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Some Ideas

The present fighting within and without the Eugene anarchist scene can make us stronger IF we learn the lessons from the recent events. My opinions here are certainly not meant to imply that I know everything that’s happening in the milieu or that I am beyond reproach personally or politically. Naturally, I too need to improve my personal relations and I invite input on this.
Still, I believe the following are really important points:
· We all know the FBI and the entire American police state are targeting the Eugene Anarchist scene. Still, we cannot prevent police provocation by a campaign to figure out exactly who is an infiltrator. Such efforts are themselves destructive. We can, however, refuse to act-out or respond to provocations and provocative tactics.
· We should deal with personal problems with integrity. If someone does something personally noxious or undesirable, either bring it up with them or find a reasonable third party or mediator to solve the problem. Making unanswerable or unverifiable charges, spreading rumors, organizing secretly against someone or personalizing a conflict are altogether an open invitation to police provocation. Even more so, I condemn physical attacks on activists regardless of said activists’ political position. I invite everyone to also make such a statement.
· If you hear personalized charges or accusation against third parties, you do not have to simply repeat these uncritically. Even real, serious problems require a reasonable process for their solution. Any accusation against a person becomes a rumor at the point it leaves the people involved. When YOU hear a rumor or a secret accusation, YOU too have the responsibility to decide exactly how to deal with this, rather simply swallowing and repeating it.
· Our community cannot demand ideology purity. What I am writing here are suggestions for people that I don’t expect to have complete philosophical agreement with but who are still doing good things. I suggest to you that you will not get complete philosophical agreement with me but that I am certainly willing and able to improve my behavior. I also believe many of those who have been attacked are open to changing their behavior (though they ultimately must all speak for themselves, like all of us).
· We can agree to disagree and even write leaflets against each other. This is good. But a campaign that mixes personal attacks and political differences cannot sort out either problem. Example: “Joe is a liberal and so Joe tries dominate meetings. Force Joe to give up liberalism so he won’t dominate meetings.” While we can demand Joe act differently, we can’t demand Joe change his philosophy. We may choose not associate with Joe because of his ideas but smashing Joe’s windows or leaving threatening notes addressed to Joe would be inappropriate at this point.
· The recruitment of secret factions produces a number of distortions. The greater the level of secret political maneuvering against people, the more that the bonds of trust between all of us are destroyed and the more process of paranoia increases. Consider that American Grand Jury testimony is secret to sow distrust among Grand Jury targets. Should we be using similar tactics? Secret factions have existed in the Eugene anarchist scene for a while and I believe this is one source of the present high level of mistrust between people.
While anarchists justifiably use secrecy to protect themselves from the police, the use of secrecy to exclude those you disagree with or silence those you disagree with is very manipulative. Secrecy is a weapon so be careful who you use it against.
· Each person must be able to behave correctly rather than expecting their group or clique will provide them with the correct behavior. This is one important principle of anarchism (even if I personally wouldn’t label myself an anarchist). It is especially important for us all to make our own judgments and act with integrity given that rumors and secret organizing can distort our perceptions of who stands where. Still many who label themselves anarchists here in Eugene seem to still be willing to be ruled by peer pressure – to go along with various programs while saying “I know this seems irrational but I feel like I have to do this.” That said, a number of women and men have equally stood-up against any process of peer-pressure and made their own judgments – this includes people who I might not agree with or who might not like or agree with me. This process of people making their own decisions has been the main thing that has strengthened our community it this point.
· I invite all those who have stated their desire to drop-out to reconsider. Consider the reason which caused you to become active in the movement to begin with. They are only more valid now. Painful as they are, the problems we face now are inevitable within a movement that confronts the power of the American state. One of the aims of the state is to contract the size of our movement. Once the movement contracts, those who remain are obviously easier targets and the process can continue.  Instead, we should learn the lessons of the present times and continue smarter and thus stronger.