Some Advice on Basic Movement Security

All comrades should familiarize themselves with basic security. Here are some points to remember

1. Avoid answering pig questions. Not everyone who is curious about us is a pig. However, asking questions about identity and background are pig questions. Liberals, reformists, compradors, opportunists and revisionists like to bait people for information. Don’t be a sucker.

2. Avoid being baited by identity politics. A common tactic of people who cannot defend their political line (but also used by agents) is to shift the discussion to identity. Not only is this a tool used to bait individuals for information by the state, but it makes infiltrating activist circles much easier. Don’t fall for it.

3. Use a fake name in activist work. This makes the state’s job a little more difficult. However, it also makes it more difficult for reactionary paramilitaries and fascists to target you.

4. Be careful about who you invite to your home. Use common sense. Don’t just invite anyone back to your house

5. Avoid paranoia. One of the best tools of the state is to paralyze people with paranoia. If all you are doing is sitting around talking about security, then the state has won. Keep doing your revolutionary work. Don’t let fear stop you. If fear is stopping you, they have won.

6. Be smart. Of course the state can always pull an excuse out of thin air, but there is no reason to give the state any reasons to bust you.

7. Beware of snitching. Snitching is a bigger danger than infiltration. Often the state will arrest someone on something like drugs, then they will offer the person a deal if they become an informant. Using snitches is cheaper than infiltration

8. Beware of infiltration. Infiltration is real. The pigs are not stupid. They know how to use weaknesses against activists. They know how to use “honey pots.” They know how to use sex against activists. They also know how to use identity politics. Infiltrators also know how to make themselves useful and indispensable. Watchout for people who are close to the center, but do not put revolutionary science in command. Watchout for people close to the center who don’t knowthe ins and outs of revolutionary science.

9. Gossip and rumor mongering. Gossiping about people’s personal lives, bad habits, personal failings, grudges, etc. only help the police. Everyone has problems and skeletons in the closet. The pigs use this to drive wedges.

10. Unusual activity. Keep a close eye on your living space. The pigs stake out houses. They break in and gain access. They open mail.

11. No focoism. Avoid adventurist schemes. Avoid mindless and pointless violence. Focoist schemes can put the entire movement in jeopardy. It is a catastrophic error.

12. Lovers’ spats and other personal quarrels. Keep it out of the movement. The pigs use quarrels and fights to drive wedges and split the movement

13. Don’t get into potentially compromising situations or situations where you appear compromised. Appearances matter

14. Avoid people with close connections with the pigs. Do not let people with police, military,or intelligence agency ties close to the movement. Keep them at arms length. Do not let them into our homes. Keep them away from the center.

15. Avoid “drama queens.” A drama queen is someone who likes causing drama, likes starting fights, likes escalating situations, etc. A dramaqueen can be male or female. A drama queen usually has a big ego. They often need to be the center of attention.

16. “Loose lips sink ships.” Keep everything internal. Don’t talk about internal business withoutsiders.

17. Watch out for wrecking. Watch out for people who run interference for no reason or for no stated reason.

18. Empty drums. Mao said, “an empty drumbeats the loudest.” Watch out for people who derail work or demoralize people or endlessly criticize, but don’t offer any suggestions or contributions.

19. Watch out for weenie talk. If someone is stating something that is contradictory to the political line or doing something contradictory, watch out. If someone can’t state clearly why theyare doing this or that, something is fishy

20. Follow centralism. Uphold and follow the chain of command.

21. Put revolutionary science in command. There is no way to prevent all state interference, but the best overall strategy is to put revolutionary science in command. All individuals have failings. This way individual failings matter less.

This list is not exhaustive. It is just a basic guideline.

Derived from a list provided by the Leading Light Communist Organization

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Posted on November 15, 2011, in Organizing, State Repression and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. there is a lot in this list that i think is just plain counterproductive, in that while it may provide short-term benefits in terms of an individual’s security (or even the security of a specific group), it fosters a movement culture that will leave us all more vulnerable to encapsulation and repression. i am specifically thinking of those points which confuse security with a subservient attitude towards the organization, and those that resolve the tension between personal and political with a mechanistic “separation” which (we know) can never be real.

    This is almost the opposite of what BLA warrior Safiyah Bukhari proposed in her important essay “What IS Security? And the Ballot or the Bullet … revisited”: “both the individual and the organization need to be open and honest. My rule of thumb is, ‘If the police know, the people should know.’ The history of COINTELPRO shows that the enemy will use anything and everything they know about you to their advantage. If there are no ‘dirty little secrets’ that the enemy can drop in the media or tell your next-door neighbor or your comrades, then we have managed to take one weapon from them. As we shed our ego and survive all the knocks of revealing these little truths about ourselves to one another, we become stronger, our organization becomes stronger and more secure, and our goal becomes realizable because we have begun to sublimate the big ‘I’ to the collective ‘us’ or ‘we’.” (The War Before, pp. 37-8)

  2. Posoh Kersplebedeb

    Thanks for the comment and contribution to the discussion (which so far has mostly taken place on FB)!

    Regarding the question of personal quarrels (which is what I assume you are referring to when you talk of the tension between personal and political), I agree that it is never going to be possible to totally separate them from the realm of organization struggle, after all we are all humans who form relations with other humans.

    However in my admittedly short years in the movement I have seen far too many times personal squabbles, primarily what the above list labels as “lovers’ spats”, wreck what had the potential to be descent organizational efforts, essentially doing the state’s job for them. I’ve seen this happen in three different countries and in a variety of different organizations – from the most centralized to the loosest.

    So yeah, I don’t think it will ever be possible to 100% remove Lovers’ spats and other personal fights from the movement, but I think we should strive as much as possible to do just that The only time though that I believe it will always be necessary to bring this kind of stuff into the organizational realm is when we are talking about questions of abuse and/or threats of abuse, rape etc, that stuff is more than mere lovers’ spats and needs to be confronted openly and dealt with.

    As for these points eventually leading to the movement becoming ever more encapsulated through an obsession with security, the list itself draws out the point to NOT become completely obsessed with security. This also something I have seen too much in my short years. We all know about how MIM degenerated with its obsession with security, but the RCP,U$A also fosters a very insular security obsessed culture. The insularity of the RCP also still impacts the politics of many of those people who have split from it. Drawing from my own experience, while many people in the Kasama Project claim to have broken with the style of work of the RCP, they retain the paranoia of that organization, refusing during the years I tried to work with them to discuss stuff like the black blocs, the RCP Canada, the PFLP, FARC, physical force Irish Republicanism etc for the seeming fear that the mere mention of those things, even if to criticize them and their tactics, would lead to FBI agents kicking down their door that moment.

    Again, the list itself does say “Keep doing your revolutionary work. Don’t let fear stop you. If fear is stopping you, they have won.”

    Also, which points are you talking about that you think “confuse security with a subservient attitude towards the organization?” I don’t really know much about your politics, so I do not know if you are an anarchist, a Maoist or whatever, but I assume (correct me if I am wrong) that you are referring to points such as #20, which states that we should “Follow centralism.” If that’s the kind of thing you are talking about, then I think we just have different summations of the practice of democratic centralism.

    While I understand that it is not exactly something that is in vogue since the collapse of “actually existing socialism” circa 1990, I’m not a follower of the politics that rejects the role of the vanguard party and the need for organizational democratic centralism. I’d point towards New Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter’s Minister of Defence Kevin Rashid Johnson’s “On the Roles and Characteristics of the Panther Vanguard Party and Mass Organizations” for a summation of the role of the vanguard and DC that I believe in.

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