Thadeaus was one of the first people I met when I first came to New York City in 2001.
During the eleven years that I have known him, we’ve had many good times together.
We’ve spent countless nights on the lower Manhattan dumpster circuit, which often
ended with a huge feast in front of St. Mark’s church, replete with ice cream and gourmet
chocolates. In 2002, we opened up KFC squat together. One of my fondest memories was
going down to Mars Bar together during our first week living there and filling up half a
dozen jugs of water in the bathroom and carting it back up to the third floor gymnasium
where we all lived. For some reason, it was just the two of us that night, and it was like
we were camping out in the city, in a huge 30,000 square foot loft that was all our own.
It was the first and only squat I’ve ever helped start and Thadeaus was a wellspring of
knowledge and support in this endeavor. When winter came, he hooked up the electricity
and weatherproofed the kitchen where everyone started to gather when the big room
became too cold.
More important than the fact that Thadeaus is resourceful, is that he readily shares these
resources, whether it be housing, food, DJ services, event spaces, know how, information, or
general networking connections. He cares a lot about friends and strangers alike and has
always been there for me and Nif when we’ve needed support.
The accusations and actions taken against Thadeaus are absurd. The most poignant
moment that I’ve witnessed was when Thadeaus was accused and physically attacked
at a party by a drunken dude who had just come back from travelling and had no first
hand knowledge of drama that was unfolding in New York. Without even first talking
to Thadeaus to get his side of the story, the intoxicated self-proclaimed feminist took
the predominant macho culture move and punched him. Never mind that I’ve seen this
individual drunkenly fondle many a ladies (and some men too, to be fair) on the dance
I’ve tried to stay out of this mess, both because it’s so bat shit crazy and fanatical that it’ll
make your head explode, but also because I refuse to legitimize their poisonous witch trial,
which is completely devoid of fairness and lacks any intention to allow Thadeaus back into
the “community” after he deals with the problems they accused him of having. If this is
what anarchism looks like, I want no part of their revolution.
Thadeaus’s life-long work as an activist supports a different kind of anarchism that strives
to be inclusive rather than exclusive, understanding rather than condemning. Obviously
something went wrong between Thadeaus and the women who feel personally wronged by
him, but whether it is real abuse, just being a bad boyfriend, or merely personal differences,
the problematic ways in which these problems have been addressed undermine and
contradict the politics that his accusers claim to harbor, and come across as echoing the
dominant culture’s penchant for mob violence.
-Damien Harris-Hernandez / Joyce Leslie