Thoughts on protests in Oly…

(From a facebook post a year ago on June 15th, 2020)

I had some thoughts on protests in Oly. Haters get ready to start typing furiously.

I think we need to learn from our past. Then we can move forward and be effective. Crazy right?

Like anti police protests in Oly. This ain’t the first time.

Remember before BLM in 2010 when the State Street 29 were kettled? They started their march at dusk and marched till someone broke a window and everyone was arrested, 3 with serious charges. The protests died after that for a bit. The jail and court support wasn’t enough and their impact was minimal. It ended up being a bad tactical decision. They had just copied the idea from some anarchists in the Bay area.

Night protests that sort of worked was Oly Port Military Resistance and Oly Stand. They held down a blockade. Occupy Olympia had an encampment but didn’t do much at night, although it was winter and got dark early, they mostly kept it to day time. Except when they took over the capitol. That went late and was pretty intense.

You know why night time marches don’t work? It’s because it’s when we are weakest and they are strongest. I’m not sure when anarchists decided to start making night marches a thing but I wouldn’t be surprised if some police informant gave them the bright idea. Think about it.

“Hey Police Chief Bill, what if we got Informant 2 to organize all the property destruction anarchists to do their actions at night and all together. That way we get overtime and there aren’t many folks watching. It’ll be easier for us to arrest everyone in kettles and get away with stuff and journalists won’t be there or bystanders.” “That’s a brilliant idea Detective Phil, we can make the flyer ourselves. It’ll all be anonymous. We can sprinkle in some provocateurs to start them off with a window broken.”

That’s probably in the ballpark of the origin of anti police late night marches. Not every late night march, just ones like the SS29 a decade ago. Something similar to that and the bad idea stuck with us because it seems edgy and dangerous or something.

Riots are different. Riots happen when they happen and go as late as they go. But who cares about riots? Riots aren’t organizing. They have an impact for sure, some good and some bad, but it’s really more of an example of how weak the left is. How weak the third parties are. How weak the unions are. Because riots happen when folks don’t see an avenue for change. If they did they would swell the unions and the socialist parties and organize their actions to be more powerful.

My friend Charlie Hardy was telling me about the riots in the 1980’s in Venezuela. They sent the police in to restore order. Well the police were from the community and what could they do? So the police got the looters to line up and go loot one at a time in order to prevent violence and fighting over stuff. I kid you not. Then the government called in the military and 10,000 people were killed.

It was several years after all that rioting that people got organized enough to take power. Maybe enough people saw through the power of the rich backed ultimately by violence during the riot to think change was possible. So riots may have their place.

But late night marches, not so much.

Also Black Lives Matter…. and we all deserve healthcare! And we should cut the military budget, end the wars! And we should abolish student debt, have a debt jubilee! And housing needs to be affordable. And living wage jobs! No billionaires when others are homeless! Fair trade not free trade! Paid maternity and paternity leave! Paid vacations! Reduced work hours! No nukes, chemical or bio weapons!

I am not in favor of single issue campaigns. I feel like the Bernie primary was delivering a movement agenda that was pushing a moderate attainable slate of issues. That the Dems predictably snuffed it isn’t surprising but those positions aren’t wrong. Why aren’t we pushing that now? I can tell you my theory…. you’re not going to like it. Misdirection. The BLM framework which has been moderated and crafted over the past five years with foundation money and backed by mainstream media and political forces is a controlled opposition. Riots they can use. Organized marches lead by socialist parties and radical unions they cannot.

And people will say that’s racist. That’s the defense against radicals by liberals and moderates. Saying it’s about wealth inequality and class gets you called racist. If you’re a black person or organization saying you can’t defeat racism unless you defeat classism you get ignored.

I get so many white women commenting all saying you don’t hear it, you don’t feel it enough. They say it’s all about listening and feeling. And sure it is, I hear you, I feel you, thanks SURJ. Also, you don’t feel other people’s hardships. You can relate, be sympathetic, empathize but this has to be about you realizing you’re in the struggle for yourself and your family and friends. Then you can achieve solidarity. Do I fight racism because I was moved by George Floyd’s murder or because racism is a tool to divide the working class and serves to oppress all struggle for a better more equitable world? I’m in it for both. I feel in solidarity with the anti racism struggle not solely charitable to it.

Our town is 2% black. We have like 6% Asian and 10% Hispanic which is historically where the authentic local struggle resonates from. Like fighting ICE and the NW Detention Center. Or remembering the Japanese internment camps. Anti black racism is the biggest battle in the nation and we need to work on it here as well but two weeks of protests and calling for black leadership and black speakers out of that 2% black population endlessly is just not operable.

I mean, it would be different if BLM was organizing a protest in support of unemployed workers. If we were rallying in Oly on that issue, lead by BLM but with all the other groups there, that would be neat. Or if it was against the police and courts and jail, lead by BLM but maybe you have those impacted not by the racism alone but by violent cops and long sentences. You know? Also I’m over ACAB and FTP. And why aren’t we yelling FTJ? ASATL? ACAH? (Fuck the Judges, All Sentences Are Too Long, All Criminals Are Humans) I mean courts are insane. They are expensive. They are outdated. Jails as well. Well well over 90% of cases end in plea agreements because they can usually get you on a bigger charge.

Now I’m rambling. All I’m saying is I’ve been to a sampling of marches and rallies lately and they’re fine, but let’s take them up a notch or two in quality. Let’s also not just follow what everyone else is doing. Let’s be ourselves. This mainstream protesting is weird.

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