[OMG WTF] APOC ~versus~ CrimethInc [TL;DR]

From the Department of More Compelling Arguments for the Enslavement of All White Liberals & Why Isn’t The Left Talking About This?

APOC is an acronym. APOC is Asia-Pacific Optical and Wireless Communications Conference Association of Postal Officials of Canada Anarchist / Anti-authoritarian / Autonomous People of Color (see also : APOC, the roof restoration experts provide… products and information for contractors, building owners, facility managers, consultants, and specifiers.)

‘Anarchist People of Color’ has its origins in late 2000, when a ‘People of Color Caucus’ formed within the Anarchist Black Cross Federation. (Note that the ABCF continues to produce an excellent quarterly, available for download from their site.) Then in early 2001 a bloke called Ernesto Aguilar established a site (illegalvoices.org) and email list specifically for the use of anarchist people of colo(u)r, and later that year (October 2001) the Houston ABCF resigned from the ABCF and the ABCF ‘People of Color Caucus’ dissolved itself into APOC. The APOC site died several years later (2006), but before it sailed off into the ether, APOC also organised a coupla conferences in Detroit, Michigan in October 2003 and in Houston, Texas in March 2006. During this period, APOC also organised a number of other, regional conferences, events and projects, published agitprop, and done all the other stuff what forms a routine part of political activism.

APOC had its first shit-storm at its first conference, which pitted the ‘Black Autonomy Network of Community Organizers’ (BANCCO) against another mob. (BANCO still exists, apparently.) BANC(C)O was also preceded by a very similar mob known as AANCO — the ‘Anti-Authoritarian Network of Community Organizers’ (see : ‘Poor People’s Survival Movement: Community Organizers Call For A Real War On Poverty’, Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin, Black Fist, No.9, 1995). I dunno if there’s been any reconciliation since then, but to the extent that the issues raised were important, and unresolved, they will no doubt arise again at some point in the future.

Following the departure of Ernesto and (it seems) a range of others, APOC was resurrected in June 2007 as illvox. “Illvox.org does not replace illegalvoices.org and is not affiliated with APOC. It is intended to provide access to documents for/by/of this important anti-authoritarian tendency, and to support discussion.” Despite this disavowal, illvox, in re-publishing the contents of illegalvoices — including two ace books, African Anarchism: The History of A Movement by Sam Mbah and I.E. Igariwey (See Sharp Press, 1997) and Cuban Anarchism: The History of A Movement by Frank Fernández (See Sharp, 2001), as well as scores of useful essays — and re-branding itself ‘Anarchist People of Color (APOC)’ suggests that it — the site, those who maintain it and those associated with it — retains a strong, if informal, relationship to APOC in its original iteration.

Of course, the term ‘APOC’ may be applied to a variety of ventures and, insofar as ‘APOC’ consists of or refers to a network of groups and individuals spanning a country the size of the US, is is impossible to attribute any one action or event to ‘APOC’ as a whole. Further, any action by ‘APOC’ (or claimed on its behalf) raises questions of re-presentation and accountability: questions not peculiar to ‘APOC’ as a political project, but of relevance to any mode of political organisation and social movement, of whatever flavour.

Democracy, even.

Two recent, controversial actions that a number of APOC participated in were the cheekily-titled ‘Smack A White Boy I’ and ‘Smack A White Boy II: The Sequel’. The first took place in Washington in March 2009, and the sequel played in Pittsburgh last week — to (more) mixed receptions.

Identity Politics and The Politics of Identity

The impromptu screening of SAWB: The Sequel @ the CrimethInc convergence has been described as a skirmish in an ongoing ‘War of Representation’ (see the last of four accounts at About the Controversy at the CrimethInc. Convergence, Twin Cities Indymedia, August 3, 2009). Which comment brings to mind — naturally — the writings of Nancy Fraser, in particular those on the politics of representation and redistribution (see : Rethinking Recognition, New Left Review, No.3, May/June 2000).

…Once the hegemonic grammar of political contestation, the language of distribution is less salient today. The movements that not long ago boldly demanded an equitable share of resources and wealth have not, to be sure, wholly disappeared. But thanks to the sustained neoliberal rhetorical assault on egalitarianism, to the absence of any credible model of ‘feasible socialism’ and to widespread doubts about the viability of state-Keynesian social democracy in the face of globalization, their role has been greatly reduced.

We are facing, then, a new constellation in the grammar of political claims-making—and one that is disturbing on two counts. First, this move from redistribution to recognition is occurring despite—or because of—an acceleration of economic globalization, at a time when an aggressively expanding capitalism is radically exacerbating economic inequality. In this context, questions of recognition are serving less to supplement, complicate and enrich redistributive struggles than to marginalize, eclipse and displace them. I shall call this the problem of displacement. Second, today’s recognition struggles are occurring at a moment of hugely increasing transcultural interaction and communication, when accelerated migration and global media flows are hybridizing and pluralizing cultural forms. Yet the routes such struggles take often serve not to promote respectful interaction within increasingly multicultural contexts, but to drastically simplify and reify group identities. They tend, rather, to encourage separatism, intolerance and chauvinism, patriarchalism and authoritarianism. I shall call this the problem of reification

Fraser’s arguments have been taken up and responded to at length, but in the present context are germane given that, first, while lamenting the absence of social movements which place questions of the (radical, egalitarian re-)distribution of wealth and power at their centre, Fraser was writing at the time of the birth of a global movement to contest neo-liberalism;* secondly, APOC was born at approximately the same time. Fraser’s essay (and subsequent writings and the general discussion of her ideas which her writing provoked) can also be used to inform discussions of notions of ‘cultural’ — as opposed to ‘economic’ or ‘political’ — ‘appropriation’, another of the crimes for which CrimethInc, the (white) anarchist movement and whites in general come in for criticism/condemnation (hence references to “dread locked white punks”, “traveling college bros” and so on).

    *Or rather, previously, largely subterranean movements in the West began to become more vocal and their activities more frequent and widespread — resistance to ‘neoliberalism’ may also, and more accurately perhaps, be located in those movements in the ‘Third World’ which fought the imposition of ‘Structural Adjustment Programs’ upon their governments and societies during the 1970s and 1980s; the evolution of this resistance is detailed in scores of books not written by me.

Beyond this, it is also useful to view ‘identity’ as something more- or other-than self-proclamation. Rather, ‘identity’ may be understood as having a ‘social’ composition, of arising from complex interactions, both ‘personal’ and ‘political’, involving processes of ‘interpellation’ (Althusser), of ‘performance’ (Butler) and of ‘discourse’ (of course). Secondly, as Uncle Noam noted in his ‘Notes on Anarchism’, ‘A French writer, sympathetic to anarchism, wrote in the 1890s that “anarchism has a broad back, like paper it endures anything” — including, he noted those whose acts are such that “a mortal enemy of anarchism could not have done better”.’ The point is not that the use of Smack by some APOC amounts to much more than a storm in a teacup full of chai; rather, that ‘anarchism’ endures all kindsa crazy stunts, including those which emanate, seemingly, from a misplaced vanguardism. For example…

At the 1985 London Anarchist Bookfair, the very dangerous Ian Bone (Bash the Rich, Tangent Books, 2006, p.178) writes:

Having sold shitloads of Class War with Martin I took the stage at the end of the day. Well, actually, there was already someone on the stage so I had to push them off it first. Unfortunately, that person was Donald Rooum — a veteran comrade I have a lot of respect for going back to his framing by the police for intending to throw a brick at the Queen of Greece in the 1960s. However, it wasn’t really Donald I was shoving off the stage but the old anarchist movement. Drunk as fuck I declared:

You liberals and pacifists have had our movement for too long, now it’s our turn. If we haven’t reduced the place to ruins in five years you can have it back!

Quite why I wanted to reduce the venerable Conway Hall to ruins was unclear. But what the fuck. I might have paraphrased [Durruti], but the point was clear. We were on a fucking roll.

On Class War — which still ekes out an existence, despite being formally ‘dissolved’ in 1997 — see : Intakes: Death of a Paper Tiger… Reflections on Class War, Aufheben, No.6, 1998; Revolution – An Unfinished Business, Organise!, No.47, Winter 1997/1998; Smash Hits, No.2, Spring 1998; Class War is dead.. Long live the Class War (contents of and responses to the ‘final’ issue (No.73) of Class War — the CWF is currently residing at No.96).

Most of the online commentary generated by The Pittsburgh Experiment has in turn generated more heat than light, and given that the issue concerns ‘race’, ‘racism’, ‘whiteness’, ‘white supremacy’ and so on, has naturally attracted trolls like flies to shit (see : BANANAS). It also is no doubt of interest to city officials and the US police/state, especially given the fact that Pittsburgh is soon to host a gathering of the G20. Some references have been made to that phase in the history of US state counter-insurgency known as ‘COINTELPRO’ (1956–1971), and speculation regarding the involvement or encouragement of agents provocateur. There is no evidence of any such government plot, but COINTELPRO is of relevance to the extent that one of its principal aims was to destroy ‘progressive’ social movements, and one of its tactics — reasonably successful, in my view — was to engender animosity among different groups, especially where there was scope for a common/communal articulation of ‘progressive’ politics.

Gentrification (The Flava of the Month)

One of the principal justifications offered by at least one (or possibly more) of the six (seven, eight or more) individuals who participated in the performance piece in Pittsburgh was that the CrimethInc convergence assisted the gentrification of that area of the city in which it took place. This is asserted rather than demonstrated, and appears to rest on a somewhat bizarre understanding of ‘gentrification’, as well as the forces responsible for it. Another rationale for the action refers to the fact that attendance at the CrimethInc convergence was majority white, and took place in a part of Pittsburgh that isn’t. This is further extended into a critique of the political perspectives of CrimethInc as a whole, in particular “CrimethInc has been/is the breeding ground for white anarchists”. This is a problem for APOC, because white anarchists embody white supremacy.

CrimethInc has itself been subjected to various critiques (see, for example, Ken Knabb’s reflections), but one important point to remember is that, like ‘APOC’, CrimethInc resists re-presentation, at least in the sense that CrimethInc may be understood as being an ongoing project involving sometimes disparate elements; further, that the Pittsburgh convergence was open to all. CrimethInc (or rather, those responsible for maintaining a CrimethInc website) have produced a brief statement on The Pittsburgh Experiment here.

‘Anyway’, ‘whatever’ and ‘fuck this shit’ — my apathy has returned, and in conclusion: in April 2008, Harjit Singh Gill wrote In Support of APOC; in May 2008, Aragorn!, battling the torpor that comes from (over-)work, wrote down some of their thoughts on “the new-APOC tendency” in Context. It always comes down to context.

See also :

Our Culture, Our Resistance: People of Color Speak Out on Anarchism, Race, Class and Gender, First edition, published September 11, 2004, edited by Ernesto Aguilar [PDF] | Building a Non-Eurocentric Anarchism in Our Communities: Dialogue with Ashanti Alston | Camillo Berneri – Against the Racist Delirium (Originally published as El Delirio Racista, Ediciones Iman, Buenos Aires, February 1935), Robert Graham’s Anarchism Weblog, September 14, 2008 | Chapter 13: ‘Beyond The Borders’, Volume Three of Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas, Robert Graham [Forthcoming] | Chapter 10: ‘Anarchist Internationalism and Race, Imperialism, and Gender’, Michael Schmidt and Lucien van der Walt, Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism (AK Press, 2009) | Non-Western Anarchisms: Rethinking the Global Context, Jason Adams, 2003 [PDF]…

Anarchism : an ideology for fuckwits, bums & lowlifes : Part the 2nd (June 21, 2009) | White With Fear : Flagging A New Hate (June 11, 2009) | The assault on American Indian tribal relationships… (May 31, 2009) | The Invention of the White Race (May 29, 2009) | Anarchism and Aboriginal sovereignty (June 16, 2008) | Anarchy 102 : Race (April 10, 2007)…

Bonus!


Use Of ‘N-Word’ May End Porn Star’s Career

Added Bonus!

Extra Added Bonus!


About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2020 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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14 Responses to [OMG WTF] APOC ~versus~ CrimethInc [TL;DR]

  1. Aragorn! says:

    Good writeup, especially given how far away from the action you are…

    It probably would be a good secondary article to talk about the different apoc-style groups from around the US, RACE, Houston APOC, NYC APOC, RAC, Philly APOC, etc.

    A!

  2. @ndy says:

    Thanks Aragorn!,

    Yeah, a supplementary would be neat-o. As for being far away — not true! I work for ZOG, and ZOG is e v e r y w h e r e.

    PS. Is there any possibility of AJODA establishing an online archive? The zine has published lotsa great stuff, but unfortunately not much of it appears to be available online.

  3. @ndy says:

    PPS. Roger White, Post Colonial Anarchism: Essays on race, repression and culture in communities of color, 1999-2004, Jailbreak Press [PDF].

  4. @ndy says:

    Let’s Keep Building it From Below

    Several actions and communiqués that have been coming out of APOC groups in the U.S. have focused on calling out, intervening in, or interrupting actions put on by the white left. We don’t think this is a great idea: not because we don’t think white radicals need to be called out for racist tendencies (we have many opinions on what the best way to do this is, and who the best people to do it are), but because we think doing so totally overlooks some far more important things APOC formations should be addressing.

    Our main point is: APOC movement can’t be about white people, and affecting the behavior of white radicals shouldn’t be the first thing on our to-do list. Instead, we think APOCistas should concentrate on building anarchist movement within oppressed communities of color as our primary task. The needs and desires of communities of color should be our main focus, and any attempt to change the white left should follow from there.

    We think the fact that APOC groups have taken more visible action against elements of the white left than action in, with and for broader communities of color tells us something important. It tells us that anarchist people of color have yet to prioritize embedding themselves in communities of color, doing base-building work and growing organizations and networks there, and mobilizing from them.

    Why do we think this? Because odds are, even the least politicized person of color on your block could tell you that white anarchists are far less dangerous to them than cops, the border patrol, or their landlord. After all, racism in anarchist milieus is merely a reflection of the much broader white supremacy that pervades our society. If we really care about destroying white supremacy, there are far more strategic locations to attack–like prisons, the school system, police, the border regime, vigilante groups, and so on. These institutions reproduce and enforce race and racism way more than CrimethInc or ANSWER ever could. To attack the latter is at best an ineffective use of our limited numbers, energy and resources; at worst, it divides anarchist movement with ineffective yelling matches while ignoring the bigger racist power structure that kills our people every day. How does the phrase go? We’re “missing the forest for the trees”?

    Besides, even if we succeeded in pushing the white left in anti-racist directions, this would at best create a pool of white anti-racist support for communities of color–it wouldn’t do much, in and of itself, to build self-activity in those communities. Either that, or it creates defensiveness and white guilt, none of which are going to create power among the working classes, of any color. If we believe that people of color are the subjects of their own liberation, that only people of color can liberate themselves, then we know even our white anti-racist white comrades can’t do that work on our behalf. We have to do it with our own people.

    So why are we spending our energy calling out and attacking one sector of an isolated left? Are we really listening to, and in dialogue with, broader communities of color, or just acting out our righteous anger for ourselves? Are we paying attention to the daily struggles and immediate needs of the people of color around us, and prioritizing our actions accordingly? No doubt, it’s easier to attack white privileged radicals, who don’t control state power, than to spend huge amounts of time and energy building in communities of color to attack a truly terrifying settler-state that has all kinds of oppressive machinery at its disposal. But if APOC movement is to be anything more than a nagging conscience for white radicals, and if it is to build movement through which communities of color can liberate themselves, then this is exactly what we’ve got to do.

    Maybe we’re being unfair to APOC comrades who’ve taken action recently to unveil racist tendencies in the white left. From a distance, it’s hard to tell what all the organizing projects are in a given location, and the speed with which they’re developing. It surely takes time to build in communities to the point where we can take action there as APOC–especially if we didn’t already grow up in the places in which we’re trying to organize now, which is the case with many of us. But surely we can think of ways to effectively call out racism in anarchist circles that require less of our energy–like writing sharply-worded emails or dialoguing with our white anti-racist comrades to transform their own scenes.

    We hope that, as we called for years ago, we can continue to build APOC movement from below, and that a year from now, APOC movement will look very different. We hope to see fewer actions in which a few isolated anarchists of color call out their fellow radicals for reflecting the machine of white supremacy, and more actions in which broad anarchist bases in communities of color strike the machine itself. We hope to see fewer interventions in protest marches, and more direct expropriation of land and resources for our communities. Fewer declarative emails to dispersed anarchist networks, and more inspiring fliers in communities of color. Less listening and reacting to the white left, and more listening and responding to the needs and desires of our own people.

    All Power Through The People!
    Elliott Liu, NYC
    Harjit Singh Gill, Oakland

  5. @ndy says:

    peter p said,
    August 4, 2009 @ 3:27 pm

    It took me awhile to put this together, but here is my account and response:

    APOC Caucus

    I attended the caucus this year, and had been a part of the APOC caucuses at both the Athens 07 and the Milwaukee 08 CrimethInc. Convergence. Like many of the organizing volunteers that year, I had been distracted from the convergence by dramatic dynamics in my personal life and the anxiety of having such a large gathering in a city. I had originally made the call for an APOC caucus, and put it on the workshop schedule. Sistah Souljah approached me about changing the time to something that would work better for their schedule, and I agreed. They moved it to the end of the day on Friday.

    When the time came around for the caucus, I was overcome with all of the things I wanted to talk about. I was looking forward to the opportunity to discuss things with my peers-of-color, and had rushed to eat some food before dinner, should the discussion run late. I missed the first few minutes of the meeting because of that, and had missed the agenda discussion. When I arrived at the circle with a companion and fellow organizer, the group was sitting in a circle listening to Otto read a statement from the gentrification workshop that had gone on earlier in the convergence. After they were done, a report of the entire discussion was passed around, each member of the caucus was expected to read part of the dialogue. Essentially, we reenacted the conversation that happened during the gentrification workshop. Every time someone read something that someone had said that had implications of socialized racism, a few members of the caucus would scoff or chuckle. At first, I felt like people were taking the opportunity to decompress, but I slowly began to feel as if certain members of the circle were trying to stimulate this sort of response. I was frustrated that we were spending so much time accelerating our frustration with the whiteness of the space, and no time discussing how it was affecting us and especially take advantage of having a safe place to do that within the caucus. I tried to take a time out from the reading to ask if everyone wanted to use this time to discuss this. Otto shook their head assertively, saying that the group had already came to that decision. I looked around and didn’t see anyone that looked particularly excited about reading Otto’s gentrification notes for the entire caucus, and shortly there after people started sharing their experience. Several people broke down to explain how isolating the space had been. Otto attempted to characterize CrimethInc. as a force of white supremacy in the way they depicted the Rolling Thunder project. I’m assuming that they didn’t know that two APOCers in the circle work on that project regularly. My opportunity to open up and discuss things I had been holding on to for months, waiting for this particular group of friends and acquaintances to ask for help sorting out things that had been going on for me in my life as an anarchist. The caucus broke for dinner. I didn’t return to the second half, I didn’t feel like I had the space to make proposals to the agenda. It was clear that some of the APOCers present had an agenda of their own.

    The Disruption

    Screaming began in the back of the room. It was timely; the open-mic style Cabaret had just ended its roster and the floor was opened for anyone who wanted the space. My ears heard the language from the open letter, and I knew it had something to do with the APOC caucus that had happened earlier in the day. When I turned to look at who was doing all the screaming, my heart sunk. Thinking it was a skit prepared by some of the tearful APOC caucus-goers, I thought to myself: “Finally! Something prepared and practiced to call this shit out.” Then I saw Jordan.

    I had come to appreciate Jordan’s attitude during APOC conversations that we had shared and caucused. Last year, In Milwaukee, Jordan swore to never attend another CrimethInc. Convergence, or anything else organized by white, able-bodied, cis-gendered, males again. I respected Jordan’s decision then, and felt empowered knowing that one could continue to be an anarchist and not have to be subjected to the socializations and out-right oppression that linger and evolve in anarchist spaces. I felt empowered knowing that one could do that; when they lost their patience, if it hurt them to go on forgiving ignorance and oppression, if they were hurt irreconcilably – knowing that there was a back door I could jump through should the time come when I just can’t take it anymore, when what I perceive as being good reasons to organize with other anarchists and attempt to work out our differences and privileges in the process aren’t worth the isolation of experience, the loneliness. Most of all, I took strength in knowing that I could walk away from that shallow space forever and be well-adjusted, and find an environment where people understood the privileges they had and didn’t have, and which ones I have and don’t have and work with them. When I saw Jordan screaming: “GET THE FUCK OUT, THIS IS NOT A JOKE. WE DON’T WANT YOU HERE!” in their full-bodied windsuit and sunglasses and gloves, I knew the myth of the “well-adjusted” abstinence [J]ordan spoke of was gone. It was only a year after I heard that oath, and there they were, unable to move on. Still a stuck, bitter reactionary.

    I looked around at people[‘]s faces – white faces – confused, and uncomfortable. I felt like there was a spotlight on me. Every time the disruptors shouted “APOC”, I felt like I was somehow implicated in the action for announcing the APOC caucus earlier that week, for returning from it earlier that day frustrated and confiding in my friends about it. So I stood up and left the room. I think that I was one of the first people to leave the room – it only took me about 30 seconds to piece everything together.

    I left the room. I knew that they were there to carry something out, whatever it was, and I didn’t want to be responsible for ending[?].

    I pulled myself together about 20 minutes later and walked back into the building to see chaos. Personal items were scattered everywhere, medicine bottles rolling on the floor. I walked past people crying, drinking rescue remedy out of the bottle. The space looked like it had been raided. When I entered the main hall, where the disruption began, I could see that the same rhetoric was being presented. Nothing had changed since I had left besides the atmosphere of the space. I walked around and asked the people that I knew who were involved in the action why they felt like an eviction was direct action, why they hadn’t asked me to participate, whether or not they had considered how their action was affecting the APOC present and participating in the convergence, whether or not they had considered their action as a breach of my consent – as they hadn’t included me because they knew I would have had reservations; is that really how anarchists should deal with the way their actions affect their comrades? I didn’t get satisfying answers to any of my questions.

    A physical confrontation followed – admittedly paraphrasing here, an exchange of words between opposing APOCers along the lines of: “Some of the white people you’re evicting are my friends and family, you don’t have my permission to kick them out. ” // “We’re at war, x––, we want them out, and we’re not asking.” // “If you’re at war with my family, you’re at war with me.” \\ which initiated a push-of-war from either side of the door. Personally, I wasn’t interested in a physical conflict. As a sizeable man of color, I have been wrestling with the space I physically take up for a long time, especially in recent months, which was in fact one of the issues I had been intending to find counsel through the convergence’s APOC caucus. I don’t feel comfortable using my body, more my strength, to express my will. This has seemed like a white-privilege-discussion blind-spot for me in the past. I wish the white people around me could understand what it[‘]s like to be a tall, strong, brown-skinned male in this world – especially in the anarchist community – and what it feels like to be an intimidating presence in the eyes of the white people around me. I can feel it, and the fact that it’s threatening really affects my sense of self, my confidence in my body. This is what made it particularly difficult for me to participate in the back and forth pushing that followed. Knowing that had I wanted to, I’d have been able to physically remove each of them using whichever intensity of force of violence I desired. It strikes me as ironic, thinking back on it now, that I had been looking to my fellow anarchists of color for supportive conversation earlier that day only to be shut out by the opportunistic use of legitimate disillusionment during the APOC caucus and that I was now wrestling with those issues alone, along side of my friends, while physically wrestling with those who I had hoped would be most helpful.

    I was pushing the door against the disruptors only because people who I cared about, who I knew cared for me, felt so strongly that the disruptors needed to be forcibly removed. I wanted the disruptors to express some concern for my feelings, to incorporate my needs into their action enough so that we could feel like we were confronting white supremacy together. Eventually, I grew impatient with the “We’re not here to discuss anything” // “This is not a dialogue.” \\ rhetoric expressed by my former comrades to even the other people of color present. So I joined in the pushing. This was an opening experience for me. It felt good to draw a line – another admission is that as a person of color in a predominantly white community and circle of friends, I rarely draw such lines – and feel safe in doing so. It also felt powerful to be checking in with the people I was pushing against – it followed the logic of “agreeing to disagree” in that I was able to say things like “I’m going to push the door now, really hard, and it might hurt.” It felt empowering to allow the disruptors an opportunity to brace themselves and consider their convictions rather than indulging in a reactionary physical confrontation. When the “White Allies” Marvel and Sand joined in, I lost my sense of productive conflict. They had been making me uncomfortable all convergence long with their obliviousness to the real struggles facing anarchist people of color. The couple had spent the entire convergence guilt tripping the mass of white folks with shallow rhetoric about gentrification and privilege, but never once helped the organizers communicate the policy information we had put together to lessen our impact on the community. It became clear what they were really there to do when they put their hands on the door opposite to me and pushed – they were agitators, doing the bidding of whichever force they felt redeemed their white mark of guilt. At some point it would be worthwhile to analyze how these two white folks were used by the agenda of the disruptors, and whether that is the model role the disruptors propose all “White Allies” play, if so, White Allies be warned.

    This was the point at which I picked up a sheet of 4×8 plywood and rushed the disruptors. I wanted to smear them out of the space with the broad piece of lumber, to attack in a way that wouldn’t be striking. Of course, I hadn’t been thinking emotionally rather than logically [?] and instead of reducing the engagement, it escalated. Later during this conflict I redislocated my right shoulder, and pulled a muscle in my left. I would be sore for the following week.

    When the conflict finally came ended hours later, the remaining people of color tried to have a conversation. During that conversation only two of the disruptors – the only two that had participated in the convergence – expressed any remorse for the severity of the action. The others listed all the criticisms typical of the anti-CrimethInc. Platform: too lifestylist, too white, drop out culture isn’t relevant to people of color, the project is too exclusive, dumpster diving is privileged, etc. As someone who has, on frequent occasion, contributed to CrimethInc. Projects, I’ve never been particularly impressed by those who judge the entire project on their dislike of the book Evasion. I don’t feed myself shoplifting or dumpster diving, I’ve never hopped a train, I’ve worked as a carpenter for years, I dropped out of high school and can still contribute writing to the project, I responded to a call for volunteers and it was literally that easy to become a part of the group. All this to say: the common critiques of the project have never spoken to me. They seem completely contrary to my experience. I knew many of the people at the convergence didn’t fall into this narrow view of CrimethInc., many of them my close friends; I was saddened to learn that the reason for this premeditated act was based mostly on these political disputes. The few who were recruited to participate in the disruption were mislead by the ringleaders. I heard that Jordan said something to the effect of: “I’ve been searching for allies in the anarchist community for years and I haven’t found them here, but I’ve found them elsewhere.” This begs two questions. Firstly, where has Jordan been for those years? How have they not found any allies? I live in a small community with only a few anarchist friends, I rarely travel or network within the anarchist scene and I’ve met dozens of amazing, supportive anarchists who are white. Secondly, where is elsewhere? I’m an anarchist partly because I’m convinced that anarchism offers the most proactive self-determined approach to overthrowing oppression. Socialism, Communisim, Nationalism, none of these approaches seem at all appealing – I’m not saying that as a politician defaming opposing parties, I’m speaking as an individual seeking tangible paths and ways of organizing my life to better find my way out of modern life under capitalism and western civilization. I’m not convinced there is an elsewhere, not to say anarchists are the only allies – but if not anarchists…? I’m worried about Jordan’s intentions and direction.

    Two of the most problematic things about this event for me involved the appropriation and presumption of locals. First, the presumption that our neighbors during the convergence were angry that we were there, identified us as part of the gentrifying force, or felt displaced by our presence. This was flat-out untrue in my experience. I had arrived days before the convergence began to offer assistance in making last minute preparations. Over those days and those of the convergence proper, I participated in many conversations with locals. Most of them were casual well-wishes. Some of them were discussions about what was going on in the building, which they seemed at the very least indifferent to. I had two conflicts, if you can call them that, out of maybe 30 interactions. The first was a older black woman who asked us not to park in front of her house so her daughter could have a parking space when she returned from work. I apologized to her for taking up the space, and apologized about the space the convergence was taking up as a whole. She thanked me for the apology, and insisted that all she cared about was the parking space. The second was the night of the confrontation. I was dazed, sweaty, and upset and I came down from the second floor to see people gathered outside planning the rest of the evening. A black man maybe a few years older than me was making small talk with the people hanging outside. He could see that I was upset and offered me a nod. I nodded back. He extended his hand for a shake. In my delirium – having just given long, heartfelt hugs and embraces to my friends after the disruption – I held his hand in mine, in a tight, folded grip, for a little too long. It was a humorous cultural faux pas, “Ey man, don’t be squeezing my hand like that.” he sensed that I was making a pass at him. I explained that I had just been fighting with former friends, and was a little out of it, and he accepted that. When I continued talking to me [sic], he outright refused to continue the conversation until I “Jumped in some water” I was stinky, and sweaty and off-putting to him. I explained that I agreed that it was probably time for a shower. Even after our embarrassing handshake misunderstanding, and being sweaty and dirty and barefooted, he offered to take me to his brother[‘]s house to get showered up. I could tell that he meant it. Of all my interactions with people up until the disruption, these are the only two that suggested any kind of conflict with the neighborhood. I’m not dismissing that we had an tough impact on the neighborhood, just that the people of the neighborhood would need 7 brave black-clad vanguards to step forward and confront the convergence, if they really wanted us out. In 2005 not more than 250 miles away, over 600 black and brown folks rioted in Toledo to intervene in a National Socialist Movement / white power demonstration and ended up setting fire to the bar frequented by local politicians and police.*

    If the kind of anger and resentment the disruptors felt was really shared by the neighborhood, it seems likely that CrimethInc. would have been targeted similarly. It is disgusting that the disruptors tokenized the Garfield community the way it did.

    My second major issue with the legitimization of the action was the way participants claimed APOC, specifically Pittsburgh APOC. During the POC discussion after the disruption, the disruptors began by proudly claiming that the action was called for nationally. Then regionally. Then finally, they retreated to say that Pittsburgh APOC called for the action. When I asked if I could hold Pittsburgh APOC accountable for the action, they said yes. But afterward they insisted that they were carrying out their autonomous will. I saw this pattern as a reflection of the poor communication they had with each other about the intentions and legitimacy of their motives. Regardless, admitting this now didn’t excuse the fact that the disruptors mislead the convergence attendees about the support (read: lack there of) from the larger APOC community. They only admitted that the action wasn’t APOC sponsored, but led by individual autonomist people of color after all of the white people had left. It was clear to me that only two of the group really understood that the action was meant as a political attack against CrimethInc., not as a self-defensive action of people of color present at the convergence. I was satisfied with the answer they gave me about Pittsburgh APOC, and I intended to bring my complaints to them, as I was convinced further conversation with the disruptors would be fruitless. I came down from the upstairs where a local APOCista was waiting. They saw in my eyes that I was about to ask a question that had been asked many times already that night: “Do you have the contact for the Pittsburgh APOC?” her answer: “There is no Pittsburgh APOC, we haven’t had meetings in months.” Some part of me knew that this had been true all along. The puzzle pieces fit together – Otto had been the token local who the entire disrupting team could use to validate their action. Otto spoke for Pittsburgh APOC because there was none. The disruptors marginalized APOC by claiming it as an APOC action, for the remainder of the convergence most people who had been present for the action referred to the disruptors as “APOC” – APOC this, APOC that. “If APOC believes X then how can I support them?” “APOC wants all white people to go back to Europe.” This was perhaps the least productive repercussion of the action. In the days following, calls were made to APOCers all around the country, and I kept hearing that there was very little support for the disruption in the way that it occurred. I’d like to request that APOCers join me in maintaining the distance between APOC as a network and project and the “APOC” claimed by the disruptors by publicly censur[ing] the “Smack a White Boy 2″ action. We need to hold the distinction or risk being pushed into further marginalization and isolation.

    Bonus Orlando Police Department Agitprop!

    *…An organizational meeting was held at a west side coffee shop on October 9 with about 15 local anarchist and socialist activists, including local members of the ISO (International Socialist Organization), ARA (Anti-Racist [Action]), and several trade unions. I was invited as a media observer with the agreement that I would only write in general terms about what I heard and saw. None of the people in attendance were willing to go on record at that early juncture for fear of providing information to their adversaries.

    Lacking much personal experience in the planning of protests (those I have participated in have been someone else’s design), I nonetheless walked away convinced that there would be a serious confrontation on Saturday October 15. The assembled activists spent their time focused on logistical matters, and reached accord on the manner in which the Nazi rally would be approached.

    These groups were instrumental in developing an organized counterprotest, as well as in publicizing the event.

    George Windau, a local labor activist, said the combined efforts of the aligned groups produced a groundswell of public support.

    “These various groups were able to put aside their ideological differences and focus on a mutual threat: Nazis spreading hate in Toledo,” he said. “We delivered thousands of flyers to residents in the area publicizing the counterprotest.”

    The coalition’s efforts are even more impressive considering the fact that the city of Toledo and numerous community groups had organized an alternative rally called “Erase the Hate,” which took place at a community center more than a mile from the Nazi rally.

    Windau said that many people in the community were desirous of directly engaging the Nazis.

    “The efforts of the people behind the ‘Erase the Hate’ gathering were well-intentioned, but there was a tremendous amount of support for showing the Nazis that they were not wanted,” he said. “Our coalition just tapped into the collective anger in the neighborhood.”

    On the morning of the rally several dozen protesters had gathered at a local shopping plaza. Toledo Police chief Mike Navarre stopped and talked with every member of the assembled groups who gathered to oppose the arrival of NSM.

    Speaking with an anti-racist skinhead, Navarre issued a friendly warning.

    “It’s a beautiful day out today, isn’t it?” he asked. “It is way too nice of a day to be sitting in a jail cell, so let’s keep things legal.”

    He warned the protesters that police would immediately meet any deviation from the agreed boundaries of behavior with swift action. Marchers were to stay on the sidewalks, not physically confront the Nazis, and were not to engage in inflammatory rhetoric.

    “We will have no tolerance for criminal activity,” he said.

    The organized protesters, however, would turn out to be the least of Chief Navarre’s worries on this sunny Saturday. As the marchers met the first neo-Nazi arrivals, police found themselves sandwiched between an increasingly hostile crowd and a small group of white supremacists.

    The organized protesters almost immediately began to be joined by residents from the neighborhood, some of whom were dressed in gang colors. By 10:30 AM the combined protesters numbered about 100 people.

    The attention of the crowd began to focus on the unexpected presence of a half-dozen neo-Nazis near Stickney and Woodward. This did not seem to fit the original plan, in which the Nazis were to stage a short rally within Wilson Park before beginning their march on East Streicher Street.

    The first wave of NSM eight members merely stood at attention approximately 50 yards from the crowd. NSM leader Bill White was dressed in civilian clothes at this time, chatting into a cell phone.

    Soon, however, three carloads of neo-Nazis pulled into Wilson Park in full uniform. The crowd, which by now had grown to an estimated 250, became more vocal in its opposition to the group.

    Bill White reappeared in full Nazi regalia, and he was joined by Ohio NSM operative Mark Martin. Both began to address the crowd, taunting them with racial epithets.

    “Hey! The Toledo Zoo called, and they want their monkeys back,” shouted Martin, as the NSM members began making chimpanzee sounds. “Why don’t you go cry to your daddy? Oh wait, you’re a nigger; you don’t know who your daddy is!”

    White suggested that the protesters “ought to go back to cooking French fries at McDonalds, since that’s all you can do,” and led his followers in a series of white supremacist chants…

  6. @ndy says:

    Blonde-haired white housewives, trust fund babies with their gym junkie friends, and exercising college girls swarmed (like rats! or cockroaches!) to a space on the dividing line of Good & Evil in the Bridgeville area early August ’09 in Pittsburgh for a weekly Latin dance class. Whereas previous exercise classes had been located deep in wooded areas, this particular one took place in a poor, fat neighborhood, that is being pushed to the limits by cajoling white personal trainers.

    There are those that have experienced LA Fitness’s oppressive culture and people for years and others who had experienced enough oppression after just a few warm-ups. Our man’s goal was to stop LA Fitness gym, their gentrifying force, and to end the Latin dance class right then and there for all that they had done…

    Or : Lone wolf shows APOC Pittsburgh how it’s done.

    At least 4 die in gym shooting near Pittsburgh

    (CNN) — A shooting at an LA Fitness gym outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, killed at least four people and wounded several others, a local official told CNN.

    The shooter, who[se name] was not immediately released, was among the fatalities, said Gary Vituccio, manager of Collier township.

    At least 10 shooting victims arrived at the three major hospitals in the area.

    A spokeswoman for Mercy Hospital confirmed five female shooting victims arrived at the facility with multiple gunshot wounds. Three were in serious condition, and two were listed as critical, she said.

    Allegheny General Hospital received two wounded patients at its trauma center, a spokesman said. Both of [the] victims are women and were listed in fair condition, he said.

    A St. Clair Hospital spokesman said three shooting victims arrived there Tuesday night; two were in stable condition and one patient, who was shot in the chest, died at about 8:55 p.m. It wasn’t clear whether the death at St. Clair was included in the fatalities confirmed by Vituccio.

    Perry Calabro of nearby Bridgeville told CNN he was between racquetball games at the gym when he heard screaming and multiple gunshots. He said he ran out and didn’t see the gunman or others.

    Other witnesses told CNN affiliate WTAE that the lights went out before they saw flashes in dark — what they later realized was gunfire.

    Witnesses told WTAE that a man unrecognized by the gym’s staff shot people in a Latin dance class.

    A witness identified as Nicole told WTAE that about 30 women were in the class when “a middle-aged white male walked into the class. He had a big gym bag.”

    “He looked out of place in a class full of women,” according to the witness, who told WTAE the man put down the bag, turned off the lights and opened fire.

  7. Dr. Cam says:

    Goodness gracious. Why is everyone crying in all these accounts, @ndy?

  8. @ndy says:

    I don’t know… But, as you calmly reminded me last week, the main thing is that everybody refrain from taking any action which might make baby Jesus cry, amirite?

  9. Dr. Cam says:

    I don’t remember saying that, but it sounds like the sort of sage advice I might give.

  10. Ernesto says:

    Hi,

    I’m the Ernesto referenced here. Thanks for the post. I wanted to correct some factual errors.

    “Anarchist People of Color” was the name of an email list (anarchist-poc) I started around the time you mentioned. Although I was affiliated with ABCF, APOC was actually not a caucus; as I recall, there was discussion of a people of color caucus within the org, but it never materialized beyond 1-2 people (one being me). APOC was a separate project.

    A Houston conference was called, as a second national event to the Wayne State conference, but it was postponed by organizers, who never set a second date. That event never happened.

    The Anti-Authoritarian Network of Community Organizers was before APOC and did not exist during the conflict you mentioned. Its founding conference was held in Atlanta around 1995-96, but the organization never really took flight. Lorenzo Ervin was the convenor of both AANCO and BANCO (which was Black Autonomy International before that, and the Federation of Black Community Partisans before that).

    That’s about it. Interesting post. Cheers!

  11. @ndy says:

    Thanks for the corrections Ernesto. I’ll update the post.

  12. rocinante says:

    @ndy,

    thanks for your post, by far one of the most enjoyable reads so far on this subject in my opinion. also, i really liked the first video you posted by monty python.

    anyways, just wanted to let you know about the question you asked aragorn!, regarding an archive of AJODA texts.

    actually, it is kind of already in the works as we type –

    http://theanarchistlibrary.org/taxonomy/term/188

    that link is all of the AJODA texts so far on the anarchist library, you can also browse by specific issue. right now, pretty much the mvp texts from issues #33-35 have been put online, and more are on the way. plus, you have some other ajoda texts from various issues scattered around there as well. many of these texts have never been posted online before.

    in the coming weeks, more back issues of ajoda should be online as well [#36-42] plus some more recent ones as well. rumor has it as well, that the ajoda website, might have an archive of all of this as well sometime in the future, we shall see.

    sorry, for the sidenote here, but thought you might like to know.

    salud!

  13. @ndy says:

    PS.

    Bübi (below) has requested that you upload Michael William’s essay on ‘Cats and Domestication’.

    Also:

    Essentialism & Identity Politics
    Lawrence Jarach
    AJODA #58

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