NEVER CRY WOLF
The nature of revolutionary solidarity lies in recognizing one’s own struggle in the struggle of others, in the actions they choose to take, the risks they confront in their battle against the social order. Thus, it does not mean uncritical support, but rather includes an intelligent analysis of each action in terms of aims, tactics and repercussions. Every act of revolt, every attack against the rule of the state and capital is part of the struggle for freedom and life, and every response that condemns these acts is a rejection of the solidarity that is a necessary part of our struggle. The practice of solidarity must necessarily reject the binary logic in which one must either uncritically embrace an action or else condemn it.
On March 31, 2001, unknown people set fire to 36 SUVs at the Romania car dealership in Eugene, Oregon. A few days later a communiqué was published explaining the action. The communiqué referred to two people accused by the authorities with doing similar actions: "…Romania Chevrolet is the same location that was targeted last June, for which two earth warriors, Free and Critter, are being persecuted. The techno-industrial state thinks it can stop the growing resistance by jailing some of us, but they cannot jail the spirit of those who know another world is possible. The fire that burns in Free and Critter burns within all of us and cannot be extinguished by locking them up…"
Upon hearing of this action, my immediate response was that of solidarity—this was an expression of my struggle as well. At the same time, I recognized the untimeliness of the action, particularly in the light of the wording of the communiqué. Jeffrey "Free" Luers’ trial was to begin in less than a week and the wording of the communiqué could easily be taken as implying that he had been involved in the arson of the previous June even though he hadn’t yet claimed responsibility for this act. (Craig "Critter" Marshall had already begun to serve a five and a half year sentence for the first Romania arson.) Certainly, this action was likely to have an effect on the trial. Nonetheless, it is essential to remember that, however important strategic considerations may be, they can never be the first considerations in acts of revolt. The need to rebel and attack the order that dominates and oppresses us is always the primary consideration.
Unfortunately, the moment Free’s lawyer had his trial postponed, the wails of condemnation against this more recent attack began. While some merely condemned the attack as stupid and blamed those who did it for increasing state repression, others went as far as to claim that this action was carried out by police or the FBI. Those who made these latter allegations had no evidence whatsoever; they were simply unhappy about the timing of the action and its possible consequence.
Those who carry out attacks against the present social order are never to blame for the repressive acts of state. The state, of course, will use such attacks to justify its repressive activity, but when anarchists begin to use a mirror image of this state logic to condemn those acts of revolt that don’t fit their ideal, it is a nauseating case of cowardice. The state, and only the state, is ever to blame for state repression. It has the power of monopolized violence and can use it whenever it sees fit—as quickly, at times, in the face of a word as in the face of a deed. The act of rebellion is always a gamble. Of course, one can examine the situation, estimate the odds and then decide to take the risk or not. But one can never know the outcome with certainty, particularly since the circumstances in which one acts are largely in the hands of one’s enemy. In this light, every condemnation of an act of revolt based upon real or potential repressive responses of the state is absurd from the standpoint of the enemies of the state.
The attribution of acts of revolt to police agencies—particularly without proof—is potentially quite harmful. Those who set the fire on March 31 may one day face trial for this action—this is one of the many possible consequences of their gamble. The chatterers spreading these groundless rumors are creating an atmosphere that works against critical solidarity in a situation where this might be prove essential. It is an all too common story, reminding one of those anarchists who parroted the media’s claim that the Unabomber was a madman and thus pushed the discussion of his actions and ideas into the binary logic of condemnation and disassociation on the one hand and uncritical praise (at times verging on a disturbing near-canonization as portrayed in the "He tried to save us" fliers). One is also reminded of the case of Marinus Van der Lubbe who was transformed from a council communist insurgent into a dupe or an agent of the nazis by a stroke of the stalinist and social-democratic pen in spite of the fact that even in the face of nazi torture and his impending execution, he refused to lie and say that his attack was a communist conspiracy. Anarchists would do well to avoid rumors regardless of the circumstance, but rumors that could undermine the foundations of revolutionary solidarity are truly dangerous. In a situation where the odds are already against us, those who spread such rumors are creating yet another circumstance that favors the state.
On June 11, 2001, Free was sentenced to 23 years in prison for his alleged participation in the first attack against the Romania car dealership and an attempted arson at Tyree Oil Inc. During the course of his trial, he claimed responsibility for burning the three cars at Romania Chevrolet but denied having anything to do with the attempt against Tyree Oil. Of course, the judge, worthy servant of the state that he is, found Free guilty on all counts. To our knowledge neither Free nor Critter have commented on the most recent attack at the Romania car lot. But as we see it, Free, Critter and the night-adventurers of March 31 are all our comrades in struggle. The actions claimed by Free and by these more recent illuminators of the night reflect our own hatred for this society and its poisonous effects. We do not know who started the fire on March 31, but we do know that in the face of acts of revolt we who are enemies of the state would do well to remember this advice: never cry wolf.