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Eating Crow: Mistakes, Brandon Darby, the FBI and Our Resilience

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

- Zora Neale Hurston

Dear Comrades, Friends, Compañeros and Allies

This is scott crow greeting all of you in the New Year of 2009. Much has happened in many of our lives since we last spoke --but that is the way life is, isn’t it?

Pardon me a moment, as I remove the black feathers of the bird of humility from my teeth. The same one who flew into my mouth and away--knowing I haven’t eaten animals for over 20 years.

I recently woke up and it was different…at least in some ways. A person known to many of us here in the Gulf Coast region decided to forgo all of his personal relationships (or had it always been like this?) to fall into bed with the state. 

I hope his marriage to the state means as much as the former relationships that have since become burned  ashen shadows of their former selves. I can’t imagine the state being that warm and fuzzy…but what do I know of these matters?

Santa Claus never really ever comes to town

I had mentioned in another letter that if Brandon Darby was an infiltrator it was one of the biggest hoaxes perpetrated on me since the exposure of the Santa Claus ruse. 

Well step up ladies, gentleman and trans folx of all ages--it happened.

I woke up and rubbed my sleepy eyes and it was true. I was conned, bamboozled…and somewhat saddened that someone would go to such lengths to maintain a ruse. It was shocking, but it wasn’t devastating. In more formal language it just sucked. 

Darby has been informing and possibly trying to provoke me and other people for the government. The same bad government this man had vowed to oppose and bring down many times before. Now he says he has ‘grown up’…or is it that he really believed the hype they fed all along?

His words and deeds before were meaningless Orwellian lies to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize people who really wanted to make the a world better place for everyone to live in.

Trust, Honesty and Information

Now I say to you all—with many feathers still in my teeth- I am sorry for supporting him politically.  I am sorry if your trust in me has been shaken by this. I am a human struggling with the tools that I have.  I have to ask why is the government, in all its foolishness, THAT afraid of us?

I have three things in which I navigate this complex world of relationships and ideas. They are simple concepts really: trust, honesty and information. 

Trust:  Is what I base all of my relationships on in this world.  To me a handshake--our words and our deeds that follow--mean more than any contract drawn up by lawyers and bureaucrats.  A world built on trust between individuals, families, neighbors and communities is a world I envision and try to practice every day.

Honesty:  Along with trust, honesty--about ourselves, motives, feelings, etc.- helps those around us to navigate the complex subtleties of our relationships. If we are honest with each other, then can we build trust.

Information:  Is what we take in and base our decisions on. It can be a very powerful tool, depending how it is used and distributed—or not distributed.  We live in an information heavy world, and the access and distribution of information is critical to forming opinions and ideas.  I believe in full transparent access to it.  What have we got to hide? If we are honest and share information, we can make better decisions together.

Distrust, lies and coercision are tools of fools, liars, governments and corporations, who need deceit to try to bend people’s wills.

Their use of rumors, conjecture and innuendo can be powerful and destructive tools that sow seeds of distrust and miscommunication amongst us all. We can only base our actions on information we have.

Previously, all of the information was not yet at hand; I had only his word. The government and media are not always trustworthy sources as we all know, and I wanted to give him the benefit of doubt.

I gave support to this man against pre-judgment. But I was wrong.  He operated under none of those concepts. The contradictions and his actions continued to pile up like trash on a hot day.

Brandon Darby, it has now been revealed, is deceitful to himself and to those around him. But I guess the state likes those types

I am regretful for wasting energy supporting him in any way.

Ghostman Walking

“…Karma Police arrest this man

he’s turning in his friends…

…he’s makin’ me feel ill

but he’s still on the payroll…”

-Karma Police by Radiohead (apologies to the band for the liberties)

Its true Brandon Darby was someone I knew for about six years who has been informing on my uneventful life and those of people around me for at least two years and possibly longer. This realization was a little shocking, upsetting and disruptive initially but now we are moving on.

During the time he was informing on us and trying to provoke others into things, he and I still met from time to time to talk about rather mundane and uneventful things, and he played it all straight faced holding his cards close while it seems, I played a fool.

Through our ‘friendship’, I spent considerable time on mentoring him-- and it seems, by extension, the state--on anarchist ideas like mutual aid, sharing power, collectivism, race and gender politics.  Our relationship consisted greatly of him asking many questions, arguing and disagreeing over ‘horizontalism’ vs. hierarchy constantly and what constituted ‘revolutionary politics’. Was it just guns and bravado or was it also feeding people and cleaning the toilets and listening? He ALWAYS opted for the former. He would absorb the language, but not the practice. They would have loved him in the Communist Party.

I won’t lie. I trusted him with my life at one point in New Orleans after the levees fell. While we were close in some regards, he was someone often on the edge of my circles with his own agendas and ideas in his head.

In some ways I became a human shield of credibility for this man--this sad government spook-- who wants to criminalize dissent in this country for whatever reason.

But now in my heart he has already passed on.  I cannot see him, I can only see through him. He is a specter who only haunts my memories and the memories of those around me with meaningless words we can no longer hear.  I am moving on in my life, and so leave him a ghostman, caught in the shadows, walking the wastelands.

We who can, will erase him as he fades. Those who have no choice will now sit behind concrete and barbed wire, marking time while he is erased from our communities.

It is not criminal to rebel; it is criminal to be complicit.

Government’s fear of change and want of control would almost be laughable, if it weren’t so deadly. The patterns within the Green Scare and other oppressive operations, and their results,— criminalizing young people- is a farce that has had deep consequences for real peoples’ lives, while politicians lie.

Two young activists who wanted to do something meaningful—we can all remember those feelings, can’t we?--seem to have fallen under the spell of deceiving words.  It looks like these young men wanted to prove their worth in the eyes of what they perceived as a ‘revolutionary’—but was really a bad government actor with car salesman-like con and no real commitment to the words he spouted.

Now they might lose years of their lives from the flash of a few days in Minnesota: set up, and now locked down in concrete and barbed wire, while the informant walks free.

We all must support these men and all of us who, like them, have been criminalized for resisting oblivion and wanting a better world.  It is not criminal to rebel; it is criminal to be complicit.

There were choices that were made—under coercion or otherwise—and I hope we can support them in better ones in their lives from here on out.

Support Brad and David, known as the Texas 2, and all prisoners of conscience.

Questions and resilience

I don’t have any real epiphanies or revelations to share yet. This will take time to sort out as more information is revealed. Why? How long? How much damage was done? Some of the questions we can’t answer for a long time.

Thanks for allowing me to stumble along the way and be able to laugh at myself in spite of the dangers—real and imagined—in all our lives. Honesty and mistakes are part of sharing power by allowing open dialog.

Many of the communities from all over have been resilient and will continue to be.

We are moving on, continuing our work towards better worlds, ones without oppressive governments, liars, and coercion. Governments can keep their fear, we have trust, they can keep their lies we have honesty, the can stay isolated but we have each other.

Some of our greatest strengths are in our openness, connections, and in and our refusal to be afraid of the worlds we live.  When we have these, we have already gained something they can never take away. 

Thanks to my lifelong love Ann for the title.

Still dreaming from the concrete jungle in The Gulf Coast Basin

 scott crow

Co-Founder of the Common Ground Collective



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