PITTSBURGH: Don’t talk to cops or fash sympathizers — resisting fascism is not a crime! Snitching and badjacketing are irredeemable offenses!
A day ago it came to our attention that an unknown actor linked a number of Red Guard Pittsburgh supporters’ government names to racist-skinhead affiliates and that there are now attempts to dox them underway. We write this for (1) the purpose of making antifascists aware that doxxing is underway, and (2) to also reaffirm and promote the basics of security culture.
We are living in a time when we can see the outlines of a new Cointelpro* forming. Many activists and revolutionaries are now in confrontation with forces they don’t see (and too often, that they don’t yet understand). And there is a need for people to become more sophisticated quickly. We need a realistic sense of the viciousness of the state and the fascists, the flimsiness of the legal protections the state promises, and we need to understand the stakes inherent to any serious liberation struggle. We cannot afford the illusions or methods of social democratic forces. As a revolutionary movement we need to be as open as possible to the people (especially in regard to its policies and goals), and as closed as necessary to its enemies.
The state uses many methods against revolutionaries, but for the purpose of focusing on what seems to be situationally relevant, we will here touch on its use of disinformation, rumor, unsafe security practices, liberalism, and on informants and turncoats in order to attack its opponents.
Snitching and Loose Lips
To state it plainly: if someone is a police agent or turncoat, they have deceived and betrayed everyone around them. Even if the snitches’ action is portrayed as just “innocent”, loose gossip and organizational speculation, “innocent” reference of alleged ownership or connection of certain events to specific personalities, it is still snitching! Snitches choose, deliberately and consciously, to serve the most sinister forces in history — and whether they do it not knowing they are part of a campaign based on undermining the as-yet fragile hopes of our class and oppressed people is unworthy of consideration. To be a rat is reprehensible — there is little lower or more repulsive than a counterrevolutionary rat.
Such individuals need to be exposed, repudiated fiercely, and removed from the movement. There are some who, in spite of someone proving they are capable of secretly serving fascists and/or the state as an informant, will want to point to some possible basis to trust the snitch again. Such ideas are common in politics that don’t see revolution as possible – they genuinely think informants don’t do much damage. In their mind it’s preposterous to investigate into people with such counterrevolutionary inclinations, the consequence of this line being that snitches are permitted unlimited access to spaces and institutions the movement uses.
There was a debate within the Chinese revolution precisely on this question. Imprisoned revolutionaries were asked by the Japanese or the Kuomintang to denounce the revolution (publicly, in court, and in writing) as the price of release. The line of phony communist Liu Shaoqui (who ran the underground urban apparatus) was to allow such denunciations of revolution and welcome the released prisoners back into underground work. The line of Mao, which would surface again during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, was that turncoats and capitulators had to be identified, removed from the party, repudiated and never readmitted. The argument was the simple point that once you allow capitulation and informing (even if under pressure) there is no way to maintain the integrity of an underground organization, which becomes like a dead ash tree, its bark rotting and falling as it becomes riddled with the insects that are proven capitulators; it becomes weakened by liberal attitudes of situational capitulation.
A movement that is liberal which tolerates that kind of betrayal will be riddled with future betrayals — betrayal will be encouraged and accepted through lies and by putting friendship over politics. And it can be very destructive, to the point of even being fatal.
Bars, drinking/drug culture, alcoholism, and friendship cliques** become a terrible mix which form up to often run contrary to our desire to start to develop rudimentary and effective security cultures for a large movement. They often become the dampened and dark spaces by which the goals of Counter-Intelligence Programs (Cointelpro) and fascists are able to be pursued. Sleazy people do sleazy things, and when substance abuse goes ignored, some choose to be oblivious as to how this ugly behavior can be a marker of a larger corruption. While paranoia is corrosive its dialectical opposite of laxness is destructive as well, both are encouraged and desired by our fascist stalkers. Drunken naïveté with friendly strangers at bars replaces consciousness.
Infiltration is a method that deploys all the ugly power-trips of a dying imperialism and all the vices of human beings, such as the corruption of the disaffected, the ego stroking of the lame, exploitation of the damaged, blackmail of the legally compromised, and briberies of the most desperate. They don’t always appear as police-types, those approaching you with certain questions or certain rumors may come from the weak and damaged. Informers offer intimacy and flattery. They thrive on gossip and promote a culture of gossip. They can come with resources, cred, or skills – the informant Lawrence Goff, who once quipped that he was “redder than a baboon’s ass,” was a man of working-class background and an ex-Marine who was able to offer weapons training and access to firearms.
Others often provide commitment that often surpasses understanding***. Minneapolis FBI infiltrator “Karen Sullivan” was able to enter FRSO by being quiet, keeping their head down and “working hard” at movement tasks, building credibility and trust, all while listening and taking notes. Many police cadre who entered Vietnam Veterans Against War posing as veterans with military expertise were able to easily expose their secret police activities through time by showing their more reactionary side. Consciousness is hard to fake, but not impossible as seen with Karen Sullivan: some sociopaths fake every genuine human emotion in life — as a habit — and can assimilate political ideas seamlessly, and can go from being a Marxist-Leninist one day, to being a insurrectionary anarchist the next.
Malinovsky, who was a “working class intellectual” in a sea of middle class intelligentsia (and who, beyond his politically convenient class background, was also an amoral turncoat, egomaniac and extremely talented huckster) ended his time as an agent and his political career by suddenly fleeing in an emotional panic from his office as a parliamentary representative — just simply disappearing (on both his political coworkers and police handlers) into the night. At some point he just couldn’t handle the “double life” anymore, but out of guilt returned to face those he betrayed and harmed.
Like Malinovsky, every snitch must face justice. Informing on radical movements is not ok when people are teenagers. It is not ok if people are facing blackmail. It is not ok if the authorities threaten people with prison and death, whether it’s done accidentally while drunk, or if it was done by telling someone who they thought was their friend certain information. It is not ok, period. There are no justifications and no excuses.
Oppressed people rightfully hate those who inform and don’t care about a snitch’s intentions, nor should we worry about whether snitches “learn and grow.” A snitch’s spiritual problem or personal development do not matter; we are preparing a party, army, and movement that must be preserved in the midst of the present and future conflicts to come.
What we do want from snitches is to fail, to be prevented from accomplishing their criminal goals, and to get them as far away from the movement as possible. And we want to deter those twisted and weak individuals who are tempted to take that path.
That requires being alert, avoiding denial, being firm, and maintaining high standards — to, in short, recognize that loose lips sink ships and to have a long sighted view of who the enemy is.
Combat Liberalism Everywhere, Fight Fascism Everywhere!
It would be wrong however to try to develop some sort of fixed “profile” of what informants will appear as, for we run the risk of falsely tagging innocent people with labels that can get them hurt, and thus do the pigs’ work for them. We should be unafraid to critique and reject the methods of the 1930s standards adopted by the communist movement (which was often cynically indifferent to facts and investigation, and routinely smeared political opponents and dissidents as agents), as Mao has already done by rightfully pointing out that “people’s heads aren’t leeks.” We should carefully avoid paranoid witch-hunts and destructive badjacketing.
But this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t develop cautious collective methods nor run away from making everyone aware going in what the expectations of their involvement is. We must combat liberalism and hold each other accountable for behavior, and not look the other way when suspicious things happen. Don’t tolerate behaviors that endanger the whole. Deploy the wisdom and judgement of collectivity. Speak candidly and truthfully about problems.
We must encourage this not just in collectives but also in the neighborhoods we organize. Liberal behavior can get people killed so we must stress that security is not about protecting each individual, but of protecting the survival and functioning of the movement in the very streets we live. It is about taking care of the future within the present, the whole within the part.
In light of the current doxing attempt, we ask our supporters, those working within organizations that do united front work with us, and those in our neighborhoods to:
- Be suspicious of ugly rumor campaigns and efforts to inflame differences into hostilities;
- Replace naivete with consciousness and diligence. What you say has consequences;
- Be aware that there is an active fascist presence in Bloomfield and that they aren’t afraid of collaborating with the police;
- Be protective of personal information if you work in the movement in any way. Don’t say nothing to anyone;
- Develop nuanced policies of “need to know,” where the movement and the people are able to evaluate their own progress through public summation, while some other matters are kept private;
- Avoid sectarianism and practice elementary and substantive solidarity for those under attack, in a way that recognizes contradictions among the people and contradictions between the enemy. Bail out and provide jail support those who participate in revolutionary militancy regardless of what school of thought they are. Fight side by side in tactical unity against fascists.
We will not permit our supporters, friends, and community members who have worked tirelessly in past campaigns to be threatened, intimidated or bullied into not being antifascists. Already we have seen some of the flyers of the mass organization we participate in marked with “1488” and swastikas, as well as the defacement of “Anti-Racist Neighborhood” tags at a bus stop in a popular neighborhood. Fascism is a death factory, it is human vivisection, it is industrialized rape and torture, and the only way to make that extinct is through revolutionary violence. When one chooses to collaborate with fascism they became a fascist, and while reeducation and reintegration is not out of the question at a future time, we (and the many oppressed people they wish to kill right now) do not have the resources or privilege to carefully confront fascists so that some are not as hurt as others. It’s as simple as this — if you have bonehead parents, drop them. If you have a bonehead roommate, break your lease. Or else you are declaring your own immediate economic and emotional needs as more important than that of humanity.
We will continue to propagandize around antifascism, we will continue to develop community reporting of fascists and to hold community workshops to help identify fascists, we will continue to provide self defense when asked of us, to provide training when asked of us, and to dig deep roots among broad numbers of increasingly conscious people in a way that promotes their security as well as ours, so that their survival becomes ours.
Delay means death – organize against the fascist enemy!
*Cointelpro is Counter Intelligence program, it was an elaborate and aggressive counter insurgency program employed by the FBI to attack several movements.
**For the opportunists to note, drinking in social situations is not bad, but getting so drunk that there is either active lack of control or more passive ambivalence towards statements one is making is a security risk and constitutes a behavior worth criticizing.
***Individuals have different levels of maturity, insight and consciousness. And a movement needs to be alert to those differences. People can be quite conscious and self sacrificing without being politically correct all the time or ideologically consolidated. As so, we must be careful in again noting that there is no fixed informant profile, though there are examples that we must draw from.