We cannot let the government desire to sabotage us allow us to become as intolerant and prejudiced as they are!!! Since the beginning of Occupy, many of us experienced activists have been concerned about the presence of undercover officers and the use of COINTELPRO-style methods to divide and coquer us. Since Noam Chomsky's revelation of the widespread use by the government in the 60s and 70s of underhanded means of sabotaging radical movements--such as undercover officers encouraging violent radical acts, breaking up romances, sending false letters from or to a significant other and spreading false rumors about someone they are trying to de-power--activists around the country have been understandably and appropriately en garde.
However, one problem with knowing how infiltrated we are is the fact that activists are always wondering who is an undercover and whether or not a belligerant comment or act from a comrade is sabotage, legitimate expression or simply immaturity. Because we all should understand by now that it is very difficult to know for sure who is a cop, and that alot of us have paranooid thoughts, we must be extremely careful surrounding the making of accusations. This can't be a witch-hunt which leaves people feeling alienated, outcast or, worse, like leaving our movement. I will not name names, but have been saddened to see people accused of being cops and deciding to leave the movement. I was expecially upset to discover that recently someone was accused of being a cop simply because he did not carry many possessions with him. WHERE ARE OUR BRAINS?
I know it is tempting to call someone a cop--I am quite paranoid myself and have actually done it, too, only to feel stupid and sorry later. Best practice here is to keep your suspicions to yourself and try to remain as civil/polite to everyone ss possible.
We are trying to build a movement and hopefully we have learned that being careful not to seriously offend one another is as important as being extremely welcoming to newcomers and returnees--even if they seem strange to us--for the sake of growing our numbers. We are fighting agaist the mainstream socio-political system in part because it is too-often prejudiced--i.e., a system composed of too many people who will view someone in a negative way simply because of one factor about them, such the color of their skin or hair, or the fact that they dress differently, or otherwise don't identify as a mainstream person. The opposite of that is tolerance, which is what Occupy should be trying to teach. In our movement, unfortunatly, we have seen prejudice as bad as that in mainstream society--I have heard of or seen some prejudice here due to age, intelligence or color, or to not identifyong as a punk, a socialist, an anarchist or whatever. These relatively superficial labels and factors should not determine whether or not we include people in our movement, and certainly should not allow us to forget tolerance--the very thing we want mainstreamers to learn. We must be inclusive, non-accusatory and a role model of tolerance to grow our movement!