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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Response To the Anarcho-Liberal Take Over of Bash Back! (2009)

June 3, 2009, 3:34 am

This a response to dynamics and altercations that occurred after what
certain individuals are referring to as an “action” Saturday night of the
convergence. This response was written by an autonomous cell of the
Chicago Bash Back! chapter, and though it by no means represents the group
as a whole, it addresses it as one, including ourselves and others whom
consider themselves to be “members” and “organizers” of BB!.
First and foremost, Bash Back! is not an organization. BB! is a
non-hierarchical group of autonomous individuals under the guise of a
common purpose. The only thing that really ties us together are the Points
Of Unity, which is to say that there is no membership, no dues, no agenda,
and no 501-C3 status. Those who want to come to consensus before taking
action, who would rather undermine the autonomous nature of individuals
“bashing back” should consider another group, or form their own. We are
not the only radical queer group in existence, and we don’t want to be.
To elaborate on what the “nature of bashing back” is, and what it means, we
should start here. To “bash back” is to protect oneself and our community
both in the moment, and preemptively, by any means necessary. To “bash
back” is to stand in solidarity with those who are oppressed, in real
solidarity, and not attempt to make decisions for them along the lines of
what you consider to be acceptable behavior. To “bash back” is to take
accountability for our own lives, to not be led, and not to lead. To “bash
back” is to destroy what destroys us.
Sometimes privileged viewpoints can cloud the idea of what “bashing back”
means. Playing into the activist mentality of constant mediation,
watered-down emotions, “consensus”, and “equality” often leaves room for
those with the most privilege to invalidate others’ reactions to
oppressions and strides for liberation. We are not writing this to those
who took the night into their own hands, or those who sat beside phones to
make sure people they don’t even know were safe, or those who slept
outside the jail and cheered for not only the four radical queers as they
were released, but for everyone whom was able to walk out of the concrete
and steel cages that morning. We are writing this to those who claim that
there was no consensus process, to those who pulled newspaper boxes back
onto the sidewalk, and to those who stood by idlely watching. You are not
in solidarity with us, our struggles, or our identities.
Because of your privilege, you may have never had to fight. The actions of
certain individuals made it seem as it they were waiting to be led, or
told what to do. If “bashing back” scares you, you are free to leave. If
the way autonomous individuals decided to vocalize long-standing
oppressions they’ve felt scares you, you are free to leave. You are
autonomous. This was not an action. It wasn’t a planned march, it wasn’t a
coordinated along a political agenda. Claiming that Bash Back! takes a
stance of “non-violence”, or that this so-called “action” was a “peaceful
protest” is not only untrue, but infuriating. This was a spontaneous
eruption of anger, joy, vengeance, and desire. More aptly referred to as
“doing being totally out of control”.
While we’re speaking to commonly used radical phrases, another one comes
to mind. Our Points Of Unity include “…Respect[ing] a diversity of
tactics in the struggle for liberation. Do not solely condemn an action on
the grounds that the State deems it to be illegal…”. This does not only
address your reactions to these tactics afterward, while reading and
writing communiques. This addresses your interactions and reactions in
everyday life, when confronted with situations where you can either choose
to act or to stand in solidarity. Undermining struggles and necessary
conflict, especially when the authorities are involved, is aiding them and
tantamount to snitching. It IS treacherous. It IS breaking the Points Of
Unity. Being that the Points Of Unity is the only thing that ties our
group of radical autonomous individuals together, breaking them means
you’re NOT Bash Back!, you’re NOT “bashing back”, and you’re NOT
supporting our struggles.
Assuming you know what’s best for a group is privileged and oppressive in
and of itself. Assuming you know what’s best for anyone else is not
radical, it’s authoritarian and fucked up. Of course you know what’s best
for yourself, and that’s the point. Perhaps the actions of individuals
that night should have reflected autonomy, not the idea that consensus in
this situation could be reached, or that it should have been. Making
claims about who participates in anything without concrete knowledge
erases identities and experiences. It also shows a very obvious ignorance
of the history of insurrection in oppressed communities, including those
you claim to be speaking for. Basing your decision on whether something is
acceptable or not on identities or assumed identities of those around or
involved is the same as any fucked up -ism we claim to be against.
Speaking for people with identities other than your own in a way that is
used to push your political or moral agenda is the same as an fucked up
-ism we claim to be against.
The picture at the top of this news site does not consist of props, it is
not an iconic image, it’s very real. It is not something to be
appropriated and transformed into a liberal agenda for the future
bureaucrats of America. In the future, if you don’t agree to our Points Of
Unity, don’t come to our convergences, don’t start a fucking chapter, and
don’t clog up our meetings or inboxes. We might operate in the realm of
semi-above ground activism, but we are not activists. We are people, and we
are striving to break free from the chains of oppression– all oppression.
This is very real. These are our lives, and we’re taking them back. We’re

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