The night of December 9th, a group of wild queers took the streets of Olympia, WA for a roving dance party. A flier was circulated at the final GLOSS show inviting others to “mourn, celebrate, affirm our loves for ourselves and each other, and to fight back.” As showgoers let out, they found waiting outside pink and black bandanas aplenty, spray painted baseballs bats, a soundsystem, and a banner that read “Blow up the sun” (a nod to troll queen Feral Pines, a friend who died in the Ghost Ship fire).
GLOSS was a band that has literally kept people alive, that has made countless queer & trans folk feel less alone and more able to live true to themselves, and also maintained overt anarchist politics. Their final show was simultaneously celebratory and sad, and the mix of emotions carried out into the street. We danced and hugged and cheered and held each other.
The dance party made its way across the downtown bar corridor and back, blocking traffic and occupying intersections along the way. On the way back east through downtown multiple intersections were blocked with smoke bombs, upended garbage cans, and dumpsters, some of which of course “good citizens” indignantly cleared while the police SUVs trailed behind. After the 4th and Jefferson intersection was blocked the police announced over a megaphone that we were now an unlawful assembly and were subject to arrest if we didn’t disperse. As we approached the city hall & police station, more cops emerged on foot carrying some sort of rifle-type guns, while others stood with hands on their sidearms. The party then dispersed through an alley which was thoroughly blockaded with dumpsters and garbage cans. Multiple people were shot with some sort of projectile by the police – smaller and less painful than rubber bullets, but annoying nonetheless. No one was arrested.
As the shiny facade of neoliberal tolerance gives way to the threat of overt fascism, affirming our love for ourselves and each other becomes more apparently important and subversive. For a brief and joyous moment, the dance party was a chance to reclaim the streets from the bar bros, the business owners, the cops and the condo residents. To those who push us further and further into the margins whether in the name of “community & livability” or overt white supremacy and hatred of queer people: We’re here, we’re queer, we’re anarchists and we’ll fucking wreck your shit.
All out for J20!
Make dance parties riots again!