Statement from Members of Antifa, Decolonize/Occupy Seattle
We are individual members of the Antifa working group at Decolonize/Occupy Seattle who have been involved in this movement since the beginning. Our working group is founded on the realization that we need to employ self defense in defending the principles of anti-racism, anti-sexism, among other liberatory principles to keep us and our communities safe.
We are fellow survivors of this racist, patriarchal, transphobic and ableist capitalist society. The capitalist system forces all of us to conform to its norms, and punishes those of us who can’t or don’t, with hunger, depression and homelessness. In the midst of pain, we all seek coping strategies. Some heal us, and others don’t. It is our hope that this movement will create alternative ways for people to cope with their alienation, and ultimately, that revolution will create a world where we don’t feel as alone, and as heavily reliant on drugs as we are here, today.
Drug use and addiction among our communities is a way in which people cope with the horror of this society. However, those same powerful drugs that temporarily relieve the pain and alienation of this society, also cause harm to the individuals who are using, as well as those around them. In our encampment at Decolonize/Occupy Seattle, we have unfortunately experienced the negative impacts of drug use through violence and aggressive behavior. Our friends become unrecognizable under the influence of drugs. The drug’s behavior creates an unsafe space for people in the encampament and put us all at unnecessary risk and danger. The safety of the campers and all members of Decolonize/Occupy Seattle is a priority for the movement.
We recognize however, that not all violence in this camp originates from drug users. A lot of the sexism, racism and aggression that campers experience, also come from people who are clean and sober. It would be too convenient and dishonest to claim that all violent camp disruptions originated from drug users
We wish to differentiate ourselves from those who carry a liberal, middle class ideology, who use camp safety as an excuse to purge the camp of homeless people. This is not where we are coming from. In fact, many people involved in the Antifa working group are themselves homeless. We have argued and organized relentlessly against such middle class, racist ideology within this movement.
We want to build with everyone who has been oppressed by this system. Homeless people are some of the most oppressed. More and more of us will join its ranks through the high unemployment rates and foreclosures. Our concerns are with violent drug users, not homeless people. We reject the conflation of the two.
Currently, Decolonize/Occupy Seattle lacks the resources to engage with people who are addicted to drugs. We also lack the resources to prevent the effects of the drugs from creating an unsafe environment in the camp. For the safety of the campers, we are asking drug users to leave the encampment. We would like to support them to seek help to recover from their addiction. We ask them to do this because we wish for them to be a powerful part of our movement. We want their voices and their presence in building our revolutions.
We are also looking for chemical dependency counselors who utilize a harm reduction philosophy, to engage with Decolonize/Occupy Seattle. We need your resources and help. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Quiet as it’s kept, drug use is rampant in all stratas and classes of our society. It is only homeless and working class people who get disproportionately criminalized for their use. The purging of drug users from our communities is aimed at denying the reality of class , race and gender oppression. Our movement needs to create an alternative way for us to work with healing and rehabilitating those among us who use drugs to cope. We look forward to building that.