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Feb 13, 22

Midwestern Solidarity: A Report on Autonomous Action for Amir Locke from Chicago

Report back on recent autonomous march in solidarity with Amir Locke in so-called Chicago.

On Friday, February 11, a small group of activists organized an emergency autonomous action in solidarity with the people of Minneapolis. We rallied and swiftly took the streets despite an obscene show of force from Chicago police.

Amir Locke was murdered by Minneapolis police earlier this month under circumstances not unlike those that spawned the state-sanctioned murder of Breonna Taylor. Amir was sleeping on a couch belonging to a relative, when police began a no-knock raid authorized by Judge Peter Cahill, the same judge who presided over killer cop Derek Chauvin’s trial. May George Floyd rest in power.

Police immediately gunned down Amir. He wasn’t even the target of the warrant. This call to action for Chicago was hatched on short notice. Our goals were simple: to show up, be visible and disrupt. We knew with only four days of planning it would be difficult to arrange a large presence, but hoped for enough comrades to march in the street. We were pleased to reach that number.

We chose a busy location near a major transit hub and shopping district for maximum visibility. We reached out to our networks to drum up support, and used existing connections outside the boundaries of traditional non-profit industrial complex-led organizing. We felt it was crucial to show support for our Minneapolis comrades, who have been beaten down over and over again by the senseless robbery of Black life. We also felt this was especially important to do as fellow Midwesterners facing similiar challenges this time of year with weather that isn’t direct action-friendly.

People rallied outside the train station and held an impromptu speakout. One speaker noted the history of Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, a place where poor white migrants from the South settled after the upheaval of the Great Depression.

Some of these migrants would go on to organize against the state as they faced terrible poverty, police brutality, and prejudice. They called themselves the Young Patriots. They then joined forces with the Black Panthers and the Young Lords and became known as the Rainbow Coalition.  Uptown has long been a site of multiracial organizing against capitalism. We are proud to honor that history, and hope to see more direct actions in this area in the future; the neighborhood remains a melting pot of many different working-class peoples fighting gentrification and erasure.

After the speakout, the group took the road. Spirited chants and music echoed through the cold night air. Bystanders were excited to see a protest in Uptown, a place where marches are rare. People watched from the street, from their apartment windows, and from inside mega-businesses like Target and Aldi.

Overall, this action was a success. Despite police intimidation, we held the road for as long as we could. We made a scene, and neighbors were shown that despite winter weather and state repression, people are still out there fighting against injustice. People still care.

After the action, we discussed lessons learned for future organizing, and made plans to craft more literature and initiate more actions. We know people are feeling demoralized after the 2020 uprising seemed to show very little in the way of actually preventing racist police murders. Still, we think it moved the needle toward liberation just an inch. And we will continue to keep pressing that needle.

Joe Biden will not protect us. The Democrats will not protect us. Killer cops continue to act with impunity, and neoliberal calls for “reform” have done nothing to protect Black life. We know that even small actions like this can give people hope, and show them that organizing autonomously is possible on short notice, outside “official” channels.

The state has an interest in channeling our rage into “protests” they can manipulate and control. We will continue to resist this. May thousands of anti-authoritarian autonomous actions overrwhelm the spectacle of everyday life.

Most of all, we hope for a future where Black people get to grow old. We demand nothing less than the total abolishment of the police and the so-called American justice system. It is time to salt the Earth and start fresh.

We can start by taking the streets.

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