Minneapolis: Now This Fight Has Two Sides

What the Riots Mean for the COVID-19 Era

via: CrimethInc.

The demonstrations this week in Minneapolis mark a historic watershed in the COVID-19 era. As we argued in March, there are some things that are worth risking death for. Perpetuating capitalism is not one of them. But some of us face threats even more deadly than COVID-19. It is worth risking our lives to fight for a world in which no one will be murdered the way that George Floyd was—and what is happening in Minneapolis shows that people are ready to.

Even before the pandemic hit, the United States was a powder keg, with rapidly escalating inequalities polarizing the population. Since March, we have experienced historically unprecedented unemployment alongside lethal risks that have been distributed throughout the population along the same lines of race and class as the preexisting disparities. The government has invented billions of dollars to pour into the pockets of executives, while leaving ordinary people high and dry; corporations are forcing those who still have jobs to risk their lives daily, while introducing new surveillance technologies and seeking to hasten the pace of automation. In short, we are being treated as a surplus population to be controlled by state violence and culled by the virus.

Politicians across the political spectrum are complicit in this. Some are relying more on brute force to stabilize the situation, others more on more rational management, but no one holding power has a real plan for how to address the systemic factors that got us here in the first place. At best, they borrow rhetoric and talking points from campaigns that we start, showing—just as the firing of the police in Minneapolis did—that the only way we will see social change is if we take grassroots action to bring it about by force.

Yet until May 26, the chief fault line in the United States appeared to be between Trump supporters who want to pretend that there is no pandemic taking place and Democrats who want to be seen as the cautious, responsible ones without addressing the factors that force us to put ourselves at risk. The spectacle of clashes between an astroturf far-right movement demanding to “re-open” the economy and unusually restrained police officers defending state shutdown measures served to limit political discourse to a fool’s choice between the kind of “freedom” championed by capitalists and white supremacists on one side and the kind of “safety” that totalitarian states always promise to provide on the other.

The courageous resistance to police control in Minneapolis on May 26 and 27 in response to the brutal murder of George Floyd shows that a large number of people are ready to oppose the government and the police even at great risk to themselves. We are hearing the voices of a part of the population that was silent these past two months—those who are neither wealthy liberals nor bootlicking conservatives—and it turns out that together, we are powerful enough to interrupt the status quo.

The events in Minneapolis will expand the collective imagination of what is possible, which had contracted painfully over the past several years. They will change the discourse about how social change happens. It has become clear that entreating those who hold power through electoral means is a dead end. Attempting to make change by main force is a gamble, but it is the only realistic option left.

It is significant that the mobilization that took us across this threshold was a response to anti-black police violence, initiated by those on the receiving end of white supremacy and all the other vectors of oppression. As we noted at the end of 2017, the uprisings against police violence that took place around the country from Ferguson to Baltimore and beyond virtually ceased after the election of Donald Trump. The reason why this happened is unclear, but they certainly did not cease because police violence diminished in any way. The uprising in Minneapolis brings all the unsettled debts of that era back into play, but in a totally different context, in which a lot more people have been radicalized, society is much more polarized, and it is increasingly clear to everyone that—whether from the bullets of the police, COVID-19, or global climate change—our lives at stake.

The clashes in Minneapolis dominate the news from Greece to Chile. For good or for ill, the United States occupies a central place in the global attention economy—and thanks to the pandemic, everyone around the world is experiencing similar pressures. Especially in the global South—Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa—where large numbers of people experience the same brutality that is meted out to people like George Floyd, the rebellion in Minneapolis will offer an example others will emulate over the coming months.

Solidarity graffiti in Athens, Greece.

How will the ruling class respond? In the United States, Trump and his supporters will charge that Democrats can’t control the states they govern, using this to stoke racist fear among the beneficiaries of white privilege. Centrist Democrats will claim that this sort of unrest is what happens when rule of law is not respected in the White House, hoping to regain power nationally—even though Minnesota is under Democratic governance right now, and the law has always been an instrument of white supremacy. The institutional Left will present themselves as intermediaries, offering to get us out of the street and under control in return for a few concessions.

Hopefully, in a time when the state itself is fracturing into rival factions, none of these groups have the political capital capital they need to carry out a massive state clampdown without running the risk of being abandoned by the others. It appears that each faction would like the others to be the ones held responsible for escalating the situation. In any case, Trump is no longer the only one dominating the news cycle. Now this war has two sides.

Only a week ago, some elements on the far-right were trying to frame themselves as anti-police because of the “re-open” protests. In Minneapolis last night, gun-toting militia members expressed the awkward position that they supported the protests but opposed the looting—a contradiction that becomes flagrantly obvious as soon as you notice which direction they are pointing their guns. The apparent murder of a demonstrator in Minneapolis last night by a vigilante defending a store should make it clear enough that vigilantes and cops are the same thing—murderers—whether in or out of uniform.

And what should we do? We should talk clearly to everyone who will listen about why people are standing up for themselves. We should share skills about how to keep each other safe in the street. We should strengthen our networks and prepare to participate in similar events all around the world. We should resist every effort to divide those acting together in solidarity against police violence, especially conspiracy theories about outside agitators. We should explain yet again why vandalism and looting are effective and legitimate protest tactics. Every time people stand up for themselves against the police state, we should show up in solidarity, prepared to run the same risks that those we support face every day. Above all, we should share visions of a world without oppression, without hierarchy, without police or prisons or surveillance, and demonstrate strategies via which to create it.

We owe nothing to the police who have taken advantage of the pandemic to murder black people even more flagrantly than before. They were never meant to keep us safe. We owe nothing to the billionaires who have taken advantage of the pandemic to pocket even more money from the state and corner the market with their monopolies. Life for their economy means death for us. We owe nothing to the politicians who have scarcely lifted a finger to protect our health or housing. They have had their chance. We need to change everything ourselves.

The ruling order is doomed. It will collapse sooner or later. Concentrating wealth and power in fewer and fewer hands is not sustainable. The only question is whether we will abolish it before it kills all of us and decimates the planet. Time is short. The lives we thought were ahead of us have already been snatched from us. It’s up to us to create another future.

Thank you to everyone in Minneapolis and Los Angeles who risked their freedom—and perhaps their lives—last night to show that the murder of George Floyd is unacceptable.


A Twitter thread archiving the police scanner in Minneapolis on the evening of May 27.

An archived livestream documenting several hours of protest activity on the evening of May 27.

There are 24 Comments

While it's great to see people finally physically fighting back, it needs to be more targeted. Go after the cops themselves, hunt them down and kill them. Looting clothing and liquor stores is fun and all, but it's not really addressing the specific issue. It also just turns spectators against you.

That said, there were targeted attacks on police stations in several cities including Minneapolis which was good to see. Let's keep the rioting up, but also keep it targeted (which doesn't mean looting the Target store ...lol)

maybe try not to micro-manage how people of affected communities need to behave during an insurrection...

Who's doing that? And who are the affected communities?

I'm just pointing out that looting and destroying buildings (by both black and white middle class people) don't really have anything to do with addressing police oppression. Nobody can be expected to logically connect the dots between that behavior and going after the cops.

first with the idea that anyone here is in a position (or would want to) tell rioters what to do
second with your smooth (and classic) class-baiting (and racial simplification, but never mind that for now) about middle class destruction.
third that riots are (or should be) about linear reasoning. people are pissed off and fed up by a large number of things, police brutality being (frequently) the spark, but never the whole reason, for acting up.
fourth, riots (more than any other event, which is why they are so engaging) are not "ours" (the people looking at them from elsewhere). they belong to the people who are doing them in the moments that they are being done. make your own riot. see what happens.

You can’t really “go after the cops” in a frontal attack, unless you want to die. What they’re doing is as direct as you can get while keeping each other relatively safe.

Cops for the most part don’t prevent crime, but process some people (more than others) for some crimes (more than others).

One of the things they’re known to do is process crimes to protect private property. Another thing they’re known to do is killing black people without even having the excuse of the framing of a situation were it could be interpreted as excessive force used to stop or prevent a crime.

By doing crime and not getting caught, you are directly subverting their work. By rioting in spite of their mere existence, you subvert their directive of crowd control. By being a black person and lighting private property on fire, and leaving unscathed and free, never to be caught for that particular offense, hopefully, you’re laughing in the face of an order that wants you dead or imprisoned for merely being.

By rioting black people are basically saying “This is what we look like when we don’t give a fuck. You have no power over us.”

But the economy has control over people, people can’t riot everyday forever. It all goes back to normal, but not because they’re afraid or get tired, but they need to keep on living despite everything.

A last thing I’d add is that this very well applies specifically to looting, included in that many thongs that happen at riots: like graffitiing FTP all over, how much more direct connection you want? But trying to misconstrue it as mostly about a bunch of cold-blooded opportunistic people waiting to loot when riot strikes is totally false.

I saw livestream of it, most people were just standing around or walking around, looking at the broken windows, the fires in the middle of the parking lot, the FTP graffitis all over, and recording it to share it on social media, to let the world know. They were just showing up as a way to express their rage and sorrow.

Not saying “these are the good people, unlike the looters” nor scold them for not being more rowdy. Instead, I’d say that it’s much harder to “logically connect the dots between that behavior and going after the cops”, between people just standing around as bystanders, or sitting at home like spectators.

You can’t really “go after the cops” in a frontal attack, unless you want to die.

Sure you can. Most people are just pussies, that's all. I used to live up in the Yukon, and I would watch First Nations occasionally get into fights with the local RCMP. They didn't put up with shit from cops, and they were usually even unarmed. Imagine what 5,000 rioters could do in downtown Minneapolis if they had guns....or any balls.

"By rioting black people are basically saying “This is what we look like when we don’t give a fuck. You have no power over us.”

That's odd, since if that were true, riots would always usher in a revolution due to the power relations being upended. Yet they never do.

"But the economy has control over people, people can’t riot everyday forever. It all goes back to normal, but not because they’re afraid or get tired, but they need to keep on living despite everything."

Yes, riots always END, because the authorities allow riots to burn themselves out. The feeling of "you have no power over us" is a temporary illusion the police let you have. Everything always goes back to normal precisely because riots never fundamentally change anything. Authoritarian power, and the economy are never toppled or destroyed by riots. In fact, the authorities usually manage the riots by driving riots away from certain areas and towards others. The reason for the riots are never consummated. Vengance is never satisfied. The cops who did the killing are never caught or dealt with by the rioters themselves. Thus, there are never any consequences to what cops do. There is no threat to the system. There is only smashism, resulting merely in a clean up on aisle 3. Riots actually help capitalism, since to clean up and repair broken windows and burned buildings requires more money to be spent into the system. The authorities and cops learn how to navigate their PR and manage riots for 'the next time'. Their containment strategies get more efficient. Meanwhile, anarchists keep doing the same dumb shit every time. They learn nothing, and keep using the same tired old tactics.

At least this time, some people went directly at the police station. That's what we need to see more of.

yeah, no kidding, it wasn't a riot comprised of anarchists, nor a coup by "revolutionaries" of any sort.

"At least this time, some people went directly at the police station."

ikr, so quit whining

"That's what we need to see more of."

yeah well, you first, numbnuts.

if you've all so figured out since so long ago, why haven't i seen any precincts taken over by an HGS dispatch?

"it wasn't a riot comprised of anarchists, nor a coup by "revolutionaries" of any sort."

Then why is this on anarchist news? And why are anarchists on here defending random looting.

"ikr, so quit whining"

If you think I'm "whining", then you don't know what whining means. Read my posts again.

"yeah well, you first, numbnuts"

^This is what I'm talking about. Anarchist pussies telling always someone else to go first.

Submit your question at https://anarchy101.org/


“Then why is this on anarchist news? And why are anarchists on here defending random looting“

You might be interested to read more about anarchy in these primers:


This and much more can be found in theanarchistlibrary.org

Recent uploads include reading material on the topic of illegalism which might help enrich your opinion regarding the topic of looting, in to anarchism.

You can always use the search bar and click on any keyword or topic that might interest you to filter the results and learn more!

For more interesting books on topics related to anarchy, riots and looting, check https://littleblackcart.com/

just see what anon 07:38 wrote. they are clearly much more patient than i am and they definitely get it. thanks, anon 07:38

but also...... what part of destroy everything do you not understand?

they also went after the cops:

it turns out it helps to make a little chaos beforehand to do so:
"Maj. General Jon Jensen of the MN National Guard says they were ordered to activate early yesterday and soldiers were notified. He says there was no “clear mission” and he was uncomfortable sending troops into unfamiliar terrain in darkness."

I think it's great, events like these are kind of like a forced Saturnalia where certain rules are suspended for the lower class of society and you get away with these things for a while. If you have that Novatorean appreciation for expropriation you should be liking this stuff. There is no such thing as right and wrong remember

Get those possessions my niggas(of all phenotypes and colors). Also crimethinc(who have me twitter blocked) still sucks.

Ain't nothing 'wrong' with it morally. Strategically is a different question. It doesn't do anything to address the murder by police. A black person was killed by police you say? Great, I need a new 54" flat screen! Thank you officer for killing George Floyd!

What is the connection again?

And if there is no such thing as right or wrong, then there wouldn't be anything wrong with pigs killing niggas, right?

That, 5K imac, porn stuff, get it I say. Riots are opportunities for shared expropriation. You can do this and still be angered over Floyd's murder.

There's nothing wrong with pigs killing niggas as there is nothing wrong with anything. That doesn't mean you have to like it however. Like love and hate are proper egoist ethical substitutes for spooky kooky right and wrong.

Except most people think there is something wrong with pigs killing niggas. Hence the riots. If people were only concerned with their own personal preferences or likes and dislikes, it wouldn't bother them, because it doesn't directly affect them.

If someone killed my brother, my first instinct wouldn't be to go out and loot a store. So no, if you're angry about a homicide, looting is NOT an expression of that anger.

"love and hate are proper egoist ethical substitutes for spooky kooky right and wrong."

zig, you truly come off as the self-proclaimed arbiter of egoist moralism. stop it.

but big navi clearly hasn't let go of the moralistic state-mind.

i personally would always try to target my response at the perpetrator of the specific situation i was responding to. in the context of a specific incident like the murder of someone i care about, i would go after the murderer directly, in any way possible. but when you are a poor person already, and on top of that you have an abundance of melanin that points institutional racism directly at you, then attacking generalized icons of all that institutional racism (cops and their shops) and classism (capitalist enterprises) is absolutely understandable to me.

on the other hand, if (for example) you destroy all the grocery stores in your area, and you have no other way to obtain food and other essentials, then i'd question your approach. especially if everyone else in your neighborhood (if you care about them) also relies on that grocery store.

I'd highly recommend you read SirEinzige twitter. It's like this endless stream of dogmatic nonsensical ramblings. It's funny.

Do you guys know what that even is?

"but big navi clearly hasn't let go of the moralistic state-mind."

So even when I say looting isn't a moral problem for me, just a strategic one, you still manage to twist it and project a moral narrative onto me. Fascinating.

Either that, or you are unable to discern the difference between morality and strategy.

A thread about the link between crime and anarchism:

"The anarchist, in any event, will often be their brother. The same risks run for the same goal frequently brings them together.

Intellectual and moral rebel, it is in fact only logical that the anarchist doesn’t fear becoming, whenever the circumstances seem favorable, an economic rebel."

-[From: Anarchists and criminals]

"In principle, we always choose revolt. And yet, in keeping with our possibilities we are wage earners or bandits. We can’t do much about this. We find the two things equally unpleasant, equally disagreeable. We don’t want to be wolves, as I told you, but men. Alas.

Obviously, if we are workers or thieves, we will not, by this fact, transform the social milieu. We know that if leagued together in a union we were to seek to improve the conditions of our subjection, or that if through our daring we were to wrest a few advantages, the social effect of our gestures would be minimal. Nevertheless, individually we would have profited, which is enough.

In order to transform society – if this is possible – we know that something else is needed besides reformist collective movements or acts of banditry. But in order to do these other things one must live; and in order to live one must be a wage earner or a bandit.

Individual education, the popularization of scientific knowledge, the diffusion of the critical spirit and the spirit of revolt, these, in our opinion, are the surest methods of seeing individuals evolve and, through this, to transform society. We have never failed to say this. Wage labor and banditry are for us nothing but deplorable expedients we are forced to resort to in order to survive and fulfill our task in an abominable world."

-[From: Expedients]

"Interestingly, many of us who assume ourselves to be part of Anarchism, also consider that it is a reiteration to speak of “illegal anarchism”, however this particular label makes sense if, and only if, there is the existence of two antagonistic positions around the realization of direct action — that is, at the moment when we bring all of our theory to practice. This antagonism, as unfortunate as undeniable inside our movement, will be the cause of these peculiar “distinctions.” So to get into the issue of this theme, we need to address the false dichotomy: “legalistic anarchism “ v. “ illegal anarchism.”

And so we can plant this as a “false dichotomy”, precisely because the so-called “legalistic anarchism” is an unusual contradiction. From the moment we appeal to legality we are denying Anarchism. Anarchism is illegal or it isn’t Anarchism. That is its essence and meaning — its nature. For this reason, sometimes it seems so obvious that we forget to meticulously emphasize the anti-authoritarian character of Anarchism and therefore, that it is consequently anti-systemic; Anti-systemic and full of rage! We are against all authority; that’s our motto. For the same reason, Anarchists, from the moment we begin to assume ourselves as such, right in that initial moment, we are locating ourselves outside of the law.


So when we address the so-called “illegal anarchism”, we do so acknowledging the gigantic size of this incongruity, but also acknowledging that this euphemism is referring to insurrectionary anarchism, then we must reaffirm the validity and objectivity of propaganda by the deed and of expropriations, recognising these tactics and practices as consistent with our principles, appropriate for times of withdrawal and retreat from the real movement of the oppressed and for the periods of reflux, re-articulation and accumulation of forces. But precisely for that reason, our action should not be limited to action for the action itself without ideals or principles that reaffirm them but instead as a direct consequence of those principles and those ideals put into practice."
-[From: Illegal Anarchism]

"Over this first reason for theft there is therefore no need – we believe – to linger along, demonstrating what now no longer needs to be demonstrated.

We can simply add that for the man to whom society denies bread, if there is a crime, it is precisely that of not stealing, or not being able to steal.

I know, there are unfortunately still malignant derelicts with a human semblance, who exalt and praise the “great” virtue of the “honest poor.”

They were – Oscar Wilde says – the ones who deal by their personal account with the enemy, selling their rights as first-born for the vilest plate of bad lentils.

To be poor – and “honest poor” - means, for us, to be enemies – and the most repugnant enemies – of every form of human dignity and every higher feeling.

What can an “honest poor man” symbolize, if not the most degrading form of human degradation?"

-[From: In Defense of Heroic and Expropriating Anarchism]

"When I say I am an outlaw, I don’t mean that I am some great, heroic bandit (such a claim would make my friends laugh their asses off). I mean simply that, to the extent of my power, I live alegally, that is, without regard for the law. I don’t let the law determine my choices and my actions. Rather I use all my powers – my skills, my tools, my wits, my relationships – to create my life on my own terms without getting caught. This alegality reinforces my refusal to ever voluntarily deal with cops or courts.

I speak of alegality and not illegalism, not because I am opposed to illegalism, but because I want to be precise. Originally, the term “illegalism” had a specific meaning. An illegalist was an anarchist who chose to use illegal means as the way to make her living rather than begging or taking a job. So “illegalism” referred specifically to robbery, burglary, theft, counterfeiting, etc., [1] not to propaganda of the deed, attentat, and the like, nor to such things as the refusal of military service, taxes, etc. The original debates over illegalism were therefore not about whether anarchists should take illegal actions – it was assumed that all anarchists did – but about whether individual reappropriation was a legitimate tactic – and for an egoist this is not even a question; the only question is: “What can I get away with?” In any case, anarchists, and for that matter, all free-spirited, unsubmissive individuals, will inevitably break laws. When laws exist, my choice to live on my own terms will make me an outlaw, because I will ignore law except as an obstacle to avoid."

- [From: The Anarchist As Outlaw

Read more:
Illegalist Praxis

Illegalism: Why Pay for a Revolution on the Installment Plan…When You Can Steal One?

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