Anonymously submitted to It’s Going Down
The night of the 23rd, white supremacists shot at people who chased them out of the 4th Precinct occupation in Minneapolis. Later that night, on the advice of a friend, I wrote the following:
When they walked up to the precinct, they acted off. Aloof. One was taking video. There’s no way to easily describe their demeanor but it was certainly hostile. I whispered to the people next to me that I thought those were the white supremacists but I didn’t know for sure. I approached behind perhaps a dozen others to confront them. I picked up a stick of firewood, to use as a bat if it came to that. People asked them what they were about. One said they were here for Jamar. I could have sworn he stuttered as he looked at one of the banners hung next to him to make sure he said the right name. The one filming said they were trying to spread the cause. People didn’t buy it. Some folks were being physically restrained by others. One in an SEIU hat held back the crowd. We were not allowed to be the aggressors against this group that had been peaceful. The four had their hands up in surrender and were pressed up against the fence when they decided to leave. People followed. Most people were willing to throw down, but some yelled for calm. One of the four got socked in the face. Most people stopped a quarter of the way up the block, where you could still see the precinct through the parking lot on the corner. I wanted to follow and maybe get their plates. I walked up the block, but others run ahead of me. Then. POP POP POP POP POP. I don’t know what it is at first. But then I see the muzzle flash. Then I hear it whiz by me. Then I duck, lunging behind the closest car for cover. This is the same move I made last week one block away when the cops shot less-lethal rounds at us. But these weren’t. While dodging behind cars, I hear someone scream for help. I call out for folks to help them, then I run back to the camp.
After the shooting, one primary reaction was for it to be labelled terrorism. And that’s understandable, from a certain point of view. Making it clear that what the state does and doesn’t call terror shows that it’s completely political in nature. Terrorism is defined by how it is used, which is as an instrument of the state. That which is terrorism is that which threatens the state’s power. This would explain why white supremacist attacks are not met with the same level of repression, especially compared to anti-police rebellion. Most of the time, however, people remain simply indignant on the double-standards of the word’s use. Some even appear desperate that the state recognize them, with the seemingly endless calls for the government, as well as the media, to use the word terrorism to describe the attack.
The “protest leadership” in Minneapolis—the NAACP, the Black Lives Matter leaders, non-profit NOC with Democratic party ties, with a significant amount of overlap between these groups—has reacted to the shooting the same way the state reacts to terrorism. The calls for unity, the security measures that are supposed to keep us safe but actually do just the opposite. For example, it’s been called for that people are not supposed to wear masks anymore at the 4th Precinct. But wearing masks is a way to hide one’s identity from the police and surveillance apparatus, which is crucial to any serious form of resistance. Of course, we know that the leadership is dedicated to making sure that no resistance ever becomes serious. People are quick to point out potential “agitators” or “troublemakers” for expulsion with little evidence. This is clearly a police operation designed to remove militants under the guise of protecting the camp from white supremacists.
If it’s not terrorism, then what is it? Civil war. There is not a ninety nine percent of us that needs to be enlightened by the proper literature or media coverage, there are people who want to uphold white supremacy and those who want to destroy it. And on the night of the 23rd, those two groups came together to experience conflict, only attenuated by the self-designated marshals restraining people. On the night of the 24th, there was another shooting by suspected white supremacists as well, but this time someone returned fire. As conflict across the world escalates, this will happen more and more. And it’s certainly not glamorous; if there’s one thing I learned from almost getting shot, it’s that I’d prefer not to do it again. But I’m not sure that’s going to be an option.