Communiqu from Art of War
Art of War has come together to offer some proposals in the wake of the Long Beach protests. These are our views only and we welcome criticism that people may have of it. It begins with some thoughts on the protests and then turns to concrete proposals for the future in the anarchist movement, in general.
We feel that the protests on Tuesday were poorly planned and appeared as though action was more important to the anonymous organizers than tactical strategy and theory. This may be a reaction to the protests of late in the USmany have become devoid of the spirit of resistance and have merely been an ass-kissing contest with the state (i.e. pleading for permits, marshals, etc.). They are neatly packaged events. So, this frustration is understandable. However, the Long Beach action slid to the opposite side of the spectrum in that there appeared to be little planning, no goal, and little to achieve.
First of all, we wonder if the organizers had done organizing in the community of Long Beach, beforehand? We do not know the answer to this but considering the feelings of fear and wonderment at the presence of the protesters by the folks living there, we wonder indeed. A movement must have some support before it goes into the community because most people will figure these are outsiders. Now, we are not suggesting that the media and the owners of the local Niketown are going to support masked anarchists, but we should see some support from the working class areas. We admit, we do not know the exact situation in Long Beach, but we wanted to bring up that possibility.
Next, about the secrecy of where the event would be held. We dont believe that this helped keep the police from being informed soon enough to mobilize. Obviously, this was not the case. Assume we are all under surveillance and we know that the police were watching the web page closely at 10 AM. So, what was the point? Many people that we know could not make the event because of the secrecy. The secrecy also couldve contributed to the erroneous charge of conspiracy against the protesters. Obviously, this was no conspiracy, but the police may try to get away with charging that kind of bullshit.
The goal? We still do not understand the goal. Not having a blueprint for the days events is okay, but not having any idea what we, as a group, were going to do is strange and pointless. It unfocused our energy and resulted in uncertainty and danger. Just going to fuck shit up is not a real goal, in our opinion. If it was to march peacefully, then we needed an end place to meet (which may have been decided before the march on Tuesday, we do not know). However, we are missing the most important part
Our numbers. No matter what the goal should have been, with the number we had a Black Bloc would not survive the cops as a regular marching demonstration. At least, not with only 100 or so people. We all know this. When our numbers are this small we either march with a broader group of people or we de-bloc. We were destined to get pummeled by these policethere were so many officers, what were we to do? So, if there were 1,000 or more of us and we remained flexiblewe couldve won the day by causing diversions and other problems for the LBPD
a brutal and racist police department. As we were, we shouldve come up with another plan. Now, weve got many people hurt, jailed and facing tough charges. For what? Nothing.
What should we do from here? We do not doubt that our anarchist comrades had good intentions but lessons must be learned from this. And, much of this is common sense.
Anarchists have had much press in the last couple years. As expected, we are equated with chaos and destruction. Little in the way of constructive visions. Some of this is our fault and some of this is just capital and its state apparatus trying to cut us down. We need to learn to listen to each other (too many anarchists are unwilling to debate democratically and to understand that we should all have a voice) and talk about these problems. We need to organize even better in our communitiesoutdoing both the authoritarian left and the fascist right. We need to be willing to work within different groups to put forward our vision. Art of War believes that although mass protests have been successful, we need to focus more within our communities and in networking nationally and internationally in order to make ourselves stronger. We need to get involved in concrete struggles that your average Jane and Joe cares about. Let us show them our resolve and determination to make this world better. This trust will help them see that capitalism and the state are unneeded. And, our revolutionary struggle will become theirs. We cannot do this aloneif we forget who we are supposed to be fighting with, we are doomed.
We must show the utmost respect for those in the community. Many wont agree with us at first and thats okay. If we can build mutual respectthey will support us and hopefully will eventually join us. But, if we diss those we dont agree with and take the holier-than-thou approach, we might as well just blow our brains out. We need to express what anarchism isnot just through literature, but through our actions. Many of us want to see a free and democratic societybased on mutual aid and respect. We need to show that now...not after the revolution.
Now, we need to think of some concrete steps that might be taken in your communities. We all need to meet and strategize. We have an enormous opportunity right now.
Weve heard some calls for an anti-police brutality protest in Long Beach for October 22nd. Possibly we could get the whole west/southwest to come to Long Beach this year. If this is viable, this would be a great idea. Locals we have talked to in LB do not like the police. If we started now, we could do mass organizing in LB regarding police brutalityand instead of the authoritarian always dominating the stage, we can put an anarchist critique forward. We can try to have concrete reforms that may alleviate the police problem but at the same time show that the problem with police is systematic. The real solution is to uproot the cause (we dont need to explain this partyou all know it). This is one concrete issue that we can take forth that will build trust with the LB community as well as put forward a more radical visionone devoid of media propaganda that our vision is chaos and destruction. Let us make ourselves a real threat.
We should also hold more regional conferences in which we can hash this all out. Surely, we will disagree on some issues, (which is a good thing!) but we can learn from each other. Weve got to stop acting like the mirror of our capitalist world and live what we preach. These conferences on tactics and theory will be crucial in building this movement. Many time protests are substitutes for our meetingsbeing the only time various revolutionaries can come together from many places to meet. We need better options.
Lastly, let us improve ourselves individuallymentally, physically, and spirituallywhen we have the opportunity to do so. Read the Art of War, get involved in or create an anarchist soccer team, and do something creative or soul enriching. There are many things you can all do.
These are just some thoughts from us. We hope this has been of some helpfor sure, these things are nothing new. Theyve all been said before. But, we think they needed to be said again. Thank you!
Free our comrades in Long Beach!
Long live the revolution!
Art of War