The news about the undercover cop living for seven years as an activist was first sent out in an email by Indymedia last summer. I don't particularly remember seeing Mark Kennedy or Mark Stone as he was called on the scene, around at anti G8 camps or protests. When I first joined Rhythms of Resistance, an activist samba band, in 2003, I discounted the endless rumours of certain members being, in fact, policemen. One guy, unfortunate perhaps in having the surname 'Blue', was particularly targeted with this slur. Every week, in the pub afterwards, people would whisper about each other. I just thought it was paranoia. I also thought it was a kind of activist ego trip. As if we were so important, dangerous and destabilising that the authorities would make the effort to join the band, come to rehearsal every week, wear glittery pink clothes, go to freezing demonstrations, just to keep an eye on us. We were a public band anyway, anyone could join, we were actively recruiting members.
I got in trouble for starting up a Facebook group and Twitter account for the band, despite the fact that we already had a Myspace page and a website. 'Facebook is run by the CIA' I was told, by members that had personal Facebook accounts. "So what!" I'd counter "if they want to know about us ('they' being a nebulous undefined 'the government, MI5, the police, the army, the forces of evil') then they just have to attend rehearsal. "
I guess I was wrong. It seems incredible that Mark Kennedy was paid by the government to live as a hippy, to smoke dope (gotta be aufentic yeah?) and hang out in squats. The police suspected he'd gone native, Serpico-style, he was enjoying it all a bit too much.
Mark Stone found out that 'anarchist' activists are actually rather nice, trusting people who want to make the world a better place, who don't eat meat and worry about animals. The fact that he ate meat was one of the giveaways. In the UK, most political activists are vegan unlike the activists I met in France, who remain carnivore, whatever their politics.
And Mark was shagging around, his poor wife in the real world has discovered. Perks of the job? Lots of lovely activist totty. That's another thing, sexist behaviour is common in activist circles because 'there's no war but the class war' and feminism as an exciting cause has all but disappeared into a poorly attended separatist enclave. You won't find many women over the age of 30 in this world nor mothers.