Tuesday, October 2, 2012

2 years and then some.

More links to the ongoing controversy among anarchists about this sort of thing:

1

2

***

Two years of PTSD, nightmares, a suicide attempt, psychiatric care. Two years of daily paranoia and agoraphobia, grinding anxiety and periodic panic attacks. Sleeping pills almost every night. It's been longer than two years, but has only recently begun to seem anything like past. Two years with too much to think about and a life to put back together besides. A life in which, despite what anyone may say, i had already begun turning a major corner well before i even left California. A life half wasted among the lost, petty souls and toxic, half-baked crusades of the radical left.

I spent the greater part of my adolescence risking my health, safety and friendships trying to be an agitator; when i finally started getting some people pretty agitated, i was punished for it by people who i'd thought were (at least vaguely) on my side. I had so many chances to notice that all the actively radical people i ever came in contact with were just as crazy as i was, but we were all too busily caught up spinning our webs of codependent psychopathologies, just like in any 'terrible community'.

To use a word like 'community' in a purely appreciative sense today is to not understand one's times. Communities of true believers need bogeyman and antagonists to hold themselves together, pure evil as counterweight to the 'community''s inherent goodness and warmth. When the chosen enemies are too powerful, like capitalism, the state, patriarchy, etc, it's easier to find a whipping boy within the ranks. Preferably someone who has trouble getting along with people and has made a nuisance of himself to leadership figures. Preferably someone who's been targeted before in the milieu's beloved game of compulsive denunciations and self-righteous slanders. So many people who knew nothing or next to nothing of me, those i supposedly 'wronged', or the specifically alleged incidents and histories (which of course have yet to surface in any explicit and accountable form), were willing to believe any libelous gossip the rumor mill could churn out. People acquire power and influence in these scenes by making denunciations and ostracizing people; they make people scared of them, and feel the glowing certainty of holy warriors. And of course, preferably someone already leaving, who wouldn't dare return to the scene to face its secret kangaroo courts of 'general opinion' and dysfunctional 'accountability processes' that have never helped anything, or be supported by his 'comrades' for having left their ranks, but who would - in fact incidentally - be scarred irreparably, and prevented from living a normal life ever again.

...do you really think i'm that stupid? Or evil? I guess you could if you didn't know me. Or if you met me a few years ago, you would know that i could be pretty stupid. But, and for the last time, i have never had a malicious, violent or dominating bone in my body. The few acts of violent struggle i engaged in as anarchist, besides being few and far between, required tremendous force of will; in which i was never trying to hurt any living thing but attack a system of domination i saw as harming all life. Nevertheless, many anarchists including me have glorified violence, and it is for that if for anything that i feel guilty, and ultimately self-defeating. But for the last time, i have never and would never hurt or take advantage of anyone in a vulnerable or trusting situation. Anyone who actually knows me can tell you this: my family, my partner of 2+ years, any of our friends. Meantime, i only sleep soundly because i know that i possess effective and legal means of physical self-defense; psychic self-defense is not so easy to come by. I have been under psychiatric care, am still on medication and feeling better. But i feel like my life is going to forever be soaked in darkness and lived looking over my shoulder, preparing to defend myself.

I've had enough of this. I've had enough.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Appendix: Some statements from former friends

links: 1 2

3

Here is a collection of comments and a few complete emails from seven individuals who, unlike those who have slandered and aggressed against me, actually knew me - some of them pretty well. Since most of them still lived in SC and some of them were still involved in politics at the time - though some of them had dropped out due to these and other events - none of them wanted their names used, since obviously one of the main goals of attacking to me was for a certain clique of people to advertise themselves as self-appointed police who were willing, even fanatically eager, to use any means (violence, cruelty, intimidation and lies) to silence anyone in the scene they considered an enemy.

==========

What I saw was the 'perfect storm' of activist frustration combined with an effective, vocal organizer [Olivia Egan-Rudolph] displacing rage onto an easy target. Nowadays I feel mostly shame that I didn't do more to stop it... [-an expelled former member of the 'women's group' which included men and assaulted me]

==========

Hey man,

I've been thinking a lot about what happened, but the details I've been able to glean are rather thin. I'm still not clear on what they did to you. I read your forwarded message, and it seems totally legit to be cautious and stay away from this fucked up santa cruz scene for a while. Purchasing a gun is, of course, your prerogative and all, but I don't think you have anything to be paranoid about where you're at now. Whatever threats you're still receiving are probably just people venting anger in fucked up ways.

I was talking with xxxxx about several recent "politicizations" of personal relationships: why these things are happening in NY and SC, etc. I'm sure it's no consolation to you, but I think understanding these dynamics might make it less senseless. In my own opinion, it seems like a lot of very pretty and very young girls were involved in the political actions of this past year. These girls tended to gravitate towards men who they thought were respected in the milieu -- yourself and others -- and probably became sexually involved because they calculated that they could gain some sort of position in the group, however unconscious such calculations may have been. It's a very normal thing and a much larger social phenomenon than the narrow confines of Santa Cruz. However, in the current context, many of these girls probably don't have much experience with that kind of sexual promiscuity, and it backfired because it didn't actually improve their standing in the group. It was probably more neutral than anything else. Some combination of naivety, misplaced anger and vague notions of patriarchal oppression led them to scapegoat members of the group who are easy to single out: you, Evan, perhaps others.

None of this means that what people have done isn't fucked up. So I don't want to imply that these actions are in any way "excusable." But they do seem rather explainable. I think you got caught in the cross-hairs of a politically charged, female "coming of age" moment. But again, my information is pretty limited. So anything you can share with me about the events would help me to formulate an effective response to the situation.

Stay well, buddy.

==========

Yo I feel you. Still no one has opened up. I don't feel too safe. Kyle Thomas has never treated me well, and I'm feel like he keeps an abusive personality that forces his peers down allowing him to rise as 'role model'. I daydream all day about slashing his bike tires. All these 'solutions' to problems seem to just echo trauma rather than allow anyone to get past them, something is fucked up there.

I've also been laying low on any 'radical' organizing, partly because school's out, partly because i have a full-time job right now, partly because i don't know what kind of ideas are going through the group right now. I don't know if i'm some kind of traitor for disagreeing with tactics. it's weird that all this (i thought) was intended to keep victims affairs private, but it came out so publicly, though still no one will talk formally.

==========

A lot of people were left in the dark. A lot of people disagree about why there was no communication with you or with anyone else before an action happened. Still attempts at communication (ie a meeting we tried to have noon the day after your attack) were shut down by the 'womens group'. It feels a bit like a central discussion group which controls who else can talk outside the group. Kyle Thomas is a bastard, quick to assume, and makes me feel like shit whenever he talks to me. He offered to talk but in the most mocking sort of way.

Otherwise no discussions have happened yet. I don't know if it will, I want to see where things go with that. Everyone is hella angered about everything. And I'm basically waiting to see what the sides look like when it happens.

==========

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,
xxxx

==========

As if this world isn't shitty and oppressive enough already!... There has been a growing rift between the men and the women ever since what happened to you.... I find that most people are pessimistic about a strong mobilization around budget cuts this fall.

==========

I haven't heard any of that bullshit dude....and for what its worth.... hearing it now doesn't change my perception of you. I noticed something shady about those cats from the jump but I was new on the scene and didn't want to make any assumptions....since spring semester I have witnessed their "elitist" ways and I had barely ever associated myself with any of them, it was just that obvious. I'm sorry to hear that they made up such horrible bullshit. You were always a good dude to me...hope all is well where ever you are.... and same stands true now as before..... if you need anything....let me know

Be safe
x

==========

Dear individual I once knew,

As I no longer live in that god-forsaken town, I have no idea what is happening there. As you know my hermit-like existence, I do not associate with most of the people from last year except my close group of friends who I've known over the years. The whole situation is now a distant memory for me, but I assume for you, with your callous words and resentment, still persists. Your words brings pain to what we once had, as a friendship based upon something more tangible than anything having to do with the rotting foundations of culture, social life, or any of that nonsense. I'm sure you know this.

But let us remember, that these times are confusing, as we are all "like lost children" as you had once proclaimed -- this is an entirely new situation, one which no one is prepared for. Our ways of reacting and acting within them just shows the complete poverty of our experience. At this point in time, I believe that we can blame society, blame civilization, blame whoever, whatever, whenever. I believe we do live in an era of betrayal. You have been betrayed, one who was once a respected voice, or at least one whose steadfastness alarmed and "turned off" other people. But don't let it turn you into a terrible soul, don't lose yourself over this. I do think its possible for a soul to become forever lost, irreversibly damaged within this world, such as the various drug addicts, socialite-bohemians, people who've gone crazy, and whatnot. I do not know what your situation is like now, perhaps you indeed are lost, or maybe this is what you feel, I do not know.

The events that had unfolded after did not cause the collapse of the student movement. The student movement was already in decline, and what occurred was an expression of the untenability of what we were pursuing within the confines of the student identity, something we can both agree on, I am presuming. What was unique was our initiative within it, and our attempt to constitute ourselves beyond the university struggle.

The hysteria about radiation plumes, and the confusion of what exactly going to happen is quite hilarious. These experts and their wild predictions, while may be true, only confuses the situation. Consider how much 'radiation' or whatever, that you are receiving just being in front of a computer all the time, along with all the cell phone towers, and electrical waves that have been passing through all of us since we were born, the consequences of which we have yet to see. While it is horrible, and civilization is imploding, I believe such reactions are distractions from the real root of the matter and its potential resolution becomes even more ambiguous. If I get radiation poisoning, so be it.

As for the involvement of the feds, why are you even mentioning this? Why?

You "hate" me. I do not hate you. I will not reciprocate, if that is indeed what you desire. I just harbor great sadness and despair for all of us; we live during a time of utter damnation.

Regards,
x

Friday, April 1, 2011

The short version: Psychiatric problems, substance abuse, sexuality, dirty politics, and dysfunctional (sub)culture

Please note my post 'Appendix' for comments by other people who were close to me, my assaulters, the whole situation and its context, and posts such as this one which highlight ongoing discussion about how rape accusations are used as weapons of character assassination and divisive scene politics in so-called 'radical communities'...
The short version is that i played with matches (or, to be more specific, communists) and got burned. I was 'thrown under the bus' by a small group of people for various reasons, and what I hate most about this is not my exile from that stupid scene but the lasting impact these circulating lies about will have, and have already had, on my sanity and on my ability to make a decent life for myself as partner, son, citizen, etc. I hope this will be a caution to any angry and over-emotional rebellious youth such as I once was, and a testament to the kinds of politics practiced by those who, like all inquisitors and lynch mob leaders throughout history, have only acted from the 'noblest' of motivations.

Clandestine violence on the eve of my long-announced departure from Santa Cruz was chosen as a tactic to project an impression of justifiability instead of exposing the politically engineered accusations to open scrutiny; to terrify potential critics, especially anti-authoritarians who as a whole were targets of this act; to vent frustrations of a political scene that was consuming itself after failing to make any progress against external enemies; and to shore up the authority of those who draped their authoritarianism in the guise of 'militant feminism'. Specifically this was part of the fallout of a destructive and controversial protest which involved violent confrontations between anarchists and leftists (5/1/10 in Santa Cruz).

I don't think it's necessary or appropriate to rebut each element of the grotesque mixture of distortions and lies being circulated about me in the form of a 'communique' by said grandstanding communists. I present a general account here and have another post going into somewhat more detail.

While I am not going to claim to have been the greatest guy, especially during the near-decade of my teens and 20s when I was homeless and suffering acutely from unacknowledged and untreated mental illness - I ran away from home at 15 and for the better part of a decade I was a confused, angry, depressed, and caught up in what I thought was 'saving the world' - this doesn't represent who I am now or even who I was in 2010, nor does it mean the worst things that have been said about me are true - it just made it easier for some people to believe those claims; it made me an easier target for some people who already disliked me because of my political activity and what I 'represented' as well as pettier personal reasons.

I may have been a codependent basket case in some of my relationships, and I may have hooked up with people a few times when *both of us* were intoxicated to the point of affected judgment, but that simply isn't rape, unless you're immersed in a 'radical' subculture of self-righteousness and dramatic posturing. There's nothing actually in there about being coercive, it's being young and stupid and drunk and regretful, and it is why people in normal society have therapy now instead of lynchings. Those who claim, unaccountably, to speak for some unknown victims of vague and unspecified 'assaults', not only subjected me to a violent, terroristic, traumatizing assault, but have spread libelous slander that could ruin my life.

As far as these accusations go I just want to say a few things. There is a VERY REAL difference, and a line i never crossed, between being awkward or somewhat inappropriate in an otherwise mutually consensual situation and straight up forcibly raping someone - not that it makes it OK, not that I'm not extremely sorry about that, and not that I don't wish I could have had the chance to make amends in some positive way. (Much less to have avoided the whole dysfunctional subculture and gotten myself real help.) For what it's worth, the collapse of distinctions between different types of not-entirely-positive sexual events in the radical political scene does nothing to keep anyone safer but only to stifle honest discussion and to accumulate social and political power for the self-appointed gatekeepers of PC morality.

Finally I would like to add that virtually all of these incidents of relative creepiness happened while I was intoxicated and during periods of my life characterized by untreated/unacknowledged mental health issues, issues which are private, significant and treatable and for which I am now getting proper psychiatric treatment rather than trying and failing to cope with via denial and self-medication. My psychological issues are well-managed now but in the past have contributed not only to substance abuse and other escapist behaviors but also a real difficulty in engaging in, or even understanding, what most people seem to intuitively understand as 'normal', healthy social behavior and interpersonal interactions, which has contributed to poor decisions I've made in relationships and other encounters. Unfortunately, a lot of us who have mental illness resist treatment until either enough horrible things happen that we cave in, or until it literally kills us. It has nearly killed me several times and it is what drove me out of mainstream society and into the world of radical/fringe politics in the first place, which I would say is characterized by widespread mental pathology of varying degrees. It is definitely not a healthy place for people to deal with issues of mental health and substance abuse.

While I have quite a few references available from my personal, academic and professional life, as well as my process of psychological/psychiatric recovery and treatment, who know me much better than those who have mistreated me, I think it speaks volumes about the intentions and trustworthiness of those who accused me that they have chosen to do so in a manner that is and was not only terroristic and full of leftist doubletalk, but anonymous and not (as they ironically like to say) accountable in any way shape or form; and that they also used the threat of violence to prevent others in Santa Cruz from meeting to discuss these events. In other words, their use of organized violence against anyone who disagrees with them is their ultimate justification for the rightness of their actions.

Anyway this isn't the place for other people's names, whether of the people who actually know me or the ski-masked cowards who chose to use me as a scapegoat and punching bag, but I certainly have all of them. I have never gone to the police for fear of further abuse and harassment, but those names are both in my possession and elsewhere on the internet. I have also posted elsewhere a collection of supportive emails from other members of that scene which I might migrate here soon.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

An addendum

I realize that people may arrive at this page looking for information about me, whether or not they are associated in any way with anarchism and radical politics, whether or not they have any background in what those sorts of scenes are like in the modern-day U.S. I realize that it's hard to differentiate levels of reality from the internet (as much as, say, while immersed in a certain political/subcultural context), but it is not hard to show that the stories told about me are fantasy. Indeed, to those people, as much as to others who are simply immersed in a fog of groupthink, it might not be immediately apparent that the stories some have promoted which depict me as a kind of Svengali-meets-Jack the Ripper running around the North American anarchist scene, raping and abusing with impunity, are so absurd as to be nothing but a scary bedtime story. I get to play the role of the bogeyman so that the kids behave.

The fact is i don't think there is any scene in the world (except maybe the European anarcho-leftist scene?) which is more sensitive, scratch that, more hair-trigger-wired to explode around accusations of sexism and sexual misbehavior, than the anarchist scene in the U.S. Once again, is it so impossible that someone could have exploited these tendencies rather than deal with real issues around an important "community" member in a sane and rational way? Who was best served here? Do the math... There are examples to follow which involve Santa Cruz in the late-2000s; one can also look at Eugene, OR a few years earlier and please see the below, much longer statement for a fuller exposition.

I realize my analyses of radical ideologies, and the mindsets and social and psychological types that congregate around them, may appear as so much embitterment and sour grapes. It's true that having wasted a decade of your life on ideas you thought were important, on a conception of yourself you thought was noble, and on friends who turned out to be fly-by-night *ssh*les is an incredibly embittering experience. I submit as well that it's very different to look at something when you are caught up in it as when you have stepped away from it, or in my case, have been thrown under a bus by it.

Without repeating what I have said in the below post about the expedience of those who mobilize such accusations and such stories, I would like to add something else: the Santa Cruz anarchist scene has been severely affected by accusations of rape against men involved in it, namely members of the highly popular, successful and now defunct band Blackbird Raum. More than a few people in SC told me that it was generally believed that government infiltrators/provocateurs were involved in the circulation of these accusations, which served the purpose not only of discrediting prominent individuals who advocated anarchist ideas but of discrediting those ideas themselves as somehow inherent sympathetic to sexism and rape.

As for those who would like to continue pretending that we live in the 1950s rather than the 21st century and that "patriarchy" is an immobile, immutable structure that somehow ceaselessly underlies all social activity, this is of course as convenient for leftist student activists who wish to distract from the charges of racism leveled against them by student-of-color groups as it is for anyone else, like the FBI, who might want to drive a wedge between anti-authoritarian perspectives and a volatile social movement.

The truth of modern day gender relations is not what it was 50, 100 or 1000 years ago. Explicitly or not, the fact that there are not merely two genders, even if categorized broadly, but many genres of performance, has gained widespread mainstream acceptance. Is it so meaningless that many of the most beloved figures of the current right wing movement in the U.S. are women? Since the birth of "third-wave" feminism in the 60s/70s, the anti-domestic/sexual-violence movement has been made up mostly of NGOs in the pockets of their state benefactors. Is it so great a leap from saying "feminism by any means necessary, even police power" to "feminism by any means necessary, especially police power" or even, what I would take to be the real meaning, "police power by any means necessary, especially feminism"?

Again: why don't they worry that I might turn them in for their illegal activities in the student movement? Because there is a risk to myself? Or just because they know I'm not that kind of person anyway, I am an anti-authoritarian at heart, and because that is exactly why they had to take me down?

Once again: Although I am no saint, I am not a rapist. I used to be an anarchist. I was taken down by a bunch of communists who hated everything I stood for and wanted to paint me as the worst thing in the world. Do the fxcking math and don't be fooled by their politically opportunistic lies.

Jan Dichter
2/1/11

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A statement from Jan Dichter, formerly known as "Maus", on the allegations of sexual assault and the real physical and rhetorical assault

*The 'shorter version' post had perhaps better be read first as introduction.* -Feb '12
Please note my post 'Appendix' for comments by other people who were close to me, my assaulters, the whole situation and its context, and posts such as this one which highlight ongoing discussion about how rape accusations are used as weapons of character assassination and divisive scene politics in so-called 'radical communities'... Apr '12

This is the statement by me, Jan Dichter, written and posted specifically for the reason of countering the various lies and rumors being propagated on the internet in connection with my name, addressed to the general public and not the "radical community" or readers of my previous blog specifically. This is not easy for me to talk about, so i apologize in advance is this is rambling and poorly-organized. It is upsetting enough for me to discuss this without spending a lot of time proofreading and editing although i might one day return and do that.

EDIT: 10/16 I have edited for clarity and organization, as well as adding a few points. So it is actually longer now but I think it is all important, especially for anyone who doesn't really know me but has only been exposed to the lies and rhetoric, in explaining the real history of this.

EDIT: 2/1/11 I have added another statement above and i would like to also add that the following statements, which appear in bold below, are perhaps the key sentences here: To be absolutely clear, I have never, ever coerced anyone in a sexual manner.
I criticized popular authoritarian-leftist political projects, tactics, organizing methods and stances from an anti-authoritarian perspective, and it is exactly these same people who organized the attack on me and who have written various lies to bolster their claims in the debate that has unfolded online and around the country about it.... I was targeted for the political gains of others. I do not believe that people who talk about "accountability" and "community" as positive values would have committed such a cruel, violent and divisive action, nor would they have done so while hiding their faces and their real agenda.

Here are the facts.

I was involved with various sections of anarchist and radical political projects, groups and social circles, off and on from the ages of 16 to 26. I now see this involvement as the outgrowth of an unfortunately overblown adolescent rebellious phase. While i maintain contacts with a few old friends, and remain interested in perspectives that radically question the beliefs and practices of human societies, i no longer have or continue any active involvement in politics of any kind, nor will i resume such activity. The end of this involvement was precipitated over the long term by a growing disillusionment, and in the short term by an extremely ugly incident consisting of a malicious and deceitful attack on my person, both physically and via internet posts, which was political in motivation and has had devastating personal effects.


It saddens and embarrasses me very much to admit (to have been forced to admit) that I have not always been a good, trustworthy and respectful companion to the women with whom I've been sexually involved (although this is certainly not true in all, or even most cases). However, to go from this to saying that I coerced someone in a sexual situation is not simply an exaggeration, it is replacing the truth with a blatant lie. This lie took root in the overblown rhetoric, idealism, groupthink and manipulation that characterize the radical/student activist scene in which I was regrettably involved. I suppose some of the aggressors thought they were going to teach me something about my personal behavior, but I feel like I learned a lot more about that whole social and political scene, namely, how childish, pathetic, and nurturing of pathological personal and social dynamics it is, and how I should never have taken part in it.
It's further worth pointing out that some of the people who worked most aggressively to spread false negative gossip about me were in fact men who were acting out of sexual/romantic jealousy - from a monogamist perspective, I'd 'stolen their girlfriends' (or their partners had 'cheated' on them with me etc), notably "Moxie Marlinspike" a hacker activist whom one can see has published tools for antisocial crime such as ID theft, and Leandro aka "Nachie" of RAAN, a group I had always criticized for its mission of subsuming anarchism with leftist thuggery.

On a personal level I have cut contacts with virtually everyone I knew through radical politics since most of them were too intimidated to stick up for me even when they admitted to me in private that they were aware the attack on me was an act based on deception, delusion, and political/ideological conflicts; I have become somewhat of a loner, and I continue to suffer horrific nightmares and episodes of severe anxiety and paranoia, for which I have had to seek professional help in order to be able to carry on with my life, a life I'm afraid (rightly or not) has been utterly ruined for me, just when I finally was maturing enough to give up the stupid game of playing revolutionary and try and get on a more realistic track, and to put to use my talents in a way that might actually benefit my family, community, loved ones and myself. I am deeply embittered that a couple of aspiring leftist student politicians and their misguided followers, all of whom knew so little about me except as the caricature of a political and moral enemy, could wield such an abusive and oppressive power over my life and the lives of others whom they have also impacted.

The 'communique' and other allegations circulated against me contain many direct lies, most of which are simply baseless claims that anyone could make. One of the most ridiculous is that the group tried to confront me and I refused communication when really the *exact opposite* happened (I contacted the group, respectfully and humbly, via email once someone involved in it gave me a vague warning of what might be going on). Although, I was assaulted by two drunk men aligned with them at the Santa Cruz Diner. Other falsehoods appear in the form of omissions: for instance, the main accuser, a communist UCSC student named Angela Yonker, revolved her claims around a night that she had taken me back to her dorm room when I was quite a lot more intoxicated than she was - had the genders been reversed, I'm sure the direction of the accusation could have been too - and afterwards she had led me to believe everything was fine, and we hung out as friends numerous times until (it seemed) other kinds of friction got between us. Another is that another main instigator, another communist UCSC student (pretty much all these people were, in case that somehow isn't apparent) named Olivia Egan-Rudolph had earlier unsuccessfully tried to mount a similar attack on her ex, another UC commie named Evan Calder Williams, for "cheating" (?) on her while they were in an open relationship (it is the considered opinion of several people from that circle that he somehow tried to influence the group to attack me instead; it would be no surprise as it seems I was collectively 'thrown under the bus' for a variety of reasons). The failure to understand, accept, or participate in with honesty and good faith non-monogamous relationships is - I believe - at the root of many of the radical scene's dysfunctions regarding sexuality and supposed misdeeds thereof, certainly in my case. And then of course there is the general political backdrop of all this (of which more later).


In the events of June 2010 I was targeted by a very small number of people, most of whose names I know, who used an ideological climate and fear-mongering tactics to convince a larger group of people involved in that certain politicized social scene to scapegoat me. I can see how this drastic, violent activity and bitter rhetoric might make it look like a bunch of people were really convinced I was really too evil a monster to even have a conversation with and the only way to deal with me, for whatever supposed reason, was to ambush me in the middle of the night and attempt to physically brutalize me. In fact, I was not only beaten but I was threatened with murder and mutilation by people who tied me up, I can only assume to torture me, and they only withdrew due to the threat that another person present might call the police or someone else for help. As if the very form of the event proves the truth of the motivations and claims of those who instigated it. I contend the very opposite.

If the bare facts demonstrate anything it is the prevalence of hypocritical groupthink and hubristic self-righteousness on the playground for disaffected middle class kids that calls itself "radical politics". But yes, I don't disagree that most of the people involved probably really believed they were doing the right thing (as if that proves or justifies anything itself). It is clear to me that at the very least, certain people, however consciously or not (I suspect it was very much conscious, at least to the extent that they believed what they chose to, rather than actually getting to know me, or the many women who have had positive experiences with me, sexually and otherwise), manipulated and misled others into an attack on a "straw man" opponent. This is entirely in keeping with the organizing culture and social scene that it was born out of, the avowedly leftist California student social movement, from the insurrectionist faction who placed most of their energies into trying to engineer contrived confrontations, to the identity politicians and traditional leftists who never hesitated to denounce anyone they disagreed with as racist, anti-worker, later sexist, etc.

For my part, while becoming - briefly - friendly with many of the university students involved in these events, I focused my terms of participation into trying to develop an anti-authoritarian analysis of the movement in course because I felt that any social movement which failed to nurture such a perspective was bound to simply become fodder for the opportunism of authoritarian revolutionaries whose entire political ideologies and methods are based on exploiting this kind of discontent to build their own power. There is a lot of historical and political analysis that is maybe too much of a digression here, but examples abound in every revolutionary situation in history, for instance in France 1968, Spain 1936 and Russia 1917: the machinations of parasitic, power-hungry radicals have turned every genuine social uprising into the basis of a new regime, a new police state. Many of the students who were key members of the UCSC scene were Marxists (a lot of them from Orange County) and students, employees, friends and apostles of certain influential UC Marxist professors, including some involved with the New Left Review, a neo-Trotskyist publication.

In other words I guess I of all people should have really seen how stupid this all was, how in their hands it already all was, and how badly it might go for someone like me. I underestimated their arrogance, cruelty, self-righteousness and lust for power. Frankly, I was already back in school myself after years on the road, and feeling a bit old for these kinds of shenanigans. I was buoyed along on a wave of youthful enthusiasm and turbulence and foolishly thought I could help it cross the boundaries of academic Trotskyism and change its course in a genuinely liberating direction. I should have known I would be first against the wall as the new little Robespierres consolidated their gains. (Not their gains towards the movement's actual goals, which as we all now by now went nowhere and has been devouring itself and disintegrating - no, their gains towards their OWN goals...)

Let me acknowledge that mainstream perceptions of anarchist and leftist radicals are largely true in that these social circles and "movements" consist mostly of emotionally dysfunctional children of the more affluent classes. I include myself in this. Our guilt about being reared in relative privilege and comfort while so much of the world suffers is for some of us a very difficult burden to bear, and we deal with it by casting ourselves as consciously revolutionary heroes pitted against a cast of villains: business owners, politicians, cops, rapists, etc.

To me, this speaks of an over-individualization of responsibility for the structural forces which create suffering and inequality in our world. No group of conscious actors has ever created a revolution that abolished capitalism or the state; they have only created new forms of politics and economics. Thus from my perspective there is no conscious revolutionary activity that will fundamentally change our world: if capitalism breaks down via its own flaws, this will be an aspect of capitalism's function and not of any self-proclaimed anti-capitalists. (As for me, in any case, I have been down that road and if I felt a little too old for it then, I feel much, much too old for it now; in case it wasn't clear, politics holds no interest for me whatever now.)

So there is a continual need for an adversary, a bogeyman, a public enemy, a scapegoat onto which our guilt and our failures to change the world must be projected. We must separate ourselves and assert our righteousness. Cops and bosses are hard to reach. So for one particular group of people at a certain place and time, the solution was to accuse me of being a rapist, and physically assault me and attempt to tie me up and torture me. This was a team-building exercise in authoritarian politics. I was slightly injured and extremely emotionally traumatized, and I was only saved from worse because a female friend of mine was present and threatened to call the police.

So why me? As in, why else besides the obvious political motivations and the widespread, unacknowledged roles of conformity, emotional manipulation and various middle class emotional complexes in this particular arena, white college kid radical politics, where certain other people wanted to score political points against me... Some anti-authoritarians with whom I have remained in contact with after the fact have expressed that they can see I was caught in a "perfect storm". There were several factors at play that made me in particular a target, aside from the emotional propaganda mentioned above. I will explain these as concisely as possible.

First, i had a "reputation" which boils down to saying that people had been gossiping about me for years, although barely, if ever, directly addressed me about the idea that I might have been sexually inappropriate with anyone. This is an extremely charged topic in radical scenes, communities of crusading true believers (against their own affluent guilt) where as I have said identifying evildoers to punish is a powerful tactic for group cohesion, and there is at the best of times an extremely passive aggressive mentality about it. There is also a widespread dogma that says that any accusation of "assault" (an extremely vague term, which in a very paradoxical and convenient lack of definition, can cover any sort of discomfort at all, but is nonetheless usually automatically interpreted to mean the worst possible case: outright violent rape) is to be taken at face value, that to question it would be sexist, even if it is only referred to as received information rather than a personal account, that those who are accused must be "held accountable". Jargon from the "restorative justice" movement/ideology is used to camouflage messages of brute reprisal, which satisfy people's cravings for revenge against any number of foes who may be out of reach, and for a sense of self-righteousness by engaging in a kind of holy war.

To be absolutely clear, I have never, ever coerced anyone in a sexual manner. I have never claimed to have always been the most perfect guy in the world either; acquiring a healthy sense of sexuality has been an extremely difficult thing for me in my life and i have had problems with it. There have been sexual relationships and interactions that i handled badly and that one or both of us went away from feeling badly about. I submit that human beings make mistakes in their actions and judgments, and that the radical subculture paints with too broad of a brush in a need to create moral polarity. I have apologized and tried to make right whatever i could. I have never tried to avoid talking with anyone about something i did that they felt badly about. Most of us who are somewhat grown up and have been sexually active for more than a few years realize that there can be gray areas of consent, that people can make mistakes, miscommunicate and misunderstand each other, that things can be especially unclear when people are intoxicated. Most grown-ups realize that it's important to have conversations about these things instead of whipping up a bunch of college freshmen to go torture some guy who maybe stands, in their minds, for every guy who ever did anything bad to anyone, in any way, for any reason.

I also think it's worth pointing out that during my two years in the anarchist community in Santa Cruz, two women who were or had been lovers of mine asked me to speak to men who they felt had mistreated them sexually, precisely because they had experienced me as a considerate partner and as a man who had made progress against the sexist norms of sexuality we are all socialized with. Also i organized a workshop for men to talk about unlearning these kinds of social norms during an anarchist conference in S.C. in May '09. I don't mean to suggest that any of this erases any bad experience anyone may have had with me, BUT i think it is clear evidence that not only am i NOT a totally horrible person with whom it would have been pointless to have a conversation about my sexual behavior, but that i am in fact very concerned about this sort of thing, and i think if we are going to weight the fact that someone might have had negative experiences with me, we should also weight the fact there are people around who have had positive experiences that actually caused them to have a high opinion of me as a consensual sexual partner. SO I think it is clear that if the people who attacked me and who have been smearing my name were at all sincere about the subject in question they would have gone about their business very differently. I think also that this history makes it clear that they were people who either did not have, or did not choose to speak about (since it did not fit their goals of self-glorification and -justification) a picture of me that was in any way complete or even realistic.

I nonetheless developed a "reputation" during years of traveling between various radical social scenes around the U.S. because people declined to talk to me about what they heard about me. I believe this is due to the moral absolutism embraced by so many "revolutionaries" and an adherence to their particular ideological gossip mill of choice. Snowballing gossip picked up worsening shades of meaning as "radicals" in their social networks across the U.S. felt duty-bound to pass along as gospel truth, in a slanderous, self-righteous and fear-mongering game of telephone, I became "notorious" as someone who had been "called out for assault" in city after city. Yet in these cities no one ever talked to me about the problems they thought i had caused, let alone how they might be resolved. At most they expressed discomfort about my presence or angrily threatened me. A vicious cycle was created. A few people who did bother to get to know me did hear me out, but this was not common. I guess this is where i should have realized that a mob mentality prevailed even in the supposedly anti-authoritarian scene, but i stubbornly stuck to the beliefs which meant so much to me and which fueled my quixotic, pointless, decade-long quest for utopia.

So when i heard that there was a "radical women's group" discussing me (from which certain women were expelled because they opposed the course of action that the group's leaders advocated towards me, and to which certain males were included because of their willingness to commit aggression towards me), i immediately contacted them to acknowledge certain facts of my sexual and relationship history, as well as the cloud of unproductive and inaccurate rumors, to ask what other problems they had and what i could do about it. Their only response, which had apparently already been decided upon, was a terrifying and barbaric assault and a coordinated campaign of public humiliation and slander. Coordinated so well in fact that this was one of the things that led me first to question about whether I was merely the target of the aggressors who were known to me, or of the government as well, since I knew more than a few people who had been surveilled or imprisoned for political activities, and Santa Cruz was very much in the attentions of the FBI - about which more soon.

To sum up, I believe i was targeted because of my participation in the students' movement which erupted in California over the fall and winter months of 2009. During the course of building takeovers, protests and a few small riots i was active in organizing and maintaining a blog which consistently criticized authoritarian tendencies within the movement. This quickly made me enemies in the authoritarian left which had numerical and organizational superiority within the sum total of people organizing and acting around the UC budget cuts and other issues. I also had a minority position as i had been a homeless, socially marginal dropout and welfare recipient for many years and was now attending community college so that i could get the discipline and degree to have a steady job and a safer life. Virtually all of the other kids were working on semi-useless humanities degrees and the protests erupted first because of cuts to those departments, which were themselves symptomatic of the overall decline in the economy over the past few years. Finally there are also regrettable incidents of my personal history, which has NEVER included coercing anyone in a sexual situation, but which left me vulnerable, for various reasons, to scapegoating, and I am positive that it was not only the Trotskyists who knew this, but law enforcement agencies that have been active for decades in disabling domestic radicalism.

I believe that it is also possible that my targeting was influenced by some kind of government infiltration or counter-information propagated into the radical movement. The FBI in particular, for instance, has a very well-documented history of disrupting radical groups and social movements through infiltration - COINTELPRO in the 60s and 70s, a more diffuse effort by Homeland Security nowadays against anarchists, radical environmentalists and animal rights activists, who are frequently labeled a "domestic terrorist threat" of greater import than radical Islamists. At any rate, we are talking about covert programs run by people who spend more time analyzing radical milieus than most people spend in them (late teens to mid-20s at most, usually) and have a more objective grasp of the dynamics at play. Case in point: in the bloodier previous era, a favorite tactic of infiltrators was to accuse people of being police agents. This is generally recognized now as an accusation which requires some sort of proof or substantiation. Meanwhile, the vast majority of college-age left/anarchist radicals treat accusations of a male committing rape/'assault' (an extremely vaguely-defined term in this context)/being sexist, etc, as inherently unquestionable due to their need to claim credibility as feminists. In this case, as in some others, they are blinded by their ideological commitments and by the politics of the subculture they inhabit.

To root this further in recent historical facts and trends, consider how Santa Cruz had already been targeted by federal law enforcement. Obviously, the radical scenes are capable of generating their own controversies, the leftists and identity-politicians are well-known for grandstanding on them, and again, the powers that be know this quite well. For example a similar and very bitter controversy marked the beginning of the end of the influential and militant eco-anarchist scene in Eugene, OR, around the beginning of the last decade. Santa Cruz sort of took its place, even years before the occupations and May Day, with nocturnal anarchist bank-smashings, ecological sabotage, animal rights arsons, and rowdy campus protests threatening multi-billion dollar lab and campus expansion project at UCSC; anarchists actually were gaining some social traction in the town over First Night celebrations and the gradual liquidation of street culture as well as broader ecological, anti-war and anti-capitalist issues. The FBI has displayed quite an obvious interest in shutting down this scene over the past decade, sometimes showing up with SWAT teams to break down doors and interrogate people. But they don't always work in such an obvious way; in fact several informants and agents have been unmasked in the anarchist network in the past 5 years and it's been widely seen as likely that there were more. The more blatant police operations against radicals in S.C. have suggested, to some, a more diffuse and long-term surveillance, and possibly infiltration, of those circles. Anyone can spread a rumor; anyone can post lies on the internet; and depending on the content, the majority of college-age radicals in a given scene may likely feel honor-bound to spread it and treat it as gospel. Anyone can post derogatory comments on an anarchist news website. This could be an explanation for the origin of some of the more blatantly absurd things said about me and could also explain certain indications that i have been subject to surveillance.

In any case, I can definitely say I was targeted by certain leftist elements (with or without encouragement from the state) because I consistently opposed representative politics and identity politics, i.e. those which categorize the legitimacy of people's politics by the color of their skin, their sex, gender, etc, categories which are traditionally enforced by the dominant social system, along with formal authoritarian organizing in any form. In the postmodern left, creating mirror images of the various dominant systems of oppression has become a key mobilizing tactic, especially in "industrialized" lands where class belonging no longer plays the role it did in classical marxism and anarchism. To me, while white supremacy and patriarchal male supremacy are clearly still aspects of U.S. and global society, the fact that so many women, people of color, and non-heterosexuals play important leadership roles in the political and economic establishment; that the pay gap between women and men (if you wanted to quantify sexism, i can't think of a better number than that) continues to decline; that rape, "sexual assault", and general sleaziness are (despite claims of certain radical feminists) treated extremely seriously by not just the student activist scene but the state and society at large and we have seen some powerful men go down over these sorts of things in the past few years; anyway - all this is, to me, obvious indication that headlining one's struggle as "anti-sexist", "anti-racist" etc. is by no means necessarily related in any way, shape or form to being anti-capitalist or anti-authoritarian. This brand of politics also features many people who like to claim "I am a woman, talking about feminism and sexism, therefore I speak for all women", "I am a person of color speaking about race, therefore I represent all non-white people who are not here to disagree with me," etc. and I have always found this inherently authoritarian as well as, to put a somewhat finer point on it, essentialist and chauvinist (ie, sexist and racist!)

In other words: I criticized popular political projects, tactics, organizing methods and stances from an anti-authoritarian perspective, and it is exactly these same people who organized the attack on me and who have written various lies to bolster their claims in the debate that has unfolded online and around the country about it.

Meanwhile, quite a few of my anti-authoritarian friends quit political organizing afterwards due to feeling threatened - and i am confident this was exactly the goal of those who instigated and perpetrated the incident and the rhetoric surrounding it (whether they were Homeland Security, UCSC communists, or both). Some of them have spoken about writing a statement in defense of me but seem to have fallen through based on a combination of being frightened of being targeted next themselves, and having dropped out of politics as well and therefore no longer feeling invested enough for it to be worth any kind of risk to speak up about such shady goings-on in that scene. The historical record shows that such underhanded undermining of anti-authoritarian involvement in social movements can be attributed to both authoritarian leftist organizers and police agencies.

To sum up, i was targeted for the political gains of others. I do not believe that people who talk about "accountability" and "community" as positive values would have committed such a cruel, violent and divisive action, nor would they have done so while hiding their faces and their real agenda.

Speaking of which, i think it's also worth pointing out that if i was the monster some would like to paint me as, i could very well have gone to the police and/or UCSC administration and named off most of the people involved, and for more than a few of them their addresses, places of work and courses of study, as well as their precise roles in organizing protests and occupations which led to damaged property, cancelled classes, overtime costs, etc. Although i'm not interested in politics anymore i don't think it's in my interest or anyone else's interest to snitch about these things, and on principle i still have no desire to align myself with the police or court system, i do not think they truly represent my interests or those of the working class. Perhaps the assaulters felt that they could trust my anti-authoritarian principles precisely because that's exactly why they were targeting me. Naturally, fear of being targeted yet again and of the possible repercussions for myself, my family and other loved ones are the biggest concern here, unfortunately. I do believe that these people deserve something at least as horrible as what they have done to me to happen to them, and I'm sure it probably never will.

Of course, a lot of the people involved in condemning and attacking me were also very young, less than a year out of high school, and had only been introduced to radical politics in the previous few months, and while i don't feel any greater sympathy for them because of it, i think it's important to also point out that ignorance, immaturity and being impressionable and easily manipulated are a large part of what happened.

There was apparently a very similar incident that happened under similar circumstances in NYC, at about the same point in their timeline of the local student movement there. The victim's was an anarchist named Jacob Onto and he was hospitalized by the people who assaulted him.

As for me, i am currently suffering from some PTSD-type symptoms, such as intense issues with fear, paranoia and preparedness to defend myself as well as frequent nightmares about being lynched and persecuted. I learned a very unpleasant lesson about politics when after this happened, many of those who used to present themselves as my friends and comrades stopped talking to me altogether. Some of those who kept in contact apparently did little or nothing to speak up for me, to hear me out on my side of the story or to make sure my side was heard; instead they asked if i was sure i didn't have it coming, and minimized the suffering and trauma that still affects me as well as its threat to attempt to live my life from here on out as a good citizen (which naturally was a worthless goal in their 20-year-old bourgeois activist student eyes...). I understand people are afraid, but i think it is very telling that people whose priority is politics, whether my "friends" or "enemies", treated me primarily as a political object and when i was no longer useful to them in this way, they lost interest.

This is also why i know it is not rational to have so much fear; i am completely dissociated from politics and from my stupid, naive idealisms and motivations that drove me into it in the first place. They will find other scapegoats in their own ranks, their stupid children's crusade will continue as long as there are suburbs spewing out people like them (like me). PTSD is a disorder, not because it's rational, and life isn't all about being rational; i don't know what is going to happen; i never expected what happened this summer, although maybe i should have. Mostly I am afraid of the way in which these lies could return to harm me again. Which as I'm sure you can tell is why I have written and posted this despite having to delve into these very painful memories at great length.

At any rate, i am trying to live rationally. I have severed my connections with all these crazy brats and their fake utopia, i don't even live near anyone like that, I hope, and i am continuing my education in preparation for a more stable, sane and secure life. A "sellout", sure. What can i say, i got sick of being a radical bum constantly on the run from authority figures both official and self-proclaimed. I want a real life, not an ideological life. I have learned that the people who live this way are not only misguided but dangerous: they believe themselves better and more moral than the rest of society. However, most people's behavior is dictated by the practical forces of politics and economics and the kind of conditioning we receive on a daily basis in this society. Radicals are not any better than anyone else based on what they have written on their banner; in the way that they carry the banner, they are only more deluded about their place in the world. There is a strong tendency towards cultishness, hive-minded-ness, and a will to deliberately ignore external reality that holds such communities of true believers together. Plus, I think it's no surprise that most of these people are university students or of a similar age and socioeconomic status. Statistically, i am also just too old for that nonsense now. Life has taught me otherwise, as it will probably teach them soon enough. I hope.

I have been grievously wronged and it has taught me nothing but that i have wasted years of my life with a bunch of immature losers. My radical political period is behind me for good. I am not a rapist and i do not deserve what happened to me. I believe that the political allegiances of the people who accuse me, as well as their method of trying to terrorize and silence me or anyone else who stood up to them, speak strongly of their true motivations in demonizing me. Don't buy into a mob mentality; use some objectivity.

Jan Dichter
10/6/2010
Revised: 10/16/2010