Eugene DSA decries the July 30 statement made by Peter Defazio which calls for the separation and arrest of Anarchists fighting against racial and socioeconomically prejudiced police brutality seen in Eugene and Portland, nationally and around the world.

Anarchism is a political philosophy that aims to remove all unnecessary and forced hierarchy in society. Anarchists believe that the State (a political entity that claims a monopoly on violence e.g. use of police, military, ect) is the highest form of forced hierarchy and so they seek to abolish it. It is a political philosophy that spans hundreds of years and is far more advanced than mere bomb throwers wanting no rules and absolute chaos.

“For more than 150 years, black anarchists have played a critical role in shaping various struggles around the globe, including mass strikes, national liberation movements, tenant organizing, prisoner solidarity, queer liberation, the formation of autonomous black liberation organizations, and more,” states the Black Rose/Rosa Negra Anarchist Federation,  “Our current political moment is one characterized by a global resurgence of Black rebellion in response to racialized state violence, criminalization, and dispossession.”

Anarchists in our region are not “outside agitators” looking to sow mindless chaos but other anti-racists protestors joining in our common struggle against state violence against people of color and other disenfranchised groups, including LGBTQ+ communities and the unhoused. And labeling them as outsiders completely invalidates the unjust struggles his constituents experience everyday as a result of their identity-markers. It also feeds into the idea of “good protesters/bad protesters” which in turn is wedded to the racist idea that “good” black protesters obey every order, play nice and do everything in a sanitized legal fashion and that “bad” black protesters are bad for doing what anyone would do after hundreds of years of systemic murder, rape and pillaging by the State.

DeFazio rightfully recognizes the chilling presence of federal agents, an arguable extension of the national military force, incommitting unconstitutional and unjust actions against Oregonians and U.S. citizens nationwide. We call on Defazio to recognize that these same actions–well before the Trump presidency–continue to be committed by Oregon police, and that the brutality of the state won’t disappear once Trump leaves office unless bold action is taken.

If DeFazio was truly worried about violent people sowing destruction and division, then perhaps he shouldn’t have voted Yes on the National Defense Authorization Act, which gives a billion dollars to corporations serving the US imperialist army who has stifled democracy, bombed civilians, tortured dissenters and continues to export brutality across the world.

Defazio cannot decry the state violence seen in Portland as something “of an authoritarian regime” in one sentence and then with his National Defense Authorization Act vote, approve of the state to committing the same violence against lawful anti-racist demonstrations. Let us be clear here. It is the onus of the State to stop their violence. To denounce the actions of civilians under attack by heavily armed local police and yet still support the local police as they brutalize Oregonians every day is the act of a coward who doesn’t have the guts to demand a safer and more equitable society.  We demand Defazio reach out and listen to police and prison abolitionists here in Oregon such as Freedom to Thrive and nationwide organizations such as Critical Resistance