“Why is it when faced with potentially severe repression we go all fucking liberal?”—Do or Die #9
Over the past few years, state repression against those who question the current social order has intensified. This can be traced to two significant factors: changes in social relationships that have made it unnecessary for the democratic state to disguise its repressive nature and a growing resistance that is increasingly using methods of direct attack rather than petition and negotiation.
In the United States, these attacks against the projects of capital have been largely centered on projects that infringe upon and destroy wild areas, exploit animals or involve the development of genetically engineered organisms. The methods used in these attacks are generally fairly simple, using materials easily accessible to anyone, and are applicable to a wide variety of situations. It should, therefore come us no surprise that the state would try to suppress this tendency through criminalization and repression.
It is in this context that two bills before the Oregon state legislature can be understood. One of these bills would apply racketeering and organized crime laws to acts of sabotage against logging activities, animal research and the like if passed. The other would apply hate crime laws to illegal actions taken against environmental destruction or capitalism. If these laws are passed it would be possible for a person convicted of breaking a window, spiking a tree, sabotaging a piece of equipment or liberating animals from a laboratory to as much as 25 years in prison as a racketeering hate criminal.
This is also the context in which a recent raid on a punk house party in Portland, Oregon and the subsequent police harassment against punks on the streets, in which cops will question those stopped about their relationship to anarchism, can be understand. If anyone who might consider acting against the horrors of this society can be frightened into submission through harassment, it makes the job of the state easier.
When repression starts to hit close to home, it is easy to forget who is responsible for it. We have been well trained to see those that the state labels as criminals as such, and so it is easy to make the mistake of blaming those who have taken the path of illegal revolt for the repression we experience. But those who revolt are never to blame for repression. The state, and only the state, holds this responsibility. The aim of state repression is precisely to frighten people away from active revolt. If we succumb before repression, holding ourselves back and calling on others to hold back out of fear, the state has succeeded. In the face of state repression, it is necessary to attack more intelligently and more fiercely.