Saturday, July 24, 2010

Farewell from the Midnight Special Collective

A closing letter from the Midnight Special Law Collective

Thursday Jul 22nd, 2010 Posted to

Dear Friends,

Midnight Special has been engaging in months of discussion and critical
analysis about the role of law collectives, both amongst ourselves and
with other members of the law collective movement. We have also been
looking at our own internal process as an anti-authoritarian collective.
We have reached various conclusions: that we have been unable to break out
of the service provider model; that we are dissatisfied with jumping from
action to action, and leaving little infrastructure behind; that we often
emulate the oppressive structures we seek to change; and that these
problems are much harder to solve than we had believed.

Our final conclusion is that, because of the state of the movement and
ourselves, Midnight Special will not be able to overcome those challenges.
So it is with sadness and hope that we write to you today. After 10 years
of work, we, the members of the Midnight Special Law Collective, are
closing our doors.

We have mixed feelings about ending the collective. On the one hand, we
have achieved so much over the last decade. We trained hundreds of people
how to legal observe and thousands more how to use their rights to (more)
safely agitate for social change. We provided legal support for some of
the most significant protests of the last 10 years, from the
anti-globalization demonstrations at the end of the Clinton administration
to the anti-war protests of the Bush years to the protests against the
financial and political bullying of the G8/G20 today. We are proud of the
work we have done the the relationships that we have formed with you all
over the years.

Frequently, Midnight Special has been called upon to travel and help out
with radical legal support. While we are honored that the work we do is
appreciated, we have found that other collectives and people doing similar
work are overlooked, and their opinions are not heard. We recognized back
in the year 2000 that it was crucial for us to spread our knowledge.
Unfortunately, we were always better at supporting others than in
organizing others to support themselves. Additionally, we have created an
internal collective dynamic that validates macho behavior and has been
unable to seriously address issues of gender and power within the
collective. After many months of trying, we have not made meaningful
progress in resolving these dynamics. That failure is what ultimately led
to the demise of our collective. We state it here to encourage other
political groups to take anti-oppression issues seriously.

While ending a 10 year project is never easy, this does create
opportunities that did not exist before. We are now free to use what we've
learned through Midnight Special in other work for social justice. We hope
that the lessons we have learned about anti-oppression will be taken up by
other projects and organizations, and into our future work. Each of us
continues to believe that the movement still needs democratic and
accountable legal support, for everyone who protests for social justice.
Your support, as much as our work, has made that possible, and we are
excited to see how legal support will grow from here. Thank you.

Yours in struggle,

The Midnight Special Law Collective

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