them. This is just a small drop in a waterfall. Sooner or later, the deluge will come, and the police will have their day of reckoning.

All Cops Are Bastards

We Lost

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota


We lost.

We refers to not the we of any group, organization, or cluster, but to partisans of revolt, rebels, all who desire to spread anarchy (which is quite divergent from those who call themselves anarchists).

Besides the police departments, the so-called protest leadership, community groups, and non-profit organizations have had months to hone their tactics and maneuvers. We knew this and yet we let our guard down.

On Wednesday the 30th it was announced that no charges would be brought against the officers who murdered Jamar Clark. After months of protest there was no longer any recourse left for justice to be found within the system. However, this did little to halt the demands for prosecution, for reform.

Two demonstrations take the streets, one from the south and the other from the north who meet in downtown, below the empty halls of power. The same boring speeches echo throughout the plaza—the revolutionary rhetoric, the Black Panther references—not enough to hide their ultimately liberal nature.

A single march makes its way back to Plymouth Ave in north Minneapolis. Many participants have donned masks and more have been distributed along with flyers encouraging secure behavior (covering one’s face, not talking to police, de-arresting comrades, etc.). The stale chant of “prosecute the police” has fallen in favor of “fuck the police,” something quite significant in a city so accustomed to the logic of reformism. Bank windows tremble as we pass. And yet we hesitate.

At Plymouth Ave, the march joins the crowd that had congregated around the site of Jamar’s death. Within minutes, various so-called community leaders and others surround everyone who had covered their face, deeming them agitators and pushing them away from the crowd—and away from each other in order to prevent solidarity. Anyone wearing a mask is threatened and in some cases assaulted. Any and every manipulation is employed in order to force people to either remove their masks or face consequences—including snitch-jacketing and accusations of being a white supremacist intent on another shooting.These made convenient excuses to impose control over the crowd, as evidenced by the people of color who were also confronted as ‘white agitators’ for covering their faces.

However not everyone taking part in this pacification campaign necessarily followed the so-called leadership—several people honestly did wish to drive out white supremacists or undercovers. We have respect for these people and we would stand side by side with them in their efforts, and have in the past. On the other hand, it was clear that those leading the charge were only interested in ejecting uncontrollable elements from the space. Successfully maneuvering this difficult and particular terrain will be crucial for antagonists in the future.

More important than the de-masking was the brazen imposition of order upon the space. It only took a matter of minutes to deliver a major blow to the energy of revolt in the streets that night. The police were hardly present throughout the entire evening, knowing their job was being done for them.

The long-term repercussions of this defeat remain to be seen, but it would be best not to underestimate them.

Posters Against Police

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota

ftp

With an expected decision on whether or not to indict the officers who murdered Jamar Clark looming, the Minneapolis Police Chief released a video statement a few days ago. The statement declares that the police will not tolerate violence but remains dedicated to upholding the first amendment rights of citizens. It is clear the police are preparing for the inevitable unrest in response to the decision, as a part of counter insurgency operations. These operations will involve both directing people’s potential anger at the decision into legitimate channels, and repressing those who refuse.

Hand in hand with these efforts will presumably be the “community leaders” and non-profit organizations smothering all uncontrollable activity. As made clear during the 4th Precinct occupation, their goal is to diffuse the anger and preserve order (and seem to resent not being given proper credit for doing so by the city). It is these two twin forces that rebels will have to contend with.

As a contribution to the struggle against the police and the world they maintain, posters were put up in busy areas of the Powderhorn Park neighborhood.

The text of the poster:

F*CK THE POLICE

The cops are the face of a system that controls us, that oppresses us, that shapes our lives. They stand between every homeless person and the homes sitting empty. They stand between every hungry person and the food sitting on supermarket shelves. They stand between us and liberation.

We’re tired of asking the cops to play nice. We’re tired of pretending their job is to protect us.

It’s time to fight back.

Banner For Holman Prison Rebels

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota


Over the weekend, twice did inmates at Holman Prison in Alabama rise up. They set fire to guard towers, and barricaded doors. In a small act of solidarity, a banner declaring FIRE TO THE PRISONS was hung in Minneapolis and flyers were left in the area about the uprising.

May the fires in Holman spread across the country with countless diverse and uncontrollable actions. The inmates rebelling inside prison walls cannot be left to fight alone.

“We’re tired of this shit, there’s only one way to deal with it: tear the prison down.”

Solidarity With Anaheim

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota

swaMonday night, approximately a dozen gathered in Minneapolis in solidarity with the anti-racists stabbed and arrested in Anaheim the week before when confronting the KKK. The following text was read and distributed around the area:

Solidarity with Anaheim

On February 27th, rebels converged in Anaheim, California to shut down a planned KKK rally. Upon the arrival of the Klan members, they were fiercely confronted and driven out as quickly as they had come. During the brawl, one of the white supremacists stabbed three people. The police, who initially arrested the man, let him go claiming that he acted in self-defense. We do not place any legitimacy in the police or the laws they enforce: taking action against white supremacists needs no justification.

This is one of many clashes that mark an escalation of conflict in recent years. Here in Minneapolis we experienced this ourselves when white supremacists opened re and injured five people at the 4th Precinct occupation just a few months ago.

We cannot appeal to the state to settle these conflicts. The state has its own interest in maintaining law and order, and we know this order is based on structural white supremacy. While it’s most visible manifestations are confederate flags or police murders, white supremacy shapes our entire society in the most insidious of ways.

An attack on the functioning of the system is therefore an attack on white supremacy. We cannot wait until the far-right strikes again, or until the next police shooting; the time to act is now. We cannot elect leaders or enlist in organizations to do this for us, we must do it ourselves.

Self Organized Struggle Against White Supremacy

Solidarity Against Racism

 

Fireworks in Minneapolis For Trans Prisoners

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota

queerasinfuck12In response to the call for an international day of action in solidarity with trans prisoners, some antagonist queers and accomplices paid a visit to the juvenile detention center in Minneapolis, USA. Two banners were unfurled that read:

Not Gay As In Happy, Queer As In Fuck 12

Fire To The Prisons

Several fireworks were set off, illuminating the dreary night for those held captive to see. We exchanged a few waves with those inside before disappearing into the night.

Noise Demo at the Jail

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota

fttpA small group of antagonists gathered outside the youth jail in downtown Minneapolis for a noise demonstration in solidarity with prisoners. Fireworks were shot into the air, and those inside waved to us through the windows. We dispersed without incident.

Our passion for freedom is stronger than their prisons!

For a Black December!

 

Banner For Black December

From Contra Info

acab2To answer the call for Black December a banner was hung that read “ACAB – All Cops Are Bastards.”  Here in the Minneapolis, anger against the police is at a high that has not been seen in a number of years. Rebellion, which the state has tried to suffocate for so long, sprung forth in a volley of rocks and molotov cocktails. This outburst, however brief, carries on in our hearts and our actions. We refuse to let our lives return to normal so easily.

We would also like to call on anarchists [1] in the United States and elsewhere if it applies to act for Black December. Too often calls such as the one for Black December go unheeded in the U.S., and become a spectator sport as we watch the riot porn roll in from far away places. The mantra that ‘nothing happens here’ is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Insurrection is always timely!

Unsigned

1. Anarchists on the so-called ‘outside’ that is, as both Michael Kimble and Sean Swain have already contributed their valued thoughts.

Dispatches From Minneapolis Vol. 2

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota


After the inspiring actions of the 18th, described in the previous volume of dispatches, various organizations doubled down on their efforts to lay claim to the occupation and pacify those holding it down. Politicians, clergy and similar types made regular appearances at the camp. The graffiti was removed, and the police were biding their time, hoping the protest would fizzle out on its own.

November 23rd

After a relatively calm couple of days, things heated up very quickly when a small group of masked men entered the camp, filming it. A few days earlier, armed white supremacists had briefly walked through the camp and made threats online. In this earlier group, someone recognized one of them and exposed his identity all over the internet. Making this clear connection, dozens quickly confronted the group, determined that they were indeed hostile, and forced them out. A few marshals tried to prevent an all out brawl, although the white supremacists were hurrying up the block away from the crowd. When people ran after them, the white supremacists opened fire, wounding five. Thankfully, everyone survived.

20151125_shooting01_53The police arrived soon after and secured the area, at least for their own purposes. They took their time letting an ambulance in and maced those attempting to reach the injured, while taunting the crowd with statements of “this is what you asked for.” Despite the past weeks—not to mention the past centuries—many in the crowd still approached the police for help apprehending the shooter. If we haven’t learned this lesson yet: the police are not an entity for which the goal of protecting and serving is corrupted by a few bad applies or policies. They are the enemies of anyone fighting for liberation. As such, they will not help us nor do we want their help.

November 24th



Despite rumors that the camp was going to be disbanded by the supposed leadership, the previous night’s shooting led to a call for resilience. Over a thousand came to a march in response, moving from the occupation to downtown and causing rush hour gridlock before returning to the precinct for a concert put on by the NAACP. During this concert, an angry young man hopped the police barricade in front of the building’s entrance and was arrested. After no one said anything on the microphone about it, the concert was disrupted until someone on stage was forced to acknowledge that there had been an arrest—but not without placing the blame on the person arrested.

Later in the evening, white supremacists shot at the occupation again, but this time, someone was prepared to return fire. Since that night, white supremacists have not returned, at least not out of uniform.

Since their first appearance, the language of “agitators” has been used to describe them (as opposed to their position as white supremacists), which has lent itself very conveniently to the policing of protest. Instead of being collectively against those hostile to the occupation, a paranoia began to spread , casting aspersions on anyone who looked like they possessed the potential to act of their own accord. Since “agitators” in general were considered the problem, this was considered to be the same level of suspicious as those who shot at us.

November 25th



The next night, police shoot more marker rounds after a few militants throw bricks at the precinct’s windows.

November 26th

Thousands gather for Thanksgiving and share food at the precinct. Things were mostly chill during the day, except for a couple of people booing at a couple of cops attempting to step out for a photo op. The people booing were swiftly denounced by “good” protestors for being “violent.” Even a pathetic chant of “No justice, no peace, prosecute the police” is shouted down. Later that night, after most people have left, Black Lives Matter issues new rules of conduct for the occupation are hammered out in a closed meeting before announcing them on Facebook. People at the occupation are not allowed to engage the police nor in “gang activities,” and any form of violence or property destruction is prohibited. All attempts at policing from the organizations have been crystallized in these rules.

November 27th



In South Minneapolis, several dozen march in a solidarity demonstration with the Northside uprising. A sound truck blasting anti-police hip hop followed the group the length of a major commercial artery during rush hour on Black Friday. The reception on the street was of enthusiastic support. Everyone was excited to take one of the 600 handouts that was written to explain the march, and many joined a long the way. While small, this is the first autonomous demonstration throughout this entire saga. The domination of street actions by non-profits and their ilk lead many to be suspicious of a call-out that does not have the name of an organizing body attached. This demonstration could hopefully be step towards the proliferation of autonomous actions that render the supposed leadership irrelevant.

11990634_180933208924450_7118616624101301562_nUnfortunately, back on the Northside, the organizations fill the days with meetings and workshops. Their constant presence is at least partially to ensure the implementation of their new rules. The next several days are fairly calm.

November 30th

The Mayor, along with city officials and others—including politicians who were close to the leadership—called for the occupation to end. This laid the political groundwork for an impending eviction, rumors of which began cropping up that evening. This night, the police started to make motions of a staging for an eviction, which caused folks to make an emergency call to fill up the space with bodies. Likely a false alarm, or the cops crying wolf to make sure people are exhausted for the real eviction, nothing happened.

December 2nd

It was a somber night at the camp, with most people knowing that the raid would happen soon. Like the days before, there had been rumors swirling the camp for days that the cops were going to evict the camp the night of the 2nd, although as the night went on, they became more and more credible. Some fiery literature was distributed to hopefully raise some of that fighting spirit that had been such a force a couple of weeks earlier. The icy-grip of the “leadership” was total, as the message around the camp was “We stand together, we stand in peace.” Close to 4am, as is typical, the police moved in and quickly destroyed the occupation and made several arrests. Everyone was released shortly after.

23385209192_c66fc6d387_k

 

Dispatches From Minneapolis Vol. 1

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota


#JamesAndPlymouth, then #Justice4Jamar, have joined the numerous hashtags that spread across the globe in response to yet another police shooting. James & Plymouth references the intersection by which Jamar Clark was shot in the head by the police, which occurred while he was handcuffed according to witnesses.

The shooting took place on Plymouth Ave in North Minneapolis, a predominantly black neighborhood of the city. In 1967, Plymouth Ave was the scene of a so-called race riot, where black insurgents battled police for multiple nights as they looted and burned stores. In 2002, another police shooting set off a riot in North Minneapolis when residents attacked police and burned media vehicles at the scene. Earlier this year it was designated as a federal “promise zone” which is aimed at spurring economic development, one of eleven in the country. Also on this list is St. Louis County.

November 15th

After a press conference from the NAACP, people gathered at the intersection of James & Plymouth for a march. Several activists were speaking in front of the crowd and media. Before long, people held hands and stood blocking the street on both ends of the block. This was declared to be a “no cop zone,” although only symbolically. After some chanting, we started marching west toward the nearby MPD precinct. Once there, again speakers addressed the crowd. At one point, a brick was hurled at the building.

As the sun set, people discussed what to do next. Some were very adamant about marching to some event nearby where the Mayor and Police Chief would be. Others intended to stay at the precinct, supposedly to pressure the officers inside to do something. Both occurred, some marched to the Mayor while the rest set up a makeshift camp in the vestibule of the precinct. Late into the night, a side entrance to the building was also blocked while people threw bottles at police and sabotaged their vehicles.

CT6oXKZU8AA-YRN.jpg_largeThroughout these actions, organizers make fairly constant reference to their actions as being done by “the community.” However, even putting aside the myth of the community, there is an important distinction between the people who live in the neighborhood where these actions have taken place and the people participating in many of the actions. Using the language of “the community” erases this distinction. Many people who ostensibly lived in the area were unhappy with the arrival of the activists groups on their block. On the first day alone, residents interrupted the rally several times, telling off the activists who show up for the cameras. This dynamic continued in the next days.

November 16th

To the surprise of many, those camped in the precinct’s vestibule were not arrested or evicted by the police. In fact, the occupation grew, with tents and a fire pit sprouting up throughout the day. It began to take on a familiar “Occupy” atmosphere.

In the evening, people once again marched, this time to the freeway. 94W was blocked for over an hour, as police facilitated drivers stuck in traffic onto the closest exit. One driver plowed through the crowd, which resulted in a short brawl between angry protesters and the police trying to protect the vehicle. Eventually the police gave a final warning to those blocking the freeway and those not comfortable with offering themselves up for arrest left. A spontaneous march then took place, back to the occupied precinct.

IMG_2427Even given the impromptu and unorganized nature of the late march, Black Lives Matter marshals remained in control. Directing traffic, regulating how many lanes we were allowed to take up; ensuring everyone’s safety, as they might put it. These protest marshals have been a constant feature of actions put on by Black Lives Matter and other affiliated organizations, and most of the time can be recognized by their yellow vests. As the Conflict MN blog has pointed out already, these marshals act as an extension of the police, even if they don’t quite realize it.

So in this way, these activist groups are policing the neighborhood in a way that the uniformed cops were unable to do. By initiating all calls for action, they can also contain the actions. Without them, the police would have to deal with the unpredictable activity of those angered by the shooting, and have nothing but brute force to handle it.

Late into the night, Jamar Clark was taken off of life-support, and announced dead.

November 17th

Anticipating potential anger over the announcement of Jamar’s death, Black Lives Matter called for “healing spaces” at the precinct on Tuesday night

November 18th

Early in the afternoon,a SWAT team raided the occupation of the MPD precinct’s vestibule. For the next several hours, the occupiers and their supporters rallied in front of the station that was now blocked off by police. The scandal, according to many activists, was that this raid took place while the Mayor was meeting with the so-called “leaders” of the protest. The problem here is twofold: we must not negotiate in any way with those in power, and we must not put anyone in a leadership position to do so. There should be no interest in meeting with the Mayor, nor should the absence of select individuals be debilitating to an action.

People began to surround the building and blockade all entrances the precinct. As the night progressed, police attempted to regain ground by making sudden charges only to retreat just as quickly. These maneuvers often included mace and marker rounds, and prompted objects to be thrown from the crowd, although just as many felt obligated to deride their fellow demonstrators with chants of “peaceful protest.” Large tarps were fixed to the fences at the side entrances in order to block the view of the police as well as impede their less lethal weapons.

It’s notable that the building has not always housed the MPD precinct. This would explain it’s vulnerabilities, the relative ease with which the station was occupied and blockaded. One side of the precinct did not even have a single surveillance camera, which was made up for by a mobile camera tower erected earlier during the occupation. This camera was eventually toppled and used to barricade the closest entrance.

This seemed to provoke more marker rounds being fired at the crowd, which was met in turn with more bottles and rocks. Pleas for peace went ignored as bricks were broken up and hurled over the fence at the cops. A dumpster from the alley was dragged out but too wet from the rain to ignite. The street fighting continued over an hour, as people threw bricks while ducking behind cars to dodge the rounds fired by the police. As the crowd thinned out, multiple molotov cocktails were launched at the cops.

Very quickly, many activists laid the blame on “white anarchists” for the violence, something the police picked up on the next day. This denies the fact that many people who fought the police were black, and whose political affiliations could not easily be determined. Most militants appeared to be from the neighborhood, unlike the activists telling them what is or isn’t acceptable forms of resistance.

November 19th

The occupation of the precinct’s lawn continued to grow, with a couple hundred gathering in response to Black Lives Matter’s call for a mass occupation in the evening. People gathered around fire-pits, handed out donated pizzas, as well as warm clothing. As tempting as it would be to call it an autonomous space, the reality was that even with the boys in blue idling behind the barricades, it was still densely policed by activists and the abundance of cameras. Several elected officials were invited and spoke to the crowd, hoping to soothe any rebellious tensions.

They were not entirely successful, as the precinct was decorated by multiple graffiti writers. The police responded by shooting more marker rounds into the occupation. Two men were later arrested, accused of being the vandals (more info to come on legal support.)

CUOpvA7UwAAXKQ2.jpg_largeAs the activist groups struggle to regain control of the movement, it’s clear that their legitimacy has been irreparably damaged in the eyes of those interested in fighting against the systems of oppression. Nothing is over.

On Throwing Rocks, or Thoughts on the Demonstration at the 4th Precinct in Minneapolis, Minnesota on 11/18

Anonymous Submission to Conflict Minnesota


“[T]he time of passive resistance has ended, that nonviolence was a useless strategy and could never overturn a white majority regime bent on retaining its power at any cost” – Nelson Mandala

“Y’all are some singers. Y’all are just like them, you’re all cops.” – A man at Sunday’s demonstration at the 4th Precinct.

As the cloud of mace lifted, the same calls for “peaceful protest!”—converted later into a chant—were heard above the thronging panicked crowd. Indignant rants of fury against violence would follow. But what does this righteous rage against “undeserved violence” and “unaccountable police work” presuppose? That there is deserved violence and accountable police work. What does this accountable, correct use of violence look like for a police force tasked with protecting the given distribution of power in a country like the United States, a country founded on the violence of dispossession and slavery; a country kept alive by vicious colonial expansion abroad and precise mechanisms of internalized normality at home? We got to see both sides of this power operation last night when the essential violence of the cops was met with the injunction to be peaceful by many of the protesters.

But who defines what “violence” is? And who decided that being “peaceful” was not only the best strategy, but the only possible one? In short, the cops did, but the cops conceived as a mechanism. The police are really nothing other than a mechanism for neutralizing threats to the state’s monopoly on violence, a monopoly that includes the authority to define it. Hence the activists’ repeated claims that they can police their neighborhoods. They’re right, and in this sense, the angry man at Sunday’s demonstration was entirely correct. The consequences of this “community policing” became immediately obvious when they physically excluded his body and voice by forming a circle and singing over him.

Let us not forget COINTELPRO’s expressed aims in the 60’s: “Prevent violence on the part of black nationalist groups. This is of primary importance.” And what was their fear concerning a so-called “black messiah?” That he “abandon his ‘obedience’ to ‘white, liberal doctrines’ (nonviolence).” Thus, when protesters, and especially the activists, declare their own righteous peaceful purity, they do so only by excluding the hooded ones near the back who chose to throw water bottles, stones, bricks, and trash cans at the police macing us. Is it really surprising that, after the cops clearly retreated while being pelted with stones, the activists still present the self-congratulatory and yet self-victimizing image of the pacifist protester? When activists make calls to “prosecute the police” and to “have black cops in our neighborhoods,” they are merely expressing rage at the most flamboyant aspects of a fluid power dynamic that systematically colonizes abroad and at home. They just want to pretty it up. As a 16 year old yelled at the black cop who came to replace a white cop: “fuck you too, you can go home as well.”

When activists declare that the stone throwing was merely a reaction to the violence of the police and assure the media that it was quickly quelled, they rob the event of it’s plurality and exclude those “who don’t get it,” who “were raised differently,” or who “strongly reacted.” It doesn’t matter what race the person is saying it is, this is colonial logic that de facto excludes any form of resistance that doesn’t appeal to the police, the state, and the media. It implicitly, through its own violent exclusion of the resistance of others, supports the world as it is. It is reactionary. ”In its simplest form this nonviolence signifies to the intellectual and economic elite of the colonized country that the bourgeoisie has the same interests as they.” (Frantz Fanon) And when they declare that this violence will only provoke the police into attacking us (or even imply that those hit with marking bullets brought it upon themselves) this legitimizes the violence of the police, while delegitimizing the violence of the kids throwing bottles. Thus, again, activists show themselves to be doing the work of the police.

What is forgotten every time a well-meaning activist calls for peace in the face of rock throwing at a demonstration is that they are deciding, again, that they are the ones who get to define what violence is and where it begins. For them, disrupting a highway is not violence, but throwing a bottle is violence; blocking police inside their station (physically stopping bodies’ ability to move) is nonviolent, whereas slashing tires is violent; and, of course, physically and verbally excluding those who have a different idea of what violence is, in the most spectacular reversal yet, not violence, but telling a cop you’ll “beat his ass right now” is violent. Later, the activists play hero because of their own “bravery in the face of arrest or police violence” while again imploring those who also took risks by throwing stones (but perhaps didn’t want to throw their bodies into an ineffective gesture), to “stop their violence.” Again, the enlightened elite –the religious leaders, activists, and intellectuals- both black and white, know what’s best for people who just don’t understand what needs to happen. They don’t get it that their real solution won’t come from self-determined revolt, but from [Insert here: Appeals to the media/Peaceful demonstration/Socialism/Anarchism/Pan-Africanism/martyrdom].

This is not a call for unrestrained and random violence. This is not a call from a hardened militant. This is a call to respect the diversity of tactics, and the self-determinate violence that already exists on the streets, to the shame of the professional activists. This is a call for plurality and coordination in a decisive time.

– Someone standing in the back

Report Back From Solidarity Rally For Arrested Anarchists in Spain

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota

photoA small unruly crowd gathered in front of the Minneapolis Police Department with a banner that read “Shoulder To Shoulder Against Repression / Solidaridad con lxs Anarquistxs.” Flyers were distributed to people and cars passing by that explained the situation in Spain [see text below.] We then briefly marched through one of the centers of capital before dispersing without arrests. Many expressed support for the demonstration. This was a small act of solidarity where this form of resistance is quite rare. To all of our comrades facing repression—you are not alone!

solidaridad

What It Means to ‘Hit Them Where it Hurts’

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota

sp4Twice this summer, the Metro Transit Police Department has come under fire (figuratively) for so-called excessive force. The latest incident involves a black teenager with autism being given multiple seizures by cops. On the morning of Sunday the 20th, dozens gathered to protest this act of police brutality by shutting down the light rail. The shut down—timed to interrupt people traveling to the opening game of the Vikings—is the latest in a series of seemingly militant actions to emerge from the Twin Cities-area Black Lives Matter movement. Yet, like the rest, ended up being more media spectacle than substantive action.

Police preparing to escort the march.
sp2
SPPD vehicle with attached speaker (not an LRAD, see below.)

The march route, from Lexington Parkway to the St. Paul Police Western District building and back, had been pre-disclosed to the police in order to ensure, supposedly, people’s safety. This is quite similar to another action earlier this month aimed at disrupting the Minnesota State Fair:

City officials said at a news conference Friday that an “open line” of communication is in place between police and protest organizers and that they shared an expectation that the demonstration would unfold safely, leaving no reason for the public to stay away” (Corporate news)

It certainly begs the question why no one should stay away if the purpose is to disrupt the fair, but we know better than that. The purpose is to draw attention to their issues, and their organizations. Under the veil of militant disruption, often said to be “hitting them where it hurts,” these groups obtain their desired media coverage without any actual hindrance to the system’s functioning. As the corporate media summarizes:

Metro Transit replaced the shut down light rail lines with buses between [the affected] stations. Staff from Metro Transit were on hand to direct customers.
“It is very similar to what would take place during a mechanical failure that might cause a delay, a car stuck on our tracks or some other disruption,” said Metro Transit spokesperson Howie Padilla.

Close-up of the white supremacists. The one on the left is named BC Johnson, the organizer of the Confederate Flag rally at the capital earlier this month.
Close-up of the white supremacists. The one in the middle’s name in Jason Thomas. The one on the right’s name is BC Johnson, who organized a cancelled Confederate Flag rally at the capital earlier this month.

Organizers also attempted to prevent conflict between the crowd and a handful of white supremacists—politely called Three Percenters—that seemed very upset about missing the Vikings game. While one of their flags did end up disappearing, the tactics of the organizers succeeded in disempowering people from being able to concisely handle them. These tactics included the verbal berating of those who moved to confront them, and in some cases using their bodies to physically protect the white supremacists when people got too close. This is likely not because they cared for the well-being of racists, but because an escalating situation means that they lose control of it. The more peaceful and passive people are, the more the organizers maintain control, and by extension, so do the police.

SPPD in an unmarked car trailing the march, while the white supremacists run to catch up.
Metro Transit police in an unmarked car trailing the march, while the white supremacists run to catch up.

This model; a model of demands, media coverage, raising consciousness, and making them listen to us, is presented as our only option. It has practically monopolized the entire local terrain of struggle. The following text is from a flyer distributed along the march (adapted from It’s Going Down) that so succinctly clarifies the flaws in this model of protest:

IF I DIE IN POLICE CUSTODY BURN EVERYTHING DOWN

Since the uprising in Ferguson, everything has both changed and remained the same. While activists praise their efforts to change the conversation and perhaps achieve the implementation of certain reforms—body cameras come to mind—the functioning of white supremacy continues on, unrelenting. Over 1,100 people have been killed by police in the United States since Mike Brown.

After the rebellions that erupted in Ferguson, and then in Baltimore, the non-profits and their bureaucrats have been forced to adapt to the changing climate of militancy in the streets. For them, however, revolt becomes a means of winning the same useless reforms as before. Indict the killer cop, or else. Pass this civil rights law, or else. But we see a world beyond that. There is nothing those in power can offer us that will truly solve our problems, and every demand only reinforces their control.

When people revolt in the streets, they are directly attacking what brings misery to their lives: the police that harass, arrest, and in all likelihood will shoot them, the businesses that force them to work to survive under capitalism. They block highways, trains, and streets; the material systems that facilitate the domination of our lives.

We don’t do this to force the hand of our oppressors, we do this to find an escape from oppression entirely. But we must learn to sustain ourselves without relying on the very systems we attack. Across the world, people have liberated space, such as houses, gardens, squares or entire territories. In the squats of Athens and the fields of the ZAD, in Tahrir Square and the Mi’kmaq Blockade, rebels are finding ways to build a life worth living.

“Wherever the economy functions, it is impossible for us to determine our lives for ourselves.

The value of the blockade isn’t found in the message it sends, but rather in the direct ways it blocks the machinations of capital and makes space for our own activity.”

 

Update: A contributor submitted this photo confirming that the speaker attached to the SPPD vehicle was not an LRAD.

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