On Anarchism, An Indigenous Queer Perspective
While this writing is just from the perspective of a single Queer Indigenous anarchist, and by no means attempting to be an authority on anarchy (How would one do that?) I hope that this can bridge the gap between the struggle of indigenous, Black, and POC peoples, and the white anarchist. I may focus on my queer indigenous struggle as that is who I am, but our struggle is not that far (if not the same) from my Black and other POC accomplices.
On Bloc, horizontal structures, and White Supremacy Culture
The bloc is known for its horizontal mobility, protection of anarchist and antifascist identity, and the tool of choice for action. While this highlights the tasty and desirable aspects of the well-used instrument, it leaves out some of the complexities faced by a queer BIPOC, anarchist.
The first is an opportunity for “social leaders” to gain traction, primarily by doing risky things that excite folks, but also can put others (primarily BIPOC folks) in danger. While a person taking action in and of itself is not wrong, and shouldn’t be policed, we often find that white folks take up this space and informal role, their whiteness acting as a barrier from the extreme repression of the State. This is not to say, Black, Indigenous, or POC individuals are not taking action into their own hands (for we very much are), it is more saying the folks who gain “Respect” in the Bloc community are often white. This boils down to the upholding of white supremacy culture in anarchist movement spaces. As a group that claims to be anti-authority, there is a lot to be desired for the destruction of “Social Hierarchy” primarily focused on White Supremacy, Misogyny, Trans-misogyny, and Patriarchal power.
The second complexity is navigating these informal yet very present social hierarchies while organizing in our bloc spaces. From how we speak to how we are perceived in the space, all of this factors into the “legitimacy” we are granted. If we are blunt and straight to the point of what our struggle looks like we can be labeled “aggressive”, “demanding”, “unrealistic” and so forth. Yet this is just a form of “respectability politics” reimagined in anarchist spaces. To be truly Liberated means to first fully deconstruct the oppressive thinking and organizing in our spaces.
Third, the segregation of the Bloc. This may step on toes, but it must be said. The bloc can be cliquey. This tendency is a tool for white supremacy to flourish. In my personal experience Black, Indigenous, and POC anarchists get separated from the white anarchists not only in goals, but in disputes, actions, and the sharing of resources. We can see fighting between affinities, of predominately white folks, against predominately BIPOC folks. This is how we are doomed to fail. Without breaking these internal hierarchies we cannot form a truly liberated world. We should not be recreating the same systems of oppression with an anarchy brand.
With all this being said, one comes to wonder, how does a movement that has not deconstructed social hierarchies, create a “Horizontal structure”? I would argue you can not. Until these systems of oppression are crushed in our movement spaces we cannot see the horizontal structure of liberation come through. In its current state, the bloc has not broken through the barrier to become a genuinely liberating space.
So what steps can be taken? The first and foremost is for white folks to take a step back. Realized the space you take up and the expectations you have of the BIPOC folks in your community. Do you expect us to educate you on our struggle and how you are involved in upholding it? Do you rely solely on the labor of BIPOC folks to do the organizing work? Realize the voices demanding attention, and truly unpack if they are taking away from marginalized voices. If we want to have any impact it must start within. Liberation will only come by centering and creating space for the most marginalized to speak, be heard, and for their calls for liberation to be supported. Your European thinker is most defiantly not the greatest thinker on liberation. Realize that if it is a white perspective it cannot have a full deconstruction of the oppressor. For every white voice, there should be at least 3 Black, Indigenous, and POC voices. If not you should consider why.
On community organizing and mutual aid
In my perspective as a Queer Indigenous anarchist, the only way we can make any dent in our fight for Liberation must come directly from us in our community. We must lay down the foundation of what it looks like for a community to look for answers outside of the State. To provide solutions in a horizontal fashion, that meets the community needs where they are. To not implement a “One-Size fits all” approach. We must show people something that gives hope, outside of the institutions that oppress us. Especially as marginalized people, we rely on these institutions for survival, yet they are the very ones killing us. So finding ways that work around and provide what we need without the State, brings hope, and a path forward that will be able to prepare for climate collapse and hardships to come. As anarchists, I believe it is our priority to show people a way out of the Authoritarian States’ boot, not to lead them, or to be a revolutionary powerhouse, but to show a different way, a solution that brings hope, empowerment, and peoples right to self-determination.
There are already groups out there doing this very thing. Informal groups, friends, accomplices, and fully anonymous gatherings provide resources and care for the oppressed peoples in their communities. I see this and have very little critique. It’s inspiring.
My thoughts however are this. For us to continue forward toward liberation we must learn to support our efforts now. How do we build a network of community organizing and mutual aid that can support a larger effort going forward? In my experience white culture is focused on the individual and the preservation of said individual as priority number one. This can be seen in organizing spaces. I find that our efforts are often isolated from support from one another. The channels of communication and resource sharing are minimal at best. How can we join together in our larger communities to perform mass efforts of Community outreach and Mutual aid?
I believe we must meet our community where the State is failing. Primarily, medical care, food, and shelter. We should be working as a larger network of folks who want to see the same end goal accomplished. Larger multi-affinity group mutual aid fairs have had major success in building spaces where this can start to happen. Bring in individuals, and the community to start these conversations. No two communities will have the same needs or the same solutions. People don’t have to be an anarchist to support the formation of autonomous community care. This is how we win the people over, provide them with what the State crushes.
On Direct Action
Long gone are the days when a bloc can throw a march together in hopes of changing our liberation status. Burn your marching boots and signs, we don’t need those anymore. Gone are the days of throwing a rock through a window in hopes it draws attention to our fight. We must be targeted, we must hit our oppressor DIRECTLY and without hesitation. We must learn to build our energy up first to then strike. Direct Action looks different now than even two years ago. Yes, rioting is still tactful, but how can we take that energy and hit where it counts? We must learn to be more strategic than our oppressors, they want us to self-destruct, fight from within and never meet our true potential. 20 anarchists splintered in targets are not capable of the impact 10 unified anarchists have aiming at the head of our oppressor.
To focus on a new strategy of Direct Action, I submit the DA support for MA. What do I mean by this? Well, Mutual Aid always needs resources and supplies, and Direct Action gets the goods. Put this together and we can have a system of support that liberates the resources from our oppressors while simultaneously supplying our communities.
To do this there needs to be good OpSec, and a separation of the group liberating and the group providing resources. There must be trust and person-to-person communication to successfully orchestrate a mass movement. The resources are stored in warehouses, in bulk boxes, and untold excess. One should entertain this idea, how would a place stop a group of Black bloc from liberating loads of food/clothes/medical supplies/etc.? I ask you, is there a better target for our direct action that has an impact in two ways instead of just a single moment to get attention? Attack the capital, while supplying our community.
In future writing, I will tackle Land Defense and Direct Action with that. This writing is primarily an overview of anarchy from my perspective.
On a Truly Liberated Future
It is hard to imagine a truly liberated future in my or your lifetime. The only thing we can control is ourselves. We can impact our direct community, we just have to get up and do it. People need to see something before jumping on board, so if you are a person of conviction for liberation, this is an invitation to take that first step. Begin showing an alternative to the state in whatever form you can. Find others that are like-minded, work in the community you are in, share ideas and solutions, and don’t settle for the oppressors’ temporary relief, we must dream bigger, aim higher, and hit harder. We must build the future we want to see, and that starts with ourselves. The most radical act you can take is destroying the oppressive systems in your head and beliefs. Move forward listening to the oppressed. Ask your community members what it is they need and do whatever is within your ability to supply it. When we care for the community directly we build a bond that not even the most oppressive authoritarian can destroy. Community is our liberation. When people choose to partake in a community and care for each other the fight in each of us overpowers that of the State. We cannot expect this path to be easy. Every successful attempt at building this community will be met with State repression because they cannot have us prove the failures of the system.
May our Liberation rise from the ashes of our oppressor.