Solidarity and Autonomy: Or why you should get out of the streets!

  • Posted on: 2 May 2012
  • By: worker

<table><tr><td>Let me be clear: I am an anarchist.

I am also deeply committed to multiracial organizing, solidarity, and taking leadership from survivors of oppression.

Like many others, I was dismayed and outraged at the oppressive and disrespectful way a sizeable group of people stayed in the streets after SEVERAL undocumented immigrants and allies requested, then demanded, that we prioritize the safety of people at risk of deportation and STAY ON THE SIDEWALKS.

There is a troubling discourse about "autonomy" which has been circulating around anarchist as well as Occupy circles. How many times have activists, largely white men, acted on their ego while putting other people at risk in the name of "autonomy"?</td><td><img title="I don't believe that this is not just a subtle troll" src=""></td></tr></t...

I am deeply inspired by autonomous communities in the Americas. These communities are diverse in their practices, but many use consensus and direct democracy, and work to ensure that every persons needs are met to the best of the community's ability.

The inspiration of autonomous communities has been reappropriated by individualistic activists in the US to mean INDIVIDUAL autonomy. Phrases like "I do what I want" and "We're all autonomous" place individual desires over collective decision making. Which is more powerful: an autonomous individual, or an autonomous collective? Which reinforces the American ideals of individualism, and which is a threat to the status quo? Why would anarchists espouse a belief that upholds capitalist individualism, and shuns collectivist anarchism?

Individualism is the ideological basis to prop up capitalism and social Darwinism; its all about me, myself and I and fuck everybody else. Doing what the fuck you want, against the will of the collective, is not radical. Putting yourself and others and risk is not radical. Building powerful movements across race and class and borders; checking your ego and your privilege to prioritize self-determination of the most criminalized; LISTENING instead of SHOUTING; are radical!

I am writing this because I believe in the principles of anarchism: non-hierarchy, mutual aid, and, yes, autonomy. But I think that anarchists have lost sight of our core beliefs, and are often blinded by privilege, insular communities, and an incessant desire to fuck shit up. Individualist autonomy is toxic to anarchism: it disregards the collective while reinforcing patriarchy, capitalism, and hierarchical oppression.

I love anarchists and I believe that we have a role in social movements in the US. I would love to see a shift towards COMMUNITY autonomy, anti-oppression, and a commitment to centering people of color, queer, immigrant, and working class people. That means walking your walk about being an ally. That means shutting up and listening. That means so many things that I am still learning too, because we are in this learning process together.

In the words of the Zapatistas, an inspiring autonomous community and movement, "Para todos todo, para nosotros nada"- "For everyone, everything. For us, nothing".

just another critical neighborhood anarchist

Recommended reading:

-EVERYTHING on SONG's website:

-Building Zapatista Autonomy: From Below and to the Left

-Know your history! Bakunin and Collectivist Anarchism:

-Catalyst project: resources for white antiracists:

-Building a Multiracial Movement, from the Wayside Center:

-How to be an ally:


"taking leadership from survivors of oppression." Good idea, wouldn't want those survivors of oppression to have the leadership themselves, I'm sure they'd prefer an ally to play political ventriloquist for them.

no, this 'anarchist' is saying he accepts the 'leadership' (=authority) of those 'survivors'. he wants them to be the ventriloquist, he wants to be the puppet. it is the only way to quench the white guilt raging in him.

Yeah, I get it, just being flip. Although, actually, I don't think you're right people do politics like that out of guilt, it's more out of the ability to be self-righteous over other white people...

That being said, once I got beyond all the "allies" talk etc etc, I guess this particular case isn't so clear, so no more from me.

activate all the white guilt collectively, 'in solidarity'. i think it's pretty clear, you got it.

oh shit, here it comes

no no I got this, watch...


coupons will be sent to:

@ that one infoshop
420 haymarket blvd.
Desolation, AX 97810

Where's mah burrito, sucka? ....o wait. FFFFFFUUUUUUUUUU-

all over your guilty white face

I learned about the Zapatistas when I went on study abroad to Chiapas!!

i learned about them from 90s top 40 radio lol


thats hilarious you say that cus i think actually where this author is coming from...

ad hominem much? Attack the argument, not the persyn.

IGTT 6/10

your use of "persyn" gave you away. no one writes like that here in this boys club.

Undocumented immigrants are made of glass and should be handled carefully during use as political capital.

Collectivism vs individualism is only a divide for those who want to crush the individual and make them subserviant to the collective. That's anarchist how? Anyway, as one of the people who refused to get out of the street, I had no idea what was happening besides the fact that after attacking us all day, the cops were now arresting two undocumented youth, just minutes after a fire that was likely set by the police. Everyone there seemed upset at the arrests, and despite announcements from the police (who are liars), it wasn't at all apparent that they had volunteered themselves for arrest.

Oh shit, nevermind. Different city. Still, this individual vs collective dichotomy is weak.

"Let me be clear: I am an anarchist."

you may call yourself one, but the ideas you argue for here are derived almost wholely from third world marxism. lots of people call themselves anarchists, including fascists and capitalists. similarly; you seem to be a "leaderless leninist", which is why you take the leadership of particular social groups; think these groups are the revolutionary subjects; and endorse notions of self-determination which implicitly condone statism. for that matter, maybe you should look at the words of the Zapatistas themselves, who you end your statement with; to their credit, they vigorously reject the label anarchist. at least they are honest (and knowledgeable) about their own beliefs.


This is a fucking straw man fallacy. You're applying something they said to marxism, then attacking them for being a statist! JERRRRK!

I'm kind of ambivalent about the situation described in this article, but certain statements bother the fuck out of me:

> "Doing what the fuck you want, against the will of the collective, is not radical."

At what point do you draw a line around a "collective"? Obviously, anarchists are acting contrary to the will of "society", the will of the state, capitalists, most property-owners, reformists, liberals, authoritarian socialists, so on and so forth. We, by necessity, have to engage in actions that are not consented upon by the totality of people affected by those actions.

On one hand, going to a law-abiding event (organized by people at high risk of repression from the State) and fucking shit up (thus drawing police attention that might not have existed otherwise) is kinda sketchy and should not be approached lightly. On the other hand, pointing to a handful of opponents of said action and using them as proof that the action was universally condemned and thus "wrong" - also pretty sketchy.

Recommended reading:

> "Putting yourself and others at risk is not radical."

In and of itself? No, it's not - but that's a statement with absolutely no context attached to it. Certain actions that put oneself and others at risk are radical as hell. Any and all conflict with the police involves risk. Revolution and insurrection both involve substantial amounts of risk. Shit, doing ANYTHING in life is some risky business. On what basis can you possibly claim that takings risks isn't radical?

Also, seconding the statement that Individual vs. Collective dichotomy is weak as fuck.

were any illegal immigrants actually deported? no harm, no foul. (ouch.)

der, disobeying cops is not radical, it's for manarchists.
-Evan Greer

To the OP: Go track down the issue of Rolling Thunder that has the write up about the actions against YWC at UNC. I think you'd learn a thing or two and this story happens in your state so many it will have extra relevance to you.

The author is familiar with the UNC article, on the ground here in Chapel Hill/Durham, this argument is between the same groups of people as that time.

I remember doing the Time Warp
Drinking those moments when
The blackness would hit me and the void would be calling
Let's do the time warp again...
Let's do the time warp again!

Let's do the same shit again!

Also fuck that chin!

wait, there was drama over the YWC thing? Must've missed that...

What City is this supposed to be about? Why to write a stupid statement with as little detail as possible!

*way to write...

Herr-derrum if I'm not mistaken.

Stared at DJ Cat for two minutes, forgot to read good article.

I can't read this article any other way than parody. Hilarious!

1. it wasn't just "White males" in the street, it was also couples of parents with kids and a wide variety of other folks, most of the crowd actually, including a number of said at risk undocumented youth until the communist organizers gave a rousing speech that scared them onto the side walk.
2. The march attracted no police (or media, who the fuck was y'all's media person?)until one car showed up as we got to the jail, and they just sat there and watched. Similarly, at the YWC debacle a couple years ago, nobody who wasn't throwing down ever had to be within spitting distance of a cop. The point being, you often can predict how cops will behave, or at least see it coming a mile away when they start preparing to get serious.
3. Perhaps instead of promoting the event as a march (a permitted march, suggesting we would be in the street), it could have been promoted as a walk on the sidewalk with protest police and then people who don't operate well in those situations would simply stay away, instead of waiting until 3/4 of the march is in the street and then playing "you're not an ally if...".

This is a good comment.

"The point being, you often can predict how cops will behave, or at least see it coming a mile away when they start preparing to get serious."

this would be a practical topic to write about... if there isn't something already. Is there? Are there any basic introductions to police behavior (especially at protests)? maybe a video would be even better - show what cops actually look like when they're about to do certain things, what different tactics look like, maybe a little sense of what different situations feel like. Cops are really fucking good at intimidation shit and letting people believe they're going to get way more serious than they will at the right time, then being sneaky fucks when they are about to get serious. Wait... shouldn't this be a part of copwatch literature? I'm fucking rambling now (after the first couple of words probably).

know your rights things, a lot of analysis of past and present police tactics, and how-to make stuff like malox, shields, shit... I've seen that stuff. But in thinking about how the march here went it seems like a lot of people actually don't have that sense for things. Maybe it's people with less experience or whatever. *shrugs* There is basic shit that could be put into a short thing that could be linked to or distributed at protests.

Talking about what a snatch squads do, what bike cops tend to do, what horse cops tend to do, what cops in riot gear often do, what cops tend to not do (like spread themselves too thin when trying to pull some shit), what it looks like when cops are getting ready to do something like a kettle, pointing out that they're usually getting directives, different stances they use for intimidation... then some additional shit like what sort of responses tend to work in various situations, some insight into people that tend to be targeted, etc.

Anyway, two concerns I'd have is that such a document might work against the people it is trying to inform and that it could create a false sense of security.

"Let me be clear: I am an anarchist."

A what? I didn't get that. An nanachri? an anrachis? an anarichis - alright fuck it dude, you're just not being clear enough.

5/3/12 Class Notes

-You're either a collectivist Bakuninist Anarchist or an individualist capitalist

-You are either for Consensus or are for American Individualism

-Individual Freedom Vs. Patriarchy, Capitalism, Hierarchy

-Individualism (valuing groups only in that they are groups of individuals) = Social Darwinism

-The clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committees General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation is ANARCHIST AND THEY RULE!!!1!!!one!!!! Lets follow them as obedient white allies!

the author of this piece seems to be not even a bakuninist - the references in a comment further up to third world marxism and leninism seem more apt. also maybe david graeber slash zapatismo ...

IGTT 8/10
for getting past worker's troll-radar.


Good words. Next time, just tell the anarchist they are not wanted at your march and they should stay away.

Yeah, fuck those anarchists, trying to re-appropriate our May Day march!

Wow. For a news story about what actually happened at the Durham May Day march this this vaguely referring to, where, btw everyone from anarchists to families to people of color (and all of the above, too) took the streets, check out the story at

Ally's are good for parties and vanguards. Not good for equals.

If white radicals are tearing shit up in the streets:

"Hey guys, you're using priviledge, stay out of the streets."

If white radicals are not tearing shit up in the streets:

"Hey guys, this society is fucked and exploitative to people of color, you aren't doing enough to combat that."


I remember in the days when we against globalization, so we wore black and threw some stuff. then we all were against civilization, so we wore black and threw some stuff, and then we all were reading bonanno and bonnot, so we wore black and threw some stuff, now we read frenchies and are against "identity" so we wear black and throw some stuff.

oh I forgot to mention the time that we were all against white privilege and we working on our shit...but we didn't wear black and throw shit that time...actually it seemed like we pretty much didn't do anything at all.

LOOK AT THIS FUCKING MANARCHIST trying to tell us when the thread is over. This thread isn't over until wummun and poc tell you it is, and then IT IS OVER AND THAT'S FINAL.

nobody would ever say the latter though

'I'd like to answer a question before it is asked. The question is: "Don't you think a descendant of oppressed people is better off as a supermarket manager or police chief?" My answer is another question: What concentration camp manager, national executioner or torturer is not a descendant of oppressed people?' - Fredy Perlman, The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism

You are literally 5 years behind the times. The Greek Uprising and Oscar Grant riots created a step to the side of identity politics and a swerve that got around the racial limits imposed by the 60s and 70s national liberation and anti-imperialist movements. It may not be pretty, but surplus populations are finding each other outside the frameworks of conventional politics (i.e. marxist grad students). The managers of revolt are bankrupt.

may day is war, remembrance, and celebration; not follow the rules day.

the ASSumption here is that the author is a man. yeah.


"For our movement, I think we have to ask the question, are we about justice or just us? It's got to be about justice."

- Mandy Carter, co-founder of Southerners on New Ground

Not exactly a Swift moment or anything.

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