For Immediate Release: June 1, 2020
Anarchists Respond to Accusations of Violence at Justice for George Floyd Demonstrations
Widespread Unrest and Violence is Inevitable if Structural Racism, Police Killings Continue Unaddressed
WASHINGTON, DC – The President of the United States and likeminded conservative voices have recently targeted anarchists and anti-fascists as the source of violence during unrest that has occurred in cities across the country in response to the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police last week.
On Sunday, Trump further expanded upon this narrative and dramatically escalated his political attack on left-activists by declaring on Twitter that the US “will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.”
While those who identify as anarchists and antifa are standing in solidarity with those most at risk from police and state violence, and are expressing their rage during protests taking place in Minneapolis and many other cities across the country, the militant demand for justice and systemic change is widespread.
“Blaming anarchists and antifa, with absolutely no evidence, is a way to make what’s happening seem fringe and marginal when these are popular uprisings. This is a time of mass outrage at an unjust system,” said scott crow of Austin, TX, an Agency spokesperson, author, and longtime anarchist organizer.
“George Floyd shouldn’t have had to be murdered for the country to rise up against racist police terror. This response is long overdue. The protests we are seeing are one of the only things that can raise the social costs of the status quo and change it. Things will not change if the status quo is not disturbed,” continued crow.
In these times of upheaval, it is important to have an understanding of why people are rising up, how the state has typically addressed mass resistance and calls for social change, and the elements of cause and effect that are currently gripping almost all areas of the country right now.
Agency, an anarchist PR project, has outlined the following points of view that have been largely missed or ignored by mainstream media outlets, especially those providing an uncritical platform for conservative voices, such as FOX News.
- When police continue to murder Black people with impunity and when calls for systemic change to policing and structural racism are ignored, militant unrest is inevitable and historically, it’s been effective at raising the social costs for the status quo to the point where systemic change is actually possible and more popular.
- Scapegoating “anarchists” and “radical leftists,” and blaming “outside agitators” for politically-motivated property destruction are favorite tropes of law enforcement, status quo proponents, and conservatives, which have been repeated during periods of unrest for decades.
- Conservative and often racist opinions and conspiracy theories, especially coming from the White House, typically gain far greater media attention than discourse around overcoming the structural racism that impacts millions of people in the United States. These are strategic distractions and the public should resist them.
- When the President of the United States incites people to shoot “looters,” he is attempting to divide the country and encourage racist violence.
- Police and the state have a legal monopoly on violence and are responsible for the most violence perpetrated on civilians.
- The disproportionate and violent police response targeting Black people during COVID-19 has underscored the entrenched and racist policing practices that negatively impact Black communities on a daily basis.
The scapegoating of anarchists and the platform given to otherwise-marginalized alt-right voices under the guise of news does nothing to address the underlying systemic problems that drew people to protest in the streets and has very real consequences for anarchists and left-activists seeking social change, from slander in the media to calls by Trump to designate antifa as a terrorist organization.
“These uprisings are important and critical, but they go way beyond the radical left,” added crow. “The need for justice and systemic change is real. The demand for it is widespread. Anarchists are not the architects or primary actors of this moment – this is bigger than any ideology – but anarchist ideas and the anarchist spirit are indeed critical to achieving a free society, and that’s part of the reason why Trump is making anarchists the scapegoat and demonizing us here; it’s an easy way to fire up his base and make this unrest seem marginal. He knows this.”
Further Reading on Anarchist Perspectives:
Mark Bray: Antifa isn’t the problem.
CrimethInc.: What Will It Take to Stop the Police From Killing
William C. Anderson: Forget “Looting.” Capitalism Is the Real Robbery
Kristian Williams: Rights, Riots, and Police Brutality
CrimethInc.: Minneapolis, Now this Fight has Two Sides
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Agency promotes contemporary anarchist perspectives and practices through commentary, media relations, and educational campaigns. Learn more at www.anarchistagency.com
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