Queering Snitches, Landlords, and Bosses? Why Anarchists Spaces Must Not Host "Queering Anarchism"
Dear Friendly Anarchist Social Centers, Infoshops, and Book Stores,
We are writing to inform you about concerns we have with the book Queering Anarchism, recently published by AK Press. This is not a critique of the politics within Queering Anarchism, albeit we have many, rather it is to offer you vital information on some of the contributing authors. We believe this information to be damning and contrary to anarchy, anarchism, and revolutionary movements alike.
Dr. Anthony J Nocella, II is a professor, self-described “scholar activist” and known state collaborator. In 2006, Anthony gladly accepted an invitation extended by the FBI to educate their classes at Quantico on how they could better police revolutionary movements using “conflict-resolution.” Anarchists as well as earth and animal liberation activists widely condemned Nocella's cooperation. In his own words:
“Perhaps frustrated by their inability to catch any significant number of underground activists, the FBI recently began contacting academics and high-profile activists to invite them to speak at their academy. Under the guise of dialogue, clearly their intention was somehow to glean information to use against the underground movement. I was told I had been invited not because of the ALF, but to quote the instructor, because of my …studies in the areas of peacemaking and conflict resolution. Before deciding to accept their speaking invitation, I consulted the views of about 30 people — former political prisoners, anti-imperialists, professors, animal liberationists, Earth liberationists, and friends. After much discussion and debate I decided, with the agreement of others, that I would go…
I would speak solely on conflict resolution (specifically restorative justice which I studied for my MA at Fresno Pacific University), which I am more than willing to do and have done for military officers, ROTCs, public safety, law enforcement, and NGOs throughout the Americas.[i] I also said I would explain why there is no satisfactory definition of terrorism. I accepted the FBIs invitation to speak at their academy, along with their $800.00 payment, and donated it to grassroots groups and political prisoners…
I hold to the belief that dialogue (speaking truth to power) is the way to peace, not ideological positioning. Further, we must be critical of ourselves as well as others in the form of dialogue. This belief comes from my Quaker religion and Freirian philosophy. Of course we should not speak when they come knocking or at a grand jury, but the situation is different when we confront the opposition in open debates, classrooms, and conferences. Most important, whereas they thought they could play me for information, I came to learn something about how the FBI thinks and operates. As many long-time anti-imperialists and Black liberationists have told me, the old way was not working, and we need to gather information on them as well. Note also that this was a class sponsored by University of Virginia, so there were no transcripts, as is common in any university class, but again the class I taught was no different than any class I have taught or assisted for at Syracuse University….
While I do not advise others to attend the FBI Academy or work with the FBI at all, I do believe it was beneficial in the sense that I provided conflict resolution and explained that kicking in doors at gun point and using other forms of repression are not the answer to ending illegal actions activists often take, but rather an escalation of conflict and a cause of more extreme tactics.”
We reject the notion that Nocella's donation of a mere $800.00 to radical projects and political prisoners justifies his actions. Nocella goes on to use his religious beliefs as a half-assed excuse for turning his back on resistance movements. To be clear, any religion which accepts cooperation with state power or any oppressive institution is the enemy. Anthony's assertion that his treachery should be accepted because he gained valuable information on the inner workings of the FBI by lecturing at Quantico is laughable.
Dr. Anthony J. Nocella, II is the co-author of Queer-Cripping Anarchism: Intersections and Reflections on Anarchism, Queerness, and Dis-ability
Ryan Conrad is a phd candidate, a self-described product of the safe, white middle class, and a landlord. Upon his graduation from Bates University, Ryan purchased a house to be used as a “queer collective” on his parents' dime. Conrad's super nice gesture to create a house for queer youth, named the Bangarang Collective, was soon replaced by his desire for authority. The author's of this piece know of at least one trans person to publicly acknowledge that they were evicted from Conrad's house after they were unable to pay rent to Ryan Conrad in a timely fashion.
In the spring of 2012 individuals on tumblr and elsewhere on the internet created satirical memes critiquing the actions and positions of Ryan Conrad. Rather than brush the inevitable satire a public figure faces aside, Ryan and his photographer claimed to own the rights of the images used in the memes and threatened legal action against those who reblogged the memes should Tumblr not remove the meme posts.
We could go on for hours about Ryan's manipulative behavior or his attempts at creating a career out of the struggles of poor, gender variant, and queer people but we think his being a queer “anarchist” landlord is enough to discredit him.
If you would like to know more about Ryan Conrad's self-serving contributions to the “queering” of “anarchism” take a look at his personal website: www.faggotz.org
Ryan Conrad authored “(Gay) Marriage and (Queer) Love” in Queering Anarchism
Jerimarie Liesegang is the Director of TransAdvocacy Coalition, lobbyist, and former owner of a software company and boss of twelve programers. Actually we aren't going to say anything else about Liesegang we will just let her speak for herself.
“Founder of the Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition (CATC) whose mission is to improve, through education, political and social advocacy and activism, societal attitudes and the law in order to achieve equal rights for the Trans and gender non-conforming individuals and communities. CTAC is a true grassroots and coalition oriented organization comprising individuals and organizations dedicated to the advancement and attainment of full Human Rights for all trans and gender non-conforming people in every aspect of society and actively opposes discriminatory acts.”
Brief autobiographical blurb from http://cira.yale.edu/people/jerimarie-liesegang-phd
“...I had a thriving business in Ct that employed up to 12 technical programmers and sadly when I transitioned I lost all my contracts due to discrimination and had to shutter my businness. Though I searched for a new job, it took me over three years to find an employer who would look beyond my being a transsexual and realize that I could be of value to them...I will also say that there is light in all of this misery. The company that finally did hire me realized the value that a trans person can be to a Corporation and two years ago modified their EEO policies to include Gender Identity”
Transcript of her testimony before the Connecticut State Legislature's Judiciary Committee
Jerimarie Liesegang authored “Tyranny of the State and Trans Liberation” in Queering Anarchism.
Some Other Academic Contributors to Queering Anarchism:
Dr. Jami Heckert, PhD, consultant at The Open University; University of Essex; Research Assistant at University of Essex
Dr. Martha A. Ackelsberg, PhD, Chair of the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Government Program for the Study of Women and Gender at Smith College
Dr. Benjamin Shepard, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Human Service at New York School of Technology/City University of New York.
Dr. Farhang Rouhani, PhD.; Associate Professor at University of Mary Washington
Dr. Benjamin Shepard, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Human Service at New York School of Technology/City University of New York
Dr. Sandra Jeppesen, PhD, Assistant Professor at Lakehead University; Assistant Professor at Concordia University
Jason Lydon; Reverend with the Unitarian Universalist Church
Dr. Liat Ben-Moshe; PhD Postdoctoral fellow at the department of Disability and Human
Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago
We do not mean to imply that any of the individuals listed above are evil nor do we advocate threats against their safety. We admit many of the academics or reverends listed are probably very nice people who enjoy their work. However, does a book comprised almost entirely of works by professors and aspiring academics accurately represent queer anarchism? Do any of these academics know what it is like to have to fight to survive? Do they have any real experience participating in queer anarchist struggle? Have they done anything other than turn our stories into self-serving theories to be sold to university for a fat pay check or to bolster their CVs? What makes these individuals so qualified to write an entire book on the “queering” of “anarchism?” What gives these people more legitimacy on the subject of “queering anarchism” than those of us who have lived on the streets, sucked dick in alley ways, and fought bashers, pigs, and johns? Should we allow bosses, landlords, professors, academics, and snitches to be the voice of queer anarchism?
We are not liberals. We do not have heart strings to be pulled by an academic who snitches in the name of religious freedom. Furthermore, justifying collaboration by donating your money to prisoners is a disgusting ploy and slap in the face to anyone who has ever done time. Offering up advice or education on “conflict resolution” to a university whose sole purpose is to train FBI agents puts revolutionaries at risk of injury, imprisonment, and death. We do not feel bad for power hungry, “middle class,”white children who purchase a house with their rich family's money and then evict a poor transperson who cannot pay rent. We have no sympathy for landlords. We will not cry for a boss who looses their fortune after coming out as trans, only to find their worth again in Corporate America. Not only do we refuse empathy for these individuals but as poor queer anarchists we view them as our class enemies.
Anarchists do not hope for a better policing apparatus. We want to destroy policing. Anarchists do not want dialogue with the most sophisticated and violent counter insurgency agency in the history of the world. Our aim is insurrection. Anarchists do not seek legitimacy in academia. Our goal is to destroy the university. Anarchists are not landlords who throw people out on the streets. We want landlords dead and property destroyed. Anarchists are not bosses. We organize to destroy work itself.
As it stands, queers and fellow anarchists should view Queering Anarchism for what it is, recuperation of our struggle. In the last five years queer anarchists have taken our struggles to the streets with a militancy not seen in decades. Queer anarchists have built barricades, rioted, created safety nets, made camps, started houses, and opened squats social centers. The consequences have been real; house raids, incarceration, and grand juries. We will not silently allow our struggle, desires and pain to be recuperated into the academy or co-opted by the state.
The Queering Anarchism editorial collective must publicly condemn the actions of Anthony J. Nocella, II a known collaborator with the state. They must condemn the Capitalist, cissupremacist, landlord Ryan Conrad. They should offer up an explanation as to why they have included an article titled Tyranny of the State and Trans Liberation written by a lobbyist, boss, and assimilationist Jerimarie Liesegang. Until they do so their projects should not be welcome in anarchist spaces.
We ask that the Wildcat Social Center in Seattle, MonkeyWrench Books in Austin, Bluestockings Books in Manhattan, the Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair, and all other anarchist spaces who are set to host Queering Anarchism rescind their invitations.
Some Insurrectionary Queer Anarchists