(Please do not use photos without the expressed consent of the person photographed.)
On Monday March 11, Beyond the Barricades hosted a forum at The Holdout social center on the topic of anti-repression work. Invited to launch the conversation were folks from The Anti-Repression Committee, the ACAC 19 Support Committee and a member of the “San Francisco 8.” A solid crowd showed up and shared food, informational materials, childcare, and some useful conversation.
Some threads of the conversation included discussion around the necessity for anti-repression work to be more embedded in the general work of organizing rather than the common practice of being relegated to a specific group of people always willing to do the care work. The conversation merged into the gendered nature of anti-repression work and how it often falls on female-bodied folks. The unspoken implication of this phenomenon is that this work is considered less valuable, less revolutionary or less important. This implication, in turn, contributes to the gendered understanding of the work.
Participants at the forum discussed the tendency for anti-repression work to be reactive. Some posited that this is inevitable due to a ceaseless necessity to respond to and push back against repression. At the same time, the most effective anti-repression work changes the nature of repression and vice-versa.
It’s also essential, someone pointed out, to expand one’s understanding of what it means for anti-repression work to include struggle against the repression of folks outside of self-identified Leftist circles. Examples of how this work is happening includes the outreach being done at Santa-Rita and training by the People’s Community Medics. There was conversation of how to strengthen community connections and continuously be engaged with the struggles of people who suffer from daily repression.
The conversation was useful, but limited. Some folks expressed that we should be starting from a place of defining anti-repression and were frustrated by a feeling that we didn’t all have a common understanding, and one woman wrote about her thoughts on the forum. [We encourage you to read it!]
It was great that folks involved with anti-repression work were present, and yet as someone warmly noted after the forum: “This stuff might be new to people who haven’t done anti-repression work for a long time.”
Some questions remain: how do we continue to provide spaces to have useful conversations? How do we increase all types of diversity in the conversation so it doesn’t feel like talking in an echo chamber (not to erase the differences that did exist in the room)? What are truly dynamic conversations to have and how do we make them accessible to the people we think should be having them? These questions remain as we move forward and begin planning for future forums. Stay tuned and check out some resources on anti-repression.
Beyond the Barricades is pleased to announce our first Forum on Monday, March 11 from 6-8pm at the Holdout. The theme of this forum will be:
What makes anti-repression work revolutionary and/or liberatory?
At a moment of intensified political repression in the Bay area and beyond, we find it vital to provide a public space to ask these questions and have these debates. We come from a revolutionary anti-capitalist, anti-white supremacist perspective and intend for conversations to advance those politics. We invite a broad range of political perspectives to participate in this discussion.
To encourage critical dialogue among the self-identified Left as well as the larger Oakland community, we have invited a few folks engaged in anti-repression work in Oakland to launch this conversation by focusing on the following questions:
– What are effective and ineffective anti-repression strategies?
– How is anti-repression work gendered?
– How can anti-repression work go beyond a defensive or reactive position?
– How can we better connect work around repression against political organizers with work against the day-to-day repression affecting communities in Oakland?
There will be an info table, food, childcare, and security from Girl Army. We look forward to seeing you!
-Beyond the Barricades Events Working Group
On Friday afternoon, an array of approximately 100 supporters attended a pretrial motions hearing for the ACAC19. The ACAC19 is a group of nineteen political dissidents arrested in San Francisco on Columbus Day while demonstrating in solidarity with indigenous, global and local struggles against imperialism.
The crowd trickled in from around the Bay, gathering on the steps of the San Francisco Superior Courthouse, sharing pizza, conversation and a supporter’s impromptu puppet show. “All Cops Are Columbus,” read a sign taped near the steps until a cop tore it down. A big banner stretched across the face of the building declared “No Justice Here! Against All Repression.” Ali Winston, who often whistle-blows on corruption in Bay Area police departments, was the only journalist present.
A long line of supporters and defendants slowly filed through the metal detectors. The officers turned off the second metal detector, making the line move so slowly that the hearing was over before many people, and even some defendants, were through the line. Later, in the courtroom, the supporters, defendants and nineteen defense lawyers sat across from Judge Harold Kahn. The Judge extended the motion-filing deadline, which is now March 14. The final pretrial motions hearing will be scheduled for a full day on March 29. The defense will be filing a pitchess motion, a motion to expose involved officers’ records of abuse. There will also be a motion to quash search warrants placed on defendants’ phones. “Wait,” Judge Kahn implored during the hearing: “Why would you need a search warrant for a case like this?”
“Good question,” everyone in the courtroom shrugged.
In addition to sustaining comrades as individuals and defending the community as a whole, acts of solidarity–such as showing up at comrades’ court dates– force the repressive apparatus to rethink how and why it attacks us in the streets. Our solidarity is not just a form of defense, but a weapon against state repression.
Come support the ACAC 19 on March 29 and regularly check the ACAC19 Support Commitee website for updates. If you can’t physically attend, call the SF District Attorney and demand all charges be dropped against the comrades.
Considering that recently, over half a dozen people in the Pacific Northwest have received Grand Jury subpoenas in the last few months, houses connected to OWS organizers have been raided, and many of our comrades down here are facing very serious charges, folks put together a Grand Jury panel/discussion that focused on how we (the collective Left in the Bay Area) can protect ourselves and each other in the case of heightened repression.
This was a full day event with short presentations from folks with Grand Jury experience–Kristian Williams (author of Our Enemies in Blue), Richard Brown from the SF8, and others.
This event was one of many steps to collectively hammer out out how we are going to support each other as we fearlessly move forward in the struggle.
(photos by Emily Loftis)
Please do not post photos of panelists to other
sites without receiving their expressed consent.
On October 6th SFPD attacked and provoked an anti-Columbus day march that gathered to give remembrance to the genocide and colonialism wrought upon the native peoples of the Americas. SFPD targeted marchers because of their political message, and attacked and arrested twenty anti-colonial activists after a hasty and confusing dispersal order. These police tactics clearly illustrate that the state does what it wants, when it wants, in order to protect its hegemony and stolen property. The SF District Attorney then charged these activists and organizers with outrageous and erroneous accusations that reflect the state’s goal to eliminate and neutralize dissent from those who challenge its own legitimacy. To further punish these courageous people, the state beat the arrestees and tortured them with sleep deprivation, taunted them and withheld food and water at the SF county jail, and set a very high bail. The state clearly does not care to observe its own specious claims of freedom of speech, which supposedly sets it apart from a fascist regime. Instead it is using every means it can to sew fear to discourage further resistance.
In addition, the SFPD worked with the mainstream media to paint these activists as violent and incorrigible. The media effectively convicted these activists of fabricated charges before they were tried in the farcical justice system, easily tainting the jury pool. All of this is to be expected, since the SF Chronicle has always done the work of the SFPD and the DA, even when time and again revolutionaries have fought hard in the courts and proven that the police were the true malfeasants.
It is in this vein that the radical communities of the Bay Area should continue to organize. We must use this opportunity to show that the courts and police are full of lies and that this is about politics, not “violent” acts. The police and DA will try to associate these activists with other past actions because they know that lying and instilling fear in the jury and the public is the only way they can win. These charges are overblown even by their standards, and they have nothing to stand on unless we remain quiet and disorganized. We should build a campaign, not only to drop the charges, but to challenge the ongoing state persecution and incarceration of political dissidents, as well as continue the struggle against the prevailing colonial order of power that brought our comrades to the street on October 6th.
In the spirit of indigenous resistance and struggles for autonomy everywhere…
Beyond the Barricades
Please contribute to general bail funds for all those arrested here, Seattle folks who were arrested here, and our close comrades here. Please note that the Occupy Oakland WePay shows the total raised overall since the page began and does not reflect what is left in the account after months of state repression.