Features Download

From: Brian Holmes <bhcontinentaldrift-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w <at> public.gmane.org>
Subject: =?utf-8?q?Communiqu=C3=A9_from_occupied_Saint_Louis_Uni?= =?utf-8?q?versity?=
Newsgroups: gmane.culture.internet.nettime
Date: Thursday 16th October 2014 03:41:23 UTC (over 4 years ago)
[ A friend of mine, Nick Smaglio, says this: "They (the occupiers) are 
are group of people who met in the heat of Ferguson, and are committed 
to preventing the non-profits from swallowing the movement they have 
been living in for the last two months. The other night, they led a 
thousands-strong march to SLU and decided to remain there, in that 
bastion of wealth and whiteness. This is a statement that came out of 
the last few days." ]

We’ve Discovered White People!

a communiqué from the occupation of Saint Louis University

Five hundred twenty two years ago, the great Christopher Columbus 
discovered a New World. Monday, on the day we all celebrated the daring 
achievements of that fearless explorer, we too discovered a new world: 
the world of white people.

Having spent the last 65 days protesting the police murder of Michael

having been beaten, shot at, tear gassed, ridiculed, and smeared since 
the death of our brother;

having been treated as criminals and problems and sub-human beings under 
police occupation our whole lives;

having been told – explicitly and implicitly, with fearful faces on the 
street and with police guns pointed at us – that our lives are worthless 
in the eyes of this society that claims to have achieved justice for all;

having undergone all these abuses and more in our Old Word, we decided 
to venture forth in search of a New World of our own.

And we have found it. We have discovered the world of White people. They 
call this settlement “Saint Louis University,” or sloo in their

The first thing to note about the world of White people is that the 
police are friendly and they pretty much let you do whatever you want as 
long as nobody is actually getting physically injured. Strangely, they 
do hang out behind the trees and take pictures of you, but whenever they 
ride by on their bicycles they have big smiles on their faces and say 
obvious things about the weather.

The second thing to note about White people is that most of them – those 
who’ve greeted us, anyway – are very friendly. They are curious and 
concerned about the world we come from, and seem genuine about wanting 
to help us escape the brutal police state, which locks us up in cages, 
which kills us with impunity, which terrorizes us every day of our lives 
because of the color of our skin. We appreciate their smiles and claps 
and support. But. We are reminded of bed time stories our families told 
us about a strange people called “White Liberals.” According to the 
stories, these people are split in half on the inside, and will support 
you with their words but never their actions. They also will only like 
you if you pretend to be like them, and will stop supporting you even 
with your words if your anger disrupts their busy schedule. We wonder if 
we haven’t met a lot of them since our arrival.

But not all of the White natives we have met are friendly. What is so 
strange about them, though, is that they don’t seem to notice that they 
are being unfriendly. In fact, they often insist that they are being 
friendly and treating us with respect, even as they dismiss our accounts 
of the world we come from, a world they’ve never been to.

Since our arrival, we’ve identified two main ways in which the Whites 
that are not friendly express their unfriendliness without knowing it:

First, they seem to insist that the destruction of property is somehow 
comparable to the murder of a human being with brown skin. In fact, they 
seem to believe that the protection of property is more important than 
the protection of our people from injury or death.

After our brother Michael Brown was shot dead with his hands up in the 
air by Officer Darren Wilson and Mike Mike’s body was left to rot in the 
street for four and a half hours in front of our people – our children, 
our mothers, all of us – we were angry. We were filled with rage at our 
situation. The media and politicians then suggested that Mike Mike’s 
murder was somehow justified by his having taken some cigars from a 
store without giving the store pieces of magic paper. This angered us 
more. Some of our brothers and sisters were so angry that they set the 
store on fire and took all the things they wanted, without any respect 
for the magic paper that our oppressors are always telling us is so 

The White people who keep telling us these actions are “just as bad,”
even that they are in any way comparable to the ending of a human life 
of beauty and value beyond measure, are telling us (maybe without 
knowing it) that we are lower in value than dead things, that we are 
mere objects. When they do this, it makes us feel deeply hurt. And it 
makes us wonder if they even know what it means to love another human

The second way the White people that we have discovered are unfriendly 
to us without seeming to notice has to do with their fetish, a flag with 
stars and stripes on it. To our surprise, it is the same exact fetish 
that our oppressors have hanging in the Sacrifice Halls where they tell 
us how long we have to spend in their cages. In our rebellion against 
them after yet another one of our brothers, VonDerrit Myers, was 
murdered by another police officer whose name we do not know, some of 
our brothers turned our oppressor’s fetish upside down. Some even set it 
on fire. When we discovered this New World inhabited by Whites, we 
claimed it for our own just as the great Columbus did, and we planted an 
upside down version of the fetish in this new, undiscovered soil, as a 
sign of our freedom. But some of the native Whites of sloo were very 
upset by this, because for them the fetish was a symbol of all that was 
good in the world, and because, they said, their family members had 
fought and died for the fetish. After a very long and tense discussion, 
it became clear that this White tribe was prone to mistaking the symbol 
for the things it is supposed to symbolize. They insisted that it was 
the flag that their ancestors fought and died for and not their families 
and homes (which, of course, would have been just fine without a flag to 
symbolize them). Through this discussion, it seemed that we learned what 
we already knew: that we were from different worlds, and being from 
different worlds, the same piece of fabric can mean completely opposite 

Still, we think these unfriendly Whites were so upset about something 
much deeper and much more serious than their fetish. We think that they 
thought we were accusing them, as individuals who cared about their 
flag, of being guilty of all the oppression we experience in our world. 
When we spoke about how privileged they are to live in this beautiful 
place where the police smile at them and say really stupid things about 
the weather, they thought that we were blaming them for what we suffer. 
We want to tell those Whites, from the bottom of our deep hearts, that 
this is not what we mean. They, as individuals, did not create the world 
we have suffered in, the world where we fear for our lives every day. 
They are not guilty. It is not their fault that we live in a society 
where Black lives don’t matter. As individual Whites who love their 
fetish, they are not to blame for their privilege.

But nonetheless they need to understand that it exists, and they need to 
ask themselves how they are going to use it. And the Whites we met have 
two options: either they will use that privilege to help us dismantle 
the oppression that our people continue to live under, or they will 
continue to reproduce the world as it is.

Because we are discovering this New World is actually not a New World at 
all. It is the same world, kept separated from itself by 
misunderstanding, an inability to feel for one another, and – most 
importantly – people with uniforms and guns who make sure this one world 
continues to feel like two.

But here at sloo, a passage is opening.

We encourage others to join us or, better, to immediately start using 
your bodies to open passages of your own.

For Michael Brown, VonDerrit Myers, John Crawford,

and all the Black men whose lives were and will be stolen by police,

Some anonymous participants in #OccupySLU

#  distributed via : no commercial use without permission
#    is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: http://mx.kein.org/mailman/listinfo/nettime-l
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact:
[email protected]
CD: 11ms