I was saddened to see the Eugene Weekly print a personal attack on me based on a falsehood without attempting to contact me first. I would hope that the people of Eugene can continue to hold EW to a higher standard than Facebook.
In the attack, John Zerzan reached back 19 years to smear me based on false claims about what I said at the Democratic National Convention protests in Los Angeles in 2000. Here’s what actually happened.
At the final event inside the caged protest zone, I was approached by several activists of color. I was told that a large group of undocumented people were completing a public march for immigrant rights and coming into the caged area for the lineup of music and speakers.
One or more were going to speak as well. They were highly concerned that if the event turned into a mass arrest, they could very well face separation from their families, loss of their jobs, prison and deportation. They asked me to go on stage and ask people, specifically a group of mostly young, white, male anarchists, to refrain from starting a confrontation with police while they were still inside the caged area. I knew that the small group itching for a fight with police would condemn me.
Still, I felt compelled to convey their message as best I could. I did not call for anyone to be turned over to the police. I was trying to prevent, at their request, undocumented people from being arrested against their will. Nonetheless, confrontation inside the caged area occurred.
Zerzan and the small faction he associates with have a long history of condemning anyone they do not agree with, often based on an unhealthy disregard for the truth. It is a history marred by transphobia, widespread condemnation of liberals and progressives, and promotion of the Unabomber. A politics of denigration, hate and violence is no better when it comes from the Far Left than when it comes from the Far Right.
Hating your enemies while promoting physical violence plays perfectly into the hands of demagogues and dictators. The true radicals are those who can take strong action and risk their privilege to fight, not against what they hate, but for what they love. Zerzan’s politics of self-proclaimed superiority and separation in our community has proven its own failure these last 25 years. It’s time to move on.