Friday, September 3, 2010

It is hard to express, in words, the terrifying way in which the so-called student movement began to dissolve and eat its young. I share your view that what happened to you was political. That you were scapegoated. I wasn't a part of any of the deliberations that led to your scapegoating. Nor was I a part of the official discussions among women about sexism. What I know was gathered from informal discussions with people who were largely peripheral to the whole thing. I've shared my opinion about it with you before. The women in our group -- many of whom are very young -- were not used to the sort of multiple partner intimacy that came along with intense political militancy and spending so much time together. While we were politically breaking down barriers, many people were breaking them down in their personal and intimate lives, which can be unsettling to those who are not very mature. What happened to you was fucked up, but the context in which it happened is important to keep in mind. There was indeed a lot of misguided idealism going around.

I told several people who I know were involved in some capacity in the plot that I thought it was suspect that one of the few active participants who was from a less privileged school had been targeted. I don't think this was an accident. The larger political militancy lost its focus and personal relationship problems became collective concerns. You were easy for people to single out because, in spite of what everyone said about there being no "outsiders" in our group, you were a student from another school. As fucked up as it is, I think that had something to do with you being targeted. I don't think there is some vast authoritarian sentiment lurking in the brains of people who once called you their friend and comrade. I think there is a lot of misplaced self-righteousness that is common to activist and anarchist milieus. That is the only way that I can possibly account for how so many people could engage in or tolerate vigilante-style reprisals.

I'm not sure that anything I, or anyone else who is still around santa cruz, could say that would give you a sense of closure about this terrible affair. Betrayals are truly nasty. I'm pretty sure this incident will shift people's alliances and put a damper on a lot of the starry-eyed idealism you talk about in your post. Dark days.

In the spirit of love and friendship,