Police up in the face of black people in the street

“During the lifetime of great revolutionaries, the oppressing classes constantly hounded them, received their theories with the most savage malice, the most furious hatred and the most unscrupulous campaigns of lies and slander.” - V. Lenin

In the comments of the Columbus Underground article, the #BlackPride4 were called left-wing terrorists. I guess if the shoe fits, though anyone who would suggest that is clearly way too easily frightened, but when not busy terrorizing the sacred corporate fun that is Columbus Pride, they are also organizers, volunteers, lawyers, or in other words, exactly the kind of people that “should” be protesting. Their moniker is apt then, because for once in a long time, I am truly proud of Don’t Call It Arawak City.

Sometimes I feel for reactionaries. They just want to make it through their stress-filled miserable lives, convinced that they would be happy if not for all these other people with their issues and disruptions about things that clearly don’t effect them so they must not be real. How can they talk of oppression in the greatest country on earth? Don’t they know how lucky they are? If there’s one thing the Midwest has perfected, it’s that stinkface, full of righteousness and hatred. But to borrow a phrase from conservative media, they need to grow up and understand the real world.

The real world, the material world, is beset by a never-ending series of contradictions. Someone does something. It triggers a reaction. That reaction triggers a reaction, and a whole new series of conflicts emerges. The pride movement starts as an anti-police riot by trans people of color. It burgeons into a counter-cultural celebration, then becomes co-opted by finance capital and the police. It then becomes a heavily policed event and a point of cultural imperialism against America’s backwards homophobic enemies. Finally, a group of black queers are arrested for obstructing the parade to protest police brutality, receiving a torrent of bile from the people for whom Pride is really supposed to be for. Has there even been a more beautiful display of dialectics in action? All that was missing was if CPD had rainbow squad cars like Houston or New York did.

And now one of them is facing a felony rap. You see, it’s all very complicated. Pride parades have been targeted recently, and so a heavy police response was necessary. That it also allows for more crackdown on dissent in such politically charged times is totally a coincidence and not at all intentional and how dare you impugn the police just because they have historically been the Queer community’s main terrorizers? The point is, that everyone should just obey the law. That’s what Pride is really about.

The goal is to make an example out of them, that this kind of thing doesn’t happen in their city. And historically they may be right, inasmuch the history of protest in Columbus is relatively pathetic, but what the police department with the highest rate for killing black people in the country doesn’t understand is that it’s no longer their city. The Pride disruption, to outsiders, looked like an isolated event. Revolutionary actions always do. What they don’t see is the years of dedicated planning and organizing by friends and comrades to create a people’s power movement while everyone else was distracted by new high-rises. Far from a disruption or distraction, the #BlackPride4 represent a remarkable step forward in this city’s growth. More than a thousand coffee shops and brewpubs, it is this work that is the only hope to make Columbus a real city, a true collection of souls, a place to live and live for and not an elaborate marketing scheme designed to poach companies from other states.

Which is not to downplay the very real dangers the #Blackpride4 are facing, nor the urgency with which the city must mobilize in support of them. It is more to assess the situation accurately. If CPD doesn’t drop the charges and instead pursues the cases, it will officially, as if it hadn’t done enough already, declare itself an enemy of the people. The mythical collaboration between activists and the police that populate Democrat fantasies will be lost without any hope of recovery, and any handle the city could hope to have on leading these movements in what they would deem a positive direction would be gone.

Of course this may be what they want. It’s already become clear which people and neighborhoods are to be included in Columbus’s ascendance and which aren’t. It certainly would adhere to the spirit of the Santa Maria. But the nasty thing about history is that it sometimes makes other plans. Terror may indeed be the correct term for this. It’s clear the reactionaries are petrified, because they know how simple it is for reality to ruin everyone’s fun and stop the parade.

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