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When Anarcho-Transhumanists Attack: Cyborgs vs. Tanks July 2, 2017

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Transhumanism.
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Bizarrely enough, my presence at a protest of the Party of Socialism and Liberation (PSL) here in Albuquerque has sparked rumors that “anarcho-transhumanists” connected to the Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) “fucked up” a PSL office.

For the record, I only showed up to the protest. I didn’t organize it. I’m not connected to C4SS beyond knowing William Gillis and liking some C4SS content.

It’s challenging to succinctly describe what went down because lots of us continue to debate it locally. I attempt an overview here.

For context, the PSL has been operating in ABQ for some years now. Various radical and progressive groups and individuals have had issues working with them. Earlier this year, the Red Nation broke with the PSL and published a statement accusing the party of anti-Indianism and sexism.

The protest on June 23 was called by various community members. They billed it as “Shut Down PSL” on Facebook. The PSL event in question was a Juneteenth event, which the protest organizers described as part of the PSL’s pattern of exploiting marginalized communities. There were no black speakers physically present at the event and few or no black folks in attendance.

I was with the protesters as they walked up to the PSL office. It quickly turned into a verbal confrontation. Eventually the PSL folks withdrew into their office and locked the doors. The police showed but didn’t do much beyond hanging around and talking with some people. Certain protesters did offer water to police and invoke them against the PSL (“they said you’re wack too!”). The PSL has tried to use this police interaction to discredit protesters.

Later on, after police left, a white neighbor came out holding a pistol and threatened protesters. This neighbor had apparently called the cops because eir nine-year-old son was scared Black Lives Matter was holding people hostage across the street. The neighbor shouted anti-BLM right-wing talking points. Medics ducked behind a car and prepared for the worst, which thankfully didn’t happen. Protesters managed to deescalate the situation.

Thursday, June 29, the PSL published a statement denouncing the protesters and saying somebody broke the windows to their office the night after the protest.

Debates on social media have been raging since then. It’s all a mess; for better or worse that’s how community is. I don’t agree with a fair amount of what the anti-PSL protesters did or said but I tend to believe the allegations of abuse from the Red Nation and others. I support calling out and confronting oppressive behavior.

Of course, as an anarchist, I additionally have a ideological axe to grind against the PSL and all other Leninists.

Over the course of debating this protest on social media, a PSL fan has threatened to contact my employer in order to silence criticism of the PSL.

Threats to give an employer public information are curious, but I assume I should be quaking in my rocket boots.

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Homonationalism Means Bashing Queers June 9, 2016

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Anti-imperialism, Decolonization, Feminism, Queer politics, Transhumanism.
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I just got back from Albuquerque’s Trans March to the Pride Candlelight Vigil. As I yelled “Death to the United States!” and “Death to imperialism!” during the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem, two homonationalists put their hands on me, threatened to beat me up, grabbed my sign, and temporarily pulled it off its handle. This neatly illustrates what inclusion entails for normative LGBT subjects: bashing queers.

Pride 2016 Signs (1)

Earlier, during the Trans March, I engaged violent insurrectionist propaganda of the deed by following the lead of a few other folks and walking into the lane of traffic we were supposed to leave open. Security, safety, or whatever-the-hell people in reflective vests told me to know my place and get back in line. At first I ignored them. At a stop, when I don’t believe I was actually even blocking traffic, my presence out of the assigned area created a scene. One reflective person put their hands on me. Others endeavored to persuade me to conform. They said I was risking arrest. Somebody in the crowd said I needed to be peaceful.

“Death to peace!” I shouted. “There is no peace!”

When the march began moving again, I joined the main flow but on the outer edge, partially in the forbidden zone. When a person who identifies as an anarchist came to whip me into shape, I lost it and rushed through the crowd to the sidewalk. I the left the march at that point, as far I was concerned. I followed along as a bystander or perhaps heckler, not as a participant.

The security folks were doing what they thought was right, I’m sure. While I intentionally pushed the envelope, I suspect I would have gone with crowd after that pause if the peace police had simply let me stand there instead giving me a hard time.

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Some attempts at control prove counterproductive.

Taking the whole street would have been safer and more fun. It’s fully appropriate, given the importance of trans lives and trans visibility.

Because of this debacle, I arrived at the vigil already enraged. The event announcer, Tony Carson, told us to get patriotic. “Death to patriotism!” I responded. Carson said something about taking that Saudi Arabia. I continued yelling through the ensuing U.S. nationalist ceremonies. I wasn’t in any mood to hold back.

Carson was the first homonationalist to confront me. Ey demanded that I leave, threatened to hurt me, and got up in my personal space. I alternated between yelling anti-U.S. slogans for everyone to hear and arguing with em. Ey grabbed my sign and we struggled over it. Another homonationalist came up and said ey would knock me out. Ey identified as a veteran. I said was condemning the United States as a political entity, not the individuals in the military. This second homonationalist also grabbed my sign, albeit with less vigor than the first.

A prominent LGBTQ organizer intervened with a liberal narrative of tolerance and free speech. The homonationalists had assaulted me and threatened me with bodily harm, but whatever. We’re all equal; it’s all good. Homonationalists who immediately turn to threats and physical attacks are the same as loud but technically peaceful queer anarchists as far as the big-tent LGBTQ movement is concerned, right? We just need to learn to get along. What’s a little domination, hierarchy, and oppression between family?

Nah, y’all ain’t my family.

Eventually a few folks with (un)Occupy Albuquerque approached and engaged. It felt like they had my back in the moment.

Although the homonationalists didn’t deliver the bashing they talked about, their repeated threats and physical aggression show how homonationalism functions. Becoming a respectable LGBT subject means disavowing radical queers who pose a danger to the nation. It means bashing those radical queers if they criticize the nation and won’t shut up.

After all, violence against the enemy and against the traitor is what nationalism is all about. It’s not surprising that these folks want to hurt me for insulting the United States, but it does tell you everything you need to know about the mainstream LGBT movement.

Homonationalists are another group of queer bashers. Their norms ain’t quite the same as your stereotypical straight homophobic man’s are, but they enforce them in the same fashion.

Albuquerque Pride condones and enables homonationalist queer bashing.

Queer anarchists struggle against all such policing. I wish had a queer transhumanist anarchist crew. (Ideally, each of these identifications implies the other two.) However, this is Albuquerque. Furthermore, queer transhumanist anarchist values hardly lend themselves to community.

Pride 2016 Signs (2)

While I respect certain oppositional nationalisms under present conditions, I consider U.S. nationalism utterly pernicious. Emma Goldman’s analysis of nationalism from the early twentieth century remains essentially correct. Nationalism and militarism stand in direct conflict with the core principles of freedom and justice, as well as with those of innovation, science, and technology. Sure, nationalism and militarism fuel technoscientific development at times, but much of this is wasted effort. Ultimately, free flow of information and of people does the most to advance science and technology, to make transhumanist dreams reality. Borders, militaries, and governments cause vast human suffering and hinder progress.

Death to the United States!

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Donate to ABQ Trump Protesters! May 30, 2016

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Anti-imperialism, Art, Decolonization.
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Click here to donate to a legal fund for Albuquerque trump protesters facing charges. The Albuquerque Police Department is on a racist witch hunt, looking to arrest up to thirty “thugs” who were at the protest. They may start these additionally arrests and charges as early as tomorrow. That’s why this fund is so important.

Signal Boost: “5 Things the Media Didn’t Tell You About the Albuquerque Riots” May 27, 2016

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Anti-imperialism, Decolonization.
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1. The ‘riot’ started out as a street party

2. The city stood behind us

3. The police stood behind Trump and his supporters

4. The police were violent toward demonstrators

5. The crowd was outgunned, but not outnumbered—and unafraid

Read the full piece here.

Albuquerque Protests Trump May 25, 2016

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Anti-imperialism, Decolonization, Feminism, Queer politics.
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Folks here in Albuquerque, New Mexico held it down at the Donald Trump protest yesterday. The protest had a little bit of everything: signs, chanting, marching, love, peace, rioting, and mayhem.

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It began like any other boring protest. We made signs, showed up, and milled about. I look the bus downtown with my #ExpropriateTrump sign. The only comment it got on the bus was from a Trump supporter who expressed the desire to build a wall and bring God back to prominence in the country. At the site of Trump rally, the police quickly herded most of us into a designated protest zone surrounded by steel barricades.

I took up a position alongside the main path into the Trump rally in the Albuquerque Convention Center. Both Trump supporters and stealth protesters were going into the rally. I held my sign and smiled/sneered at folks headed for the Convention Center. Combined with my queer/trans appearance, this was enough to enrage some of the Trump supporters. One of them yelled, “What’s with the dress, man?” Others expressed disgust. One offered me some sort of Christian newsletter, which I refused.

InsideProtester

Next we marched around downtown. Most people on the street expressed sympathy. After the march I walked a short distance with a couple comrades, then back to the protest. Under a bridge we encountered three Native folks who asked us about the protest, criticized Trump’s misogyny, and thanked us for protesting even though we’re white like Trump. Inside the Trump rally, various folks rose up with signs and got escorted or dragged out.

At some point many protesters broke through the police line and got right up to the Convention Center. A band of heroes stole Trump shirts and flags and set them on fire. Some protesters tried to get inside but didn’t quite make it.

The cops came down on us after folks tried to get inside the Convention Center, pushing/trampling people with horses, including an elder with a cane. This made us angrier. People threw bottles and pieces of flaming material at the cops. The cops physically pushed us back with their steel barricades. I got pretty nicely squished for a moment during this process. The cops used pepper spray as well, which messed up the protesters who received direct hits. Street medics tended to these folks.

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Protesters and police faced off by the Convention Center. Some folks periodically hurled gravel, rocks, and bottles. People took selfies in front of the police line. Security folks reflective vests from the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) repeatedly told people to stop throwing things, to keep the peace, and so on. Confrontations between these peace police and more militant protesters broke out. The peace police ended up winning the admiration of the police proper.

During a lull, a reporter came up to me and the two other people I was with and asked if we knew who threw the bottles. I told em no, and that we wouldn’t say if we did know, because snitching ain’t cool. My comrades were nicer but said about the same thing.

I thought it was over when we left the Convention Center area, but the protest transition to partying in the street and fast-paced skirmishing with the cops. Trucks, most sporting one or more Mexican flag, spun their wheels and burned rubber, making noise and smoke.

After a couple hours of that everyone went home, bodies still pulsing with excitement. We stood up to Trump’s quasi-fascist movement and Albuquerque’s murderous police department. Around the same time as we were wrapping up, in another part of the city, U.S. Marshals shot somebody to death.

This piece from KRQE describes the aftermath from the police perspective:

APD says its horses went to the vet Wednesday to be checked out after getting pummeled. They were all cleared by the vet and will be back in service Wednesday night. The nine riders who were on the horses last night suffered minor injuries.

According to APD, every police officer that responded to the violent protest was hit with rocks or debris. Six officers suffered significant injuries to the face, nose, arms and legs after being pummeled with fist-sized rocks. They were treated by rescue personnel on scene.

They say one Sergeant on scene was treated for smoke inhalation due to fires lit by the protesters. One Sheriff’s Deputy was also injured. There is no word yet on injury totals from the New Mexico State Police and Rio Rancho Police.

Two state police units were also damaged when people ran on top of them.

As you would expect, both local, national, and international media have made a big deal about the supposed violence of the protest. The cops are hunting for 30 supposed “thugs” who “perpetrated violence.” (Remember: No snitching!) In the context of pervasive structural violence, throwing rocks hardly registers. Folks have ample reason to be angry. It’s worthwhile to reflect on our tactics and who we’re hurting, as well on the question of mob mentality, but most of the moral outrage surrounding the protests is bullshit.

The walk-of-shame trick protesters used against Trump supporters  is the same tactic that anti-abortion protesters use. That’s a chilling comparison. I think the gravity of the situation warrants it, given the danger of Trump’s movement, but I’m not sure. Ideally we would have shut down the rally by taking the space and insisting on letting Trump supporters know just how horrible what they’re doing is, with both kindness and intensity. However, that wasn’t practical because of police presence. In this strategic context, trying shame Trump supporters has some merit.

I’m more concerned about the borderline and unambiguous oppressive language protesters used. I’m not even really comfortable with the night’s “fuck Donald Trump” anthem, though in the overall context it’s more positive than negative. The word “fuck” is of course common speech and a fabulously convenient way to express opposition, despite its connotations of sexual violence. Using “bitches” and “pussies” as insults ultimately relies on misogyny and anti-queerness. I’m not a fan, though I know this terms have complex usages. Saying “Trump sucks cock” or calling the cops “faggots” gets into explicit anti-queerness. That’s not remotely cool. The same goes for fat-shaming and other insults based on physical appearance used against Trump supporters.

También, pues soy gabachx y no es mi lugar decir hispanohablantes como hablar su idioma, pero a mí no me gusta oír personas diciendo “puto” y “chinga tu madre” y cosas similares. Soy putx/jotx/maricón, más o menos. Trump no es puto, es opresor, racista, etc. (Ya sé hay un gran debate sobre la palabra “puto”.) La frase “chinga tu madre” apoya la violencia contra mujeres.

With that said, notably none of the protesters harassed me for my gender presentation. From the anti-Trump crowd I received only compliments.

I hope our protests/riots become increasingly sophisticated, embracing queer/trans culture and utilizing cutting-edge technologies to coordinate. I’m inspired by the passion of both well-known comrades and strangers here in Albuquerque. Expect to see much more like this in the coming months.

Cops Here Bombs There May 20, 2014

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Anti-imperialism, Decolonization.
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Welcome to the Police State I-40 ABQ May 20 2014

Over I-40 in Albuquerque, NM

The struggle against government violence continues to rage in Albuquerque and across the world. Remember this when spinning progress narratives. Are things really getting better? For whom? Modern civilization rests atop a mountain of historical and continuing horrors.