Tag Archive: Scott Jay

Police provocateurs, real and imaginary

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From Libcom / By Scott Jay

There are ongoing efforts by law enforcement agencies to infiltrate, disorganize and destroy social movements. This creates a challenge for anybody who attempts to confront the state’s ability to carry out austerity and repression. To deal with this, we need to develop anti-repression strategies based on actual efforts and tactics by the police and not based on fantasies. It is challenging enough to deal with the efforts of genuine infiltrators, it does us no good to chase after phantoms or, worse, point the finger at somebody who is actually on our side.

Most radicals would agree, and yet for some there is often rampant speculation with no evidence for one type of supposed police provocation. Specifically, this is the occurrence when somebody at a protest throws a rock at the police, or breaks a window, or takes some other provocative action, which leads to uniformed police cracking down. “It must have been an undercover cop who threw that rock,” is the common refrain, even when there is no basis whatsoever for believing this. The idea, apparently, is that only a poorly planned rock-throwing would cause this or, from the liberal perspective, that the perfectly planned peaceful protest was ruined by the efforts of the state to make it look bad.

This assumption is made so often, with so little evidence, that it keeps being made because so many people are led to believe that it must happen all the time, because so many people say that it does, even though it probably never occurs the way many people claim that it does. (more…)