As tens of thousands took to the streets following the election of Donald Trump, conflicts quickly broke out between demonstrators that carried out confrontational and disruptive tactics and those who wanted things to ‘return to normal.‘ Often, these “peace police” carried with them the same logic as held by the State and police forces so many came out to oppose. They sought to divide the crowd between “good protesters” and “bad,” manage and direct people just like the police, and overall sought to keep dissent inside a tightly controlled box. This meant stopping people from clashing with the police, defending themselves against the far-Right, shutting down freeways, and attacking corporate property. They sought to return things to normal at a time when people are ready to never go back. But how do we deal with these people who are often so convinced that they are right but generally have hardly any experience in social struggles and movements? Are these people beyond hope, or do they simply need to be shown others ways to organize and fight along with some humility?
Wanting to know about how to deal with protest managers and movement police, we caught up with two members of the African People’s Caucus (APC), which is made up of African-American anarchists and anti-authoritarians within the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Over the past two years, the group has been involved in various anti-police (among other) struggles, including the occupation that took place in Minneapolis outside of a police station following the police murder of Jamar Clark and the raucous demonstrations that followed the killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling.
In Ferguson, both the State, the police, and various organizations tried to “calm down” the demonstrators.
During the interview, we talk at length with the APC members about how peace police and protest managers have attempted to use label of “white anarchist” to divide rebels in the streets of the Twin Cities, an analysis of the #JusticeforJamar occupation, as well as the reverberations of the attempted shooting of occupiers by two far-Right racist militia supporters. We then switch gears and discuss the implications of Trump’s victory and many of the tasks for revolutionaries that lie ahead.
At a time when autonomous anti-capitalist organizing and activity is pulling in many, this interview is a great starting point for discussions with those new to the game, as well as providing some great insights for those who have been experiencing these realities and tensions for years.
Music: Paris, YP & Nipsey Hussle, and A Tribe Called Quest.