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Smash All the Camps (Or Sympathy For Willem Van Spronsen)

I sympathize with Willem Van Spronsen. Maybe that’s a bad way to start this post but it feels like the most honest way to start this post. A mentally ill anarchist, not unlike myself, Willem wanted to end his life but he wanted to end it for a cause. So he attacked an ICE detention center with pipe bombs and let the cops do the rest. I’ve never made my disdain for Antifa a secret, I’ve befriended too many right-wing anti-imperialists caught in their crossfire, but god help me, this struck me as a move in the right direction for Pacific Northwest anarchists, who have lately been far too busy bombarding alt-right imbeciles to confront our growing police state.

My sympathy is not exclusively political however. My sympathy comes from a place of very personal outrage and my outrage comes from a deeply traumatic childhood. I can usually retain a pretty jaded gonzo snark with my writing, stemming from my misanthropic drag queen sense of humor. But when you’ve been fucked with by role-crazy adults as a child, part of you will always be that child. So when I see kids in fucking cages, I see myself brutally misgendered in a confessional waiting for hell. And that’s when I flip my proverbial shit and get downright histrionic. The only reason why I haven’t gone full Kaczynski like Willem, aside from the fact that my meds are working and I generally appose initiatory violence, is because I’m usually too livid in these moments to handle anarcho-home-ec projects like IED’s. I’m also probably too pissed off to write a completely lucid blog post, so this time I decided to wait a week and take a closer look at the issue of the camps.

It’s very tempting to drop the lion share of the blame on a loud-mouth bully like Trump. He’s certainly made the immigration issue more personal by declaring entire classes of people war criminals and encouraging his beloved gorilla juice-heads in ICE to get their Gestapo on. The harsh reality that the media has chosen to ignore however is that there is nothing particularly new about Orange-Man-Bad’s persecution of pint-sized undocumented line-crossers. In fact, the bastard still comes in fourth behind the last three presidents in mass deportations. The modern militarization of the boarder actually started decades before Trump with another sanction-happy rapist named Bill Clinton (I believe the two may have met once or twice at one of Jeffrey Epstein’s Pretty Baby-Eyes Wide Shut Parties) which was just one small part of his fascistic war on children, the hallmark of which was his draconian Biden-approved crime bill which essentially declared black childhood to be a felony. And this is where we meet the concentration camp question.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez generally puts me to shame in the histrionics department (the bitch also looks way better in heels) but she hit the nail on the head when she had the ovaries to call our countries desert tiger-cage day-care centers concentration camps. No single race of people owns the rights to that specific genre of inhumanity. This country had concentration camps for Indians long before Germany was even Germany. A concentration camp is anywhere where large groups of people are concentrated against their will behind bars and concertina wire. You don’t have to be a limp-wristed open-borders loving panarchist like me to find that concept repulsive, especially when it involves children. Ankle bracelets are cheap and locking up toddlers is terrorism. But why are we picking favorites here? When it all comes down to it, aren’t all prisons concentration camps?

There are millions of people in cages across this country, more than any other country, not just in general but per capita. We make China look like fucking Burning Man for Christ’s sake. And what does all this barbarism achieve? Nothing. Not rehabilitation. The American prison system is a factory that gobbles up the children our equally heinous public schools fail and spits out hardened criminals, pathologically incapable of existing anywhere but prison. It’s an emotional crippling machine. Recidivism rates are through the roof and a huge portion of this countries permanent prisoners suffer from untreated mental illness. That just leaves us with some hideously arcane Hobbesian sense of frontier justice where we essentially throw people’s lives away who hurt us because it makes us feel better about creating a society that makes this pain inevitable. Forgive my bluntness, but this is fucking stupid. We’re kicking the dog for biting us because we kicked the dog. Maybe if our schools weren’t glorified prisoner factories we would have learned that two wrong don’t make a right, two million wrongs makes a catastrophe and concentration camps are never right.

So I welcome Willem’s rage, but I also welcome it to be put in the proper perspective. If you appose the camps on the boarder, you should appose their northern supermax cousins. Tribes managed to effect restorative models of justice centuries before the relatively recent invention of the modern prison. There is no reason why our communities, towns and neighborhoods can’t do the same. When a society becomes too modern for mercy, it has ceased to evolve into anything worth protecting. Maybe we can get back on track by spending less time and money on violently reacting to societies ills and more time fixing them. The best way to prevent the proliferation of violence in society is to prevent child abuse. Let’s start by letting them out of those goddamn cages. Until then, I will continue to have more sympathy for the Willem Van Spronsen’s of this country than the comfortable state terrorists they assault. Make of that what you will.

Smash all the camps, dearest motherfuckers, from Yuma to Attica. Either we all get free or nobodies free. No justice? No peace.

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Nicky Reid is an agoraphobic anarcho-genderqueer gonzo blogger from Central Pennsylvania and assistant editor for Attack the System. You can find her online at Exile in Happy Valley.

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