It’s been one year since the Olympia railroad blockade of 2016 found itself growing for 7 rainy days and nights, prompted by solidarity actions with Standing Rock and eventually culminating in a fierce street fight with the police, while the baleful sound of the train whistle announced the resumption of business as usual. One year after this rupture, one revolution around the sun later, an assortment of the brave and the heartbroken, the tender and the enraged, are at it again. The hot, communal mess splayed across the train tracks has been resurrected, appearing again like a recurrent dream. Immediately, it feels like it never left us. Immediately we know that it never did.
From It's Going Down
As the smoke from May Day clears we hear many people asking, why? Why did what happen, happen? We also hear many people throwing around baseless accusations and assumptions; it was a bunch of angry white men, there was no message, they weren’t really anarchists, it was just mindless vandalism. We are writing this to address some of this and to counter the narrative of the police, business owners, and main stream media. We cannot speak for everyone there, but as some participants we can speak for ourselves.
Early in the morning of April 20th we poured concrete on the train tracks that lead out of the Port of Olympia to block any trains from using the tracks. We took precautions to notify BNSF (the train company) - we called them and we used wires to send a signal that the tracks were blocked. We did this not to avoid damaging a train, nothing would bring bigger grins to our faces, but to avoid the risk of injuring railway workers.
On Sunday night, anarchists in Olympia marched in solidarity with rioters and rebels in Milwaukee. After Sylville Smith was gunned down by the police in Milwaukee on Saturday, residents rose up and fought the police, burning down buildings and destroying police cruisers. We are saddened that another person lost his life to the police and white supremacy, but we are also inspired by the response in Milwaukee.
Earlier this spring on May 21st, two young black men were inside the Safeway on Cooper Point Road in West Olympia. One of them decided there was no point in paying for a twenty-four pack of beer, so they attempted to just walk out the front door with it. But as is so often the case, a Safeway employee who makes less than 15 dollars an hour felt it necessary to prevent this horrible crime. When she attempted to stop the young man, he threw the beer at her and ran away with his friend. As it turned out, these two men were brothers, Andre and Bryson Chaplin.
From It's Going Down
Thoughts from a Black Anarchist Concerning the Lack of Momentum in Olympia
For one night, one of the most epic nights, in my life for sure and probably in the history of Olympia, a united front was successfully formed where over 200 people came to flood the streets of Oly and run the Nazi scum out. A strong Bloc of 50 or more were ready and it was enchantingly beautiful, I was amazed. I was proud.