Sunday, April 11, 2010

Solidarity and Repression in Seattle Anti-Police Protest

Infoshop News April 9, 2010

Cops Take Prisoners, How Will We Respond?
A description of the protest, and then a look at the questions of
isolation and solidarity we are faced with...

Passion for Freedom vs. Bike Cops

Today, Friday April 9, about 80 people came together at Seattle Central
Community College to protest the police and stand in solidarity with those
arrested for fighting back. Anarchists had published a call-out for West
Coast days of action on April 8 and 9 in support of the struggles in
Portland and the Bay Area that erupted after recent police killings ( ), and folks in Seattle responded
by organizing this protest.

In the days leading up to the protest, hundreds of posters, stickers, and
flyers were put up or handed out around the center of the city,
criticizing the violent role of the police in our society and urging
people to come out to the march.

The protest, which included a small black bloc, a marching band, a group
of homeless youth activists, and others, marched through the Central
District/Capital Hill area. On the way to the police precinct, people took
the streets, though after a little more than a block, bike cops and horse
cops responded to shove people back onTO the sidewalk.

In the meantime, thousands of flyers, with a variety of texts, were handed
out, eliciting an appreciative "fuck the police!" from many passersby.
Some of the flyers presented an anarchist critique of police and social
control and argued for the abolition of police, prisons, and the
government; another, entitled "Some People Shoot Back," was a text about
Christopher Monfort, who is facing trial and a probablE death penalty
after being arrested for firebombing four police vehicles and shooting and
killing a Seattle-area cop in an ambush, after police were caught on tape
brutally beating a 15 year old girl in a detention facility.

Because of that and another cop killing that occurred around the same
time, Seattle media have been able to present the police as victims, in an
effort to stir public sympathy for our enemies in blue. Some people were
initially confused to see a protest against the police, but the texts,
signs, chants, and the presence of the people there all communicated that
they are not our heroes, but our enemies, and their violence against us is
a daily fact.

Some confusion arose within the march as many people looked to the black
bloc to lead the way, a role the anarchists refused, so after marching
most of the way to the police precinct, people changed direction to return
to a busier commercial area.

People continued seizing the streets whenever the opportunity presented
itself, leading to further scuffles with cops. At several points, people
rolled dumpsters into cops to push them back. On the last of these
occasions, bike cops moved in to make targeted arrests, seizing at least
three people, one of whom they appeared to knock unconscious. After trying
to stop the arrests, and then shouting against the police and in support
of those arrested, the remainder of the march returned to the starting
point and marched down Broadway before dispersing.

Isolation vs. Solidarity

The riots after the killings in Oakland and Portland have been sparks of
life. We are struggling every day against the misery and the blackmails of
capitalism, and when the defenders of Capital kill, our struggle will
flare up, and we will strike back. The West Coast days of action were an
attempt to overcome the isolation, the limitations to solidarity, imposed
on us in the US. They have been an attempt to broaden the struggle, and to
keep coming back to the streets for those who have been arrested, until
everyone is free.

Repression is a strategy of encirclement, of isolation, that we need to
expand beyond. Hearing about the arrests of anarchists in Olympia on April
8, and seeing the strong police reaction in Seattle, we think the State is
trying to stop our wave of solidarity from spreading, to make us feel
weak, to attack connections being made between police violence in one city
and in another, so that people do not see the State as a common enemy but
think in terms of bad apples, complaint forms, better oversight.

Solidarity continues only by growing. The arrests are a hostage-taking, a
collective punishment. The purpose is to make us feel weak, to doubt the
value of fighting back, and to turn our efforts inward, by trying to
support them and nothing more. And hopefully we will support them, but by
turning outward, by continuing to come back to the streets, by breaking
out of the encirclement of repression, by letting all those bystanders who
sympathized with us know that people are in cages for doing the right

The people who end up doing most of the jail and legal support work
deserve our appreciation, but what are the rest of us doing? Solidarity
cannot be a specialized activity.

Arrested people should take whatever trial strategies they choose,
including asserting their innocence, but our solidarity cannot reproduce
the logic of legality.
*It's right to fight back against the police.
*The only reason society finds out about these murders, the only time
individual cops are punished, is when we fight back.
*No one should ever be kept in a cage.
If we shout these things at the top of our lungs, if we talk about these
ideas with everyone we can, what will happen?

In struggle,
an anarchist


No comments: