Violent Resistance, Self-Defense, & Insurrectional Struggle Against Gender
There is a violence that dominates. It is gay bashing. It is rape. It is the clear-cut and the vivisection lab. It is the bank and the local coffee shop. It is the patrol car and the prison. It is your job, your late rent, your rotting teeth, your wounds that won’t heal. It is the silence that maintains all of the above.
There is a violence that liberates. It is the murdered homophobe. It is the knee-capped rapist. It is the arson and the mink liberation. It is the smashed window and the expropriated food. It is the cop on fire and the riot behind bars. It is work avoidance, squatting, criminal friendship, and the total refusal of compromise. It is the chaos that can never be stopped.
The maintanance of this world depends on the interalization of the former, and the total suppression of the latter. This suppression comes in many obvious forms: arrests, raids, grand juries, informants, snitches, CCTV, cut wages, firing, conspiracy charges, solitary confinement, eviction. But the suppression of revolutionary violence requires much more than jails and police, it requires an ideological veil to mask the very existence of that violence.
How many times must dead martyrs be pulled from their graves and paraded before our eyes? How many new phrases can the leftist filth develop in their attempts to convince us that this-or-that group is inherently peaceful, loving, passive? How many times must our experiences, our very lives, be used to silence revolt, to justify police action, to prove that violence is “privileged” and “fucked up”?
I am never peaceful. The world does violence to me, and I desire nothing but violence toward the world. Anyone who attempts to keep me from my lust for blood and fire will burn with the world they cling so desperately to.
Along these lines, we have attempted to compile a selection of articles on revolutionary violence against gender and those who maintain its control and management in our daily lives. When we began putting this together, our focus was solely on the theory and communiques that surfaced in 2010, positing an insurrectional practice against rapists and abusers that, recognizing the overwhelming failure of accountability processes, offered attack as an option for survivors. Much of this original purpose remains, as many of the pieces herein are theoretical critiques of accountability and “community,” as well as report-backs on violence against rapists. We have also chosen to include some more recent preliminary texts on the possibility of queer attack on gender. We chose texts that attempt to confront gendering violence in ways that reject the ideology of victimization (passive mourning, non-violent defensive reaction to perpetual attack, victimhood as purity), as well as the state/“community” solutions (hate crime legislation, political change, accountability processes that replicate penal procedure and speak endlessly of justice).
Each week we see more attacks on capital, on the state, on patriarchy in solidarity with those murdered or imprisoned for heresy against gender. We have included some of the more recent accounts of these attacks, as well as some violent queer attacks from the past we found particularly exciting. When crews form and fuck up a rapist, when comrades decide to attack when queers are jailed or murdered, when friends share in the passionate intimacy of struggle, lines of flight outside of identity politics, pacifism, and reform are developed and elaborated upon.
We hope this publication can contribute in some way to a gender strike that will burn this world to the ground.
Until the last rapist is hung with the guts of the last frat boy,
Anarcha-Feminists Take to the Streets
A movement teaches less by words than by the power it exercises which, clearing away the debris of appearances, tells it like it is. — Selma James, 1973
This is only a beginning. We come together today as anarcha-feminists excited because of this new beginning. Anarcha-feminism has barely been flushed out, put into action, or recognized as a politic by even ourselves. And many of us have never known of each other’s existence, therefore never knowing what we are capable of. We find it fitting to meet in the streets, where strong social bonds are created and great turns in history unfold. Make friends and comrades this May Day and expect great things to come.
There’s a new anarchism on the tips of all of our tongues. But there is also a legacy of radical and powerful movements that we may find enlightening if we are aware enough to not get caught in the trappings that brought them to an end. In order to determine what we wish to be we must see where we began…
The New Left movements pushed us forward light years in their declarations that struggle is to be found on many, many more fronts than class alone. Movements that we are the most proud of in our left histories—Black Power, Queer Liberation, Women’s Liberation, etc.—were quite literally crafting a future reality that looked very promising. As these movements crumbled or weakened we can see how aspects of these struggles that lacked a critique of authoritarian (and especially State) power fell into the arms of liberalism. Liberalism assumes and maintains the delusion that a government or any kind of higher power is necessary and responsible for looking after us, to ensure that all is peaceful and equal. We are kept in a state of perpetual childhood, where all of our daily actions and disputes are subject to judgment by the guiding hand of authoritarian father figures from God to government, governor, mayor, banker, husband, to daddy dearest.
And so identity politics entered the scene, stage Left. Post-colonial, feminist, and especially queer politics that once fought for autonomous power distinct from normative society became a sad shadow of its formal self as they became a politic about recognition within society, which made these movements dependent on the structures responsible for their unique tribulations.
Some of our comrades have suggested we throw out identity politics all together. And this feels like a tempting idea. We are tired of the trend of tokenization. Every political event we attend someone is tokenizing their self, their mom, or some abstract group of people. Sometimes this happens even in the name of “not tokenizing!” We see this as a depressing attempt to establish legitimacy as a victim (as if that is a cool thing to be!)
Within this context the activist’s job has become that of making diagnosis after diagnosis of who is and is not oppressed. Each individual carries with them all sorts of unique atrocities that have been imposed on their bodies and psyches as well as horrors they’ve done to others. It’s dishonest to sum up our lived experiences as that of a “woman,” an “immigrant,” a “gender queer,” or even a combination of any number of recognizable marginal identities.
But this isn’t even the bigger problem. Identity politic-obsessed activism looks to make us feel safe within systems that are not designed to be safe or freeing and does not take action to dismantle the system completely. The Left has built an army of Gandhis. Gandhi, mind you, so loved and romanticized the oppressed of his country that he could not bring himself to endorse a social order which might end the existence of their oppression. Even though he was seen as very radical at the time, he proved to be a liberal at heart. Ending caste discrimination is quite different from abolishing a caste system completely. We must make the decision whether it is more in our interests to demand equal rights or to fight for a future (or maybe a present) where demanding anything from anyone other than ourselves is senseless.
There is nothing powerful in being valorized, recognized, and romanticized as victims. Who cares if men know that some huge statistic of us is raped by them? Does that stop rape? Who cares if everyone remembers to get your preferred pronoun right? Does that help you when you’re in custody and the cops are discussing what’s between your legs so they can determine which cell block you “belong” in? And who cares if your neighbor is so outraged by your boyfriend’s violent outbursts that she calls the police? You do, because you 6 are the one with a police gun in your face and you are the one later bailing out your boyfriend despite the fact that the 1st of the month is quickly approaching. That which establishes our horrible positions in society will never abolish those positions. And we want out. We no longer want to be victims, but we know that we can not count on the State, men, white people, straight people, the cops—whoever it is for you—to do this for us.
Ironically, despite our critiques—and sometimes hatred—of identity politics, we find ourselves coming together around a (somewhat loose) identity: We are some people who no longer want to be victims of gender tyranny and misogyny. Within this grouping we are hoping to circumvent, to a certain extent, our gender and what that means for us when we are living our lives in this Man’s World so we might gain some insight as to what it might look like to not have gender dynamics influence every interaction. We come together to fight for a reality where identities such as “man,” “woman,” and “trans” are logical impossibilities. We know that together we can tend to our misgivings that these desires are irrational and get down to business.
We will not, in fact, be throwing out identity politics all together. If nothing else because we refuse to let liberals and non-profits have our radical politics. But also because we do find it useful to identify and analyze our miserable conditions in order to have a point of a departure, in order to know very clearly what we do not want to be.
We do not want a feminism that looks like a social worker behind a desk with concerned eyebrows. We want a feminism that stays up late at the kitchen table convincing us that we deserve better. We do not want a feminism that will put us up in a run down state shelter for a short while until we’re “back on our feet.” We want a feminism that will break back into our house we were just kicked out of and tell the land lord he’ll have hell to pay from a mob of angry bitches if he attempts eviction again.
And when one of us is raped and murdered for our gender we definitely do not want more empty calls for “justice” and quiet candle-lit vigils. We want a feminism that acts from a much wider range of emotion and expectation. We want a visible expression of exasperation, anger, and frustration that makes obvious that we are finished with these routines: the routines of violence against women and queer people, the routines of quietly shaking our heads at these tragedies, the routines of asking for change. We want a feminism that is not afraid to try new things, that is dynamic enough to know that at times healing comes in the form of vengeance and change comes in the form of destroying what destroys you.
This MayDay anarcha-feminism may just look like a riotous street party with a contingent that is strikingly dudeless, but that rumbling you hear is what lies right beneath the surface. Great ruptures and new worlds are in store, but we can not be passive spectators in creating our new selves. Kill the liberal in your head. There are no excuses now for not exchanging numbers, saying hello on the street and building relationships where we plan, scheme, and push each other out of victim-hood by being the toughest comrades possible in our common struggles and, perhaps more importantly, in our uncommon struggles.
We’re in this together.
Safety is an Illusion: Reflections on Accountability
I was asked by a dear friend to write this piece about accountability within radical communities—offer some insight in light of the years we’ve spent fighting against rape culture. Except I don’t believe in accountability anymore. It should be noted that my anger and hopelessness about the current model is proportional to how invested I’ve been in the past. Accountability feels like a bitter ex-lover to me and I don’t have any of those… the past 10 years I really tried to make the relationship work but you know what?
There is no such thing as accountability within radical communities because there is no such thing as community—not when it comes to sexual assault and abuse. Take an honest survey sometime and you will find that we don’t agree. There is no consensus. Community in this context is a mythical, frequently invoked and much misused term. I don’t want to be invested in it anymore.
I think it’s time to abandon these false linguistic games we play and go back to the old model. I miss the days when it was considered reasonable to simply kick the living shit out of people and put them on the next train out of town—at least that exchange was clear and honest. I have spent too much time with both survivors and perpetrators drowning in a deluge of words that didn’t lead to healing or even fucking catharsis.
I am sick of the language of accountability being used to create mutually exclusive categories of “fucked up” and “wronged.” I find the language of “survivor” and “perp” offensive because it does not lay bare all the ways in which abuse is a dynamic between parties. (Though I will use those terms here because it’s the common tender we have.)
Anarchists are not immune to dynamics of abuse—that much we can all agree on—but I have come to realize more and more that we cannot keep each other safe. Teaching models of mutual working consent is a good start, but it will never be enough: socialization of gender, monogamy—the lies of exclusivity and the appeal of “love” as propriety are too strong. People seek out these levels of intensity when the love affair is new, when that obsessive intimacy feels good and then don’t know how to negotiate soured affection.
That’s the thing about patriarchy: it’s fucking pervasive; and that’s the thing about being an anarchist or trying to live free, fierce, and without apology: none of it keeps you safe from violence. There is no space we can create in a world as damaged as the one we live in which is absent from violence. That we even think it is possible says more about our privilege than anything else. Our only autonomy lies in how we negotiate and use power and violence ourselves.
I really want to emphasize: there is no such thing as safe space under patriarchy or capitalism in light of all the sexist, hetero-normative, racist, classist (etc) domination that we live under. The more we try and pretend safety can exist at a community level, the more disappointed and betrayed our friends and lovers will be when they experience violence and do not get supported. Right now we’ve been talking a good game but the results are not adding up.
There are a lot of problems with the current model: the very different experiences of sexual assault and relationship abuse get lumped together. Accountability processes encourage triangulation instead of direct communication, and because conflict is not pushed, most honest communication is avoided. Direct confrontation is good! Avoiding it doesn’t allow for new understandings, cathartic release, or the eventual forgiveness that person-to-person exchanges can lead to.
We have set up a model where all parties are encouraged to simply negotiate how they never have to see each other again or share space. Some impossible demands/promises are meted out and in the name of confidentiality, lines are drawn in the sand on the basis of generalities. Deal with your shit but you can’t talk about the specifics of what went down and you can’t talk to each other. The current model actually creates more silence: only a specialized few are offered information about what happened but everyone is still expected to pass judgment. There is little transparency in these processes.
In an understandable attempt to not trigger or cause more pain we talk ourselves in increasingly abstracted circles while a moment or dynamic between two people gets crystallized and doesn’t change or progress. “Perps” become the sum total of their worst moments. “Survivors” craft an identity around experiences of violence that frequently keeps them stuck in that emotional moment. The careful nonviolent communication of accountability doesn’t lead to healing. I’ve seen these processes divide a lot of scenes but I haven’t seen them help people get support, retake power, or feel safe again.
Rape breaks you: the loss of bodily control, how those feeling of impotence revisit you, how it robs you of any illusion of safety or sanity. We need models that help people take power back and we need to call the retribution, control, and banishing of the current model for what it is: revenge. Revenge is OK but let’s not pretend it’s not about power! If shaming and retaliatory violence is what we have to work with then let’s be real about it. Let’s chose those tools if we can honestly say that is what we want to do. In the midst of this war we need to get better at being in conflict.
Abuse and rape are inevitable consequences of the sick society we are forced to live under. We need to eviscerate and destroy it, but in the meantime, we can’t hide from it or the ways it affects our most personal relationships. I know in my own life an important process in my struggle for liberation was making my peace with the worst consequences of my personal assault on patriarchy. Dealing with being raped was an important part of understanding what it meant to choose to be at war with this society.
Rape has always been used as this tool of control—proffered up as a threat of what would happen if I, in my queerness and gendered ambiguity, continued to live, work, dress, travel, love or resist the way that I chose to. Those warnings held no water for me; in my heart I knew it was only a matter of time—no matter what kind of life I chose to live because my socially prescribed gender put me at constant risk for violation. I was raped at work and it took me a while to really name that assault as rape. After it happened mostly what I felt—once the pain, rage and anger subsided—was relief. Relief that it had finally happened. I had been waiting my whole life for it to happen, had had a few close calls and finally I knew what it felt like and I knew I could get through it.
I needed that bad trick. I needed a concrete reason for the hunted feelings that stemmed from my friend’s rape, murder, and mutilation a few years back. I needed to have someone hurt me and realize I had both the desire to kill them and the personal control to keep myself from doing it. I needed to reach out for support and be disappointed. Because that’s how it goes down: ask the 10 survivors you know most people don’t come out of it feeling supported. We’ve raised expectations but the real life experience is still shit.
I was traveling abroad when it happened. The only person I told called the police against my wishes. They searched the “crime” scene without my consent and took DNA evidence because I didn’t dispose of it. Knowing I had allowed myself in a moment of vulnerability to be pressured and coerced into participating in the police process against my political will made me feel even worse than being violated had. I left town shortly thereafter so I didn’t have to continue to be pressured by my “friend” into cooperating with the police any more than I already had. The only way I felt any semi-balance of control during that period was by taking retribution against my rapist into my own hands.
I realized that I also could wield threats, anger and implied violence as a weapon. After my first experience of “support” I chose to do that alone. I could think of no one in that moment to ask for help but it was OK because I realized I could do it myself. In most other places I think I could have asked some of my friends to help me. The culture of nonviolence does not totally permeate all of the communities I exist in. The lack of affinity I felt was a result of being transient to that city but I don’t think my experience of being offered mediation instead of confrontation is particularly unique.
In the case of sexual assault I think retaliatory violence is appropriate, and I don’t think there needs to be any kind of consensus about it. Pushing models that promise to mediate instead of allow confrontation is isolating and alienating. I didn’t want mediation through legal channels or any other. I wanted revenge. I wanted to make him feel as out of control, scared, and vulnerable as he had made me feel. There is no safety really after a sexual assault, but there can be consequences.
We can’t provide survivors safe space: safe space, in a general sense, outside of close friendships, some family and the occasional affinity just doesn’t exist. Our current models of accountability suffer from an over-abundance of hope. Fuck the false promises of safe space—we will never get everyone on the same page about this. Let’s cop to how hard healing is and how delusional any expectation for a radical change of behavior is in the case of assault. We need to differentiate between physical assault and emotional abuse: throwing them together under the general rubric interpersonal violence doesn’t help.
Cyclical patterns of abuse don’t just disappear. This shit is really really deep; many abusers were abused and many abused become abusers. The past few years I have watched with horror as the language of accountability became an easy front for a new generation of emotional manipulators. It’s been used to perfect a new kind of predatory maverick—the one schooled in the language of sensitivity, using the illusion of accountability as community currency.
So where does real safety come from? How can we measure it? Safety comes from trust, and trust is personal. It can’t be mediated or rubber stamped at a community level. My “safe” lover might be your secret abuser and my caustic codependent ex might be your healthy, tried and true confidant. Rape culture is not easily undone, but it is contextual.
People in relation to each other create healthy or unhealthy exchanges. There is no absolute for “fucked up,” “healed,” or “safe”—it changes with time, life circumstance, and each new love affair. It is with feelings of unease that I have observed the slippery slope of “emotional” abuse become a common reason to initiate an accountability process…
Here is the problem with using this model for emotional abuse: it’s an unhealthy dynamic between two people. So who gets to call it? Who gets to wield that power in the community? (And let’s all be honest that there is power in calling someone to an accountability process.) People in unhealthy relationships need a way to get out of them without it getting turned into a community judgment against whoever was unlucky enough to not realize a bad dynamic or call it abuse first. These processes frequently exacerbate mutually unhealthy power plays between hurt parties. People are encouraged to pick sides and yet no direct conflict brings these kinds of entanglements to any kind of resolve.
Using accountability models developed all those years ago to deal with serial rapists in the radical scene has not been much to help in getting people out of the sand pit of damaging and codependent relationships. Emotional abuse is a fucking vague and hard to define term. It means different things to every person.
If someone hurts you and you want to hurt them back, then do it but don’t pretend it’s about mutual healing. Call power exchange for what it is. It’s OK to want power back and it’s OK to take it, but never do anything to someone else that you couldn’t stomach having someone do to you if the tables were turned.
Those inclined to use physical brutality to gain power need to be taught a lesson in a language they will understand: the language of physical violence. Those mired in unhealthy relationships need help examining a mutual dynamic and getting out of it, not assigning blame. No one can decide who deserves compassion and who doesn’t except the people directly involved.
There is no way to destroy rape culture through non-violent communication because there is no way to destroy rape culture without destroying society. In the meantime let’s stop expecting the best or the worst from people.
I am sick of accountability and its lack of transparency.
I am sick of triangulating.
I am sick of hiding power exchange.
I am sick of hope.
I have been raped.
I have been an unfair manipulator of power in some of my intimate relationships.
I have had sexual exchanges that were a learning curve for better consent.
I have the potential in me to be both survivor and perp, abused and abuser, as we all do.
These essentialist categories don’t serve us. People rape, very few people are rapists in every sexual exchange. People abuse one another: this abuse is often mutual and cyclical; cycles are hard but not impossible to amend. These behaviors change contextually. Therefore there is no such thing as safe space.
I want us to be honest about being at war—with ourselves, with our lovers and with our “radical” community—because we are at war with the world at large and those tendrils of domination exist within us and they affect so much of what we touch, who we love, and those we hurt.
But we are not only the pain we cause others or the violence inflicted upon us.
We need more direct communication and when that doesn’t help we need direct engagement in all its horrible messy glory. As long as we make ourselves vulnerable to others we will never be safe in the total sense of the word.
There is only affinity and trust kept.
There is only trust broken and confrontation.
The war isn’t going to end anytime soon
Let’s be better at being in conflict.
Notes on Survivor Autonomy and Violence
A few notes on language: many of the terms used herein are vague, subjective, loaded, or otherwise ambiguous. For purposes of clarity, when “accountability processes” are referenced, this will be a specific reference to sexual assault accountability processes, as distinct from any other such process, the basic model of which can of course be applied to any number of issues and situations. In discussing “anarchists” or “anarchist men,” I am rather loosely defining the subjects as members of an existing anarchist milieu, or social structure of and among many anarchists and those who identify similarly—this is not in any way to suggest that anarchism itself is somehow the exclusive domain or property of said milieu, only to use self-identification as a reference point.
Additionally, mentions of gender are inherently problematic. When discussing “men” assaulting or raping “women,” the intent is not to oversimplify the issue of gender constructions, but rather to use a shorthand in reference to people socialized male, on the one hand, and people socialized female on the other. Obviously, however, perpetrators of sexual assault are not always male (though, unfortunately, most are) and, conversely, survivors are sometimes male. These dynamics, when interrogated, are in no way limited to male-female relations, or gender-normative relations at all. However, the act of sexual violence perpetrated by males against females occupies, in many ways, its own specific social and historical context. This constitutes the fundamental circumstance of patriarchy. In this, some passages here deal more generally with our attitudes towards any perpetrator of sexual assault, and some directly with said specific phenomenon. The behavior of patriarchy outside gender normativity, as a basic social relationship of domination, is an issue which goes largely unexplored here. That being said, an analysis of sexual assault and capitalist gender oppression is relevant to anyone in these communities, anyone being confronted with these situations.
Thus, I beg the reader’s forgiveness for the use of what is admittedly a reductive and problematic vocabulary.
There is a peculiar sort of discourse which surrounds the issue of accountability in anarchist or otherwise “radical” circles—one that takes for granted that anarchist men should receive treatment distinct from other men. When, in the anarchist milieu, a man sexually assaults a woman, the surrounding community will often engage in a process designed to hold the man accountable for his actions; in the name of “restorative justice” or a “safer” community, with the intent of keeping the individual from doing it again.
My contempt isn’t for any one of these goals, but rather for the idea that seems to regularly accompany them, being that—as opposed to non-anarchist men—anarchist men who commit sexual violence should first be approached from a standpoint of community repair. Whereas with other men, the knee-jerk reaction of many women (anarchist/radical or otherwise, but let’s here focus on the former) to these offenses would likely involve something resulting in hospitalization on the man’s part, anarchists are somehow given the benefit of the doubt, the opportunity to “work on their shit.” That is, after an assault takes place (quixotically and rather disturbingly, prior to such an offense, it seems, the subject is rarely directly broached, its importance rarely emphasized).
While noble, this is also somewhat paradoxical—if anything, shouldn’t men in these communities be held to a more immediate standard, given their implicit allegiance to certain ideals off the bat, and their (unfortunately, often falsely) assumed understanding and critique of capitalist patriarchy and its functions? Shouldn’t men in these communities be even more detested for falsely displaying comradeship for, and then afterwards still expecting it from, the survivors of their actions?
And if the answers to those questions are yes and yes, why are they confronted more theoretically, more verbally? The simple and legitimate reply is often that such a response is what corresponds to the wishes of the woman assaulted. But this is not without its own problematic. Why would you leave his teeth intact while anyone else would eat the curb? What is it that convinces us that we should consider this less violent option in one instance but not the other?
That is to say: if his twisted understanding of anarchism (or any other radical or revolutionary politics) involves or excuses sexual assault, why does anyone owe him anything? Why then give him the benefit of the ideal?
And if we do not believe that anarchist men have a better understanding of gender oppression than other men—that there is adequate basis for such an assumption—why the hell do we put up with them in our communities in the first place? To put it tritely, something has got to give. Our continued insistence on accountability neglects the fact that a shared politic should function as the bearer of that information and consequence before the assault takes place—and from there, step two should be as with any other man who commits sexual assault, wherein the perpetrator faces the same unpleasant consequences.
The many complex ongoing conversations about the nature and characteristics of accountability processes, or even their effectiveness, almost never address the possibility that their very practice is often already a compromise. To directly prescribe emotional response is never acceptable and not the intention here, but the point remains that a cultural routine in which this constitutes step two is self-perpetuating in such a way as to reinforce its own insularity by granting judicial advantages to those who have already proven contemptuous of them while leaving others, who might have even less of an understanding of how fucked up their actions are, in the emergency room where they ostensibly belong.
The necessary caveat here is that the majority of anarchist accountability processes are not at all delicate or diplomatic, and the intention is in no way to suggest that employing this tactic implies some sort of being “soft” on sexual assault, or that these points make the practice itself illegitimate. The women I know who work in these processes have more nerve than almost anyone, and have anything but any kind of mercy for the perpetrators they work with. And there are undoubtedly many situations in which an accountability process makes sense pragmatically and in terms of scale or severity. What concerns me is what seems to be the automatic tendency towards one reaction versus another. What concerns me is the possibly cultivated mentality that these anarchist men, whose presence in a community would ideally be a self-evident assurance of their ability to keep themselves from raping women they claim to respect, should be given a special second chance that their very participation in the community should waive.
To be certain, we are all guilty of indirectly/unintentionally perpetuating systems of oppression through subtle socialized behavior, and to this, a different response is perhaps warranted. Maybe this is the line between issues of language or social behavior and issues of direct physical attack. Maybe it’s the line between a naïve misunderstanding and the refusal to give half a fuck. But an outright act of physical violence deserves no such understanding. An intentional or even malicious disregard for consent doesn’t merit a conversation.
As a necessarily crude and reductive yet possibly helpful example (as different systems of oppression and the relationships between them are, of course, neither simple nor identical), white people guilty of racially motivated transgressions (verbal or physical, slurs or attacks) are rarely recommended for “accountability.” They are not given the benefit of a process, all too often organized and worked on by the very people towards whom their violence is directed, aimed at rehabilitating their racist ways. No one, it would seem, bends over backwards to grant them a complex opportunity to repent. Because racism is fucked, and people should know that, period.
Sexual assault and rape are not things that just happen. They are not merely individual transgressions. These acts are political—intentional perpetuations of a system of domination; a system which subordinates women on every level; a system which is always violent, hostile, and manipulative; a system which cannot be addressed by “fixing” individual perpetrators on a philosophical level and then welcoming them back into the arms of the community they attacked. And it was never just an attack, but always a deliberate reinforcement of patriarchal oppression. These systems necessitate self-defense as material as the manifestations it confronts.
Just as sexual violence isn’t something that simply happens without implication, capitalist patriarchy isn’t something that simply exists without origin. Historically, as was an integral part of the development of capitalism, women’s labor—that of physical reproduction—is distinctly corporeal. This process occurs only physically, fully within a body. “Men’s work,” or manual labor, is physical in its operation, but deliberate operations of the hands also necessarily involve the mind as well—these acts are not performed innately, naturally; their every step requires some brief intellectual evaluation. Following this, we can easily observe a greater social emphasis on women’s bodies than men’s bodies, as women’s intellects are simultaneously presumed to be inferior to those of men.
Rape violently reifies this corporeality as a female experience. Women, here, are not only primarily bodies to begin with, but are then further forced into and confined within those bodies. Accountability processes as mental, emotional, or intellectual endeavors can be said to perpetuate this divide—the woman’s experience is a battle with the physical, the man’s remains verbal, psychological. On the back of the very dynamic which has carried the development of capitalist social roles, then, we would appear to be resting our own understanding of justice.
And what of revenge? A humanist critique posits that such a motivation is unhealthy or even illegitimate, and concepts of restorative justice follow suit. Perhaps revenge is even the opposite of accountability. But when we break windows, or advocate general/human strike, are we holding capital accountable, or enacting revenge upon it? In reaction to the constant attack of capitalist domination, aren’t all political actions ideally vengeful?
It has been said that, regardless of circumstance, violence is simply not the way to deal with conflicts “within the community.” Leaving aside for a moment the terrible nature of a community that clings to the performance of cohesion for the sake of its rapists’ safety, we must also be driven to analyze the role of honesty in our responses to these situations. Is it more honest, more direct, more real, to enact a visceral physical response—even revenge—or to engage in a lengthy pseudo-judicial “process”? In some instances, the answer may well be the latter, but the possibility of the former as genuine needs to be seriously considered in all cases, especially by the survivor, whose actions must not be dictated by expectation or precedent. Honesty is a crucial dynamic within any community worthy of the name, and just as the use of unmediated violence against perpetrators is a result of the honest community, it is equally important that the honest community is itself a result of actions such as these.
A common criticism of accountability processes of all varieties is their tendency to mirror some sort of judicial system—structured mediation toward rehabilitation or punishment of one kind or another. While an outcome dictated by the survivor is certainly not akin to one dictated by the state, the process remains a mediation. Conversely, to move away from this judiciary is to reject mediation, a remnant of the idea that our interactions must be somehow guided by third parties, even third parties we choose ourselves. To that end, an attack on one’s rapist is unmediated and direct, precisely that which any judicial system forbids; the line between desire and action is erased.
Most accountability processes force a violent perpetrator to “work on” his existence as male, his performance of masculinity. They aim to persuade him to adjust his role as a man. But patriarchy can only exist so long as it is performed—that is, so long as the role of the man is fulfilled. What we want, quite simply—as for with any other determinate role imposed by and in the service of capital—is for it to be destroyed.
Later Post-Script to Notes on Survivor Autonomy and Violence
It was pointed out almost immediately upon publication that the second paragraph of this piece, that which attempts to address the inherent problem in discussing gender, is unintentionally yet strongly dismissive of trans experience by way of referring to “socialization” without clarifying self-identification as a separate factor. This was a serious oversight, and one for which I offer a sincere apology. For what it’s worth—not as any excuse—trans experience was always meant to be included as a singular and crucial aspect of any consideration of gendered violence or simplistic/stereotypical assumptions about it. The majority of perpetrators of sexual assault are MALE-IDENTIFIED male-socialized individuals, the latter term as definitively not synonymous with the former (the term “cisgender,” which I take separate issue with, could also be applicable here), and this should have been made clear, as well as the unique circumstances which accompany sexual violence against trans people. Still, it is my hope that the basic arguments made regarding accountability and community response will remain pertinent.
Dysphoria Means Total Destroy
The last three weeks, every stranger I have come across has misgendered me, whether I’m femming it up or not. In the mirrored elevator doors at work my face looks tired, angular in all the wrong ways. With some unease, I recognize my dad in my reflection. Both my spiro and estro pills ran out today, and I’m flipping out. They’re probably going to arrive Monday, but they might have gotten lost in untracked airmail and what the fuck am I going to do if I’ve got to spend another Benjamin and wait three weeks more? I want to scream. I’m filled with steam. I’m warding off the desire to hit myself, and so I start daydreaming in my gray cubicle. I see a hijacked airliner turn and head directly towards my desk. I’m staring it down, making ridiculous arm gestures, calling it in like some sort of kamikaze air controller. There’s a loud flash, I disappear, and everything burns.
Being so qualitative, dysphoria is difficult to pin down exactly. A decent definition would be something like “intense unease in regards to (one’s) gender,” where gender is understood to include the entirety of sex, gender, and anatomy (since none exist outside of the discourses within which they are produced and they are all intimately interrelated). There is a tension, typically formulated as a contradiction between sex and gender, or between what one is, what one desires, and what one is not. Yet, a move away from positivity might help sidestep implicitly essentialist language while potentially opening up some new lines of thought.
Despair and hopelessness marks the quality of dysphoria, burning the border between the world and impossibility deep into me, making its omnipresence unbearably visible. Many other types of despair carry with it the seed of a hope that something possible (however unlikely) could fix the situation one despairs within: the cancer might go away, this ugly breakup could always turn around and spontaneously become a deep and lasting love, I might win the lottery so I can stop being in crushing debt, Obama might bring meaning to my life. Dysphoria carries with it no such thing. While there are despairs that do not carry this hope, the intensity, duration, and scope of gender dysphoria suggests that it is worth analyzing.
This conflict between actual and impossible does not exist in a vacuum, but exists precisely because of the naming-constructing-creating that is this world. The world creates its own impossibilities by its incessant productive categorization, as nothing fits its own definition. Everything is perpetually scratching at the walls, blindly, without any purpose. The intolerability that surrounds everything is also a graininess in everything. The border reveals itself as not one but two, a pair of overlapping shadows. The impossible existing and the longed-for nonexistent intersect here. While this graininess exists everywhere, dysphoria marks where this graininess comes into conflict with gender, and by extension the world and our constitution as subjects. Beyond not fitting the category we were assigned (I am not-this), it is our continually failing to be (I am not-that). This is where the rhetoric of the liberal transfeminist fails. I wasn’t born this way, and I can’t ever be either. Not-this would imply that dysphoria has a similarity with despair, sharing the commonality of something else one could hope for. The not-that both stands in for and precludes that hope.
It is important to recognize that I am not talking about individuals, beliefs, choices, or actions here, but of a conflict that takes place between graininess and the world within gender and manifesting itself through gender. There is no revolutionary identity here, only an irreconcilable conflict against and through identity. This despair and this hatred is the result. Subsequently, identity-based attacks upon gender will not be able to collapse gender. My taking hormones or getting surgery or whatever is simply my performing the conflict by the lines of power that run through me. It does not follow that these things constitute an attack upon gender itself, although it may stimulate it to evolve in order to maintain its existence. Through and against are distinguished by where (and thus how) the conflict takes place. These overlapping circles—the impossible existing and the nonexistent—produce one another endlessly, composing the topography of the world. I’ve gone over why the existing is impossible, but the status of nonexistent might be less obvious. The nonexistent is not something that can be acquired, but exists as the shadows and holes produced by the structuring of the world. It is not a way out. Yet, in the very foundation of this world lies its weakness, by the very fact of its own creating. Not-this, not-that: negation at its heart. Nothing, the very same as the graininess that gives rise to the conflict. Nothing because it lacks categories, because it is the emptiness that overflows every name given to it. It cannot be put to work, it is always breaking down. It cannot be rendered tame, but it will explode in revolt. It exists in the spaces between the things, and in the heart of every thing. It can never be contained. This Nothing attempts to destroy everything in its path.
Looking at the negative responses dysphoria presents, I think a course of action against gender emerges. Where dysphoria drives us towards destruction and away from interacting with gender on its own terms, we see something (or rather, Nothing) that dissolves, attacks, demolishes. This might often appear as destruction of the self or directed against the self such as suicide, drug (ab)use, self-harm, but also can appear as any other outwards action where I, unstable and miserable, unravel everything around me. These all are fundamentally an undoing, action which threatens the very existence of structure. Misgendering is an instance of this structure imposing itself, spurring this conflict into even greater violence within me. The violence visited upon trans bodies is also an undoing of the conflict, although it works in attempt to stamp out this Nothing. Every action we could take that interacts with gender directly will at best be ineffective, every effort to impose gender upon us is met by increased resistance, and all that is left is destroy. Only Nothing can destroy gender.
To elaborate and clarify: this world is typified by the operations of productive power, creating two overlapping shadows. At once, there is the existing, a direct result of power’s creation. As a simultaneous corollary, the nonexistent appears as produced holes, gaps, shadows, a mirage of what could be but contradicting themselves fundamentally. Both the existent and the nonexistent are impossible, empty. Their existence is both enabled and plagued by a graininess that cannot be contained by either but which production finds itself needing. Gender exists as an aspect of the power that creates the world, and while the obvious manifestations of gender can be separated from other aspects of power, its root is this power.
Dysphoria is situated in the space where the existent and the nonexistent overlap—that is, in the world—and is typified by antagonism and fundamental negation. On the one hand, it is a negation of the existent (not-this) and desirous of the nonexistent (not-that) in the modes of which it is capable. Where dysphoria can be softened by interacting with gender and attempting to bring the existent closer to the nonexistent, this will not affect power or the reproduction of the world. Where dysphoria becomes feral and lusts for dissolution becomes the exit from this world to a place that does not yet exist. To destroy gender, we must be willing to destroy the world it exists within. After all, there’s no hope anyway… why not?
An Insurrectional Practice Against Gender: Considerations on Resonance, Memory, and Attack
I wish I could tell you that I became numb to the pain after all these years, but the news of the murder of another trans woman punches me in the gut every time it reaches me. Upon discovering details of Deoni Jones’s murder, I’m left gasping for air and for the words or actions to express my total hatred for the society that produces the rhythms of gender-maintaining violence and mourning that have come to characterize the only rhythm that is audible to those of us seeking a way out of gender’s terrible song. There’s something inside of me that almost wishes to become deaf to this rhythm, but I know that it would not be enough to quiet gender’s reverberations in my body and in my daily life, which I have unceasingly tried to silence through hormones, alcohol, drugs, and writing idiotic essays. I fear this essay is nothing but another of those futile attempts. So many of us have tried these means and more to manage the crushing pain of gender in isolation, but there is nothing we could do short of collectively interrupting this rhythm and destroying gender in its entirety that will ease our heavy hearts. It is with this in mind that I will elaborate a proposal for those weary of gender violence and death for the creation of a new rhythm of vengeance against the gendered order.
There are certain practices that exist in the ways in which self-proclaimed “radical trans” people and “anarcha-feminists” of certain activist subcultures have set into motion in response to the question of gender. These include consent workshops, “trans 101”s, consent zines/workshops, and callouts of “fucked up” behavior internal to their subculture, in addition to dance parties and orgies. There is certainly nothing inherently *wrong** with any of these things, but if we take seriously the notion that we must destroy gender and all social relations of this society, there is clearly something lacking in the practice which only challenges gender at a level of language use and subcultural dynamics. If we abandon the leftist-activist model and accept the charge that “revolutionary movements do not spread by contamination, but by resonance” and writing that has further elaborated this thesis of an insurrectional music, we come to an understanding that there are at the very least a number of problems with thinking that these isolated methods alone could build a force to destroy gender. Such a practice falls short at both directly addressing the material manifestations of gender violence as well as creating practices that will resonate with the unthinkable pain we carry deep in our bodies. We must build a rhythm of struggle which resonates in our bodies and builds the links between attack, memory, and the gender terror we experience in daily life.
It is simple enough to begin a discussion of insurrectional strategy with the notion of the attack. Yet many confuse this process with merely smashing a random bank and writing a communiqué telling the cops to fuck off. Of course, I’m not interested in condemning such a practice, I’m merely more interested in examining the ways in which various notions and methods of attack are positioned in relation to our memory and all of the emotions that have built up over time due to all of the gender violence we’ve endured. While it’s easy enough to mock candlelight vigils or the Trans Day of Remembrance, these moments function to create a continuity and rhythm of memory in relation to trans violence that many radical approaches to gender fail to do. When we hear the name Deoni Jones today and see pictures of groups huddled by candlelight, we cannot help but think of Dee Dee Pearson, Shelley Hilliard, Lashai Mclean, Sandy Woulard, Chanel Larkin, Duanna Johnson, Gwen Araujo, and Marsha P. Johnson. We cannot help but have our minds fill with the history of those murdered at the hands of a society that must maintain the gendered order at all costs. It’s so easy to get lost in the pain that comes along with this, to look over your shoulder as you walk home every night in hopes that the noise you’ve heard isn’t someone ready to pounce on you. You might soon forget, and then be reminded next month when it happens again to another trans woman in another city or perhaps your hometown.
This is the rhythm of our memory and our collective fear and misery, which repeats with every murder, vigil, and Trans Day of Remembrance. An insurrectional practice which attacks the foundations of gender must also utilize the rhythms of memory and emotion, but toward the end of breaking the ideology of victimization and passivity that the former practices maintain. Insurrectional comrades elsewhere in the world write: “Power has implemented on its behalf a machine of forgetting, each time more perfect and macabre, in order to maintain actual conditions in its favor. Amnesia only generates an acceptance of imposed reality while observing past struggles or comrades like photographs, severing every connection with reality, achieved by showing how unfeasible every intent to disobey the masters is.” This has manifested in attacks in solidarity with insurrectional comrades who have fallen or who are facing repression. These attacks are an attempt to tap into the visceral stores of hatred for this world and for its attacks upon those who share the desire to see an end to it, connecting the rhythms of collective memory, a desire for vengeance, and the terrain of struggle upon which they are situated.
We might be able to remove this practice of attack from a situation in which anarchists are only self-referential to the history of their own struggle and also apply it to our place within the cycles of deadly gender violence and mourning. Indeed, this has already been experimented with amongst anarchists in the United States. This model was experimented with in Bash Back!’s “Avenge Duanna” campaign, in which queer anarchists from a variety of cities carried out actions in response to Duanna Johnson’s murder in Memphis, TN in 2008. This brought to life a practice which connected the visceral emotions of vengeance, connection to collective memory, and attack which built power and the refusal of victimization. Its failure was perhaps failing to continue to materialize this force with every death, although in recent months there has been a resurgence in vengeance attacks. If we are to build a rhythm of bashing back, we must be steadfast in refusing to let the death of a trans woman go unnoticed. We must impose our own powerful rhythm, identifying the nodes of gender policing and violence in our local terrain of struggle and exacting our vengeance upon them, displacing the rhythms of fear, victimization, and empty gestures that continue to characterize current anarchist, feminist, or trans-activist responses to gender violence. Through connecting the terrain of our daily life to cycles of the struggle against gender violence, we make material our resistance and leave a material mark of our refusal of victimhood. If this practice is to resonate we must steadily build this rhythm and refuse to allow anyone to ignore the multiplication of trans death all around us, by means of media sabotage, graffiti, or a variety of other methods. We have the opportunity to experiment with many methods of action with the potential to diffuse techniques of sabotaging gender production. Let us boldly experiment in this regard. Only then might the painful song of gender be replaced by the rhythm of its collapse.
This is an unwavering political statement, a conscious effort to politicize an event without being apologetic or defensive. This statement is written by a collective of women who came together in the spring of 2010 based on shared experiences and concerns surrounding patriarchy and sexual violence within the radical scene and beyond. In our meetings and discussions, we learned that many of the women within our network have experienced some form of sexual violence. It is no coincidence that we have had this experience with power. Rape is not a personal misfortune but an experience with domination shared by many women. When more than two people have suffered the same oppression the problem is no longer personal but political—thus, rape is a political matter — New York Radical Feminists Manifesto, 1971
Violence against women contributes to a system of power, organizing society into a complex set of relationships based on a sometimes invisible and internalized assumption of male supremacy. Rape is not the only form of control that male-bodied individuals can practice in romantic, friend, or comradely relationships. Physical as well as emotional abuse function as ways of maintaining involuntary hierarchies and control over women, female sexuality, and reproductive systems.
The silence and secrecy that often surrounds issues of power and domination should in no way to be taken as complicity, however, we as women and survivors will remain silent no longer.
Ideologically speaking, male-bodied anarchists and communists align with principles of egalitarianism and anti-authoritarianism, yet daily practices in this regard oftentimes fall short. We have repeatedly seen a chasm between theory and praxis in male-bodied treatment of women and other oppressed people. We have seen over and over again, male-gendered behaviors reproduce the very systems of domination that we are fighting to dismantle. We refuse to allow this to continue.
In the course of our meetings, we identified one male-bodied individual as a repeat perpetrator of sexual violence against female-bodied people: Jan Michael Dichter, also known as Maus. This particular individual, whose vocabulary consisted of anti-patriarchal jargon, had committed sexual violence before, and participated in survivor-defined accountability processes. Since he continued to transgress boundaries, raping and sexually assaulting women in Boston and Santa Cruz, we decided to confront him. We met him at his home and verbally confronted him. He refused to take responsibility and his words were manipulative and insulting. When he refused to shut up, we shut him up. The intent was to inflict pain, albeit it would only be a small portion of the amount of pain his victims have felt.
We did what had to be done out of sheer necessity. As radicals, we know the legal system is entrenched in bullshit—many laws and legal processes are racist, classist, heterosexist and misogynist. Alternative accountability processes, much like the traditional ones, often force the survivor to relive the trauma of the assault and force her to put her reputation—a problematic concept in itself—on the line as “proof” of her credibility. They end up being an ineffective recreation of the judicial process that leaves the perpetrator off the hook, while the survivor has to live through the memory of the assault for the rest of her life (Anonymous communiqué from NYC, 2009). The US legal system and the alternative community-based accountability processes are simply not good enough for survivors, and certainly not revolutionary.
Rape is entangled in a system of patriarchy and domination. It would serve us well to consider rape as part of class and race analysis. It is not only a crime committed by individuals against individuals; it is systemic and structural. It is our material interest as women that pushes us to stand up for ourselves. The material consequences of patriarchy and male supremacy push all women, regardless of how they define themselves ideologically, to fight against our oppression. In our work as a radical community, both female- and male-bodied, we must work to dismantle this form of oppression and domination. We find it an incomprehensible and unacceptable betrayal that our so-called male-bodied “friends” would perpetrate this kind of subjugation of female-bodied comrades. Just because you can articulate feminist theory does not mean that you are to be trusted.
We also find tacit support of male-bodied perpetrators, as well as the hijacking of our collectively defined accountability process particularly offensive. Attempts by some self-identified “male allies” to take control of the action by confronting Maus themselves, pressuring women for inclusion and calling a public meeting without our permission undermined our practice of self-organization. Rather than demonstrating their support these men made it clear that they were unwilling to allow us to act on our own behalf without their involvement. The type of action we took as a group of female-bodied comrades aligns clearly with anti-hierarchical politics and goals of self-determination. If our male-bodied “comrades” want to be considered as comrades, we’d like to see them behave that way. This action sets a precedent, the beginning of a new kind of accountability process, one that leaves the perpetrator in pain and articulates our call for the dismantling of male supremacy in radical political communities and beyond. We know that Maus is not the only guilty one. We know there are more of you out there… It would take a revolution to eliminate structural violence; thus an anti-rape agenda must be part of any revolutionary agenda. We demand this now.
We’ll Show You Crazy Bitches I
Dressed in matching black skirts and masks, dozens of women gathered on Saturday evening for an anti-capitalist Take Back the Night march, stopping traffic on Bedford Avenue, overturning trashcans, and breaking windows. Tired of tamely shouting slogans on campus sidewalks, we took the night back by taking it, refusing the structural mechanisms that create rapists and their victims.
Although in recent years Take Back the Night has been co-opted by liberal feminists, it has its roots in the widespread unrest of Italy in the late seventies. In 1976, a seventeen-year-old was gang-raped in Rome. A year later, when her case went to trial, she was gang-raped again by the same men: and this time, her whole body was slashed with razors in an attempt to keep her silent. Within hours, fifteen thousand women mobilized, uniformly dressed like the sex workers common to the district; “NO MORE MOTHERS, WIVES AND DAUGHTERS: LET’S DESTROY THE FAMILIES!” was the cry heard in the street. They came just short of burning the neighborhood to the ground.
Forty years later, we marched again, to refuse the violence that continues to force us to be housewives and fuck-toys and mothers and daddy’s girls, to refuse to understand women’s oppression in the private sphere as a simple cultural or ideological matter. We address capitalism and patriarchy as one intrinsically interconnected system. We are not asking for rights: we are demanding something else entirely.
A woman on the street stopped and attempted to begin an argument: “Why are you doing this?” A swift reply: “Because we have grown tired of rape and makeup.” The woman responds: “Just get drunk and get laid—deal with it.” But this is no longer enough for us. We are not asking for a right to the streets, we are taking them; we are not asking for advertisements that do not objectify women, we’re destroying the commercial mechanisms that objectify women; we are not appealing to male power for an end to rape, but threatening: “If you touch me, I will fucking kill you.”
For once, the mechanisms that create and maintain identities of womanhood were refused, and our desires were our own, our bodies were our own, and our violence was our own.
We’ll Show You Crazy Bitches II
Jacob Onto is a piece of shit rapist. We are tired of accountability processes that force the survivor to relive, over and over, the trauma of assault; that force the survivor to put their reputation on the line as “proof” of their credibility; that end up being an ineffective recreation of the judicial process that leaves the perpetrator scot free, while the survivor has to live through this for the rest of their life.
At the very least, the perpetrator should feel something, some lasting mark of his behavior, something he will remember every time he has sex—that is, if he ever has sex again. So we decided to make sure this is an assault that Jacob never fucking forgets.
We rolled in with a baseball bat. We pulled his books off his shelves: he admitted it, not a single one mentioned consent. We made him say it: “I am a rapist.” We left him crying in the dark on his bed: he will never feel safe there again.
This is a precedent. This is the beginning of a new kind of accountability process, one that leaves the perpetrator in pain—though this is still only a tiny fraction of the pain that he has caused. We know that Jacob is not the only guilty one. We know there are more of you out there.
We are not sorry, and we will not stop: from now on, we will respond to sexual violence with violence.
“If you touch me, I will fucking kill you.” Let the roundups begin.
(A public service announcement: we encourage you to all use consent from here on out. And let it be clear: consent is not the absence of a “no,” but the presence of a “yes.”)
A Modest Proposal from Some Crazy Bitches
In the past weeks, crazy bitches have chosen to show gross yuppie neighborhoods and scummy pseudo-anarchist rapists their power in some pretty sick and sadistic ways. While rape apologists and generally fucked-up dudes have act horrified and evoked anachronistic concepts of “community” to repudiate this, we, as fellow crazy bitches out to tear this shit to pieces say, “we want more!” The fact of the matter is, when bitches get attacked for making war on their fucked-up conditions, other crazy bitches will be there to turn up the heat even further. We’re excited at the utter horror of “anarcho”-dudes everywhere; this means that someone’s done something right. Our simple proposal: crews of crazy bitches form everywhere, in every city in this country and beyond. Kick the shit out of your rapists, write the insurrectionary feminist theory that we need so bad, become an autonomous force that will destroy everything in its wake. And rape apologists, patriarchs, and “anarcho”-dudes be warned, you will not be safe from our fury. When you fuck with a crazy bitch, you have fucked with all of us. And we’re not so demure and dainty these days.
“Dude, I’m gonna negate the shit out of you.”
-one of many future autonomous cells of crazy bitches
Gang of Queers Beat Down Nazi at Albany Pride March June 16, 2009
We found 41 year old “Spanish Blue Blood,” a self proclaimed “stormtrooper” of the National Socialist Movement and senior moderator of the NSM’s official party forum, sitting on a bus bench waiting for a crew that never showed. The second he saw us he split for the street but didn’t get far til we caught up with him and gave him what he deserved.
“Spanish Blue Blood,” who lives in the Colonie area of Albany, had been trying for weeks to draw up enough people to stage a counter protest of Albany’s Capital Pride march but apparently he couldn’t even get a single person out. He recently celebrated his 41st birthday on June 9th so we delivered some belated gifts—in the form of tightly balled fists. The gang beat him until the cops showed and we made our way back into the park with no arrests.
-A motley crew of queers, anti-fascists, and anarchists
Modesto: Bee Boxes Sabotaged
April 9, 2010
She takes a loss cos she don’t wanna see her child lose. So respect her, and pay up for the time used — Lil Wayne
It seems the local Sheriff ’s Department (known for getting slapped with fat lawsuits for sexual harassment and getting their own guns stolen from under their pig noses at the local Honor Farm) came upon a slow night in Modesto several days ago. Instead of going what most of us do while at work during a slow day (nothing), they decided to “make the most of it” and went down to 9th street and arrested several sex workers after waiting for various johns to take them to motels. More sickening, the Modesto Bee printed the names of these people in their disgusting corporate publication, further humiliating them and vindicating the police in their story.
Sex workers, like all workers, sell their labor for wages. As women in a patriarchal society, they face attacks from customers and often from police. The same system which seeks to criminalize them is the same force that shut down production at the Modesto Bee building itself, and threatens people across the Central Valley. The police, the protectors of the rich. The media, their mouth piece. Fuck you all.
With super glue, we gave you a likkle sumthing, knowing that hopefully not being able to collect money from people that buy your horrible publication will be a thorn in your side. In total, 10 newspaper boxes were sabotaged last week. These actions are easy. They are simple to reproduce. Fuck the Modesto Bee, from its ongoing layoffs and horrible wages, to its boss and cop loving content. We up in yo honey pot, what?!
Against patriarchy and its police!
The Rejection of the Identity of Victimization Through Cracking a Nazi’s Skull
On Friday, April 15th, 2011 some anti-fascist in Anti-Racist Action learned of the location of the National Socialist Movement’s national conference for rank promotion and five-year planning. A group of 30 of us decided to march to where the Nazi’s were strongest, to bodily and boldly confront them, and we were decidedly victorious. After the the dust settled six Nazis were hospitalized, more were injured, their vehicles and property were damaged, and their conference was ended. On the other side, one anti-fascist required moderate first aid.
Many of us at the melee were people of color, working class, immigrants, women, queer, transgendered, and/or people on parole or probation. The logic of the victim is constantly thrust upon us. We are said to be “at risk” and must be protected and pandered to. It is said that we need others, usually the State, to protect and stand up for us. But, through the action of splitting Nazis’ heads open, we rejected the logic of victimization. We will continue to do so, we will be victims no longer. We do not need others to stand up for us, we have each other. When we are attacked, we will find each other and counterattack, so hard and so fierce that we will surprise even ourselves.
If the Nazis call us bitch ass faggots, they might not be that far off the mark. But if they conflate those slurs with weakness, the six hospital visits they faced would prove otherwise.
Olympia: Catholic Church Attacked
January 14, 2009
Last night I paid a visit to the Catholic Church. I super-glued every single one of their locks and smashed up a few windows. I’m sure everyone who’s every committed an act of sabotage knows how amazing that feeling is. If you don’t, you should really just try it for yourself.
I am just fed up with the atrocities committed by the Church and it’s time to make them suffer for all the misery they have imposed on the world: the witch killings, the genocide of the indigenous, the negation of the body, slavery, the wars of conquest, the destruction of the wild, their complicity in the Nazi holocaust, and everything else they’ve ever done. I’m sick of it and I’m not going to take it anymore.
Now they’ve called for a peace after Oscar Grant’s murder in Oakland, saying he was in a better place now (away from his girlfriend and child) and then had the nerve to denounce the following riots. The Church are murderers, they killed every single culture whose path they’ve crossed and now they’re calling for peace? Fuck that, I want war.
Christianity needs to be burnt at the stake.
All this action took was stolen super-glue, a bicycle, a face mask, some gloves, and a hammer. I approached the building at night through the side entrance, left my bike near the road by some trees and then put a tooth pick into a lock and then squirted in the glue (so as to help the glue stick better) and repeated this five more times. Then I got out the hammer and smashed a few windows, ran to my bike and rode back home. On the ride home I threw away the super-glue containers in a dumpster.
This action is in solidarity to the rioters in Oakland and Greece, Bash Back!, native warriors still resisting the church and the 2010 Olympic Games, and to whoever burned down Sarah Palin’s church.
Smash Things Up in the Night
A Renegade Angel
Pittsburgh September 2009: My Preferred Gender Pronoun is Negation
Thursday night, following a radical queer motivational speech about rioting, a black bloc emerged as the fourth round of the day’s street fighting. This particularly vicious bloc (later named the Bash Back! black bloc) moved through Oakland smashing countless windows, overturning dumpsters and setting them on fire.
A friend remarks: what is so queer about that? People just wore black and burned things in the street.
We counter: the practice of wearing black and destroying everything may very well be the queerest gesture of all.
In fact, it cuts to the heart of the matter: to queer is to negate. At this intersection of our deviant bodies we experimented in becoming-mob, prolematizing our very bodily boundaries. Fairy wands, tiaras, hammers, and masks were annexed into our limbs as dangerous prosthetics. Rocks, dumpsters, and black sequined dresses were profaned and put into use—thrown through windows, set on fire, and draped over our shoulders as a more fabulous take on riot attire. Our thresholds-of-self dissolved further into a floor of shattered glass and smoldering garbage across the field of play.
Without hesitation, queers shed the constraints of identity in becoming autonomous, mobile, and multiple with varying difference. We interchanged desires, gratifications, ecstasies, and tender emotions without reference to the tables of surplus value of power structures. Muscled arms built barricades and broke shit to the imagined anthems of riot grrrl (or was it La Roux?).
If the thesis is correct that gender is always performative, then our performed selves resonated with the queerest gender of all: that of total destroy. Henceforth our preferred gender pronouns are the sound of shattering glass, the weight of hammers in our hands and the sickly-sweet aroma of shit on fire. Address us accordingly.
The march continued its rampage down Forbes, encountering some two-bit would-be queerbasher calling us faggots. Before he could realize his mistake, we enacted a particularly cold-blooded sadism on the fool. He was shown his error in a shower of kicks, punches, and a copious dousing of pepper spray. Before he even hit the floor, the immunitary logic of biopower was turned inside-out. His power to shape our bodies and to expose them to death was collapsed into itself. Yes, our bodies have been shaped, but into monstrous vessels of potential and revolt. He was instead made our object and was exposed to our violence.
An amalgamation of our crude delinquency and nasty desires unapologetically saturated the streets (and bathrooms and hotels and alleys) of Pittsburgh this past week. With ribald irresponsibility we wrecked, fucked, fought, and came all over politics’ symbolic terrain, synchronized only in our lust for disorder. Using our bucking bodies against restraint itself, we had no message—choosing instead to leave behind ruins of boundaries and a tangible path of demolition. Our unleashing of violent aspirations upon homophobic frat boys and lifeless-daily-addictions spilled over as we pursued further stimulation onto each other. We got wet and came hard in a pile of dirty money, corrupting every inch of sterility with the funk of our perspiring bodies—aching with impure satisfaction. Our scheming, pleasure-seeking bodies came into conflict with lesser realities and emerged victorious. We left strains of the queerest kind all over the broken bits of capital graced by our presence.
Two questions were raised this summer. In Chicago: “to barricade or not to barricade?” And in New York: “does she give a fuck about the insurrection?” Thursday answered both definitively in the affirmative. To the question of barricades we answer that we only correctly concern ourselves with how to make them taller, stronger, more terrible. To the latter, we offer a form-of-life that could be read as a reuniting of barricades and unshaven legs. But what’s more, a synthesis of strap-on-cocks, hammers, outlandish wigs, bricks, fire, pepper-spray, licking, fisting, and always ultraviolence.
Banner Dropped, Cop Cars Disabled As Vengeance For the Death of Shelley Hilliard
In the wee hours of the morning of November 13th, a banner was dropped on a bridge over the I-90/94 in Chicago reading, “Don’t Mourn, Attack! Avenge Shelley!” and three police vehicles were disabled in response to the brutal murder of a young trans woman named Shelley “Treasure” Hilliard, whose torso was found next to the same highway (I-94) in Detroit this past week.
It is easy to become lost in the sorrow of the brutal violence of gender that exposes the bodies of trans women to a one-in-twelve chance of violent death at the hands of the partisans defending this wretched society. But our violence is the alchemy that can turn our tears into a potent poison dripping down the throat of the social order. Take action to avenge Shelley’s death and to remind us all that in the face of the terror of prisons, police, and queer-bashing, that it is our obligation to bash back against all that would destroy us. We look forward to hearing about more attacks for Shelley and for us all in the coming weeks.
Solidarity to all the trans women and gender rebels surviving and rebelling in the belly of the prison and under the guns of the pigs!
Solidarity to our all comrades in the US, Mexico, Greece, Chile, and many other places who has chosen to attack and now face the violence of the law!
Solidarity with those whose survivals have been made criminal who are reclaiming their ability to struggle!
yours in the gender strike,
some ticked off trannies with knives.
From Tea Lights to Torches: Delinquent Alternatives to Transgender Day of Remembrance and the Trans Attacks to Come
As thousands of people in cities all across the world gathered on November 20th to memorialize the 23 transgender women that were murdered in the past year as named by transgenderdor.org, some of us decided to skip the opportunity of silently listening to the politicians of the “trans community” recite the names of our dead over candlelight, romantic as it sounded. Instead we ventured into the mist and fog of a northwest autumn night and put up some graffiti as small gestures of antagonism towards the state, the bashers and the leftists who use the blood of trans women to build campaigns of hate crime legislation and reform. We are against hate crime legislation because we are against prisons, against the infuriating portrayal of police as protectors, against rising for their judges in their detestable courtrooms, against (though not surprised in the least by) the way that such legislation is used to defend those in positions of power and because we are, at heart, hate filled criminal enemies of civilized society.
By the end of the night several walls and surfaces had been subject to the vandalism of the trans symbol, circle a’s, the largely sprayed proclamation “Too Many Trans Deaths, Not Enough Dead Pigs” and 20 feet of silver letters across a darkly painted business rooftop reading “Vengeance for Shelley Hilliard!!!! (A) Bash Back!”
Shelly Hilliard, also known as Treasure, was a 19 year old trans woman from Detroit who was identified by a tattoo earlier this month after her burned torso was found on the side of the highway. Krissi Bates was found stabbed to death in her Minneapolis apartment in January in a brutal murder that was described as “overkill.” Tyra Trent was strangled to death in her Baltimore apartment in February. Miss Nate Nate Eugene Davis was shot and left behind a Houston dumpster in June. Lashai Mclean was shot in the street in Washington, DC in July. Camila Guzman was stabbed to death by a john in New York City in August. Gaurav Gopalan died from trauma to the head in September and Chassity Vickers was shot in Hollywood just four days ago, on November 16th.
These are just a few examples of transsexual homicides in the US alone that made headlines this year. Women whose lives and deaths get summed up by reporter after snake-eyed reporter who can barely manage to contain their contempt for the queer and make no effort whatsoever to disguise their disdain for anyone alleged to have been a criminal or whore. Funeral services become the rushed lowering of mangled corpses into the ground, in anticipation of a grave on which to spit. This was exemplified by the pastor of Lashai Mclean’s funeral, who repeatedly referred to her by male pronouns and went as far as to incite a mass walk out of the many trans attendants by claiming that “When you live a certain lifestyle this is the consequence you have to pay.”
While we remember our dead let us not forgot about those still struggling, especially those who are facing charges and/or living lives in cages.
In June Catherine Carlson was sentenced to 10 years in an Idaho prison after being convicted of first degree arson, unlawful possession of a bomb, using a hoax destructive device, and indecent exposure. Before her conviction she had locked herself in her trailer for years and left only when necessary, approximately once every ten days when she needed food and could no longer subsist off of coffee alone. Every time she left her home she was taunted by police. Despite having had her name legally changed for over three decades, she couldn’t get her given name removed from her license. She was jailed on four occasions for driving without a license in her stubborn and inspiring refusal to acknowledge the state’s attempt at controlling her gender. Eventually this torment led to rupture. Catherine constructed what appeared to be four pipe bombs, left them next to a propane tank, set her trailer and her truck on fire, and walked down the highway naked until being stopped and arrested. She is currently being held in the hole of a men’s prison despite having had sex reassignment surgery.
On the night of June 5th in Minneapolis, Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald was harassed outside of a bar for being black and trans and had a glass smashed in her face. A fight broke out and minutes later her attacker, Dean Schmitz, had been fatally stabbed. CeCe was arrested, charged with murder, got bailed out after a month in isolation and is currently awaiting trial.
Three trans women were arrested in connection to a flash mob attack on a New York City Dunkin Donuts that happened on Christopher St the night of May 16th. Christopher St is a street with a rich history of queer and trans resistance (including the Stonewall Riots) and an apparent inability to rid itself of the fierce homeless trans youth it is known for despite decades of gentrification and “quality of life” campaigns. During the flash mob, two dozen transgender youth stormed the shop, threw chairs, destroyed expensive coffee machines and looted goods. Those arrested have been charged with assault, criminal mischief, menacing, rioting and criminal possession of a weapon.
In August, off duty officer Kenneth Fur took it upon himself to remind us that police are the absolute enemy. He became angry when three trans women in DC refused complicity in his entitled assumption that his pig salary could buy any trans body he encountered on the street. So angry, in fact, that he climbed onto the roof of their car and shot the passengers inside. One woman was grazed by a bullet, one was shot in the hand and the brother of one of the women was shot in the chest. The cops were kind enough to show up and escort the injured individuals to the hospital…in handcuffs.
A few days ago Brooke Fantelli was repeatedly tased in El Centro, Ca by a Bureau of Land Management ranger. Brooke was stopped for public intoxication while taking pictures in the desert. After being ID’ed the ranger told her, “You used to be a guy.” and then tased her with her hands up. Once she was on the ground he tased her again, this time in the genitals.
Also this month, Andrea Jones was arrested for indecent exposure, or more accurately, for exposing the legal system as the brutally illogical apparatus of control that it is. Andrea went topless in a Tennessee DMV after they refused to change the gender on her ID to female. As a “male,” she said, she had the legal right to take off her shirt. She was jailed for three weeks, lost her job and will most likely have to register as a sex offender. As usual, cops and CO’s are free to rape us and expose us to sexual violence meanwhile charging those they take hostage as “sex offenders.” Those most vulnerable to this tactic of the state are the gender variant, queer inmates and black men who are demonized in racist smear campaigns by the media as “rapists” every time a cop gets shot.
Finally, we want to mention Amazon, a transsexual lesbian who has been in prison for the past 30 years and is serving life in California. In a letter that was published in a Black and Pink newsletter earlier this year she says “I am from Gender Anarky Collective in the prisons. We are a militant organization fighting for transsexual medicine in the form of female hormones and sex-corrective surgery, and against all forms of hate, genocide and discrimination by cops or prisoners alike, and are also a self defense structure and will fight, have fought, and are fighting for ours on the yards. I am currently in the hole for ‘battery on an inmate with a weapon.’ Two other girls are here with me, one for three counts of assault on staff who jumped on her. We survive by aggressive self defense.” She then proceeds to denounce activism and engagement in politics, describing instead the necessary “post-apocalyptic civil war madness” that the myth of social peace works desperately to keep us from. “Prison is government. No government in the world is going to allow anyone to deconstruct its prisons, come what may. Therefore, to actually abolish prisons, the government must be destroyed, overthrown.”
Here’s to the end of the capitalist system that the police imprison us to protect and to freedom for trans women, and freedom for us all. As our hearts burn with the loss of our loved ones, may their cities burn as well.
Dean Schmitz was not the first and he will not be the last!
VENGEANCE NOT REMEMBRANCE!
WE WILL NOT REST IN PEACE!
Anti-gay Church Smashed in Memory of Mark Aguhar and Paige Clay
Early in the morning of April 24th a group of angry queers smashed out the windows of Mars Hill Church in Southeast Portland. Mars Hill is notoriously anti-gay and anti-woman. Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill’s head pastor, has said that women need to be subservient to their husbands and that gay people are a cancer. His personal brand of Christianity crusades against the “feminization” of Jesus—we angry queers are not fans of Jesus, but we have a problem with anyone who has a problem with femmes.
This action was taken in memory of Mark Aguhar, a fierce queer/trans femme of color and artist from Chicago who killed herself a little over a month ago. We also hold in our hearts Paige Clay, a trans woman of color who was found murdered in Chicago on April 16th; Duanna Johnson, a black trans woman who was in all likelihood murdered by the police in 2008; Agnes Torres Sulca, Deoni Jones, and all other trans women who have been murdered by this cissexist, femmephobic, racist, and transmisogynistic society.
Churches are a major contributor to the culture that deems trans women of color to be disposable, as not worth keeping alive. Children who are forced to attend Mars Hill are indoctrinated in hateful dogma that teaches them their natural desires are an abomination that will damn them to hell. Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” campaign does nothing in the here and now for queer kids trapped in abusive home or religious settings. And it never got better for Mark, Duanna, Paige, Agnes, Deoni, or the countless other trans women (especially brown trans women) who are regularly murdered.
When Mars Hill moved to town, so-called “representatives” of the queer “community” from the Q Center met with officials from the church in order to have dialog. What we have to say to the Q Center is this: FUCK YOU, you don’t represent us. You are disgusting traitors who prioritize social peace and the bourgeois aspirations of rich white cis gay people over the more pressing survival needs of more marginalized queers. Fuck dialog with people who want us dead, the only dialog we need with scum like Mars Hill is hammers through their windows.
We smashed Mars Hill because they make our lives miserable. We hope this small act of vengeance will strike some fear into the hearts of all of Mars Hill’s pastors, and warm the hearts of our friends and comrades (known or unknown). It may not get better, but we can certainly get even.
-angry pdx queers
Denver: CeCe McDonald Brigade Attacks Starbucks and Police Car
After a day in the sun and streets of Denver and a rowdy-as-hell May Day demo, some queer anarchist demons of the nights let their hair down and gave some gentrifying fucks a much-needed makeover. These comrades are sick of seeing property prices in the formerly working-class Highlands neighborhood skyrocket, all due to yuppies, their condos, and the corporations that invade to please them.
These comrades grew tired of seeing that ugly beige Starbucks on Federal, so they gave it a new paint job. Five paint bombs gave the storefront a beautiful facelift; a concrete planter was also liberated into a few pieces during the action. The queer demons of the night attacked Starbucks for the role they play in gentrification, but also for their co-opting of queer struggle. Starbucks recently endorsed a push for gay marriage, an assimilationist goal of white, cis-gendered, upper-class gays. We have no desire to become part of the system that destroys us, and we will never assimilate to the society of oppression built and maintained by heterosexism and cissexism. This action was also carried out in solidarity with the Starbucks Workers’ Union of the IWW, and their struggle for recognition.
Later that night, this merry band of queers attacked a police car parked outside a private residence with another paint bomb. Cops are also part of the gentrifying force in the Highlands, harassing the working class and defending the property of yuppies and corporations (a lot of good that did for the Starbucks). Pigs have a long history of attacking queer folk, from the Compton Cafeteria riots and continuing today. While not a direct confrontation, the message gets across: we know you’re in our hood, and we don’t like it. Either quit your job, or put a bullet in your own head.
All of these actions were carried out in solidarity with CeCe McDonald, a trans* and black self-defense prisoner of war. She is currently on trial, facing murder charges in Minneapolis, MN after getting into a fight with a neo-nazi and some transphobes. Honee Bea, you’re in our hearts and minds!
We also stand in solidarity with our comrade arrested during the May Day demo due to the actions of so-called “marshals” who are also self-proclaimed pacifists. In every Occupy Denver altercation, it has ALWAYS been the “pacifists” who physically start shit with the “violent anarchists.” Fuck off and die, peace nazis. Especially Roshan Bliss and Tanner Spendley; you’re both on our shit-list, you liberal, snitching scum.
Solidarity to all prisoners, especially our queer and trans* liberation prisoners of war. We’re coming for you, comrades.
Until all cages are empty,
The CeCe McDonald Brigade
Queer Attack Squadron Molotovs Bank in Solidarity with CeCe McDonald
SO MUCH TO BE FURIOUS ABOUT, SO MANY WAYS TO VENT.
Forever in the footsteps of beautiful queers like CeCe McDonald, we frustrated queers and dissidents refuse to take people’s shit.
Endless solidarity to CeCe and the action she took to defend her life and safety, and endless disgust towards the state which has twisted her hardship of being assaulted against her with pointless and arbitrary punitive action, further risking her safety.
How backwards, to face brutal social bigotry as a trans woman of color on the streets only to be forced through a system of institutionalized racist trans-misogyny. In such an openly hateful environment, how are folks like CeCe expected to NOT be ready and willing to defend themselves?
As a small gesture of solidarity with CeCe, and all others who suffer under the hand of the racist, trans-misogynist capitalist state, a Molotov cocktail has been tossed through a large window of a Wells Fargo in Portland, Oregon late last night. The flaming bottle flew easily through the window spewing fire and glass into the building, a delightful and brief escape from the monotony of the endless spectacle.
Banks like Wells Fargo continue to profit and flourish at the expense of people like CeCe, funding the police and prison industrial complex which protect banks’ interest and profit through brute social control. Capital is such filth!
Solidarity also to those experiencing political repression here in Portland, by petty cops and worthless detectives who look to old cases and unsubstantial evidence in order to make examples of our comrades. And still, you pigs remain helpless in the face of our actions against you and the property you try to protect.
QUEERS MAKE TOTAL DESTROY!
… AND THEY WERE RIGHT—(A)TTACKING IS SO EASY!
A Soldier’s Story — Kuwasi Balagoon
The Anti-Exploits of Men Against Sexism
Assata — Assata Shakur
Bash Back Queer Ultraviolence — Fray Baroque, Tegan Eanelli (eds.)
Creating a Movement with Teeth — Daniel Burton-Rose (ed)
Dictatorship of Postfeminist Imagination
Direct Action — Ann Hansen
“Drifting from the Mainstream” — Nikki Craft
“Fags and Dykes Want to Know” — Linda Evans, Susan Rosenberg, and Laura Whitehorn
Guerrilla USA — Daniel Burton-Rose
How to Destroy the World — Ignorant Research Institute
Introduction to Civil War — Tiqqun
“Is the Anarchist Man Our Comrade?”
“Justice is a Woman with a Sword” — D.A. Clarke
Les Guérillères — Monique Wittig
“Letter to a Gender Rebel”
Outlaw Woman — Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Pushed By the Violence of Our Desires
Readymade Artist and Human Strike — Claire Fontaine</em>
“The Sexes: The Lavender Panthers” — Time Magazine
Shoot the Women First — Eileen MacDonald
Sing a Battle Song — The Women in the Weather Underground
Smash the Church, Smash the State — Tommi Avicolli Mecca (ed)
Stonewall — Martin Duberman
The Story of Tatiana — Jacques Baynac
This is Not a Love Story: Armed Struggle Against Patriarchy
Toward the Queerest Insurrection
The War Before — Sufiya Bukhari
“Where Abolition Meets Action” — Victoria Law
Why Misogynists Make Great Informants — Courtney Desiree Morris
Why She Doesn’t Give a Fuck About Your Insurrection