Wednesday, August 5, 2009

SAWB2: 15 Points of Clarification

Smack A White Boy Round II: CrimethInc. Eviction

Facts, Questions, General Clarifications, and Opinion

A lot of the same shit is being said and circulated via friend circles, throughout the interwebs, and beyond. I have written this fifteen point list to kind of organize, acknowledge, and respond to some of the questions that are being brought up, and to make available facts and clarifications that can (but won’t necessarily) clear up many misunderstandings and misrepresentations.

  1. There’s no such thing as reverse racism.
  2. Racism is not always overt and white supremacy is not synonymous with skinheads or nazis.
  3. The point and purpose of the action was not to dialog with anyone, least of all white people. This says nothing necessary about the willingness or desire of the participants to dialog with or relate to white people in general.
  4. Not all of the participants hate all white people. In fact, at least three of the core participants and at least four of all poc participants have white partners.
  5. White people that played the role of ally in the action were not and are not apoc slaves. They understood the importance of the action and were motivated to participate for reasons they arrived to through their own autonomy. White allies of the action either have or will be releasing their reportbacks. Please refer to these for more information.
  6. While apocistas in the action worked together to achieve the collective goal of evicting the crimethincers, statements said during the action were made autonomously by individual apocers without the intention of representing the whole group (and certainly not all of apoc).
  7. Three of the eight apoc who participated in the action were from apoc philly. No other participants were from apoc philly. Apoc Philly did not itself pre-plan or organize the action. No one from Apoc Philly took a leadership role over other core participants.
  8. The action was motivated by more than concerns about gentrification. Regardless of one’s analysis of gentrification, the reality is that the convergence disrespected surrounding communities. The poc in Garfield for example were not consulted and did not consent to the convergence happening where it did. This author is outraged that white people don’t take community consent seriously, and that in all the responses to SAWB2, a predominate reaction is for white people and some poc to defensively focus on the gentrification question, instead of acknowledging that people and communities were disrespected and their consent was violated. The document collectively released by the action organizers can be referred to for more non-gentrification based reasons the convergence needed to end that Friday.
  9. Is it appropriate for white people to criticize tactics used in this action, even though the action was a proactive response to legitimate grievances? It is the opinion of the author that this is NOT appropriate and actually rather egregious, and telling of the quickness with which white people will sidestep addressing their past and ongoing crimes.
  10. Contrary to account 1 in the alternate reportback: white people chose to block doorways and attempted to reclaim bags being moved into the hallway BEFORE any people of color did so. White people resisting the action were NOT following the lead of poc.
  11. Is being yelled at inherently abuse? It is the opinion of the author that being yelled at CAN be abuse. That said, when one takes into account the power dynamics and structural oppression of white supremacy, I find it hard to call what took place at the CrimethInc. convergence abuse. I hear a lot about the eviction being traumatic and triggering for white people there; yet, there seems to be little understanding of the day to day experience, the day to day trauma and the regular triggering that is the normal experience of many people of color. To those who fixate on their own and others trauma from the eviction, I implore you to step outside of yourself for a second and to gain some perspective on the matter.
  12. Contrary to other accounts, no apocista participating in the action entered the first floor being “violent.” The author left the second floor space looking for their action partner, was met by unwarranted resistance, and was almost pushed down the stairs. The author then entered the first floor and was immediately met with aggression from two crimethinc organizers, one of which was a white male, and two other white males. The author was not at that point moving bags or other possessions but merely looking for their partner. The aggression used against the author was unnecessary and any forced used by the author was in self-defense. The author deescalated the situation by leaving the space once they had determined that their action partner was not on the first floor. Yes, I repeat, a) crimethinc organizers and male bodied attendees unnecessarily initiated a physical confrontation with the author on the first floor and b) the author was NOT forced out of the space but chose to leave.
  13. Why was the safety of other marginalized groups not attended to? It is the opinion of this author that white people who are queer, trans, womyn identified, youth, etc. need to be cared for by the white community. If the white anarchists at the convergence stand against the oppression of their own, they will attend to the safety of those that need it. It was not the responsibility of any poc to do so. Contrary to popular belief, it is radically different for a poc to be queer than for a whitey. I have little in common with queer whitey; our struggles are NOT the same.
  14. Why were other poc not talked to before the action? The action was carried out by an autonomous group. Only poc who the action organizers had previously met were let in on the plan. The reality is that security culture is inherently alienating. This is necessary. You don’t let people who aren’t down and/or aren’t going to participate in on an action plan. The author regrets not having more direct conversations with certain poc that were there for much of the convergence; but even if that had happened, they would most likely not have been let in on the action plan. Most if not nearly all of the poc that were not let in on the action plan have relationship(s) to white anarchists making them unwilling to confront white supremacy in the way we had planned. One poc was friends with the crimethinc organizers. Another two were organizers themselves. At least two more defended crimethinc. Others had conflicting feelings. Also, one poc had just arrived the other night and had not even heard the controversy about this convergence and its location. I repeat that only people we previously knew were contacted.
  15. Just because white punx fly the flag of anarchism on their identity pole does not mean they have a common struggle with apoc. We are NOT all in it together.

I see this action as representing an unmasking of the (white) “movement” for its upholding of white supremacy. I see this action as a rallying cry for all those in opposition to come together, resist, and build alternatives.

With FiRE,

Kilwaii aka KW (kay-dub)

queer, trans, autonomous, anti-authoritarian, anarchist, black, brown, and mad as hell.


  1. I'm POC, and many would say a Latino nationalist. But I'm an anti-capitalist as well. I disagree with this action more than I disagree with CrimethInc.

    I believe to destroy the systems of oppression, we must be avowedly anti-sectarian. We must build coalitions. And we must be balanced in our patience and anger when we're dealing with the contradictions within our allies or wouldbe allies.

    This action put people in physical, political, and legal danger. It offered up fodder to those unrepentant racists that want to attack all 'identity politics' struggles. It potentially made it harder for some of us to struggle with them on their contradictions. It divided the movement.

    Where was the eviction action against the developer's office? The Condo association office? Where was the blockade of the

    Anti-capitalist movements are not scenes. If they were scenes, then they wouldn't be movements. Scenes are things you can do this in. Not movements. We are struggling against bigger forces, and that is why I can take all the frustrations white radicals (and others!) give me and struggle with them without ever escalating to such a level.

    P.S. FNB isnt white supremacist either.

  2. This is not really an appropriate place for such a comment as it doesn't address any of the 15 points. Please respect that comments should directly address the respective post they are connected to.

    As for being non-sectarian, I don't get your meaning. I see white people as the oppressor and I don't see white anarchists struggling for the same thing as I. I've been working for white radicals for sometime now and they have never struggled _with_ me. Always their own agenda. Always trying to set the terms for my participation. It is clear to me that my experience with them is no abberation. The claim that the SAWB2 action stems from sectarianism seems to assume that we are in a struggle together and there are different parties. I don't agree with this assumption. While white "anarchists" package and portray their role in society differently, they have no more legitimacy to me than overt white supremacists.

    Also, it is not the action that put people in physical, legal, and political danger. CrimethInc. convergences are preconfigured as spaces where all these dangers already exist, ready to be realized at the first opportunity. CrimethInc. organizers and attendees are to blame for extending these dangers to non-consenting communities.

    Furthermore, the movement was not divided. Since I don't stand with white anarchists and they never stood with me, the action did nothing to divide the so-called movement. That is, unless of course you're referring to the white anarchist movement. If so, that is not a movement I am a part of. Perhaps you are suggesting then that the white anarchist movement is now torn between those who at least acknowledge their role in white supremacy to some degree and those who vehemently deny their privilege and oppressive behavior? I'm not sure the action can take such credit; but regardless, it still remains to be seen whether those acknowledging their relationship to white supremacy will do anything about it. If they are unwilling, as those who pay white privilege and racism lipservice have for some time now, the tear or division in the (white) "movement" is a farse.

  3. I should additionally add that I don't agree with your claim that the white crimethinc. convergence attendies were allies or potential allies. It seems clear to me that they are not allies and many if not most have no interest in being allies. I don't assume that any of them are potential allies. If they want to become such, they have the resources available to them to make that happen. They are not, however, entitled to my patience.

  4. I agree, crimethInc aren't allies or potential allies, so one (me) still must ask, when was the eviction of the real estate developers, cops, and 100k-a-year gentrifiers? Did I miss the invite?

  5. "Why were other poc not talked to before the action? [...] At least two more defended crimethinc. Others had conflicting feelings."

    I won't get in to the main controversy of whether the action was justifiable or not, I just wanted to point out that the above quoted rationale is very dangerous.

    It seems like you're admitting that when seeking consensus on whether and how to do this action, y'all deliberately excluded everyone who might have had a different perspective on it - including even other APOC with similar concerns.

    The idea that only those who are already sure to agree should be "in on" planning for actions like this leads to group-think, which as I'm sure you know causes a profound loss of perspective. That's not to say it's never appropriate, just that it's very dangerous, and has caused the ruin of many activists with a lot of potential.