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Indybay Feature
George Floyd Solidarity in the Bay Area: Representation and Power
by Anarchist People of Color
Friday May 29th, 2020 3:38 PM
This is a critique of weaponized identity politics used to silence rebels and gain political capital.
George Floyd Solidarity in the Bay Area:
Representation and Power

“We must never forget that the insurrectionary project belongs to the masses alone; organizers help it-leaders betray it.” - Raoul Vaneigm

This is an open letter to provoke an alternative political position to the weaponized authoritarian use of identity politics. Self-pronounced leaders in the Bay Area have tried to insinuate that anyone who desires conflict with the police after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis are “White people [who] DON’T get to use Black pain to justify living out riot fantasies.” As if the real white fantasy isn’t people of color policing their own behavior in order to save the white supremacist society from being destroyed. This is an old trick that is worth being exposed, again.

Power operates through representation. In court it’s “the people” vs. the defendant, the state purports to represent all people against the criminal activity of an individual. In movements it’s the leaders who pretend to represent us when saying it’s not time or it’s not safe for us to revolt, usually hiding behind the vulnerability and power of the uncontrollable youth of color. They mediate our rage in order to gain a seat at the table of power. They are aspiring politicians. This type of power, similar to state power, operates on false binaries. George W. Bush told us “you’re either with us, or with the terrorists” and the movement leaders tell us “you’re either peaceful or you’re a provocateur”, or in this case they weaponize identity politics for obedience to their ideology: “you do what we say or you’re white.” They erase the rage of people of color because they cannot gain power from us. Since it is impossible to choose between such ridiculous choices “we are led into the realm of tolerance and relativity that is so dear to the bourgeoisie” ( Vaneigm, 1967). We are forced to choose a side where in the end, hierarchical power remains intact, and thus the ruling order only changes in branding.

As insurrectionary anarchists of color it’s important to demystify a few facts: 1.) when the youth of color decided to take the 580 freeway on 5/28/20 it wasn’t movement leaders they called for support- it was us, because we love their rage and want nothing but for them to be successful and safe. After all it’s because of our failures that they live in a world where police continue to murder with impunity, yet movement leaders are constantly drowning out their grief, rage, and agency with calls to give peace a chance, all in the name of same youth they are repressing. Representation is impossible with an uncontrollable force, because it is not legible or respectable, it can’t get you votes or make you look good on the internet. In this particular case the “leaders” are visibly out of touch with what is actually happening in the street 2.) Our political desire is not to consolidate power through identity politics. The nationalist failures at decolonization revealed that the colonial structures of the state and racial identity as a whole must be abolished in order to gain our freedom. Categories are only useful in analytically understanding power, but I am not only my oppression. It is not an essential characteristic of my being; my love for my comrades is, my desire for total freedom is, the joy I receive in rebellion during upheaval is. Until all the prison doors are open, and the border comes crashing down, we’ll see you on the barricades.
§Response from Cat Brooks
by cat Brooks
Friday Jun 5th, 2020 9:52 AM
I am clear now that this statement was written about me. Here is my response:

Thank you for sending this. It could be a first step in principled, productive dialogue but in order to do so I must do an honest assessment of this article..

First nothing in that missive is reflective of my statement nor did I see it until you sent it ... this is either a blatant mischaracterization or gross misunderstanding of what I said and second it is problematic that none of those who authored this piece contacted me directly and I’m very easy to find. It is important that we validate that this article was actually written by POC anarchists and not just a false frame for those that have been previously antagonistic towards me.

So I would ask that these POC anarchists who wrote this please clarify who you are and I must ask why have these POC anarchists not hit me directly? My post was clearly about white people who leave black and brown people to take responsibility for their actions ... why are you as POC mad that I came for white opportunists?

1) I have no political aspirations ... I ran because the people asked me to ... is your assertion that it’s better that Libby is our mayor?

2) where in my statement or anywhere have I said it’s not the time to revolt? Find the quote and send it to me cause it never happened

3) supporting youth of color: where is your bail fund? Meetings to ask them what they want to happen?

4) Where is YOUR relief fund for black businesses that got torn up

5) you’ll never vote for me again? I may never run again but if I do ... please vote for politicians who will have your head on a platter for the feds

6) I have been arrested tear gassed and stalked for my work ... threatened with lawsuits and arrests for what others have done ... you’ve never stepped up for me but I’ll/we always take the fall for you #solidarity

For those that have sincere critique I am open for principled, disciplined dialogue. Just reach out.

For those who would intentionally mischaracterize or twist my words to create lanes of attack or division in this critical time, you will be met with fierce opposition and demonstrations of unity so we can win ... you need me/us ... I need you ... the people need us together ... grow the fuck up and hit me directly

This is either a gross misunderstanding of my statement, which I have and continue to take responsibility for and am taking steps to rectify or a malicious political attack that has NOTHING to do with Black liberation but is more so intended to discredit and diminish.
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The communique supports a diversity of tacticscontextFriday May 29th, 2020 6:32 PM
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