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by Annie Nimmety
Saturday, Nov. 24, 2007 at 2:04 AM
This is all fiction.
GREY ANARCHY: THE STORY OF THE CASCADIAN ANARCHISTS AND THE BATTLE FOR OLYMPIA
INTRODUCTION: Time is not linear. It has been forced to be that way. This is never more apparent to me than during a period of sustained actions. Dates and minutes become meaningless and a month can become one endless day. In order to honor the boundlessness of this state, I will relate the following events out of sequence. The following events took place between the 27th of October and the 13th of November. The following events did not end.
“You grabbed my hand...and we fell into it...like a daydream...or a fever.”
TRADITIONS, a café/store in Olympia that holds meetings and lectures and events. During the previous port actions it hosted Port Militarization Resistance’s (PMR) meetings. We all filed into the meeting, slowly, some of us tense and anxious, remembering what happened last time and dreading what we might have to experience this time. The old faces were there. But there were also a lot more new faces. At this meeting it was going to be decided whether or not PMR was going to oppose the incoming shipments. At a previous meeting it had been decided that PMR would merely welcome the troops home and do nothing to oppose the return of the Stryker brigade. The meeting began. One by one, the new, young people at the meeting began to raise their hands. The older, more reluctant voices were challenged. Everything began to grow heated. It became clear that the majority of those in the room wished to oppose the shipments, regardless of the fact that they were incoming. The machines were used to kill people. That was reason enough. A vote was cast. The hands went up again. A majority wished to blockade the shipments. PMR changed its position the next day. Immediately after the meeting some anarchists left and began to get ready, elated by the fact that PMR was once again back in the hands of those who wished to act.
They sat freezing behind the dumpsters, their breath visible in front of their eyes. Beside them were two others, drunk, asleep, resting. Three others came over to the alley. They saw the four anarchists and the two tired human beings sitting there and decided to join them in this spot which appeared to be a temporary safe haven from the incessant insanity of wandering the street. The eight waited there, behind the dumpsters. Four of them were waiting for a signal to begin blockading the roads. Five of them were waiting for a good reason to move again. On one of the dumpsters were written the words: BENEATH THE PAVING STONES LIES THE BEACH.
A group calling itself the Port Liberation Front sent out a communication encouraging people to repeat the decentralized tactics effectively demonstrated the previous night.
The liberals filled the Seattle park in preparation for the march to Pioneer Square. A middle aged woman approached one of the black clad shadows. “Do you belong to any formal organization?” she asked. “No,” the anarchist replied, “but you should check out the IAC.” “Who are they?” “I don’t know.” “I’m just wondering because I’m pretty fed up and don’t see anything going anywhere.” “Me neither.”
Dozens of conversations filled the air as everyone moved from table to table in the cramped space. The Tacoma Anarchist Bookfair was having its first day. Despite the fact that it had been labeled a homeland security threat by the TPD, everyone was relaxed and happy. Down below, on the tideflats, people sat in cages in the Northwest Detention Center, endlessly waiting, thinking of their families. During the bookfair, information circulated about the protests planned for the 9th and 10th of November. People who had not seen each other in months gave each other hugs. Bands of anarchists took slow walks through the industrial wasteland sprawling around them. Everyone was getting ready.
The black angels hung above the street, sitting atop the rooftop, arms around each other, watching the traffic flow by, unobstructed now. Everyone resuming their courses, returning to their homes and their lives, ignorant about what had taken place on the intersection, ignorant about the violence the police had employed against defenseless human beings. The black angels sat there, above the street, unseen, resting for a moment. The black angels had been up for 48 hours. One day in Tacoma. One day in Olympia. The black angels were tired, determined and saddened. Their friends had been sprayed and beaten. The black angels had seen so many awful things during the last two days. But there they were, perched on the rooftop, holding each other, recharging.
It was the first Black Bloc in Seattle in five years. It was not very big. Many of the people I talked to had never been in one, ever. In the midst of the huge peace march, the Bloc looked tiny. It was tiny. At the beginning of the march it brushed past a crew of peacekeepers and cut through a street it was not “allowed” to go down. It found a place in the march beside the Seattle Anti-Imperialist League. During the march the commies and the anarchists traded off with their chants. Both groups found each other ridiculous. But I had fun and was glad there was no nastiness. After a while there was a heavy police shadow around the Bloc. Several mounted police followed on the sidewalk. Nothing happened until the Bloc got downtown. All of a sudden everyone pushed towards a few cops blocking off 2nd Street from the march. Those with shields pushed. Everyone stayed close to one another, but collectively the Bloc only took up one lane of a two lane road. When it became clear that nothing could happen the Bloc returned to the march. Someone threw something at a Starbuck’s window. All I heard was a loud crash. I do not know if the window was damaged. After that everyone went to the rally in Occidental Park and then left. Someone told me that the next day they saw four windows of a nearby US Bank smashed out and covered in wooden boards.
The Port Liberation Front revealed itself to be a faction of the Olympia Chapter of the Eugene Anarchists, a centralized branch of the International Anarchist Conspiracy.
And then another Black Bloc. This one made me smile. It did nothing. I was having a cup of coffee in a café, having heard nothing about any actions. The boat had just docked in Olympia and was ready to discharge its cargo. I raised the cup to my lips and then saw them go by, a crowd of black clad lunatics carrying a banner that said only one word: REVOLT. I ran outside and followed them. We walked all over downtown. Doing nothing but walking and chanting. I had no idea what was going to happen but did not really care. After a while we came to the Port. People yelled at the Coast Guards, standing there like robots, holding their guns lovingly, morbidly, looking insignificant underneath the giant ship. When that got old we all left and returned downtown. Without any warning, people began to run into an alley. Other people ran down one street, some people another. Everyone changed their clothes. Everyone disappeared. And that was that.
In a bar someone told me this: “I was walking with my friends down the street and saw these people all dressed up in masks, all in black, running down the street. Then they fuckin’ busted out the bank windows and one of the bastards waved at me. I was fuckin’ stoked. I got one of the pieces of glass and put it in my backpack.” When I asked them why, they replied, “because I wanted to keep that shit.”
They carried the giant slab of concrete into the road and dropped it. Next to them was a Stryker, blocked by a row of people. More concrete was thrown into the road. And then the pigs came. They black angels ran across a field, found some shelter, and put on their black clothes. Through the bushes they saw the pigs clearing the concrete and the Stryker continuing on its journey to Fort Lewis. The night had just begun.
The bookfair ended and the Pitch Pipe was empty. The intimidation had not worked and the whole event had been successful. While the bookfair had been going on, the boat had docked in Olympia. They sat down for a second, took a deep breath, went outside to smoke a cigarette and then began to try and figure out how they were going to get down to Olympia. The anarchists from the bookfair, luckily, had another place to go to. All they needed after they got their ride was a place to stay. But that was not hard to arrange.
They all held each other. All of their friends had been traumatized and beaten and sprayed. They held each other. The last two days had seen the most brutal police repression. They held each other. So much had been seen, so much disgusting violence perpetrated by the pigs against the people they lived with and worked with and loved. The black clad anarchists held each other. Tightly.
It started off small. The “green zone” had more mainstream media than anarchists for the first fifteen minutes. But then they came. A marching band. Dozens of blocked up human beings. A man with a megaphone. Some puppets. People with literature. Up above, the police had their helicopter and their plane circling. The masked anarchists continued to arrive. On the sidewalk, black shadows handed out literature to passersby, to people in cars and to people on city busses. Whole stacks were given to the busses and those who got them through the windows handed to them out to those inside who wanted them. Everyone in the busses wanted them. Everyone wanted to know what was going on. The pigs had been scaring everyone about these protests for the 9th and 10th. No one knew what to expect. But what they saw was friendly, informative and non-hostile. Suddenly, the anarchists took off, heading down the sidewalks. They stopped in front of the Wells Fargo tower and through the megaphone revealed how that bank financed the GO Group, the company that ran the Northwest Detention Center. All of the riot cops were out in Downtown Tacoma. Bike cops followed the march, as did vans carrying the riot squad. The protest had stated it would shut down Tacoma. The anarchists, extremely cleverly, had tricked the police into shutting down the city for them. By just staying on the sidewalk, they were able to not only accomplish their objective but to reveal just what the police force is used for in the US.
The dumpsters rolled out onto the intersections. Slaves in their cars began to yell, angry that they were late for their meaningless lives. The pigs arrived and began to shoot and gas the masked protesters. More dumpsters rolled out onto the streets at different intersections. Black clad anarchists ran through the alleys, getting from one location to another. The pigs beat everyone within their reach. The trucks idled behind the barriers, waiting for them to be cleared. The angels, the medics, helped those who had been beaten and sprayed. A rock flew through the air at a police van. Puddles of white Malox water spread across the pavement. Earlier, at the front gate of the port, people held tightly onto each other as the cowardly pigs, with the entire apparatus of the State at their backs, forced chemicals into the eyes and pores of defenseless human beings. Many of the pigs smiled as they did this. The human blockade was taken apart at the gate. Earlier, on the road to the secondary entrance of the port, a barricade had been built with dumpsters, concrete blocks, an overturned semi-trailer, cement trash cans and countless other found-objects. That barricade was broken apart by the pigs. Back at the intersections Downtown, the cops were slamming their feet into people’s ankles and beating people with their clubs and shooting them in the face with pepper balls. A group of anarchists kept trying to leave to get back up to Tacoma for the second day of the ICE protests. Every time they tried to leave more violence started and they returned to help their friends defend themselves from the pigs. It was the most brutal day of the battle for Olympia. The port was blockaded for 18 hours. The price for this was high and many people who had never experienced violence were traumatized from what happened to them.
“Hey,” the person said to the anarchist. “I’m sorry about all the other bullshit. I just wanted to thank y’all. You’ve all been doing a good job.”
An anarchist walked down the line of riot cops guarding the Wells Fargo tower. With their finger extended, they pointed at each of the pigs and said, one at a time, “You are a disgusting human being...you are a disgusting human being...you are a disgusting human being.”
The black angels watched the sun come up beside the barricade. They slept on the sidewalk, waiting for something else to do. They weaved through the streets of Tacoma, shedding undercover cops. The black angels saw concussion grenades go off a few feet in front of them and kept running, kept throwing rocks, kept moving.
The Pasties, a band from Olympia, played in front of the Manium. The Manium is a venue that has been shut down by the City of Olympia. The Manium is where the first Black Bloc started from when the boat arrived. The Manium exists next to the artesian well, a place where everyone can get free water. The Pasties played to a crowd of 30. The show went on for maybe an hour and then everyone went home. The next morning something went out over Indymedia stating that the train tracks from the port, tracks that were to carry military equipment out of the port, those tracks had been cemented over during the night.
The anarchists walked right up the fence, in broad daylight, in front of the port security guards, and cut the zips ties holding it together. The anarchists pushed dumpsters and concrete out onto the street. The anarchists covered their temporary autonomous zones with spray paint. The anarchists made friends. People liked the anarchists. People realized that beneath the masks, behind the glasses, were fellow human beings. The anarchists were men and women from every class and of every ethnicity and sexual persuasion. The anarchists, dressed in all black, were just like everyone else. The anarchists did what they felt would be effective. Luckily, other people found it effective as well.
For so long they had been waiting for it: unconsciousness. And now they were there, on the bed, all curled up together, holding each other. They fell in the deepest, blackest unconsciousness and stayed there as long as they could. Later someone ran in and woke them up, they got ready and then were back on the streets. But for those hours they slept with their arms around each other. And rested in a sea of black.
The International Anarchist Conspiracy released a communiqué encouraging people to only fear the pig’s weapons. It also encouraged people to push themselves farther in their levels of resistance and to kill the cop that existed within their minds.
The women asked that their autonomy be respected and no one interfere with their blockade. They sat there, under the lights, riot cops in front of them, and waited. Behind them, the black clad anarchists moved through the crowd, fists tightly clenched at their sides, ready to stop any nationalist who tried to start anything. Rumors had been circling of nationalists with weapons: 2x4’s, pipes, guns. An undercover was spotted and followed. That same undercover tried to lure people away from the blockade but the anarchists made sure no one followed him. They later forced him to hover near the line of riot police, ready to escape into their ranks. Suddenly, after they had been robotically fed orders, the riot police moved in and began to arrest the women. One by one they were taken away, being hauled away by an unthinking entity, by mindless human beings convinced that the most they can accomplish with their life is to follow their orders perfectly, regardless of where they are coming from or why.
Downtown Tacoma was militarized by the police on the 9th and 10th of November. Downtown Tacoma was paralyzed by the police on the 9th and 10th of November.
Running. Running towards the green death machines trying to slip by the protesters. Running as quickly as possible. Some people ran in front of the machines and tried to stop them. Others got ready, knowing that the road ahead lay in the shadows. The cops opened up on the people in front of them, shooting their pepper bullets, beating those near them and shooting off their pepper spray. People were dispersed, but others were still running. AFTER the cops began to fire on people the first rock left that first hand. And then it began. Rock after rock flying at the isolated pigs holding their guns and the cruisers following the Strykers. Concussion grenades went off in front of people eyes, bringing with them quick, violent explosions that lit up the anarchists in the shadows for a few brief moments. One of the cruisers was trying to run people over as the rocks continued to fly. That cruiser ran into a boat that had been pulled into the road. That cruiser is now disabled. The rocks kept flying. The pigs continued to get hit. Everyone kept running along with the Strykers. Running with everything they had to do something they did not know how to imagine. Running across the field of stones. Running.
The black angels moved through the shadows and the alleys, moved like ghosts from location to location, moved like lovers wherever they needed to go.
A soldier got out of their Stryker, walked up to the front gate, and left the port.
Walking the wrong way down 4th Avenue, heading to the center of Downtown Olympia, the scuffle with the police and the attempted blockade behind them. The mass of people almost go to the corner of 4th and Capitol. But not quite. For some unfathomable reason, everyone began to head right back to the riot cops like a dog returning to the human which had beaten it.
Apparently, before that happened, a group left the mass of people and attacked a US Bank. The next day, four windows were boarded up at that bank. The mass of people obediently returned to the line of riot cops and waited. A pile of rocks began to grow on the road behind the crowd. Only a few minutes after they had returned, the police charged the crowd and people began to run. As they ran, a volley of rocks flew over their heads towards the pigs. And so the mass of people went back they way they had come, on their way to the corner of 4th and Plum.
The anarchists tricked the cops into paralyzing Tacoma. The anarchists showed the people Downtown that the only disruptors, the only terrorists, were the police themselves. The anarchists showed themselves to be restrained, non-violent and far, far more intelligent than the pathetic Tacoma Police Department.
The black angels walked down the empty road.
They arrived at the intersection, the same intersection where their friends and loved ones had been brutalized by the fascist OPD a few days earlier. They arrived. And found only one idling police cruiser. A group crossed the street, walked behind the cruiser and then watched it suddenly take off. The rocks flew towards the cruiser. Later, it was discovered that a police cruiser had its windows smashed. The group disappeared. The mass of people hovered near the intersection. At first they began to run. But then they realized they had nothing to fear. They outnumbered the police. Someone had just thrown a rock at a police cruiser. And gotten away with it.
An unknown number of police injured. A US Bank attacked. The port shut down for 18 hours. Barricades built and held. All of this happened with-at most-a days planning. Most of it happened spontaneously. No one had a plan to have 150 people sprint towards the Strykers. No one planned for the rocks. What took place in Olympia was a pure, direct expression of rage against the OPD and the endless war against not only other countries but the entire planet. A riot took place in Olympia. Olympia is a small town. If it can happen in Olympia it can happen anywhere. It was not just the anarchists who were throwing rocks and pushing dumpsters into the roads. It was everyone. Everyone was working together. Everyone was equally angry and ready to ACT! What happened in Olympia can and should be happening everywhere. The OPD radicalized more people than it can possibly imagine. People finally learned to hate those that are oppressing them. And they finally learned how to fight back.
It is starting once again, the electricity moving through the soil, the wind brining intoxication to our bodies and telling us where we need to go, what to do and how to do it. The energy pushing us shows no sign of abating. Their system is broken and dead. Like a dying tyrant, it is trying to bring everywhere down with it. But we will not go with them. The rocks will continue to multiply and people will continue to learn how to resist. Tactics that were once taboo have now become the norm in Olympia. Those tactics are no longer taboo for one reason: THEY WORK.
The banner of REVOLT was raised in Olympia.
Our desires can be actualized in our very own towns, just as long as we keep moving and do not cease in our efforts. A lot of energy was expended during the month of November and the results are here for everyone to see. Do not just observe what happened here and quickly forget it. Do something. Share in our victory and take comfort from it. But please, create your own victories as well. They cannot stop us.
The black angels held each other.
And swam through their dreams.
In Love And Anarchy,
Addendum: This is not the truth. I cannot give you the truth. There is no truth.
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