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Date Wed, 17 Jun 2020 09:04:22 +0300

NAASN: "We will ensure that these deaths were not in vain" ---- June 9, 2020 ---- The North American Anarchist Studies Network stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in condemning police murders and the violent repression of protests. ---- NAASN STATEMENT ON THE PROTESTS AGAINST POLICE VIOLENCE ---- The North American Anarchist Studies Network condemns the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, David McAtee, Nicholas Gibbs, Chantel Moore and the countless other Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) lives stolen by police violence and white supremacy. The long history of racist police brutality and murder has been facilitated by a culture of impunity that encourages such violence.
We therefore stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement
and other anti-racist groups in condemning police murders and the
violent repression of protests, demanding and fighting for racial
justice and calling for long-overdue radical structural changes. These
include defunding, divesting from and abolishing police and prisons and
investing in community-led health, education and safety alternatives. As
anarchist scholars and activists, we also denounce the scapegoating of
anarchists and anti-fascists to delegitimize this movement for justice,
excuse further violence against protestors and criminalize dissent.

These and many other instances of flagrant abuse of police power are
stark examples of systemic injustice and racism. Police terrorize BIPOC
communities, LGBTQ+ communities, people with disabilities and poor and
unhoused people on a daily basis. The coercive threat of police violence
and imprisonment is omnipresent. Militarized police forces throughout
the globe enforce violently racist, ecologically destructive and white
supremacist systems of capitalism and settler-colonialism.

Because of the inherently violent and unjust nature of the system of
policing, we stand with organizations like MPD150 who demand that police
be held accountable, defunded and ultimately abolished. True justice is
not possible until the systems that beget injustice are dismantled.
Astronomical budgets for oppressive, militarized prison systems and
police forces should be diverted to communities in need. Instead of
devoting public funds to policing and imprisoning unhoused people, for
example, these funds should be used to make housing a human right.

Police justify their existence by filling necessary social roles, from
responding to emergencies to guiding traffic. While violent and racist
police activities should cease to exist altogether, roles like emergency
response should be filled by accountable, unarmed, community-based and
democratic organizations.

As a transnational network of researchers and writers operating both
inside and outside the official system of higher education, we add our
voices to the call for all educational institutions to both divest from
local police and defund, disarm, and disband their own policing forces.
We call on all academics, faculty members and public intellectuals to
use their positions to both critique oppressive institutions and
organize to remove them from our communities.

As a community of scholars dedicated to the study of anarchism in North
America, we recognize the danger when president Trump and others blame
"anarchist thugs" and anti-fascist activists for instigating violence,
thus cynically deflecting attention from the white supremacist and
far-right violence he has encouraged and enabled.

Authoritarian leaders have long deployed the "bomb-throwing anarchist"
stereotype to delegitimize protest and justify police violence against
popular movements for social justice. Indeed, following World War I, the
American government fomented an anti-anarchist "red scare." This
reactionary period saw mob violence, beatings, arrests, censorship, mass
deportations of working-class activists and executions, including the
execution by electric chair of two immigrant radicals, Nicola Sacco and
Bartolomeo Vanzetti. Now, we see the same story begin to play out in the
United States as a fearful president threatens to suspend civil and
human rights to "dominate" the "rioting anarchists."

We call out such craven propaganda tactics for what they are: facile
attempts to distract the American public from the real sources of
violence, inequality and racism. We note in response that anarchists
have played useful and productive roles in almost every major horizontal
(non-electoral) social movement in modern North American history.

Rather than demonizing anarchists, we invite consideration of the wisdom
and insight to be found in non-hierarchical organizing methods and
radical political thought, including especially the long tradition of
radical Black political thought and practice, from Abolitionism to
Anti-Racist Action to Black feminism and beyond.

To end, we repeat the words Sacco and Vanzetti wrote shortly before the
State of Massachusetts killed them 93 years ago.

What I wish more than all in this last hour of agony is that our case
and our fate may be understood in their real being and serve as a
tremendous lesson to the forces of freedom, that our suffering and death
will not have been in vain.

- Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, 1927

Sacco and Vanzetti's words ring true for all others killed by police and
the prison system, who fill the history books of the USA and so many
other countries. Through movements for freedom, we learn from each
other's struggles and stand together against interlocking systems of
domination. We will ensure that these deaths were not in vain.

In solidarity through the endless struggle,

The North American Anarchist Studies Network, 2020
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