The PSL is issuing this report to alert the movement about an attack being conducted against our organization in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
On June 23, our regularly scheduled Friday forum was the target of an assault and pre-planned disruption by a group of individuals who hurled misogynist slurs and threats, banged on windows, and blared sirens. They had created a “Shut Down PSL” Facebook event shortly after we announced the forum topic to commemorate Juneteenth, which marks the end of U.S. chattel slavery. Unable to gain entrance to the event, they verbally attacked our all-women security team to try to provoke a confrontation. Thanks to the discipline and composure of our membership, the protesters did not achieve their announced goal of “shutting down” our event.
The next night — late Saturday — the same windows that this group had been banging on Friday were completely shattered with rocks. A neighbor spotted the second attack on our office around 1:30 a.m. and called one of our organizers. At least four assailants were spotted in a yellow Ford Focus, the driver of which was a woman with blonde hair. Witnesses have told us that it sounded as if they attempted to enter the office as well. The neighbor called the police, who notably never arrived.
Early last year, the PSL was evicted from its previous office because of the non-stop harassment of our landlord at the hands of fascistic elements (the so-called “alt-right.”) They bombarded our office with threatening phone calls after the PSL played a leading role in a mass protest to greet President-elect Trump.
The “Shut Down PSL” Facebook event absurdly claimed to be in opposition to white supremacy. But you only need to look at the scene to see that this was a sham. The meeting being disrupted was of a group of multinational workers — some with small children, some elderly, some with disabilities, and most coming directly from their low-wage jobs — who had gathered together at the PSL forum on a Friday evening. For the record, the majority of the attendees were working class people of color. This is the composition of the Albuquerque PSL branch as well. They have pooled a portion of their wages to open this office after fascists forced the closure of the last one. The PSL Juneteenth forum was chaired and led by a Navajo queer woman, followed by presentations from another queer woman on U.S.-Cuba relations, and an Indian immigrant queer woman about racist police brutality. The event also featured a video by a prominent Black radical Eugene Puryear, the PSL’s 2016 vice-presidential candidate, who has just done a series of lectures in Washington, D.C. on the suppressed history of Juneteenth. This is who and what this reactionary crew came to shut down. Although three of the individuals who called for the “shut down” were Black, the majority of those who showed up to disrupt were white.
PSL branches nationwide have held events about Juneteenth as a way of raising historical and anti-racist consciousness among workers of all backgrounds, and advocating for Juneteenth to finally become the national holiday that it deserves to be.
Outside of the Albuquerque forum, as shown on a Facebook video, one white woman who had come to “Shut Down PSL” screamed in the face of women of color telling them that they have no business talking about or relating to the Black freedom struggle. She then blared a bullhorn in the window to try to impede the meeting. Another white disrupter was spotted jumping the fence in the backyard to try to surreptitiously gain access into our office.
Because the “Shut Down PSL” event had public registration, we could identify and block those who intended to do so. This was doubly confirmed because the disrupters assembled together nearby, sent scouts to observe the entrance points and then marched up to our front door together.
Thwarted from shutting down the PSL forum as they intended and announced, the attackers immediately took down their “Shut Down PSL” Facebook event and shifted to the false claim that the PSL had barred people on account of their racial background from attending the Juneteenth event. They are essentially objecting that the PSL violated their “right” to shut down our own event. They also lied that the PSL had called the police and somehow put them at risk.
This is a complete frame up and an obvious disinformation campaign. They tried to shut down the event and announced their plans to do so. They made false claims about our organization committing violence and extreme bigotry. Video shows the police telling the disrupters that they were called to the scene by neighbors (not the PSL), and also shows the PSL asking the police to leave. By contrast, the disrupters’ own Facebook videos reveal that when the police arrived, they offered them water and joked around with them. They can be heard on camera recounting their conversation with the police, “[The cops] told us, ‘next time you have an event just call us, we’ll come out.” Another person on the video confirms that the police told them: “If we’re planning on having another big event, they said they’ll come out and assist us.” A lead disrupter then shouts at our comrades, “We just talked to the police, they said you’re wack too!” — proudly demonstrating a point of unity with the armed forces of state repression and white supremacy against the PSL.
The next day our office was violently vandalized with large rocks thrown through our windows – a clear attempt at intimidation. False rumors and accusations are now spreading across the Internet, deliberately fostering a climate of confrontation and confusion.
These are all the proven tactics that the FBI’s COINTELPRO operation, in conjunction with local and state police, utilized to rip apart the movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Since the 1970s, every sophisticated activist organization has understood the real threat posed by state infiltration and division, and consciously steered clear of these tactics precisely because they invite state repression and pave the way towards self-destruction. The escalation to violent rhetoric, and the physical shutting down of events leads to a spiral of conflict and distrust which then attracts more unstable and potentially violent outcomes. Whether or not the disrupters work for the state, they are clearly doing the work of the state.
There are modern parallels to COINTELPRO playing out today, as was confirmed just last week with the leak of documents from the TigerSwan paramilitary organization that had infiltrated NoDAPL events and stated its intention to use covert and overt means against the ANSWER Coalition meetings.
We were not intimidated by the right-wing campaign against us last year and we will not be intimidated by this round of attacks. We call on all people of conscience to denounce this reactionary, reckless and counter-revolutionary attack on our organization – to defend the PSL from these slanders and the campaign aimed at shutting down our meaningful organizing in Albuquerque.
The statements of the disrupters are telling
Here are a few of the things they said to our members and friends. We did not respond to any of these insults or threats in the heat of the moment and maintained our discipline.
- “Fuck you, gringo bitch” — said repeatedly to the entire security team, most of whom were women of color.
- “You don’t know how to fight cause you’re scared of us.” — said in the face of a Native women.
- “Have fun sucking each others dicks and eating each other out in there.”
- “We need to disrupt their event.”
- “It’s time to start getting loud so we can disrupt this event.”
- “Socialism has no place with colored people!”
- “Fuck you, bitch.”
- “Shame on you, shame on you” — yelled at an elderly forum attendee, upon exiting the Juneteenth forum with the use of her walker
There is far more that could be said about these reactionaries in disguise and their history of spreading false rumors against our organization. We are certain that they will be isolated on account of their actions and further exposed as more facts come to light.
The PSL in Albuquerque will not be bullied or deterred from our meaningful and significant organizing. We are determined to keep building a strong, socialist, multinational party and principled united fronts with other progressive and working-class forces. We are appreciative of the solidarity and support we have received as we confront and overcome these attacks.