Notes on ambiguity of Leah, and excerpt from upcoming text
<table><tr><td>The following is an excerpt of an incomplete text mapping the psychology of awaiting trial. It is written to elucidate nothing other than the fear of boredom and jail, the horrific nightmares of the unknown, and the pathetic affects of such thoughts. During its construction, a particular topic was launched into popular discourse that could not escape its own timeless saliency. Before previewing the excerpt, I felt it necessary to attempt at adding to this discussion (at length). The topic which slouches lazily on the wall of current intellect is none other than the fictitious link between madness, or mental instability, and cowardice, ie snitching. Among the frightful speculation of whether or not that punk girl has cooperated, grows the insidious connection made between her proclaimed emotional limitations and the prospect of her talking. The trajectory is as follows: her supporters seem to suggest that because of her weakened mental state, she has no obligation to the people with raised eyebrows and pens in hand awaiting either sympathetic or condemning remarks (not to mention individuals whose lives could be altered by such an act of betrayal), and on the other hand speculators who suggest she has snitched, turn to her mental disarray as a reason she should have never been involved in the first place, and as such the foundation for the flip. And in between are confused individuals all over the internet and elsewhere, unsure of whether or not they are being insensitive by asking for more information because, after all, she has quite clearly been put through a lot. </td><td><img title="trigger warning" src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2012/horsefriend.jpg"></td></tr>...
To be clear, it is and always will be my position that being a coward and a snitch has nothing to do with mental instability, and is rather a reflection of weakness in character and a general lack of integrity. No one betrays because they have anxiety or depression, these qualities are not intrinsic to one another in any way. Anxiety is purely a physical manifestation of fear—whether subtle, imagined, or intensely grounded in reality. I often get anxiety attacks gnawing on me with fear of jail, fear of my friends being jailed, illness, or my family's demise under a shit economy. But this is life. For some the fear is quiet, or rarely present, and for others it is all they can see. No insanity is inherently linked to choosing one's own safety over another's; no madness is the cause of confusion as to whether or not this is snitching or that is snitching. Perhaps ignorance in regards to the legal system, perhaps stupidity and disbelief or naïve thoughts of being smarter than the state, or maybe a pathetic and selfish desire to remain “free” at the expense of another- but strictly not being mentally stable? No. And the most basic proof of this is the fact that “mental stability” in a society such as ours—with its abstract mode of relating to the world—is <em>necessarily subjective</em>. It is always already unstable, merely varying levels of fantasy and fiction. To butcher a quote I read somewhere: for anyone to deny that they are mad in a world as mad as ours, is simply another form of insanity.
There is a difference that needs to be reiterated —a line that must be drawn—between emotional distress and disloyalty. When we talk about snitching and mental illness, it is just that. Snitching <em>and</em> mental illness. Not snitching because mental illness, not snitching and therefore mental illness. Just as any other behavior or act. To attempt this categorization—of defining and painting the psychology of a snitch—is to first of all play the role of patronizing doctor and secondly to mimic the work of police. It creates a discourse with a flimsy foundation and therefore any theoretical offspring started from this point will have stunted growth and mutated concepts. Mania, depression, compulsion, obsession, etc are all categories that have been created around a scientific fairy tale, they are identity-based boxes made of air and smoke. They are attempts at taking emotions—moment by moment—and making them more legible and moldable. Any one of you reading this could diagnose yourself with the exact traits of any disorder previously mentioned, yet are you weak because of this? Cowardly? No, you <em>feel</em>, and this makes you the ever-evolving subject of psychology.
That is not to say that active informants don't have behaviors that can be identified, but this is another affair entirely and better suited for a security culture workshop.
Snitching—flipping—is a vague weakness, for different reasons every time but due to a basic vulnerability that never grows beyond itself. We will not—EVER—be able to predict who doesn't have the strength and integrity to withstand repression, so making sweeping statements about how people who are that fragile shouldn't be here in the first place, etc, is pointless and dangerous. We are all emotionally fragile in one way or another; we are all affected by society and capitalism and the violence done to our bodies and minds, but nothing about this fact makes us more susceptible to collapsing under pressure from our enemy. And if we deny this fact that we are fragile, or affected, what exactly is it we are striving for? Perfect robot complexions of the mind? That cold, detached nihilism incapable of movement because nothing really matters? That's garbage; we are messed up and injured, and this is often where our true strength comes from. Having the ability to betray comrades or friends or random people to the police is some nasty demon, but it is not madness.
As for this particular situation, if anyone puts themselves near a life-style such as the anarchist milieu's, in which it is common knowledge that “We do not talk to the police, ever”, their emotional imbalance does not change the way they have to relate to that community or its genuine need for particular types of information and transparency. It doesn't matter who you are, what you are, or <em>how you are doing</em>, if you consider yourself in any way aligned with us—you <em>have</em> to give a solid, affirmative “No, I'm not out because I cooperated.” Period. If you put your picture up saying “I will not talk” in a thousand different places, you owe it to the people seeing that picture to confirm that you did, in fact, not talk. And once that's confirmed, take care of yourself, be your biggest priority from here on out and cuss out misogynists when they objectify you. But it doesn't matter how bad things are for you. Things are bad. We know. We live in this fucking world too. What we need is a simple one word answer, and we need it 2 weeks ago.
I guess my basic desire for interjection in this matter is as follows: Mental illness does not have, and has never had, a causal relationship with cooperation. Nor is it an EXCUSE for cooperation or opacity regarding one's possible cooperation! Cognitive, emotional, and behavioral dysfunction is not the same thing as cowardice; nor is it a “get out of jail free card” for cowardice. A snitch is a snitch is a fucking vile vermin and that's all we can really say about it with any certainty. There is no way to calculate what type of selfishness, what kind of fear, or what form of weakness will result in betrayal and there is certainly no way to excuse it when it happens.
That's my long comment on the matter, and I hope more than anything that it is rendered obsolete by the forthcoming knowledge that no one has talked or cooperated.
And now a glimpse at my own overly dramatic lunacy.
Preview of: Sitting at the Feet of Foreverrrrr
“...that needn't offend you when you consider that I don't care at all what the outcome of the case is, and that I would only laugh at it if I were sentenced. Assuming, that is, that the case will ever come to a proper conclusion, which I very much doubt. Indeed, I fancy that it has probably been dropped already or will soon be dropped, through the laziness or the forgetfulness or it may be even through the fears of those who are responsible for it. Of course it's possible that they will make a show of carrying it on, in the hope of getting money out of me, but they needn't bother, I can tell you now, for I shall never bribe anyone.”
"Joseph K." The Trial
It began as a loud roar echoing off every wall of my head and covering the landscape of my life with its obtrusion. Over time, this has transformed into a static that I can't always hear but prevents a particular kind of silence from settling. Silence that quiets fear and allows courage to take shape; that pushes away the image to make room for the unknown. The silence that has abandoned me is not still, it is not calm; it is an open and chaotic way of life that has been drowned out and suffocated by the white noise of Trial.
The threat of jail no longer sends me into a panic. No, what keeps me awake until dawn and feels like cellular vertigo is the threat of <em>waiting forever</em>. Even if I await freedom, it is never freedom. In being temporarily captured by enemy forces, I have been permanently sent down a road of questioning myself and weighing every moment on a scale of worthiness. Is it <em>worth</em> it? Everything is worth it and yet nothing is.
A few years of this and already I feel half wasted away. Telling others to go on without me and to please not wait, because waiting is torture as much as any other form. But now I wish they would turn back, slow down just a little bit in their lives that rush farther and farther away from my psychological confinement. Fear conquers my body; I know that <em>They</em> are winning because I am neutralized but I can't seem to quiet the voice reminding me of potential consequences for every little thing I could or could not do. And I recognize this as defeat, as much as I recognize the face of a friend or the smell of my own home.
I feel as if I am always about to go to work.
Waiting has taken every joint in my body and dislocated them so that overall I feel fragmented and hindered to the point of near-paralysis. I have images of before and after dancing in my mind, shaming me for feeling the impact. Because being affected, perhaps, makes me weak or pathetic. That is subjective. But we do know boredom as a well-known enemy. Sneaky, always ready to possess willing minds. It is the inability to desire, waiting around. Evil.
Waiting assumes progress, and this fact is what made me realize I am living a nightmare. Relying on an image of the future to play out as planned is like sitting still day after day, anticipating the moment of death.
I wait so much and so hard, I think the postponed event of trial or dismissal or anything has become a fetishized object in my head. I take reality for granted because it doesn't yet house this drama that is both invisible and omnipotent in my daily life. I am obsessed with the ending. Infatuated and absorbed by the idea—the fantasy—that it could one day just not exist. But I am a different person because of it, it cannot not exist.
I have beaten back such an integral part of myself to make room for this fear, for the monstrosity of apprehension. Bruises cover my sense of self and worth; if courage inhabited its own body inside of mine it would be bloody and raw. But even I, in all of my anxiety and torment, am incapable of betrayal. This alone gives me strength to laugh in the face of such a hellish situation. It matters not how wounded I am, all I need to do is yelp and a whole pack of fierce wolves will run towards the sound of my cries to defend my safety. That is power, not defeat. Were I to allow isolation to overcome me, I would merely be weak and frightened and caught in the same web that Joseph K. found himself stuck in, but I know that I am never truly alone.