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
· 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