Filed under: Critique, Editorials, Midwest, Police
From Conflict MN
We refers to not the we of any group, organization, or cluster, but to partisans of revolt, rebels, all who desire to spread anarchy (which is quite divergent from those who call themselves anarchists).
Besides the police departments, the so-called protest leadership, community groups, and non-profit organizations have had months to hone their tactics and maneuvers. We knew this and yet we let our guard down.
On Wednesday the 30th it was announced that no charges would be brought against the officers who murdered Jamar Clark. After months of protest there was no longer any recourse left for justice to be found within the system. However, this did little to halt the demands for prosecution, for reform.
Two demonstrations take the streets, one from the south and the other from the north who meet in downtown, below the empty halls of power. The same boring speeches echo throughout the plaza—the revolutionary rhetoric, the Black Panther references—not enough to hide their ultimately liberal nature.
A single march makes its way back to Plymouth Ave in north Minneapolis. Many participants have donned masks and more have been distributed along with flyers encouraging secure behavior (covering one’s face, not talking to police, de-arresting comrades, etc.). The stale chant of “prosecute the police” has fallen in favor of “fuck the police,” something quite significant in a city so accustomed to the logic of reformism. Bank windows tremble as we pass. And yet we hesitate.
At Plymouth Ave, the march joins the crowd that had congregated around the site of Jamar’s death. Within minutes, various so-called community leaders and others surround everyone who had covered their face, deeming them agitators and pushing them away from the crowd—and away from each other in order to prevent solidarity. Anyone wearing a mask is threatened and in some cases assaulted. Any and every manipulation is employed in order to force people to either remove their masks or face consequences—including snitch-jacketing and accusations of being a white supremacist intent on another shooting.These made convenient excuses to impose control over the crowd, as evidenced by the people of color who were also confronted as ‘white agitators’ for covering their faces.
However not everyone taking part in this pacification campaign necessarily followed the so-called leadership—several people honestly did wish to drive out white supremacists or undercovers. We have respect for these people and we would stand side by side with them in their efforts, and have in the past. On the other hand, it was clear that those leading the charge were only interested in ejecting uncontrollable elements from the space. Successfully maneuvering this difficult and particular terrain will be crucial for antagonists in the future.
More important than the de-masking was the brazen imposition of order upon the space. It only took a matter of minutes to deliver a major blow to the energy of revolt in the streets that night. The police were hardly present throughout the entire evening, knowing their job was being done for them.
The long-term repercussions of this defeat remain to be seen, but it would be best not to underestimate them.