An Open Letter to Bay Area Anarchists
An ugly precedent has been set by the episode of crude authoritarian behavior at the 2014 SF Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair. The screaming, the threats of harm, the physical intimidation directed at us personally, as well as the vandalizing of the books and magazines on the CAL Press/Anarchy magazine table by a dozen or so people associated with the Quilombo social center was out of line. Such bullying, harassment, and intimidation should not be tolerated at anarchist events or in anarchist spaces merely because other anarchists might have unpopular ideas and use words that may not align with a particular perspective on identity politics.
So far, this bullying has not just been tolerated, in fact it has been rewarded; by choosing the safest path and walking away, we have helped to encourage it. The biggest vindication for those who instigated these antics is that, despite their threats of inflicting physical harm on other anarchists, and despite their refusal to talk about what they found so upsetting about our presence -- even with those who, despite their best efforts, were unsuccessful in de-escalating the conflict -- they were not asked to leave the bookfair.
Those from Quilombo who menaced us no doubt feel justified in targeting us, but the three of us individually, our project, and our six year old son are not actually their enemies. We have spoken to several people who are their comrades, and have expressed our willingness to engage in a mediated resolution to this conflict. We urge anyone who was frightened, appalled, or annoyed by the disruption at the bookfair to stand in favor of verbal mediation and against physical intimidation.
John, Lisa, and Lawrence
CAL Press/Anarchy magazine; firstname.lastname@example.org