Organizing Strategies Against State Repression

Thursday, March 7th, 2013 @ 7PM
16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10004

As the economic system continues to stagnate and convulse, and inequality worsens, revolt and the struggle for a different society intensify. However the repressive apparatuses of the state also intensify and expand, cracking down even harder on those forces expressing dissent and attempting change.

Police, courts, and prisons are central tools of the state for preventing the creation of different forms of life, and in recent months, political repression has reached a new level: with protestors receiving terrorism charges, or being extradited internationally; federal grand juries imprisoning people in solitary confinement for refusing to collaborate with authorities; and the persecution of online whistleblowers for exposing the secrets of the powerful.

What can we do to resist the intimidation of this repressive system, to coordinate and mobilize within our existing networks, and to build new forms of solidarity strong enough to continue the struggle?

Join us for an open participatory discussion with some activists who will talk about their own direct experiences and insights relating to raids on their homes and workplaces, grand jury subpoenas and resistance, and political prisoner support work. We will also discuss some current cases of friends and comrades in need of our support, interest, care, and attention. Repression is something that affects us all, and the more we know, the less it can have its intended effect of making us afraid, dispersed, isolated, withdrawn.

Free literature and materials will be available at the event, and donations will be accepted, with all proceeds going to the grand jury resisters in the Pacific Northwest.

In October we edited a zine, “For the Pacific Northwest Grand Jury Resisters“, “Providing an overview of the circumstances surrounding the imprisoned Pacific Northwest grand jury resisters, this 80-page zine also functions as a timely primer on grand juries in general. Includes the resisters’ statements, news articles, primary source documents, tips on what to do if you’re subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury, and a detailed history of grand juries and their use as a tool to suppress political organizing and revolutionary struggle in the United States.”

In August we organized letter writing to some political prisoners, including Jeremy Hammond and the Cleveland 4. At the time we wrote, “As you find yourself taken from your home, your friends, it is then when our affinities, solidarities, and self-organization are most challenged… We propose that we spend the time together identifying and locating those which will not be left behind, forgotten, sacrificed, ignored, in our collective pursuit of communism. If we take seriously our opposition to the organization of this world; if we take seriously our struggles to change it; then we take seriously the consequences. These consequences are material–economic and social–but also emotional, psychic. What we can share with those imprisoned are our thoughts, our care, our interest, our desires to be together again, to be together in a different world. We can share our commitments with them.”

Earlier in August we sent a letter of solidarity to the Committee Against Political Repression. We wrote, “That our philosophical curiosities, potential politics, supposed ideologies might themselves be seen as some crime, means that more than ever, we should acknowledge that our movements towards liberation are real. We shouldn’t let the state take us more seriously than we take ourselves… We’d like to think that this attempt at intimidation will fail; that every act of state repression only increases our resolve. But for this to be real, our friends, spaces, projects, networks, groups, collectives, assemblies, will need to create even stronger shows of resistance and refusal; to activate and mobilize even more, or else we will continue to suffer such abuses. This should extend beyond signing statements, writing texts, sending messages to one another, dropping banners, spray-painting slogans, keying a cop car, etc. We will do all this and more, but let’s also commit ourselves to organizing against these conditions we’re in. This commitment is the only solidarity worth having. True solidarity means rejecting compromises with the system and immersing ourselves ever deeper in the struggles of our comrades and all the oppressed.”

In recent months we have been focusing on organizing against the New York Police Department; austerity and crisis in southern Europe; and the coming austerity at home, as unions, strikes, and labor contracts are more and more defeated by local governments. We should recognize all of this as different manifestations of state repression, as we work to articulate and develop an anti-state, anti-capitalist politics.

In their bi-weekly letter writing events, the NYC Anarchist Black Cross regularly provides a vegan meal for anyone who comes, as we are trying to do with our Solidarity Dinners. We should also recognize this itself as a form of resistance and struggle, a strategy based on solidarity and collectively caring for our own reproduction, and as a direct action that goes against everything this society promotes. In these coming events, discussions, presentations, meetings, and dinners, we hope we can begin to get organized to destroy this society and its managers.