Some folks have commented on my other posts, mentioning anarchists, and I wanted to followup with that thread. I believe there is a queer anarchist contingent here in Pittsburgh. I personally believe everyone is entitled to their own political and social structural beliefs; it is a free country. Yet, we have as a civil society chosen a set of laws and processes by which we act and expect each other to behave. This is by definition counter to what an anarchist expects, so there is a tension and base dissonance that has to be acknowledged.
While standing in Friendship Park, between the time of the rally section on Liberty Ave and when things got crazy, I spoke briefly with a young woman who told me that the police were, by definition evil and bad, because they are an “arm of the state.” According to her, the police are trained to dehumanize people and trained/encouraged to use their power excessively to subdue people. She was calm and spoke without any passion in her voice. I asked how she knew this, and she said she had read a lot.
I do not know if this mentality was a small subset of the folks present, or the prevailing mindset of the majority of rally participants, but either way, if folks like this were active, then there was bound to be trouble erupting. That one of the men arrested had also been arrested during the G-20 responsible for $15,000 of damage to shops in Oakland, lends some justification to thinking that anarchists were responsible for the event getting out of hand. No matter what the police did or didn’t do,
they the police were, to these folks, the problem.
So all of the headlines this week that talked about this as an LGBT rally, might be wrong! It may have originated as that- a rally against homophobia within the Bloomfield community, but then it got co-opted? Taken over, or used by anarchists or queer anarchists for their own purpose which was to lash out at any sense of authority.
I received calls and emails from a number of LGBT Rights organizations when they saw the newspaper headlines. I wonder what the rest of the Pittsburgh LGBTQ community thought. I believe only the name of the one person has been released, and when Channel 4 uses a headline like:
Gay Rights Demonstrators Taken Into Custody After Protest
Were those arrested gay rights demonstrators or simply anarchists using this event for their own agenda?
I’ve thought long and hard this week about what does it mean to fight for the rights of the LGBTQ community, when some of that whole community, want nothing to do with the social structure and government upon and within which we operate. And I’m really left not sure how I feel.And I’ve started to think much about the notion of “queer,” and wondering if I really know what that means.