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There has only ever been one march for women in Humboldt County and it’s probably not the one you’re thinking of.

 

Eureka Women’s March Protest surrounds truck that attempted to run over protesters as they crossed. EPD and journalists block 101 south.

The first “Women’s March On Eureka” event, held in January of 2017, was rife with oppressive policies that mirror the very system of patriarchy and white supremacy that fittingly places Donald Trump as the figurehead of the whole mess. The event was to not only include the grossly patriarchal and racist institution of the city police, it was to be led by it! And the organizers assigned official “monitors” to mix into the crowd and snitch to the police on any marchers who dared to “step out of line,” a line that was determined for us by the police.

The organizers did not reveal this information to prospective attendees until just two days before the event was supposed to happen. A “march” that was very clearly shaping up to be a parade for the patriarchy, one that was expressly permitted and regulated by the institution that most of us thought we were going out there to protest. The very institution that oppresses women, the group we’re supposed to be “marching” for.

I expressed my alarm at their choices to the organizers via their public event page. In response, they chastised me as “divisive” and quickly moved to silence me by removing my post. But they did not manage to get it down before it was noticed by a handful of folks who were also alarmed to learn of the organizers intentions. Folks who also recognize the systems and institutions that oppress us.

I was contacted by women of color who had been approached by the organizers to speak “for their people,” in an attempt to display racial inclusivity in the most tokenizing of ways. These women were contacted completely at random, based solely on their race, while never having put themselves forward as delegates for the people of their race. Furthermore, they were informed that if they were to speak at this “Women’s March,” they would be disallowed from expressing ideas ‘against’ anything, including Trump. They were told by the organizers to “keep it positive,” in an act of policing not only the messages that were supposed to represent the people of their races but also the emotions of participants. Just a whole lot of policing going on.

I also heard from folks concerned that women were being represented in a narrow way that sought to erase the voices and legitimacy of our trans sisters, which further reflects the system of patriarchy. Another important factor that event organizers had failed to mention was the colonization of the very ground we were to march upon, where indigenous peoples, the Wiyot, had enjoyed a home before white settlers brought their systems of terror and devastation.

With only one day until this charade of a parade was scheduled to take place, a handful of us decided to attempt to organize a protest. We posted a call-out for at least 50 people to commit to publicly protesting the policies of the event organizers and of the institution they were reinforcing, that of the partriarchal, colonial, white supremacist, capitalist, police-state. Within an hour we had our dedicated 50, and then some.

On the day of the event, nearly a hundred protesters gathered together on the waterfront of Eureka, under a banner that denounced the oppressive institutions that ultimately brought thousands out to the streets that day, even if not all in attendance fully understood what brought us there. As the parade passed, we raised our voices, chanting and singing our messages to the mostly silent crowd, which brought many smiles, nods of approval, handshakes, and hugs from them. Some joined our ranks and eventually we began to march, until it was time for the leaders of the parade, the Eureka City Police, to make a U-turn bringing them face-to-face with hundreds of us who let them know in no uncertain terms that we see who they are, we know what horrific systems they enforce, and we do not approve.

At that, we broke from the parade and marched ourselves out into the 101, luring the police away from the platform and pedestal they’d been provided by parade organizers. By my count, there were more than 300 of us chanting, singing, drumming, and dancing in the streets. Do not be fooled by lapdog media accounts that attempted to minimize our gathering by focusing on the few who chose to have themselves arrested that day. We made a large, jubilant, powerful display of resistance. We marched in solidarity with women and all other oppressed people that day. To my knowledge, it is the only women’s march to ever happen in Humboldt County because it was the only march in express resistance of patriarchy. For me, that march brought a lot more than a sense of empowerment and joy. It broadened and strengthened my connection with other solid resisters who I have had the pleasure and honor of organizing with over the past couple of years.

I’m pleased and relieved to see that the parade that deemed itself The Women’s March in Humboldt County finally had organizers with enough understanding of the oppressive systems we find ourselves in that they decided to cancel the event to draw attention to some of its flaws. As for the organizers who’ve decided to continue the tradition of ignorance this year, there will always be those. But it’s my deepest hope that soon enough, more and more people will wake up to the truth about our situation, and the resisters of these oppressive structures we’re all subject to will be enough to overcome those who uphold them. With that goal in mind, we must continue to work and fight our way toward freedom.

I recommend reading and organizing discussions of the following text for a quick study on the roots of patriarchy and how it is tied to all systems of oppression:
http://www.freeocalan.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/liberating-Lifefinal.pdf

Bright Starling

In 2015 the 7th Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair Committee’s best-laid plans for Michael Knapp with Tatort Kurdistan from Berlin, Germany to the keynote speaker. He is a co-author of the books Democratic Autonomy in Northern Kurdistan and Revolution in Rojava. He was to discuss democratic autonomy as it developed in the Kurdish movement, including models for gender equality and autonomous democracy. A living breathing model to address inequality and the growing ecological l crisis that threatens the world. Michael was doing his Ph.D. in 2015 he has it now. So we will have to catch him between classes to talk more about it. You may have guessed Michael couldn’t make it to the 7th Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair because  Obama’s low key travel ban on anyone who has visited Syria (ever practically) that isn’t a US citizen. The US government canceled Michael’s trip after we had bought his ticket. Luckily the refund was relatively quick. A video presentation couldn’t work it out at that time. We may do it in the future. In the meantime go read the books! Don’t let borders get in the way of the revolution. We have both of his books available in the infoshop for you to borrow!
Rhizome Infoshop
http://new-compass.net/publications/democratic-autonomy-north-kurdistan

Update 4/6/2019: Our automatic online ordering system is sending to the wrong email so please remember your books and add the relevant personal info in your email to us, that will be a good workaround until we have this bug fixed.

The curated radical and anarchist multi-media platform of our dreams that will be the Rhizome Infp-shop is taking shape. It will be a place to browse our physical library and email us to borrow books, find out books to get yourself and get access to all the best anarchist media that we can find. Podcasts, news outlets, videos, online reading, books, zines pamphlets, art music…We hope to have it launched and ready to go by Spring 2018.

We now have a way to catalog that has been dogging us for a while. We lost a number of books in the most recent move but we are restocking our collection day by day, with friends and publishers contributing to the Rhizome Info-shop.

This collection is very accessible, not in an upstairs loft or any particular location, we will meet you where you are at and work with your needs. That is the hope to get the right book to the right person as often as we can.

The most destructive force on earth is ignorance, we hope this new iteration of the info-shop will kick ignorance in its teeth.

to contact the folks working on the rhizome info-shop

email: Humboldt (no spaces) Grassroots at rise up dot net.

If you are not a robot you’ll know how to read that.

More to come!

Thanks to The Ink People and J-Birds Treasure Nook in Eureka for their support!

Humboldt Grassroots was asked to pass this letter along where Andy Mills could see it (we know you’re watching). They have chosen to write under a moniker out of concern for their safety.

Dear Eureka Police Chief Andrew Mills,

How dare you compare a band’s name that makes you uncomfortable to genocide! In what world do you live in where the two are even remotely similar? The band is called Millions of Dead COPS so don’t act like it has anything to do with Jews just to make a point. You chose to be a police officer, and while some Jews converted, most of us were born into it. How can you possibly compare our real tragedy with political satire? How do you even feel so attacked and marginalized by the name of a band that you think the Holocaust is a reasonable comparison? As long as we’re making huge jumps, what about the millions of dead Natives who lost their lives so you can call your city Eureka? Why wouldn’t you reference a genocide that you have personally benefitted from?

You think this band’s name is a hate crime? Do you know what a hate crime is? I have had FOUR ACTUAL HATE CRIMES committed against me in the City of Eureka since the election. They happened because of my brown skin and African features, which is something I did not choose and cannot change. You were not born a police officer, that was a life decision you made as an adult. It was not forced on you. There is a huge difference between people hating you because of the color of your skin and because you choose to associate with the largest and most organized violent gang in America. And don’t fool yourself, you are a gang. You travel in packs, heavily armed, wearing matching colors and other identifiers, you speak to each other in code and use fear tactics and brute force to control people. That is why I never reported either instance of somebody deliberately trying to run me over while yelling racial slurs out their window, or the person who tried to physically intimidate me in front of the Coop while screaming in my face and not letting me pass them. I didn’t report any of these actual hate crimes because I already knew from personal experience with your department that you wouldn’t do anything to help me. Why should I trust you now? In ten years I have not dealt with nearly as much racist bullshit as I have encountered since the morning of November 9, 2016. And you have the audacity to insinuate that the name of this band a hate crime? Now that is what I call “repugnant”!

Do you realize there are children in this country who wonder why they are hated? Black children internalize the hatred, bigotry, marginalization and violent treatment black Americans face today and have faced ever since the days of chattel slavery. Native children wonder what they’ve done to deserve having their land stolen and their water poisoned. Jewish children wonder how horrible they must naturally be to deserve near extermination. So if children are wondering why people blindly hate them for things they have no control over, why don’t you, as an adult, think about why people hate the police? If soul searching and reading up on your history was too much, you could have attended last night’s performance as a patron and talked to other attendees about their opinions, rather than try to stifle a message you disagree with on the surface. Anyone with a brain between their ears can come up with a few dozen reasons why people don’t like you. Your asinine, thoughtless, insensitive, inaccurate tweet and pathetic attempt to damage a local business is a perfect example.

Do not pretend to be for freedom of speech while actively trying to silence someone’s message. If you were just some angry citizen, I would hold nothing against you for your statements yesterday. But since you are the police chief, your word is law as far as many people are concerned. Should local business owners be worried you’ll call for a boycott against them for exercising their First Amendment Rights as well?

You’ve insulted the Jews in your community by comparing our genocide to a band’s name that you dislike.You’ve insulted everyone who has endured real hate crimes in your community with your foolish comparison.You’ve asked for a boycott against a safe, all-ages music venue in your community.You’ve responded to an anti-Trump event in his signature style; by using your power and authority to threaten the reputation of Siren’s Song because you dislike the name of a band they hosted. Sad.

Look at your actions and ask yourself why people hate the police. Ask yourself why a band called Millions of Dead Cops had a line going around the corner.

I write this to you anonymously not because I am ashamed of anything I have to say, but because I am afraid to stand up to a police officer while also referencing my race and religion. I fear what your supporters would do to me if I make my identity public, and I am certain that you would not help me.

Yours truly,
MADaf