Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

291 At 4pm, on October 22nd, roughly 50 people congregated in Woodruff Park as a part of the annual day against “police brutality and the criminalization of a generation.” The gathering was diverse and there were a handful of faces covered in scarves and masks throughout the crowd.


For about an hour, speakers from the October 22nd Coalition gave speeches while others played drums or posed for pictures in front of the huge “Fuck the Police” banner. Around 5pm, the crowd began marching toward the Atlanta City Detention Center. Although the organizers initially attempted to keep the crowd on the sidewalk, several hooded ones, drummers and a few folks holding a red flag walked in the street. The rest of the crowd joined and flooded all four lanes of traffic just as the event organizers irrelevantly gave their approval.


The chanting, banner, and drums excited many onlookers who rushed the street with both middle fingers in the air screaming “fuck the police!”


When the crowd - which had grown to over 60 - reached the Atlanta City Detention Center, dozens flooded up onto the plaza and began banging and slapping the glass front doors. The October 22nd Coalition organizers ushered the mob off of the platform so that they could give speeches, forcing the rest of the crowd onto the sidewalk below them. Some people who spoke had family members killed by police. The majority of the speeches came from the event organizers themselves. As the event went on, a few people began experimenting with masks and asked the hooded ones how best to use their shirts for this purpose.  After about an hour and half of talking, the crowd had thinned out.


Following the final speeches, the crowd began marching back and immediately took the streets again. Someone from the crowd drew a circle-A and wrote “ACAB” on the channel 2 action news van while others began to chant to the sound of the drums. After a few blocks, people holding the red flag snaked the march up the side of the Five Points MARTA station.


At the plaza atop the Five Points station, someone without a mask on tipped over a police barricade. I was expecting to hear boo-ing. Instead, the entire crowd erupted in applause and cheers of approval. Someone else who had joined the march from off of the sidewalk picked up a steel police barricade and flipped it over to more clapping and excitement. Hastily, one of the event organizers approached the youth and asked him to stop. Immediately, some masked folks approached the kid and let him know that what he did was awesome and they exchanged contact information.


Another person in the crowd knocked over a sign out front of a local restaurant in front of the owner. The business owner charged into the crowd and grabbed the nearest person in a mask and demanded that they pick up the sign. They did not comply, but nobody helped to fend off the angry store owner. Perhaps the unruly crowd dynamics were more diffuse because there was no black bloc, which is something we also witnessed this past spring. This is not an excuse to forego affinity group organizing, without which we are needlessly vulnerable.


The march snaked its way back to Woodruff Park where people excitedly discussed the march and exchanged contact info.


***


Managers of revolt are everywhere-- in liberal non-profit circles as well as in the fringe “revolutionary” milieus we are associated with. Inject yourself into over-determined spaces to open up room for free expression.


It is perfectly acceptable to hate society for all of the things it could never be, but it is inside of the vast social terrain that the would-be rebels and revolutionaries are hiding, waiting. Anarchists cannot be Puritanical. When we see these people, we should try to meet them. Wherever social tensions are revealing themselves, we should push them to their limits. When we do this well, we tend to have influence far beyond our numbers.

 

Comments

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

2:02 is so witty, holy shit.

Keep on ignoring reality. Keep on responding to serious inquiries and concerns with inside jokes, insults and unhelpful polemics. You're totally winning, can't you see?

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PN_EObmyMXA

What is to you proletariat?

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

@10:07pm

laughing and looking down my nose at you like the leninist do

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March



I'm rubber, you're glue. 

Anything you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

Goddamn, does the cognitive dissonance ever get to you guys when you call the fuzz to retrieve your jaked iPhones?

And if someone brings up the reality of sexual assault, and points to circumstances where police intervention is helpful in combating it, they are accused of insensitivity for simply broaching the topic.

Capitalism necessitates and encourages all sorts of violent crime, but we'd be foolish to say that there won't be deliberately anti-social behavior in any large enough concentration of people.

Do we go vigilante on these people and kill/hurt them in organized gangs? Do we allow some people to specialize in these procedures? Do we have viable social rehabilitation to offer them?

Cops are ultimately employed by the state and capital, and because of this they will often do contemptible things. But the protective functions they do serve can't merely be dismissed. I'm sick of anarchists ignoring this shit and acting like people are naive or "don't get it" when they bring up these concerns. These are serious, common concerns.

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

@2:18

no u dumb

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

1:48 pm

u dumb.

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

11:08-

Yea, the most people OA really had at any time was probably 300 or 400, which isn't very impressive on it's own, but when it's considered on a national scale with all of the other occupations around the country, it's pretty impressive.

You're right tho- Atlanta sucks for activism. The population is complacent.

Although I'll agree that the Trayvon Martin incident was tragic, it's sad that 5000 people will show up for a Trayvon Martin rally, but won't show up to demand a return of power to the population. I still don't even understand what the Trayvon Martin rally was supposed to accomplish... It was an example of a lunatic racist shooting a 'black' youth. Why gather at the state capitol for that? In fact, that was a perfect example of 'community policing' echoing the violence perpetuated by the police state...

So what WOULD you folks have communities do about criminal/ person-to-person violence? It happens all the time. Last year we saw video evidence of a young homosexual beaten to a pulp by 4 guys just because he was gay. What should be done about things like that?

I'm not saying that cops are good, but there is SOME sort of structure needed to prevent things like that from happening. Even the 'radicals' that I speak with say things like 'community policing' is the way to go, but we have that now. Believe it or not, the cops ARE a form of 'community policing' but the population is too complacent to step up and demand that they be more fair and accountable.

All of us will admit that things like rape and assault are wrong. But if we don't have some sort of 'police' how will we prevent that from happening?

I'm not talking about myself, here. I am more than capable of protecting myself from a number of different influences, but I'm talking about people who may not be as strong/trained/armed as I am. We, as a society, have a duty to protect the weaker ones among us. How do we do this if we don't establish some sort of protection organization?

Once again, (because I KNOW some folks on here love to harp on inconsequential anecdotes instead of staying on the point of the debate) I'm not saying the police system we have not is optimal, or even acceptable, but the rhetoric used at these marches (I remember one of the 'FTP' marches lots of kids were screaming at the cops for stopping traffic for us. Let me repeat- stopping traffic FOR US) is hardly productive.

Especially when nobody is offering a viable alternative.

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

@ 11:31

tl;dr

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

 Wait...  But... What was being fucked up was "pointless and wasteful"

That is until the anarchists showed up.

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

8:06pm...

 

No.

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

60-100 people attending any march in Atlanta is awesome sauce.
Atlanta just sucks that much :-(

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

10:55

you must be new.

i know that you thought that occupy was the revolution or whatever but pre-occupy events usually topped out at like 20 people (notable exceptions being wikileaks and egyptian solidarity shit and some student organizing).

 

occupy was never a mass movement by your mathematic standard and it's unlikely that one has ever existed. even ten thousand people is not an impressive percentage of the atlanta population if you are using the majoritarian approach (which i think you are?)

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

9:46- sorry I had the numbers screwed up... More like 60 people from a city of 400,000... Still not very impressive.

 

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

8:06


It even mentions in the article that a lot of the folks who were on the march left when you started acting like children throwing a temper tantrum.

Most people left the march when it stopped being a march. The preacher bored the choir, which is the truly tragic thing of it all. Frankly this is a ludicrous attempt to demonize a group of people by means of poor reading skills, but I guess I've seen more ludicrous in my lifetime. Such is life.


I'm not really a fan of fetishizing the "spontaneousness" of protests and all that shit, but I can think of fewer things more "pointless and wasteful" than a couple of folks guarding a megaphone for an hour, while they reassure themselves that they are working towards the proper revolution. Just sayin'

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

8:06

This must be a troll or someone with no reading comprehension skills. And no knowledge of how large Atlanta is.

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

"it is interesting that things people hated just a year ago (marching in the streets, wearing masks, anti-police chants, self-proclaimed anticapitalism etc.) are becoming very widespread."

Is that why you almost had 100 people out to this event? And the event last  month? In a city of roughly 3.5 million, those are VERY impressive numbers, huh?

Yes, I'm being sarcastic.

It also sounds like most of the folks who organized the event (aka the people who had been doing outreach and working to make it happen) were pretty unhappy with you there. It even mentions in the article that a lot of the folks who were on the march left when you started acting like children throwing a temper tantrum.

Once again, opportunists taking advantage of someone else's hard work. Why don't you guys go to a basketball game or a football game where people are drunk and always willing to do dumb shit? Stop fucking up every demonstration that has a message with your dumb 'diversity of tactics' bullshit that accomplishes nothing. Go fuck up something pointless and wasteful.

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

O22 is organized nationally by the RCP and has been for the past two decades.


Anarchists have declared March 15th the International Day Against Police Brutality so that A's can have an annual anti-police demo that isn't controlled by the RCP. It is observed in Montreal and on the West Coast. Perhaps Atlanta should keeps it's eye on this date as spring rolls around.

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

@ 11:51pm

What Occupy Atlanta crowd? Occupy is dead, clearly.


This march sounds like it was fun, and much better then most things that have been happening lately. Glad to see people challenging the controlled narratives laid out by authoritarian groups like FTP and the RCP.

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

Lets look a little more critically at just who ostricized who from occupy atlanta. Certainly those 'fringe radicals' who showed up to O22 are more relevant than the 'occupy atlanta crowd' which is largely comprised of liberals who have gone back to sitting at home in preparation for the big day when they go out and vote for Obama. 
It was good to see the red flag activly undermining the hyper authoritarian structure of the revolt. We anarchists need to remeber that not all marxists are RCP fuckers and that we may have more affinity with some of them in the streets than we do even with other anarchists. 
Also, just so people know, although the organizers of this event are better at controlling and managing the crowd they draw than liberal groups like OOHA, they are still completely irrelevent. Even at the begining of the march when they tried to controll the chants, 'no justice no peace/ no brutal police' was drounded out under the larger group screaming fuck the police. 

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

This event was awesome and the energy was incredible and widespread. When the preaching wasn't happening, that is.

 

To respond to some of the weird posts below:

1) events don't belong to the organizers. People engage in them and express their needs for the space in an ongoing process of consent and seduction.

2) anarchists did not instigate the barricade thing. Youth in the march took it upon themselves to express their desires this way and the tone and atmosphere was celebratory because of it, not military or overly serious.

3) anarchists and revolutionaries were not conspiratorial or secretive about their intentions at this event. Nobody sugar coated anything in an invasive and malevolent way. I mean...people showed up with a fuck the police banner wearing masks and people wanted to see that. They liked it. They don't always like it. But it is interesting that things people hated just a year ago (marching in the streets, wearing masks, anti-police chants, self-proclaimed anticapitalism etc.) are becoming very widespread.

Can't stop the chaos.

<3 for the rebel youth!

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

fuck yea. the girls w/ the banner!! that banner probably had a better effect on the march and getting people pumped than fucking RCP blabbering on for hours like they always do about abosolutely nothing. 

why did people let them in involved with this again. 

I dont appreciate the oppurtunists who are using this comment section to ridicule anarchists. who said they even did it. asshole incriminatining people. 

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

Someones reaction to the march...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2F2840kmww

 

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

@12:00

If you're so interested in listening to peole preach for an hour and a half, why not go to church? There are plenty of sollemn, obedient people there who will certainly join you.

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

"The business owner charged into the crowd and grabbed the nearest person in a mask and demanded that they pick up the sign. They did not comply, but nobody helped to fend off the angry store owner. Perhaps the unruly crowd dynamics were more diffuse because there was no black bloc, which is something we also witnessed this past spring. This is not an excuse to forego affinity group organizing"

What do you expect a business owner to do? More importantly, what does "fending off" a business owner look like? This seems to be one of the weaknesses of a black bloc tactic, or even simply beiing masked; that is, it is very difficult to defuse the anger of an understandably angry person while you are trying to remain faceless and without personality.

@11:51
There were two groups of opportunists at that march. One group was composed of skittish RCP members telling everyone to read Bob Avakian because he's the second coming of Christ. The second group was composed of psychopathic, social cops who threatened to beat up old people if they didn't back off from the steps of the jail.


I'm not entirely sure what you think that a revolution looks like, but I hope that it doesn't include the thrashing of old, homeless people because they don't organize according to your standards. 

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

If you are so intent on hijacking a gathering of people for senseless vandalism, why don't you go to a ffalcons game or something? There are plenty of drunken baffoons at those events that would probably even join in with you.

Stop getting good people in trouble.

Re: Atlanta: a Report-Back from October 22nd March

In other words:

Having ostracized themselves from the Occupy Atlanta crowd, a small group of opportunists inject themselves into another activist organization.

Great job folks. What did you accomplish? What did you HOPE to accomplish? When will you realize that this is what 'puritanical' folks want, but reasonable folks want progress?