“Under No Circumstances Will I Ever Cooperate”
A Statement on Resisting FBI Harassment, from Jayden Savino
by Jayden Savino / Earth First! Newswire
My name is Jayden Savino and I am an Anarchist and Earth First!er currently living on occupied Cherokee land, often referred to as Asheville, North Carolina. Since April 3rd, the FBI has been harassing folks in my personal and professional life. The FBI has consistently requested that these individuals suggest that I call the FBI to answer questions regarding an investigation. I have secured legal representation and remained silent throughout this period of state harassment. On July 10th, the FBI visited my parents’ house and questioned my father, asking very specific questions about me, my constitutionally-protected beliefs and associations, and certain activist communities with which I may or may not be affiliated. The FBI failed to fish any information from my parents, who are now legally represented.
This harassment comes during a period of heightened state repression of radicals in North Carolina. For instance, on July 10—the same day the FBI visited my parents’ house—North Carolina resident Katie Yow received a Grand Jury subpoena. These seemingly unrelated cases appear to be parts of separate investigations, but the parallels paint a picture of increased and possibly coordinated targeted repression of anarchists in this part of the country. While the stated reasons for the investigations are different, the likely political motivation, and the kinds of information sought, are the same. Thankfully, another parallel in these investigations is Yow’s refusal to cooperate. I too will continue to resist the state and struggle towards liberation for the Earth and all of the life forms she has created. I wish to express my noncompliance once again.
The FBI is attempting to make myself and my community feel isolated and fearful. Unfortunately for the FBI, this harassment has done the opposite for myself, my community, and my family. This type of FBI repression is not a new phenomenon, and the state’s efforts to target activists and dismantle movements is as American as genocide. While it is unclear what exactly is being investigated, I will continue to embody my solidarity with the resilient herstory of state repression resistors, along with those who will continue to resist after my time. There is no greater betrayal or humiliation to our movement and the Earth than to cooperate with the state.
The amount of support I have received from lawyers, comrades, lawyers who are comrades, and people I’ve never met is breathtaking. We’ve created our own silver lining, one that has made us stronger and more fierce than ever. No matter how severe their threats—or repressive their tactics—under no circumstances will I ever cooperate with the FBI or police. The fearless herstory of state defiance from black, indigenous, prisoner, queer, and animal/earth liberation movements fills me and my community with more than enough hope, guidance, and defiance to resist any repression the FBI has up their sleeves. I was an anarchist before this harassment, I am an anarchist now, and nothing they can do will compromise the integrity of my beliefs or move me to participate in undermining the integrity of my community.
We have nothing to gain, and much of our freedom to lose, from cooperating with the FBI. If an FBI agent contacts you, do not speak to them. Remember: Law enforcement officers are trained to lie to us and to manipulate individuals into responding to questions in ways that can be used to justify criminal charges of lying to a federal agent. Those charges, which carry a five year prison penalty, are then used as leverage to coerce further cooperation and damage our communities. It is therefore safest not to answer any of their questions. If an agent comes to your home, do not answer the door. Ask them to leave their card at the door and to leave, and contact an attorney immediately. If you have been contacted by law enforcement and would like to spread the word to keep your community aware and safe, or if you have questions about FBI harassment of activists, you can contact the Earth First! Journal at collective[at]earthfirstjournal.org.
Here are some resources with information on what to do if a state agent contacts you or someone you know:
“If An Agent Knocks” booklet by the Center for Constitutional Rights
“Know Your Rights for Activists” article and video by the Civil Liberties Defense Center