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Dear Straight Anarchists. WTF? A Radical Queer Complaint From Queens of Trailer Trash
by q@
Monday Nov 9th, 2009 12:12 PM
On September 24th some of the most militant politicized street protests the States have seen in nearly a decade countered the G20 summit in Pittsburgh. Anarchist Queers and Trannies were on the frontlines of this struggle; bringing the numbers, the flare, and the wrecking crews. Radical Queers fought police and did everything they could, with what they had, not to back down. A days worth of tear gas, rubber bullet attacks, and fending off straight-idiot-liberals, set the tone for what would be a night of ravenous Queer revenge. A single march of 200+ Queers, Trannies, Womyn, POC, and some allies bashed the fuck back; causing the most property destruction contained to a single neighborhood in Pittsburgh during the protests. So other Anarchists, why the fuck are you ignoring us?
What Happened in Oakland on Thursday Night?

A week prior to the G20 protests Bash Back! Pittsburgh, a radical Trans and Queer Liberation group, called for a Queer Cabaret to be followed by a march through Oakland. Oakland has long been a neighborhood unfriendly to anyone not fitting into the straight-white-male category. By 10pm on the 24th nearly 200 people gathered outside of the Queer Cabaret. The mood was set. There were no illusions. Everyone knew what was about to happen. It seemed that people were unified in their goal to terrorize straighty. Windows were smashed, dumpsters flipped and ignited, a frat boy homophobe and his friends were dealt with properly, and the vast majority of participants left feeling empowered and energized.

However, despite the fact that this march was called for by a local radical queer/trans group, took place immediately following a Queer Cabaret, was executed largely by radical Trans/Queer people and was lead by a banner reading, “Bash Back!” ; most of the reportbacks describing the march include NONE of these important details. In all fairness Crimethinc did state that the march had been, “Bash Back!” themed. Whatever that means. In the documentary, “Democracy 101: Pittsburgh G20 Protests and the Police Occupation of Pitt University,” produced by Pittsburgh Indymedia, Chicago Indymedia, Twin Cities Indymedia, and the Glassbead Collective footage of the Radical Queer black bloc was preceded by the sentence, “The protestors dispersed in the late afternoon, but they reconvened later in the evening.” This makes it seem as if the Radical Queer black bloc later in the night was merely an extension of the People’s Uprising March that took place across town earlier in the day. It was not. We found it even more frustrating that not even a brief mention of the radical Queer/Trans organization that went into the march was included in the documentary. A person from Pittsburgh even went as far as to say that the march was not queer. Does this mean that in order for militant actions to be recognized by the broader Anarchist community as Queer all of the participants have to be laced in sequins and throwing glitter?

This is not an isolated incident!

Radical Queers made up a large number of people putting hours of work into creating a militant showdown at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. People with Bash Back! held multiple consultas in the Midwest and on the East Coast to carve out a radical Queer space in countering the Convention. Bash Back! sent queers to Minneapolis well over a month before the Convention to help with the organizing effort. However, in spokescouncils and personal conversations the Bash Back! action was more often than not labeled as one of the “fluffy” actions, while actions with similar tones were never labeled soft or fluffy. “ Terrorizing Dissent,” a documentary created by Twin Cities Indymedia about the RNC completely ignored the Bash Back! action, which was the first publicly announced blockade in the lead up to the RNC. Footage of the radical Queer blockade never made the final cut. In fact, the action was not discussed or even referenced. However, footage of the Funk the War bloc, a roving dance party called for by Students for a Democratic Society was featured in a nauseatingly long segment. Let us remind you that Radical Queers put over a year into organizing our event and Bash Back! is the ONLY national network that has maintained itself since the failure of the RNC protests.

Another incident that comes to mind is a recent incident involving the arrest of Ariel Attack. Ariel is a Trans/Queer person who has been involved in radical organizing for sometime. Earlier in the year Ariel was picked up by Denver Police and accused of smashing 11 windows out of the Colorado Democratic Party Headquarters. Rather than write their own article, AnarchistNews.org reposted an article from an extremely right-wing blog riddled with anti-Trans rhetoric. Although there were literally thousands of other news articles about the sabotage Anarchist News chose to run the disgustingly anti-Trans right wing one. Even after being asked and eventually threatened the mysterious people behind AnarchistNews.org refused to replace the article with a better one. They cited Freedom of Speech in defense of their actions. To this all we can say is…Really? Other non-trans radicals went on to question the timing and message of the action. Would anyone of you Cisgendered white dudes be questioning the timing and message of the action if the person arrested for allegedly smashing the windows was a white male Earth First!er ? Our conclusion is: probably not.

So What the Fuck?

First we were Maoists. Then we were fluffy. Then we were not living up to our militant rhetoric. Now, at best you are ignoring our actions and the massive risks we are taking to carry them out. At worst you are co-opting what we do and rewriting history to claim our struggles as your own.

Are you neglecting to mention what we have done so you can maintain that our actions are Manarchist? It is clearly absurd to call militancy carried out by Womyn, Transfolk, People of Color, and Queers “Manarchist.” Instead, you will just pretend that these actions were taken by straight white dudes.

-OR-

Are you refusing to give Radical Queers credit because you couldn’t give a fuck? Maybe you just don’t care that radical Trans people and Queers are finally, after more than a decade on hiatus, building a culture centered around fighting back.

–OR-

Are you living in a delusion? You are so far from reality that you still hold on to the idea that Queers, Trannies, POC and Womyn are at too high of risk to ever be taking these actions. So you pretend that you, the white-straight person, did the legwork and threw down.

–AND/OR-

You feel, as our self-appointed protector, you must act as if Trannies/Queers haven’t taken these actions in an effort to avoid the state coming down on us.

-OR-

Are you not mentioning our actions because you feel ignorant as fuck when, the actual radicals and actual queers, prove you wrong time and time again? You might feel a bit put off that we are doing more to resist than you ever have and our actions are insanely more effective, fabulous, and daring than yall’s could ever be.

-OR-

When it comes down to it , do you think that we are just a bunch of fags too concerned with identity politics to ever contribute to a broad social upheaval? Even though, as pointed out before, in the last two years Radical Queers have taken the lead in the push for a more direct action oriented resistance.

In Conclusion

It really is a shame that a band of radical Queers, involved with a variety of Anarchist organizing projects for many years, has had to use a public forum to call you all out. But nevertheless we feel we have to. It has become apparent to us that while many of you are our friends you still hold yourself on a higher pedestal because you are straight and we are not. You have mocked us, written us off and criticized us, when frankly you are in no place to do so. We are not trying to create divisions on tactical grounds, excluding our struggle to root out Anarcho- Liberals. Instead we are calling you out on your shit so we can all continue on this path toward insurrection and most importantly liberation. To those of you who will ignore these concerns we impolitely order you to stop breeding like goddamn rabbits and find the nearest cliff to jump from.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by shakeses
Monday Nov 9th, 2009 5:00 PM
No wonder we can't get anything done. You know which communique I haven't read yet? The one from any number of supposedly anarchist-like groups that claims a multitude of tactics, that claims solidarity for all people in the struggle.

You know what else I missed? The invitation to the giant conference where people can vent their frustrations face to face, with out the mask of the internet, and the assertion that all folks will be allowed to share their ideas without fear of degredation or intimidation.

Also, I love free speech and everything, but what ever happened to civility? Everyone is real good at trash talkin, but very few even attempt to look at these questions through a truly critical lens. Everyone just thinks they're right, they're righteous.

Rhetoric is going to destroy what little is left of anarchism in america.

Finally, I'll say to the people who wrote this, why oh why would you want to outwardly claim any of these supposed actions on a public forum such as the internet. Is recognition important enough to go to jail for? I personally don't give a shit who broke the fucking windows. The point is that the windows were broken.

Thanks for reading,

old ass curmudgeonly anti-authoritarian named shakes
by OT
Monday Nov 16th, 2009 4:32 PM
A homophobe fratboy and his friends were "dealt with properly"? That's some creepy stuff right there. I can't say I feel sorry that the authors didn't get the credit they were looking for when they smashed up--excuse me, bashed up--a Rust Belt city that most of them probably don't live in.
by deanosor
( deanosor [at] mailup.net ) Monday Nov 16th, 2009 11:08 PM
I was not in Pittsburgh, so i ddin't see what happened first hand. i have read a bunch of stuff, and i have to agree with q@ that the the Queer Anarchists especially Bash Back are not getting the credit they deserve. This is political. Queers have a particular political expression that si not the same as a general anarchist critique even if those queers are anarchists. And to say that by asking for that to get acknowledged in a general way will get the 'perpetrators' in trouble makes me think that the author of that piece doesn't know how large the queer anarchists grouping is.

And then you have the Bull Connor (if you don't who he is, look him up) comment about outside agitators, when a) you really don't know who did what and where they were from, and b) this was a protest of the G-20 government that run the economy of the WORLD, so everybody should be able to protest, and was in fact invited to do so.



by trasfag
Tuesday Nov 17th, 2009 1:47 AM
I mean, really. Look at this photo (which is from Details magazine) Do you want to radically change the world or do you want anarchist action points like your friends over at the Coming Insurrection? I think critiques of "radical" media are important but statemsnet like
"On September 24th some of the most militant politicized street protests the States have seen in nearly a decade countered the G20" only show your lack of history, self-importance, and suburban-realness. And more importantly, why the fuck is this in the center when local trans/queer organizing does not get covered?
by (A)
Thursday Nov 19th, 2009 3:16 PM
did indeed bring the rucis and a whole lot of energy to the g20 i am proud to have been there in Pittsburgh marching and running down the streets with bash back

(A)
by gasparin
Sunday Nov 29th, 2009 3:25 AM
That decade of hiatus that you mention was not really a hiatus... I think that's your problem. The era of identity politics is pretty much over, we've moved on to bigger issues now. Sorry you weren't around when AIDS was known as GRID and homosexuality was in the DSM, but those fights were already fought for you... you should be grateful and move on. I'm sure you would have enjoyed Act Up, but there's no sense in reinventing the wheel.

Seriously, I wanna ask YOU "wtf?" -- wtf did you hope to accomplish? If you were just out for an adrenaline rush, congratulations, it sounds like you got it... but if you are hoping to build or be part of some broader social movement, then this little piece of literature helps you to fail miserably. With this sort of alienating rhetoric regarding these sorts of alienating actions, it's little wonder that you failed to attract a large and diverse group of participants OR adequate & accurate representation in the media (the latter of which you should know is a virtual impossibility -- if you've been doing this sort of thing for any length of time at all).

So, ummm, yeah, if you REALLY want the kind of attention that you seem to be demanding, then be more 'queer' and less 'anarchist' next time. Maybe less smashing the windows of people that you ASSUME to be "straight" and "white", and just more guys pulling off their pink bandit bandanas to tongue-kiss in the street. And glitter, yeah, gotta have lots of glitter... we all know how gay glitter is. And maybe just generally try to rebrand yourselves as "queer radicals" or "queer anarchists" -- instead of putting the "radical" or "anarchist" part as a prefix to the "queer" part.

Or be happy that you were noticed at all, I say. Even if you were only noticed for causing other people unhappiness. I can't even count all the times I've been edited out of media footage... One time I was arrested (for an "art-action", of all things), after being physically restrained by police (even though I'm already in a wheelchair) and lost over $400 bailing out a 'comrade' who skipped his court date -- even though I live on welfare, he could have afforded to pay me back, AND the charges would have been thrown out if he had shown up, because the cop who restrained me and threatened to "fucking drop me" (whatever that means to a person who is already non-ambulatory) was too ashamed to appear in court. And this is the first time that story has EVER been told on ANY Indymedia site. Granted, we didn't smash any windows, though it seems like there's ALWAYS some drunk frat guy to 'deal with'... our only crime was getting too close to a live TV broadcast and not knowing that a sidewalk could be 'private property'. Boo-hoo me, right? Waaaaah! That's not fair! Heh. There's a reason we call this a "struggle". Be glad that you had fun in your queer cabaret, smashing a few windows, and taking credit for it in your activist ghetto. And glad that you didn't get assassinated and have your hands chopped off, like Che Guevara or Anna Mae Aquash... shot in your bed like Fred Hampton... or tortured, raped, drugged, and dropped from a plane into the Atlantic Ocean or the Rio de la Plata like some 30,000 'disappeared' Argentineans.

And, even though I'm not a bay area local, I'm with the person who questioned why this whiny rant should ever be given priority over local organizing around the issue[s] of sexual identity or gender diversity or however people who are interested in those sorts of particularist politics like to describe their issue[s].


"In a positive sense one might say that all cultural and/or social forms of particularism deserve support as long as they remain anti-hegemonic, and precisely to the extent that they remain so." -- Peter Lamborn Wilson

"There are not just 2 sexes, and there is not just one world, and it is always advisable for those who are persecuted for their differences to share happiness and support without ceasing to be different." -- Subcomandante Marcos

"If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have a paradise in a few years." -- Bertrand Russell
by gasparin
Sunday Nov 29th, 2009 3:30 AM
Looks like somebody already went with the glitter idea... you need a new angle. Though it's really gonna be hard to top the right-side-up pink triangles from ACT UP -- that's some potent fuckin symbolism.

"On October 11, 2009 the Human Rights Campaign (or HRC) headquarters in Washington, DC was vandalized by radical queer activists who threw pink and black paint and glitter at the building and left graffiti reading "Quit Leaving Queers Behind". The vandalism came on the eve of the National Equality March, the biggest national queer political mobilization since 2000 and hours after U.S. President Barack Obama gave a speech at an HRC fundraiser. A group called Queers Against Assimilation posted a statement about the action on the website of radical queer network Bash Back!. The statement called the attack an act of "glamdalism"..."
by gasparin
Sunday Nov 29th, 2009 3:54 AM
WTF do you have against rabbits? Why are they damned by god? As an anarchist should you even believe in god? And, while we're near the subject, wtf do you have against breeding? Children are wonderful beings that bring all of the energy and creativity into this world... without breeding, you wouldn't fucking be here! And, if you want to play the whiny sectarian identity politics game, children are far more oppressed than you will EVER (again) be, not to mention the horrific plight of those GD bunnies... you should really be fighting for the liberation of children and rabbits before your own -- god-damned selfish fuckin yankee. Stop hatin' so much. It's no wonder people thought you were a Maoists, heh. At times, your "gay nationalist" rhetoric does read like something cooked-up by a queer Khmer Rouge.