Statement of solidarity from the bay area with anarchists and autonomists in Los Angeles, who speak on a recent attack against an organizing space by authoritarians.
On July 31st, the self-proclaimed “revolutionaries” of Defend Boyle Heights (DBH) mimicked the fascist state by rehearsing their own Maoist brand of authoritarian repression at the jail solidarity and courtwatch workshop, “What To Do In Case Of Arrest.” Masked members of DBH attempted to charge their way through the doors at La Conxa, and in the process pepper-sprayed those who tried to prevent the masked attackers from entering the space.
The “What To Do In Case Of Arrest” workshop was intended to help protect workers from state violence and provide tools for navigating the carceral state in the event of arrest. As an attempt to justify their attack, DBH retroactively attempted to label the workshop as “counter-revolutionary” and “reactionary.” By simply placing the words “so-called” in front of the word “autonomous,” they tried to totally discredit the nature of the community workshop and its facilitators. DBH then doubled down by claiming that the autonomous event organizers were training attendees on how to repress radical work and cited “hypocrisy” as a justified reason for mobilizing a masked attack.
Like bullies on an adrenaline rush, DBH gleefully announced their imaginary victory over autonomous organizers who they have presumptuously labeled as “the idealist petite-bourgeoisie.” This unfortunate fantasy is a desperate attempt to justify their newly acquired taste for repressing any group of people that may attract praise from someone other than themselves.
The authoritarian nature of DBH has left them unable to conceive of a leaderless group, with autonomous collaborators. As a result, they framed a member of the OVAs as a “leader” (but in other articles an “anti-leader”) and used their contention with this individual to justify the DBH attack against an open workshop with unaffiliated members of community present. To this day they maintain that the two OVAs were pepper sprayed “deservedly so” on the official DBH Facebook page.
Defend Boyle Heights is a group that proudly asserts that “identity does not matter,” and yet does not hesitate to weaponize and tokenize femmes of color who are willing to be mouthpieces for their patriarchal and class-reductionist organizing. As a result, DBH did not have an interest in any PRIOR accountability or transformative justice processes – and instead jumped at the opportunity to lump everyone together with one individual and their contention with them. DBH struck first and asked questions later, offering underwhelming and largely irrelevant “evidence” to justify their night of violent role-playing. In fact, the full video was not released until days after the attack, which serves to show that this “evidence” was weaponized in order to justify an attack on the workshop, not offered for consideration to the community at large that DBH seeks to bully into complying with their edicts.
As Defend Boyle Heights faced the consequences of their indiscriminate attack on working class people, they mocked those who pointed out that DBH’s misdirection of tactics had the same impact as fascist state repression and infiltration. Ironically, DBH could not identify the troublesome parallels between their own actions and state repression tactics, and they bragged about autonomists’ attempts to identify the masked group who ambushed the abolitionist workshop. DBH declared themselves the mouthpiece of the proletariat as they shut down a workshop that could only further benefit, well…the proletariat. They even made sure to specify that “there was only one child” present in the space – as if this excuses or lessens the seriousness or recklessness of their actions.
Defend Boyle Heights offers to the working class a messy explanation for why they “had” to shut down a valuable community resource in the struggle against state repression. Invigorated by their newfound bloodthirstiness, DBH is now inciting the proletariat to attack anyone who wishes to use alternative community spaces to build with Boyle Heights and the larger L.A. community. Defend Boyle Heights hopes that those around them will fear being on the wrong side, and choose indiscriminate violence over transformative justice whenever misunderstandings arise in their community. This inclination of DBH is widening and deepening already existing tensions to a point of disrepair that the state can ultimately capitalize on – if they haven’t begun to already.
Defend Boyle Heights is calling for the active repression of autonomists rather than building resistance against the state, or creating supportive resources for the same working class for whom they claim to speak. DBH does not have the authority to call for a community-wide ban without a community-informed process. DBH makes the promise of continued violence and escalation, because they know that a community process for their grievances would deny them the ability to satisfy their desire to continue wielding repressive violence. DBH intends to rehearse the repression of autonomists today, before they even have their mythical “workers’ state” (which is sure to be without workers and full of bureaucratic parasites who “represent” the proletariat).
Defend Boyle Heights offers instead this sad excuse for attacks on autonomists, anarchists, and anti-authoritarians alike because DBH knows they cannot protect the working class from state repression or fascist terror, and they hope you won’t notice. And for those of you who do notice and challenge them, DBH has made it clear that they will not hesitate to gaslight you with self-righteous propaganda, or outright violent harassment.
-Anonymous Affinity Group