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Solidarity and Repression in Seattle Anti-Police Protest

Cops Take Prisoners, How Will We Respond?
A description of the protest, and then a look at the questions of isolation and solidarity we are faced with...
Cops Take Prisoners, How Will We Respond?
A description of the protest, and then a look at the questions of isolation and solidarity we are faced with...

Passion for Freedom vs. Bike Cops

Today, Friday April 9, about 80 people came together at Seattle Central Community College to protest the police and stand in solidarity with those arrested for fighting back. Anarchists had published a call-out for West Coast days of action on April 8 and 9 in support of the struggles in Portland and the Bay Area that erupted after recent police killings (  http://anarchistnews.org/?q=node/10978 ), and folks in Seattle responded by organizing this protest.

In the days leading up to the protest, hundreds of posters, stickers, and flyers were put up or handed out around the center of the city, criticizing the violent role of the police in our society and urging people to come out to the march.

The protest, which included a small black bloc, a marching band, a group of homeless youth activists, and others, marched through the Central District/Capital Hill area. On the way to the police precinct, people took the streets, though after a little more than a block, bike cops and horse cops responded to shove people back onTO the sidewalk.

In the meantime, thousands of flyers, with a variety of texts, were handed out, eliciting an appreciative "fuck the police!" from many passersby. Some of the flyers presented an anarchist critique of police and social control and argued for the abolition of police, prisons, and the government; another, entitled "Some People Shoot Back," was a text about Christopher Monfort, who is facing trial and a probablE death penalty after being arrested for firebombing four police vehicles and shooting and killing a Seattle-area cop in an ambush, after police were caught on tape brutally beating a 15 year old girl in a detention facility.

Because of that and another cop killing that occurred around the same time, Seattle media have been able to present the police as victims, in an effort to stir public sympathy for our enemies in blue. Some people were initially confused to see a protest against the police, but the texts, signs, chants, and the presence of the people there all communicated that they are not our heroes, but our enemies, and their violence against us is a daily fact.

Some confusion arose within the march as many people looked to the black bloc to lead the way, a role the anarchists refused, so after marching most of the way to the police precinct, people changed direction to return to a busier commercial area.

People continued seizing the streets whenever the opportunity presented itself, leading to further scuffles with cops. At several points, people rolled dumpsters into cops to push them back. On the last of these occasions, bike cops moved in to make targeted arrests, seizing at least three people, one of whom they appeared to knock unconscious. After trying to stop the arrests, and then shouting against the police and in support of those arrested, the remainder of the march returned to the starting point and marched down Broadway before dispersing.

Isolation vs. Solidarity

The riots after the killings in Oakland and Portland have been sparks of life. We are struggling every day against the misery and the blackmails of capitalism, and when the defenders of Capital kill, our struggle will flare up, and we will strike back. The West Coast days of action were an attempt to overcome the isolation, the limitations to solidarity, imposed on us in the US. They have been an attempt to broaden the struggle, and to keep coming back to the streets for those who have been arrested, until everyone is free.

Repression is a strategy of encirclement, of isolation, that we need to expand beyond. Hearing about the arrests of anarchists in Olympia on April 8, and seeing the strong police reaction in Seattle, we think the State is trying to stop our wave of solidarity from spreading, to make us feel weak, to attack connections being made between police violence in one city and in another, so that people do not see the State as a common enemy but think in terms of bad apples, complaint forms, better oversight.

Solidarity continues only by growing. The arrests are a hostage-taking, a collective punishment. The purpose is to make us feel weak, to doubt the value of fighting back, and to turn our efforts inward, by trying to support them and nothing more. And hopefully we will support them, but by turning outward, by continuing to come back to the streets, by breaking out of the encirclement of repression, by letting all those bystanders who sympathized with us know that people are in cages for doing the right thing.

The people who end up doing most of the jail and legal support work deserve our appreciation, but what are the rest of us doing? Solidarity cannot be a specialized activity.

Arrested people should take whatever trial strategies they choose, including asserting their innocence, but our solidarity cannot reproduce the logic of legality.
*It's right to fight back against the police.
*The only reason society finds out about these murders, the only time individual cops are punished, is when we fight back.
*No one should ever be kept in a cage.
If we shout these things at the top of our lungs, if we talk about these ideas with everyone we can, what will happen?

In struggle,
an anarchist