Statement of Solidarity with Tortuga House
On October 1st, 2009, at 6:00 am, the Joint Terrorism Task Force kicked down the front door to an anarchist collective house in Queens, New York, affectionately known as Tortuga. This much you know. And while we of the NYC Anarchist Black Cross slept, our comrades were being subjected to the type of humiliating treatment that is typical from the state. The cops claimed to be searching for evidence related to rioting. We know better. These Federal rioting charges are not new to us, they were used to target the Chicago Seven in 1968. They beat the charges then and we’ll beat them now.
This raid was a fishing expedition intended not only to intimidate public anarchists, but also to gather information for future prosecutions. It occurred in the context of a growing repression, the likes of which anarchists have not experienced in the last decade. What does it mean? If nothing else, it means we’re doing something right. Apart from that, it means we need to intensify our capacity for effective strategizing. If the state is spending untold dollars and labor hours devising ways to vanquish our networks, physical and otherwise, we must develop ways to counteract this.
Over the last decade, two of our main strategies have been organizing in our neighborhoods and organizing in the streets. It is fair to say, we’ve gotten better at both. Unfortunately, divergent currents of thought have led many to think that we must focus on one or the other, that the two are in some way mutually exclusive. In reality, these two are often composed of the same people. Even when they aren’t, they compliment each other; stronger ties in our neighborhoods creates support in the streets.
If we look to recent history, there are movements that did not see the separation between building stronger neighborhoods and militancy in the streets. There is plenty to learn from these movements, especially from those most affected by and entangled in the state’s repression. As an organization that supports political prisoners and prisoners of war, many coming from these very movements, we believe that their input can provide insight and inform our evolving strategies while also helping to keep them tied to the streets. With the number of political prisoners increasing– the majority of those most recently arrested are anarchists– this need to communicate with them should be evident.
We stand with the anarchists in Queens, not only out of solidarity with their ideas, but also because they are our friends and comrades. We realize that the state is attacking during a sensitive time – a time in which we are primed to put another chink in its armor while understanding we also face increased risks. We can work together and tear this motherfucker down and now is the time to focus on strategy, stay ahead of the cops, and support our friends, comrades, and allies when they most need it.
For the worlds we’re building, against those that must come down,
NYC Anarchist Black Cross
October 13th, 2009