Filed under: Action, Anti-fascist, Midwest, Queer, Solidarity, Trans
Report back from community defense mobilization of a drag event in so-called Kalamazoo, Michigan.
In the aftermath of the above event, another all-ages drag event happened in neighboring Kalamazoo, MI at the Dormouse Theater on May 28th. Again, the far-Right threatened to protest the event. With it, the assumed violence they could bring in keeping with the violence of their ideology and rhetoric. This time the event was on private theater property in a more urban space in more familiar territory where radicals had even more latitude for an increasingly confrontational appearance and autonomous action to respond to potential danger.
A black bloc was called and many responded. The community broadly rallied together. Whereas in the past only a few short years ago the community-at-large and nonprofit types might get skittish about black-clad and masked radicals, there appeared to be zero tension around this. The above ground people had liaisons with autonomous crews (not for formal partnership/strategizing/or planning. Radicals are notoriously ambivalent at best to non-profits) and what was expressed by the event planners was the desire for the event to continue and for maximum safety for all. There was understanding that we were all on the same side and nobody was in control or in charge of anybody else. With that tacit assumption broadly shared and respected, the individual wardrobe and strategies were uncontested and of little consequence compared with the problem of far-Right bros and the necessity of resistance.
There were only four of them on the far-Right and approximately 60 of us outside the venue protecting the two exposed street-sides of the building. After only 20 minutes or so, the four people from the far-Right left the scene never to reappear that day. They probably went to Tin Can to butt chug White Claws.
What this tells me is that the overwhelming success of the prior event in Portage sapped the far-Right of motivation of doing anything but standing around briefly and leaving on the 28th. That validates our underlying assumptions about what works for community safety. They win if things escalate and if it makes them look strong. We win when we have the numbers, the relationships, the strategies, and a commitment to the safety and security of targeted communities.
It settles things until the next time but the frequency of contestation reinforces and strengthens communication and planning as our net seems to widen. We’re ready for when that day comes. And so on and so forth until they tire, which they will, because our liberation is firmer than their issue attention cycle flashpoint.