Statement Against Snitch-Jacketing

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There is no place in radical movements for snitch-jacketing

An anonymous blog post recently emerged accusing someone we have organized with in the past of being a snitch; the post provided no evidence to back up this accusation. We have decided not to validate the accusations in this post by engaging with it. Instead we choose to emphasize the following points:

There is no place in radical movements for anonymous and/or unsubstantiated allegations. Such allegations, whether from well-intentioned but misguided individuals or from state agents, have the effect of sowing distrust and division within our movements. They put the accused people in the impossible situation of responding to no one and nothing in particular, or risk seeming to admit guilt by refusing to reply. And they put the rest of us in an uncomfortable position by seeming to demand a verdict of guilt or innocence, without providing any basis for judgment. Such tactics can divide and even destroy movements, as the FBI proved most decisively with its Counter-Intelligence Program, COINTELPRO, against the liberation movements of the 1960s and 1970s. We must learn the lessons of the past and refuse to engage in snitch-jacketing.

It is equally dangerous, and for precisely the same reasons, to speculate about who is responsible for such allegations and why. That sort of speculation merely worsens the problem that it pretends to solve. It increases the speculation; where once it was focused on a single person suspected as a snitch, it expands to envelope everyone as a potential snitch-jacketer. Division widens as we look to each other with suspicion and paranoia.

If people feel sure enough of their facts to launch public accusations against fellow activists, they should be willing to take personal and/or collective responsibility for such accusations and provide supporting evidence. Otherwise, if we fall into the habit of making accusations unaccountably, and accepting them without question, we have to assume that our enemies will observe the resulting divisions and exploit our weaknesses.

Posted by Black Orchid Collective

Black Orchid Collective

An anonymous blog post recently emerged accusing someone we have organized with in the past of being a snitch; the post provided no evidence to back up this accusation. We have decided not to validate the accusations in this post by engaging with it. Instead we choose to emphasize the following points:

There is no place in radical movements for anonymous and/or unsubstantiated allegations. Such allegations, whether from well-intentioned but misguided individuals or from state agents, have the effect of sowing distrust and division within our movements. They put the accused people in the impossible situation of responding to no one and nothing in particular, or risk seeming to admit guilt by refusing to reply. And they put the rest of us in an uncomfortable position by seeming to demand a verdict of guilt or innocence, without providing any basis for judgment. Such tactics can divide and even destroy movements…

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