There are dozens upon dozens of ways to crack a movement. One of the more inventive ones is the snitch jacket – to make it seem like someone who is NOT an agent/asset/informer/source actually is. And given that it is very difficult (impossible!) to prove that you are NOT an agent/asset/informer/source, well…
This from a book – Red Love: The Story of an East German Family – my wife bought for me for my birthday a few years ago. I have no recollection of having read it, but there’s a load of yellow post-it notes throughout, so I clearly did… The last post-it, page 198, is this;
“Only later Anne finds out that immediately after the Party leadership election an investigation commission in the Central Committee questioned all the dissenters for hours on end. They’re talking about a coup, an attack on the Party. But why was she not questioned? Why was she alone spared? A colleague familiar with such matters later explains to her that this tacti is a well-known way of isolating provocateurs. If everybody is punished but the provocateur himself, the others will never want to have anything to do with the person who made life so difficult for them. And from that day onwards none of the people punished ever speak to her again. It’s as if she’s ceased to exist.”
The drill sergeant in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket does the same thing (and clearly not for the first time) with “Private Pyle” – a below-par physical specimen is made into a lightning rod for all the resentments the would-be Marines have for the sergeant. On that occasion, ressentiment caught up with the drill sergeant.