Statement of Solidarity with Anti-Colonial Marchers Arrested in San Francisco


This statement is by the Black Orchid  Collective.  G.L.I.T.U.R. and Decolonize/ Occupy Seattle have also released statements.  

Columbus Day weekend, people gathered at Canadian, US, and Mexican consulates and government buildings to oppose the occupation and destruction of Native/indigenous lands by multinational mining corporations. They also marched in downtown San Francisco demonstrating against capitalism and colonialism.

This was a march in solidarity with indigenous communities who are struggling against land theft and ecologically destructive resource extraction across the continent. It was also a march to oppose the ongoing colonial legacy of the US, Canada, and Mexico – three states forged through the genocide of indigenous people begun 520 years ago by Christopher Columbus and his crew. Instead of celebrating Columbus’ colonial racism, march participants celebrated 520 years of ongoing indigenous resistance and solidarity across borders.

In response to this march, the police arrested 22 people, including some who were fleeing from police violence. The state is alleging that some marchers engaged in property destruction and are using this as an excuse to criminalize all participants. The mainstream media published the names and photos of those arrested, leaving them open to attacks by racist vigilantes who support colonialism. The police labeled them a “street gang”.

According to our comrades in G.L.I.T.U.R :

“A spokesperson for SFPD, Gordon Shyy, included unfounded allegations connecting the marchers to other “crimes” committed with no evidence and no basis in fact. Another newspaper released sensitive medical information as well as full names of those arrested, who have not yet been tried nor found “guilty.””

Regardless of whether we agree or disagree with the specific tactics involved in the march, we are united in our opposition to the police repression of people fighting against ongoing colonization of indigenous lands. We oppose all forms of repression and incarceration, not just against activists, but also against everyone else.

The police are a colonial institution. They were created to force slaves to stay on the plantations and immigrant workers to stay in the factories so their labor could be exploited and the profits invested in further colonization of native lands to make even more profits.

It is no surprise that police are attempting to criminalize aggressive opposition to mining companies and other corporate interests who continue this process today. A government built on the ongoing occupation of indigenous land and ongoing exploitation of workers’ labor should have no grounds to determine who is a criminal or whose political activity is illegal. The same corporations that oppress indigenous people exploit working class people from here to the maquiladora factories on the border to the South African mines. The police and courts work for them, not for us.

Drop all charges against the arrested marchers!

Down with colonialism and US Empire!

Freedom for all political prisoners!

Please call the San Francisco District Attorney and demand that all charges be dropped, and that the arrestees be released immediately. The number to call is (415) 553-1751

EXAMPLE OF WHAT YOU COULD SAY:

Hi my name is _______________________ and I am calling in support of the people arrested during the protest march on Saturday October 6th. I demand you drop these politically motivated charges and immediately release them all from jail.
Also, please donate for bail and court support at this wepay account and also this one.

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11 Responses to Statement of Solidarity with Anti-Colonial Marchers Arrested in San Francisco

  1. Note, this is a different march than the one that Boots Riley criticized: http://kasamaproject.org/2012/10/09/boots-riley-on-blac-bloc-tactics-in-bay-area/ . There has been a lot of confusion about that going around.

  2. Boots Riley says:

    To be clear- I didn’t even critcize the march in Oakland itself, which I thought was a good event. I criticized a few people who were autonomously smashing car windows and other things. But the critique was about how the community responds to it and whether it works as far as bringing folks in.

    • mamos206 says:

      Hi Boots, thanks for the clarification. I understand you are trying to promote needed debate among activists about tactics. However, the timing of your article is not good and it is hella confusing, so I think it is derailing those debates instead of catalyzing them. You wrote a critique of Black Block tactics right at the same moment when the San Francisco Police and media were calling the decolonize marchers Black Block anarchists in order to justify repression against them. That seems to be an emerging pattern in state repression up here in the Northwest as well. So your article came off as a critique of the SF decolonize march and a lot of people feel like you are undermining solidarity with people who were just subjected to state violence. If this was not your intention, can you clarify that publicly? I would suggest issuing a solidarity statement with those arrested, following up on the statements that folks up here in Seattle have written. That could really help the situation.

      We need constant self-critique and vibrant debates about strategy. But this can only happen effectively when solidarity is built and those debating each other are clear we are on the same side, in a united front against state repression.

    • @mamos206, many of us found no confusion in the statement boots made, and are participating in discussions because of what he said … so he has, indeed, re-catalyzed debate that has been derailed by a very few who routinely publicly insult and alienate anyone who dares speak against their ideology or action… they are the ones who have derailed debate and discussion for many months.

      though i’d guess you know better, you are falling into the trap of allowing sfpd and corporate media to control the discussion by calling decolonize marchers ‘black block anarchists.’ there is no justification for police brutality. anyone who lets corporate media, who are spoon fed their information by dishonest and corrupt police, dictate who we are is becoming part of the problem.

      unfortunately, public opinion does matter, and we can only influence that by our real actions, then in turn by publicizing the truth instead of debating the lies of the machine. boots made a statement challenging people to align our actions with the goal of building a truly popular social/economic movement for justice.

      an awakened and enlightened public will have an opinion very different than a public in deep slumber.

    • mamos206 says:

      As I argued in a previous response to Boots ( http://kasamaproject.org/2012/10/09/boots-riley-on-blac-bloc-tactics-in-bay-area/#comment-63215 ), I am for open debate about strategy and tactics, and I don’t think these debates should stop becuase of repression.

      In fact, the state may even engage in repression so that radicals become brittle and unable to disagree with each other over strategy wtihout calling each other traitors. I am not for playing into that.

      I just think that Boots could have been clearer that he was critqiuing actions in Oakland, not San Fransisco, and that he is against the the arrests in SF.

      While I disagree with certain, specific, tactless uses of the blackblock tactic, I don’t think Boots’ critique is naunced enough, and it is promoting another round of back and forth polemics about tactics instead of a deeper debate about strategy.

      The Black Block is a tactic, not a group. Any tactic is only good or bad in context. Tactics cannot be critqiued in general or affirmed in general. That would be like having a debate about whether picket lines are good or bad. In some cases (rank and file longshore workers picketing to shut down the port in a militant wildcat strike), they are good and should be supported. In others (white workers picketing to keep Black workers out of an industry), they are bad and should be smashed. Why are we able to have nuanced conversations about picket line tactics but not about black bloc tactics?

      I don’t understand what your point is here: “you are falling into the trap of allowing sfpd and corporate media to control the discussion by calling decolonize marchers ‘black block anarchists.’”. Can you please clarify? Are you saying that I am falsely suggesting that the marchers WERE black block anarchists? If so, I definately am not suggesting that. Or, are you saying that I should NOT focus on crituquing how the SF police and papers baited marchers as black block anarchists? If the later, then why?

      How do you think we should build a “truly popular” movement? What would that look like for you?

    • @mamos206 :

      ‘are you saying that I should NOT focus on crituquing how the SF police and papers baited marchers as black block anarchists?’ NO

      ‘Are you saying that I am falsely suggesting that the marchers WERE black block anarchists?’ NO

      by this :::

      ‘you are falling into the trap of allowing sfpd and corporate media to control the discussion by calling decolonize marchers ‘black block anarchists.’ there is no justification for police brutality. anyone who lets corporate media, who are spoon fed their information by dishonest and corrupt police, dictate who we are is becoming part of the problem.’ :::

      i mean to say that your response to boots feels reactionary, which is a win for sfpd via their use of corporate press.

      maybe i didn’t say it very well, in my effort to not tap too many words or something. but that is the beauty of engaging in ongoing discussion, which also boots has been doing.

      and now, i’ll tap too many words :::

      boots didn’t say much, if anything about the violent attack by sfpd or the actions sfpd and corporate press claimed excuses sfpd brutality. it seems you are doing what i’ve experienced : i wanna say ‘giving boots a hard time’ but y’know, i don’t think you’re really going that far … but allowing yourself to criticize the statement he made because of what he didn’t say. he very clearly did not even condemn black bloc as a whole … as a tactical option. he very specifically criticized the repeated use of bb tactics without any sense of responsibility to community members. he was incredibly simplistic in his approach to this, being short and clear that he doesn’t believe oakland, at this time, will benefit from the use of this tactic. he also, as i have done, expressed frustration and dismay at the lack of focus when the tactic is used. randomly breaking shit up that belongs to hard working people is just rude. it accomplishes nothing. it makes no statement (i already take this back, because…) worse, it makes a statement that those particular smashers don’t care about people who may’ve been supporting this movement. that’s also the statement some folks have come right out and made, that they don’t care about a popular movement, and that destruction is the tool and the goal.

      i’ll add, about the press and public opinion : one of the reasons i am speaking against these recent and frequent uses of this tactic is because, no matter how hard we are working to publish the truth, the people are still lost in teevee land. part of what we’ve been doing (some of us only this last year, some of us for decades) is working to awaken the sleeping people. people are zombies with work, fear, frustration, striving for the very basics. economic control over the masses has wreaked havoc on people’s willingness and ability to perceive the problems and imagine, let alone instigate, solutions. risk taking is taught out of people. we are teaching it. but we do not have enough people awake to trust that the corporate press will not win before we start, by blowing every minor transgression by activists out of proportion, while reducing descriptions of police violence to a ‘necessary evil.’

      this brings me to the discussion of ‘popular movement’ and my vision of that.

      in a perfect world, there would be balance. living and dying would be the beginning and end of a decades long beautiful experience in a human body. we would live in harmony with the other inhabitants of the planet, and with the planet.

      i cannot imagine why anybody would not want that to be the case. to have that be the case, everyone will have to have access to fresh, clean, and healing air, water, and food; everyone would have shelter when we want it, and be welcome to enjoy being outside in public together or alone, if we choose. every person would know love, health care would happen organically among us, with people choosing their contribution to community by their own interests and talents. there would be no reason for crime or war. teaching and learning would be what we do. trading, helping, healing, caring.

      now, i’m not twelve, so i know this will not likely magically happen. the movement toward this is the only movement in which i hope to participate. i’m not in this believing, for a minute, that the goal of a world of cooperation and peaceful coexistence will emerge while i’m still alive. i’m thinking (hoping) maybe it could occur before my child’s time is up. i’m wishing she could feel that.

      how do we get there? by smashing shit up? i say no. i don’t say never do it, but i say respect when people who are working toward this goal of justice and peace request no smashing. when elders and disabled people say, ‘i cannot participate if you do these things,’ i believe people should heed that call.

      a popular movement is about first recognizing that people who are not aware will behave very differently as soon as they open their eyes.

      i don’t think you’re asking me why a popular movement, right? you’re asking how. ‘what does it look like?’

      it looks like an ongoing all day every day workshop on cooperation. we do not have to believe people are our ‘comrades’ and refrain from calling them out when their words align with their action to say they do not care about the needs of others. i can say this is what it does not look like : people acting selfishly and with disregard for the opinions, needs and limitations others. being part of a community requires us to acknowledge and address problems.

      in a popular movement, ongoing abusive behavior is reported openly, and suspicions are voiced. a person speaking truth is not divisive, though the truth they reveal may be about divisive behavior. communities of people must learn to cease pretending that problems don’t exist, or that the solutions should be found and implemented by someone else. if we don’t want police, we have to eliminate them as the ‘middleman’ between us and our drunk ass uncle. we have to shine a light on the drunkenness, and enlist the support of the community to hold uncle accountable, instead of having him hauled off to the drunk tank. instead of only fighting police, we can make them obsolete by creating our own solutions. same with capitalism.

      in a popular movement, people work together, and small groups do not exercise their right to autonomous actions which defame and destroy the movement not because they are forbidden, but because they see and support the larger effort.

      a popular movement has to begin with awakening, then layers of still awakening while those rubbing their eyes are being introduced to the world of truth, where mass incarceration, ongoing routine murders by police or even ‘only’ beatings and teargassing, an economic system rigged against the vast majority, systemic racism … truth … comes to visit, and people have no way of avoiding a choice : to join the struggle or not. but awakening, educating, enlightening : literally shining a light … these are the first steps of a popular movement. so many people were moving through these steps and independently, after waking and seeing what’s really happening, joining with others to work directly on issues they thought up ’til then were supposed to be managed by someone else. we had a good new beginning. then ego reared it’s ugly head, along with deep disruptive infiltration.

      a popular movement, deep into the roots of the town and every town, can withstand ego and disruption. we’re seeing this happening now. we delved and revealed a deeper layer of corporate collusion to undermine the power and intention of the people. when people were all sleeping, there was no need for reactionary repression. as people are awakening, the servants of the corporate masters have to also stand up and reveal themselves. this is happening. choices are being made.

      if only one oakland police officers steps up next time i ask, ‘which one of you will stand up and tell the truth?’ that will bring us directly to the next layer, and the repercussions will be more forceful repression. a truly deep popular movement will withstand the force, having grown exponentially since the first wave of reactionary repression. repression, having been the main corporatocratic tool always, is now something regular every day moms and pops are noticing. soccer moms are becoming organizers for social justice. teachers were early to the party.

      next people work directly with each other, slowly wringing the neck of capitalism. people trade services and goods. those working in the capitalist system use those connections to further empower the inevitable divorce from this miserable way of life which has been forced upon us by the twisted minds and iron muskets of the self-proclaimed masters. again, some of us have been doing this already for years and decades. don’t feed the beast, the beast will die of hunger. we don’t have to destroy it, as it is unsustainable without our collusion.

      btw, i agree with all this you said :::

      ‘I am for open debate about strategy and tactics, and I don’t think these debates should stop because of repression.

      In fact, the state may even engage in repression so that radicals become brittle and unable to disagree with each other over strategy wtihout calling each other traitors. I am not for playing into that.’ :::

      i am not calling any particular people traitors, but will voice my concerns when specific people behave in ways that cause me to suspect them as paid infiltrators and disruptors, or, at the very least, egotistical and narrow minded operatives. my goal is to acknowledge and call public attention to those who’ve named themselves against the tenets of a popular movement, not dramatize the situation. i’m not calling people traitors, but am noticing that certain people, purporting to ‘own’ the title ‘the oakland commune’ are stating that they do not support the notion of a popular movement, and that the tactic of destruction is their main tool and goal.

      our concern is structural and tactical, not personal.

    • mamos206 says:

      Wise Old Snail, I appreciate your clarifications in regard to your criticisms of my post. I agree we need a popular movement, but I think your assumption that the people are all asleep hinders our ability to build it – it comes off as elitist, as if you don’t believe that working class people are capable of self-determination, consciousness, and self-organization. If you want to have a conversation about how the media, politicians, etc. maintain their hegemony (dominance through persuasion), and how we can break this down, then I think that would be helpful. We do need to think about how tactics we choose can help break down this hegemony, instead of playing into its hands. But dismissing all the people sleeping is not helpful I think. Instead, I think people have dual consciousness – on the one hand, most of us want a better society, and are open to ideas like “everything for everyone”. On the other hand, we cling to aspects of capitalist consciousness like “noone will get my back; everyone is out for themselves, so maybe I should be too.” There is a civil war going on in our minds. The goal of revolutionaries should be to catalyze that conflict, and to catalyze collective experiences where people can defeat the capitalist aspects of our thought and daily behavior.

      I disagree when revolutionaries say the people are asleep and we need to wake them up with drastic tactics. That is treating people like kindling that needs to be lit on fire, instead of human beings who can make their own decisions. I also disagree when revolutionaries say that the people are alseep so drastic tactics should never be used. That treats people like an inert mass that needs to be socially engineered into motion.

      Instead, I think we should look at how people are already mobilizing in movements such as Occupy, and the contradictions and limitations within these movements, and we should think about how we can develop tactics that strengthen each other’s confidence as we move beyond these limitations, tactics that inspire and invite broad but also quality participation, where people are not just being “mobilized” but are self-organizing and loosing their fear of the state by learning how to be ungovernable together.

      I think many of the people who defend Black Block tactics do it because they think that these tactics can achieve the strategic goal of building this kind of “popular movement” where illegal, nonscripted, uncontrollable activity becomes a mass phenonemon – an insurrection or uprising, not just a boring routine Leftist march on the one hand or a spectacular action by a hooded few on the other.

      Only a few anarchists are against social movements entirely. I obviously strongly disagree with these specific anarchists. But a lot of anarchists ARE for engaging with social movements; they want mass participation, they want to fight cooptation, and they think Black Block tactics can help achieve this.

      In my view, these are positive goals, and sometimes BB tactics can help achieve them – for example, during Occupy hundreds of people started masking up to avoid police surveilance, and tried to avoid capture by the police after doing direct actions like building occupations or port shutdowns. This was not an isolated “Black Block”, it was an example of Black Block-sytle tactics being taken up by lots of people, not just anarchists. The revolt of working class Latino folks in Anaheim is another example. The barricade during the port shutdown in Seattle is a third example – no formally organized group planned it, but some individuals autonomously decided to build it and noone stopped them. Their actions helped the overall movement achieve its goal of shutting down the port. Again, this wasn’t just anarchists that did this, it was a huge cross section of the crowd, many of them in masks.

      At other times, specific uses of Black Bloc tactics can undermine these goals of quality, self-determining mass participation. Smashing working class peoples’ cars is one example. Calling people police agents or traitors if they criticize the Black Bloc is another example. Again, most anarchists do NOT do these things, we’re just talking about a few people, who may or may not even be anarchists (you never know exactly who is in the BB or who defends bloc participants in online forums). Whoever they are, they deserve serious criticism from revolutionaries.

      However, you are not immune from these problems yourself. I almost didn’t publish your post because it comes very close to violating our house rules. In the last paragraph of what you just posted, you came very close to accusing specific people in Oakland of being paid infiltrators and disruptors, without giving any proof. That is bad security culture and creates unnecessary divisions. We cannot contribute to a culture of making such accusations without proof, because state agents can use that culture to accuse other people of being agents when they are not, in order to discredit them. This happened routinely in the 1960s with the COINTELPRO program that destroyed the Panthers. If you say you want open debate and solidarity, then you need to take your own advice and do not accuse people of shit you cannot prove.

    • @mamos206 :

      seriously? you ‘almost’ didn’t publish my comment because of what i ‘almost’ (read ‘didn’t’) say? jeez already.

      meanwhile, you and i don’t disagree on much. unfortunately, you insist on expounding on my words, then attributing your new idea to me.

      to wit :

      i did not say all the people are asleep. nor would i say such a thing. i also do not dismiss nor do i set off explosions under the sleeping people. however, having helped many awaken and had them thank me for it, i do say some people are asleep. if they are offended by that, well, i’ll take that risk. my method of waking people is providing true information held away from them by the lying corporate press. i study hard and publish and republish every true thing i can find. many have had their first realizations of the hegemonic system you speak of by their interactions with me. i did not slap them alongside the head, nor did i ignore them, to accomplish this.

      i have never attempted to make a case against all uses of black bloc tactics, nor would i, nor did boots do this. i am a ‘by any means necessary’ type of person, ‘necessary’ being the operative. that said, i have spent the last forty years living the world i hope to help create : boycott, direct trade, mutual aid …

      this by you :::

      ‘Instead, I think we should look at how people are already mobilizing in movements such as Occupy, and the contradictions and limitations within these movements, and we should think about how we can develop tactics that strengthen each other’s confidence as we move beyond these limitations, tactics that inspire and invite broad but also quality participation, where people are not just being “mobilized” but are self-organizing and loosing their fear of the state by learning how to be ungovernable together.’

      is my favorite

  3. Pingback: Solidarity Statement with Those Arrested at the Anti-Colonial Action in SF on October 6th « Beyond the Barricades

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