Snitches on the "Left"

rakesh bhandari djones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Mon Apr 15 00:03:28 MDT 1996


As I have received much appreciated praise lately, I think this is a
perfect moment to admit that I have been off the mark:

1. I was *probably* wrong to treat certain far-right movements in a
one-sided manner (here Sally, Louis, Doug, Hans E, Michael Perelman and
others were right to emphasize the complexity of some of these movements);
for example, the Freemen seem to represent (I still don't really know) a
contradictory response to the oppression they have suffered, though from
what I have seen on tv (a special local NBC report) some of them have
circulated the Patriot's vicious anti-semitic propaganda.

2. I was wrong not to join Noel Ignatiev's strong criticism of liberal
organizations which are working with the police.  Since these extreme far
right movements are most probably contradictory in their nature (esp. the
rank and file members of these groups), it would be wrong to assist the
repressive apparatus by snitching on people who are struggling to develop a
critical understanding of a very complex, shifting and devastating reality.
Anyways, I can't think of a bigger waste of time and resources than
infiltrating something like the Freeman to snitch on them.  Don't liberal
watchdog organizations have anything else to do? Why not pour all those
resources into an undercover investigation of *institutionalized*
right-wing terror--for example, of anti-immigrant racism among police
officers in Southern California.

3. Whether groups like the Militia, Patriots and Freeman turn out be wholly
reactionary, it should be emphasized over and over again that we must not
allow a panic over terror (right or left wing)to so deepen that the state
suspends more and more civil liberties.  A few issues back, *The Nation*
carried a very helpful analysis of the anti-terrorism legislation now being
considered, and we shouldn't be so sidetracked by right-wing terror that we
forgo a national debate over this big brother legislation.

Rakesh



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