CrimethInc. Convergence Controversy

This is a brief statement followed by personal accounts detailing the events of a controversial disruption that happened at the end of the CrimethInc. Convergence in Pittsburgh this July. These texts have been written by some anarchist people of color who participated in the convergence and were present the night of the disruption. There has been some discussion about it on the internet, but we hope to offer people more context from our perspectives about that night. Still, mostly questions remain about how to proceed. Hopefully at least, these accounts will provoke honest, open, humble conversations about all of the issues raised, so that we can figure out how to move forward as radical communities in struggle.

There is so much ground to cover to convey what happened throughout the weeklong convergence. Check back soon for further reportbacks about the rest of the convergence.

Brief Statement

What seemed like an awesome, performative disruption—a reclamation of space, an expression of anger, an opening up of dialogue—shifted quickly into something else entirely. At the end of a night of Cabaret at the CrimethInc. Convergence in late July, about half a dozen anarchist/autonomist people of color—some who had participated in the convergence all week and some who came into town just for this “action”—stormed into a hall full of people, reading a statement about gentrification and white supremacy, while screaming slogans.

People watched in silence, uncertain of how to respond to such intense aggression from this small group of friends. With no provocation, the disrupters* started grabbing people’s backpacks and sleeping bags and throwing them out into the hallway, under a rallying cry of, “Get the fuck out of here! Get the fuck out of Pittsburgh! We’re not fucking kidding!” They cleared people’s bags from the shelves, from off the ground; they grabbed lamps, chairs, anything they could get their hands on. Tossing everything out of the room, people’s belongings were dumped into jumbled piles everywhere. The disrupters screamed that white people were gentrifying the neighborhood the Convergence was in—neighborhoods everywhere—and that they wouldn’t stop what they were doing until all of the white people from the convergence were out of the building, out of Pittsburgh. It was the middle of the night, and almost everyone had been staying in that building. With nowhere to go, many people started to leave.

The disrupters became increasingly aggressive with the people in the room. They got up in people’s faces, and yelled at them to leave, “Go back to Europe! I’m sick of looking at your white fucking face!” Provoked into fear and panic, many people left the room, tears streaming down their faces. Others responded with a variety of racist comments demonstrating just how far a lot of people have to go in terms of understanding white supremacy and privilege. The disrupters used thinly veiled intimidation and threats, like screaming, “Get the fuck out of here! I am not a pacifist!” while pulling bags out of people’s hands; they muscled past the people who tried to block the flow of backpacks and purses out into the hallway, thrusting the belongings into people’s heads, backs, and other parts of their bodies.

In an attempt to deescalate the situation, people eventually started encouraging everyone to leave. Convergence attendees poured out onto the sidewalks, and started organizing alternate housing and carpools. Many people’s belongings were still lost and strewn all over the convergence space, but with the police arriving to investigate the scene, everyone had to go somewhere. By nearly 2 am, all of the people who did not identify as people of color—and all those too traumatized by the aggression of the disrupters—were out of the upstairs, yet the disrupters still refused to leave. Some people of color from the convergence called a caucus with the disrupters, but after an unproductive attempt at dialogue, finally, the disrupters left.

Apparently, a few friends of the disrupters had known about the planned disruption beforehand, but afterwards, everyone apologetically explained that they had expected the disruption to have a radically different character. Some people mentioned the feminist disruption of an anarchist gathering in the UK where women hijacked a meeting to screen a movie about feminism when describing what they had imagined. We certainly hope people would have intervened if they had foreseen the aggression and violence the disrupters chose to employ.

–from people of color who attended the convergence and oppose the disruption

*We are referring to this group of people as “the disrupters” because the only way they referenced themselves was as people from APOC (anarchist people of color). However, they were certainly not acting on behalf of all APOCers. And like with any decentralized group structure, when a few people do fucked up things under a banner that many people feel affinity with, those people risk delegitimizing the whole movement rather than bearing the responsibility for their own actions. To be clear, this disruption was NOT an APOC action.

Account 1

It seemed really complicated for many people of color who were not a part of the disruption to sort out their feelings about it that night because it was all too easy to relate to the legitimate anger and distress that seemed to motivate the disrupters. I talked with many other people of color that night about our own feelings of isolation, the pain of our own invisibility organizing in anarchist spaces dominated by people with more privilege. We talked about the intensity of the white supremacy we have faced in radical circles, and the serious need to address it. But we also talked about the ways the kind of coercive actions taken by the disrupters could obscures those realities, making it harder to actually work through this stuff with our potential allies

For me that night, though, it was simple to sort out what side I was on. Watching the disrupters tear apart people’s belongings, it was clear I had to intervene. Watching male-bodied disrupters scream into the faces of women with tears streaming down their cheeks, I had no choice but to put my body in between them. Really, watching the disrupters of any gender bring their rage upon my white friends of any gender, it was impossible not to get involved.

I am a small, woman of color. I have been assaulted—physically, sexually, emotionally. My whole life. The hatred in the voices of the disrupters as they screamed the absurd, “Go back to Europe,” was simply too reminiscent of the xenophobic slurs I’ve heard since childhood. The way they manipulated and controlled individuals and groups, screaming threats and rampaging through the room, felt just like life with my abusive ex-housemate. I will never watch that kind of violence and do nothing. Even if nothing that I did that night was useful, it was important to me that the disrupters could feel my opposition; it was important to me to resist.

Because people wanted to take seriously the concerns that the disrupters brought up, it also seemed really complicated for white people to figure out how to engage with them. Eventually, following the lead of people of color, some white folks started to passively resist the disrupters by blocking the doorways and removing stolen bags from the disrupters’ hands, but because the disrupters were anarchists, comrades, friends, no one wanted it to be a needless confrontation.

But the disrupters made it clear to me that they were there for a confrontation. “This is war,” they told me. “People get hurt in revolution.” “We are not afraid, and we are not pacifists!” For some reason, though, the disrupters had decided that their conflict was only with the white people at the Convergence. They consistently screamed at every white person to leave, while leaving the people of color alone, and so the people of color left in the space were uniquely positioned to try to deal with the mess. The disrupters tried to argue that it wasn’t about us—it wasn’t about the people of color left in the space. But for me, if you fuck with people I love, even if you never do anything to me, than, yes, your fight is also with me.

I spent much of that night trying to get the disrupters to leave. I tried to talk to them. I tried to stop them from destroying people’s personal belongings. I put my body in between them and other people—tried to stop the yelling and screaming, faces inches away from each other. I tried to stop the fight. I tried to physically remove individual disrupters from that space. I tried desperately to stop the fight.
That night I felt so alone. So isolated. It was clear to me that I needed to resist the abuse that was happening. But I didn’t want to be fighting these people that were trying to say everything I also needed to say. I should have been standing along side the disrupters, we should have been speaking our fury together, but they made that impossible. The disrupters made no space for dialogue. They made no space for me—or other people of color who needed room for their rage. They told us all that we could talk later. When everything was over. But even now, everything is far from over.

We tried to reason with the disrupters, to get them just to leave. I asked them how they felt about how shitty they made people feel, and they quickly defended that they “gave people warning” to leave. (That warning was them entering the room yelling and throwing people’s bags out.)  Another disrupter responded, “Don’t you support queers bashing back?” And I told them, I’m all for queer people—anyone, really—attacking their attackers, but that I didn’t equate that with indiscriminately attacking a room full of strangers. I asked them how they felt about all of the women, queer people, trans people, and otherwise marginalized people they were pushing out onto the street in the middle of the night. The disrupters responded that they’d be safe wherever they had to go because of their white faces. Back and forth, we tried to get the disrupters to respond genuinely, but they gave up only rhetoric and nonsense.

After literally hours of this, after every bag was cleared out of the room, after almost every person was gone and the disrupters were just standing inside of one of the doorways, refusing to leave, I totally broke. With nothing left to do, I told them all to get out. I told them it was over, it was time to go. They just looked at me. I had been saying this all night, but this time I needed it to be real, I needed it to be done. I was done. I went behind the door that two of them were leaning against to hold open and started pushing with all my strength to close it. It closed halfway, and then the struggle really began. I don’t remember everything that happened. The disrupters were screaming at me. I was screaming at them. Tears were screaming down my face; every muscle in my body cried out. At some point other people of color started helping me push on the door. Everything hurt. Everything was pain. Everything was broken.

That night, you broke me.

I am crying still as I write this one week later. All of the complicated pain and heartbreak won’t let go. I want to be talking about white supremacy in our movements. I don’t want to be talking about you. I don’t want to be watching us self-destruct, taking sides, falling apart. I want to be talking about the ways our privilege and internalized oppression make us hurt each other. I guess that’s what this is, but it all feels so needless, so thoughtless. I don’t want to deal with your shit just because you didn’t think through your actions, because you thought that everyone would just come back in after you left, that all of the panic attacks and pain could just be erased, that when people’s hearts stopped racing they wouldn’t feel the lingering fear.

* * * * *

Somehow, there was a moment of stillness when everyone else was gone, and some people of color called for a conversation with all of us, the disrupters and all of the other people of color that were left. We closed the doors to that upstairs room, and everything was quiet for a moment. Folks of color started trying to ask the disrupters about why they did what they did, trying to reason with them. It felt pointless to me. The disrupters were spouting the same rhetoric and absurd defenses they had been saying all night. They expressed feeling good about displacing people for the night because they wanted people to get a taste of how gentrification displaces people permanently. When I asked how they felt about being a force of domination, just like gentrification, they responded only that gentrification is a greater force of domination than they were that night. I’m glad at least that the disrupters were less of a force of domination than gentrification, but that sets the bar pretty low for how we interact with one another. Even oppressed groups of people can dominate people with more societal privilege than they have.

People also brought up how dangerous and irresponsible it was for the disrupters to do something that could bring so much extra police attention to this political event. With the high level of surveillance of the convergence, the police certainly could have taken advantage of this opportunity to raid the space or otherwise intervene. Perhaps that didn’t happen only because with some kind of intelligence on the inside, it was clear that the disrupters were doing a better job of creating division, panic, and controversy than the police or Feds could have. Someone later said to me that if the police had raided the space, it probably would have brought people together against the police, but this kind of drama will ensure schisms far wider-reaching and longer-running than anything the police can do to us.

In this conversation with the disrupters, we also tried to talk more specifically about why they did what they did. From this vantage point, I honestly think that the rhetoric about gentrification was somewhat of a ruse for the aggression. None of the disrupters were from Pittsburgh. Three of them had arrived that day and not spent any time in that neighborhood. They claimed that the neighborhood didn’t want the convergence there, but in our conversation, they couldn’t offer a single story about talking to a neighbor with complaints. Whereas I had dozens of interactions with people in that neighborhood who were ambivalent to excited about the convergence being there—and I know many others did, too. I met neighbors who were curious about what we were doing, neighbors who offered us food, neighbors who helped out with copwatch, and neighbors who came to the convergence space to hang out.

When further pressed for information about why they were taking that action, the disrupters said that they came there only because they were asked to do this by “Pittsburgh APOC.” According to one APOCista in Pittsburgh, there isn’t an active APOC group there, but it seems like a couple of individual APOC folks likely asked the group to come. When asked again to try to defend why they were acting they way they were, the disrupters explicitly said that anyone could hold “Pittsburgh APOC” accountable for their actions. The disrupters said also that they were acting with the full support of Chicago and Philly APOC, as well as people in Milwaukee.

I want to make it abundantly clear that supporting this “action” is not just supporting a militant action taken by people of color; it is supporting abuse. Using intimidation, threats, controlling people’s belongings and their movements is violence. The violence people of color feel in their daily lives and in anarchist circles is real and legitimate, but that in no way justifies this indiscriminant use of violence among friends and potential allies. It’s like a woman, who distraught at the expression of patriarchy in her every day life, forces herself on her lover. It is fucking abuse, and we shouldn’t ignore it just because it’s complicated.

As for what happens next, I’m not sure. The way the disrupters acted is a totally unacceptable way to treat comrades or potential comrades, and the only model I have for sorting out how to move forward through this is some kind of perpetrator accountability process—although, that kind of accountability can only happen within communities of friends. That night, the disrupters said they wouldn’t call any of the white anarchists there comrades, and maybe that is something they want to stick by. For now, I know that I don’t want to organize with or interact with those disrupters until some kind of serious accountability process can take place.

That night was intensely triggering for many people. For me. For hours, I was under this consistent, medium level attack. I came out of that night with cuts and bruises, torn clothing and trauma that one week later, still won’t relinquish my body back to me. I don’t get to be neutral or pretend it didn’t happen. I hope we all take this seriously.

-monica

Account 2

I am puertorican.  I too am fed up with the subtly alienating sub-culture of CrimethInc. and many other radical spaces with their ignored hierarchies and cold, individualist behaviors. If it were entirely up to me and if I had no one to care about in the convergence, I would’ve probably grabbed bags just the same and screamed just as loud.  But liberation is not that simple, and thank goodness it isn’t, or else a flashy vanguard might’ve been all it took for the oppressed all along. And we’re definitely not into that vanguard bull after seeing the harm it’s done (…right?).

Watching the disruption unfold and the split widen in the main room was like watching my own family fight with each other.  I don’t know which side I should take or if there are sides to take, and that made me feel all the more powerless.  You’d think that watching fellow APOC act in autonomy and against white supremacy would make me feel emboldened to take further action… but I felt I couldn’t do anything else but to sit there frozen and try to take all the surfaced conflicts in by force.  I don’t know if it’s just a trigger of mine to freeze up in these situations, or if I was just plain afraid to join anyone.  Some people’s faces looked like that of white tourists back in PR who just got their luxurious vacation ruined.  Some of the disruptors were completely ignoring the triggers the violent behaviors in the space set off for many with an abused past.

At a point where I was feeling the crack too much, I pleaded to speak to a disruptor face-to-face.  The reasoning for the action was much of what I expected: fed up APOC who want to teach a lesson the loud way.  As I listened on, it started to sound like some individual disruptors weren’t all that sure about their action after all.  While on the sidewalk a squad car raced by with sirens blasting and sped off.  I thought to myself that the infiltrators must be laughing their asses off about this back at the station.  I spoke then with a Latino friend that came back on the bike who was glad that finally people were taking this convergence seriously.  Yea, true, it did wipe out a lot of the rose tint, but it could also create a whole new blindfold.

After the conflict settled down, the disruptors were outside and I confronted the loudest of them (at least) who explained they were acting as individuals (so much for their talk about white people oppressing the nearby neighborhood, apparently they weren’t speaking on their behalf) and talked about some history of these POC groups and mentioned a very troubling term: “anarcho-nationalist”.  The fact that “anarcho” and anything that means could ever be related to “nationalist” is confusing enough, but I find the simple upholding of “nationalist” to be fucked up. Puerto Rico’s nationalist groups, though greatly mythologized, have their own history of very, very fucked up shit in the name of national power for the “puertorican” so many people still revere.   From Albizu Campos’s correspondence with Nazis to constant and still going talks of “cleansing” the puertorican culture (whatever our culture is, anyways, esos son otros veinte pesos), nationalist goals didn’t exactly conjure the liberated, autonomous communities we all strive for.

I talked with people of all sorts of contrasting experiences and conversations during the disruption but there’s a very unique one that I wish to share.  Shortly after finally calming down and walking without trembling, a male-bodied person who I had only met briefly before approached me.  They asked for advice.  They were part of the organizing for the disruption but completely changed their mind at a moment they felt no identity.  The person was of mixed-race.  They didn’t identify as a person of color though because of their experiences of having just as much privilege as any white person but in other ways, like class and gender. And their skin was light, and complexion could be judged as white as well. Did that mean they were gentrifying and oppressing just as much as white people?  Neither of us knew an easy answer.  But to me, it does show that gentrification isn’t as simple as just race, as I myself have many privileges that could be easily ignored were I to take a quasi-nationalist stance based on race (I am male-bodied, middle-class, and my Americanized upbringing in the colony, including knowing the language well, has made it easier to be “accepted” in North American “culture”). And also, we need to be constantly evaluating what it means to be a “person of color” and what role do both, our apparent and our identity race/races play as oppressor or as the oppressed.

On my ride back from the convergence, I thought to myself of how it could’ve ended if there were no disruption.  Maybe internalized white supremacy would’ve gone ignored.  Maybe, after all, we could’ve finished the conversations in something productive and concrete.  We’ll never know and it’s actually unproductive to think of whether or not it was necessary.  It made cracks and it create some bonds while shattering others.  It got a ball rolling or at least made the ball bigger on confronting our own spaces’ racism.  It hurt some people and caused some damage that a mere “sorry” won’t help.  It brought out some fucked up statements (some random person claimed “you can’t kick me out, this is MY space”…).  If anything, let’s not ignore what discussions need to happen face-to-face, whatever side we were on.  No causing a mess within own friends and then leaving the city like nothing happened (isn’t that what we blame so many corporations and cops so much for?).  I want to speak with all y’all and make honest connections.  Anarchist people of color are all I have, because we reflect the complexities I need to confront so badly and need help with, in a world that enforces a single “normality”. And I sure as hell don’t just wanna impose some other kind of simple and separatist “normality”.

Entre amor y lucha,
Luis
hacktiffler[at]riseup.net


Account 3

There is a lot to be said as far as I am concerned around the disruption that happened during the CrimethInc. Convergence, but maybe this is not the forum in which to say it all. This is a short (relative to everything I want to say) account of my experience around the disruption.

When the disruption started, I didn’t really know how to respond. In its beginning it seemed that the disruption was a performative protest against issues involving gentrification around the convergence, a more rebellious show that is a part of the cabaret, something that was done more to make a point than anything else. Very soon it became clear to me that the disruption was aimed towards something else entirely.

In the days before the disruption I was emotionally exhausted by several mediation processes I was involved in, and specifically by work around gentrification. When the disruption started I had no emotional capacity to take in any of what was going on. I stood there, watching friends try to stop the disruption, taking bags and belongings out of the disrupters’ hands, without the ability to react or to get involved. Someone approached me and asked me to get involved, to do something, but I couldn’t. If I am really honest, even though I was protected by my identity as a person of color, I did not feel safe. I had a personal relationship with some of the disrupters, but not with the two most aggressive ones. I actually felt that an intervention from my side might end with a punch to my face.

A white friend of mine was sitting in the corner crying, and I went to them and hugged them, trying to give them support. Their tears and sadness brought my emotions to the surface. I felt overwhelmed by the sadness that came with the recognition that apparently we cannot all just get along. Even though we are a part of a movement, it seems like some of us feel like aggression is the only way to get results from our comrades, and there is something so heartbreaking about that.

While me and a friend were comforting another friend, one of the disrupters came to us and asked if we were going to leave. The other comforter replied rather cynically, “Well, I am Colombian, is it ok for me to stay?” The disrupter, not noticing the tone in which the words were said, replied that we could stay. When I think about the disruption I keep going back to that moment. There is something so ironic in the disrupter approaching a group of mostly people of color with a request to leave. When you are at war, maybe there is no space for distinctions—and so people of color turn into white as you assume everyone around you is the enemy. And even if we weren’t people of color, it seems so heartless to approach people in tears you caused in order to promote your interests. At that moment the disrupters made it clear, some vague political idea was more important than us, the people who sat with them in gentrification workshops all week.

A few moments later one of my white friends approached me and offered me a hug. I don’t remember exactly what they said to me, but there was something in their words that felt liberating. Through the whole disruption I felt so dehumanized, as if I was erased, completely unpresent and unrecognized. The contradiction that such a friendly moment offered helped me suddenly notice the dehumanization I felt for so long. This was a bitter-sweet experience.

Soon after I went downstairs. There I was again greeted by many concerned friends offering hugs and asking what I needed. I left the space a little later, I felt drained and worried and wanted to be in a space that felt safe.

The day after I felt very concerned about going back to the space. I was worried that the conversion about yesterday’s events will focus mostly on the fucked up way in which the disruption took place, and not enough on the feelings that motivated it. To me the disruption was mostly a wake up call, and I wanted others to take it as such. Happily, I think that most of the particles of conversations that have reached my ears were focused on the breach of trust people of color felt towards their white allies.

After the really really free market we all met and went through an accountability process around some racist reactions some white people had towards the disruption. The process caused me to feel a lot of anxiety. In the moments before it I took many emotional supporting tinctures, and drank tea. I was scared of how I would feel about the things that would be said, and was worried I would not have the capacity to contain myself. The beginning of the process was very frustrating for me. There was a lot of discussion around how the process should go, what people can or cannot say, etc. To me, a lot of the discussion seemed like an attempt to evade the actual accountability that needed to be taken. My feelings about the conversation shifted completely when we actually started going through the list of racist reactions to the disruption. I was surprised by the fact that people actually admitted when they did not know why something was wrong or offensive. Things were not just brushed under the carpet, but each act was examined by the whole community and explained. The strongest part of the process was when people actually stood up and identified themselves as the ones who took some of the offensive actions, and recognized their mistakes in front of the whole community. It felt like a very deep process started in that conversation, one that will hopefully have long term affects on our community as a whole and on each of us as individuals. To me, this proves that we have the potential to protect each other and fight for one another. I can get you to think about my oppressions without breaking you.

I guess that the main things I am left with from this experience are questions about the integrity and honesty that we have towards one another. Throughout the convergence I was closely involved with some of the attempts to confront the convergence’s gentrifying effect on the city. Often, it seemed like those attempts were very constructive and successful. After hours of conversations on this subject, I felt like we were getting somewhere. From my post-disruption perspective, I am not too sure what to think about those conversations now. Some of the disrupters participated in those conversations, and I am left to wonder what their intentions were in doing so. A part of me fears that they used those conversations in order to have a one-way conversation, in order to educate others as to their feelings around gentrification without really trying to come to a resolution around the problem. I want to believe in the honesty of the dialogue we had, because doubting it will have heartbreaking consequences for me, but at the same time, I do not want my naiveté to help anyone get off the hook too easily.

I think that I am standing in a unique position towards what has happened. I have close personal relationships with the convergence organizers and some CrimethInc. writers, and at the same time I am a person of color who understands the rage of the disrupters and often feels disappointed with white “allies.” In many ways, I feel I am in the middle of this. Throughout the convergence I heard some of the disrupters (as well as others) criticize CrimethInc., critiques I shared as well. At the same time I was surprised. My experience with having the exact same conversations with individuals who are involved in CrimethInc. or the convergence have always been positive. I’ve always found listening ears to my difficulties, and have always received invitations to step in and create space for what I want and need. When I tried to convey these feelings to others they replied that they would not participate in a dialogue because it would be fruitless. This despair is actually based on legitimate past experiences, and it is so depressing.

I hope that people will take the disruption as a sign as to how people of color specifically feel in this community. There is a huge breach of trust when it comes to how we respond to white supremacy. So many times in the past this community has not responded to abusive or oppressive individuals, and now many of us feel like other anarchists do not have our back. How are we supposed to stand together against the threat of prison time or pepper spray, when we don’t stand together in front of the mirror? I need this community to have a very clear zero tolerance policy towards oppression. I need us all to make it very clear to each other that we are in this together. I expect nothing less from us.

I hope the disrupters know what they’ve done. I hope they understand they have torn this community apart. And now, I do not know how to go back home, how to deal with friends who are traumatized, how to think about my identity as an anarchist person of color, what to do with one of the disrupter’s phone number that is still in my phone book, how to deal with “friends” who have supported your action. Now, I am not traumatized, because this fucked up shit has broken my heart to a point where I have no space to be traumatized. I have no space to feel anything. Our identity as people of color is meaningless when your actions bring tears to our eyes.  Maybe it will seem rude or inappropriate, but I have but one thing to say: fuck you.

Maybe you should consider the struggle as a two-way road. For me the disruption is a wake up call to how we communicate with each other as a community, around white supremacy as well as other issues. We need to cut each other some slack and take more leaps of faith. We are all a part of a common struggle for liberation, and maybe we need to trust that others will be interested in hearing what we have to say and go through an accountability process with us when needed. It is something that is hard to do, but assuming that other anarchists are fundamentally on our side will help us create a stronger community. The alternative is what brought the disrupters to play an abusive role towards others. Admitting that we do not share common interests and in fact do not function as a community is something I am not willing to even consider at this moment.

-L.

Account 4

The account below is a personal, partial, and situated perspective on the disruption that took place at the 2009 CrimethInc Convergence. I claim to be speaking on behalf of no one except myself, although I am speaking from the position of a queer woman of color who attended the convergence, participated in the APOC caucus that took place at the convergence, and was present during and after the disruption. Here is my account of what happened. Although I cannot claim to be more “right” than anyone else, I can try to offer an honest perspective.

About a week has passed and here I sit, trying to sort through notes, thoughts and feelings, but feeling little motivation to pull it all together because what gets written here will just be one piece amidst the War of Representation which has already begun. But something needs to be said; because there are people out there claiming to be speaking on behalf of APOC and people of color in general, and it needs to be known that they are not speaking on behalf of me. It needs to be known that although I share the rage, frustration, and hurt felt by the “disruptors,” I do not agree with their actions. Not only because white people were hurt and forced onto the streets without warning, but because other people of color were hurt and felt silenced by the disruptors’ actions.

I can’t talk about the disruption without first talking about the shit I was feeling and all the things that happened leading up to disruption. I woke up on the same morning as the disruption thinking, I need to get out of Pittsburgh. Something about the space felt alienating—I didn’t know many people there, conversations often felt dishonest and polarized, and I was often the only woman of color in various workshops. I felt small and unmotivated to speak. It would be unfair to say that an atmosphere of hostility toward people of color is what caused this feeling. Although I did hear racist comments get thrown around by a small group of ignorant folk, it was largely the result of being outnumbered by white boys, and feeling like there was no place or entry point for my perspective.

The morning of the disruption I sat waiting for a discussion on cultural appropriation to begin. I sat next to another person of color, who later was a participant in the disruption. They engaged me in conversation and we exchanged contact information. It felt good, especially after feeling invisible for much of the convergence. When they asked me how I was feeling at the convergence, I started crying and quickly left the room.

Later that day the APOC caucus met. The discussion revolved mainly around the issue of gentrification, and racism/alienation in the radical community. Toward the end of caucus I started crying again, and walked back to the convergence space with another woman of color. We had an awesome conversation, and she asked me if I wanted to be the MC at the Cabaret, which was the event happening that evening. At dinner I talked briefly with another person from the APOC caucus, who later was a participant in the disruption. Although an action/intervention had been planned, nothing was mentioned to other APOCers during the caucus. A few people from Philly, who were not at the caucus, met in private with a few people at the convergence who were in on the plan, but other APOCers were intentionally excluded.

So I was one of the MCs at the Cabaret, the event that was taking place when the disruption happened. When the last planned act finished, the outburst happened. The disruptors started yelling at white people to get the fuck out, screaming “We’re not fucking kidding! We are not pacifists!” A person of color from the caucus came up to me and whispered, “Are you with us? Help us get people’s bags out of here.” This is what really pissed me off. What the fuck was I supposed to do? These people did not attempt to talk to me at all, left no room for dialogue with other folk of color and yet expected us to join their action. When this person asked me to join I felt pressured to choose allegiances. In some ways, I did feel like it was my “duty” as a person of color to participate in the “eviction,” but at the same time I knew that what they were doing was fucked up—that the indiscriminate eviction of and aggression toward white people (many of whom were survivors of abuse and queer, trans, and womyn identified) was not okay. So I did not participate. But part of me felt guilty. Because I shared their rage toward racism, but felt alienated by their tactics and exclusionary approach.

It should be known that none of the people who actually participated in the eviction were from Pittsburgh. Yet the rhetoric used by the disruptors was a rhetoric of extension, and by this I mean that people who declared war on the white people at the convergence were claiming to speak on behalf of “the neighborhood” and people of color in general. I felt infuriated by the sense of entitlement and arrogance of the language used during the eviction, because when you speak on behalf of other people you essentially silence them. And I know from talking to other people of color that many other perspectives were silenced by the action.

Although the “smack a white boy part 2″ statement released by the disruptors framed the others as the aggressors, what actually took place was a two-way aggression instigated by this small group. Emotions were fucking high. Yelling, pushing, and offensive comments were exchanged back and forth between white people and the disruptors, people of color and the disruptors, white people and white people. The chaos went on for what must have been a couple hours. Eventually, it was just a few white people and a group of people of color from both sides. One of the last white people in the room was an arrogant white boy who was acting cocky, making inappropriate comments, and sitting shirtless on a chair. I yelled at him to get the fuck out of the room, and he left.

Some fighting took place between people of color and disruptors and they made it clear that their war was not with us (other folk of color). They told us we could stay, but when they were asked to leave by a woman of color as some fighting was happening, those who were people of color not participating in the action were called “Obama,” a race traitor, and accused of siding with the oppressors. One mixed person was accused of siding with “the part of him that was a colonizer.”

The conflict among people of color was starting to really wear me down emotionally. Both sides did not want to talk. I started to cry as people were pushing on both sides of a door and asked if we could sit down and have honest conversation about what was happening. A few of the disruptors knew from the caucus how alienated I had felt that day, but I made it clear that I felt equally alienated by their actions. I could tell by the look on the faces of the disruptors that they genuinely felt bad about this, that their intention was not to hurt other people of color. When I asked them why they excluded myself and others from discussion about the action, one person said “We didn’t tell X and X because we knew they wouldn’t approve, and we didn’t tell you because we didn’t know if you’d be with us.” This approach and the intentional exclusion of people who may disagree seemed suspiciously vanguardist to me, especially when acting on behalf of APOC.

When participant and non-participant people of color finally sat down to talk, the first thing I asked was, “Is anyone here actually from Pittsburgh?” Sadly, not one person was. Here we were, arguing about the feelings of a community that was not ours, and I wondered, why do we feel entitled to speak and act on behalf of a neighborhood we are not from? The whole thing felt embarrassing and insincere.

But that’s not to minimize the issue of gentrification. What kind of impact would a 6-day convergence have on a neighborhood? How did the neighborhood residents feel about the outsider presence? I imagine the response was varied and incapable of being reduced simply to positive or negative. When I walked around I smiled and spoke with people, one person offered me help as I was fixing my bicycle, another person asked me if we’d be coming back next year. But who knows, maybe my personal positive interactions with locals was the result of also being a person of color who doesn’t look particularly punk. I know there were also concerns raised about increased police presence, and this is definitely a legitimate concern. But a meaningful and productive response to the issue of gentrification is not one sheathed in dishonestly and dogma.

Over a week later I sit here contemplating the significance of it all, besides feeling slightly traumatized and drained. I feel somewhat disillusioned with our capability as people of color, as anarchists/anti-authoritarians/autonomists, to speak from a place of honesty and not ideology, to act on an ethic of care and not entitlement, to let our rage be known without alienating the people we claim to be fighting for. I feel angry about what took place (both the disruption and the response of some white people), confused about my allegiances, but ultimately, I can’t hate the people who participated in the disruption. Because these are the same people who had reached out to me earlier that day as I sat alone feeling invisible, the same people I’ve talked to at other APOC caucuses, the same people who share my disdain for white supremacy, the same people I will probably be fighting with in the future. But there needs to be accountability taken for how their actions rendered other people of color invisible, and hurt both ally white folk and people of color.

-Jackie
bitte_ein_kuss@yahoo.com

50 thoughts on “CrimethInc. Convergence Controversy

  1. What were there — 100 people in the hall? It’s really sad that they didn’t stop this completely insane tactic of challenging white assholes and “gentrification”.

  2. Just because they are coloured it’s a different situation?

    If those where white supremacists in there yelling at people to get out many brave anti-facists would have fought them and by the sounds of the numbers one, so why did no one fight back against these racist scumbags?

    Just because they are coloured does not stop them being racist scum.

    No platform.

  3. As one of the 2009 crimethinc convergence ‘disrupter’s’, I feel the need to share my experience with the wider movement, in the hopes that this never needs to be repeated.

    I came to this years convergence, exhausted before I got there. The previous years gathering had not set well with me. It was a week of being ignored, marginalized, fetishized, tokenized, embarrassed, alienated, and generally unwelcome. It ended (after an APOC caucus of maybe 20 people) in a very offensive, and personally hurtful performance at the cabaret (which I’m sure everyone has heard about by now). So I didn’t have very high hopes for this years. Lo and behold, I got what I expected. I was again ignored, marginalized, fetishized, tokenized, embarrassed, and alienated. Each day I was feeling more angry, more unwelcome, and even, ashamed of who I am. I shouldn’t come to an anarchist convergence to hear racial slurs, or ‘Indian’ stereotypes, or black jokes, or why Palestinians are getting oppressed because they’re inferior. Why do people ask me if I am ‘a really good shot with a bow and arrow’, or if I can ‘speak to nature’, or if I’ve written to Leonard Peltier? Why did NO ONE speak up for me when I was called a savage? Why do white people feel the need to repeat my last sentence, directly after I say it? Why did no one care when a Latino said that they could not be ID’d by police? Why when I call someone on some racist shit, am I ‘playing the race card’? Why do white people feel the need to ‘save’ me and my people? This goes on and on. And its not just POCistas that felt the brunt of this internalized supremacy, trans-gendered people, queers, non-citizens, and even white people felt it too.
    For days this was happening, then someone decided (for what reason I still don’t really know) to let me in on the planning for the “SAWBP2” action. There were a few of us, all with very different politics and ideas, but we all felt that something had to be done. The plan was very vague, but I eagerly joined. I was excited to call all of these people on their prejudice.
    As the plan morphed into a form that was close to what actually ended up happening, I felt conflicted and considered backing out, but ultimately decided to go through with it. Some of the reasons that were given for the action I still do not agree with. But all the racist shit going on had really pissed me off, and honestly, saddened me greatly. After a week of trying to explain to white people, of sitting through no less than 6 workshops on race, trying to gently coax the ideas out of them, I was done. Talking obviously was not working, as the content of the racial discussions was promptly forgotten (or ignored) I was ready to try screaming. A very emotional APOC caucus (about half last years size), coupled with “a safe space for racist, sexist, homophobic, classist, and trans-phobic humor” being scheduled during the caucus, was enough for me to support the action. Looking back, I realize that my decision to participate, was largely based on emotion.
    So on Friday night, us few people of color consulted with some allies, got the one child out of the space, waited for the cabaret to be over and entered the room. (*** I just want to add that while the only visible ‘disrupter’s’ were people of color, there were plenty of white people, trans-gendered people, and queers who knew of the action, supported it, and some helped to do it***) The letter was read loudly and we told everyone to leave. Looking at that many white people who appeared to want to beat my ass was terrifying. When no one moved we began to remove people bags from the room (something I never really agreed with, but nonetheless did). After a few minutes of the action, I was tripped in the hallway and thrown out (literally thrown). I couldn’t get back in to help the disrupter’s. When it looked as though the people outside were considering jumping me, I left Pittsburgh. I wasn’t around for the later discussions, and therefore have no opinion of them.
    I have a lot of mixed feelings about what went on that night. I don’t agree with everything that ‘we’ did. But at the same time, people are like pressure cookers, you keep the lid on them long enough and they’re going to blow. I was tired of people not hearing me, so I screamed. I’m sorry if my yelling was traumatic for you, but it was the inaction of people that caused the situation to escalate as far as it did.
    Hindsight is 20-20, perhaps we were too inflammatory, and I wish it could have happened another way. But, I do not regret my participation entirely, nor do I regret that this happened at all. The whole reason I did it was to get people to hear me, to get them to understand my frustration and anger. I did it to bring the issue of prejudice, privilege, and white supremacy to the forefront, which hopefully has been accomplished. What I want to come out of this, is not some new dichotomy, or a split within the movement, but to have these issues at least heard. How many people would have left crimethinc thinking about these issues if the ‘disruption’ had not happened? What comes out of this, is what you make out of it. You can complain and decry our actions for the next 20 years, or you can try to understand why we did it, and hopefully it will never have to happen again.

    I’m sorry (really) that we had to yell, but would we have had to, if only you had listened?

    - In both hope and in fear,
    Terijian, a ‘disrupter’ from Toledo

  4. Terijian–

    Thank you for this honest account of your experience. From my vantage point, I can’t imagine what the experience you describe was like, but it must have been awful to provoke you to do what you did. It would be so much better if everyone involved in this discussion had the courage to speak as openly as you.

    For my part, I was involved in the convergence, as a longtime organizer, though I was distracted during much of it by difficult personal matters. It is extremely challenging to create a non-oppressive environment in a space that incorporates people coming from so many different places in their lives, many of whom are not aware of the degree of privilege they experience–some of whom may not even care to be. These are challenges that extend far beyond CrimethInc. or any other specific predominantly white anarchist space into the North American movement as a whole. Perhaps we can make the best of this opportunity to discuss these issues and figure out concrete things to do better.

    Speaking honestly on my own part, now, I have to say I’m furious about the way the disruption affected people I love dearly. Were it simply a matter of smacking a white boy, that would be one thing–not necessarily a good thing, but at least simple to engage with. But bringing other APOC folks to tears, forcing trans folks out onto the streets of an unfamiliar city in the middle of the night, etc. is unacceptable by any antiauthoritarian standard. I also feel that the “Smack a White Boy 2″ statement is mendacious at best in too many ways to count.

    If you want to have dialogue about this with people on the “other side” of the events, I would personally be really grateful for that. You could email “rollingthunder @ crimethinc.com” and ask that your message be forwarded along.

    Aspiring to share your hope, plagued by fears of my own–
    b

  5. @ Terijian

    Just because some white people where horrible to you and where racist then this gives you the right to be a complete racist to people who are white?

    What next? gas chambers?

    You’re just like the rest of the racist scum, your skin colour makes no difference to me.”

    I can’t wait to see the day that every last racist scumbag like you has there back against the wall.

    -pro-Antifa

  6. R4v4ch01–A couple things. First, the word “coloured” is not used much in the US nowadays–I’m guessing by the way you spell it that you’re from elsewhere in the world.

    More importantly, I wouldn’t use the word “racist” the way you are, because it implies that people of color can wield the same power over white people that the power structure enables white people to wield over others. This is a much more complex subject than I have time to get into here, but in short I prefer words like “white supremacy,” which bring out the ways that racialized power dynamics take place in the context of systematic oppression.

    That is to say–people of color can be jerks to white people, they can abuse or dominate them, but they can never benefit from the system of white supremacy in the ways white people can. So it’s misleading to say a person of color can be “racist” towards white people.

    Also, I respect Terijian for being honest about their experiences, in a way that makes dialogue possible. I don’t want anyone’s back against the wall, except the police and other motherfuckers who refuse dialogue. I say this having had an extremely difficult experience at the hands of the disrupters, too, and having supported my comrades through worse experiences than my own.

    As for your earlier question about why everyone didn’t defend themselves, I think it was a good thing that the white people in the room reacted by listening rather than defending themselves–it already happens too much that white folks are so busy “defending themselves” that they don’t learn anything, and often end up stomping all over other people in the process. It’s just too bad that in this case, the disrupters were genuinely acting in abusive, coercive ways, rather than trying to communicate.

    Everyone, this is an emotionally charged subject, but let’s do our best not to lose track of the important things.

  7. What? how is it not racist? it’s descriminating against someone for nothing but the colour of there own skin.

    From an outside point of view you americans seem to have a real problem with confusing racism and clasism, don’t the black, etc. people of america believe that in the world white people grow up poor, discriminated against, etc, often side by side with people of other races?

    This was very short as it’s 5am, but i will be back, until then.

    R4v

  8. R4v4ch01,
    So you’re not from the US? How could you possibly understand the context in which this action took place? You obviously can’t. Like b said their action was certainly not racist. It was a reaction, maybe too brash, to some fucked up shit. How can you possibly understand those people’s perspectives? Your high horse may be telling you that you’d be a better person than that, but until you’ve been in their shoes fending off the aggression of real racist scum YOUR WHOLE FUCKING LIFE how can you possibly pass judgment so coldly? Seriously think about this before you respond.

    and Terijian,
    Thanks for bringing yourself to the discussion.

  9. Once again, friends, I know this is a charged subject, but let’s try to leave the all-caps for other websites. We can all stand to learn a lot from each other, but that takes a lot of patience and humility…

  10. “don’t the black, etc. people of america believe that in the world white people grow up poor, discriminated against, etc, often side by side with people of other races?”

    This is not necessarily the case in the U.S. People of color are overwhelmingly impoverished, uninsured, oppressed and discriminated against moreso than white people here. That is the case in many many countries (white supremacy and light-skin privilege are a phenomenon that is not unique to the U.S.), it’s just that obnoxious non-U.S. white people like to think that they can’t be racist like Americans or that the POC in their country are immune to global racism. And often, people of Black, Asian, Latin and Indigenous/Aboriginal descent in Europe and Australia have much different things to say about racism than the white people who live there do, often their voices are just not heard…

  11. Sorry to jump in, b traven, I’m just having a major language-tic moment:

    > “That is to say–people of color can be jerks to white people, they can abuse or dominate them, but they can never benefit from the system of white supremacy in the ways white people can.”

    True. It’s important to remember the difference in magnitude and overwhelming historical realities, but I’m troubled by the appeal to white supremacy’s “systematic” component as a sort of binary distinction. My question is: What would be sufficiently recognizable as a system by which certain POC might benefit to the detriment and/or exclusion of whites? We speak as to the “American” context of racism in order to divorce our discussion and analytical framework from having to encompass the particularities of say Japanese-Korean hostilities. But is “America” really so monolithic? If we were to break things up further and look at particular regions, neighborhoods, communities and cultures in America is this kind of analysis always going to be the best and most succinct? Surely there are social bubbles (sometimes quite wide and all-encompassing from an individual perspective) where certain or all POCs have systematic advantages in the relevant institutions or norms and whites none.

    Obviously the extent of such bubbles is, when weighed against the entire mass of the rest of white-supremacist America, relatively small. But given their existence it seems we’re left with our supposedly absolute cut-and-dry binary definition of what actually counts as racism as based on nothing more than which tendency presently has a majority within the some arbitrary parameters (“America”).

  12. As for your earlier question about why everyone didn’t defend themselves, I think it was a good thing that the white people in the room reacted by listening rather than defending themselves–it already happens too much that white folks are so busy “defending themselves” that they don’t learn anything, and often end up stomping all over other people in the process. It’s just too bad that in this case, the disrupters were genuinely acting in abusive, coercive ways, rather than trying to communicate.

    in this case, they should have stopped the abusive disruption. then, they could have seen if the disrupters would discuss what they were obviously not interested in discussing.

  13. So, based on APOC’s tactics, and me identifying with primitivism, I and my fellow primi’s can kick in the door of an APOC meeting and tell them to get the hell out of here because they are not challenging the first form of domination: domestication?

  14. “To be clear, this disruption was NOT an APOC action. Like with any decentralized group structure, when a few people do fucked up things under a banner that many people feel affinity with, those people risk delegitimizing the whole movement rather than bearing the responsibility for their own actions.”

    This is text from the statement at the top of this page from some anarchist people of color who were at the convergence and present for the disruption.
    You cannot base your opinion about a whole network of people on the actions of a few.

  15. I want to stress that I left the action very early into it, and was not there for many things that happened after, that I do not agree with at all.

    Also, taking part in this action was my emotional reaction to alot of… lets say stress. It has already happened, so the best thing to come out of this would be some real dialouge that helps people to understand systematic oppression, internalized supremacy, etc, in the hopes of deconstructing those things within the movement.

  16. a few short comments:
    1. i think that talking about conflicts between poc should maybe be left alone for poc. i definately think it highly problematic to compare those issues to the systematic exploitation system that is between white people and poc. it is also important to remember that many of the conflicts between poc, as far as i can tell, have been created by colonizers who needed to devide in order to conquer.

    2. even though classism is an oppression that affect both whites and poc, i do not see how this has anything to do with why we shouldn’t talk about white supremacy as it is own oppression. it is also true that white supremacy is connected to how classism plays out towards poc. when my poc friends are asked to their race in job interviews, it is redicilous to say there is no connection between the two.

    3. i am not saying this to shut up anyone, or to deny people the possibility to be a part of a discussion, but i also want to say that the fact that some of us have not been in the convergence/the disruption. this might limit the discussion about what has happened, since no report back in the world could ever represent the full extant of the situation. i just want people to be aware to that when they write.

    4. tijirian, thank you for your reply to the article. as a person who was present at the action and was hurt by it, i feel like what you wrote was the first honest report back i heard from one of the disrupters, and definately a begining of a dialouge. it helps me a lot to hear someone from the disrupters talk about the disruption as if it wasn’t 100% perfect. b, if you do get an email and would like to forward it to me, i would be happy to participate in the dialouge.

  17. also, as a queer of color, i too felt marginalized during the convergence, and have witnessed/experienced some racist comments and actions from white attendees. it saddens me to hear that other people have experienced it too (though it is not surprising). one thing that i personally feel is that future convergances should have a more strict exclussion policy and accountability processes. we might not want to exclude people, but when those people exclude and oppress others, i do not see what choice we have than to hold them accountable. for example, i do not think there should be space in the convergence for “inappropriate jokes” workshop, and i think that the indevidual who suggested that workshop should have gone through a short accountability process.

  18. if anyone would like to talk to me personally my email is el.anarquista.poeta@gmail.com

    I, as a queer person of color, at the time felt what I did was necessary. I was not happy about how it turned out, and being a sensitive person in general, continue to regret things that happened there. But, the original reason I did it was to bring certain issues to the forefront, and that is something that I am still hoping for.

    P.S.
    Also I want to squash the rumors that this was some kind of nationalist stunt.
    there was by my count, only one person who identifies as such, and all the rest of us ‘disrupters’ do not identify as nationalists, and expressed as such in the planning meeting.

  19. The puzzle pieces fit together – Otto had been the token local who the entire disrupting team could use to validate their action. Otto spoke for Pittsburgh APOC because there was none.

    wow, that is chilling

  20. I find the idea of anyone talking about other people’s “privilege” on THE INTERNET laughable.

    Also the so-called privilege of white males is over rated. Class has always been the issue while race and color are artificial concepts designed to separate us. But I suppose it’s just my white privilege talking when I ask for a world where people are just considered humans and not white, black, asian, ect.

    The fact that anarchists of any background are creating dividing lines of gender race and class , telling people what to do, how to think and how to act….

    well maybe said “anarchists” might be more at home in the democratic or republican party.

    but hey I’m “white” (whatever the hell that means) so what do I know?

  21. http://www.anarchistnews.org/?q=node/8785

    This open letter of intimidation to FoodNotBombs, and specifically the conference this week in Nebraska, was released by one of the disruptors last Wednesday. It calls on FNB to “die”, and basically calls for more assaults on conferences perceived to be white dominated.
    “We must assert the power of our communities, our determination, our strength, our vision(s), and we must claim space for ourselves. No longer should white groups, convergences, conferences, gatherings, and movements go unchecked. We must unseat them from their comfort.”
    It seems like everyone’s first reaction was to take the confrontations at the disruption entirely personally, but now with the perspective of about a week past, it already seems part of a broader agenda of which crimethinc not at all the center. This agenda makes perfect sense if your weighing convenience when deciding on political targets.

  22. “I find the idea of anyone talking about other people’s “privilege” on THE INTERNET laughable. “

    Why?

    “Also the so-called privilege of white males is over rated. Class has always been the issue while race and color are artificial concepts designed to separate us. “

    “Class” is a concept, too. Doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have real life day-to-day implications for those who have to live as a non-class-privileged person (or non-race-privileged, or gender, or sexuality, etc.etc.)

    What makes the oppression and experience of being a woman of color in a sexist, white supremacist society any less “real” than being a poor person in a capitalist society?

    I’m not an illegal immigrant, and have no idea what that’s like; would it make sense for me to spout off about how they “don’t have it so bad” when I don’t know a damn thing about having to live life on the DL, constantly having to worry about deportation? I will never really have that experience, so I don’t try to minimize the experiences of those who know better than me (and yes, illegal immigrants KNOW BETTER THAN ME about being an immigrant, it isn’t some sort of blow to my fragile ego to admit that. And it shouldn’t be).

    “But I suppose it’s just my white privilege talking when I ask for a world where people are just considered humans and not white, black, asian, ect.”

    Kinda, yeh. I mean, you can ASK for that world, but what does that do? WHO are you asking? POC who organize amongst their own community because they are so sick of the racism within predominately white anarchist movements, or are you demanding an end to racial disparities and institutional racism by doing the work of fighting white supremacy yourself? (If you’re not doing this, then what the hell do you expect?) What are you asking for exactly- an end to concepts of “race”, racial equality, or the destruction culture and ethnicity? Do YOU organize along racial lines? (More anarchists do this than they know- when you spend your time creating and maintaining radical spaces, infrastructure, projects and events that cater majoratively to other white people, you are organizing along racial lines)

    The fact that anarchists of any background are creating dividing lines of gender race and class , telling people what to do, how to think and how to act….

    Those lines have been created and maintained for hundreds or thousands of years, anarchists (specifically APOC) did not create any of that. POC-only, women-only, queer-only, etc. radical groups have exposed those lines, as a matter of survival.and evolution of social movements.

    but hey I’m “white” (whatever the hell that means)

    In the U.S.? Light-skinned. Of European descent. Considered “white” by the vast majority of lawmakers, cops, bosses and regular folks in our society. Not having to learn about or put much thought into the following issues: gentrification, racial profiling, gated communities, xenophobia, gang task forces, English-only policies, country clubs, culturally-biased standardized testing, having the “wrong” kind of hair, huge disparities in health care, etc. Being several times more likely to not be dirt-poor or have a car than a non-white person. Being the standard of mainstream beauty (if you’re a woman). Go ahead, pick one!

    so what do I know?

    Obviously not a whole lot about racism or white supremacy; read a book. You’re a Crimethinc stereotype.

  23. Pardon me if I come across ignorant–I admit that I have not spent nearly enough time thinking about/considering/dealing with the inequalities and prejudices inherent within our communities, though I do recognize that they exist and need to be dealt with.

    I had to leave early from the convergence and was not present for the controversial aspect of it, so I won’t comment on that at great length. I am concerned, however, that we often forget the difference between collective and individual experience. By engaging in such an aggressive–and let’s face it, abusive–action, it seems that the disruptors failed to address or acknowledge the potential needs of others who may have been going through struggles of their own. Is it possible, or acceptable, to quantify the difference between, say, a lifetime of racial prejudice and a lifetime of physical abuse?

    White supremacy is an easy enough term to understand(for some), and the privilege awarded to white people is indisputable. However, as someone touched on earlier, it is incredibly difficult–maybe insurmountable–to create a space completely free of some of the problems we saw at the convergence; especially using this particular model of an open invitation to hundreds of strangers. That said, we should be able to do more in keeping each other in check while recognizing the complexity of each others needs.

    Our experiences as the proverbial “we” are often much different than that of our individual experience and backgrounds. We would do best to keep that in mind when interacting with one another.

    The only question I have specifically about this would be:

    Was the desired result of this ‘action’ to raise awareness and make a much needed exclamation regarding prejudice against POC, or was it simply to exact revenge?

  24. To Maria:

    Internet access is in itself a privilege hell food and clean water are too. The point I’m making is that these modes of thinking don’t help create revolutionary change at all. I can’t speak for most but I know that I have had my run ins with white supremacists before and I’d be more than insulted if someone dared call me one. In fact trying to sabotage our own movement by excluding other people and laying accusations on other people without open dialogue is not only counter productive but also self-defeating in the long one. If white anarchists are racist then what do we call the aryan nations? are you suggesting they are the same?

    I’ve never seen this “racism” that’s supposed to exist in anarchists movements and if it’s there I doubt it’s actually malicious but more of a by product of social conditioning we are desperately trying to reverse. But “people of color” probably won’t understand what it’s like to be “white” and having grown up completely against “white” culture (the quotes signify that I’m going by your definitions of the terms) because it’s not a fucking easy in the slightest. and no one’s gonna cut you a break just because of your skin color. As a movement we should be in solidarity with each other not dividing ourselves because it’s one of the reasons American anarchism is becoming increasingly irrelevant to people.

    Also calling me a crimethinc stereotype only proved your own ignorance since you have no idea who I am or what I believe or how I live my life. Maybe on day you can come down off your cross and come join the rest of us.

  25. Maria–

    I, for one, am grateful for you putting so much effort into elaborating on these issues, and I’m sure others are getting something out of it, as well. Everything you’ve said resonates with me. Thank you. My one humble request would be that you not throw around “CrimethInc. stereotype” as an insult–it’s demoralizing to the various people, including people of color, who have put years and years of labor into this project just to make these very necessary conversations possible in this context. There are certainly reasons why we still have to start from scratch on these issues over and over here, and we can try to do better on that front, but that is sadly the case in practically all predominantly white anarchist milieus.

    Adamoutrage–

    No one’s equating the subtle racism and privilege of many white anarchists with the overt racism of white supremacists. And I don’t think anyone’s saying that Obama is worse off than a white person in a trailer park, either. The point is just that there is such a thing as white skin privilege, alongside a whole lot of other kinds of privilege and power imbalances, and that it’s a complicated thing to fight it. I would say the starting place for this fight is the humility to listen when people are willing to talk about their experiences, especially when those are different from our own, even when the things they say are not easy for us to hear.

  26. Yeah I agree with that. My problem is really with the action people took in the article. Just because they had a valid point doesn’t give them the right to do what they did that’s all I’m really saying.

    Also most things are gonna involve a majority of white people due to the fact that that whites are the majority it’s really just the way of things crimethinc isn’t the end all be all of activism anyway (nor should it or anything be).

  27. It’s hard to know exactly what went down not having been there, but if the reports of the gathering including a safe space for racist, sexist etc. humour are true, than I think that’s grounds enough to have the whole thing disrupted. I don’t know for sure, but I would assume this aspect of the gathering wasn’t brought up with the members of the community that people are reporting gave support to the gathering.

    The action seemed like it didn’t go that well in practice, but if I’m not mistaken, a bystander woman got her head busted open by a rock at a black bloc march (in Washington I think it was) and the notion that this constituted grounds for not supporting the action wasn’t even considered. So while there may have been some flaws in the implementation, the idea of evicting a bunch of people that support a safe space for racist humor (in a black neighbor hood!) seems like a pretty good idea to me.

  28. I wonder about what’s going to take for the white male not to be blamed for everything?

  29. settlefornothing said,
    “I wonder about what’s going to take for the white male not to be blamed for everything?”

    Maybe when white males are no longer the overwhelming benefactor of a system of social and financial inequality? Maybe when white males no longer control most of the worlds financial wealth? Maybe when white males are no longer able to exert disproportionate amounts of force on minorities?

    I’m not for attempting to guilt all white males for all problems in society, I really think that is ultimatley a fairly ineffective mean or end. I am, however, all for educating white males (and anyone who enjoys such privelege in any society) as to why someone may blame then “for everything”. The least you can do is listen to those who have problems, to try to understand why those problems exist for them. You can try to understand what social constructs are behind our culture’s reprehensible treatment of minorities and why it has historically been white males behind the erection and enforcement of those constructs.

  30. My one humble request would be that you not throw around “CrimethInc. stereotype” as an insult–it’s demoralizing to the various people, including people of color, who have put years and years of labor into this project just to make these very necessary conversations possible in this context.

    Point taken.
    I personally know white people and POC who are involved in Crimethinc writing and organizing and I guess what I was trying to say was that, the statements Adamoutrage was making were the kinds of things that many anarchists think “Crimethinc’ers” or “Crimethinc kids:” or whatever believe as a whole. But I can see how that could come off wrong and insulting to those involved in Crimethinc who find themselves on the receiving end of racism or at least incorporate an anti-racist analysis into their politics, and for that i apologize.

    I’m not gonna respond to Adamoutrage cuz I don’t feel like spending my afternoon teaching “Racism/Privilege/White Supremacy 101″ to random people on the internet and some of the statements he’s made are so ridiculous I don’t even know where to begin to respond.

    For those who would like to undertake this task, I wish you all the best.
    Adamoutrage- seriously, educate yourself on this topic. (beyond message board discussions).

  31. I read the article and thought it was an extremely well-thought out, well-written account on several fronts. If anything, what happened in Pittsburgh should be a good indication of where the Anarchist movement is going and what needs to be changed before G-20.

  32. everything4every1–

    It’s a total misrepresentation to say that the convergence was “a bunch of people that support a safe space for racist humor.” Let me refer you to the above comment by xLx, who suggests that those who were not present at the events should focus on listening to those who were rather than leaping to conclusions.

    The issue in fact is that one person, who was not a long-term participant in CWC projects, said something about a space for inappropriate humor at the end of a morning spokescouncil, when there was no opportunity for a public discussion or response. It certainly indicates that there should be a conversation with that one person, and perhaps some conversations about structural issues to make sure it’s easy to immediately address such things when they occur, but your exaggerated version of events is neither credible nor useful.

  33. I wonder about what’s going to take for the white male not to be blamed for everything?

    Me too. I also wonder when people will stop talking in unsubstantiated cliches.

  34. Racism-

    # the prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races

    # discriminatory or abusive behavior towards members of another race

    the argument that this was not a racist act is not being taken seriously *in my opinion*.

    I was not able to attend the convergence this year, however after reading this article and responses I am shocked/outraged/saddened/etc. The concept of “you are white you are privileged” is frankly bullshit. There is MUCH more at play than JUST race. I, being a white male, have experienced discrimination from police for my appearance, been assaulted/harassed over race from people of color, and have had times of hardship as well. Are my stories not as good as yours because I am white? Is my view not important because of my race? Now I am not denying the fact that POC do not receive discrimination. I have seen it first hand and it is disgusting. However does that advocate attacking INDISCRIMINATELY people of white race? Even if to make a point the words *go back to europe* are just as bad as saying *go back to africa*. Overall this has brought up a great topic that needs to be attacked. However, to justify the actions is the same as saying “Hitler did it for his country”. Different extremes…same situation.

    Overall it all stems from ego. Eliminate the ego and everything will work. We are not people of race…we are people with moderate to dark tans.

    Give someone a hug and respect your fellow humans.

    This definately didn’t include ALL I wanted to say. It also my be disjointed for the sake of “ranting” but I hope it will inspire talk.

    -Apple

  35. ps.

    all of this “white man has all the money” and “top of the ladder” talk is just a desire for socialism.

    be an anarchist and do it yourself. No matter what gets in your way.

  36. Exposing the painful and controversial and loaded issues of racial stereotypes, anger, assumptions, privilege, hate, and everything else that we have grown up carrying and learning and unlearning is a process.

    Last year I performed the impromptu (aka not practiced, or thought out) racist cabaret performance. Except when I was on stage appropriating stereotypes for other cultures like the clicking tongue noise and romanticisation of the forest, it wasn’t considered racist or hateful in my mind…to me I was just being goofy, and ultimately making an ass of myself. It wasn’t until I got off the stage and out of the blinding lights, that i noticed the shocked faces, and when someone stood up begging that attention be brought to the last blatantly racist performance. I was shocked, wanted to curl up in a hole and disappear, but ultimately it cracked open everything that I had assumed, taken for granted, and abused up until that point.

    The next day I walked with shame, but also with an open mind. Cultural appropriation? What was this?! My mind was open and clear listening to how people felt, things that always happen when I white girl thinks that everything around her culturally, physically and emotionally is at her disposal. I gave a few apologies, most likely not to the people that deserve them the most, and I was still too shy or ashamed to make a public apology, which i later did online, but still feel guilt and pain about the topic. However, if it was not for that performance, I would not be the greater advocate for dismantling and attacking cultural appropriation in my world circles that I am today.

    Bryer- My partner of three years is a Native American tribal member and I watch everyday as people point out pictures of romanticised images of “Noble Savages” and say “hey LOOK ITs you!” I can see the pain and how this distant perception of a different reality infects how he thinks about himself and his People. I am sorry that I hurt you last year.

    I am still learning about my white privilege about concealed racist language and how it creeps into our everyday thoughts and conversations. However in learning, i’m also telling girls who wear Minnetonka Moccasins and “Animal Spirit” shirts to stop and think about what the fuck they are doing and who they are taking advantage of.

    The disruption at the convergence was painful, it hurt, however, it flipped us all around to see anothers’ perspective (no matter how hateful, irrational, etc) and made us stop and think about our place within the Pittsburgh-Bloomfield community and well as wherever we call home.

    I just ask that we all, Anarchist Whites and Anarchist People of Color, take time to listen, discuss, try to understand our own frustrations, upsets and limitations, and grow through and beyond this painful, but fruitful, experience more united than we were before.

    Again, my apologies, but only in falling can we help each other get back up.
    -Angelina
    andrenalina@riseup.net

  37. I can only offer my own personal perspective, and so nothing in hear tries to represent other poc.

    i can offer my personal experience with being called out. i come from a middle class backround, and even though i don’t have a middle class job or middle class terms of living, my parents are middle class. one of the people i love the most is a working class person. it happens in our relationship that my friend points out a certain privilage i have and he doesn’t or call me out on my classism. i am never offended or hurt, in fact, i am grateful for this. his comments makes me understand my privilage and my contribution to the oppression of others, and give me a framework in which i can try to support working class people and fight my contribution to their oppression.

    when i call others as to their privilage as straight, male bodied, u.s. born and/or white people, i don’t think they are bad people who are intentionally oppressing me, and i don’t use calling out people as a way to delegitimize them as activists. if i call out my friends i usually do that because i think it will benefit them and our relationship. when i call out people i am not extremely close to i do that because i think i desreve better than being oppressed. so pesonally, i don’t think there’s a reason to be offended if you are called out for something. we didn’t choose to be bron with privilage or to have oppressive behavioral patterns, but that doesn’t mean our privilage or the opressive roles we play should be ignored.

    it is our responsibility, the responsibility of every person who plays an oppressive role towards others, to keep checking with ourselves and with others where we have privilage/oppressive roles and what does our identities mean to us. my problem with some white people is not that they are white, or they have privilage. for me, problems start when some white people don’t check what it means to be white, don’t check/listen as to what oppressive role they do play towards others, assume that everone has the privilage they have and don’t take into consideration others’ lack of privilage. and that is also my answer to the question that has been asked- if you don’t want to contribute to the oppression of others, check and recheck yourself, and also understand that there might be things that you don’t see yet, so don’t take being called out personally.

    if you don’t see how the anarchist movement is racist, it’s probably because you are white. i cannot explaain to you how offenssive it is when people ask me where i am from or what my heritage is at anarchist gatherings (would you ask a white person those questions?). i cannot begin to explain how many romantic relationships with white anarchists were doomed from the start because my ex-partners have been exoticizing me or wanting me to fit to what they think a female bodied person of color should act like. i cannot explain how it feels when the struggles in my home country are romanticized or when my people are simply non-existant in anarchist eyes. it is true that not all white anarchists are like that, i have many white anarchists in my life that i consider my allies, but the experience i get from the anarchist community as a whole is not even close to being clean from white supremacy.

    to me privilage is something that is determined by a lot of different factors. one of them is race, but there are many others. the fact that i think we should talk about race doesn’t mean i think race affects privilage more than anything else or that we shouldn’t talk about, say, class or gender. it just mean that we should also talk about race.

    i also wanted to say that i find it offenssive when others think that the fact they have other marginilized identities (especially if those identities are ones they chose, like having a punk sorta look) means they can understand what it means to be a poc. living in my brown body and dealing with the implications of that is not comparable to any other experience. just like being a queer middle class person doesn’t mean you can understand what it means to be working class. as far as i am concerned, the only thing that can give you a glimpse to what it means to go through life as a poc, is by talking to us about what we experience, and even then i would advise to be humble about your understanding.

  38. xLx,

    I know we met at the convergence but I don’t know exactly who you are.

    I’m appreciating all your comments though I have a different attitude to some of these issues. Though I see how it might be prudent for most whites to stay out of issues between poc, I’m a bit put off at whites who think it’s not their place to question and criticize POC actions simply because their white.

    I also see your point about tighter exclusion policy, but I see this as a facile and myopic way to deal with racism within radicalism. It might make it easier for the organizers, and would probably reduce the number of offensive things heard, but it wouldn’t deal with the issue in the community at large. I didn’t show up until Thursday though so I missed many of these conversations and comments, and don’t feel any need or qualification to speak on them. One thing I love about conferences like this is that anybody could be at them. It adds a fun unpredictable element to it all. Also strict exclusion policies can intimidate newcomers, especially random anarcho sympathetic folks from the city who might show up out of curiosity and discover something new.

    I admit it’s kind of a catch 22 though: there is no perfect balance between being too insular and being overly tolerant of oppressive tendencies. Chances are we’re all perpetually guilty of both.

    One thing that struck me in your comments was your statement about being offended when people ask you your ethnicity. I can understand where your coming from – as an Asian I find it irritating sometimes when asked a bunch of times in a row, but I’ve never found it offensive, and usually feel more like giggling at people who are all intimidated when they ask. I’m not trying to criticize you on this, just expressing a different sentiment.

    It should probably said that it is a good thing we don’t all agree on a solid objective criteria for what’s racist and not, that these debates are natural consequence of that.. And t we must remember offensiveness is entirely subjective so there’s only so far we can go in constructing standards toward it.

  39. I notice now you didn’t say “ethnicity”, you said heritage and where you are from; slightly different.

  40. to me it feels strange when people who hardly know me ask me a question who might be sensitive or personal for all they know, especially when they think this is an appropriate way to start a conversion with me for the first time. but the reason i do find it offenssive is because nobody would ever dream to ask a white-looking person that question. so it re-establishes bounderies of who is white and who is not based on appearance, and because it assumes that white people are all from here, they don’t have a heritage or a place they came from not so long ago that is worth talking about. to me it also feels like many time people often ask me that question not out of desire to get to know my awesome heritage, but because they want to figure me out and know which box i belong to.

    i know that i wasn’t the only poc that was offended by this during the convergence, but it is true that different people get offended by different things.

    what i meant by talking about exclussion policy is that if poc, trans people or whoever else, feels excluded it deserves a firm response from us as a community. we need to find a good model to allow people to be called out and taken through an accountability process around issues.

    i do not think that exclussion is a good way to go, but… during the convergence i had a conversion with someone who have acted in a white supremacisit and sexist way the entire convergence, in which i tried to get them to stop doing something many others found offenssive. we had a 30 minutes conversion that was very nice and calm but that basically led nowhere. maybe an hour later i hear him publically repeat things that were said in our conversion and response to things i have said in, again, a very white supremacist and sexist way, saying things he felt he could say in the “safe space” of being serrounded by white people. i honestly do not know what would be a good way to deal with such individual, other than to demand that they take accountability or be excluded.

  41. just to be clear, i would be happy to hear suggestions as to how to deal with that situation or how to create a safer space for people woth marginalized identities in the convergence.

  42. It does sound to me like the exclusion policy could be relevant in a situation like xLx describes. I guess the larger question, then, is why that experience is only coming up now. Did you not feel like other organizers were approachable or would want to address the issue? (I know at least a few would have been eager to follow your lead, but I imagine that could have been made more clear from the beginning.) Was it simply that, since no one had been excluded, it didn’t feel like a “real” option? The policy has been used before at previous convergences. Or were there other issues involved?

    It seems like this is close to the crux of the matter, for a couple reasons. First, because the behavior many people have cited as most frustrating can largely be traced to just a few people (at least, in terms of the examples that keep coming up), while everyone at the convergence suffered for it. Second, because policies are useless unless they are employed. So it’s not necessarily a question of building up even more protocol, but of figuring out how to make sure that information and frustrations and desires are being communicated in such a way that everyone can get what they need.

  43. i can comment on two levels, personal and general.
    on a personal level, during the convergence i was juggling a few complicated and emotionally charged situations that have struck me a little closer to home than that specific situation. i guess that at the time i did not have the emotional capacity to understand how upsetting this was to me and to others, or to care enough to make sure something happened about it. it wasn’t because i felt the organizers were inaccessible, but simply because i did not have the time or space to think coherently about the situation until i returned home.

    on a more general level, i am guessing that since a few people felt uncomfortable during the convergence with issues involving oppression, maybe the exclussion policy was not as clear as it should have been. i felt that during the presentation the first day, the exclussion policy was not represented as wide-themed as it should have. i think that the impression was that the exclussion policy was more about sexual assault/security issues than a general policy directed towards anyone called out for abussive/oppressive behavior (even though to me specifically it was clear that the policy applied to other situations as well). i also think that there wasn’t enough emphasis on the importance of calling people out and on the existance of strcutures to mediate accountability processes (so it will be clear that the responsibility for demanding accountability would not fall upon the person pointing out/suffering from the abussive behavior). i am not saying this as a criticism towards any of the organizers, all of whom did an amazing job as far as i am concerned, but as a beginning of what will hopefully become a collective thinking process about how to turn public anarchist spaces that contain people from many different levels of experiences with anarchism into safe and inclussive spaces.

  44. xLx–A lot of what you’re saying rings true for me. Many people were emotionally exhausted by the various challenges of organizing such an intensive gathering. Some have suggested that the building itself contributed to this; in the woods, people can take a break, but there it was nigh impossible.

    You’re right that the exclusion policy developed as a concrete response to situations around security and sexual assault, and hadn’t actually been tried out in reference to issues around oppressive (or similarly difficult) behavior. We’re learning all these things the hard way, as we experiment year by year. Here’s hoping the movement won’t lose this ground and have to start all over again, making these same mistakes once more.

  45. Person of colour is south American, does that mean Latin?

    So Mexican is a person of colour, and Panamanian, but not Spanish or Portuguese? And if not Spanish, why not Italian, Greek? If Arab, why not Turkish, Cypriot or Sicilian?

    We have ‘Mediterranean’ in the definition, so I guess Spaniards, Portuguese, Italian, Greek and Turkish is ok. If not, why not? Spanish – colour, but Basque not? If Basque, why not French? If Italian, why not Macedonian? Bosnian?

    But the countries of the Iberian peninsular are among the worsts imperialists in history. And the Italians occupied Libya and Eritrea, after their own long history of being colonised themselves for centuries!

    Different history, I hear echo across the interweb?

    Cyprus, Sicily – have a long long history as colonies. Sicily was dominated by the white powers like France and Austria. Greece conquered and occupied by the Imperial Ottomans, oppressed peoples. The Serbs and Croats victims of Austrian imperialism.

    By African, do we mean Sudan Arab and Egyption and Moroccan as well as Zimbabwean or Angolan? The Moroccan and their cousins on the other side of the strait share much genetic material. Even the same colour, often.

    The Sudan Arab political elite oppress the Sudan Christian Africans. Whose side are you on?

    The Egyptian and their cousins in Sicily and Greece have much in common, along with their cousins in Turkey.

    There is more in common between people of colour and (a significant portion) of the white boys in terms of history and genetics than simple divisions give credit for.

    Are the Irish white after 700 years of fighting imperialism?

    Are the Japanese people of colour after occupying Korea between 1910 and 1945, committing rape and genocide?

    An analysis based upon ‘skin colour’ and simple dichotomies such as privilege and oppression are poor at best, and potentially very dangerous – as the “APOC” activists actions clearly demonstrate.

  46. personally, i think that talking about these issues within the context of talking about the crimethinc. convergence is very helpful, but also a little narrow. theses issues are not a crimethinc. phenomenon (if there is even such a thing), but something that is apparent in all of the american anarchist movement.

    my personal feeling is that just like the american anarchist movement have developed security culture as a direct response to external threats, we need to develope a culture to deal with this issues as a direct response to internal threats. we need to develope structures in our entire community that will help people call out oppressive behavior without feeling that the result will be their own marginalization or that they will have to deal with most of the respponsibility. we need to develope accountability processes for entire communities, not just individuals (one thing i liked at the convergence was the collective accountability process that happened at the end of it, which was an amazing example to witness). we need to create atmosphere in which people of marginalized identities will feel true solidarity and will feel encouraged to call people out. we also need to learn how to take these issues a little lighter, and not fall into the liberal trap of guilt and “oh my god… what did you do? did you just say something that isn’t p.c.?”. we need to come to an understanding that we all have things to work on, and working on them together will make us stronger as a community. we need to get to a point were we can see these processes as a part of our collective growing as a community,

  47. xLx:

    Thanks for the lucid response, and I hope I wasn’t too imposing in my inquiry. As for your last post, I agree for the most part. It’s a long and arduous road, balancing between letting oppression go unchecked and perpetuating guilt – which is not only unpleasant but extremely inefficient, and often dangerous in that it intoxicates and debilitates otherwise independently minded people, and causes reactionary thinking. One way I view guilt is as a shadow of pride, or in some cases ego. Where there is pride, guilt can’t be far away. In my view the best alternative to this self perpetuating cycle is to cultivate humility. I appreciate radical cockiness toward the prevailing establishment to a small degree, but if people start taking their arrogance as anarchists seriously, it can be a fatal problem. Radical Hubris, you could say.

    You spoke of the danger of people worrying about being PC enough: that term PC, like white guilt, nobody explicitly condones as a good thing – but there has been little talk in comprehensive alternatives to it. Obviously much, if not most, of what the term implies is positive, and important, yet the term PC packages it all under an imperious, unappetizing, and ultimately square sounding social decree. The term was probably invented and spread by right wing think tanks who seek to find ways to convey us and liberals as the square worry-warts, who let expression and communication be stifled under our prim sensitivity. I listen to conservative talk radio sometimes, so I know this is a MAJOR tactic of the right.

    They basically employ the linguistic trap of “PC”, to turn our attempt at anti oppressive conditioning into a box. Then they nail up the box, with us inside it. And unfortunately I don’t think we can completely blame them. I hate it when I find myself agreeing with right wing assholes on stuff like this, but to the extent that we relegate what is socially except able (aka, not “fucked up”) to the boundries of a pseudo objective “correctness”, we are marginalizing ourselves within the social and political arena. And there’s no easy answer.

    I think of the Zapatismo slogan “One no. Many yeses”, and think: how can I contextualize all my politics so that the yeses outweigh the No’s, both in spirit, and in political appearance? It’s tricky and often paradoxical, but I think a reasonable imperative for people who believe in the impossible.

    SYNDICAL CAT:

    We need more people like you who are willing to point out the absurdity of simple binary distinctions and categorical fixation. Another extremely ironic thing about this eviction stunt is that any of the disruptors would love to talk to you about how we need to break down gender binary, but when it comes to race binary, they might as well be border patrol agents. At one point during the eviction one of my friends of mixed race was put on the spot by the disruptors – who weren’t sure whether treat him like a White Boy or not. They asked him very urgently if he identified as a person of color or not. He chose simply to leave.

    So basically we have people who are into breaking down certain binaries, but not challenging binary thinking as a whole. We’ve rebelled against mainstream systems of categorization, but failed to attack our civilizations fixation on strict categorical thinking at its roots. This kind of shortcoming cannot be accepted. It may take less energy to discuss things in categories of either/or, but it is also less efficient. So much energy gets wasted, sucked into these rigid categories of POC/white, thisism/thatism, etc. which totally clog our brains.

  48. Even with hundreds of years of opression, “smack a white boy” is racist. As a white boy, I played basketball my whole life with black boys, and they called me names like “white bread, whitey,” and numerous other racist names… I felt powerless to them under the guise of “White power,” so I took the names as what I deserve for being a white boy.
    I didn’t choose my skin color, I didn’t lynch anyone, I never had any say in what my ancestors did, AND I still have no say.
    APOC is politcally correct on everyone; except whiteboys. I’ve taken my beating for being white, and the convergence added yet another blow,
    Thanks APOC…

  49. Brian–To be clear, it was not APOC who carried out the action, it was just a few people identifying as APOC; the people who did the most to resist it also identify as APOC. It’s a mistake to interpret this action as representing APOC, just like it’s a misrepresentation to ascribe the oppressive behavior of a few people at the convergence to “CrimethInc.”

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