Wednesday, April 02, 2008
I recently came across this piece about an Earth Liberation Front (ELF) member who was facing some serious time in federal prison as the result of his teaching others how to make firebombs at an ELF gathering. The defendant explained to the judge that he has moved away from radicalism, has a family, and regrets many of his past actions. His statements impressed the judge, leading him to sentence the man to only one year in prison. In the comments section of the story, one anarchist berates the convicted environmentalist for retracting his previous statements when threatened with prison. Others support his actions, noting it was the only way for him to avoid lengthy incarceration. These arguments often spring up in the white power scene as well, when defendants must renounce their racism in order to curry favor with the judge. The hardliners will always claim this is a sellout of conviction. If you recant in the face of prosecution, how committed were you to the cause in the first place? Of course, it’s these same hardliners who upon conviction will have lots of extra time behind bars to consider the value of their ideological purity.