Friday, August 8, 2014

Qilombo space in Oakland is attacked by influential White anarchists who are intending on disrupting Qilombo's reputation and outreach to allies

The purpose of the attack is to provoke a response, and to divide the community liberation movement from allies... the main instigator of the attack is the well-known "post-left" (that is anti-left) anarchist Lawrence Jarach, and his target are the white anarchists who read his magazine and articles, and his purpose is to show his white audience "how scary Black people are"...

"Announcing the Opening of the Qilombo Community Social Center" 
posted 2014-04-07 to "" []:
In January of 2014, the Holdout temporarily closed its doors to do some serious cleaning. Now that the space has gone through several transitions, it’s time to reopen as a radical social center that supports community in struggle–with new energy and a new name.
From the Kimbundu word kilombo, the original quilombos were maroon societies founded by African people in Brazil and throughout South America between the 16th and 19th centuries. Most inhabitants of the quilombos were Africans escaping the trans-atlantic slave trade, but included indigenous people from local regions and other marginalized people fleeing European colonization. These autonomous zones provided land, shelter, and safety for those fighting to protect themselves from colonial enslavement and genocide. Resistance meant survival.
In this spirit of inter-communal solidarity, we invite you to join us in struggle! The Qilombo community social center is a place of intersection for Anarchists, other revolutionaries for liberation and folks from our neighborhood.
We have meeting and event space, a bookstore, a bike workshop, a free store, a pool table, a printing studio, and free use computers. A mutual-aid food distribution that offers free, nutritious groceries every Sunday. The HEPPAC collective that provides a needle exchange Friday mornings. We also host regularly occurring skillshares in Swahili and Chinese Martial Arts, an Anarchist/Autonomous Person of Color reading group, the Educate to Liberate workshop series, a prisoner letter writing night, and more! We are seeking new volunteers and new proposals for workshops and events, hit us up! These events are open to the public and are free or donation based.
Our bookstore specializes in radical books that are relevant to our communities. We have an excellent selection of books on African liberation, Anarchism, revolutionary movements, critical theory, a choice selection of zines, and some excellent fiction. Come by and read a book, or buy one that you’d like to take home.
We offer instruction on basic bike maintenance and repair. If you need help fixing up your bike or are interested in building one yourself, stop by the bike workshop.
As we begin this new stage of struggle, we are asking for the support of comrades from all over the world by becoming Friends of Qilombo and making a one time or recurring donation.
If you have any questions, would like to be added to our announcement list, or would like to host a class, meeting or an event, please email or visit
In Solidarity,
[signed] Qilombo
[end article]

Comments to the posted announcement from Qilombo included now erased postings by Lawrence Jarach attacking the Qilombo space and its members. In response, a Qilombo supporter initiated a forum discussion:
[begin forum discussion]
Posted April 8th, 2014,
For all the folks talking a BIG TALK in absolute or even support of Lawrence, a few things:
1. Why are you conflating autonomous actions of individuals who have some form of assumed affiliation with a physical space, with the physical space itself? Is it too difficult to talk about the actions of those individuals without having to assign them to some form of "team" dynamic? Folks speak for themselves and no one else, or at least real autonomous folks do.
2. Why is it assumed folks here that knock Lawrence are part of "Qilombo"? Again with this teaming thing. Ya'll are setting up false competitive shit, which reeks of white male patriarchy. You're a joke.
3. Folks should take a trip to Qilombo and see what's going on there, because all the assumptions being spread around about the space and the people who volunteer and put in work there are pretty funny, given its all shit folks appear to be pulling straight out of their asses. Don't knock something you know nothing about, it just makes you look foolish and childish. But the ignorant lulz have been quite entertaining.
SERIOUSLY, VISIT QILOMBO AND DELIVER THESE CRITIQUES FACE TO FACE. If ya'll aren't down for that, nothing you say here will ever matter to anyone. Ever.
Response from Qilombo hater #1, posted April 8th, 2014:
Why are you assuming all the people here knocking Lawrence are part of Qilombo, says the person from Qilombo. Lol. You folks are so transparently disingenuous. The fact that you've doubled down after the fact and continue to put out patently false distortions about what happened means that you've guaranteed your own irrelevance. Y'all suck and everyone knows it now.
Reply from Qilombo supporter:
Not "from" Qilombo, simply supporting the space. Is everyone who voices support for the space automatically a part of it? Again, with this teaming thing - what is that?
Follow-up from Qilombo hater, posted April 8th, 2014:
Well you see there is this little thing called responsibility. Yes folks are not 'guilty' by association (thank you Captain obvious), yet the secretive nature of these kinds of actions damages trust. Yes the team critique is sometimes relevant (again, thank you Captain obvious). But in the absence of any public statements confirming or denying involvement, faulting anarchists for wanting to com together in support of one another when up against certain unknown aspects of this harassment is absurd. You wanna support the space, fine then help bring about public transparency and accountability. Until then people may have a hard time trusting those associated with it.
Response from Qilombo hater #2, posted April 8th, 2014:
Wow! Did Qilombo just admit to engineering the plot against Lawrence? Guilty conscience maybe?
Response from Qilombo hater #3, posted April 8th, 2014:
You stole someone else's space instead of creating your own. Everyone knows what happened. Don't expect the red carpet to be rolled out for you.
Posted May 2nd, 2014 by Sir Einzige:
nationalism is nationalism -
These cancerous strains of latent 1968 based Marxism are truly preventing anarchism from at least repeaking with its 1886-1911 hights. Why aren't the quildumbos and other colored nationalists treated like the BANAs. Libertarian logic right now is the dominant current around the post 89 radical world. Let's detox and cleanse the last of the Marxist post-WW2 toxins. Only then will anarchism be fully healthy again.
Commenting on the Qilombo announcement at "", "Bob Black" posted the following April 7th, 2014:
[begin comment]
In January of 2014, the Holdout temporarily closed its doors to do some serious ethnic cleansing. Now that the space has gone through several ethno-political transitions, it’s time to reopen as a pseudo-radical social center that supports community in struggle–with new energy and a new name.
Even though we lifted the following straight outta the White Supremacist Wikipedia, we are still suffering from enough internalized racism to feel fine about that, especially since we have no real skill at scholarship. Here you go: From the Kimbundu word kilombo, the original quilombos were maroon societies {yeah, we know that it's problematic to impose the name of one kind of cultural phenomenon onto that from another culture, but hey, what's a little cultural colonialism among friends?} founded by African people in Brazil {through some small-scale colonialism by expropriating the lands of the newly powerless indigenous people} and throughout South America between the 16th and 19th centuries. Most inhabitants of the quilombos were Africans escaping the trans-atlantic slave trade, but included indigenous people {newly dispossessed, but still generous enough to teach the African sub-colonists about the local flora and fauna} from local regions and other marginalized people fleeing European colonization. These autonomous zones provided land, shelter, and safety for those fighting to protect themselves from colonial enslavement and genocide. Resistance meant survival.
In this spirit of inter-communal solidarity, we invite you to join us in struggle, but only if you agree with us 100%! The Qilombo community social center is a place of intersection for Anarchists, other revolutionaries for liberation and folks from our neighborhood, like the crack dealers and bicycle thieves.
We have meeting and event space for conducting illicit transactions of all kinds, a bookstore for browsing only - reading is for White Supremacists, a bike workshop to help you dismantle the recently lifted bikes and build new ones with the parts so they can't be identified by their previous White Supremacist owners, a free store, a pool table for small-time hustling, a printing studio that we will never use, and free use computers for arranging the meetings in our underground economy rooms. A mutual-aid food distribution that offers free, nutritious groceries every Sunday from dumpsters the White Supremacists found, but which we forced them to give up. The HEPPAC collective that provides a needle exchange Friday mornings for those of you whose drug tastes are more pedestrian. We also host regularly occurring skillshares in Swahili {imposed as the official language of the colonial administrators of Tanganyika, imposed as the non-native language of thousands of other Africans unlucky enough to live in Kenya, the DRC, and Tanzania} and Chinese Martial Arts {but certainly nothing associated with the historic Quilombos}, an Anarchist/Autonomous Person of Color reading group with no texts by anarchists, the Educate to Liberate workshop series, a prisoner letter writing night, and more! We are seeking new volunteers and new proposals for workshops and events, hit us up! These events are open to the public and are free or donation based.
Our bookstore specializes in radical books that are relevant to our communities. We have an excellent selection of books on African liberation by Marxist-Leninists, Anarchism by non-anarchists, revolutionary movements that are not revolutionary, critical theory that isn't critical, a choice selection of zines by and for the functionally illiterate, and some excellent fiction {all of the above}. Come by and read a book if you can, but don't ask us to help, because we can barely read ourselves, or pretend to buy one that you’d like to take home.
We offer instruction on basic {post-lifting} bike maintenance and repair. If you need help fixing up your bike or are interested in building one yourself to make it unrecognizable to the White Supremacist you took it from, stop by the bike workshop.
As we begin this new stage of struggle, we are asking for the support of comrades from all over the world by becoming Friends of Qilombo and making a one time or recurring donation, because we expelled all the White Supremacists who had the money to pay the Holdout's rent.
If you have any questions, would like to be added to our announcement list, or would like to host a class, meeting or an event, please email or visit
[end comment]

"Bob Black" also posted a document (re-posted in it's entirey below) in the comments (May 2nd, 2014) to the Qilombo announcement at "", which received the following responses:
[begin comments to document by "Bob Black"]
Posted May 2nd:
Hey Bob, two things,
1) Does this appear as an article anywhere? It seems like it would be more suitable for reading framed as an article than as a really long comment on a comment string from several weeks ago on a website where the comments are notoriously crappy.
2) Why do you repeatedly bring up Ramsey's immigration status? I'm inquiring genuinely. What do anarchists care what someone's immigration status is? I actually think you raise good points in several respects but bringing this up actually undermines your point. Can you explain why you think this is important and relevant to your essay here?
Posted May 2nd by Sgt. Snitch:
I'm afraid you raise a good point. Only the State cares about someone's immigration status. And so continuing to carp about Ramsey's status threatens to give the game away, i.e., that Bob Black is on our payroll. This is one of the reasons we have used him so sparingly recently. He just doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut.
Posted May 2nd:
Also what kind of anarchist uses the term 'negro' to describe black people?
[end comments to document by "Bob Black"]

"Bob Black" is well known among self-identified anarchists and has an extreme amount of resources and ability to project his opinions. He issued a document which uses a host of racial slurs and made libelous and threatening statements toward the Qilombo social center and its individual membership. The document was briefly posted on and, but was taken down soon afterwards by both newswires, then made a brief appearance on anokchan, but was taken down, and the document almost seemed to have been wiped from the internet...
"Bob Black" is regarded as The Architect of the "Post-Left Anarchist" persuasion popular among White anarchists in the USA, which rejects organizing the working class and the lumpenproletariat, and which rejects the cultural context of captive nations in the USA.

[begin article]
"No More Water, The FIRE Next Time!" 
2014-04-29 by Bob Black, posted at [] [], and []:
Bob Black's open letter taking to task AJODA's Open Letter decrying attack by Qilombo.
The latest – I dare to hope, the last — Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair (Marxist-Opportunist) took place on March 22, 2014, in Oakland, at “The Crucible.” This long-running event was previously the San Francisco Anarchist Bookfair, until high rents forced it to relocate to the East Bay. Its ostensible sponsor is the Bound Together, nominally-anarchist bookstore in Haight-Ashbury. Traditionally, Bound Together fronted for AK Press, supposedly a collective, which was founded, funded, and dominated by a foreign businessman named Ramsey Kanaan whose immigration status remains mysterious. When, after a few years, the AK Press collective came to be not in complete agreement with Kanaan about policy, he left and founded, funded, and dominated, PM Press, which, to the outside observer, is, in its publishing decisions, indistinguishable from AK Press. I don’t know which publisher now controls this Bookfair. This is one of many things which the victims of the recent outrage at the Bookfair probably know, but which they do not disclose. But it is unmistakably under the control of anarcho-leftists who are far more leftist than anarchist, and who only grudgingly allow post-left anarchists to table.
Several post-left anarchist projects are active in the East Bay: C.A.L. Press; Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed [AJODA]; and LBC Books/Distribution. They were at the Bookfair. Their publications and distribution have challenged AK Press and PM Press both politically and commercially. The Bookfair management (which does not identify itself) would really rather that these anarchists weren’t there, but, it can’t think of any reason to refuse their being there. It can, however, quietly encourage terrorist actions to get rid of the real anarchists.
At the end of this Bookfair (close to 6:00 PM), a mob of Politically Correct vandals – according to the tablers (John, Lisa and Lawrence), a dozen goons – launched a surprise attack on the table shared by C.A.L. Press and Anarchy Magazine. The thugs, as they screamed threats, poured water all over the table, destroying many books and magazines – including copies of at least one of my books! there will be retaliation for this! And I will send them a bill! The people at the table, surprised and heavily outnumbered, cannot be blamed for not fighting back. But the bystanders can be blamed. But, they can be blamed – as I shall go on to do – for covering up for the thugs, and for not telling what they know about the background to this story, and for not publicly identifying those involved.
I strongly protest the complete cover-up of who did this, and why. Even I, from afar, with scant help from the victims, can relate more about this incident than its victims have made public – and even more than they have privately related. I strongly object to the failure of the victims’ “Open Letter to Bay Area Anarchists” to explain the back story to this attentat. It can’t be justified, but it can be explained.
Once upon a time, in some anarchist context which (once again) I don’t know about, Lawrence Jarach got into an argument with some black anarchist about the Anarchist Persons of Colors’ practice of collaboration with reactionary black churches. He reportedly said something like, “we should burn the black churches, and the white churches too.” I hardly need to say – or do I? – that Christian churches have historically been the allies of the state and the enemies of anarchists. That is why the great classical anarchists, such as Proudhon, Stirner, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Tucker, Malatesta, Goldman, etc. have been, not only anti-clerical, but anti-religious too. That is why, in the early period of the Spanish Revolution, the anarchists burned hundreds of churches, and put the others to better uses. The APOCs’ know nothing of this, as they know nothing about anarchist history, and as they know nothing about anarchism, and as they are not anarchists. A pox on APOCs!
Something else they know nothing about is what they scream about there not being: racial equality. To advocate the burning of all churches, black and white, as Lawrence did, for them means that Lawrence is a “white supremacist.” Racial equality is racist. Only whites can be racist. All you have to do is, if you are white, ride public buses in the lower-income areas of American cities, as I have done thousands of times, to find out otherwise.
But all that the “Open Letter to Bay Area Anarchists” (signed by Lawrence, John [Henri Nolette], and Lisa [L.D. Hobson] – the members of the Anarchy Magazine editorial/production group) says about this is, basically that in ostensibly anarchist “spaces,” such intimidation, bullying, etc., should not be tolerated. Let’s be warm and fuzzy! Let’s be very California! Let’s make nice! But some people are not nice. These thugs are not nice. And, for the record, neither am I. I am very not nice to people who are not nice. And my not-niceness is not limited to verbal unpleasantries. Nor am I forgiving. Water on my books isn’t water under the bridge: not now, not ever. Certain faces will also be watered – with tears.
I’m not saying that – although I’ve sat at that table twice – I would have responded more violently. At my age (63), I probably shouldn’t have. But I think I would have got into it anyway. And if two or three other people had joined me, I’m sure that I would have, and we would have, kicked some ass. All bullies are cowards. If it that got messy, that would probably have been the end of this Bookfair, and that would be a good thing. But I appreciate that the people at the table, outnumbered and caught by surprise, understandably didn’t fight back. But why is the back story a privately circulated secret? Especially since it has been so much gossiped about?
However, the anarcho-racists’ antagonism to Lawrence, even aside from its being irrational and anti-anarchist, does have a back story. The victims have concealed this, except for saying that this was done to them by “people associated with” Qilombo. They do not publicly identify the individuals involved. But privately, one of them has identified, as the ringleader, somebody calling himself “Hannibal Shakur.” I am sure that this is not the name under which he collects his welfare checks. However, he was one of the speakers on the anarcho-racist panel at the end of the Bookfair. I had to find this out by Googling. It’s obvious that at the end of the racist panel, Hannibal and his entourage just went over and trashed the CAL Press/AJODA table, although, no CAL Press publication, and no issue of AJODA has ever said anything against black racist pseudo-anarchism – an oversight, perhaps. It’s not just a cause for complaint that the thugs “were not asked to leave the bookfair” – they were its invited guests. This was an inside job. Imagine what would have happened to me if I watered the tables of AK Press, PM Press and See Sharp Press!
The “Open Letter to Bay Area Anarchists” should be circulated more widely than to Bay Area anarchists (who are mostly feckless). It should go to every group which tabled at the Bookfair. But it needs revision. The hmuliating offer to “mediate,” which was anyway predictably ignored, should be deleted. There should be a call to boycott the Bookfair until it publicly repudiates the “Qilombo” mob (which can’t even spell correctly!), and bans their future presence and participation, and financially compensates CAL Press and AJODA for their losses. Why should they pay? Because they are liable, at least for negligence, more likely for recklessness (consciously ignoring what they should have expected to happen), or even for authorizing the attentat. They are guilty until proven innocent.
In the “Open Letter,” the victims say about the thugs that they are “not actually their enemies.” Why not? You may not be their enemies – although you should be – but they are your enemies. It’s okay to be the enemies of anybody, even Persons of Color, if they are Negro Nazis. And it’s stupid not to be. I am literally, physically nauseated by the way the victims are covering up for their oppressors. I want to know names, and addresses, and phone numbers. I want to know where they work, in the unlikely event that they do, and where they go to school. Their employers (or their professors) should be identified and informed. It might be useful to obtain, and circulate, their criminal records. And I want to know (as I have heard conflicting versions) the race of these racists because they played the race card. Why not send a demand to the “black churches” on whose behalf this all supposedly happened to repudiate the action? If they don’t, they indeed deserve to be burned. You could send the demand to the white churches too. That’s racial equality. Burn, baby, burn!
In the words of that eloquent Negro slave song (alluding to the Flood and to the Last Judgment): “No more water, the fire next time!” First water; then fire.
The back story on Qilombo itself should be told, not just hinted at in private E-mails. This was apparently originally a punk anarchist type infoshop which, once it got going, was taken over by black militants, as recently as January. Its website states: “In January of 2014, the Holdout temporarily closed its doors to do some serious cleaning.” Yes: ethnic cleansing, It is not as if what happened at the Bookfair came out of nowhere. It came out of this vipers’ nest, at 2313 San Pablo Avenue. Who’s the landlord? Are these desirable tenants? It sounds like a soft target, much easier to trash than a table at a bookfair with hundreds of people around, even though those people were sheep. Two or three people with a car could do the trick. The Black Bloc could deal with these black blockheads. Out of town activists could do the job (I can think of some people who might be interested – one guy in particular), to whom blame could be assigned (“outside agitators”). I offer to my Bay Area friends, plausible deniability. And nobody will be extradited for the crime of trashing a Negro anarchist pesthole, although the police will regret the loss of their agent provocateurs. (Isn’t this an obvious possibility?) I wonder if Qilombo is also a weapons arsenal and a crackhouse.
From hints and scraps, I suspect that what happened at the Bookfair goes back to what happened at Occupy Oakland. This was one of the largest, and clearly the most radical of the Occupy actions. I have no doubt that every effort was made to involve all activists and all communities in Oakland. The later interlopers had every opportunity to get in at the beginning and shape the development of the project. But they didn’t. They put in no effort. They took no risks. But when Occupy Oakland got going, and got a lot of publicity, then these lazy POC opportunists butted in with their irrelevant, absurd “Decolonize” demands – as if Occupy was colonizing anything. That takeover attempt failed. But the pattern of parasitism continues. Were the Qilombo louts the Decolonize Occupy louts? I’m going to assume that they were, unless I see evidence to the contrary. Heah come de judge – Judge Dredd!
And what solidarity have Bay Area anarchists provided, since the “Open Letter” was circulated? None, unless the victims are turning this into yet another secret. On Facebook, a prominent East Bay post-left anarchist chieftain has dismissed the outrage as “drama.” Instead of taking action, he plays Kriegspiel. Several years ago, I discussed, with this same notable, my having been run out of the Bay Area in 1985 by leftist thugs. He assured me that such a thing could never happen again (if I returned), because then I had no defenders, but now I had allies to defend my back. Ever since I was driven away, I wanted to return. I liked living there better than anywhere I’ve lived before or since. The first time I visited, publicly, I tabled, at the San Francisco Anarchist Bookfair, with CAL Press/Anarchy Magazine. Because there had been threats, it was made clear to the Bookfair managers that any violence offered to me would have serious consequences. I was even provided with a bodyguard! And so my enemies (white leftists of the Processed World stripe) didn’t attempt anything. They too are, like the Qilombo bullies, like all bullies, cowards.
I no longer want to live in the Bay Area. I was moving toward this decision already, but this Bookfair outrage was decisive. I’ve observed the astounding rise in rents and in the cost of living, which has already forced all of my friends out of San Francisco (where I lived for four years) to the East Bay (where I lived for three years). Now the East Bay is becoming economically impossible, except for those of my friends who are so fortunate as to own houses. I see no way I could live there without sacrificing too much of my small income to housing. I was thinking about doing that anyway. Not now. If I have some friends in the Bay Area, I still have enemies too. The friends are not as reliable as the enemies. If I am assailed, my friends will dismiss my difficulties as “drama.” Since they don’t even defend themselves, or each other, they won’t defend me. And I am less than ever able to defend myself all by myself.
This announcement will delight my enemies, and it will probably also come as a relief to most of my “friends.” I am equally indifferent to both reactions. The enemies, however, might want to consider that, if I’m not local, I can strike at them and they can’t strike back. As for the friends, my respect for them has greatly declined.
I expect that, as a result of circulating this statement as widely as possible, the result will be absolutely nothing.
[signed] Bob Black, April 28, 2014
(photo) Bob Black: Post-Left Anarchism

Comments to the "Bob Black" article, at [] -
Melissa (Shakes), posted August 8th, 2014:
I was directed to this page by Sir Einzige who had a serious problem with an open letter I wrote. I’d like to correct somethings written about The Holdout (which is now Qilombo). The Holdout was not originally a punk anarchist infoshop. The folks who started the holdout were, for the most part, not punks at all. They were anarchists and anti-authoritarians. The original intention for the space was to have an anti-racist, anti-sexist, non-homophobic, non-transphobic, anti-authoritarian gathering and community space. It was not intended to be like the Long Haul. Many collectives reside inside of that space, however those with the most say happened to be white and had more time and means at their disposal.
Black militants did not take over the space. Control of day to day operations and re-organization happened after a series open community meetings to determine the fate of the space. I co-facilitated 5 of those meetings and attended the rest of them. After a year of the Holdout being in effect there were still large issues with sexism and racism within the space and many things had gone unchecked, which necessitated a re-structuring. Many folks originally involved with the project ARE STILL THERE, white folks and Black folks alike.
Arjun, posted August 5th, 2014:
Wow. Amusing writing style, but that’s about the only redeeming quality of this piece. Did Mr. Black really think it is appropriate to use the rhetoric of racist Republicans when describing the people he opposes, in his references to “crack houses”, “welfare checks”, etc? This piece was a fascinating insight into somebody who clearly has some rather disgusting views.
[end comments]

The following article is just a hit piece against Qilombo. The author writes things like "That they haven’t openly taken responsibility for their thuggish behavior to, in effect, purge Jarach". How could they purge somebody who isn't even a member of a Qilombo project?
[begin article]
"Anarchist purges anarchist, no news at 11"by "Lefty Hooligan", originally published in the “What’s Left?” column at "Maximum Rock and Roll" magazine #375 and posted online at []:
It’s an infamous MRR cover. Number 130, March 1994. Tim Yo designed it, although I don’t remember who put it together. A slew of Marvel Comic style action figure characters surround the headline “Superheroes of the Underground??” A bald buff super skinhead labeled Hawdkaw Man, further marked with A.F. for Agnostic Front, growls: “I stomp da pussies wit an attitude as big as my 20 eyelet Docs!!” Str8 Edge Man, a caped Superman clone with Shelter on his chest, proclaims: “I convert the hostile flocks with a 1-2 punch of Religion & Republicanism!” Pop Man, aka Green Day, reveals: “I lull my opponents into complacency with dippy love songs!” And the snark continues with snide remarks from Metal Man (The Melvins), Emo Man (Still Life), Vegan Man (Profane Existence), Grunge Man (Nirvana), and Arty Farty Man (sporting an Alternative Tentacles logo).
Tim put this cover together for the issue in which he announced MRR’s Great Purge, in which Tim proclaimed that nothing but the most primitive, the most basic, the most raw rock and roll would be deemed punk. That’s how punk rock began in the mid-to-late 70s; two or at most three chords, distorted and undifferentiated, loud and fast. Ignoring the debate over whether punk first began in the UK or USA, and disregarding whether it was the Ramones or the Sex Pistols that started punk, punk did not remain primal or simple or crude for long. Musicians brought their histories and influences to the music, the music cross-pollinated and hybridized with other music, and both the music and the musicians got more sophisticated with time. By 1993, punk was a welter of styles, categories and scenes. And by the end of 1993, Tim had decided to purge punk rock down to its roots and to restrict the magazine he ran, MRR, to this limited musical content.
I’ve described when Tim Yo announced the firing of Jeff Bale at a year end General Meeting in December of 1993. I’ve called that the Great Purge when, in fact, the most contentious agenda item at that meeting for most of the shitworkers present was Tim’s decision to severely curtail the kind of music MRR considered reviewable as punk. And Tim’s Great Purge was indeed two-fold—firing Jeff Bale and purging punk music. Tim was by no means a raving Maoist when he ran MRR, but he’d had his political upbringing in the New Communist Movement of the 1970s. I remember Tim discussing afterwards his strategy going into the December 1993 meeting, and I’ll liberally paraphrase it from a previous column: “I combined an attack on the right with an attack on the left. I cut down the stuff we would review as punk, knowing that Jeff would be one hundred percent behind my decision. At the same meeting I took out Jeff. I played the right and the left against each other, just like Stalin did.”
That Tim Yo might have been involved with the RCP at one time, or admired Stalin, or even sometimes ran MRR as Mao might are such a small part of what the man was or what he did. But it does help me to segue into my broader subject. While it is hard to apologize for Tim’s overtly authoritarian tendencies, it isn’t hard to admire his appreciation for punk rock’s musical purity. The urge to purify, the impetus to purge an individual, organization, art form, culture, politics, or society of incorrectness, error, impurity, deviance, corruption, decadence, or evil; that’s what I’m talking about here. For a recent and particularly insidious example of this, lets turn to anarchist politics in the San Francisco Bay Area and the efforts of identity anarchists to purge post-left anarchists.
I have little sympathy for either of the two tendencies acting out this sordid drama. Post-left anarchism categorically rejects the Left, from the social democracy and Marxism-Leninism of the Old Left to the Maoism and Third Worldism of the New Communist Movement that devolved from the New Left, as well as any anarchism that is in the least bit influenced by the Left. This is not merely a refusal of the Left’s ideological content, but of its organizational forms as well, from meetings run by Robert’s Rules of Order to various kinds of party-building. But nothing unites post-left anarchism beyond this negation, leaving a disparate gaggle of personalities in Hakim Bey (ontological anarchy/TAZ), Bob Black (abolition of work), John Zerzan (primitivism), Wolfi Landstreicher (Stirnerite egoism), et al, to frivolously romp through post-left anarchism’s vacuous playground. In contrast, identity anarchism is all about a positive if problematic relationship with the Left, from its ideological borrowings from Marxism-Leninism (imperialism, colonialism, etc.) to its lineage on the Left (via the quasi-Maoist Black Panther Party). The lame debates within the heavily Maoist New Communist Movement regarding the staid National Question contributed to the formulation of a “white skin privilege” theory (by way of Sojourner Truth/Noel Ignatiev) which, when suitably tweaked by proponents of “male privilege,” conjugated a critique of patriarchal white supremacy fully embraced by identity anarchism. Thus, identity anarchism’s embrace of Panther anarchism (of Alston, Ervin, Balagoon, Barrow, Jackson, N’Zinga, White, Sostre, following the BPP’s demise) seems almost an afterthought, offering no serious counterweight to the Marxism, Leninism, Maoism and Third Worldism it enthusiastically embraces.
I will use post-left anarchism and identity anarchism in the remainder of this column as convenient shorthand for generic categories, which means I will also overly simplify who belongs to what camp.
Post-left anarchism has a decent presence in the East Bay through Anarchy, a Journal of Desire Armed, the annual BASTARD conference, and the Anarchist Study Group. The Study Group has been meeting weekly at the Long Haul in Berkeley for over a decade. It is structured through reading and discussing agreed-upon texts, publicly advertises locally and online, and is open to anyone to attend. At the beginning of 2013, the Study Group embarked on several months of investigation into Maoism, focusing on the New Communist Movement, reading primary documents related to the RCP, MIM, the BPP, STORM, and a plethora of alphabet soup Maoist organizations. Needless to say, these post-left anarchists were highly critical of the NCM and Maoism. Aragorn! went so far as to publish a lengthy criticism on his self-titled blog based on their studies in mid-March.
A group of identity anarchists “intervened” during a regular Tuesday night Long Haul Anarchist Study Group meeting sometime after that blog post. Hannibal Shakur, an activist in Occupy Oakland’s Decolonization tendency who is fighting vandalism charges after participation in the Trayvon Martin riots, was prominent in the newly organized Qilombo Social Center in Oakland. He and his crew attended the Study Group meeting, it seems not merely to dispute their post-left anarchist critique of Maoism, the NCM and the BPP, but also to challenge their right to pursue such independent study at all. The identity anarchists harassed and harangued the post-left anarchists, and in the heat of the argument between the two sides, post-left anarchist Lawrence Jarach made a categorical statement so typical of orthodox anarchism. To paraphrase, Jarach contended that: “All churches must be burned to the ground.” An identity anarchist demanded: “But what about the black churches?” To which Jarach responded: “The black churches must be burned … all churches must be burned.” The disagreements only got nastier from there, with open acrimony escalating into implied threat.
(Photo showing Lawrence Jarach, 2010)

At some point, passionate ideological disagreement turned into calculated sectarian purge. The annual San Francisco Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair set up operations at the Crucible in Oakland on May 22, 2014. The one-day bookfair gathered a multitude of anarchist tendencies, among them the AJODA/CAL Press vendor table and the Qilombo Center table. An “attack initiated by three people (and about ten supporters) from Qilombo began around 3:40pm when I was cornered near the restroom,” reported Lawrence Jarach, “and continued after I walked back to the CAL Press/Anarchy magazine vendor table, ending at around 4 when we decided to leave.” AJODA has since issued an Open Letter to Bay Area Anarchists protesting the Qilombo assault as well as the general anarchist apathy toward this successful purge. Those associated with the attack on Jarach in turn have communicated the following: “Qilombo was not involved in the altercation you mention that took place at the Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair, and the space has no comment on the matter. Lawrence Jarach came by the Qilombo table and antagonized a few of our volunteers, so those volunteers took it upon themselves as autonomous individuals to call him out for something that occurred at an another venue, at another point in time, and requested that he leave the bookfair. If you would like more details, you will need to reach out to the actual parties involved.”
Tim Yo would have called this final evasion candy-assed.
Last column, I mentioned the feminist “intervention” at the May 9-11, 2014 Portland, Oregon Law & Disorder Conference and the increasingly acrimonious debate between Kristian Williams and the organizers of the event Patriarchy and the Movement, over the tactics of individuals and groups professing identity politics within larger leftist political circles. That the victims of patriarchal sexism and violence and their defenders are so outspoken in speech and print about the need to purge the perpetrators from The Movement only underscores the clarity of their actions. I suspect that, amongst themselves, Shakur and his identity anarchist/Qilombo brigade have summarily convicted Jarach of racism, exercising his white skin privilege, and supporting white supremacy in insisting purely on principle that all churches need to be burned down, even the black ones. Yet they won’t publicly cop to running him out of the anarchist bookfair for such reasons. That they haven’t openly taken responsibility for their thuggish behavior to, in effect, purge Jarach and AJODA from the Movement is low, even for Maoism masquerading as anarchism.
These concerted efforts to purge people from The Movement based on their ideology, or their behavior, are the self-righteous acts of those who would be judge, jury, and executioner. When Tim Yo made his futile attempt in MRR to purge punk rock back to its basics, the results were predictable. The magazines Punk Planet, Heart attaCk and Shredding Paper started publishing circa 1994 to challenge MRR’s definition of punk and hegemony over the scene, followed shortly thereafter by Hit List. However, I doubt that Qilombo’s attempt to purge Lawrence Jarach and fellow AJODA members will have similarly salutary effects.
[end article]
Comments to article, archived at []:
posted August 7th, 2014,
Dear Whoeverthefuck Is Reading This,
In what can only be described as another absurdist screed by Lefty Hooligan, I found more of the same bullshit I've come to expect; white power masquerading as "rational thought".
I'm not writing just to insult him though. I'm writing because the crap that Lefty Hooligan wrote for his blog and for Maximum Rock n Roll ("anarchist purges anarchist; no news at 11", issue #375) is irresponsible, ill-informed, poorly researched and full of way too many parenthesis and quotation marks!
I generally believe that unless you were at some event or another you shouldn't attempt to report on it or analyze it UNLESS you have done your homework, reached out to as many people who were there as possible, verified facts, checked on quotes, etc. Apparently Lefty Hooligan heard a story, heard another story, heard something else and then formulated some half-assed theory about it, and that is not anything that hasn't happened since the beginning of time, or at least, since the beginning of social networking on the internet, however, it was incredibly irresponsible.
The problem is that Lefty Hooligan used someone's name and then indicated that said person "took part in a riot," which is possibly damning for a person fighting charges and trying to stay out of jail. I don't expect that Lefty Hooligan would know anything about that, but still, there it is.
Hooligan goes on to claim (using as his sole witness the accounts of Lawrence Jarach) that people from Qilombo space assaulted Jarach. This is also incredibly irresponsible. Not only does this implicate these unknown others in random acts of violence, but it also upholds the narrative of some white guy as correct while the explanation given by folks from Qilombo space (a space run primarily by Black and Brown people in Oakland) as "candy-assed". Further more, Hooligan goes on to accuse the person he named in his column "and his brigade" of "purging the movement" and of "thuggish behavior". Do you see what he just did there? Hooligan continues this attack on "identity anarchists" (remember my careful clarification) when he accuses them of attacking Lawrence Jarach at the Anarchist Bookfair this past year.
This kind of easy racism is what seeps into and back out of the pores of everything and everyone in the u.s. It's the kind of thing that only people who are forced to be vigilant around these things ever call attention to.
Throughout the rest of his column, Hooligan attempts to make distinctions between what he terms "post-left anarchists" and "identity anarchists". While he claims no affinity for either, he definitely makes it known that he considers "identity anarchists" the more irredeemable of the two. This notion of "identity anarchists" is also highly problematic and is a way of discarding any analysis by any people of color as "divisive" (I see you, Rebecca Solnit). Let's be clear that in the context that Lefty Hooligan is using, "identity anarchists" really means Black and Brown people.
Hooligan uses an incident where one group of folks challenged the notion from another group of folks that all churches, even Black churches should be burned as a place from which to attack "identity anarchists". He doesn't investigate - even in theory - why people would find that position to be problematic. Since he wouldn't give it a thought, allow me to summarize the position; Black churches have long been places where the Black community can come together safely and for the most part, unhindered. There is no other institution that exists within Black communities and neighborhoods that serves that function. The Black church is far more than a house of religion. But, if you're just a white person existing in your all-white fantasy world, that would never have occurred to you.
Attempting to describe very real riffs and divisions within "the Movement" by using a poorly strung together anecdote about a punk rock magazines growing pains in the early 90's is yet another example of how hoplessly inept Hooligan's column is. Unless you have any idea what Maximum Rock n Roll is, or who the fuck Tim Yo was, or why punk rockers spend so much time talking about what is "really punk", then the analogies made within the article are completely useless, unless again, you're speaking to your all-white fantasy world.
Let me briefly recap:
Using someone's name and publicly implicating them in some type of crime or another is irresponsible.
Doing that to a Black person is doubly irresponsible.
All other points can be found above.
Sincerely, Melissa (or Shakes)
posted August 4th, 2014,
"Lefty Hooligan" is on record calling the Black Bloc "clownish" and a "sad joke"... Yet the masthead on his MRR column is someone in Black Bloc.
Lawrence Jarach publicly advocates burning African people's religious institutions, while privately expressing support for the military actions of the state of Israel.
AJODA has printed pro-pedophilia articles.
Bob Black is a unrepentant snitch.
Anarchism needs to be purged of these nasty men. They damage our project. Toleration for men who behave like this is a prime reason there is less interest in anarchism today then three years ago - among anarchists.
Considering the provocative language used by many of the partisans of the "post-left" milieu in this exchange it seems to me that Qilombo has acted with considerable restraint in dealing with these reactionaries.
posted August 5th, 2014,
And what do we learn from this?
1. That Bob Black's brand of anarchy always involves immediately running to employers, landlords, immigration authorities and the police, or alternately some kind of law of the jungle brand of "anarchy,"
2. Lawrence Jarach's 30-year long hobby of posing as a fiery anarchist in safe settings doesn't come into contact with the outside world at any point.
Context is everything. Without conceding anything to the hate-whitey crowd, burning black churches in the United States wasn't done by the Durutti Column; it's been repeatedly been done by violent white racists. I believe the "Lefty Hooligan" column failed to take note of this impossible to miss historical fact as well.
People, and not just black people, are as entitled to become inflamed about this "black churches should be burned down" shit as they would be if some out-of-touch posturing clown proclaimed from the safety of his subcultural playpen that all synagogues should be burned down. Typing again slowly now, context is everything; out there in the real world where people play for keeps plenty of synagogues got burned to the ground during the twentieth century, and the people who did this were not motivated by liberatory and egalitarian impulses. Am I making myself clear? Should I insert a wikipedia link here to make this a little easier?
Anyway, tough-guy Lawrence would probably not demand that synagogues be burned. Like any garden variety religious bigot he applies one standard to the faith of his forefathers and another one to everybody else's religion. Any religious bigot is an irreligious hero when it comes to everybody else's religion.

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