On last nights #OccupySupply Skill Share we were joined by a sensational panel of presenters to discuss the existence of Infiltration within the Occupy Movement. Kit O’Connell of Occupy Austin and Matthew McLoughlin of Occupy Chicago took the opportunity in last nights discussion to shed light on this highly charged topic by covering a the full scope of the use of police infiltration within Occupy and other movements of the past. Our discussion takes an in depth look at the use of infiltration historically and fuses that with personal and recent examples of how this tool is used by law enforcement agencies presently within the Occupy Movement, and offers information as to how participants can protect themselves from becoming the target of a infiltrator provocateur.
We begin the discussion with Kit O’Connell who both reports on and works within the Occupy Movement as an active member of Occupy Austin and the Editor of MyFDL. Referring back to such movements as the Black Panthers he uses examples of how the police have used organizations and undercover operations such as co-intelpro to penetrate and villainize movements. Pulling these ideas into modern context he offers insight on how this type of activity can be avoided and deflected by present day activists. Expanding on this subject he shares ideas for safeguarding against police infiltration tactics, siting the fact that the strength of Occupy is complete transparency. Kit finishes off his segment by sharing his personal experiences as a witness to police infiltration of Occupy Austin and how it led to complications of the D12 Gulf Port Action in Houston Texas last December. The backlash of these complications led to the arrests of 7 people including an activist named Eric Marquez who remains in jail to this day.
Matthew McLoughlin of Occupy Chicago continues the discussion by sharing his experiences with undercover police infiltration of Occupy Chicago leading up to the Nato Summit which was held on May 20th 2012. He explains how two undercover police officers infiltrated the group and coerced and entrapped members of Occupy Chicago in a “two fold attempt” to both discredit and close off Occupy Chicago’s non-violent social movement and justify a budget spent to the tune of $55 million to “protect” the McCormick Place during the Nato Summit. He explains that of the 11 people arrested two were police infiltrators, nine were released and two additional arrests were made just days later. As a result of the infiltration there are five men who remain in jail awaiting trial, these men are often referred to as the “Nato 5″. They continue to hold these concerned citizens under trumped up charges with no physical evidence other than statements made by the two infiltrators involved. If you are interested in lending moral or financial support the those targeted as the “Nato 5″ you may visit the link www.nato5.occupychi.org Matthew then closes his portion of the discussion by supporting the ideas that Kit mentions earlier in the webcast. He asserts that as the Occupy Movement continues to resonate in the minds of the American public it is important for those involved in the Occupy movement to remain vigilant and take precautions such as setting personal boundaries and choosing words and actions carefully to protect themselves.
The discussion comes to a close as both presenters reiterate the importance of taking precautions such as remaining transparent at all times and standing together under the tenants of non-violence in thought word and deed. It is important in creating an atmosphere of trust and openness. Also the placing firm personal boundaries with people can be a great safeguard against infiltrators and provocateurs. It is important that groups are careful not to alienate members of the group or making them more vulnerable by “Blue Jacketing” or “Snitch Jacketing”. In the end a provocateur is a provocateur and if they work for the police is not as important as keeping the group united and acting in a manner as though they are being watched by staying transparent.