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(en) Britain, Freedom* #7215 - Bash Back! – No more hell raising

Date Wed, 14 Sep 2011 08:21:13 +0300


The US state’s final clamp down on the queer anarchist action group ---- The Lansing chapter of the queer anarchists Bash Back! Network have been served a court injunction that permanently prevents them from disrupting religious services anywhere in the United States. The fourteen named individuals are also permanently prohibited from conducting protests on the private property of any place of worship in the United States, or destroying property at any place of worship in the United States. These far reaching measures were recently handed down to the group by the U.S. District Court of Michigan after they staged an audacious protest that the notoriously homophobic Mount Hope Church. The protest took place in November 2008, when 30 members of Bash Back! Lansing disrupted the Sunday service at Mount Hope Church.

According to the group, people dressed in pink and black, equipped with a megaphone, black flags, picket signs and an upside-down pink cross began demonstrating outside the church. A team that had been hiding under the pews in the closed-off balcony dropped a banner and pulled back the curtains to reveal ‘IT’S OKAY TO BE GAY! BASH BACK!’ Another group threw over a thousand fliers to the entirety of the congregation. Queers began making out in front of the pastor. And within a matter of minutes, everyone had evaded the guards and made their escape. According to one media report the protesters also threw condoms, glitter, confetti, and pink fabric. There were no arrests.

The group, who were known for masking up in pink bandannas, declared afterwards “Let it be known: So long as bigots kill us in the streets, this pack of wolves will continue to BASH BACK!”

Past Bash Back! actions include demonstrations in memory of Duanna Johnson, a transwoman who was brutally beaten by Memphis police officers and murdered while in the process of suing the police department, confronting neo-Nazis who were counter-protesting a Pride march in Milwaukee, plus when Nike became the co-sponsors of the Memphis Pride, Bash Back! flyposted along the route of the march condemning Nike’s sweatshop practices and mainstream gay culture before unfurling a banner on the day declaring “Queer Liberation, not Queer Consumerism”.

The network itself has ceased to function in an organised form, although individual chapters continue to exist autonomously. It does however leave behind an interesting legacy. At the time of Bash Back!’s formation in 2007, there were no national organisations or networks specifically for queer anarchists. Points of unity were adopted that emphasised the rejection of capitalism and imperialism and all forms of state power and perhaps most significantly their refusal to condemn actions on the grounds that the state deems it to be illegal ie violent. It was this uncompromising stance, along with provocative images of people masked up holding baseball bats and sledgehammers that earned Bash Back! their fearless reputation for confrontation. The recent court injunction is perhaps the state finally acting on that reputation.

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* Anarchist journal
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