Look, we all want to find meaning and purpose in life. And it is a very natural behavior to search for greater meaning and purpose with others.
The problem is there are MANY unscrupulous characters and bad actors that will seek exploit this vulnerability in others.
Bad actors can range anywhere from completely foolish individuals to actual agents acting on behalf of political interests.
One needs to look no further than the many cults that have formed throughout history and led people to become deceived into doing things most of us can clearly see are plainly wrong. (Re: Jonestown Mass Suicide)
But often tribalism and group think don’t rise to such obvious levels of moral corruption. And to those wrapped up in group politics and their own identity within the group. The approval of their peers often gives them the feeling that they are doing something right. Even the feeling of serving a higher purpose.
Here’s the deal, this is more often than not simply not the case. Rather than the individual becoming better in serving the collective, the individual is dragged down to the lowest common denominator in the group. And this can even have legal implications.
Let’s break this down…
Enter the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)
RICO or the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970 created a legal mechanism with which the government can charge anyone involved in an organization deemed to be participating in illegal activities. Even if the individual they charge did not directly violate a law. Their mere association with the group can be enough to lock them up and throw away the key.
Matters were only made worse through following acts such as the “Patriot Act” which defined Domestic Terrorism.
The Act states that a person can be defined as a domestic terrorist if they:
- (i) intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
- (ii) influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
- (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping.
The Rise of ‘Street Movements’
With the proliferation of mass media through the internet. There are now innumerable groups with tribal mentality. And Many of them could be classified as “street movements” or movements that are made of individuals that take their activism to the streets.
Organized and Unorganized Street Movements
There are 2 types of street movements; organized and unorganized. Organized street movements include groups that have clear associations such as Antifa, LGBT, or Proud Boys.
While unorganized street movements are much more loosely associated movements such as the protestors that entered the capital on January 6th. While the January 6th protestors were not directly affiliated with any single movement or organization.
They have now been deemed by many as “insurrectionists” and because many in the group committed acts that could be classified as domestic terrorism, any individual present on the date may be associated with these “terrorist” activities and those charged under RICO.
Whether or not they themselves were directly involved in illegal activity. While this is an over simplification of the matter, it does illustrate the point that the mere presence in the streets at the time of “terrorist” activities could get individuals wrapped up in charges for merely being present.
Elections and Politically Driven Violence in the Streets
As we enter a new election cycle, it should come as no surprise that activist organizations will begin to demonstrate their political frustrations in the streets.
Most of these groups will likely identify as some “official organization” such as Antifa or the Proud Boys. But at any given moment a new, unorganized group may emerge that will be subject to the influence of bad actors seeking to influence the group to their own political ends.
Bad Actors Influence Political Organizations from The Outside
This matter is made worse by political influencers that seek to influence these groups in order to attack or sabotage their political rivals.
While these bad political actors influence from outside of the group identity (Re: Maxine Waters tells protestors to get “more confrontational” and “stay in the streets”) their influence on a collective can be monumental. Worse still these bad actors remain immune from any legal implications because they merely influence the group from the outside.
And make no mistake about it, politicians will influence another spectacle like Jan. 6th when they next see an opportunity. Which is why I have long recommended that people stay out of the streets, and rather exercise their right to be heard in the courts.
Bad Actors Influence the Group from the Inside
To make matters even worse still, politically incentivized influence will enter a street movement from the inside as well. This is truly nothing new. The Agent Provocateur has been known as a political influencer for 100’s of years.
And their tactics are as diverse as they are effective. Seeking to infiltrate, sabotage, spy, or even motivate a movement using a range of tactics, the agent provocateur will undoubtedly be present in any street movement of significance.
Whether their masters are governmental organizations like the FBI, political adversaries, or even corporately incentivized. The agent provocateur is a bad actor that will seek to manipulate the group and everyone in it to the meet their desired ends.
In the matter of organized street movements, agent provocateurs will have long since been embedded within the movement. And their influence will not only be present on the day of a demonstration, but they will have undoubtedly reported the groups intentions to their masters. (Re: Gretchen Whitmere Kidnapping Plot)
While in the matter of unorganized groups, agent provocateurs will control a group through various means. While we all think of the police on the front lines with badges, guns and sticks as the main lines of control for a street demonstration, they are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to controlling the group dynamics. The various aspects of control in which these influences work is truly a topic for a different day. But one can recognize their existence through the court records of Jan. 6th.
The Dangers of Group Association and the Need to Vet Your Associates
All the above clearly illustrates the dangers associated with identifying with ANY movement or organization. While it can be tempting to find meaning and purpose in some sort of political movement or cultural identity. One should avoid such associations altogether. And if one should seek to participate in some sort of a community or group dynamic, it should only be done with careful consideration and regular vetting of ones associates.
Even then one must be ever weary of any street demonstration where mob mentality can quickly influence well meaning individuals to take actions they would not have otherwise taken.
You are likely better off expressing your right to be heard through other methods than participating in street activism.