Submitted on Mon, 11/30/2015 - 8:03pm
We prepared this short piece after several comrades were badjacketed in public and with pictures on social media at the 4th Precinct Shutdown. We believe those individual cases have been dealt with, and don’t wish to cause unnecessary division by complaining, or publicly calling any group or individual out. Instead, this is intended to provoke reflection, and conversation, amongst all of us, as to how to deal with the suspicions we may have of people we don’t know in our growing movements, without creating the sorts of divisions among ourselves that does the work of the State and the police for them. We intend to act in solidarity with those who know how to act in solidarity.
We ask that all organizations and groups working for a better world in which we have killed White Supremacy, Capitalism, and all other forms of oppression, consider that (1) none of us represent the mandate of all the people, (2) that we may have instead genuine and important strategic and tactical differences between ourselves about the best ways to accomplish that world, (3) that we will not win by pretending these differences do not exist, or dictating against difference, but instead by engaging on these differences in the most democratic and least hierarchical ways possible.
Therefore, we ask that groups and individuals read this document against the practice ofbadjacketing, discuss it, and consider publicly endorsing here that we will refrain from the practices of badjacketing. This is not a call to be lax about security; indeed, many of us have been very involved in the provision of security at the Fourth Precinct. Instead, it is a call to be democratic and accountable about our security practices. Please indicate your endorsement in the comments below.
Fred Hampton of the Black Panther Party, and Anna Mae Aquash of AIM.
Every time people organize for liberation, autonomy, and a better world, the state and the bosses try to crush our movements. They don’t particularly care how they do it, but they don’t want to work hard. It’s easier for them, if we do it for them.
- They can do this by misportraying us in the media, and they do.
- They do this by sowing distrust and division within or between movements, and they do.
- They can do this by harassing our people and preventing them from getting jobs, or demoralizing them with constant police contact, and they do.
- They do this by sending infiltrators into our groups, and they do.
- They do this by encouraging fascist groups to attack us, and they do.
- They do this by directly and openly attacking us with police, and they do.
But perhaps the easiest and most effective thing they can do to neutralize and destroy our movements for liberation is to encourage us to act paranoid and to refuse each other’s solidarity. One of the most effective techniques for this is called jacketing (aka ‘snitchjacketing,’ ‘badjacketing,’ or ‘bad-rapping’), and it’s when one of our own (or a paid infiltrator) accuses others without cause or evidence of being a infiltrator, threat, or security risk.
BADJACKETING: creating suspicion, by spreading rumors or unsubstantiated accusations, that people are undercovers, infiltrators, snitches, or cooperators. Sometimes this is done out of fear and paranoia. But normally, those who ‘lay jackets’ on others want to consolidate their control over a movement and feel threatened in their authority. It’s a favorite tactic of the State in destroying movements of liberation.
These tactics of the state and the police go together, and jacketing often leads to direct violence and the destruction of movements. If you’re still reading, let’s take a look at two well known regional cases: the State assassination of Illinois Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton and Mark Clark (1969), and the murder of American Indian Movement militant and Anna Mae Aquash (Mi’kmaq) (1975).