How a Libertarian became a Pennsylvania State Police Informant

How could a libertarian anarchist become a police informant, you ask? It’s quite simple really. According to the grapevine, a bright college-age libertarian lady studying in Philadelphia stands accused by Pennsylvania state police of selling drugs they don’t like to an undercover cop on seven occasions. She’s looking at seven [reportedly now thirteen (13)] felonies.

Faced with a disaster of these proportions, the young lady reportedly accepted an opportunity to expedite her release from jail (and possibly reduce her sentence) by going to work as an informant. Three people have been arrested as a result of her collaboration, I am told.

If you’d like to support these victims of her informant work and survivors of the war on (some) drugs, please donate whatever you can here. Every little bit helps.

Libertarians and anarchists around the country are denouncing her, as I’m sure you can imagine. Cups of righteous indignation from uninvolved third parties are running over right and left. “Just let her know that she failed as an anarchist,” opined one comfortable Facebook commenter. “God damned whore-swine. No empathy possesing [sic] Nazi monster,” roared another one. Luckily he was unhurt by the weight of his own irony.

Yet another anarchist went so far as to speak for the entire community saying, “Yeah we don’t fuck around when one of our own turns traitor.”

As sad as this situation is, it’s also rife with learning opportunities. Here are my takeaways: (1) This could happen to any of us; (2) Illegal activities and public activism are not compatible; and (3) The evolution will not happen like Atlas Shrugged or Alongside Night.

“I’m Shocked!”

Prison is a different world – cold, concrete and alien. Your every move is watched and limited. You have no control over the air you breathe, the water you drink, the clothes you wear or the food you eat. It is literally unreal. And until you are in there, you can’t imagine what it is like or what you will do to recover your illusion of being in control of your own life.

The criticisms of the young lady amount to so much Casablanca-style “I’m shocked!”s. Here’s why:

  • Our most prominent and admired leaders encourage us on a regular basis to engage in agorism (unsanctioned or illegal commerce) as a part of our activism.
  • Some of us, including impressionable young people, actually follow their suggestion!
  • When you engage in illegal activities, you become vulnerable to police oppression and manipulation (because they can hang prison time over your head).
  • The police are an aggressive bunch and as such have ways to coerce you into doing what they want – kind of like when someone has a gun to your head.

Simply shocking that these circumstances would lead to a libertarian turning informant, right? Who could have imagined an agorist being targeted by the cops and pressured to do their bidding!?

The simple fact is that any one of us can be turned at any time by any sufficiently aggressive entity. We all have just one shot at life. None of us wants to rot (or worse) in prison. Many of us have families that depend on our continued economic and sentimental activities. We, more than the rest of the population, hold dear our day-to-day freedom. Pending court dates, felony charges, house arrest, lawyers and tracking bracelets wear harder on our psyches. This young lady got caught, but you could be next.

A Public Agorist is an Oxymoron

You can’t be a prominent and public anarchist activist and engage in illegal activities on a sustained and significant basis at the same time. The two roles just aren’t compatible in today’s political climate. As activists, we arouse resentment and a desire to hurt us. As agorists, we make ourselves vulnerable to being hurt under color of law. Choose one role or the other, but never both.

Your Life is Really Happening

We can’t expect to engage in risky behavior like drug dealing without having to suffer the state’s punishment sooner or later. This is not a philosophical novel. There is little glory in prison and you won’t be able to skip over the boring parts.

I find myself (and others) frequently living in the fantasy world of ideology. X should exist today so I’m going to live as if it already does. We should live our philosophies now – fully and completely. But we must also temper our idealism with real-world practicality. You can have a bigger impact on the outside than you can in prison.

Can She be Trusted?

One topic that’s being hotly debated is whether the young lady can ever be trusted again. This is not a yes/no question. It’s a sliding scale. And the answer may change over time. Given enough pressure, even the most militant of us can cave under state pressure. For example, if I had to choose between my son being in the hands of social workers or snitching on a friend, I can assure you that I would seriously consider snitching on you! So I’m not writing off the young lady. Nor am I looking to conduct any business with her either!

None of Our Lives Will Ever be the Same

“This isn’t a game,” lectured yet another critic of the young lady. “She got people who trusted her in deep, deep trouble. Their lives may very well never be the same again. That is NOT acceptable. That is despicable.”

None of our lives are the same. None of us are what we should or could be. And the reason is the cooperation and sanction we give to aggression (including the governments of the world). While we worry about possible prison time for a few, the planet is burning due to oppression and injustice. Our struggle is so much bigger than this – and none of us have clean hands.

Playing the blame game is what slaves do. To argue amongst ourselves whether it is the gunmaker’s fault or the soldier who pulled the trigger’s or the general who gave the order or the victim who failed to resist “enough” is a pointless circle jerk.

The government can and does make all kinds of people commit all kinds of self-destructive actions every single day. Who is to say you won’t fall victim too? Are you really qualified to throw the first stone?

If you want to live in a world where young libertarians don’t inform on their friends, set aside your judgment – and your illusions. Live liberty, and it’s counterpart, love. You can’t have one without the other. And you can’t love and judge at the same time. The power of aggression is limitless as long as we remain fearful little mice, scuttering in the shadows and covetous of the creature comforts we’ve managed to carve out for ourselves.

Other Blog Reactions

Tom Knapp: When the Comrade Beside You Falls …

David Zemens: It’s all fun and games until you’re faced with the difficult proposition of martyring yourself for a cause

Deanna Aeanad: In Response to “Everything” (or What Really Happened and Why I Have Made the Choices That I Have) (Facebook)

James Tuttle: C4SS and Stacy Litz

8 May 2012
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