Tempe, AZ: 14 Year Old Antonio Arce Only Latest Victim of Arizona Police

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Local anarchists report on a protest in memory of Antonio Arce, 14, just the latest victim in an upswing of police murders in the Southwest.

On January 15th, 2019, Antonio Arce, a 14-year-old boy, was gunned down in Phoenix by Officer Joseph Jaen of Tempe Police Department. Antonio is the fourth teenager to have been gunned down by the pigs in Maricopa County in 2019 alone, not to mention the fact that Arizona police (and Phoenix PD in particular) were the most violent cops in the U.S. throughout the entirety of 2018.

In response to the shooting of Antonio Arce, a rally was held outside of the Tempe PD headquarters, where roughly 100 people from across the Phoenix/Tempe area gathered. The rally was called for and lead by the local authoritarian racket of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL), and was attended by Antonio’s family, several local activist outfits such as the Arizona BLM chapter and Poder in Action, as well as unaffiliated residents and a sampling of the local anarchist affinity groups.

The rally began around 7pm and kicked off with a prayer dance, candles, some emotional words from Antonio’s family members, as well as chants of “justicia” and “no justice, no peace.” This continued for some time before the energy began to pick up. Speeches were made by some of the local activist groups and the mother of Dalvin Hollins (a black teenager who was gunned down by Tempe PD in 2016) gave the crowd some incredibly impassioned words.

During this entire time, the snakes at the news media shoved cameras in peoples’ faces and the pigs watched us from above in a parking garage across the street. It’s around this point that the opportunistic hack, Reverend Jarrett Maupin, attempted to hijack the rally and exploit it for his own gain. It’s here that he, against the family’s wishes, brought the rally out into the street and attempted to march it straight into a police barricade down the road in an effort to get protesters arrested, a tactic that he uses so that he can gain media attention.

However, those familiar with Maupin’s opportunistic bullshit regained control over the rally shortly after the marching began. Faced with the options of either honoring the family’s wishes and not provoking the police, or going nuts and likely getting arrested on Maupin’s behalf, the general consensus was that it was better to simply honor the wishes of Antonio’s family. Shortly after this, the rally collectively dispersed after the local activist groups gave us the usual self-promotional garbage and reminded us to get involved in local government.

It’s here that we ask ourselves where we, as anarchists, fit into all of this. Another person was murdered at the hands of the pigs, this time, a child of only 14. Unfortunately, Antonio wasn’t the first, nor will he be the last. The situation is desperate and it seems to only be getting worse, and yet, the faces of “resistance” against this bullshit are currently neoliberal reformist groups made up of paid activists, and authoritarians who wish only to see the police state painted red.

Furthermore, the discussions surrounding the situation is drowned in rhetoric about “justice.” We should recognize that asking for “justice” is simply not enough. Firstly, the idea of “justice” implies a static morality that simply doesn’t exist. “Justice” means a hundred different things to a hundred different people and, more often than not, relies on the carceral logic of the very system we’re seeking to destroy. This is the same “justice” that disproportionately throws black and brown people behind bars and the same “justice” that gets people gunned down in the streets by the pigs.

The state already believes that it is the arbiter of “justice” and to demand “justice” from the state reinforces that notion. We will not be able to achieve any sort of liberation from the current order as long as we appeal to the state’s own values. No longer should we make demands on the terms of the state. We must fight on our own terms, not for “justice,” but for the total destruction of the state, capitalism, and the world that they’ve created. We must fight for our freedom, for our autonomy, and for total liberation from everything that this world has forced upon us.


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