A Return to Non-Collaboration
“ A man becomes a bandit because he does something which is not regarded as criminal by his local conventions, but is so regarded by the State or the local rulers.”
What is the state of solidarity in anarchist circles right now?
Recently at a debut screening of ‘Informant’ in New York City, a film that traces Brandon Darby’s transition from militant activist to FBI informer to conservative talking head, the snitch himself sat down to chat it out with the young man he sent to prison for four years.
This event should have been inconceivable. First, it is shocking Darby could be flaunting himself around New York without safety concerns. Second, this dialogue accepts that informing, and frankly entrapment, is an action worthy of acknowledgement and an oppositional pole worthy of debate. Third, the entire event mocks serious political movements in that the theater created around this debate intends to scintillate an audience simply to promote a film.
Looking back over the last few years, such an occurrence seems almost inevitable. There has unfortunately been persistent incidents that indicate a culture of collaboration. In the case of the Cleveland 5, one co-defendant, Anthony Hayne, agreed to testify against his comrades in exchange for a lighter sentence. During the height of the Occupy movement, masked individuals had to protect their backs from the so-called peace police who were just as liable to strike them as members of the Police Department. The list goes on to range from lackadaisically identifying comrades online to answering grand jury questions.
It would appear that in anarchist circles a commitment to non-collaboration is slipping. There is a failure to seriously adhere to something that goes beyond a culture, but to the foundation of a transformative political project that patently rejects state-imposed values, oppressions, and juridical processes. Without the seriousness that non-collaboration lends to anarchist actions and projects, how can anarchists trust each other in the face of ongoing witch hunts, let alone attempt to bring members of the broader population into anarchist projects, systems, and values?
This is an appeal to those seriously engaged in forwarding anarchist projects to renew their commitment to non-collaboration; and to pass this on to new people.
As we well know, they don’t know what you don’t tell them. The first step toward building the foundations of local conventions, for taking law enforcement out of the hands of enforcers, for building that wall of solidarity, complicity and trust is the easiest of all – simple non-compliance through silence.