As everyone now knows, on June 19th East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld murdered Antwon Rose Jr. by shooting him in the back three times as he ran from a traffic stop. When a video of the shooting went viral on social media, Pittsburgh exploded in protest. Explosions are relative of course, and the riots, looting, and torched convenience stores that characterized analogous uprisings in Ferguson and Baltimore have here translated to peaceful marches to block traffic. Nonetheless the current situation is a major departure from the usual activist routine that anarchists in Pittsburgh suffer through. We offer the following points for consideration.
On Wednesday morning, we dropped two banners at the University of Pittsburgh. They read, “From Pitt to Georgia Tech: Disarm the Police, Arm Your Desire” and “Solidarity with St. Louis and Atlanta: Fuck the Police.”
Pittsburgh activism has long and sordid history of cooptation by the police. Liberal organizers invariably honor a tacit agreement in which they guarantee that their “actions” generate minimal material disruption of the prevailing order, in exchange for the cops’ allowing them to proceed unimpeded. The police, notoriously lazy in Pittsburgh, benefit from protest organizers doing most of their work for them, plus they don’t have to tarnish their image by pepper spraying and arresting protesters. Organizers in turn get to boost turnout by offering a risk-free, conscience salving experience, while claiming success based on nothing more than seamless logistics, regardless of the lack of movement toward their claimed goals.
On Saturday, March 25th, the far-right will attempt to bring their “movement” out of the comments section of the internet and into the streets of Pittsburgh. Let’s show them who really owns the streets.