Regarding Anti-Police Events in Olympia

Context: This is a response to internet scandal over a demo that was called
for at the home of the Olympia pig who shot Andre Thompson and Bryson Chaplin
early Thursday morning. Several Olympia activists, professional allies, etc.
got up in arms over the fact that this was not organized by the management of
yesterday’s 11 am and 6 pm demos, and that anarchists (who were presumed to
be white, many but not all of whom are) did not seek approval from
self-proclaimed leaders. The piece seeks to dispel common misconceptions and
clarify our positions in this struggle. We welcome further dialogue and

Regrettably, this demo is being called off. Please advise people who you know
who may be going.

Those who called for the event have decided that due to the extreme internet
controversy, the risk of a now likely very small number of people going to
this demo is too high, given the large presence of police, media, and
counter-protesting bigots. Additionally, we do not think this is the place
for a public confrontation between factions of people all interested in
stopping police violence.

However, we do not agree with the logic behind many of the comments directed
against the home demo. Here are some of our thoughts:

There is a common narrative that states that resistance against police/police
violence should be POC-led. We do not dispute the obvious fact that people of
color, and especially black people, experience vastly more police violence
and incarceration than white people, and believe that people must be the
force behind their own liberation. However, there are assumptions that are
made and politics that are employed in the way this narrative is applied.

For one – and we think everyone will agree – people of color are by no
means a homogeneous social category. Let’s take the example of Ferguson:
there were many angry, young, poor black people rioting in the streets. There
were also black professionals from the liberal establishment arguing for
calm, trying to extinguish the fires (literal and metaphorical) that the less
complacent were setting at the steps of the palace of the racist police
state. There are examples across time and place of politicians and managerial
activists – those who, intentionally or not, channel struggle into forms
that uphold the dominant society – invoking some imaginary subject such as
“the people” in order to pacify revolt. The desires of black people and
other people of color are myriad. Unfortunately, professional White Allies®,
often competing for social capital in places like Olympia, frequently latch
on to the desires of the self-proclaimed Black Leadership, or the
“leadership” of other marginalized identities, and generalize these
opinions to be reflective of a mythical “community” of people of color
with a homogeneous outlook and set of goals. As a result, you get things like
white “allies” in Oakland keeping black people from rioting over a police
shooting. Or someone yesterday in Olympia telling a Latina woman with an
anarchist banner (in Spanish no less) to back off because this march was POC
led. When she replied that she was, indeed, a person of color, the manager
repeated himself. This goes to show how these terms are used as ideological
placeholders to construct the narrative of the white anarchist vs. the
non-anarchist people of color – something that is actually just untrue. Or,
more generally, the white provocateur vs. the non-violent people of color.
“Accomplices not Allies” is an excellent article on this topic.

This plays out in ways that are dangerous to comrades and helpful to the
police. When two people – one white person, one person of color – came to
the rally at Woodruff Park yesterday wearing masks, they were asked to demask
or leave the march.

People wear masks for a variety of reasons – so that their boss doesn’t see
them insulting police on the evening news, so that they can engage in illegal
activity to support the struggle, so that they won’t be identified and fucked
with by the police for immigration or probation status, so that by appearing
anonymous they meld their identities and become a collective force… others
probably have their own reasons. Masking up is a common tactic across
movements, one that has proved useful and increased people’s safety in the
streets. Dictating how other people appear at a demo is a managerial action
that potentially endangers them or makes them leave because they feel unsafe.
Whether people want to wear a mask because they are targets or repression,
undocumented immigrants, or whatever their reason, we should help facilitate
their continued presence in the streets by enthusiastically condoning the use
of masks, not telling them to reveal their identity or leave.

We would also like to say a few words about some of the rhetoric used
yesterday. When someone got on the mic in front of City Hall and started
speechifying to the crowd about how not all police are bad; that they exist
to protect and serve and we must make sure the bad apples get brought to
justice, some people booed him. They sought to engage in a public debate –
and more importantly, to dispute claims of the necessity of the police state
made by a man with a megaphone. This man went on to say that maybe Bryson
Chaplin and Andre Thompson should have been tazed rather than shot. We find
this kind of apologism for police violence absolutely disgusting. It supports
the institutions of racism whether it comes from the mouth of a white person,
or as in this case, a person of color. But it was the people speaking out
against this pro-police logic who were told to be quiet. We must remember
that while anti-racism is about identity, it is also about ideas and social
roles. If Barack Obama, responsible for the deaths of thousands of people of
color in the Middle East and beyond, were to get up on the mic, would people
allow it, because he is a person of color? Of course not. His place in the
world and his actions uphold white supremacy. This is an extreme example, to
be sure, but the fact remains: a person’s social role and effect on the world
around them is more complicated than the identity boxes into which they are

Another common tenet of privilege politics is that white people should use
their privilege to fight racism and the rest of this totalizing system of
domination. But how is this actually applied? When people who, because of
their affinity to anarchism, are assumed to be white take the initiative in
deciding to go to the home of a violent, racist cop to embarrass him in front
of his neighbors and make him understand that there are social consequences
to one’s actions, they are derided for doing something that “people of
color could never get away with” (paraphrasing). Beyond the problematic
generalizations that this entails, as people of color choose to do risky and
courageous things all the time, this is actually white people acting against
the interests of white society and white supremacy by confronting a racist
white person (not to mention a cop, i.e. executor par excellence of racist
state violence). If white people can get away with more shit without the same
violence from the state, we should be upping the ante to escalate the
struggle against white supremacy by using that privilege – not to take the
role of heroes or anything, simply that we might throw ourselves into the
struggle in a way that we risk ourselves even a fraction of the amount that
POC comrades do. To put it another way, why should we sit comfortably in our
white privilege, confining ourselves to only self-examination and arguing
with other crackers on the internet, when we could be putting our bodies on
the line in the struggle against white domination?

The George Jackson Brigade was one of the first groups of people to use the
term “White Privilege.” To them, this meant that white people who could
get away with riskier actions should do it, for the benefit of the movement.
They should be placing more bombs, expropriating more goods while looking
“innocent,” so as to deepen the struggle against racist class society. To
be clear, no one here is talking about bombs; this is a historical example.
Today, it has unfortunately come to mean that white people should not take
any initiative in struggles and not put their precious pale bodies on the

We don’t want to engage in further internet discussion. We believe that the
venue for this important dialogue is face to face in the real world, and
welcome disagreement and debate, for that is the only way to sharpen

For treason to whiteness, for an end to all police, for a world with neither
oppressed nor oppressor –

Some Olympia anarchists.