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Dear Straight Anarchists. WTF? A Radical Queer Complaint From Queens of Trailer Trash
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.