February 1st : A Black Bloc Gone Wrong

This is an open letter in response to the actions on the evening of Tuesday February 1st 2012 at the residence of V, Chelsea and Francis. 

We, Olly, Andre, Jessie, Kalilah, Drea, Martina, Steve, and Francis, members of a local radical queer community, experienced direct intimidation, as well as its ripple effects, by members of the anarchist and anarcho-feminist communities.

We recognize the experiences of all the people involved in the altercation that sparked the actions of Feb 1st. We also recognize that altercation between V, Chelsea & Francis existed prior to the events of that evening. We have no intention of debating those experiences. This is a letter in response to the violent tactics used by members of the anarchist community in the form of a Black Bloc.

On the evening of Feb 1st, a Black Bloc intimidated, harassed and threatened members of the queer community with the intention of accomplishing Community Accountability. One member of our community, Francis, was encircled and threatened by 20-30 people en bloc, in his home. When 7 people arrived to support Francis, we were immediately faced with a mass of physically threatening anonymous individuals. Attempts to mediate the situation through verbal communication, were met with responses of laughter, yelling, and silence on the part of the mass. 

At 7:30pm, Francis was at home alone, sitting on his porch. His roommates arrived home and lingered in their car. Soon after, 7-8 cars arrived on the street and a group of 20-30 people, en bloc, came towards his home. Francis felt unsafe, intimidated, and was afraid for his life, so he entered his home and locked both the front and back door. There was a mass of people at the front door yelling to get into the house. The black bloc broke down the locked front door and entered into his home. They circled Francis, and read him a list of demands. (1. Francis was told to leave the house immediately, which he was in the process of doing. 2. He was told to pay the bills, which he had already stated that he intended on doing). Francis was never provided with a copy of the demands. Francis attempted to engage in dialogue in regards to the demands, but was told by numerous members of the bloc to “Shut the fuck up”.  Another member of the bloc picked up Francis’ backpack and stated “We can use this for collateral”. He was forced to the porch, with the bloc inside. Francis was not even allowed to retrieve his dog from the home, and members of the bloc were forcibly touching and moving his property. Francis’ friends arrived at his home and attempted to engage in verbal dialogue with the bloc. Francis attempted to speak through the open front door to the bloc whose members yelled, “Get the fuck back!”. One friend said “He’s no threat at all and he’s not going anywhere.” At this point we began to move Francis’ stuff out of his home. About 10-15 members of the bloc came to the front of the building to form a line of surveillance. We were stared down as we moved Francis’ belongings into our cars. When we respectfully asked these people to terminate such humiliating tactics, the bloc responded with silence. 

It is significant to note that on Tuesday, Feb 1st, Francis was packed and ready to  move out, and was within minutes of leaving. The actions of the black bloc stripped Francis and his friends of our humanity. We were treated as monsters. This experience traumatized the authors of this article and the queer community in general. The black bloc’s actions emulated systems of state violence. If the people involved intended on enacting a form of community accountability, they failed. We will not stand for this behavior in, and against, our communities.

We will not stand for mob violence. Unjustified and excessive use of violent tactics against powerless individuals is one of the masters tools. 

When the importance of fact and integrity are dissolved from personal and political actions, the role of activism is placed within a culture of triviality. 

It is disturbing to us in the queer community, that a group of predominantly cis gendered white men entered into an un-investigated dispute between two queer identified people. We are appalled that they used tactics of violence and humiliation against an already oppressed group of individuals. Bringing a black bloc into a queer community is violence and it needs to be named as violence. The people involved did nothing less than enact their privilege within that space. 

The people who were there for this event are traumatized and the effect of this trauma has been felt by our community. We were shaking, triggered, made voiceless, disrespected and completely stripped of our humanity. 

Women and trans identified people face a constant threat of violence - within our community, from our families, the government, as well as society at large. More violence against queer people is an ineffective means of changing the current system. The actions of the bloc mimicked the police system in that it applied tactics of threat, intimidation, anonymity, bullying, many-against-few, unequal power dynamics, humiliation, intentional violence, and mob mentality. 

Just as we don't accept tactics of police intimidation we will not accept these tactics of anarchist intimidation. As Andre wrote, “When you attempt to break us down or tear us apart, do not later be surprised to find the bodies you have tried so hard to tatter and tear, rebuilt and united. A conjoined monster we will be! Formed by the webbing of our collective tissue and personal histories, we carry too much weight of our own integrities to let this go lightly.”

Models of radical community accountability MUST recognize the humanity of everyone involved. The prison industrial complex and the police state ostracize, isolate and humiliate the individuals that they target. These tactics, as well as physical violence, are used to criminalize and disenfranchise the needs of both parties within a dispute. The actions taken that night were closer to the prison industrial complex and police state than they were to community based accountability processes. The black bloc emulated here did not create any real change. In fact, it only mimicked the systems it is fundamentally trying to oppose. It is not radical to participate in group think & mob mentality. Where was the critical aspect of social conscientiousness that is so important in working for justice?

An alternative to the current oppressive system would treat the needs of both parties as real, as opposed to engaging in polarized side-taking, vengeful action, and bullying without mediation. Actions in response to accusations of violence within the community should be intentional and critically examined.

This is a wake up call. 

If you get anything from this letter, we want to stress that we must consider other forms of addressing community accountability outside of reproduced state violence. These tactics should empower, not dehumanize individuals. They should be informed, not rash. They should be supportive, not polarizing. They should engage tactics that are sustainable, not reproduce tactics of the police state. They should further community building not tear communities apart. 

This is a call to action : We expect better of our communities. 

 

Sincerely,

Olly, Andre, Jessie, Kalilah, Drea, Martina, Steve, and Francis

And those in support:

Connor, Ari Te, Hez, Shannon, Rene, and other members of the queer community. 

Comments

Two years removed

Now that it's been two years since this happened, I'd like to weigh in on this in reflection. It is highly doubtful anyone will see this, but this is to whoever stumbles across this dark moment.


Vee (a trans man) and Chelsea (a queer woman) were being physically assaulted by Ray (a trans man), who was their roommate. Ray refused to pay rent and refused to leave. The manner of assault was along the lines of pushing, shoving, shouting, and hitting.


Once these dynamics began to emerge, Vee and Chelsea began talking to their friends about it, who were mutual friends with Ray. But, it turns out, Ray is a bit more popular and many of the mutual friends are quite liberal and fearful of conflict. Therefore, after a bout of violence, Vee and Chelsea called some of their other friends, some of whom are anarchists, some who are also queer anarchists. This group organized a meet up on the fly for that night, just a few hours later. Roughly 25 people showed up to console Vee and Chelsea who explained the situation. A decision was made by this group, who mostly identified as women, some who were queer, some of whom identified as men, and some of whom were anarchists (and many who were several of these things!).

A few (a very few, no more then 4 or 5 out of the 25-30), put masks on as the group, lead by Vee and Chelsea, went to the house. It can not be known why they did this, but it can be stated that these masked people were not active or up front for the rest of the night. From this, I would assume they were fearful of the possible ramifications of their actions and preferred to remain anonymous. While I am not in the practice of identifying masked people, I can recall that they were not all men.

When the group reached the porch, Ray was already screaming at everyone to leave. Chelsea attemted to open her own front door when Ray grabbed her arm and began trying to slam the door shut with her arm in it. At this point, Chelsea became fearful and consented to have the door kicked open so as to avoid injury.


Next, Vee and Chelsea read their letter to Ray which included a list of their grievances and their desire for Ray to peacefully leave the house as soon as they could finish packing their belongings. A designated interrupter (who was not a man) had to tell Ray to be quiet and listen multiple times, which is understandable and was predicted given the tense circumstances. After the letter was read, Ray asked for space to be able to pack which was granted to them. The larger group entered another common room and quietly waited with Vee and Chelsea.

At this point, Ray went into their room and called several of their friends. They mislead their friends by stating that a transphobic mob had broken down the door and that they were being triggered by this unsafe environment. While it is quite possible that they were triggered by the actions taken against them, they inaccurately framed the events and conveniently did not mention the circumstances the event was responding to (Ray assaulting their roommates).

Shortly, a handful of Ray's friends arrived and immediately began screaming. The 6 or7 of them were very angry and concerned, which is to be expected. They screamed and made fun of the group their to support Vee and Chelsea and scolded Vee and Chelsea for seeking "outside support." When Vee and Chelsea insisted that these were, in fact, the only people willing to help them, Ray's friends insisted that they were lying and that "the queer community has ways of dealing with this."

Clearly, there is no single queer community. What is ironic about this moment was that this was, in fact, a section of queers taking matters into their own hand to deal with problems directly affecting their lives.

Over the next few days, Ray's friends - along with a few anarchists who are closer to Ray and Ray's friends then they are with Vee and Chelsea - used this event to cast blame on anarchists, anarchism, and to blame Vee and Chelsea for the situation. Several anarchists, in collaboration with the liberal supporters of Ray, announced their feelings at an anarchist assembly and made no further contact to deal with the scenario as anarchists. Instead, a wave of emails, open letters, and online shittalking spread the weakest liberalisms about the anarchist imaginary of Atlanta, blaming the victim of violence, casting about appeals for non-violence, identity politicking (wherein all differences inside of a group are painted over) and other trash.


During this time, Vee and Chelsea stopped recieving any needed emotional support.

Later, they moved away.

Ray and all of their friends continue to be liberals who have nothing or almost nothing to do with revolutionary struggle. The only interaction I have ever had with these people is for them to cast all sorts of blame and to never actually acknowledge the violence Ray used.

Unfortunately, I believe some anarchists may still believe that it would have been better to do nothing.

Re: February 1st : A Black Bloc Gone Wrong

Wow.  I have been outta the loop and am just now finding out about this.  I think Kilo Ali covered it when he said "Some a y'all done lost y'all mind ... and it make me cry, cry, cry."  I know this will never happen again, and that we will do better next time, but I feel for Francis and his support system that they had to be the lab rats in this learning curve.  Without stigmatizing or schisming: we know better now, right?  

Re: February 1st : A Black Bloc Gone Wrong

Wow.  I have been outta the loop and am just now finding out about this.  I think Kilo Ali covered it when he said "Some a y'all done lost y'all mind ... and it make me cry, cry, cry."  I know this will never happen again, and that we will do better next time, but I feel for Francis and his support system that they had to be the lab rats in this learning curve.  Without stigmatizing or schisming: we know better now, right?  

Re: February 1st : A Black Bloc Gone Wrong

Look, the response from the "black blocers" was inappropriate in some key ways, and everyone knows that by now: there were about twenty too many people, dialogue was eschewed from the start, and a few males got too aggro.

However, this "black bloc" was an earnest attempt to stop present and future physical abuse. There was a lot of misinformation flying around about who instigated what, the degree of the violence used, and the gender identification of the parties involved. Much of this is still unresolved. Let's keep this in mind before we let hatred consume us.

Also, most of the anarchists involved are new to stuff like this. They are just now trying to learn alternatives to policing, and it's unrealistic to expect that they won't make mistakes along the way. I mean, they could have easily just called them cops, which would have probably produced a worse outcome for the offending party (though I'm not discounting the emotional trauma that comes along with members of your own community acting like cops, as SOME perhaps were).

If the writers of this letter want to educate the new breed of anarchists who've been so thoroughly demonized about proper forms of community protection and conflict resolution, DO SO. I can promise you that they want to listen. While there's certainly insularity in both groups of anarchists, the writers of this letter seem to desire this insularity and want to stubbornly keep any anarchists involved in a complicated and well-meaning black bloc-y action out of their community and its periperpry without real dialogue. (After all, they read this letter and then bailed at the AGA!)

Let's all just be fucking real with ourselves. Everyone is fucking up, so let's please start forgiving each other and building from this experience without any stigmatizing bullshit.

Re: February 1st : A Black Bloc Gone Wrong

Fuck all this drama bullshit. Next time, resolve your problems like revolutionaries. Now I'll toss in some good troll drama myself.

To the internet haters, fuck you, too, especially that fucking tool from Occupy. This doesn't have shit to do with Occupy. But congratulations on outing yourself as one of those idiots who finds legitimacy in their own views only by attempting to de-legitimize the views of others:

"You guys are not 'the anarchist community.'  You are not the only anarchists in Atlanta.  You're not even the only anarchists in Occupy Atlanta.  If you want to know why the rest of us don't come around...look at the content of this letter, the incident it describes, and the comments on it."

You've just publicly stated that you're basing your segregation from a broad swathe of anarchists in Atlanta on an internet letter. That's fucking stupid. The internet is not some kind of totalizing amalgam of social relations. It is a shithole where we all go to deposit the abjected parts of ourselves. What you're doing now ain't bobbing for apples. How's that shit taste? When you come to the internet, check your deluded sub-reality at the door, or risk being one of those idiots whose politics coalesces from the place where shit goes to die. If you're in Occupy and other anarchists don't like you, it may be that you are just as abrasive, deluded, egotistical, and idiotic in real life as you are in cyberspace.

Now I'm going to single out the jerk from 11:26am:

"The person replying below clearly has never heard of 'white privelage.'"

Really, what's your basis for saying that? The person commenting at So, there is nothing in 1:02am's comment to indicate an absent analysis of white privilege.

And since we don't know who 1:02am is or what their precise thoughts on race might be (since they did not discuss race relations but instead the police state), it is simply irresponsible to conclude, without evidence (not even textual or narrative evidence) that 1:02am has "never heard of 'white privilege.'"

Onto second idiotic statement: "If you cannot understand why the actions of the blac bloc were unacceptable, then you need to grow a fucking brain."

1:02am actually states, "First, I want to say that I fundamentally support the thematic content of this letter. That is, solidarity with queer-as-fuck and transgendered comrades," then goes on to describe the night's action as "a group of anarchists failing to communicate" with one another. What about such a statement indicates that the the author finds the actions of the "black bloc" acceptable? Continuing, how can you determine 1:02am's politics or analyses on the basis of petty conjecture?

If you're going to insult people, and in doing so summon elitism as your discursive weapon of choice ("you need to grow a fucking brain"), then don't render yourself a completely transparent dumbass. Otherwise you just look inarticulate and angry, an idiot caught up in elitism as a defense mechanism whose function is to repress your own self-knowledge of being not only an asshole, but also quite stupid. Fuck you.

For real, though, when all of this is over, everyone just "walk it off."

Re: February 1st : A Black Bloc Gone Wrong

The person replying below clearly has never heard of "white privelage" . Violence takes many roles. Gang violence takes forms of intimidation, threat, outnumbering and hostility. If you cannot understand why the actions of the blac bloc were unacceptable, then you need to grow a fucking brain. And you need to reconsider yourself, how you would feel experiencing such violence, being kicked out of your place of residence, silenced, ostracized and exiled. 

You kids are fools, you are a gang. and its only a matter of time before you cross the wrong person. When that happens, all of your politics wont matter for shit.

Re: February 1st : A Black Bloc Gone Wrong

“The prison industrial complex and the police state ostracize, isolate and humiliate the individuals that they target. These tactics, as well as physical violence, are used to criminalize and disenfranchise the needs of both parties within a dispute. he actions taken that night were closer to the prison industrial complex and police state than they were to community based accountability processes.

...

It is not radical to participate in group think & mob mentality.

...

If you get anything from this letter, we want to stress that we must consider other forms of addressing community accountability outside of reproduced state violence.”

----

I was not present and have only heard accounts of people who were. I nonetheless want to counter some points above.

First, I want to say that I fundamentally support the thematic content of this letter. That is, solidarity with queer-as-fuck and transgendered comrades.

However, the crux of the argument in the letter, identified by “if you get anything” clause, is that the actions represented by the group were an expression, or equivalent to, state repression.

Although the actions may have been traumatic, inopportune, tactless, frightening, or in general terms “wrong”, I do not think, so far as I understand, the actions are expressions or reproductions of state repression.

It is important for us to be able to accurately determine what exactly state repression is. The letter gave the following examples: isolation, humiliation, ostracization and physical violence. These actions are not in themselves equivalent to state repression. That would be fallacious and also forgoing an actual analysis of power or class relationship.

A state apparatus is dictated by the interests of a class, not simply something that emerges through particular actions like isolating individuals or physical violence. If, however, an analysis was present that tried to formulate heterosexual norms as a representation of the state, and thus an interpretation of violence by an assumed heterosexual group is an expression of the state, regardless if this is to be a correct analysis, it is challenged by the comments above as an inaccurate application of the analysis: i.e. the group was not homogeneous (not all white cysgendered men).

More, the insistence on “violence” being used to exhort an individual from the queer community should be thoroughly reexamined. What what violent? Did members of the group threaten? Is threatening violent? Did they physically assault anybody? It is my understanding that they were responding to an actual violent threat, at the request of the victim. I feel that this fact complicates matters.

I also think we should not simply lump actions, that may be poorly chosen or may be more than a firm discussion, as 'violent', or especially state repression.

State repression is the murder of black panther members, or the imprisonment of one out of every fifteen black men over the age of 18. State repression is the bombing of children in Pakistan by U.S. drones or the utter disregard of black people in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina.

State repression is not a group of anarchists failing to communicate better or, as the letter suggests, do additional research on a situation.

Re: February 1st : A Black Bloc Gone Wrong

this straight up sickens me.  it is unprincipled and childish. i hope that each and every person involved sees the damage that has been done and is reflcting within themselves about where they went wrong. and i hope they make public appology to those they have harmed.

on top of that i want to say that the stalinists of old use to call anarchists "social fascists"  well you've pretty much proven them right with this despicable act.

Re: February 1st : A Black Bloc Gone Wrong

" It is not radical to participate in group think & mob mentality."

Indeed.

I empathize with those who experienced this behavior, and would like to offer support to them.

However, I would also like to note that at least one of the people expressing support has also been party to the use of the very same tactics...including people wearing masks as a gesture of intimidation, screaming, bullying, and dogpiling...inside Occupy Atlanta.   The result of those tactics is a probably permanent fracture...not between "anarchists" and the rest of OA, but a particular social group and the rest of OA.  You guys are not "the anarchist community."  You are not the only anarchists in Atlanta.  You're not even the only anarchists in Occupy Atlanta.  If you want to know why the rest of us don't come around...look at the content of this letter, the incident it describes, and the comments on it.  

Once you introduced those kinds of tactics against your fellow activists *anywhere,* under *any* circumstances, it became inevitable that you would turn them on each other.  It doesn't even matter who did what, who supposedly was in the right...the fact that this happened at all, and that some people seem to be justifying it, IS the disaster.  And it's not something you are going to be able to "learn from" or "fix" unless you acknowledge that.  Maybe not at all.

Re: February 1st : A Black Bloc Gone Wrong

I would like to have a conversation and apologize for what happened on Tuesday, when people are willing and feel comfortable to engage.
I would like to explain how fucked up it was from my perspective. I ended up going in the mindset of a medic from the texts and conversations, and was too afraid to speak up because the situation, seeing cis-gender white men whom I know screaming, being dominant, and then smiling to themselves, brought me back to the feelings of how unsafe it was to speak when I was sexually assaulted. I laughed to calm myself down because that is what I have always done ever since a kid.
I wanted to explain what was going on in my head.
I am not excusing the fact that I went. Nor am I asking for forgiveness because it was a fucked up night, and it was fucked up that I didn't speak up, and it was fucked up that I felt too scared to speak up, and it was fucked up that there was this assumption of identity (as a queer person it disturbs me that the way it was framed created this mass assumption.) It was fucked on so many levels.


I plan on holding my ex-community accountable for what WE did.
I plan on holding myself accountable for what I did NOT do.

Re: February 1st : A Black Bloc Gone Wrong

For the sake of security and because whomever posted that previous comment obviously has no fucking clue, can someone from the Indy media team please delete that baseless accusation?

That's a bullshit political attack and one that is not based in reality.  I don't care who's pay roll they're on.  That was a cop move and that comment is really nothing other than blind snitching.

Re: February 1st : A Black Bloc Gone Wrong

 I'm sure this was done under the "rule" of our fearless leader Matt Casciano.

Re: February 1st : A Black Bloc Gone Wrong

 This is embarrassing.  Things like this go to show how fragmented and immature the Atlanta anarchist community has been for years.  I'm still stunned that a group of people agreed that this would be a good idea.  This doesn't create "Community Accountability" this creates a network of community bullies!  

 

When did anyone think it would be a good idea to turn into cops?

Re: February 1st : A Black Bloc Gone Wrong

This whole episode is embarrassing. God knows why people got it into their head that this was the proper approach to this situation. We've been talking so much about community accountability and what that would look like (well, at least SOME of us have). The complete lack of discretion for this action is disheartening.

I guess when all you have is a black bloc, everything looks like a window.

Let's be a little more creative next time, okay Atlanta?

Re: February 1st : A Black Bloc Gone Wrong

Let me start by saying that I agree with the *spirit* of this letter.

I also support that agency to read this letter at the Anarchist Assembly without accepting discussion about it.

BUT there are some IMPORTANT FACTUAL INACCURACIES in this letter.

1) The action WAS NOT A BLACK BLOC
-A few people were wearing masks. People wear masks for many reasons. This group of people was led to believe that the situation might become violent and maybe that's why some wore masks. I don't doubt that some wore masks to be intimidating, but a black bloc was never discussed. Many were unmasked (and un-black!).

2) THIS ACTION WAS PREDOMINATELY FEMALE, NOT MALE!!!!
-There were 8 male-bodied people present, and 16 female-bodied people present. This was pointed out at the beginning of the action. This action was coordinated and lead by female-bodied people. The male-bodied people involved took a massive step-back in coordinating the event and in the logistics of its operation. Some of the people in the action were queer-identified.
To assert that this action was mostly done by male-bodied individuals is to ERASE THE AGENCY OF THE FEMALES INVOLVED. Not only is this wrong, but it is not helpful if we want to move forward. This conflict was not "Queers vs. Anarchists" but "Queers vs. Queers" and "Anarchists vs. Anarchists".

3) Nobody attempted to kidnap the dog. The dog was left temporarily at the house, at the request of the individual who was being asked to leave.

4) Vee was subjected to actual violence. The group who showed up to support them made a contingency plan to *avoid* anymore violence. That was one of the utmost concern the female-bodied people who coordinated the action had.

Other than these really important factual inaccuracies, I feel like this letter is good-spirited, like I said earlier.

We should be seeking to build from this experience and to do that we must keep communication open.
There was a lot that went wrong, on the part of both those supporting Vee and those who came later.
But both made mistakes.

For instance, those who came supporting Ray began screaming at Chelsie that the solidarity they were seeking from their friends was more violent then the actual violence suffered by Vee. This is not helpful.

The group who came to support Vee and Chelsie were too large in number and this created a highly tense situation.

I can't wait to learn from this so that community accountability can be pushed forward more meaningfully!

I love you, Atlanta.

Re: AN OPEN LETTER

It's hard to read this without feeling extremely sensitive and overwhelmed.  I find myself feeling uneasy, mistrustful, desparing, disgusted.  Today I am ashamed to have ever called myself an anarchist, and I have a lot of fear for the future of the movement in our city right now. But I have seen time and time again that fear feeding anger, which fuels hatred, which sparks violence, which breeds more fear.  The words of Joanna Macy help me find a way to break out of this cycle:

"Our sorrow is the other face of love, for we only mourn what we deeply care for.  The courage to speak our fear is evidence of our trust; our anger reveals our passion for justice; and the emptiness creates space for the new to arise... None of us, in our hearts, is free of sorrow for the suffering of other beings."

It is my deepest desire that everyone involved in this incident and those reading about it can find a way to breathe through the rage, despair, and triggers, hold each other long enough until the shaking stops, until we as individuals can connect to the deeper desires that fuel these emotions.  I hope that folks can find within themselves the humanity which is at the core of our existence and connect with our capacity for compassion and empathy.

At the risk of sounding didactic, I would like to add that  as our communities move forward from this incident, I hope that folks remember that we infuence our actions, and our actions influence us.  We are dependent on each other to co-create our world--please, let's not build a world around more violence and hatred.

I am a queer, anarcha-feminist and I stand in solidarity with the survivors of this violence.

Re: February 1st : A Black Bloc Gone Wrong

The previous comment is right.  There is absolutely no moderation or facilitaton at the AGA.  Only a stack keeper.  If you want to talk about anything just get on stack.  That's how it works.  

I wasn't there tonight but I hope no one felt silenced.  If the folks who read this letter said there couldn't be any discussion on it, there is absolutely no reason to ablige them.  ESPECIALLY at the anarchist assembly.

Yall know the rules.

There are no rules.

Re: AN OPEN LETTER

Thanks, but there are no restrictions on discussion in the AGA. There is no decision-making body and the call-outs never mentioned restrictions on discussion. There is no "rule," so there can be no exceptions to it.

Re: AN OPEN LETTER

 Just to touch on one of your points, Anonymous, from what I understand, the AGA topics/announcements are never open for discussion. As such, the reading of this letter should not have been an acception to that rule. 

Re: AN OPEN LETTER

As someone who hasn't been involved in this, I've got no idea what's going on, but these are serious charges. What was the context for Tuesday's action? I know that hearsay isn't much to go on, but I heard that the action was in response to an assault on one of our community members (actual violence, not theoretical or discursive violence as described in this letter). If that's the case, then I don't think that comparing the black bloc or the comrades who use it to the police state is fair.

I also think that using identity politics as a bludgeon against your comrades in the middle of a personal disagreement is highly suspect and potentially manipulative. If you lay serious charges like these against your own people, then I think that some context is called for. There is a way to communicate details without legally incriminating individuals.

What's also unfair is reading a vitriolic and divisive letter like this at the beginning of tonight's anarchist general assembly, ommitting all context whatsoever in the process, then immediately leaving and declaring (in an anarchist space!) that the subject was not open for discussion. That behavior was coercive, invasive, arrogant, unnecessarily dramatic, and completely unfair to everyone else in the meeting, particularly those with no prior knowledge of or exposure to this whole issue. I'm used to this kind of drama from the people in Occupy Atlanta, and that's why I stopped working with them. Please consider the people who aren't involved with this and how your behavior affects others. As comrades in struggle, we deserve the same respect and information that you demanded at the beginning of our assembly. I hope that this issue gets resolved with the consent of all parties.