I have known Thadeaus since 2000. We have been close friends ever since, through a broad range of events and convergences from protests against the Free Trade Area of the Americas in Quebec to Earth First rendezvous to Critical Mass rides in New York City to freight trains across the Wyoming desert. Through all these years I have known him to be an astonishingly dedicated, compassionate and trustworthy person, who has committed himself to living out his ideals. He has been tireless in his commitment to build community in New York, both in his efforts to secure physical spaces and, more importantly, to try and bring people together. He has done heroic and often deeply difficult work, and has engaged in a lifelong struggle against an economic and social system that rewards conformity and greed and offers dissidents little but failure and obscurity. It's an important and often heartbreaking struggle, and I've known few people as dedicated as Thadeaus. And he has always managed to keep a sense of humor and excitement in his work. That's why this misguided campaign against him has been so saddening. In all the time I've known him I've never heard him raise his voice, let alone be abusive to anyone. He is stubborn to a fault, absolutely. I have no doubt that his attempts to have romantic relationships within a community that believes its radical openness can transcend everything has led to a lot of hurt feelings and bad communication. But the divisiveness, slander and outright violence to which Thadeaus has been subjected is sickening and wrong and distracts from the true fight. The only way to stop this is for people to speak out against it.
I don't identify myself as an anarchist, but I've been a close observer of the broader community (of activists, anarchists, call them what you will) for long enough to have a very clear sense of its potential, as well as its flaws and dysfunctions. Those will all need to be worked out if the movement is ever going to grow to anything bigger than a social scene consuming itself with infighting. The work that needs to be done is real. And if the strange miracle of OWS taught anything, it is that many more people want to change the world than anyone suspected.