For reference: A convoluted BlackBloc debate - Summarizing dickering on the Adbusters Mayday post
This post is a spinoff of a larger, incomplete project. Hopefully, it can be completed! :D
Having more time on my hands than I expected lately, I've been scouring the interwebs for everything I can find about the ongoing debates around militant direct action, protest tactics, the nebulous fate and hodgepodgy status of the Occupy Wall Street movement across North America -- along with related movements such as the Quebec uprising.
My whole inquiry really got rolling after reading a relatively ridiculous writeup on the ugly interval at the Chicago NATO summit by some guy from US Uncut, Carl Gibson: Cut It Out: An Open Letter to Black Bloc Anarchists, who made some generalizations based upon "According to those who were there... By starting confrontations with riot police during the ceremony.... All you did was attract more riot police to an otherwise peaceful event, leading to kettlings, beatings and arrests. Way to go. [....] Nobody asked you to be the self-appointed 'Defenders of Dissent' at our actions. Nobody asked you to give us lessons in how to be 'real activists.' If you want to join the movement, join the movement."
It certainly appeared from my remote vantage point that the event was kettled on three sides from the get-go and the Chicago PD started beating the shit out of people with batons without any substantial aggressive acts on the part of the bloc types.
Obviously Carl's reasoning justifies the ol' state violence beat-down without actually proving his point at all -- free form demonization. And the usual boundary-patrolling of who gets to "join the movement" is an eye-roller considering that OWS was at its core obviously a wild-eyed project mostly launched by capital-A Anarchists in the first place.
And of course, Carl buys into the silly notion the opportunistic Chris Hedges maliciously dumped into the mix in January, which is that the black bloc is some discrete sub-group like Blue Dog Democrats or the Congressional Black Caucus, not an anonymized mode of protest utilized by rank-and-file Occupy regulars & others, with a history stretching back at least as far as that iconic colonial Tea Party incident.
Having myself been loosely around the scene which gave rise to the 2008 Republican National Convention St. Paul Principles that then gave OWS that complex three-word phrase "diversity of tactics," I feel like the whole thing is almost old news. It's all quite a bit bigger than black bloc, after all. The late great Walker Church, the RNC8 Defense Committee, the whole debate which once seemed bounded by the Twin Cities barged out into North America to wig out perhaps thousands of people!
I don't feel like laying out all the major points floating around right now, but in the process of pulling links I started pulling the more relevant points and counter-points from the Adbusters piece on MayDay, which had, let's say a number of issues.
It seems like Adbusters wasn't accurate about how things in NYC went down that day (though I wasn't there myself). It also fails to really inform readers about more aggressive & violent tactics from the state, and there are plenty of important elements to share with readers who might not be familiar with that kind of madness. (Not to justify it like Carl avidly does, but it's important to at least inform readers about police & intelligence tactics when discussing militant protest tactics!)
The rightwing anti-Occupy leeches -- less fun now they've lost their main man Breitbart -- only have drab pieces such as this WorldNetDaily: Anarchist tactics ‘future’ of Occupy movement, which was a riff upon #7 Battle for the Soul of Occupy | Adbusters, touting the various MayDay black bloc actions...
Anyway I wanted to put up this condensed collection of comments for reference because I think it caught much of the anarchist/marxist/capitalist/mainstream/reactionary/confused/trolling spectrum of the debate. If you want a sample of the juncture of the issue, I think this is a useful skim.
Along with a few historical, zine, video & PDF links for variety, here is a condensed view of those comments from Adbusters for yr political reference.
~~ TO BE CONTINUED WITH WAY MORE AWESOME LINX LATER ~~
It's disturbing to imagine the anarchist 'generals' sitting behind their computers inspiring innocent, smooth skinned, joyfully naive young people to go to war throwing eggs and smoke bombs. Any such action by the so called black bloc hands the Koch Brother backed government the probable cause they can use later to justify the brutality and horrific injury that their forces will inflict upon all who are in their way. In the instant of initial confrontations, those who are able will be running from the shock of the unexpected violence these forces are trained to deploy. And that's just the police, pseudo military tac squads who, since 9/11 have been selected, trained and equipped until they are more military than pseudo.
As the arm chair generals sit safely somewhere, way behind the lines, urging their anarchist rebels to fight on, those who would do their bidding, the people in the streets, will be shattered. Picture the young, bandana wearing ladies in the photo above, lying in the street with teeth shattered and blood pouring from noses flattened against broken cheekbones. An incidental injury from a glancing blow by the police tac squads blitzing through the crowds, looking for the preselected organizers that have been spotted by their Defense Intelligence sophistication level cameras.
Those calling for this kind of action are playing a video game. They use the idealism and justified anger of those being victimized and exploited by a fascist oligarchy, to convince them to stand and be slaughtered.
This is the worst kind of exploitation because it is a betrayal of purpose and a destructive mechanism. To follow the path of violence will sate the sadistic needs of the gamers, but will decimate those in the streets and obliterate the heart of the movement for justice.
MARTIN LUTHER KING: Non-Violent Resistance: Fight the Good Fight
Non-violent civil disobedience was the agenda proposed by King,beginning in 1957, as the course of action that the African Americanstruggle for equality should take. King asserted African-Americansneeded to act defiantly, strike, march, and assemble, handout leaflets,and so on. Thus, he believed, the government and the European-descendent citizens of the U.S.A. would “wake-up” and realize the “evilof segregation”. (King  1986: 7-9)King raised five points in favor of non-violent action:
1.The resistance is, primarily, in the mind and spirit
The means of resistance are just that, means. The choice betweenBpaths of action does not constitute a difference in the intensity or the conviction of the protest.
“This method is passive physically but strongly active spiritually.”
2.The struggle itself is a means and not the end.
The purpose of the disorder is not the disorder itself, but the creation of a new and improved order.
“The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness.”
3.The enemy is the white man’s racism, not the white man himself.
If you attack people, you will be attacking the wrong enemy, as people find themselves in situations where they are not to blame personally for they are “victims of circumstances”.
“The tension is at bottom between justice and injustice,between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. And if there is victory it will be a victory not merely for fifty thousand Negros, but a victory for justice and the forces of light.”
4.Violence does not stay external.
When one acts violently, motivated by hate and bitterness, the violence breads in theperson and remains a means to an end in the life that isbeyond the immediate struggle.
“If the American Negro and other victims of oppressionsuccumb to the temptation of using violence in the strugglefor justice, unborn generations will live in desolate night of bitterness, and their chief legacy will be an endless reign of chaos.”
5.When you are fighting for justice, God is on your side.
The belief in God’s existence and active role in history, allows theoppressed never to feel that the battle is lost or that onlyextreme measures can still work. The justness and urgency of the struggle do not excuse all means. God will judgeeventually.
“It is this deep faith in the future that causes the nonviolent resister to accept suffering without retaliation. He knows that in his struggle for justice he has cosmic companionship”
(Ibid)He reiterated these points in a number of articles and speechesduring his years of action. (King 1986)
But after a month or so it became pretty clear that a LOT of folks were trying to piggy-back their pet causes onto the Occupy movement--a temptation for sure. When we debated at our GA adopting the St. Paul Principles there was heated discussion because the vast majority of our members wanted to edit the SPP to say: "We support a diversity of non-violent tactics." We were assured that this is/was a non-violent movement, and that editing was unnecessary and potentially divisive. So we passed it. Shortly thereafter, the radicals and Black bloc folks began showing up and demanding evermore radical and violent actions because they wanted to "bring the system down now!" When we pointed out that it wasn't particulalry wise to tear down a system when there was no viable alternative, they scoffed, and took to the streets during our peaceful, non-violent actions, and they used us as human shields to give them cover while they did the smashy-smashy thing. The more calm, less militant, less angry folks began to leave, not wanting to be a part of violence. Over the next few months, the more moderate and more reasoned people left, leaving an ever-shrinking and ever more radical minority. The GA's disentigrated, the committees folded, the donations stopped coming in, and before too long we were a joke to our local community--and that's basically where we (and, I would add) many other occupies around the country are to day.
You should know that the core of people who laid the initial groundwork for OWS were actually radicals and very likely BB veterans. It was the liberals who couldn't resist the opportunity to style themselves as leaders that stifled GA's with bullying and time-wasting, nonsensical arguments.
Another problem with the above statement is a one of semantics.....Black Bloc do not demand "radical and violent actions" BB do not demand or request. BB acts.
I think your problem here is one of language, you simply do not understand the language of action. You speak the language of demands and proposals.
i've seen "ordinary people" leap to join black blocs in smashing up banks without a second thought. hell, random londoners seem to do faceless rioting even better than us. don't homogonize and condescend. "the masses" know perfectly well who their enemies are plenty of the time. unions and activists alienate youth with their beurocracy and jargon. black bloc alienates liberals who fear social conflict.. and really. liberals are the enemy of revolution. get used to it.
also, we are communists, and terrorists, and faggots, and crazy bitches, etc etc. get proud, get loud, get viscious. or fuck off back to the suburbs.
1) ows has succeeded in "promoting" social change, but not radical social change. most OWS proposals seek to fix a minor problem in the system, or root out a few bad apples. additionally, promoting social change is not enough, we have to actually ENACT it.
Black Blocers generally see the entire system of capitalism as the problem. we seek total transformation of society, which (to us) means confronting and destroying the ruling class.
so overall, OWS has promoted some social change, but not enough social change. OWS has made a good start. now it remains to go ALL THE WAY.
2) yes. most of us stay in camps, cook food, wash dishes, go to GAs, all that good stuff. we just attack banks and shout at the police as well. we have plenty of common ground. we all want freedom, we all want equality. the black blocers participating in occupy are also occupiers. there is no "them" and "us".
3) harmony, harmony, harmony. you should be able to peacefully occupy some banks while we burn others down. both tactics work to shut down banks, and i personally LOVE the peaceful actions that are actually aggressive. but also, remember how the Oakland Police decided that linking arms was a violent act. the peace-violence line moves when our rulers want it to (who says attacking an inhuman, unfeeling object such as a window/building is "violent" anyway?)
the St Paul Principals (http://rnc08report.org/archive/224.shtml) lay out a good model for this: maintain a seperation of space and time, avoid stepping on each others toes. we'll avoid endangering you, we ask in return that you don't snitch on us, don't photograph us, and don't shit talk us to the media.
on the other hand, some pacifists have gone as far as to physically attack black bloc, and co operate with the violent agents of the state, in order to prevent property damage. this isn't consistant pacifism, and it's totally divisive. not that all pacifists do this. but to be clear: consistant pacifism would mean refusing to help the armed, violent police and prison system. in any way.
i would also note that it is mistake to equate "black bloc" with aggressively violent tactics. many black blocs march nonviolently, or act only to defend other marchers when the cops attack.
and to be honest, i think this is the best role we've played in occupy so far: not smashing windows, but building barricades, carrying sheilds, throwing back tear gas canisters, etc. solidarity means defend.
thanks for asking, and for listening.
Allowing the Black Bloc to become the face of this movement is like dousing ourselves with gasoline and giving the 1% a book of matches......
They WANT to make us look unreasonable to portray us as "extremists" and the Black Bloc thugs and hooligans do more to damage our movement than the 1% could even dream of doing on their own.
At least Adbusters is finally coming clean with their bait-n-switch strategy. They knew that if the first 300 protestors on Wall St back in September had been wearing black and throwing rocks and bottles that we wouldn't even be having this conversation right now. So, they decided to make it more "mainstream" in the hopes that as the state fought back the general public could be convinced to engage in ever more radical tactics--thus the "diversity of tactics" Trojan horse slipped into nearly every US GA via the St. Paul Principles.
Face it, Anarchists represent an extreme minority, maybe 1-2% of the population. Insurrectionist Anarchits, those that want to use violence and property destruction to bring down the state, represent the fringe of the Anarchists. If you seriously think that a philosophy and tactics that are embraced by an extremely small minority are actually going to be embraced and adopted by the 99%, then you are delusional. 99% of the 99% don't want what you're selling, maybe this explains why you're always so angry and militant?
fact is, a small number of activists using the greatest variety of tactics have obviously been more effective than masses of people who limit themselves in every possible way. and guess what: the 99% aren't stupid. when they watch our tactics work consistantly, while yours fail consistantly, they will join in.
also, you admit that a diversity of tactics was democratically accepted by nearly every GA. sooo, maybe your the whiny angry minority here?
Utter bollocks. Black Bloc has virtually destroyed Occupy Oakland--and I say that as someone who spent months trying to square their deceptive 'diversity of tactics' argument with my own beliefs in transparency, pacifism, and socialism. From a mass movement to a gang of anonymous window smashers in six short months: thanks, Adbusters/David Graeber!
oh yeah, and that's why OO kept going after everyone else shut down.
fuck off. everyone but you can see the occupy oakland was by far the most effective occupation, precisely because of their aggressive, anit-cop, anti-politics stance.
we are an anonymous mass movement, we are everything they fear most.
Violence violence violence....
MLK on property damage: "I am aware that there are many who wince at a distinction between property and persons—who hold both sacrosanct. My views are not so rigid. A life is sacred. Property is intended to serve life, and no matter how much we surround it with rights and respect, it has no personal being. It is part of the earth man walks on; it is not man."
Probably not violence.
[ History of black bloc various links ]
The Pierre Berton Interview
Malcolm X, Pierre Berton
January 19, 1965
MALCOLM X: In America, our people have so far not been able to speak the type of language that the racists understand. By not speaking that language, they fail to communicate, so that the racist element doesn't really believe that the black American is a human being–part of the human family. There is no communication. So I believe that the only way to communicate with that element is to be in a position to speak their language.
BERTON: And this language is violence?
MALCOLM X: I wouldn't call it violence. I think that they should be made to know that, any time they come into a black community and inflict violence upon members of that black community, they should realize in advance that the black community can speak the same language. Then they would be less likely to come in.
The reason the Black Bloc exists is because the Police have somehow become more violent, more brutal, and more willing to trample on whatever rights they feel like, and without any reasonable justification for this.
There are some who say, "Well that's true but we must persevere with peaceful methods because in the long run peaceful methods will overcome."
And there are others who say, "Yes that's true, and it's also true about peaceful methods. But like hell am I gonna let these goons trample on me until that day comes. I just don't have the patience. Sorry."
Why doesnt the black bloc run along and do its dead-end stunts on its own? Because they want Occupy to cover their skanky asses and take part of the hit for them. Wild and crazy anarcho-idealists? No, gutless idiot wonders....
Yeah they blew shit up in their day and did the underground thing for a while but then they got too old and the nation moved past their rhetoric and then they too hung up their bandana and became card carrying democrats working in nice upper-middle class professions. Oh lord all I can say is WHITE PEOPLE.
And you realize that BB will get your local group snuffed out? This isn't 1999, it's 2012, the police state has progressed the public has become brainwashed over 9/11. We only can achieve something when we discredit the POLICE, not our own movement.
My LOCAL group is already snuffed out. Not a single bit of damage cause by us, rather our shit was confiscated by the pigs for "loitering" on the sidewalk.
OUR PROPERTY was damaged. OUR PROPERTY was taken. WE were arrested. It's been made perfectly clear that we cannot demonstrate in our area. So why then should we ask permission for anything anymore? We should we not damage bank windows?
Not a single fucking inch of headway will be given to us. This is apparent.
No more asking, only acting.
why should anyone in particular be able to offer alternatives to 9 billion people living in the world? The only one can do is open the door for any way of life that isn't capitalism.
Can Adbusters elaborate at all on what it hopes to achieve by sending out a call for random uncontrolled violence? Where property is destroyed and people are injured? What is it that would be gained from this? You don't really explain that in the blurb that appears above the comments.
appear "hip" and subversive. Sell more magazines and try to fight off any attempt to be labeled as "Liberal".
If you wanna do something truly RADICAL check out Gandhi's strategies in South Africa or India, go for a national hunger strike, they burnt the british passports, took the salt which was a government property, they promoted self-sufficiency by crafting their own clothers and building ashrams - completely self-sufficient communities, they provoked the outrage and solidarity even of british workers by their disrepecting unjust laws in a coherent, brave nonviolent way. Compared to that, BB is just noise, undiscipline, a self-defeating abditacion of the most radical tactics available to us
Gandhi in S. Africa: sell out the radicals and work for Indian equality with whites, not blacks.
India: work as agent for British while condemning radicals, jockey for political power in Indian National Congress, establish religious communes as cults modeled after prison environment...
Gandhi wasn't a radical nor was he an anarchist, instead he was a political opportunist.
Do we need change? Absolutely. Can we get anything good from black bloc and their agenda? Nope. Can we get anything good by being overly passive? Also, not a chance in hell.
Get your heads out of your asses and and take to the task. DEMAND reasonable things to start. Winning there would give OWS greater validity in the eyes of the public...and you NEED that. Black bloc makes you look stupid. How about that time they smashed up a mom and pop shop, and left Starbucks (right across the street) unscathed. Good job. Keep it up. You are TOTALLY credible, and some day the public will support you....
People should think for themselves and abstain from following others into the torrential melee of random acts of malevolent fireworks displays and egregious assassinations of window pains in the downtown corridors. This can only result in increased budgets for municipal and national police forces; though it would be an economic stimulus for graffiti removal technicians as well as a real boon for zip tye manufacturing technologies. Also included; pylons and metal fences.
Yes, Violence is very Revolutionary!!
Property Destruction will lead us to a new society, more equal and just!!!
Throwing stones hiding among the protesters, leading containers on fire and liberating our rage in a destructive, as opposed to destructive manner, is the perfect strategy to have the 99% feeling identified with and joining the activists strategies!
Also, the images of fire and broken windows will attract a lot of attention to injustice and human suffering within our society, no doubt that will revolutionize our world!!
Don't waste your time with those inefficient revolutionary civil disobedience tactics, get a brave new world today with BlackBlocks® !!
Occupy has nonviolence inscribed in its DNA. BB is the opposite of Occupy
In Spain the 15-M movement (the precedent of Occupy) is going through the exact same debate since BB were used in Barcelona in March. The reaction has been massive from around the movement, developing the use of WHITE BLOCKS which prevent violence and focus on conecting with the 99% instead of alienating the population from the activists
Let us TURN OUR BACK ON ADBUSTERS and on BB anarchists, let us not negociate since they will not negociate their restorting to violence. If we believe in nonviolent revolution, we will have to impose our option over theirs. Why? Because they never go in black blocks by themselves but rather they prefer to mix up in the mass of protesters, throwing stones on our back, provoking a brutal systemic response, endangering us all.
Adbusters, what does this have to do with your struggle against consummerist society, ecology of mind, environmentalism, economic justice and so on? I do not get it. I am a long term reader and active supporter and promoter of Adbusters, and I am so ANGRY at your advocacy of violence - this step is gonna marginalize and profoundly weaken OWS and the 99%
This article is masturbatory tripe. Destruction of private property is a disservice to the movement. Every broken window is another FBI file to stalk Occupy, another 10 TV commentators to mock Occupy and another 1,000 citizens who will reject Occupy and will never allow themselves to join our demonstrations. Peaceful expressions of protest and solidarity are what will turn heads AND open minds.
Totally agree. They are children playing to other children. SO easy to co-opt and lead by the FBI/police/etc.
What I expected, I had too much hope for this movement when it first started, but as the months pass and the movement increase, I beginning to think this movement has been dead for months and this is the aftermath of Occupy Wall streets. The Zombies of Occupy have taken over, these Zombies are the Anarchist(black bloc). This movement provided a plot form for many people, and now thinking about it, it was crazy of me to think that we can actually achieve a form of change from this movement. With so much demands from different groups how is the government going to fulfil such demands, its not like a union that went on strike and demanded its employers more hours or less hours.
This occupy movement reminds me of the French Revolution because what they are asking for is not a simple change such as the American Revolution, but rather a change in the whole system, that means turning what society and state as created and called the status Quo, which is close to impossible.
Regardless I look forward to the movement's feature and as a history major, this is every historian's dream to be part of a history making event and being able to discuss it in five or ten years.
A strategic defensive force protective and independent of Occupy is practical.
Whatever advances Occupy and reduces Military attacks on it is progress.
If the Bloc is capable of or is gaining the capability to inflict steady losses on the Military side without Military reprisals against Occupy, then what's the problem?
To say that what happened on May Day is blackbloc is weird. Blackbloc that happened on May Day was not the same as Battle of Seattle. It is good that blackbloc is focusing on more positive action such as protecting fellow marchers and evading kettling.
I would say that it isn't necessary even blackbloc, but something different. People are becoming for strategic, tactical, and coordinated in their actions.
Chris Hedges can pound sand. Those of you who "respect" Hedges realize that he supported Clinton's bombing of Yugoslavia, right?
Hedges is a liberal capitalist. That hit piece of his on BB was an embarrassment. He never even researched the BB he just wrote a gut reaction about it.
Our goal as Marxists is to educate the working class and raise their class consciousness. We are not ainywhere near having reached that goal in the U.S. Suffice to say we are not in a revolutionary period. Right now ANYTHING that gets the attention of the proles will work - including BB tactics. I suspect there is less "disgust" towards the BB with certain sections of the masses than with others, but it can't hurt that the anarchists are not a bunch of pantywaists being beaten, punched, and kicked by riot cops without fighting back.
you forgot to mention all the pollution from the blak blocers who Occupy Big Tobacco. anti-capitalist? I don't think so. Phillip Morris loves the nicotine addicts.
Destructive tactics like those used by the Black Bloc make me not want to be associated with the Occupy movement. I think you will lose more support than you will gain. You will lose the moral high ground, which we did have. So so sad that this movement seems to be losing its way.
You guys are assholes. How about mentioning in your piece at least a modicum of a warning that this is going to cause the police and various federal agencies to go after anarchists with a vengeance???
And that the first most vulnerable will be the maskless anarchists hanging out food and such. And that all information will be beaten out of them as an excuse to find the masked anarchists.
How about a smidgen of responsible journalism instead of keyboard cheerleading????
Well what one must realize is that the movement as a whole is a response to the disparities that capitalism has rendered within our society and our communities. I assume you are in favor of peaceful protests and handing out food are reasonable ways to demonstrate within the movement. I agree, it is reasonable to do that, optimal even. However when people like yourself are being beaten, peppersprayed and arrested, those of us who stand in solidarity with those who employ blac bloc tactics (there is no "blac bloc") see the necessity for there to be an entity to combat that physical tyranny brought down on those like you.
They do it for you. They do it to show those in control that we as a movement DO have teeth and we will use them. We will confuse their methods in our anonymity. We will use our numbers to stop an individual officer from wrongfully arresting protesting citizens. We will break their windows and their rules. The fact that they will retaliate is evidence that we are hurting them; that we are making headway.
It's rather irritating that this has become such a divisive topic amongst us because the idea of solidarity is central to the movement. 99%...remember? That means us. Get back on board with us brother. Let's get to work.
If you don't want to participate in blac bloc tactics, don't. We won't think you a coward. Contribute in your own way. We are.
What I was lamenting is the complete lack of warning from these cheerleaders about how the cops are going to come down even harder with brutality, frame ups, and infiltration as soon as they can find people alone with no one watching.
A responsible location would make sure that its frequenters are aware.
Violence is only justified in self defense. Black Bloc tactics are merely self indulgent. I love the info-shops and Food Not Bombs is awesome, but acting like petulant 12 year old is not a way to built a more fair and equitable society.
I understand how people are fed up and angry, but we need to be engaging in tactics that lead to the kinds of changes that actually matter. If Black Bloc tactics continue, a fair critic of capitalism will never gain ground beyond a fringe.
Black bloc anarchists do the majority of the organizing in Occupy, especially in Oakland and the like. At it's soul Occupy is organized by mainly anti-capitalists. Black bloc is a tactic used by the most militant sects.
There's nothing revolutionary about getting arrested. Break the law and then escape.
"The first duty of a revolutionary is to get away with it" - Abbie Hoffman
I don't think black bloc tactics are the answer. That being said, occupy needs to break the law more nonviolently, I think they need to sit in the streets and just get a large number of people to occupy the streets, if there are enough people the police will have a harder time controlling the crowd and there will also be media coverage which will give occupy attention. Don't break things, just hold many protests, march, and keep occupying public space. Every nonviolent unjust arrest energizes the movement.
The "dark side" of Occupy is that they don't know their revolutionary history. There has never been in history a liberation struggle that was successful that resulted from pacifism. Never. Pacifism is one tactic to draw attention to your cause, but unless you back it up with the threat of force, you're spinning your wheels. It wasn't Gandhi and MLK that liberated their respective followers; it was the threat of violence backing them up: the Panthers in King's case, the peasants who picked up weapons in Gandhi's case. The armed peasants made more progress in a few weeks in India than Gandhi did in years.
Thinking that we can consume differently as a mode of resistance to capitalism is as dumb as buying black stop shoes and subscribing to Adbusters... If all that's in question is what we consume, rather than that we consumer at all then the game is over already, nothing changes but the aesthetic. After all Adbusters is only an aesthetic critique of the management of capital.
How do we know or would it really even matter if the person smashing the window bought or didn't buy their clothes? Let he who is without consumer sin cast the first stone through NIKE TOWN.
Talking about those who employ violence as being allowed for by the state and paid for the state is treacherous. No movement that cannot defend itself will survive. We can't simply close our eyes to the reality that we are immersed withing violence. It's our daily destiny. We can take sides within a force relation, or we can go back to work and shut up.
Death to the hand wringers! The meek shall inherit the misery of this world!
THANK YOU SO MUCH for a positive article about us. see the thing about the people above me, we could give two shits. the people who are bitching about broken windows, with their ghandi principles, yet ghandi didnt speak out about the radicals at the time, and the were KILLING PEOPLE. a window is a object, not a person. breaking a window is not violence. this is all apart of the problem of viewing corporations as people. its all evolution that WILL be brought about, regardless of the dumbasses above me. in order to evolve stronger, the weak must die off.
I feel the frustration of everyone. Be they anarchists, progressives, or just left leaning moderates. But breaking shit in the streets does nothing for the cause. If anything it plays right into the hands of the enemy. Now they can point and say "See! We told you! Those lefties are ultra violent! So now, for your own protection of course, we will have to keep a closer eye on ALL of you." Do the good people involved in these Black Bloc actions not take this into consideration? This is not how you start a movement, this is how you shoot it in the foot.
Agreed. This is a total cliche, but whether you like it or not, the United States has an entrenched "Law and Order" capitalist culture. If BB or other anarchists tries to 'change' things with violence, they'll get a very rude awakening once they try to take that 'change' to the streets in force instead of non-violent disobedience. And the majority of the country will support small business owners and the police over anarchy every time.
Black Bloc is the most self-serving, annoying, childish tactic around. Dressing like cartoonish Hollywood terrorists only makes protesters look like dumb kids out for attention and looking to cause trouble. If you want to create change or do something positive with a popular movement, you have to get as much positive media coverage as possible. Militant puffery and hypermasculine stupidity, violence, and vandalism just scare/annoy average people and do nothing for anybody other than the "anarchists" participating. And I'm not sure who they think they're doing damage to by smashing banks and cop cars, other than Occupy.
It's great to mimic Chris Hedges in calling us "hypermasculine" when I know quite a few queer and/or feminist @s who aren't exactly what one would call aggressive. But great way to generalize an entire group of people.
PS - The media doesn't care about giving us positive coverage. Haven't you figured that out yet, or are you still sucking the proverbial dick of the MSM?
[.....] And is this not our situation till now? We have all the freedoms one wants – the only thing missing is the "red ink": we feel free because we lack the very language to articulate our unfreedom. What this lack of red ink means is that, today, all the main terms we use to designate the present conflict – "war on terror", "democracy and freedom", "human rights", etc – are false terms, mystifying our perception of the situation instead of allowing us to think it.
The task today is to give the protesters red ink.
Lets not forget the Oscar Grant riots, the Black Panthers people in oakland standing up to police for years and years. It's not just anarchist who are pist enough to actually fight. There are alot of middle class folks (especially white folks, ANSWER, PSL and RCP) who complain against fighting back because they claim that that will give the state a reason to repress us. If we are doing something right they will repress us. And most of the pacifist or "now is not the time" bullshit talk is thinly veiled cowardice. The anarchist are fighting side by side with regular folks who are serious about fighting the system no arm chair intellectualism or passive whiney complaints can stop those who have crossed the line from spectator/complainer to fighter
Black Panthers accomplished a lot in the short term, and almost nothing in the long term. Damaging property should only happen after the movement becomes broad enough to sustain itself on popular anger and the press is forced to cover it. But until then, you are giving everyone a reason to ignore occupy. And no I am not middle class or an arm chair activist. Violence is only a tactic when it achieves a broader strategy. What has smashing things achieved??
The Panthers weren't successful long-term becuase their leadership was assassinated by COINTELPRO. Yes, they scared the powers-that-be THAT much.
The Black Panthers are the sole reason we ended up with Civil Rights legislation. Sorry but that's the truth. MLK was backed up by the threat of violence by the Panthers. The ruling class sat up and noticed.
From a NYC Black Bloc Participant-
Whoever wrote this post for adbusters was not in NYC. While I have agreed with most of these communications, this one is way off the mark. In NYC we had our largest action ever. This was because of hard work and solidarity. We also had the largest black bloc in the history of NYC. We had the largest numbers of immigrants. It was a great day. Sure it could have been better. To blame unions for not taking over wall street is ridiculous and was obviously written by someone who was not in NYC. From what i saw,Thousands of very aggressive police with batons and horses thwarted our efforts. Not the "unions" . In NYC we have solidarity and a woking relationship with union members and staff. That's how we get tens of thousands in the street. Many doing direct action, by the way. If there is any critique of not taking banks and Wall Street, sadly that falls on those who planned and "after party" and didn't tell anyone where, until most people went home. Most people were avoiding arrest to save up for the night time event, which turned into a Big GA. Uggg. But really, it was the militarized zone on Wall Street that thwarted any takeover or occupation.
This black block vs. Unions story is juvenile horse shit. It's not one or the other. In NYC we had both.
From a west coast perspective, NY dropped the ball big time. Feels like you all are getting sucked into the professionalization game. Offices, stipends, working with established orgs. Need to get back to the mass civil disobedience that launched ows, not the rallies with labor "allies".
This is an interesting perspective. Maybe the 2 coasts aren't as in good communication as we should be. I spent alot of my time organizing n promoting in Brooklyn, and there was an overwhelming sense that NYC was tryna keep this one peaceful. My team wasnt even aware mass black bloc was even being planned or called for. In NYC, sustainability is a very different reality for a fulltime Occupier, this is the richest(most expensive) city in the world. Hence offices & stipends. Bottom line, nationally, we need to be in better communication, more coordinated in the focus of our 'national actions.'
That is the attitude that rubs people the wrong way... you think NYC is the most expensive, so you should take stipends and be comfortable in an office? The Bay Area is hella expensive too.. people are poor all over the country. No one in occupy can "afford" to be in occupy.
We need to see more intensity coming out of NYC, or the reality is that Oakland/SF/Seattle are going to lead Occupy in a totally new direction.
STOP INFIGHTING. Don't be just another leftist movement that devours itself in bickering.
by NYC Occupier (JayOWS) on May 07 2012, @05:21 pm
Wouldnt call it an attitude, I dont take a stipend. Just saying, if its available, if people are donating their own money to support Occupiers as they, Occupy, why shouldnt they make use of it. Think of this as well. I know West coast police are sum of the best trained in the country. But we live in Terror Target #1. Our police are one step short of the coast guard, theyre a 35k strong centralized army. Outfoxin them is a lil trickier n more risky (imho) but we're doing it. There's alot going on out here that u wont hear about, n vice versa.
i don't want anarchism. sure it'd be nice to have more comrades with an understanding of my particular philosophy, but my real aim is to spread anarchy. That is, to spread liberation from all the various forms of oppression. whether or not anyone helping in this project calls themselves an anarchist or not is beside the point.
The Occupy movement and Anarchists are failures. And I do not say that with harsh tones in my voice. But rather nothing has fundamentally changed within the working class since the Occupy Movement first emerged. The destruction of property only unifies the bourgeoisie and the 1% together to let the so-called free markets remain. It brings them comfort and security. Marx would point out that capitalism is running its course right now. Capitalism is does not exploit out of harsh cruelty, it does so because it is necessary for it to function. One day the working class will become collectively conscious of its exploitation together and rise up. No small faction will turn the tide.
You don't understand Marx. Or communists for that matter. There is a difference between rejecting private property, and being a small sect of hooligans vandalizing private property. Anarchists who subscribe to black bloc tactics do not represent the class. And it is the class once awakened (and that day never comes so be it) that will bring revolution, not anarchists. Power to the people after all.
In the SF Bay Area, the May Day actions by nonviolent protesters, which were really lovely and had a large attendance, did not get covered. Instead what got covered in the media was how 100 people dressed in black badly damaged small businesses and cars indiscriminately in the Mission, a working class district of SF, on the eve of May Day. We are still reeling from the effects of this. The SF Commune failed and resulted in a mentally ill man getting charged with a felony for throwing bricks and things off of the roof of the commune. Several occupiers were arrested, and two are still being held. Many people have left Occupy SF to form a separate group and it still remains to be seen what will come of this. "Diversity of tactics" has failed OSF big time.
Anarchy is exactly why people fell in love with Occupy, the GA is anarchy, and it is this horizontal power structure that people love. Anarchy certainly is not pushing people away from Occupy. Black Bloc plays a crucial role in the movement, people like Chris Hedges just do not understand.
Yes. Black Bloc won't go away. They need a place to go and a thing to do and goals to achieve to achieve those goals, be those goals official or not, no matter how big those goals are.
Lets End Capitalism Together.
occupy is and will always be multiple factions united in a battle against a common enemy. we have support from unions, immigrants rights activists, churches, communists, anarchists, environmentalists, neo-nazi's, and many others. everyone will have their own idea of how to fight back, and i think we should let people be free to do as they please. occupy the parks, all 12 fed reserves, every capitol building, block bridges, the internet, and most importantly the MIND. bitching about who's in the highlight will do nothing but divide us further. black bloc tactics got people's attention, people can look at the cover and they can see the rest of the book as well, you just have to make each page pop out as well as the cover to get the full message across. and that message is that we are all the 99%. no matter how different we all are, we are all the same in the eyes of the 1%. the time has come to rise up, because for so long this 1% has dominated and decimated our lives as well as this entire planet. we are sick of their presence upon the earth, and their time is over... VIVA LA REVOLUCION!!!
“American anarchists haven’t experienced this much positive public attention since the euphoria and aftermath of N30 in Seattle.”
Either this person doesn't know what "positive" means, or he's addressing how anarchist PR has always been and continues to be abysmal.
How could working to end capitalism appear as anything other than abysmal?
I haven't followed the activities of the Black Bloc that closely (I'm in the UK) but I know Chris Hedges has some qualms about their tactics, and he's someone whose opinion i respect. I agree with his argument that in order for direct action to be a positive force you need to have majority public support behind it, and at this point my perception is that a lot of the general public are on the fence about Occupy. In that situation, violent as opposed to non-violent activism will potentially turn off as many people as it attracts. Okay, so you inconvenience a corporation by damaging their property or disrupting them, but they'll easily recover. And as some earlier Occupiers observed, the police, if they would but realise (and perhaps some do) are a part of the 99%: working stiffs, albeit ones who've made a career choice that has led them to being protectors the 1%. The danger is it becomes an exercise in people getting a kick out smashing shit up, while not really changing anything, which will only happen if there's a change of consciousness and a greater understanding of the causes of the misery the 99% are enduring, a message Occupy can help to spread.
there is no "the blac bloc"
Yes there is. Whether you like it or not, the Black Bloc is widely regarded as a group of people who practice Black Bloc tactics. Those who insistently declare that Black Bloc is not a group are simply trying to confuse the issue so that the Black Bloc can avoid accountability for their actions.
Not to mention that the Anarchists are isolating others and pushing many out of the Occupy movement.
I don't know what Occupy you are active in, but it's the other way around in most areas. Liberals have taken over GAs, have disallowed @s from going on stack, and marginalized them to the point they typically quit - then get accused of showing up at actions to co-opt for their own purposes. I've seen this happen personally, and heard of it happening that way elsewhere.
What fiction - in the main article. Non-vandalistic/non-violent activists in Oakland worked dilligently to restrain black-block actions. The police got more sophisticated than they've usually been - systematically herding and dispersing the demonstration. So I don't know what planet the author was on in asserting that Oakland was a black-block triumph.
If the black-block is so certain that they represent Occupy - let them try passing a resolution to that effect - at any GA - including Oakland's.
[NOT THE END - lol O_o ]