I’m pretty sure that, if you bothered to meet me, you’d quickly cast me as exactly the type of person you’d expect to stand politely in a pen while you march racists up and down the high street. A ‘white’ woman with a degree and no criminal record, not exactly what you would call physically imposing, more often laughing than not. If you randomly met me in a setting where you weren’t protecting fascists, you might think I seemed nice, and if someone told you I was an activist, you might object that
surely, I was too nice for that. You wouldn’t be the first, and you know what, you are right. I am nice, and that is exactly why I am out there opposing that fascism you so happily protect, even though you have me at a disadvantage in nearly every way.
You are twice as big as me, you are trained in combat and shooting, you are armed and shielded to the teeth and you are even prepared to abuse dogs and horses in order to attack us. No wonder we terrify you, standing there with no other protection than the strength of our conviction that racism and fascism need to be fought.
It’s not hard to guess why you would protect the fascists and target us. They are authoritarian, we are not. Seeing as you fancy yourselves an authority — and I can understand why, what with all the weapons and state-sanctioned violence—it’s only logical that you’d protect them.
Still, I wonder, how does it feel when the crowd chants ‘Who protects the nazis? The police protect the nazis!’ Do you actually tell yourselves you’re enforcing ‘public order’, or are you perfectly aware of the kind of system you act as hired guns for in the hopes that your willingness to dispense violence at the drop of a word sets you enough apart from the rest of us that you will be protected?
But what am I saying, that is exactly what the system does. The system will always protect itself, and you know it. That’s where you find the courage to face your terrifying opponent, the citizen.
Do you realise that that works both ways? That when you cast us as your opponents, you cast yourselves as ours? I don’t need the fascists to harass me when I have you, pushing me, surrounding me, shouting threats at me, trying to ridicule me. Not to mention what you’ve been doing to my friends or the systematic unfounded arrests you’ve been making for the sole purpose of putting everyone into your databases.
You err on the side of brutality because you seem to think that is the best way of scaring the not-yet-hardened ones among us off the streets forever. I can see you doing your darnedest to force me out of any public space like the sheep you’d like me to be, and while it may seem on paper like I should be the easiest person in the world to intimidate into never, ever exercising her right to assembly, I am afraid it’s just not going that well, my dears. In fact, I am pretty sure at this point that any further radicalisation of yours truly that may occur will not even be because of the non-uniformed fascists. No, I lay that down at your feet.
Before you worry your pretty little helmeted heads too much over how this could have gone so wrong and why brute force and scare tactics haven’t shut me up yet, I’ll be happy to tell you straight up. You see, I never did respond well to bullies.
There. Now stick that into the file you have on me. It’s under C for Citizen.