Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

From Litost,

Don’t Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

Introduction

The winter of 2011-12 saw a number of clashes with the police in Atlanta. Almost a year later, I’m comfortable enough to sit down to write about them. There were many other things going on around the country and even right here at home that made the following events possible, and I couldn’t feasibly account for all of them here with my limited perspective. The anti-police actions in themselves were not very significant, if gauged by the limiting discourse of “effective direct action” or “community organizing.” The cops still murder people, many people still have terrible ideas of how to respond. They were important, however, because they created a sense that something was occurring out of the ordinary. The excitement, the hope, and the anxiety created a whirlwind of emotions felt by dozens of people that evaporated as our sense of collective rebellion faded into nostalgia.

 It’s incredible how quickly things can change. It was less than a year ago but everything is different now. We experienced conflict together in a 7-month long cycle of active struggle against the police. I was beginning to feel like we were creating a space in the anarchist scene for people like me. Although we had no experience, and were making so many mistakes, we had come together to create a force in Atlanta. Despite how much things have changed, I know that the potential is always there.

Before the assassination of Troy Davis – alleged cop-killer – in September of 2011, basically nothing occurred. That’s not completely true. There were anti-austerity campaigns at a few universities. There was a solidarity network with a list of wins and all of the go-to anarchist projects and initiatives. However important all of those things may be, without the willingness to act-out, no amount of infrastructure, preparation, organization or consciousness is enough. Revolt itself is a communicable social reality that draws in people and groups – not the other way around.

Nothing could have consciously created the #Occupy movement, but there are prerequisites that must be met before any explosion of activity can occur. To be blunt, if you don’t have skills or a network of collaborators, it’s unlikely that shit will happen in your town even if there is ample reason for it to. We can’t create social movements or prolonged ruptures from thin air – at best we can prepare ourselves and others for when they occur. But by refusing to wait, we can create the context for the next big thing.

The cycle of struggle written about in this piece ended between the Union City smash-up and the Trayvon Martin break away march. Anarchists failed to see that momentum was not going to grow again after the second eviction of Occupy Atlanta on November 5th. If the November 21st march, which immediately followed the Occupy eviction when it was still possible to mobilize with dozens of those people, had turned into a riot what would have happened in Union City? It’s important to avoid escalating too quickly to avoid marginalizing ourselves in a growing movement. But once things begin stagnating, much less shrinking, it can prove to be more strategic to just go all out, pushing the struggle to its absolute limit, rather than trying to preserve it forever, which is always just a slow way of dying. This may end whatever momentum still exists and piss people off at the time, but if things are ending anyway, why not risk it all to set off a potential chain reaction that will either spin things in a new direction or at least set the bar high for next time.

Because of our lack of experience, the waning participation in the #Occupy movement, and interpersonal conflicts, we were unable to hold open the small space of revolt that appeared last winter. Our unwillingness to compromise on the discourse about the police – preferring vengeance to “justice” and attack to “accountability” – foregrounded our limited successes as well as our relative isolation. Without our participation in this cycle of struggle, the same Nothing that has plagued this city for years would have further preserved the popular discourse of victimization that leaves us so weak. Although we have burned many bridges, anarchists in Atlanta have carved out a space for ourselves in this city where there was none before. I know that the relationships built in the winter of 2011-2012, and the actions taken against the police, can be the preface for years of attack, rebellion, and hopefully insurrection and revolt for years to come.

I hope that this piece can be helpful for anarchists, anticapitalists, and other would-be rebels in medium sized cities with almost no radical or combative history. Atlanta is the 40th populated city in the U.S. with almost 2,000 police and law enforcement officers. If a few dozen people can make it pop off here, it can happen where you live too if you get organized.

The secret, as it were, is to really begin.

1.

Breaking the Silence

On October 17th, many took the streets for the very first time. Some say it was 100, some say 200, but what’s important is that we were responding to the murder of 19 year old Joetavius Stafford by Robert Waldo – MARTA police officer – which occurred just two days earlier. The news barely covered it, but we had an entire world of communication all our own in the occupation.

The Occupy Atlanta encampment had begun just ten days earlier, and this was going to be the most exciting event yet. The afternoon felt electrified with possibility. It was billed as a “vigil” but everyone knew that we would end up marching. There was so much anger about the shooting, and so much joy about the occupation.

The drums began to roll and the chants started: “No Justice, No Peace: Fuck the police!”It was only a few of us at first, but faces throughout the crowd lit up and more and more people joined in.In a way, I was almost embarrassed. It’s kind of hard to describe the feeling. I was overjoyed, of course, being there with so many of my close friends and now so many new faces. Still, in some way, I felt vulnerable, exposed. I was really invested in this, and I wanted it to go well. My anxiety quickly fell away when we flooded Peachtree Street.

Behind a large banner, the text of which I can’t remember, the mass immediately took over both lanes, blocking traffic. The long-shadows of the skyscrapers overtook everything as the sky grew dark.  The group flooded into the Five Points MARTA station and the chanting reverberated deep into the subway. The scene was festive, a large group danced in the middle of the subway station, while many screamed about their hatred for police.

As the cops approached, the march twisted up the side of the station toward the mini-police precinct. Here, two people picked up a steel barricade and used it to block the entrance leading down toward the trains. More people were joining the march and the energy was high. Several hoodlums angrily screamed at the nearest officers who looked on at the procession confusedly.

“Cops, Pigs, Murderers!”

Heading north up Peachtree Street, someone kicked a newspaper box into the street. Someone else started yelling at them for a second, but the march continued.

Eventually, we made it back to Woodruff Park – the site of the occupation – where discussions, arguments, and excited chatter filled the air.

2.

October 19th

Since the 17th, the “fuck the police march” was all that anybody seemed to be talking about. A march was planned hastily for 2 days later, this time to the Vine City MARTA station – where the shooting had occurred. The occupation, for all of its shortcomings, provided a space for non-stop collaboration and scheming. That context cannot be understated. It’s doubtful that any of this could have happened without the park. Sensing this, there was a collective feeling of urgency. We weren’t sure how long this energy could hold up – or how long the occupation would last – so we wanted to make the most out of it. In any case, it is obvious now that you have to strike while the iron is hot, because you rarely get second-chances.

The night was strangely cold, which resulted in a smaller turnout than the previous march. Still, 40-50 people had rallied up at the corner of the camp to make the lengthy march to the Vine City station where the shooting occurred. Excitement was high and the energy was contagious. The small group took over the street with ease and style.

Drums and chants filled the street, along with what had essentially become a mobile dance party. When we reached the Vine City station, the police were already waiting for us. We cursed and yelled at them. Without hesitation, they pushed up against us, forcing our small group off of the plaza and back onto the street.

This back-and-forth went on for some time until someone wearing a mask grabbed the attention of the officers by promising them that “shit’s gonna go down”. Empowered and excited, but intimately aware of our limited capacity, we marched back up the street toward the occupation. Along the way, we stopped for a brief speak-out where several new people expressed a feeling of confidence and courage. Some of the people who spoke explained that they are beginning to understand why the police are fucked.

3.

Spread the Talk

The October 22nd Coalition – which is a front group for the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) – holds a national day of action against police “brutality” every year. To promote the upcoming march, in light of recent demonstrations against the police, the RCP decided to hold a press conference at noon at the Five Points MARTA station and they invited everyone from Occupy Atlanta to attend.

Media was present and the interview was relatively brief. Immediately following the questions, however, a few cop-haters from Occupy Atlanta unfurled a large banner which read “Cops, Pigs, Murderers” and began chanting into the station. It was lunch time, so the entire plaza and station was flooded with hundreds of commuters, who looked on happily and gladly accepted leaflets for the action on the 22nd.

The few agitators dispersed once cops began to amass at the entrance of the station.

In the months to follow, rebels in Atlanta lacked the collective creative capacity to consider combative and effective means of information distribution, especially in the face of media black-outs. There is a profound poverty in unnoticed rebellion, and anarchists must continue to find ways to avoid this to keep ourselves from being marginalized. Although small clashes with the police can serve to increase our limited capacity – or destroy it completely – it is not possible to spread insurrectional desires unless others hear about it. We shouldn’t pander to the media, but propaganda is absolutely necessary for spreading narratives to justify revolt.

4.

October 22nd: The Management of Revolt

Everything was happening so quickly, and that had its ups and downs. Although it was becoming increasingly difficult to promote for events on the fly, the repetition of anti-police actions had created somewhat of a fervor in our circle. All over the occupation – and the internet – people discussed the police and the recent shooting. The event on the 22nd, however, had been planned well in advance and was attended by over 100 people. In Atlanta, anything more than 3 dozen people is impressive.

In previous years this march had walked up the sidewalk, where the RCP leaders spoke emptily about police “brutality” and the need for a communist revolution that they, supposedly, were planning and building for. From the get-go, this years’ march was vastly changed by the presence of rebels from the occupation.

In many ways, the events had a split character. The planned speeches and pre-determined chants coordinated by the event organizers felt so weak. As the speakers closed in on an hour, people began to trickle out and we began to get antsy. Slowly, people began to pull t-shirts and bandanas around their faces.

I felt like I was waking up from an unpleasant nap. Nevertheless, everyone looked pleased as we filled the streets and began chanting “Fuck the pigs, we don’t need ‘em; all we want is total freedom!” We were sick of being told what to do all our lives, and the solution to that was never going to be the over-determined movements of so many orthodox “revolutionary” sects.

The march, no longer constrained, did not stop at the occupation on the south side of Woodruff Park. Instead, we headed right for the police line, which had recently stationed itself at the north end of the park. Rumors spread that Mayor Reed was sitting inside of the police mobile coordination unit. The night before, the occupation had warded off what appeared to be an eviction attempt. The anger was still very much present and directed largely at the mayor who would have orchestrated it.

The chanting and screaming at the police stopped for a few minutes, when Joe Stafford’s mother began to speak. She wept about the loss of her son and lay down on the ground like her son had after he was shot. The atmosphere felt eerie and intense. We all felt like something could happen at any moment until we heard the crack of the megaphone again.

The October 22nd event organizers were, evidently, eager to remind everyone that this was their event. They spoke again, over the megaphone, about their organization, the RCP, and about the great things that they do. People in the crowd yelled that they should share the megaphone, which they did. The first speaker, a young black man, explained that “some shit is gonna happen if they don’t charge officer Waldo”. Frantically, one of the RCP professionals took the megaphone back from the kid and urged the crowd that “the October 22nd Coalition does not believe in that type of thing” – ostensibly referring to the threat of rioting.

The energy was sucked out from everyone and the crowd began to disperse. We had allowed the managers to regain initiative of the event, thereby limiting the possibility of rebellion.

Anarchist intervention in social movements is a necessary maneuver in the social war, but we shouldn’t pull any punches. How would the dynamic have shifted if we had come prepared with agitational leaflets or if we had coordinated plans of our own? It’s often helpful for us to work alongside other groups, but we should never accept the management – let alone pacification – of our activity. That being said, we often have to find ways to make decisions with people we don’t have affinity with either in meeting spaces or in large assemblies, but these decisions should always play a merely supplementary role for the decisions we make in smaller, intimate, groups with people we trust and care about.

Anarchists all over the country made mistakes about direct democracy and the general assembly form – a mistake revolutionaries have been making for decades. It could be useful to attend assemblies, but it is not useful to be governed by them.

5.

First Eviction of Occupy Atlanta

Following an illegal hip hop festival, the mayor decided that it was time to evict Occupy Atlanta. With overwhelming force, including multiple helicopters, nearly 75 fully-uniformed riot police, a dozen horse-mounted police, dozens of squad cars, and soft-clothed uniformed police, the police moved in and cleared the encampment. There was very little resistance to the eviction. The crowd seemed shocked and angry, but unsure of how to respond. Much of the movement was still committed to pacifism, and those of us who would normally create the conditions for active resistance had little internal coordination and next-to-no street fighting skills.

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Aside from a few anti-police chants, and an attempt to barricade the street (which was thwarted by liberals), most of the focus was on the occupiers who remained in the park, encircled, and committed to arrest. This was another instance of anarchists lacking the autonomous self-organization necessary to pull off anything meaningful. There were 52 arrests that night and a profound sense of frustration and rage. Simply yelling at police as they arrested our friends, and cleared the park was not enough. Everyone wanted more, but nobody knew exactly how to make that happen.

6.

Second Eviction of Occupy Atlanta

Somebody put out the call, and everybody was talking about it*(The call to re-occupy the park was not put through the “modified consensus” process of the general assembly at all, but it was announced at it; this could be a useful way for anarchists to participate in such assemblies going forward: visible and accessible but not needlessly populist or submissive). We were going to hold a huge day of activities in the park on the next Saturday, November 5th, and then stay in the park at night. For the better part of the day, the plans went perfectly. 300-400 people filled Woodruff Park all day long. There was music and food and child care alongside workshops and know your rights trainings. For many people who had met in the park, it was a beautiful thing to be around each other again – we were all used to seeing each other all day and night, depending on each other for food, comfort, and entertainment.

By nightfall, it was obvious that the police were once again going to evict us. The park closed at 11pm but by 10:30pm, police were double-barricading the park and beginning to mass up on all sides. Falling into old habits, some sought to dominate the form resistance would take. They insisted that the nonviolent, passive resistance of the previous eviction was the superior way to fight back, and that we had won the sympathy of thousands because of it.

Regardless, we responded, we had been evicted. It is not good enough to have the passive support of a million invisible allies if you can’t meet your needs and desires in a material way, immediately and collectively. If we want to stand alongside others in a meaningful fight against capitalism, we argued, we would have to illustrate that collective resistance to repression was happening in the present-tense.

Rather than engage in an endless argument about tactics, we decided to take a more active stance against the eviction. As opposed to the last time, there were many masks in the crowd on Nov. 5th. There was no visible black bloc, and no clear plan but we decided that when the cops began to move in, we would march out of the park and attempt to generalize a conflict outside of the occupation zone. This “plan” failed miserably.

An active minority began tearing apart the barricades and writing graffiti on nearby surfaces. The march was going to circle up Auburn Avenue, on the north side of the park, and move toward the university. This would take us out of the surveillance network that covered the downtown area. From there, we had no idea what would happen. The march was stopped early when a cop on a motorcycle sped into the crowd. Some stood with their bodies in front of the cop, blocking the way through. The pig revved the engine on the motorcycle and ran into several demonstrators, before being knocked off his bike. As debris was tossed at the officer, dozens of police rushed the crowd.

Someone wearing a mask, dressed in black, was tackled to the ground and began screaming for help. Newspaper boxes were dragged into the street, and the crowd pushed their bodies up against the police, forcing them onto the sidewalk. In response, a massive snatch squad of police formed, with cops in full riot gear behind them. The snatch squad lunged forward and grabbed anyone off the street they could reach.

The night ended with about 20 arrests, but not without a fight. Many people were de-arrested throughout the clash, and the area was covered in anti-police graffiti. The sound of screaming and grating steel had given way to the sight of blood and a huge wall of armor. The entire mass of over 200 people wound up kettled on Peachtree and Edgewood Avenue and was slowly allowed to leave without further arrests.

The lights of the cop cars seemed to paralyze many this night. People marched slowly backward facing the advancing line of cops, without actually doing anything to get away from them. Several people booed at the graffiti writers and anyone who screamed at the police. The people who dragged shit in the street were physically assaulted by other demonstrators. Attempts to lead a march up a side street failed.  Why is this? Why wasn’t a concerted effort made to collectively decide on a better course of action? We didn’t know it at the time, but this was the last time hundreds of people would flood the streets to showdown with the police and if there was ever going to be an anti-eviction riot, it was going to be right then. It’s important to know when a movement is ending so that you give it one last swing for the fences.

Our  inability to collective develop a fluid plan for intervention completely insured our inability to incite riots or widespread confrontation with the police. We ran into this problem over and over and over again.

The ability to rapidly communicate in high-stress situations is a skill that could greatly advantage rebels going forward. To circulate feelings, plans, information, and materials quickly through a crowd without attracting too much unwanted attention can help us to spread police thin while accomplishing other objectives as well. The basic unit for this type of organization should be the affinity group. Anarchists in Atlanta can greatly increase offensive and defensive capacity by remembering this.

7.

Police Violence is Never an Accident

Another half-assed re-occupation attempt was scheduled for the next day. The self-appointed leadership planned, unilaterally, for a half-hour “silent protest” outside of the park, with just one symbolic arrest inside. They thought that this would reveal the absurdity of using overwhelming force against “peaceful protesters,” who are always victimized by the State and never go on the offensive.

A small black bloc of about 25 refused to submit to the general assembly decreed plan of silence. The bloc instead chanted “SILENT PROTEST, SILENT PROTEST,” as loud as they could, played tag in the park, tore apart police barricades and danced in the streets, screaming. We were still angry at the police for the shootings, we were angry about the evictions, and we were angry that a person arrested the night before now faced felony charges. We weren’t prepared to go on playing the victim for our whole lives, and we needed to illustrate that some of us won’t just roll over.

Surrounded by police and over 100 “silent protestors”, a few androgynous, black-clad, persons climbed up a two-story fixture in the center of a shopping plaza across the street from the park. They dropped a hastily made banner reading “Police Violence is Never an Accident” and distributed a leaflet explaining why the police are not to be trusted.

Although it is never preferable to having larger participation, even a small group can have a profound impact on unfolding events. In the face of state repression, especially when brutality is involved, showing solidarity with comrades can be tremendously important for building and sustaining strength. The relationship between radicals and Occupy Atlanta was greatly strained by this night and the eviction the night before. By the end of the year, the relationship ended completely.

8.

November 21st and On: Going it Alone

On November 17th, the police murdered Dwight Person in front of his whole family in an illegal “no-knock” warrant that was addressed to a different house.

A few days later 70 people gathered in Woodruff Park for another anti-police march. Half the march showed up in black bloc or with some sort of mask on. This new development shows that anarchists can have influence well past our numbers. The terrain felt familiar but many of the faces were new; many occupiers had been hardened and embittered by the last eviction and were looking for revenge.

From the start, the march rushed toward the police station that sits across from the park and began banging on the glass windows and doors. The few cops inside stared out at us fearfully and confused. Howls of laughter and clapping filled the air. Leaflets titled “Fuck the Police: Atlanta’s Cop Problem” littered down on the crowd from within the march and we quickly moved up Peachtree toward the Five Points MARTA station. This time the cops had headed us off. More leaflets were strewn around and tossed in the faces of the officers. With black flags blowing in the wind and angry screams bouncing off of the empty city walls, we continued up Peachtree.

At the Suntrust plaza, a few people mounted the big statue out front – someone even peed into the fountain. Some people in masks jumped onto the bumper of an Escalade and pumped their fists into the air. One man, who had earlier been urging the march to stay nonviolent, tossed a stack of fliers at a cop car and flashed both middle fingers at the officer inside.

A few traffic cones were tossed into the street, but it was obvious that people still weren’t quite prepared, materially or emotionally, to really go on the attack. Later, we would realize that this was our last chance to really set shit off. We completely lacked the experience to come up with a plan and the insight to know that this is when it really counted. Had anarchists come to this march with a general agreement to set it off, with a route in mind, affinity groups could have potentially made the most of the large, supportive, crowd and the total lack of police presence.

The march ended, after an hour of marching aimlessly, in an empty lot with no arrests, after a scout reported that riot cops were stationed a few blocks up.

2,000 leaflets were distributed at the beginning of the march, and people were urged to read it, pass it around, and toss them into the air throughout the march. This leaflet was referenced for months. The leaflet detailed the particular events surrounding recent cop shootings in the city, as well as the following polemic:

Fuck the Police: Atlanta’s Cop Problem

The police, protectors of this social order, security guards of the 1% who control us, are everywhere. Their control, their violence, is everywhere that nothing happens. All adventure, managed; all desire, disarmed: all passion, sated; all fires, extinguished — but in us is a fire that never goes out.

There can be no dialogue with the terrorists in blue. As they run over our comrades with motorcycles, abduct our friends from the city sidewalks and quarantine our loved-ones inside their prison walls, they fan the flames of our discontent.

In Seattle, Chapel Hill, Greece, Chile, Bahrain, Egypt, Oakland, Denver, Moscow the struggle against the police grows. Inside Pelican Bay, the memory of Attica lives.

Fire to the prisons and the society that created them. (A)

9.

Union City aka “Where  da  gasoline at?”

Just a few days before Christmas, 19 year old Ariston Waiters was shot in the back, while handcuffed, by Union City police officer Luther “Machine-Gun” Lewis. This was the third straight month of officer-involved shootings. A rally was planned by the National Action Network who personally invited some of us to the event – they insisted that they wanted “something to happen.”

Union City is a small suburb south of Atlanta known mostly for car dealerships. The “downtown” area consists entirely of a few empty store-fronts, a post-office, City Hall, the “Justice Center” and the city jail. The lawn of the city hall was filled with hundreds of demonstrators, many from Union City, and many who had traveled down from Atlanta. People were pissed about the shooting and wanted a response. All night long, speaker-after-speaker shot fiery references to Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party. Nearly every speaker ended their speech with the mantra “by any means necessary.” We couldn’t have been more overjoyed.

Immediately following the rally, a black bloc of about 35 and roughly 40 other demonstrators began a break-away march behind the same “Cops, Pigs, Murderers” banner from the month before.

As the march began slowly on the otherwise empty city street, the streets signs were ripped up out of the grass and dragged into the street. Parking and traffic cones were tossed, and the local youth laughed and clapped. For many in the march, “downtown” Union City had served no purpose at all. The familiar sound of a shaking spray paint can perked our ears, and we all laughed when someone painted a large “NO” over the sign in front of the “Justice Center.”

If people hadn’t known what they were getting into by now, it was undeniable after a few people tossed a trashcan into the glass doors of the Justice Center. Immediately after the crash, an officer ran after the vandals. Some people from inside the bloc threw sticks and curses at the cop who stumbled into the grass and ran back, horrified, into the safety of the jail. A street sign was tossed loudly at the front of the Justice Center.

Paint markers were passed around and people immediately got to work. The entire strip was redecorated with graffiti. There were no cops in sight when someone throws a brick through the front entrance to the city jail or when someone set an American flag on fire after tearing it off of the post office. Although there would be much debate later about whether or not it’s appropriate to enter “someone else’s community” to vandalize a city jail, many of us will never forget hearing the local youth urgently asking us “where the gasoline at??”

Although the local would-be vandals/arsonists didn’t have the chance this time, maybe next time they’ll be the ones who come prepared to throw down. The black bloc was hardly prepared either. Many looked around anxiously for tools of destruction, forgetting to bring their own. We are so accustomed to hit-and-run swarming that, in many ways, we lack the skills to make the most of the moments when there are no police around. This march lasted almost 20 minutes without any cops showing up. What if every other person had tucked a hammer into their belt on the way there or even just brought some rocks? At another time, some people who were in the march overheard someone excitedly recall watching the black bloc attack the jail from his window inside the facility! Could we have done more to incite the inmates to riot inside? Although the black bloc distributed markers and leaflets, we should always remember to shoot for the stars and to come materially prepared to let our musings become reality.

Although the news would paint the night as a series of random acts of violence, this night was, for many of us, just another event within a months-long conflict with the police. We had been building the nerves, relationships, and skills for just this type of thing.

The actions in Union City became extreme points of contention within Occupy Atlanta. The local newspaper, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, ran an article featuring a quote from the media-identified leader of Occupy Atlanta denouncing the “violence.” The quote blamed the actions on a small group of opportunistic, white, male, anarchists. In addition, a local radio host and sometime participant in Occupy offered a $500 reward for information on the masked demonstrators.

In response anarchists attempted to get Occupy Atlanta to refuse to work with those who gave information to police or the media. This led to an 8 hour long General Assembly, in which anarchists continued to try to go through the consensus process of the GA. The night ended in frustration, and many anarchists ended their participation in Occupy Atlanta.

10.

From Oakland to Atlanta: Fuck the Police

The month of January was a time of reflection. Debates and arguments circulated in multiple circles about the events that went down in Union City. Questions of legitimacy, agency, self-determination, and violence were discussed over and over again. This type of discussion is a sign of a healthy movement, but can be draining.

Between the New Year’s noise demonstration and ritual house parties, a culture began to develop that many people felt invested in. Whether or not these relationships managed to transcend the one-dimensional, “political”, bonds that created them is yet to be seen. But what had started just a few months earlier, when a small and inexperienced black bloc ended in arrests after the execution of Troy Davis, had grown into something more fierce and confident.

On January 28th, we all eagerly watched the livestreams from Occupy Oakland’s “Move-in Day.” We watched the crowds take over the streets in the morning, and attempt to hold them in the afternoon. Oak Street. Tear gas. Flash bangs. Our hearts wrenched, but our hopes for the future soared seeing the bravery of the west coast rebels. That night, a solidarity demo was held at 8pm.

This was a small march. It must have been only 35 or so of us, maybe less, and there were news cameras present when we showed up. Rumors about what was happening circulated. People huddled around in small groups of 2-5. Everyone dressed in head-to-toe black.

As soon as we began, surrounded by reinforced banners, someone kicked a planter into the street. Black flags waved in the air, and someone spray painted a large circle-A on a wall right outside of Woodruff Park. There wasn’t much chanting and things felt kind of tense. Still, there was something electric about the night.

Cop cars up ahead. We had only gone two or three blocks.
We turned left.

On the right sits the Peachtree Center MARTA station. Someone ran out of the bloc and painted “FUCK COPS” on the veneer of the station. Another person ran up and smashed out one of the stations large windows with a hammer. Everyone started walking a little faster and you could hear muffled laughter from all sides of the tight bloc.

Already there were 3 or 4 squad cars behind us. Nonchalantly, marchers dragged everything into the street that wasn’t already bolted down. Newspaper boxes, steel barricades, trash cans, traffic cones, construction signs. Someone ran up to the Zone 5 Precinct and spray painted a circle-A right on the huge plate-glass windows. They narrowly escaped an upset cop, and the reinforced banners were put to use holding back the police.

We began running. I couldn’t believe it while it was happening. Helicopters overhead. Motorcycles, bicycles, squad cars. At this point there were only two dozen of us. The news cameras had abandoned the march. Behind the bloc was a small contingent from Occupy Gwinnett (a suburb in the metro area) who were mask-less and overjoyed by the intensity of the march.

We hurriedly snaked between the narrowest streets we can find. More debris and barricades were dragged into the streets which bought us only a little bit of time. One motorcycle cop who drove around a barricade had his visor spray painted. Some people dragged a mattress into the street.

We cut through some neighborhoods and worked our way back outside of the downtown area where there are less cameras, more alleyways, and less overhead visibility for helicopters.  It must have only been 3 or 4 people initially but soon everyone was scattering, running into every direction. We hopped fences, dove through yards and bushes and crawled into dog houses. Black clothes littered the streets.

The night ended with 3 arrests for “moving in and out of traffic” – essentially, a jaywalking charge. The next day we held a successful fundraiser party and were able to bail all of our friends out in no time. I never imagined that a group so small could invoke such a great police response so quickly. The cops must have outnumbered the marchers four to one, yet almost everyone got away.

It’s amazing what you can do with just a few people, but celebratory and playful destruction is always better than self-serious military clashes. How can we avoid the theater of the “loyal opposition” who commit themselves to a specialized resistance when nobody else is joining in? Although there is nothing wrong with commitment, we should be honest about the effects militancy has on our momentum. Does seriousness increase our capacity or hinder it? Of course, anarchists shouldn’t limit ourselves to representational politics and populism. We are not simply committed to fulfilling the desires of “the people” as they already exist, but of creating situations and worlds where new, currently unimaginable, desires are possible. We are committed to the destruction of the existing social order. Because this is the case, we have to remember that “the force of insurrection is social, not military” and to judge our maneuvers accordingly. The night was an interesting one, but Occupy was over and large turnout for any event has been hard to come by ever since.

11.

End of the Active Struggle; Trayvon Martin

So everyone already knows the story. A teenager from Sanford, Florida is murdered by a self-appointed neighborhood watchman named George Zimmerman. Outrage envelopes the country, and in March dozens of cities hold “Million Hoodie” marches numbering in the thousands. Participants in the marches and rallies are expected to wear hoodies resembling Trayvon’s when he was killed.

In Atlanta, a Facebook event goes up and the “Attending” stats skyrocket immediately. This city is 54% African-American, and people are fucking pissed about this shooting. We excitedly brainstorm about the possibilities. For the first time since Troy Davis, people everywhere are seriously discussing white supremacy and, unsurprisingly, the police.

The whole feel of the rally, however, did not meet our expectations. A friend of ours had made an anonymous Facebook profile to create the event and had billed it as a march. This was all very intentional. A few careerists, however, used the opportunity to get a permit for the event and to move it to the Capitol. They hold press conferences announcing that it is happening there and that it is simply a rally, not a march. They, of course, get to decide who speaks and who doesn’t.

We were unsure of the implications of this until we showed up.

We expecting maybe 1,000 people and were totally shocked to see more like 5,000. I can’t speak for everyone, but I felt totally unprepared. We showed up together as a black bloc and managed to catch the attention of the police immediately. While some people seemed to understand our intentions, others seemed confused. Few in the bloc were prepared to explain ourselves to a few questioning members of the crowd, but those of us who did seemed to have the sympathy of those nearby. The leaflet written for the event was never printed. It’s worth mentioning that some people felt anxious and uncomfortable as a mostly-white bloc at a mostly-black event. White participants in the bloc felt like the other attendees must have thought we were white supremacists. I personally did not experience this sensation and thought that a crowd of thousands would be able to directly confront a “white supremacist” group with more than just a few awkward glances. In any case, it’s worth considering the limits of the black bloc as a representational form in the stage of “extraparliamentary” politics.

The rally dragged on and on. The shooting became nothing more than an abstract jumping-off point for all of the predictable Democratic Party talking points. They managed to touch on everything from Gun Control to Abortion Rights. They constantly urged the crowd to get registered so that they could vote. Needless to say, we felt demoralized and many of us left early.

About an hour later, we began receiving frantic phone calls. A few people stayed afterward and were on a break-away march. They said people seemed down and that we should meet up with the march.

We shed the black clothing and tied t-shirts around our faces.

When we showed up, the march was wild as fuck. People had returned to the Capitol and were screaming at the cops and blocking traffic. It was probably only 60 or 70 folks, but they looked excited to see us when we showed up even though we didn’t really recognize any of them. I remember exchanging a few nods and some quick hugs with some especially excited people.
“We got ‘dis shit tonight as long as we got each other’s backs,” someone said to me when I walked up.

“Hell yeah! We fuckin’ got this!” I yelled back and he laughed.

A young woman, no more than five feet tall, stood defiantly in front of a police car popping her collar and telling them to go fuck themselves. Our participation, as anarchists and “revolutionaries,” was embarrassingly small – no more than a dozen.

We were all laughing. I fucking love this shit. This is the social element that was missing from the January 28th march. We had confidence and everyone had each other’s back. *(It seems like people were more likely to join in when we were in plain clothes and masks rather than moving as a black bloc. This is worth considering: is it worth sacrificing some individual anonymity if it means more people will participate in street fighting or riots? Might it even be the case that the larger a crowd is, the less precautions individuals in the crowd need to take to remain anonymous? How do we account for cameras in this scenario?)

Leisurely, we strolled up the street behind someone chanting “We ready, we ready, we ready for y’all!” Effortlessly, someone jogged up to a ParkAtlanta meter and smashed the screen with a black flag nailed to a large wooden dowel. Someone else, without a shirt tied around their face, kicked a newspaper stand into the street, and several others dragged them into the intersection. A capitol cop kind of jogged up from behind the march and began chastising us: “Hey you! Pick that box up this minute!” People yelled back at him and picked up the pace a little bit. The march turned a corner and found itself on an empty street with a large number of police cruisers parked outside a government building. The lone cop following the march quickly turned and ran when someone jogged up to the nearest squad car and smashed out its front window with a wooden dowel.

“Ohhhhh!!!!” the crowd all yelled at once. Someone else ran up behind them with a hammer. They took out the windows of another squad car, and someone after them jumped up onto the car and stomped in the windshield.

While some people dragged barricades into the streets, others continued smashing the windows out of every police vehicle and luxury car on the street for 2 blocks.

Dozens of people scattered into multiple directions after the 2nd or 3rd cop car and several other people speed up across the bridge above Underground Atlanta. The whole thing, starting with the ParkAtlanta meter, must have only lasted 10 minutes, maybe less. Regardless, there were no police and no arrests. The local Copwatchers were detained for a bit but were subsequently let go.

There was absolutely no news coverage about the break-away march the next day, or ever, and this is most likely because the culprits were able to casually walk off into the night. Like everything else about the last few months, there were no pictures, which is both good and bad.

Hopefully everyone we met that night that we may never see again has a crazy as fuck story that they will tell everyone they meet. If George Zimmerman gets off, hopefully they remember what they saw that night. If so, we can only hope they remember the ending: “Everyone got away with it.”

Just as quickly as it came…

I’m finishing up this piece 1 year after some of the events written about above. At this point, everything has been turned on its head again. Last winter, it was common to hear excited discussions about “how far we’ve come in just 3 months” and “how much better things are gonna be in 3 more months.” But that didn’t happen. Not at all. In fact, things took the opposite turn. Why is that?

When a cycle of struggle is at its peak, it’s very hard to imagine it ending. For those of us who had never felt anything as magical, decline was the last thing on our minds. A more honest analysis of last winter might be this: in a national atmosphere of heightened conflict and collective resistance, a small group of people came together to pull off some impressive shit relative to their capacity. We thought we were “finding each other”, but not everyone involved had a thoroughly developed political analysis and this resulted in some tension as things went on. In the wake of this dissonance, study groups and discussion are some of the most important things we can be doing. I can only hope that by now people are more confidently finding affinity with others and recognizing differences when they see them.

Forward?

Two months ago, another anti-police march/dance party was attacked by the police. The police body-slammed people onto the concrete, and cracked a few ribs. The smashed windows of the Bank of America remained boarded up for two weeks, reminding us of the screams of our friends. The next day, a noise demo was interrupted by dozens of cops ready with zip ties. A week later, a passive march organized by Occupy Atlanta was kettled, and snatch squads arrested two off of the sidewalk.

In early August, a grand jury in Seattle subpoenaed anarchists from all around the Pacific-Northwest. Since May Day, street actions all across the country have been met with heavy police repression. The arrests in Chicago have had consequences for rebels all across the country. The cameras and hype about Occupy are long gone and the State is using the opportunity to crack down on existing pockets of antagonism.

Anarchists around the country meaningfully participated in the Occupy movement in a ton of different ways, some good and some bad. We used the momentum as an opportunity to initiate a dialogue about power and capitalism, but have we maintained contacts with the people we ran into last fall? We are less marginal then we have been in a decade, and new networks of rebellion have popped up in places they hadn’t existed in previously – including here in Atlanta – but are we effectively capitalizing on this popularity? This summer has seen a profound proliferation of nocturnal attacks and solidarity actions, and this may be the first time in North America that so many cities have had consistent black bloc marches. Noise demonstrations have become an important ritual for anti-prison activists in cities big and small. In short, anarchist culture has developed in exciting ways. We are thrilled to participate. But is this enough? Are we trapping ourselves in another self-referential milieu “concerned only with its sad existence?”

The context has shifted drastically, but have our tactics and strategies? Now that people are looking for new forms of resistance, it makes sense for us to create new points of entry rather then turning inward. Furthermore, it makes sense for us to come out with more public and bold economic disruptions rather than trapping ourselves in a cycle of low-level vandalism. How can we balance this with the need to meet each other’s emotional and material needs? The police are cracking down on us everywhere. How can we sustain combative momentum without becoming more marginalized and disconnected, let alone more specialized and irrelevant? How can we use instances of repression to our advantage without reinforcing narratives that victimize us? How can we recreate the tension that existed in the build-up to Occupy so that something else, something better, can kick off?

Is it possible that anarchists in cities with smaller scenes, like Atlanta, are ineffectively trying to reproduce the uprisings we have seen in cities like Oakland and Seattle? There must be dozens of cities across the country with just a few dozen active anarchists. How can we, as medium-to-large cities, publicly attack power in ways that make us stronger rather than weaker? How can we avoid the lure of “social justice activism” while retaining contact with others in society who may want to attack as well? Can we find forms of public resistance to power that are easily reproducible, combative, and that materially provide for our needs and desires in a lasting way? We need to find ways to independently circulate information and propaganda in creative, exciting, and antagonistic ways. We need to begin figuring out how to develop an autonomous material force.

There are always new obstacles – and sometimes, they feel like impenetrable limits – so we need to be consistent and honest about our capacity. With that said, we should never forget that sometimes the entire world is turned upside down by a few profound gestures and risks. In the summer of 2011 no one was anticipating a North American resistance as large as we’ve seen. Let’s continue to be critical of ourselves and our shortcomings, but let’s not forget that the State follows the contours of our momentum and that where there is crackdown, there is the potential for more and more exciting ruptures, openings, and revolt.

Timeline of events + overview:

September 19:

Occupation outside of the Georgia Board of Pardon and Paroles – evicted the next morning by Amnesty International so that they can host a prayer vigil.

September 20:

Breakaway march organized spontaneously after san Amnesty International event. Hundreds follow. Debris and barricades are dragged into the street. This is the first action of this sort in recent Atlanta history.
September 21:

The execution of Troy Anthony Davis. Davis was convicted of killing a police officer in Savannah, GA in 1989. Seven out of the nine witnesses who testified against him recanted, citing police coercion as a primary factor in their testimony. After the execution, a black bloc met at the CNN Center and marched through the streets screaming anti-cop slogans. The march ended with a dramatic de-arrest as well as several arrests. The following weeks brought radicals much closer together. The events paved the way for future events.

October 2:    

Large general assembly for Occupy Atlanta. The presence of radicals in facilitation roles, and speaking polemics about occupations, created an atmosphere supportive of an occupation the next week.

October 7

Hundreds attend an Occupy Atlanta General Assembly and begin an occupation of Woodruff Park. 

October 15:

MARTA police officer Robert Waldo shoots 19 year-old Joetavius Stafford in the back 3 times at the Vine City MARTA station while he was on his way home from a homecoming football game. Police claim he was armed but eye-witnesses say this is not true. Witnesses claim that Stafford’s body was flipped over after he was shot and that it laid there for several hours before EMTs arrived.

October 17:

First anti-police march following the murder of Joetavius Stafford by MARTA police officer just a few days before. When the march of nearly 200 returned to the occupied park, the entire park exploded in a heated conversation about tactics and state violence.

October 19 :

Follow-up march to the Vine City station, where Joetavius was shot.

October 22:

RCP march against police brutality. Anarchists and other radicals escalate the march by bringing the march, literally, to the front lines of the police. Event organizers regained control through strategic use of a megaphone.

October 26:

During the first eviction of the park, radicals dragged tents into the street and flipped over tables to erect a barricade limiting police control of the street.

November 5:

Second eviction ends in a clash with police. One demonstrator was run over by a police officer on a motorcycle, and the crowd subsequently drove the police back onto the sidewalks (some people were able to land some punches). By and large, radicals were unable to coordinate action in small groups and were kettled, while several people were snatched off the sidewalk.

November 6: 

Another eviction of Occupy Atlanta. Black bloc tears apart barricades and drops a banner reading “Police Violence is Never an Accident”

November 15:

Anarchists and other radicals march to City Hall with a large banner that reads “Oakland – Wall Street – Chapel Hill – Atlanta: Our Passion for Freedom is Stronger Than Their Prisons” centered around a large circle-A.

November 17:

Police in East Point, Atlanta kill 54 year-old Dwight Person in an illegal no-knock warrant. The family claims that the police officer kicked the door in an immediately opened fire on Person. Realizing that it was the wrong house, the police then dragged his limp body onto the porch and allowed him to bleed to death in front of the family. The warrant was doctored retroactively to fit the address of the home.

November 21:

Anti-police march on the anniversary of the Kathryn Johnston shooting. Demonstrators express rage over the recent police killing of Dwight Person in a situation almost identical to the Kathryn Johnston of a few years ago: a no-knock warrant to the wrong house involving police kicking in the door with guns blazing. Thousands of leaflets were passed out and tossed into the air titled “Fuck the Police: Atlanta’s Cop Problem”.

December 9:

Atlanta noise demonstration follows letter-writing party. This was the first noise demo in Atlanta and was attended, primarily, by black bloc-ers. The two police/guards who showed up were driven away. Inmates pounded their windows and flicked their lights on and off to the beat of the drums outside.

December 14:

Ariston “Asteroid” Waiters, a 19 year old father of a 5 month old baby, is gunned down by Union City police officer Luther “Machine-Gun” Lewis on his way home. Asteroid is shot twice in the back. Witnesses say he was running from police, but the police claim he was wrestling the officer. Witnesses were forced to offer testimony in the presence of “Machine-Gun,” who ripped up their statements in front of them.

December 19:

Dawntrae Ta’Shawn Williams was shot and killed by Gwinnett County Police (Gwinnett County is a suburb just north-east of the city). Dawntrae was 15 years old, and is said to have been threatening his family with a machete. If nothing else, this teaches us that if we call the police, there is a chance someone we love may be killed.

December 25:

Jacquelyn “Jameela” Barnette is shot to death in her apartment by Atlanta police on Christmas morning. Jameela was the subject of an FBI investigation a few years ago for her involvement in radical Islam. This is the 5th police murder in 3 months.

December 28:

Following the murder of a 19 year old in Union City, just south of Atlanta, the NAACP and National Action Network coordinated a series of protests. AT the end of the rally, local residents and a black bloc started an anti-police march. The black bloc tore up street signs, smashed out windows, and left graffiti all around Union City.The Occupy Atlanta camp was divided over this action. An eight-hour general assembly occurred a few days after the march. Several people insist that they are willing to snitch to the police if they find out who was responsible. Anarchist participation in Occupy Atlanta ends.

December 31/New Year’s Eve:

Anti-prison noise demonstration of ~50 people bringsnoise to the Atlanta detention center. Inmates slam their windows, flash their lights, and make heart-shapes with their hands.

January 7:

The first Atlanta anarchist general assembly meets to announce actions, initiatives, and to report-back on local anarchist activity. The assembly is not a decision-making body or a formal structure. Over 60 people attended the assembly, and conversations continue around a large fire for hours.

January 28:

A march titled “From Oakland to Atlanta-Fuck the Police” is called in solidarity with move-in day in Oakland. Only about 40 people attend, but nearly all are en bloc. The bloc takes the street in a tight box with reinforced banners on the outside, and marches in the streets for hours trying to avoid huge amounts of police. Hooded ones still manage to smash out a window, and leave a large circle-a on the window of a police precinct.

February 12th Pre-Valentine’s Day Noise Demo :

Following the arrest of several demonstrators at a Chase bank, ~30 people gathered at the DeKalb Co. jail where one final arrestee was being held. Much of the demo was in black bloc, but young children and older adults were also present. The noise demonstration set off a prolonged disturbance inside of the jail. General Population in three different buildings flipped over mattresses, jumped on tables, and chanted “No Justice, No Peace, Fuck the Police!” In an attempt to end the madness, the jail abruptly let the arrestee out.

February 14th Valentine’s Day Noise Demo

March 12th Chase 14 Noise Demo:

At another Chase action, 14 people were arrested. A rowdy noise demonstration descended on DeKalb County jail once again.  This was the largest noise demonstration during this period, and it featured a brass section, a spotlight, drums, pots and pans, and a handful of masked demonstrators with a megaphone. This time, people attempted to kick over some sort of transformer, and someone else beat it with some stick. Dozens of squad cars filled the streets after the street lights were knocked out. There were no arrests but demonstrators were told that if they come back, they will be charged with felony inciting a riot “for what happened last time.”

March 29:

The “Million Hoodie” rally from Trayvon Martin in Atlanta attracted roughly 5,000 people. A break away march following the rally ended when several squad cars had their windows smashed out and their windshields stomped in. No arrests.

 

Comments

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

1:36-

That is NOT the tone in this article. Go back and reread it from the perspective you think i have on this. It's obvious several times in the article that certain people were taking advantage of a gathering of politically frustrated people to do dumb shit. You can say they were 'break away' marches or whatever, but the occupiers asked people not to do it because we knew that we were going to be classified in the same group. That turned out to be true. Whether it was naivety on the part of the folks who did it or an intentional action to 'fuck shit up' is unclear, and inconsequent at this time. What matters is people are still writing shit articles like this glorifying the "Fuck everyone else, I do what I want because I'm an 'anarchist' WHEEEE!!" attitude. Grow up.

Occupy Atlanta has become the scapegoat of every act of political violence in the area. The 'break away' march after the Trayvon rally we were held responsible. I was cornered in the bathroom at the SB469 vote in the capitol by a cop who told me that he knew 'some of your buddies broke out some of our windows the other night. We're after you.' Also evidenced by the massive showing of swat cops at the capitol that night.

So your assertion that this stuff was done autonomously, while in your eyes may be true, is STILL bringing the cops down on us for stuff we had little or no part in. The denial of this by many of the folks who did (and continue to do) this stuff just shows how ignorant these folks are.

And although some part of me does believe there are actually THREE types of anarchist in the city (the ones who are getting shit done, the ones that are agents, and the ones that are being misled by idiots) the logical and reasonable part of me believes that a lot of the younger anarchists just have a very romantic, but unrealistic view of revolution or a movement.

I'm not saying MY view of a movement is the 'right' one, but it's at least realistic. If you think 60 (or even 100) people marching in the street and breaking windows or screaming at the cops is going to accomplish anything, you're totally wrong. Unless you realize by now that the media (run by the corporations we are fighting- the issue that brought us all together in the first place) is going to use this stuff against us, you will NEVER have a realistic view of how to get shit done.

The occupants (or occupiers) support radical thinking and tactics. More than you may think. But some consideration should be given when nearly everyone in a group is saying 'please don't do this! It is going to hurt all of us!' and a few foolish (but loud and prominent) voices say 'Fuck em for oppressing us, we do what we want.'

And yes, fuck Crimethinc.

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

11:07


OK so it's been a little bit since anyone responded. Hopefully tempers aren't flared so much.

Listen, your comment is inflammatory and I suspect you are very upset.

You seem to be working with the assumption that anarchists have broken a bunch of windows in Atlanta and that that destroyed the Occupy movement and that anarchists don't care about other people. Let me address each of these things individually:

1) As far as I can tell, anarchists have never claimed responsibility for breaking any windows in Atlanta, and a window has never been broken at an Occupy Atlanta event.

Windows were broken by black bloc participants in a breakaway march following the Ariston Waiters rally in Union City which was contentious because of its timing. From this piece, I've read that a window was broken on Jan. 28th march in solidarity with Oakland which was not an Occupy event. In fact, someone from OA media called up the local news and made them take down the piece from their website when they accidentally said it was Occupy. Windows were also broken at the Trayon Martin rally in March. This was also not an Occupy event. I've heard a rumor was broken at Bank of America in a march in July and that was obviously not Occupy. The only time windows have been broken in Atlanta has been at break-away marches or actions organized anonymously and autonomously.


To be more clear: anarchists have never claimed responsibility for breaking windows in Atlanta, and nobody from the black bloc has ever broken a window any events except for the ones they helped to organize. (the only contentious one being Union City where there was a break away perhaps not perfectly timed but I've also heard an organizer from that event asked for property damage).


2) If broken windows have never happened at an Occupy Atlanta then it couldn't have been what caused the police repression that ended Occupy. Occupy Atlanta was crushed on the same day as Oakland and I believe Denver. That whole weekend was a part of a nationally coordinated crackdown of occupations, remember? We had a great and festive hip hop festival and the mayor used that as an excuse. If anything, the mixture of races was scaring the mayor of Atlanta because, as we all know, if there could be racial solidarity in Atlanta then we could do anything.

3) Anarchists do care about how our actions might effect other people. Some more than others, but the thought is there. For instance, anarchists organize with other people all of the time for events that aren't gonna be super wild but we do it because we care. Anarchists don't show up to just any event trying to wild out because it's not always smart or appropriate. When people are planning to  escalate things, there is usually a slow progression of escalation so that people can get the feel of what the crowd is like. If people aren't feeling it, people don't usually go on escalating (because that would be dangerous).


You are trying to divide the anarchists in this city, I think ,into two categories: the nice, cuddly, anarchists who feed the homeless organize really really free markets and write letters to prisoners and the evil nihilists who break shit. and start trouble. You've gotta know: there is only one group. Most anarchists try to avoid specialization.

Propaganda, mutual aid, solidarity, confrontation, legal support: all of these things are needed and the best anarchists try to keep a good balance of all of them.


I'm sorry you feel so betrayed by Atlanta anarchists. I'm worried that a lot of this is just enflamed because of the internet or that you may be posting as an agent of the State. For anyone who isn't super angry or an agent of the State, I hope this humble response can contribute to a better feeling about anarchists!

We care about people and stuff!
The media and State are trying to make us seem icky and scary but we love to cuddle and we love dogs and cats and baked goods and, more than anything else, we love our friends, ourselves, and we love freedom. Sometimes we feel like we need to fight against the forces that hurt those things we love so much and, yes, sometimes that isn't exactly nonviolent.

 

 

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

 

But is it ok if I do stuff that gets other people in trouble? I'm allowed to do that, right?

Because FUCK EM! I do what I want and there's nothing that you or your friends can do to stop me! I may just go to the police and give them ALL of your names just to prove a point. I may even make up some bullshit about things you never said just because I want to do it.

You can't tame the untameable! FUCK THE WORLD! FUCK YOU ALL! I DO WHAT I WANT WITH COMPLETE DISREGARD TO HOW IT AFFECTS THE PEOPLE AROUND ME! I'M GOING TO BREAK WINDOWS AND SPRAY HOUSES  AND BLAME IT ALL ON YOU!!!

You DO realize how fucking stupid and childish that sounds, right? Because that's pretty much all I hear from a lot of the 'anarchists' in Atlanta.


BTW- FUCK crimethinc and all the people who carry that shit around like it's gospel. I'm more convinced now than ever that the 'individuality' of a certain sect of Atlanta 'Anarchists' are little more than a fucking cult.

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

so if the police wanted to put people in jail they would. they dont need a reason. if they wanted to summon people to a grand jury they could. they can make up a reason. if you refuse to speak then they will put you in jail. crimethinc, bllack door or whatever. we know this.

thanks for spreading the paranoia. 

while youre at it please but out a plug for the new red baiting tv show coming out on fox about the ussr.  cointelpro isnt a joke. bored trolling agents are a joke. dont do anything stupid that you dont want to take the consequences for that s the end of the story.

have a nice day. 

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

do you really need a book to tell you what revolution should look like?

Fuck crimethinc.

and fuck 'out the back door' or whatever that publication is floating around ATL right now. If you don't realize that you're a victim of a massive set up you deserve whatever you're about to get.

Remember- there are people sitting in prison right now, jailed under charges of owning 'anarchist literature' and black clothing. If you think your pitiful excuse of 'security culture' is going to prevent that from happening here, you should REALLY reconsider your life choices and go back to watching MTV because you're WAY over your head...

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

OMG!

BURN ALL YOUR BOOKS!

DON'T TRUST ANYTHING THAT GOES AGAINST THE STATE!

Seriously. Good job there with putting that together. It was so well thought out. That applies to anything and any book that doesnt pander to the State and the status quo. Thats a risk. If that is your concern don't be a dumbass and order it from them. 

They can use whatever they want to prosecute you a Crimethinc book or fucking Calvin and Hobbes that radical right. 

Following your paranoid "logic" everyone should get rid of everyhing that they own that could be subversive right now or else you will be fucked. 

Please chill out. 

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

Here's the ironic thing about crimethinc:

It takes it's name from Orwell's 1984 and is a direct reference to Big Brother and totalitarianism.

In case anyone has forgotten, Winston Smith is approached by O'Brien whom he believes is a member of The Brotherhood (a revolutionary group fighting Big Brother) and given a copy of The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, which is the how-to manual of The Brotherhood. (Similar in fashion to the books published by Crimethinc.)

Well guess what, O'Brien turned out to be thought police, the book was the evidence needed to lock up Smith, and in the end Big Brother wins because Smith is too ignorant to question his romantic ideals of revolution.

One very important lesson that I took from that book-

It is up to the individual to act on his/her own thoughts. The corruption of Big Brother runs VERY deep in our society, and the people who you believe to be the most radical are often not what they seem...

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

Cops, Pigs, Murderers!

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

Would anyone be suprised if  was a government agent?

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

cimethinc! they are all provacatuers and cops.! that means all anarchists are provocatuers and cops!

Its not like anyone else in history had promoted anything crazy in writing that might be in the same vain.

Its not like Malcolm X was open in his beliefs, of the black panthers, or the weather underground, or the red army faction, or the EZLN, or the zapatistats.

OMG CRIMETHINC they are all cops!

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

Someone mentioned crimethinc...

Would anyone be surprised if a story broke about the publishers of crimethinc being government agents?

Maybe I'm just clinically paranoid when it comes to things like insurrection, but I'm very skeptical about any 'organization' that blatantly promotes the things they promote...

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

This is why the division between red and black exists. 

I can't handle working with children. I want to work with mature adults who know and understand discipline and self sacrifice. Real revolutionaries suffer, lose friends, function with no sleep, and dispose of all  meaningful personal relationships especially if they are with anarchists (because hey they can't be meaningful anyways right?)

The day you decide to grow up is the day I will accept you as a human being and an adult until then you will all be tier 1 little snobby rich brats.

 

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

There is no correct anarchist view point. Anarchism is not based in any reality and is historically inaccurate. 

They are bourgeois in their thinking.

Reading any piece of Crimethink will show that. It is loaded with romantic writing and fetishizes insurrection. 

The only good anarchist viewpoint is to stop being an anarchist and become a dedicated revolutionary communist and join your local chapter of the Leninist vanguard. Be on the lookout the recent emergence of the red flag on 022 was to let be people know that we are here and we are willing to sit down with any anarchist who wants to learn the in's and out's of dialetics and historical materalism and teach them the proper mode of revolutionary thinking.

Many of our leaders have traveled this road for us and have brought back the knowledge we all need to move forward. 

 

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

5:43-

If the rest of the Atlanta anarchists had your point of view, we would still be making progress today.

The thing about organizing a revolution- a REAL revolution in which large masses of people get organized and work together to fix (or break) the system- is that not everyone is going to want to be their own organizer. Many people in American society WANT someone to be the 'point man/woman' that they can turn to. Many people have so much going on in their lives that they can't afford the time to organize urban farms, marches, demonstrations, or direct actions, but they can take a few hours a week to participate in those things for the good of the movement.

We saw a lot of that during the occupation- lots of folks coming out and getting involved in a passive way. And that's ok. Even if you can only donate a little time, it's better than donating that time to a professional sports team, right?

But what we saw last year was an ATTACK on those people, many of whom had never been involved in activism, for not being radical enough and being skeptical of actions done during BB tactics. (BTW- also to the person at 5:43- the article explicitly states that people were suiting up for BB during the entire occupation as far back as October, even saying several times that 'if we were going to take advantage of the numbers, now was our shot' or something like that.)

Mistakes were made, and mistakes are ok, but when we see absolutely NO repentance from the people who made those mistakes (and in fact hear nothing but defense for and a continuation of those mistakes) it makes me wonder if there's any hope for ANY sort of revolution in this society at all...

BTW- I don't think there was ANYBODY in the occupation who was against locks, sit ins, marches (even in the streets) or other direct actions. The concern was for actions that we KNEW the media and the cops would use to paint us as childish and ineffectual. Specifically broken windows and spray paint.

One more point- Just because one or two people at UC wanted a riot doesn't mean that EVERYONE there wanted a riot.

It would be nice to have an actual in-person conversation about these things. I don't trust Indymedia any more than I trust any other website.

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

Isn't all of this just masking a new morality? Or even an old morality?

POC and workers aren't traditionally lauded for being more righteous, but for being more "strategic" subjects for a revolutionary vanguard to use as a power base.

Everyone experiences misery in some form and material privileging shuffles around how that effects people. Addiction is heroin is less common in the suburbs, for instance, but addiction to oxy-contin is incredibly widespread. Furthermore, affluent towns generally have a tempered or otherwise mild tolerance for queer folks whereas poor towns are famously homophobic, whether urban or rural.

The point isn't to identify who is the most miserable, but to identify those who are most willing to destroy the machinery of immiseration.

In America, it's not surprising that militant struggles regularly happen at the site of reproduction (the streets) rather than the sites of production which are largely mechanized, specialized and offshored. It's also unsurprising that struggles in prisons would become rather widespread and frequent (despite lack of media coverage.)

Quit whining about what other folks are doing to set shit off, fuck. Just ignore them. The best way to undermine leftism is to spread unruliness and self-organization to sectors of society largely ignored by institutional activist organizations: the street kids, the prisoners, the punks, the insurgent queers and gender rebels, and the immigrants (it's amazing how so much solidarity went out the window after the anti-immigrant laws actually passed:( ).

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

Fuck all of this.

Let's get clear about this. This past winter, anarchists never used the Occupy protests as a shield to wreck shit. One time in Union City an organizer of that protest asked us to come start a riot so people tried (and, honestly, did kind of a bad job but whatevs it was cool).

There was basically no widespread practice of smashing windows in Atlanta. Instead, we used our influence to escalate crowd unruliness in different ways - blocking bank entrances, trying to storm into target locations en masse, snaking into the street, de-arrests etc.

Anarchists were involved in all of the committees even when it wasn't the smartest thing to do.

To be honest, anarchists could have pushed forward the momentum of occupy by being a little less populist. Hell, it was our revolutionary resolve that helped make the occupation happen at all, speaking in favor of illegal occupation even when it wasn't widely popular.

There were huge limits to last winter that have resulted in fragmentation. Mostly, it was inexperience and lack of theoretical conviction among individuals.

Anarchists in Atlanta aren't just a bunch of privileged white punks like people are trying to make it seem.

Off of the top of my head I can think of people I am close to who have been queer bashed, who grew up homeless, who grew up in abusive households, whos home life was ruined by alcoholism and drug addiction, who have been sexually abused, who are medicated for mental health, who have been racially profiled, who have lost love ones to incarceration and state repression, high school drop-outs, drug dealers, sex workers, precarious "workers", thieves, convicts.

I know there are also people who have class privilege, male privilege, white privilege, are able-bodied etc. I also know there are several people who risk jail time to present themselves to be wealthier than they are.

It is more common, in my experience, for other organizers (regardless of ideology) to be college-educated and class-privileged to a higher degree than most Atlanta anarchists.

Perhaps this comment has wrongfully entered the authoritarian discourse of legitimacy/illegitimacy, but I felt the need to clear this shit up.

Anarchists do organize with people. It is more rare for anarchists to concieve of themselves as "the organizers" who are trying to "educate" and "mobilize" other people, this is true. Perhaps, however, this largely comes from a position of humility rather than arrogance? For the people I am close to, I can tell you that this is the case. We are just people. We are precarious-proles undergoing rapid lumpenization (just like the rest of North America). We have our own ideas about what to do about that and we wanna get with the others who agree with us.

The Left is guilty of constantly asserting itself as the official face of popular revolt. That needs to be torn down. Anarchists must say what only anarchists will say and we must have the faith that others will agree with us if we take the time to explain ourselves and if we are honest and consistent. Anarchists have our shit going on right now and we need to communicate better with the rest of society. There are attempts to do that recently and that is good.

The former Occupiers and possibly some former-friends of ATL (A) (mostly marxists I think) have been stepping up the anarchist shit-talking. Unsurprisingly, this comes at a time when anarchists are down. There is repression of anarchists everywhere and FBI surveillance as well. Now is not the time to circle the wagons. Mend relationships wherever possible and keep your head up. Keep pushing forward, keep getting out there, keep on spreading anarchy.

We got this shit.
<3

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

I also want to second what my comrade just posted. 

I think it's time for us to take back the comments section of indymedia. for too long it has been used to red bait and shit on liberals. grow up you infantile reactionary pieces of shit.

lenin was right. marx was right. mao was right. hegel was right.

you crimethinc white suburbanites really dont know what it means to struggle youve never dealt with it a day in your lives. respect the struggles of the workers and pocs and stop going in and being so priviledged as to think you can fuck up their neighborhoods.

you are just making it worse and them and on the people who are actually trying to organize them for the revolution.

 

 

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

@9:37

Please know that people DO CARE about my work. I am currently organzing with many of my other comrades to help motivate the proletarian masses. What are you doing?

Our strategy has been every effective and now we can boast our continuing diversity as a group. Our cadre is not full of white hetero males.

The strategy that I mention is not my own and you too could use it if you would lose your dogmatic nature and open a book of actual revolutionary theory. The course of action is plain and tested. (ex. The Bolshevik Revolution, Chile, Cuba) We have it right my friend and Marx, Lenin, Mao and even some of Stalin's writings would help you greatly. 

Take a second and learn something about how to be a revolutionary. Many of us have matured past our stage of infantile anarchism and trust me one day you too will join the ranks.

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012



awww. 

boo hoo... 

who cares?

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

@everyone tl;dr

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

BTW- the reason the occupy movement was as successful as it was is because of it's diversity. If there had been nothing but black-clad anarchists in the park, they'd have been arrested the first night and that would have been the end of it. Likewise, if it had been a bunch of moderate liberals, they would have probably just gone home when the sun went down and the park got dangerous.

The occupation failed when people stopped respecting other's wishes and began taking actions that were dangerous to other people's livelihood. Some of us have been working hard for years to get to where we are, and we have a long-term plan for how to help facilitate change/revolution. We can't afford to put our plans in jeopardy because some kids want to break windows. All we asked was that you not bring the cops down on us for the sake of a moment of excitement. That's not unreasonable. Especially considering the things we were willing to do to help you.

We never turned anyone in to the police. We never used the occupation as a platform for running a candidate. We never even physically stopped anyone from doing the things we pleaded with you not to do. We refrained from doing these things out of respect for our 'comrades' and the movement, even though that respect was never returned.

Why?

Because you allowed opportunists who think they know everything because they've read a few books from past revolutions (most of which failed or morphed into totalitarian regimes) to mislead you into unproductive (and often harmful) tactics.

And now where are we? Splintered and factioned and completely irrelevant. People are relying on the election to change things. We started waking people up last fall, but now they've hit the snooze button and tossed the alarm clock against the wall. The state is stronger than it's ever been, people are more complacent than they've ever been, and the movement is ineffective as a whole.

I'm not saying the BB tactics are the entire reason for the collapse, but the folks who do it could have put forth a little more effort into trying to fix things (instead of doing the same shit over and over.)

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

Food not Bombs and the really free market are awesome ideas that all of the occupiers agreed with.

The one request that the occupation as a whole had was that people don't mask up and start breaking shit because we were afraid of:

1) media portraying us as children having temper tantrums

2) police coming down on organizers not involved in the vandalism

3) making it easier for agent infiltration

4) turning away our legal representation

5) turning away people with more moderate views on 'revolution'

6) giving the state more justification to install surveillance and instate regulations

7) giving the state more practice/experience with how to deal with us in case our numbers DID grow and we had an opportunity to actually use black bloc tactics productively.

All of those things happened as a direct result of 'anarchist' children who are even now too ignorant to admit that they may have fucked up.

Now the state is stronger and more oppressive than it's ever been, they know how to deal with us when we behave that way, and we've completely lost public support.

PLEASE tell me HOW this is productive in any way shape or form? Regardless of whether your intention is to reform or destroy the system, how did any of these actions help us?

They didn't.

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

Youre exactly right comrade. The anarchists have it completely wrong. 

They don't understand anything. Even the way they think is bourgeious. It's glaringly obvious from the inception until the finale of this infantile piece. 

What they are missing is the proper analysis of the situation. They have it all wrong. Look at history we must organizing the workers through our revolutionary strategy and vanguard.

Why are they fighting the police when we all know we should keep the prisons to fight the bourgeosie

Here is a snipet of Lenin's flawless logic and why we must form the vanguard

The dictatorship of the proletariat, i.e., the organization of the vanguard of the oppressed as the ruling class for the purpose of suppressing the oppressors, cannot result merely in an expansion of democracy. Simultaneously with an immense expansion of democracy, which for the first time becomes democracy for the poor, democracy for the people, and not democracy for the money-bags, the dictatorship of the proletariat imposes a series of restrictions on the freedom of the oppressors, the exploiters, the capitalists. 

Lenin, State and Revolution 

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

Nobody ever said that anarchists stole the idea from occupiers.

What I said was that occupiers brought these ideas into the mainstream. That's what 'anarchists' wanted, right? To introduce the public to rebellion? 

But the problem was that high-school mentality that so many 'anarchists' haven't been able to shake that requires them to attack anyone and everyone who doesn't immediately fall step-in-line with their ideology, as well as the inability for children to compromise for the good of the movement.

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

What's Social War? 

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

I think that we should focus on how much the occupiers taught us about prepardness. 

They provided us with food vis Food Not Bombs, CopWatch, childcare, the idea of bucket drums, awesome chants, the motivation to walk on the sidewalk and so many things I wont even list them.

Seriously Atlanta Anarchists please give all the occupiers a pat on the back next time you seen them and please take the initiative to put any newspaper boxes you see back where they belong.

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

Exactly. 

I think that comment has been the most accurate of them all. Everything that anarchist do they stole from occupy and ngos. How else would they have thought to fight against police brutality, home foreclosures, banks, etc.

Occupy Theory and the strategic plan of OOHA should be read and studied. Anarchists instead of doing it wrong read what you should do and emulate those other occupiers who have mastered the art of civil disobedience and organizing the masses.

If you would learn from them maybe you too could get a $10,000 grant to push forward the revolution or $3,000 to bus people to it.

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

Anarchists need to stop being revisionists and realized what has really happened the last year.


ANARCHISTS HAVE CLEARLY CO-OPTED AND RECUPERATED OCCUPY IDEALS!

Occupy was the great leap forward we all have been looking for. Occupiers clearly laid out practices of direct democracy and consensus decision making, leaderless decision making, direct action (marching on the banks!), and occupying public space. Anarchists have since attempted to claim credit for all of those ideas and fit them in to their twisted, system-growing ideology!

Without Occupiers theory Anarchists would still be stuck having meaningless bookfairs for ten people! Oh wait....

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

@8:05pm

Yea I agree with the previous comment. You assume you know who the person was. Do you? How? WHy? Do you get some pleasure from supposedly knowing everything and everyone?

That is dangerous behavior. Especially in a time of political repression against anarchist in the PNW. It's happening there and chances are it is going to spread. It isn't about anyone's niceness in not telling its about people realizing who theyre enemies are and trust me you wont find them here on the same side as you. 

Our enemies are the police, the State, capitalism, white supremaccy, patriarchy, all of that. So spend less time trying to identify indymedia anons and more time identifying the people you should be targeting.

FTP!

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

@8:05pm

Please don't speculate as to who you think wrote a comment. Nothing in there definitively says who did. To assume that you do puts people at risk. The whole idea of the black bloc tactic is to conceal identities. Just because you think you saw someone doing something doesn't mean you did. Just because this comment could in your mind fit someone doesn't mean it does. People get on this shit and troll and fake perspectives all the time. 

I am not saying that comment isn't written by someone but I would venture to say that you don't know who wrote it for sure and that you are most likely wrong.... no where does it does it confirm gender, actual race, or anything else that could even narrow it down beyond poc. 

So don't assume that the one poc you think you know was involved posted it because we dont need anyone on the internet identifying people for the govt.

Fuck real conversations happening online. 

Where are the trolls?

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

Anarchists still have no teeth. It wasn't until a bunch of people set up a bunch of tents in a park that people started giving you folks attention. And you attacked them for it. Now you are fading back into obscurity.

And that's a fucking shame. (no sarcasm there, I am truly saddened at the turn the movement took because we had a decent shot at changing things.)

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

1:54

Much HAS been gained in the past year.

For one, until the "window smashing"-style anarchists started organizing together, Atlanta anarchists had no teeth. There was no sense of a presence. There was no space carved out for us. 

We spent years doing food not bombs and potlucks and filming the police and fighting war and austerity and organizing 'free markets etc. etc. etc. and nobody noticed us. Then some shit got wrecked and now the projects we do have visibility. The only funny part, really, is that people try to divide the anarchists "good anarchist/bad anarchist."

Plus, you can't just "build a non-hierarchical society." People become non-hierarchical when they become unrulable. People become un-rulable through practice. Breaking a window isn't meant to destroy profits, it's meant to sprea unruliness. Believe it or not, most shit is intentional as fuck. People aren't just throwing "temper tantrums" (although it's perfectly acceptable for people to do that).

You have to be able to take care of each other, yes. But taking care of each other is the prerequisite for spreading general disorder and unruliness and that, in turn, feeds back into a higher level of self-organization and mutual aid.

"Spread anarchy, live communism", yes?

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

10:19

I'm pretty sure I already stated it.

Unless you are devoting your energy to establishing a non-hierarchical society, you are wasting your time.

You kids who think that breaking a window is doing anything but giving the police more ammunition to oppress the population are no better than the 'Hot Topic' anarchists that pay 30 bucks for a black T-shirt with (A) printed on it.

There's a difference between claiming to be an anarchist, and actually working to break down the system. Some of Atlanta's anarchists are very intelligent and get a lot of shit done. However, many of them are simply throwing temper tantrums and attacking anyone who offers any criticism of what they do.

But ultimately, you have to look back at what you've done and what your actions have accomplished.

Do you really feel like you've accomplished ANYTHING in the past year? Your marches are getting smaller and smaller. Your actions (aside from the parking meters- that was genius) are ineffectual. An intelligent person would recognize by now that their tactics AREN'T working and consider a new approach.

Unless, of course, your intention isn't to fundamentally change society and bring down the system, but to establish a stronger and more oppressive one...

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

8:16

Oh Wise One please tell us all more about what it means to be true anarchy!!1!

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

1) I don't need 'hard evidence' to call someone a cop. (freedom of speech.) If the end result of dumb actions is the same as if they DID wear a badge, then what's the difference if they're a cop or a fool? If what they are doing ends up with people unwillingly going to jail for dumb shit that they've done, or if it ends with cops raiding homes, or cops coming down on people, why does it matter if they're getting paid to do it or if they're doing it because of a fucked up ideology?

Oh wait- I know- because those people are your friends and are claiming to be anarchists... Such an easy group to infiltrate.

Some people NEVER get out of the high school mentality...

2) I think a lot of the children in Atlanta are confusing nihilism for anarchy. Just because you THINK you're an anarchist, doesn't mean you are. Unless you are devoting your life to not only dismantling the current system, but also establishing one without hiearchy, then you're not an anarchist. You're a fool (at best.)

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

4:36

I mostly agree with your statement except for the "macho white dudes" part.

The organizers of that march did a ton of promo for that and there was a relatively diverse crowd from what I've heard although I didn't attend. Also I think a lot of the A-Teamers might be playfully queer or some sort of not-hetersexual. Although there are maybe 2 or 3 super serious "macho" types that come to mind, it is more common to see flamboyant, goofy, fashiony type of folks to be honest. That's not necessarily the best either but i just dont think "macho" is an accurate adjective. Whatever i'm nitpicking.

 

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

The militant anti-police actions have been the most diverse marches I've ever seen. White kids, brown kids, black kids, old people, LOTS of homeless people... even a dog once! The one in July had a lot of macho white dudes, I'll give you that...

The only person I saw trashing anything on O22 was unmasked, and clearly a proletariat-as-fuck homeless person.

While I have a lot of critiques about how black bloc tactics have been applied in Atlanta over the past year, I will say that people are engaging in thoughtful reflection, and are adapting theory based on experience. One piece was published here on indymedia: http://atlanta.indymedia.org/local/atlanta-anarchists-moving-forward

If you are trying to understand the anarchist mission as something as grandiose as "crashing the entire system" or establishing some global anarchist federation (or even "building a movement") then our actions are not going to make sense.

After the collapse of Occupy Atlanta, the Atlanta Anarchist milieu grew, and sustained momentum long after the eviction of the camps. Although the level of militancy and excitement has died down, Anarchist projects have stabilized and continue to work together to maintain entry points and movement infrastructure. The next time rupture occurs, we won't be unprepared.

 

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

3:43

Most anarchists I know do not like the works of Noam Chomsky.

In either case, the "attempt" to change the state from within already happened in the 70's. It was called the "long march through the institutions" and it totally failed. It had to fail. Any maneuver by the State ultimately is made to build State power so you kind of can't undermine it from within...it's a tautology actually. You literally can only destroy Statism from the Outside. Although you can "overthrow" governments with an inside/outside strategy, you can't overcome the logic of governance that way.

 

Anarchists are not like other revolutionaries who want to "overthrow" the government. We want to destroy the entire social order of control through the anarchization of "society" (for lack of a better term.)

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

Anarchists need to realize that the only way to actually bring down something as large as the state is from the inside!

So while y'all may claim that you don't want a presidential candidate, an anarchist, or at least uber-liberal candidate could easily help bring down the state if elected. Not trying to be too critical, just trying to offer some advice.

Y'all should check out Jill Stein, Green Party candidate. She's supported by leading anarchist theorist Noam Chomsky. If your leader* Chomsky thinks she's good enough to support, why don't you?

*I know Anarchists don't really believe in leaders, so maybe like visionary is a better word.

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

The black bloc is good because it creates a space where people can engage in illegal activity without being surveilled, for one. Also, it protects people who can't afford to be identified for risk of losing their job etc.

The limit of the black bloc is addressed in this piece and Atlanta (A) don't often use it anymore, although many still often mask up.

 

To some of the earlier posters: you can't just say that the things you don't like are done by undercover cops. That's a very serious allegation and you should only ever make it if you have conclusive evidence. Otherwise, you should assume good faith and at the least just think the person is misguided.

 

The tone of this piece does not at all reflect an attitude expressed in some of the posts below. The dynamic wasn't so judgemental and hyperantisocial. The piece addresses serious short-comings of the strategy used and is full of insight on how to spread popular revolt. That's actually one of the strenghts of the piece, I feel.

 

I am generally opposed to "serious dialogue" happining anonymously on the internet because people tend to say fucked up shit and never learn from other people.

With that said, anarchists are not really trying to change the State. We are trying to create a free, ungovernable, world where hierarchy can't exist. Our intention is to create an infinite expanse of ungovernable communes that refuse to rule or be ruled and to make this refusal livable and hospitable for those involved. Because our intention is to create a metaphysical intensity that does not currently exist, it can't exactly be measured by how changed the State is. The shift in consciousness or whatever is subtle and slow, but it happens and the signs of it are everywhere.

For instance, there is a general tendency to resist control that has expanded far beyond anarchist circles. There is a general desire to be able to make decisions autonomously with those one loves and identifies with. There is a widespread feeling of resentment for the police and, moreso, for prisons that didn't used to exist here. There is a large distrust of politicians. People are critical of and wary of recuperation. Currently, it's common to hear people discuss the limits of "alternatives" as implicitly not-revolutionary. Anarchist practice has spread. Masking up, working in teams at demos, filming the police, resisting the police, transforming space, graffiti: all of these things are rather common these days.

Maybe we don't have a presidential candidate, but that was never our goal anyway.

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

Current applications of the white bloc are dead ends/lame as all fuck. That's not to say that the actual tactic of the bloc has legitimate uses... but I don't think what we've seen in Oakland, St. Louis, Atlanta, etc. counts for that.

Can one of you brick-happy insurrectos tell me why it is not lame as fuck without quoting an obscure Agamben passage or naively asserting it is threatening and sizable social war?

You rich white kids really got it made. Mommy can take you on a shopping spree to Urban Outfitters, and then you can destroy that UO later with the same type of security blanket and disregard for consequences. How does this not reek of the rank nut sweat of white privilege to you fools?

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

"Your participation in the black bloc doesn't mean that white privilege is being reproduced any more than a few black faces on the board of the Beltline would."

 

Worded this wrong, but I'm confident you know what I was trying to say.

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

"Quit being an essentialist racist asshole. 
We exist.  Stop ignoring that."

 

You exist, 1:17, I get it. Maybe 3 or 4 more people of color involved in such actions existed before the Union City mishap, but right now I'm almost positive who you are, and you're alone amongst a sea of angry white trust funds or depressed post-grads. Your participation in the black bloc doesn't mean that white privilege is being reproduced any more than a few black faces on the board of the Beltline would.

Go to any community of color and ask what their response is to the black bloc. Most will express disgust, confusion, annoyance. It is repelling them because of its insular white privileged nature. People in poor p.o.c. neighborhoods can't have mommy and daddy bail them out of jail.

 

The race thing isn't even the whole point. What matters even more is that all this black bloc stuff is useless. It's not building solidarity, it's just creating polarizing subcultural cliques that are obsessively narcissistic and detached from reality. If anything is proves the resilience of capital. Break a window, and look! Fixed the next day. In the public view capital triumphs over some awkward hoodlums. And that's it. Story over.

Destruction is easy. Building viable alternatives isn't.

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

Of course, I don't expect you to admit you're wrong, because you have a purist ideology. In that sense you're just as bad as a republican or a nazi. You refuse to compromise on ANY issue, because you know what's best and you don't give a shit about anyone but yourself.

Just remember- back in October and November we were gaining momentum. After every one of these marches listed in this article, we lost it. That's not a coincidence, and that's not because people think that things are getting better. It's because people aren't ready for what you are attempting. Sometimes it's because they are scared, and sometimes it's because they know that your methods are destined to fail. Sometimes it's because they have found a way to work within the system to make their lives sustainable.

I know you won't agree with this- but the system has actually worked very well for some people. The way it's trending is toxic both to the people and to the planet, but with some tweaks and fixes, the system COULD be fixed.

End foreclosures

End student debt

Reform law enforcement

Remove corporate lobbying from government.

That's a start.

In order to establish SUSTAINABLE change, you need to plan things out over time. It's simply not going to happen overnight. Shit like that works in places like Greece (kind of) but it won't work here. In Greece they are buying pepper spray and riot gear. In America we MAKE that shit. We have warehouses full of it going bad.

Also- don't forget about what happened after the Arab spring... They succeeded in overthrowing the government only to have the military step in and take control. Is that what you want to happen here in America? You think the average American is going to step out and fight the national guard? You think they're going to support you when they start gunning you down in the street?

I suggest you leave your little echo chamber and start talking to people with differing points of view.

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

And how have your attacks on capitalism been going lately?

The ports in Oakland were shut down because of moderates and unions. NOT because of vandalism and 'anarchists.' In fact, it was the vandalism that pushed people away from Oakland. Surely you've seen the videos of about 30 or 40 people breaking shit and the rest of the occupation (a few hundred) getting between them and sometimes even physically restraining them...

And I've never said that anarchists are the problem. EVER. Not even in my posts. I also don't think that the folks who often break shit are anarchists. I think they're nihilists with delusions of grandeur. Selfish children who's only purpose is to show up and piss off people who are (were) getting shit done.

And yes, I will ALWAYS assume that the people breaking windows are cops, because that's what a deep cover federal agent would do. It's ineffectual. It does nothing but justify a stronger crackdown. It's what the cops and the "1%" want you to do because it doesn't hurt them at all, and it gives them justification to make you look like children throwing a temper tantrum.

Plus it makes the rest of us look like assholes.

As far as pushing people away from the movement- that's already happened. You guys did a really good job of it. Just read back over this post. "Everyone said not to break stuff, but we did it anyway because fuck em." Those folks have a complete lack of respect for anything but their own stupid selfish points of view. 

You can't have a revolution with 60 people. You will ALWAYS be outnumbered, outgunned, and outorganized by the cops until you find a way to reach out to moderate people. The way to do that isn't to break windows and then attack people who tell you not to.

And before you go making yourself out to be a victim- keep in mind that most of the folks who were on these marches trying to stop the folks breaking the windows know who they are. If they wanted to they could easily have turned you in to the police. But they didn't. That's because they had respect for you, even tho you had no respect for them.

Here's a fun little thing to think about: Capitalism is wrong. Sure. But working within the system to change it is the ONLY way to fix these problems. How long until you realize that? It's become too big and the general population has become too reliant on it to 'crash the system' without massive deaths in our society. If you think that's justified, then you're no better than the capitalists.

But I tell you what- prove me wrong. Justify these types of actions, considering the momentum we had in November and the lack of support now. Perhaps while you do that you can explain to me why YOU think the movement is dead. I'm not saying ALL the blame is on the hands of the anarkids. There are other factors that added to it as well, but I'd like to hear your reasoning that defends these actions as productive to anyone but your little echo chamber of friends.

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

To 11:33 and 11:42

The idea that repression is tied only to actions of a few uncontrollable demonstrators is ludicrous. The city already has millions of dollars’ worth of cameras and has long stated its intention to have a network of thousands of cameras to surveil every inch of the city. The function of the police is to go to “activists” homes, to track and monitor those involved with potentially subversive movements, to be in a constant state of preventive counter-insurgency against the population of the United States.

Anarchists attract so much police attention because their ideas and actions could actually be dangerous to this poisonous system we are trapped in. The uncompromising rebellion posited by anarchists is diametrically opposed to the order the police impose. Anarchists principles are what allowed the occupy movement to grow and spread in the first place, and are not the reason for the movements failure.

And it seems as though you have already managed to forget that the park was raided and cleared of occupants before any vandalism had taken place, as a part of a coordinated, nation-wide crackdown on Occupy.

I also find it ironic that you in one sentence accuse “petty vandals” of not knowing how to build a movement, while shortly thereafter telling people to stay at home. Your language sets the stage for the purifying of a social movement, kicking out the “undesirables”, so that your noble activist message can finally reach those elusive leaders.

Clearly property destruction is not an end in itself, and no one has made the argument that breaking a window is accomplishing a goal. And breaking one window doesn’t damage corporate profits; again no one has made this argument. But by acting now to physically resist the violence of capitalism anarchists can spread seeds of disorder. In Oakland the Occupy movement never accepted non-violence as a creed and was able to pull of multiple port shutdowns, amongst other actions, which did cost corporations millions of dollars. Occupy also lasted the longest and stayed relevant much longer in Oakland, with thousands turning out in January in an attempt to seize a building, months after Occupy related activity had waned in most other cities. We must keep in mind that corporations are not the only problem, and that all hierarchical relations should be abolished, and that all of society works together in a network of domination to reproduce hierarchical relations, not just large faceless corporations.

If we are always waiting for more people to show up before we begin to act, we will go nowhere. By acting against capitalism and the state we can draw more people and move towards a general place of ungovernability.

Also please fuck off with the idea that everyone who breaks a window is cop. It’s just not fucking true, quit the conspiracy theory bullshit.

We can’t just plead and beg capitalism to go away. We have to attack it.

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

If I was a cop, I mean a REAL agent, not some plain-clothes beat cop who gets a shift walking around the city, but a federal agent sent to infiltrate, the FIRST thing I would do is commit petty vandalism and get arrested. Those charges wouldn't stick because the government agency I work for will get them dropped when my contract is finished. Most of the kids who do this stuff are pretty easy to impress. A window and some spray paint and you're in. I'd bide my time and wait on someone to plan explosives or firearms. Even then I'd keep my cover and report it to the feds. That's what they do. They're smarter than you think they are.


However- you want to know what these 'actions' DID accomplish? They gave the cops justification to raid the park with helicopters and horses. They gave the city justification to install 2.5 million dollars worth of surveillance cameras around the city. They gave the cops reason to go to moderate activists homes. They gave the cops justification to track and monitor ANYONE associated with the occupy movement.

Beat cops are dumb. They don't know better than to lump everyone who ever spent time in the park with the petty vandals who don't understand how to build a movement. They assume that ALL of us are ineffectual but potentially dangerous people. They also think that we're all annoying little parasites, but convenient and easy targets to bump up their quotas for the month.

Thanks for that, folks. You accomplished nothing but bringing the cops down on us harder. Next time stay at home!

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

Opportunists.

Seriously- what did all of these demonstrations accomplish? Anything? They literally turned everyone away from the occupy movement.

All I could read in this article was "Everyone was getting together and organizing something, so we saw an opportunity to commit petty vandalism and fool ourselves into thinking we were getting shit done."

I also think it's funny that just about every one of these 'demonstrations' was appropriately described as "everyone there wanted us to stop, but fuck em. We do what we want."

Do you guys even understand the intention of a bloc? "Newspaper bins were thrown into the street!" How productive! You ALMOST blocked 1/2 of the roadway! That's not a blockade. You've NEVER had the number necessary to accomplish anything with these tactics because you never gave people a chance to connect to what you were trying to do. Instead all you did was push people away and attack them when they asked for you to wait until the numbers were up.

BTW- if you think petty vandalism proves that you're not a cop, you're a fool. The cops are the ones that are breaking windows. They're trying to  convince you that they're on your team so they can report you if you actually DO accomplish something. You think that 250 dollar window you broke or the 50 bucks they pay to wash that paint off the wall is actually doing damage to corporate profits? They make that up in a fraction of a second. However, the damage that it did to the movement is incalculable.

Grow up.

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012


I think it's slightly pathetic that you have to fabricate myths and spew outright lies in an attempt to homoginize the diverse array of bodies that participated in last winters anti-police rebellions into your convenient bugaboo. (of the white, affluent, suburban, college educated veriety no less) 
Is that really nessesary or are you incapable of providing a useful critique of the tactic based on material reality and the political situation we're faced with?
Maybe, you think it helps your bland and useless progressive politics appear more legitimate?
I don't know...  You tell me.

Either way... No...  You are absolutely not going to dismiss or erase me or any other person of color, woman, working class or precariat rebel, queer militant, or any "other" that does not fit your conveniently fabricated steriotype of what a blac bloc anarchist might look like under the masks and hoods.  You won't erase us from the struggles we've chosen to engage in because, although it might suprised the shit out of you, we're strong enough to stand and be heard on our own authority and I don't care if that makes you uncomfortable.

I live here.  This is my fucking home too.  No bullshit retorhic is going to define me as an "outsider"
Nice try though.

Quit being an essentialist racist asshole.
We exist.  Stop ignoring that.

hugs and kisses
A brown skinned, broke ass, city dwelling, self educated, anarchist from the bloc.

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

6:50 - like anyone who hasn't been peripherally involved with Occupy doesn't know the black bloc in Atlanta is comprised of the same white college educated 20-somethings from the suburbs. The fact that it seems to repel anyone outside of this predictable demographic should be a wake up call, but it never will be. Ok, let's talk about intersectionality. Someone sees a police badge as a way out of inner city poverty. They are told and sold a quite convincing but flawed narrative where they are protecting their neighborhoods from the behaviors that keep it dangerous and impoverished. Enter a white 20-something with no job and plenty of money, who after finding a self-important social mileu, conforms to their group imperatives and starts screaming at these officers for reasons they can't quite articulate and even talks about the necessity of killing them. Come on, something's off. Find better targets.

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

12:21

You're funny.

Identity politics as an utterly bankrupt liberal Enlightenment philosophy is overflowing in your post.

You presume to know the identification of everyone in "the" black bloc, which is stupid but also funny. You also fail to understand even the "intersectionality" rhetoric of identity politics in the first place. You can't just call people "privileged" and have that be the end. Your analysis is supposed to see human bodies as intersecting nodes of oppression which means that everyone is "privileged" in some ways and "victimized" in others.

Being against the police is not simply a product of resentment like you seem to think. I am against the police because they confront me, materially, as an obstacle to my own free self-creation. There is no need to be militantly jealous of the rich or militantly indignant about any particular incident of police "misconduct." I oppose anything that filters my desires and energies into spaces and relationships that disempower me and alienate me from myself.

With that said, the essay itself does actually designate several incidences of police killings here in Atlanta from last winter. Check the timelines.

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

I was hoping this would attempt to demystify where Atlanta's anti-police fetish came from and merely not list every time a privileged black-clad misanthrope yelled at a black-skinned cop in self-assured righteousness. But I think this fetish is actually rooted in the internet and boners for Oakland rather than what cops in this city, who are largely old guard civil rights remnants, do or don't do. 'Cos really the cops here don't care that much. Whatever though, you gotta be angry at something, and since y'all are rich the whole class rage thing doesn't work out that well.

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

This is a good post. 

There is one part that is missing, though.  How about when those retards started a fire in the middle of the park.  What was that all about?

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

"The world is ours if we want it,
We can take it,if you just take my hand,
There's no turning back now
Baby try to understand

Don't wanna break your heart
Wanna give your heart a break
I know you're scared it's wrong
Like you might make a mistake
There's just one night to live
And there's no time to wait (to wait)
So let me give your heart a break, your heart a break..."

Demi Lovato gets it!

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

Destroy the Left!


Keep it up, Atlanta! Pieces like this can be so helpful for cities if people other than the author(s) take the time to study them. This piece isn't all nostalgia. There are several humble self-criticisms in here and some ideas about how to move forward.

After "Burning the Bridges They Are Building" came out people did some public discussions about the piece. Could be helpful for you all in Atlanta.

Keep it as rowdy as you can sustain, take your time and just keep pushing.


<3

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

read lenin, talk about lenin, read marx, talk about marx, organize the masses, get anarchists to do the dirty work, read lenin, talk about lenin, write newsletters, get anarchists to do the dirty work, its really a vicious cycle

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

What do Marxist Leninists actually do?

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

This is SOCIAL WAR!

Not the Marxist Leninist Maoist Trotskyist Stalinist Revolution

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

Feels good to reminisce 

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

An important detail about O22 was left out. That was the day of the hip hop festival, and the beginning of the build up of police that culminated in the eviction a few days later. The festival was defiant and refused to let cops near the generator by locking arms and dancing around it. The police were able to convince the festival organizers to shut down the stage by threatening huge fines at the EXACT moment that the anti-police march left the MARTA station. The march circled the park and picked up several dozen pissed off hip hop fans, who had just been given one more reason to hate the cops. This was also the first day that the "mobile command unit" and military style helicopters were deployed to the park.

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

Fuck yea.

It sucks that this took a year to come out but in some ways its sick to look back at this 

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

News paper boxes were mentioned multiple times in this article.

Re: Don't Die Wondering: Atlanta Against the Police Winter 2011-2012

Hell yeah!  This  is great.   I'm sure everyone who experienced it is a different person because of it.  Lets not stop! 

Favorite line in the entire piece:
"At the Suntrust plaza, a few people mounted the big statue out front – someone even peed into the fountain."

LOL!