Why the Abolish the Police Dance Party

On October 29, 2021, BAD we inaugurated our collective with an Abolish the Police Dance Party. Here, collective member Aly White explains why we danced.

ON OCTOBER 29, 5:30 PM, AT THE CORNER OF LAMME & ROUSE (BOZEMAN’S CREEKSIDE PARK), THE BOZEMAN ANTIFA DANCE (& THEATRE COLLECTIVE) – BAD – INVITES YOU TO DANCE WITH US AS WE CALL FOR THE ABOLITION OF THE BOZEMAN POLICE DEPARTMENT (AND – BY EXTENSION – POLICE DEPARTMENTS EVERYWHERE)!

(Information PagePDF flyer) Here in Amerikkka, the term “anarchist” isn’t usually associated with images of joy, creativity, bliss, nurturing, or emotional healing. It’s probably assumed that anarchists are more likely to run through the streets with pitchforks than dance through them with reckless abandon. I am bothered by the widespread misconception of the word. But, however the general populace thinks activists should behave, Jim and I are probably doing the opposite of that. We don’t separate our social actions from the things we do for personal enjoyment. I am always an anarchist, whether I am marching, writing, resting, dancing, singing, loving, conversing, or engaging in riskier tactics. Living dynamically improves our existence. Dynamics can be explored in dance. The world arguably needs more dynamic people to become activists, and not stop dancing when they do so.

Emma Goldman, our favorite anarchist besides ourselves, famously said that she wouldn’t be in a revolution where she couldn’t dance. She also said, “I do not believe that a cause which stands for a beautiful ideal, for anarchism; for release; freedom of convention; prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy.” In a world where repression is the way of life, it’s considered strange to be the only voice shouting, “Abolish the police!” It’s seen as weird to dance freely in a club, let alone a busy traffic circle. We have felt the magic that occurs, though, when a stranger is taken out of their daily pattern and inspired to dance with us. Even if just for a moment, a spark caught. How do we inspire larger movements? With a similar spark, I believe.

Anger, curiosity, amusement, and fear are other common emotions the town exhibits in response to us. We are an unexpected spectacle. We are a challenge, both to physical authority and the mental barriers we have given authority to in ourselves to rule our behavior. I feel more of my limitations crumble like a 100 year old brick building every time I allow myself to be art. The space Jim and I are inviting you to is sacred. Beautiful internal work goes on here. When observed by others, I do think its power translates. We are not your teachers nor your protest organizers. Our hope is that those who enter the space with us will show up as the autonomous people they (you!) are. The goal is never to center ourselves at the heart of the issues we hold signs and banners for, although we are performative. We would perform without a single soul watching. Some may condemn our music as obscene or our tactics pointless. Ultimately, BAD is a way for humans to express themselves as the art they are, at the behest of injustice: the real obscenity. – Aly White 

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