We all saw the footage from Chicago. The phalanxes of police officers and frame after frame of bleeding head wounds. Our friends and comrades had just returned from those brutal city streets. Even those witnessing these scenarios unfold for the first time understood the necessity of response.
On May 24th 30-40 people answered the call for a Chicago solidarity demo through the downtown St. Louis bar district. The march wound its way from the once occupied plaza through a semi bustling nightlife scene and ran unchallenged for nearly half an hour.
During the march banks were tagged with “Solidarity with all who resist”, “Burn the Banks” and other phrases. An irate cardinals fan, who was later discovered to be the property manager at one of the banks, set himself against the march by following it, harassing the marchers and communicating with police. In the end, he received several blows to the head before retreating to the safety of the cop line.
The police do not pull punches here. The bodies of the routinely beaten, shot and assaulted by the STL Police are testament to that. And their responses are rarely proportional. This night was no exception. Cops on bike, foot, in cars and a helicopter descended on the small group. A scuffle ensued and ten arrests were made. According to the news, two officers were struck in the head and another ended up needing medical treatment for a hand injury. Even when the numbers are small our hearts can fill with the utmost solidarity our hands can deliver.
Of the ten arrested, five were released without charges, four are charged with misdemeanor riot and felony resisting and interference. One comrade received five felonies, two assault, two resisting and interference, and one property damage, and two misdemeanors, riot and assault. All charged are currently out on bail.
While in custody, the arrested faced the brutality of the STLPD, a fact that most in this broken city face daily. The killings by police on the street and in the jails are so recurrent that they barely make the news at this point. But we remember, and we remember the recent horror of our friends beaten and tortured last march. Our fears for those in custody this time were not unfounded.
Upon their release, we learned that while being interrogated one prisoner had a knife held to their throat, that they were choked and lifted off the ground and punched in the chest for non-compliance. One comrade, who is facing the most serious charges, was brought to the interrogation room where a detective repeatedly struck him in the face, breaking his nose while he was shackled to the floor. They continued to make threats of violence if he continued to “not comply”
We are well aware that this is a war, made of many small, endless battles. At no time are we safe from the thugs of the state. Our bodies are constantly under threat of attack. One of our only recourses is solidarity with those who bare the bruises of repression. This is the second time this year we are turning our gazes outward and hoping for a response. We last asked for shows of solidarity, it mostly fell on deaf ears. Let there be no questions or confusion now, this is a call for solidarity, for actions and attacks for our comrades.
If the STLPD thinks it can keep beating us in the darkness or in the privacy of interrogations, it will. This call is going out to STL and the rest of the country for us to show them that when they strike we return the favor in kind.
Solidarity means attack
Some Midwest anarchists
Text from a poster distributed in Bloomington, Indiana:
On May 19th, three people associated with the Occupy movement were arrested in Chicago, just before the anti-NATO protest. Two infiltrators had been working with them for months, trying to persuade them to escalate their tactics—just as in the recent Cleveland bomb scare. Whether the infiltrators would have succeeded in pushing them further than they wanted to go, we’ll never know. Desperate to make an arrest that would intimidate the NATO protestors, divide the Occupy movement from its most radical members, and create an impressive spectacle, the police attacked. Their most substantial evidence is beer-making supplies at the house the NATO 3 were arrested in, which they claim are bomb materials.
While we are confident that the NATO 3 will beat these ludicrous charges, they are being held in solitary confinement on 1.5 million dollars bond each. It often comforts prisoners to know that people on the outside love them and are thinking about them, so a solidarity demonstration was called for May 24th, in St Louis, MO. It was a noisy, vibrant, nighttime march, enjoyed by the people it passed. “Solidarity with all who resist!” was painted on a business window, and, of course, a businessman got angry, and, of course, there was an altercation; the cops showed up, hit people, were allegedly hit in return, and so on. By the end of the night, ten people were in jail—one charged with five felony counts of assault, property damage and riot, as well as two misdemeanors. Others are charged with felony resisting, interference, and misdemeanor riot.
As a wise woman once said, “If you hit me and I hit back, we still ain’t even.” There is no way in society as it exists today to have a fair fight with the police; they have vast, systemic power, and will always be better equipped and better financed than we are. Nor can we let them hurt anyone, particularly those close to us, with complete impunity, without a response from us. We must fight, but we must fight asymmetrically. If we must respond, if we are forced into reaction instead of attack, let it be waves of reaction¬—if strange and inadequate, funny and offputting¬—that build off each other to create an ocean of solidarity. Solidarity actions in response to the repression of solidarity actions with people we’ve never met, accused of crimes that never occurred—this is utterly bizarre, but this is our life.
You should care about this. You should care that the government is making tactical strikes against its enemies. Maybe you don’t think of yourself as an enemy of the government or capitalism; maybe you would never consider opposing it publically, in a quiet, accepted way or otherwise. Still, think about your life: do you feel safer, happier, more fulfilled because of your job, the police, the taxes you pay? Even if you feel those things on a surface level, do you feel like something is missing, that you could be living in a way that is more glorious and beautiful? Do you see people around you who suffer, or read books about terrible things in America’s past, or hear of people in far-off lands whose lives seem impossibly hard, and wish that you could do something about it—something more meaningful than giving to a charity or voting in the elections? We suggest a first step:
Show solidarity to all who resist!