To think that the situation of Free and Critter and that of Rob
                      Thaxton are isolated incidents is to miss a significant development in
                      the response of the state in this country to even a distant threat of
                      revolt. With the retreat of marxism into academia and largely
                      irrelevant theorizing, anarchism has come to represent the most
                      significant conscious revolutionary movement. Furthermore, many
                      anarchists are not afraid to call for the destruction of the entire social
                      order. The state inevitable responds to such movements of revolt
                      with repression. The present repression is developing in an
                      interesting way worthy of examining.
                      In previous issues of Willful Disobedience I have printed articles
                      about the Marini trial in Italy. The prosecutor in this case, Marini,
                      attempted to criminalize 53 anarchists-and with them all anarchists
                      who refused to be well-behaved lap dogs-by claiming they were
                      part of a non-existent armed organization. A similar construction is
                      being developed here, but in a way that is more appropriate to the
                      United States.
                      In the previous issue of this paper, I wrote about the Oregon
                      Department of Corrections choosing to put anarchists on their last of
                      gangs, thus criminalizing anarchists as gang members, implying a
                      formalized organization with malicious intent. Within the prison
                      system this allows prison officials greater control over
                      communications to prisoners so labeled. Such prisoners can also
                      have their visits restricted and any act of violence on their part
                      becomes a gang-related incident, allowing for increased penalties.
                      But this labeling is not just applied in prisons. In Eugene, Oregon
                      recently, police began to stop known anarchist, as well as any young
                      person wearing all black and looking too punk, in order to do "gang
                      profiles". This is not merely harassment. Several states are
                      introducing measures to make penalties for so-called "gang-related"
                      illegal activities substantially harsher. Thus, in California, a violation
                      that would normally be treated as a misdemeanor becomes a felony
                      if it is "gang-related". Thus, the labeling of anarchists as a gang
                      serves a very practical purpose to the repressive apparatus of the
                      state-they can get us out of the way for longer periods of time.
                      But it has not only been the police and prison institutions that have
                      been manipulating language to criminalize anarchists. That other
                      institution of democratic social control-the media-has done more
                      than its share of building this image. Thus, a reporter who did great
                      damage to the ELF an ALF a couple years ago by referring to them
                      as eco-terrorist groups recently printed an article referring to a land
                      project in which a few and a few people who do not consider
                      themselves so are experimenting with different methods of organic
                      gardening and cob-house building as an anarchist camp-terminology
                      which, particularly in the northwest of the United States has sinister
                      connotations of secret militia training.
                      The intent of such a choice of words becomes clearer when it is
                      expanded upon in the Los Angeles press and in statements by the
                      police and the mayor of L.A. about the coincidence of an anarchist
                      conference with the democratic national convention. Here one hears
                      of anarchist encampments where military style training is supposedly
                      taking place somewhere in Oregon. One hears of a national
                      anarchist organization based in Oregon. Of course no such things
                      exist. While anarchist disagree vehemently about the relative
                      usefulness of formal organizations, those organizations that do exist,
                      which call themselves anarchist are generally of a syndicalist of
                      federative nature and have no interest in armed camps.
                      Insurrectional anarchists reject all formal organization as well as
                      military formations that separate the revolutionary from the exploited
                      people as a whole. As anarchists, we have no interest in leading the
                      revolution, and so would not create armed groups separate from the
                      struggle as a whole or any sort of formal organization. We are,
                      ourselves, exploited individuals refusing and rising up against our
                      exploitation. But it is in the interest of the state and capital to isolate
                      us, to paint us as terrorists, armed monsters invading the terrain of
                      other people's lives, a danger not only to the well-being of the ruling
                      class but of everyone. Such isolation gives them the space to repress
                      our revolt physically as well as on the terrain of words.
                      To further confuse matters, the press in Eugene and here in L.A. has
                      tried to pass anarchists off as a hate-group. It is here that power's
                      manipulation of language becomes most clear. Years ago, bigotry
                      was recognized as an ideological perspective with institutional effects
                      that permeated the whole of society; hatred on the other hand was
                      an emotion which could be legitimate under certain circumstances,
                      though it was certainly always ugly when wed to bigotry. Several
                      years ago-thanks to the media and leftist groups-bigotry and hatred
                      began to be confused. Terms like "hate group", "hate crime" and
                      "hate-free zone" became common. The institutional aspects of
                      bigotry got lost in the emotional aspects and the struggles against it
                      lost their revolutionary potential as activists begged the state to "stem
                      the tide of hate." But even with the rise of this confusionism, very
                      few people would consider a support group for rape victims in
                      which those involved expressed their hatred for the rapists and
                      called for action against them a hate group. People are responsible
                      for their actions, and hatred is still recognized as a legitimate
                      emotional response to someone who fucks you over. In this light,
                      hatred for the authorities and their willing lackeys is a legitimate
                      emotional expression since they not only fuck over people, but
                      create institutions for the purpose of maintaining this exploitation and
                      domination which leaves most people in misery.
                      But once again this word manipulation, serves the state in its need to
                      repress revolt. To compare anarchists to hate groups isolates them
                      from a great deal of the exploited. It, furthermore, opens the door to
                      more intensive criminalization of anarchists as the left demands
                      legislation against "hate crimes" and harsher penalties for crimes
                      determined to be such.
                      As anarchists we have already made ourselves illegal-against law.
                      But in order to maintain control, the state has to make rules that
                      sometimes even hamper its own activities. For this reason, it needs
                      to find ways, using its own laws and its own media, to manipulate
                      language in such a way as to legitimate its repressive activity. In the
                      face of this present repressive construction, we cannot afford to
                      back down or moderate our views and actions. Rather, we must
                      break out of our ghetto, build projects of attack with others of the
                      exploited and clarify who we are in action with others against this

Back to the Venomous Butterfly Page (on KKA)
                             Back to the Killing King Abacus Page