For a Community that Can Overcome Trauma and Defeat Repression

  • Posted on: 13 July 2017
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)

The emotional toll of state repression is very difficult to understand
without a direct experience with it. When I say state repression, I mean
an individual’s direct or passive encounter with governing institutions
or agents that deal with investigating, charging, or punishing an
individual for their political, subversive, or controversial interests,
associates, or actions.

This repression can vary from simple visits to your home or believed
work place by agents of law enforcement spouting threats. It can mean
police raids and a lingering helicopter at your home right before the
sun rises. It can mean empty threats that leave us gasping for air. It
can mean arriving to your flight and being met by opportunistic agents
at the ticket counter or security clearance. It can mean missing your
flight all together due to extra-screening and questioning. It can mean
being banned from flying altogether, with no explanation as to why, who
to consult, or how to fix it. It can mean years of court and legal
battles draining any sense of financial or emotional stability. It can
mean years of anxiety, substance abuse, and psychological torment. It
can mean the dividing of communities through calculated betrayal and
coercion. And other then pure murder, it can mean a concrete cell (or in
America’s prison-industrial complex; an over packed gymnasium) for years
and years of dead time.

The State is a beast.

Not a beautiful beast we may discover in the wilderness, it is a
imaginary lifeless barrier standing between humanity and freedom. It
exists with the sole intention of preserving itself and dividing
humanity. It exists to protect those who benefit from it, and warn
everyone else to never question this arrangement, otherwise prepare to
be helpless before it’s wrath. Unless it is benefiting you, living
within this now global homogeneous state is an everyday tragedy most of
us know nothing different of. Our suffering varies by the calculated
privileges that come with it’s mandated class, race, or ethnic lottery.
While comfort and suffering varies, the absolute vast majority of
humanity is forced to suffer the systems and pogroms of rule enforced by
global state-capitalism, in serving the comforts and excesses of a
precious few (and as governments tighten their rule, and populations
continues to soar at the expense of natural resources, we will see the
extreme tightening of these systems and pogroms).

If you choose to challenge this lottery you will face the alternative:
prison. This can mean selling drugs to make ends meet when there are no
means or ends. It can also mean fighting the police in the streets when
they kill an unarmed black man, or deviate from their normal level of
vile scumbaggery. For any and all struggle against the society the state
exists to preserve; prison, or the threat of it, is the all encompassing
solution to perpetuating a permanent fear amidst any human contemplation
that could lead an individual or community to act on their frustrations
or revolutionary desires. It is the real security guard at the bank
stopping us from robbing it, that most of us are reminded of from the
moment we gain consciousness.

Once we make the choice to claim a revolutionary position such as being
an anarchist or radical opponent of the State, we have to assume to take
on a particular attention from the State. If one is actively writing
words of hatred for the State, or fighting it in the streets, you will
most likely become a target regardless of it actually having evidence of
you committing a crime.

I myself have both done time and been surveilled, harassed, and detained
in many ways over many years. I want to say that my experiences do not
compare to the extreme repression experienced in cases such as long term
prisoners like Eric King, Jeremy Hammond, Marius Mason, the NATO 3
(Brent Betterly, Brian Church, and Jared Chase), the Cleveland 4
(Brandon Baxter, Connor Stevens, Doug Wright, and Joshua Stafford), the
Black Liberation Army (such as Ashanti Alston, Kuwasi Balagoon, and
Ojore N. Lutalo), Herman Bell, David Gilbert, Walter Bond, and many more
currently and in the past.

I say that to assert my humility, because for whatever reason I feel it
is important to mention this, if for no other reason then to remind the
reader of my respect for such individuals, and my awareness that I am
not an all encompassing voice for experiences in repression and guidance
on support. However, I believe that my feelings are important to share
in a contribution to a discussion about repression generally, and our
community’s reaction to it. I believe that unless you have really been a
target by the state and experienced it’s wrath in some form directly,
you can not fully empathize appropriately. I hope sharing some of own
perspectives on overcoming repression can help highlight and strengthen
bonds of revolutionary solidarity that I hold dear to my heart. I also
hope to push for a dialogue that will specifically consider community
programs in dealing with the psychology and emotional well being of
individuals facing government perpetration. I hope this will motivate a
dialogue with a strong consideration for preemptively acting against
snitching and betrayal beyond typical support campaigns, and bring our
struggle more victories against repression.

Staying True and Responsible to our Position

I myself am an anarchist, I have been for over half my life. I advocate
for a free society without institutionalized domination and
exploitation. Regardless of hope, I feel it is my responsibility to
claim and assert this position in my everyday life, analysis, and when
possible: in the streets.

One of the most proud decisions I have ever made in my life was choosing
outright that if I had to choose between my community or prison, I would
go to prison. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. There would no
point to life, as I already recognize the void around me. I have given
myself everyday purpose mostly in the form of passions and desires that
define me as an anarchist revolutionary, and the beautiful people I
build relationships with in this putrid society due to intimate
affinities and deep bonds. Almost my whole life would be a lie if I
suddenly was willing to betray my own heart and the people I love for
the threat of prison. These words sound very militant, and maybe
hyperbolic to the cynical, but I follow them by saying that this
decision didn’t come without an internal struggle, and knowing for sure
that I mean them.

Other than having a few critical years of my life taken away due to my
choices as a self-proclaimed anarchist, I have dealt with about ten
years of direct posturing and confusing threats by the State. The
confusion I refer to is that for so many years they have not known who I
really am, just visited people and places they associated with projects
they thought I was doing like a ratchet ghost haunting me (this
anonymity was actually a benefit of being taught to take seriously
security culture). Throughout the years of this poking and fishing, and
to the second I write this, I don’t fear punishment for a crime I have
committed. When my mind races, I am stressed to live with the reality
that at any moment I risk punishment for simply the expression of my
desires in writing, and my commitment to demonstrating no will towards
their requested cooperation. I am referring to the possibility of a
grand jury.

While all of the western world governments despise anarchists, the grand
jury has made it possible for the American government specifically to
assault us without ever committing a crime. Like not being able to fly,
grand juries are a simple gesture made by the state that can seriously
deter the rest of your life, offering only extreme confusion in light of
its complete lack of transparency in both cases. A grand jury is simple;
if you choose to remain silent, this is a potential plan B for the
state.

A grand jury, and your reaction to it can play out in a handful of ways.
First with a grand jury, you are only required to attend once you’ve
been subpoenaed in person. However, you never know if you will be. So
while you may not know if there is a subpoena for you, but suspect there
might possibly be one based on harassment and a heated climate of
repression, you have the option to go underground for a year and a half
hoping whatever grand jury subpoena is out there for you has ran out of
time. Underground meaning cut all ties, and live basically a couple of
steps away from a fugitive lifestyle (because in this instance you have
not technically committed a crime).

Yet with a grand jury, the bastards can easily reopen and force you
underground again, and unless they approached your lawyer first and your
lawyer told them you have fired them and secretly mentioned to you they
have been approached, most likely you really don’t know if it’s dead or
active, or if they will renew it, or if they are actively looking for
you to serve it. In this case of preemptively going underground,you are
not committing a crime until someone has handed you the subpoena and you
have missed the requested grand jury time. On the other hand if you are
subpoenaed in person or your lawyer accepts it on your behalf and you
miss the grand jury, you technically become a wanted criminal. Also if
you accept the subpoena or your lawyer does on your behalf and go to the
grand jury, you do not have the right to a lawyer being present.

Additionally you can not actually say you do or do not know about the
crime being investigated because that implies some willingness to
cooperate, and down the line can be grounds for keeping you in prison.
Also you can not pick and choose which questions you want to answer. So
even if you don’t know anything about the crime, and you simply do not
want to betray the precious trust that must define our communities in
revolutionary struggle by answering personal questions about friends,
loved ones, spaces, or events, you are committing a crime by making this
choice. And then in this case, you can be found in contempt, and held in
a federal maximum prison for up to 18 months. And after the 18 months,
they can create a new grand jury and repeat the process again (this is
not so easy, but it’s certainly a consideration of state agents).

It’s quite obvious this has been a tool of the state to punish when it
can’t legally punish based on it’s own standard of evidence. Yet the
whole situation can drive you completely fucking insane.

In this case you are possibly facing jail time for a crime that you
maybe know nothing about, and for sure have not committed. And this
insanity is in reality due to some eagle scout scumbag deciding he wants
overtime, and has an opportunity to punish someone they for sure
consider to be enemy combatants. I will humbly state that the state is
brutal. I haven’t experienced the depths of it’s wrath. I haven’t had my
home or car bombed (Like with the MOVE organization in Philadelphia in
1985, or the attempted assassination of eco-activist Judi Bari in her
car in 1990), or been locked in solitary for over half of my life (Such
as Albert Woodfox of the Angola 3 who spent 43 years in solitary
confinement). Recognizing this, I have however felt helpless and dealt
with debilitating anxiety, and do believe that I have trauma inside of
me.

Specifically in the case of grand juries the state can leave you feeling
paranoid and insane. It’s goal is to do this. It is a special insane
type of paranoia in the sense that it’s not necessarily about the 18
months, it’s more so not knowing how to deal with it. Not knowing if you
should turn your life upside down hoping to avoid the theoretical
subpoena, or go public. Trying to find pride in yourself about choosing
to not cooperate even if you do not know anything about an investigation
because it is your responsibility as a revolutionary to do so. Or not
allowing yourself to feel alone, because many other people will have a
hard time empathizing with you until you are inside a cell, and this can
be really debilitating, and something I hope people will consider
challenging. Individuals such as Jerry Koch have demonstrated a
revolutionary strength in overcoming these challenges that I consider to
be a victory for our movement.

To this day I still don’t know if I am a person or even ever was a
person of interest in this obscure quest for easy punishment by the
state, and this lack of transparency is where my insanity flares. Maybe
I have wasted my time and driven myself insane absorbing paranoia, or
maybe I’ve made the right decisions these last ten years, my point is
that this confusion has left it’s mark on my mind, body, and heart. It’s
also left a mark on my job, my family, my friends, my comrades, my
projects, and general life stability.

This insanity is a potion of pressure on the mind and heart that engulfs
your entirety. In choosing to never consider any route then evasion or
prison I am demonstrating a revolutionary strength that my community can
see as a victory. But anyone who hasn’t been forced to choose so and so
card of destiny I do not think fully understands the horrors met when
going through the process. In this process, even I myself have
encountered vile questionable thoughts about weighing my options. I came
out on top, and will continue to do so, but for those targeted who are
new to struggle, they may have a different experience. You come to call
into question your sincerity, and find a series of choices and obstacles
in enduring your own revolutionary introspection.

Remaining Collectively Ungovernable

For those in the states for example where struggle is new or a hobby, it
is easy for me to imagine someone giving in to the state’s demands
through their inability to overcome the helplessness inflicted by its
posturing. This leads to snitching and cooperation, which may both be in
some cases demonstrations of character, I suggest we also recognize that
these heinous actions can come from an individual feeling isolated due
to the neglect of attention or inspiration given to them by their
revolutionary community which needs to demonstrate a mutual ungovernable
solidarity as an alternative to cooperation.

Solidarity is our unconditional and ungovernable victory. It is
something the state does not understand due to it’s lifeless
techno-bureaucratic apparatus. It is something that is truly deeper and
stronger than their prisons. When an individual forfeits their
revolutionary integrity, this gives the state an obscure victory that it
may even overlook in leading such a pathetic individual (cause
regardless of my sympathies, they become one in this choice) to betray
the only victory they can not take away from us, one that lives in our
hearts, and preserves a conflict with its society. Individuals choosing
the convenience of rejoining society as a traitor over prison for not
cooperating humiliates our struggle, implying that it is possible to
live a life in this world as we know it after choosing to understand it
for the vile authoritarian nightmare it is, and due to convenience;
betraying such a position and those who share it.

But while some snitches really just do deserve stitches, or a six foot
hole, it’s important to understand that it is maybe not just a character
flaw. Direct victims of political repression by the state can be
victimized and we can also be responsible for not setting the
appropriate emotional tone for our communities where our bonds and
methods of support are strong enough to overpower the strains of state
intimidation, and worse, incarceration.

With the emboldenment of our enemies in the states with Trump, now more
then ever we must overcome degenerate awkwardness and shatter
self-inflicted alienation in our communities. We must find alternatives
to rumor mills and cliques. While never turning to a hero logic, we must
put special attention and emotional consideration for people overcoming
various types of repression, or recovering from the emotional trauma of
a trial, state harassment, a house raid, and most of all: incarceration.
We must celebrate our victories and weigh our battles within our
communities. We are choosing a controversial position, and petty scene
dynamics and a third person approach to struggle will not serve any
revolutionary interest. While we must challenge our conditioning and be
accountable for our mistakes, we must sway from a perverse vanguard of
politically correct perfectionism that exists solely within an exclusive
scene and could not be generalized in revolt.

At the moment we can see this overwhelming wrath happening to defendants
arrested resisting Trump’s inauguration. The state is flaunting 80 plus
years for what most countries consider to be standard relatively
non-violent unrest. We will see little to no coverage of this terrifying
situation for 200 courageous individuals (now about 130 individuals
considering recent decisions by some to cooperate, which most likely is
due to some journalists being arrested by coincidence or by people being
overwhelmed by fear and choosing betrayal) because anarchists find no
haven of safety by any state or it’s media.

We must realize we only have each other, and a solidarity of common
affinities with frustrated people we encounter or befriend in our
everyday lives. We can not request asylum like Edward Snowden or Julian
Assange, we are anarchists; friend of no state or border. We are not
acting or pursuing a revolutionary path that looks to participate in the
theatrical cage of politics society claims is our only hope to achieve
freedom. We are the enemy of all authority, and every facet of
institutional exploitation. We must begin to challenge our conditioning
by this alienated society, and truly look to build stronger
relationships of affinity.

I believe we need to consider creating support groups focused
specifically on emotional sharing and support for people going through
repression. If you have never experienced long term incarceration, the
possibility of prison, or consistent state intimidation it’s important
to humble yourself and question your judgments of people who are maybe
experiencing trauma or choosing to take drugs or alcohol to deal with
the emotional backlash of repression. We need to start being nicer to
each other, and recognizing the double standards we allow to exist in
our insular scenes, when we should be challenging each other to be
better revolutionaries by assuring one another that our bonds are worth
protecting regardless of state efforts.

These words are very nice, but I myself am a cynical person in recovery,
and realize that it may sound preachy to some. Speaking personally, in
light of seeing case after case over the years, and personally
overcoming multiple instances of authoritarian harassment and punishment
that lead to substance abuse, distress, social dysfunction, and trauma,
pushing ourselves and our comrades to set new standards of emotional
support and understanding, will help us to re-discover new victories
that have always been there, and prevent cooperation and snitching to
the state when times feel bleak. Our efforts in this must match our
efforts of pushing for a truly revolutionary struggle in the streets
against the state and capitalism. We must have a balance of our love and
hate, and must begin to eliminate scene dynamics, competitive relations,
or moralistic judgments of one another that demean revolutionary
communities.

We must set a new bar for implementing anti-repression support that
creates safe spaces for individuals to find attention for their trauma
and fears resulting from repression; reassuring each other that even
when you are put into the corner by the state you are not alone.

I don’t think I am providing a concrete trajectory for a way to achieve
these things, but I feel that for the audience I am writing for, you can
understand what I am saying by my social references and personal
revelations. I am not a happy go lucky person, and I understand that
most of us in the states come to this political position from a
potentially traumatic childhood or teenage experience, and this in many
cases affects our social dynamics. But with the critical state of the
natural world, the never-ending insanity when we look at the news, and
the resilience of our enemies, its really now the time to check our
sectarian urges to the curb, and embrace a stronger love and insurgent
intimacy for our communities, with the intention of engaging with a
stronger contempt for our enemies. It’s time we all realize the
significance and controversy of choosing a subversive life, and while
some are stronger then others in dealing with the consequences of this
position, we must communalize the strength, push our infrastructures
further, and create a culture that is unbreakable to the perpetration of
the state and it’s bastard agents.

For more information on supporting prisoners, and updates in repression
please visit NYC Anarchist Black Cross (https://nycabc.wordpress.com/)
and the new episode of ‘Trouble’
(https://itsgoingdown.org/trouble-4-movement-defense-state-repression/)
regarding repression.

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