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Aug 18, 16

An Anarchist Response to the Racist Knife Attack in Olympia

Submitted to It’s Going Down

As many have heard, on the evening of Tuesday, August 16th a white supremacist violently attacked an inter-racial couple in downtown Olympia. Using a knife, the man stabbed one person and cut the other. Luckily the wounds were non-fatal. The attacker, identified as Daniel Rowe, was arrested after being chased down and incapacitated by one of the victims.

In custody he stated his open support for the police in their war against Black people. According to one article, “He told police several times that he was defending them and that he had their backs.” Court documents say that the suspect told police, “that he knew we couldn’t hurt the black groups on the street so he wanted to let us know that he takes care of them for us. That he is able to fight those fights and will continue the fight against all of the Black Lives Matters people.”

According to news sources, he went on to state that he was motivated by an anti-police march that occurred on Sunday night, in solidarity with the uprising in Milwaukee. This informal demonstration was not actually affiliated with any BLM group although it was inaccurately described as such by a local media outlet.

This is not the first time neo-Nazis have attacked people in Olympia. Most notable is the 1992 case where a young Asian-American man, Robert Buchanan Jr was beaten to death by racist skinheads. It is also not the first time such racists have come out to support OPD. Many Olympians remember last year, when a group of white supremacists associated with the neo-Nazi prison gang, the Hammerskins, were violently driven out of town by a group of anti-racists. This conflict happened when the Nazis tried to establish a street presence after a series of confrontational anti-police demonstrations took place in the wake of the racially charged OPD shooting of two Black men in May of 2015.

This recent attack in Olympia can best be understood within the context of a larger framework of racist terrorism. This is the same logic evident in Dylan Roof’s murder of nine Black people in Charleston and the racist shooting of five people at a BLM protest in Minneapolis, in June and November of last year, respectively. It appears that what these terroristic attacks seek to achieve is to dissuade anti-racist resistance by raising the stakes of the fight. These retaliatory attacks all seek to create an atmosphere of fear, promising violent reprisal for rebellion in order to reinforce the racist order.

Racist terror is nothing new however. From the founding of this stolen land called America, whiteness was violently constructed and upheld to give coherence to a diffuse system of domination. It was and has continued to be an un-paralleled tool of social control. For the bribe of inclusion into white privilege, large swaths of disenfranchised poor whites sell out their class, to identify with and reinforce the very system which has disenfranchised them. This is clearly reflected amongst the demographic supporting Donald Trump in his bid for presidency. What other invention could so insidiously divide a population of exploited people, could obscure and deflect class tensions so effectively? What other tool could convince poor and working-class people that a billionaire has their best interests at heart? What else could so effectively hinder our collective liberation?

This is a call to not give up the struggle which so many lives have been lost for. This is a plea to not fall into the divisive trap which seeks to place the blame of racist violence on the shoulders of those struggling against racism. It is stomach wrenching that this attack happened in our city but the blame rests on the system that has violently upheld a regime of racism for 500 years. The blame is on the police apparatus which systematically devalues the lives of poor people and people of color, to affirm white supremacy and class rule. These extra-legal attacks are given institutional legitimacy every time a cop gets away with murder.

This is also a call to be safe while fighting. The enemies of liberation are dangerous. They are police, Nazis, and militiamen but also business owners, landlords and city planners. Beware those who hold a stake in the current social order. They will go to great lengths to hold on to their privilege. As our threat becomes greater, the measures they deploy will also intensify.

Against the world which has created police and Nazis.

For the spread of Black insurrection.

For the abolition of whiteness.

For total freedom.


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