Against violent tactics

Categories: Open Mic

The movement is young and it is small. It is growing. Violence against you when you have not been the provocateurs helps you to engage the 99%; violence and vandalism provoked by you will turn them away from you.Your long term strength will be  your sheer numbers. Your weakness is that you are no match for the agents of the 1% who, given any reason to, will be brutally aggressive in repressing the movement.  Success depends on playing to your strengths and downplaying your weaknesses.

Right now you morally have the upper hand. Use it for the  many creative and clever ways to protest, like boycotting the big box stores for a day, moving money out of the big banks, sit-ins at state capitals and in Washington, marches, occupation in empty, neglected buildings.  I am confident you can think up more.


5 Responses to “Against violent tactics”

  1. GreenEngineer

    Be that as it may, the point is not whether Black Bloc is an organization or just an ideology. The point is, their tactics serve to marginalize the movement and are destructive to our goals. The may be justified, fighting back might be fair, and sure, the other guy started it. Doesn’t matter. Those tactics will destroy the Occupy movement, more surely than any amount of police repression.

    Regarding the middle class: The middle class is losing ground, for sure. Another fifty years going down this road, and you will be right: we will have divided our culture into masters and slaves. But as a practical matter, we are very far from that point now, and the middle class has substantial political and economic power (as a group, not individually). But unfortunately most of them are concerned about trying to keep their head above water, not trying to change the system. Violent tactics will be perceived by them as a direct threat; they will not react positively.

    See this chart and note second and third 20% lines. These people are struggling to stay where they are, but they are managing (for the time being). These people are the middle class that the movement needs to recruit – they represent your broadest base of political power, and most of the economic power aside from that held by the elite 1%. You will not bring these people on board by threatening them.

    Again, it’s not right, it’s not fair, but it is the reality of the world we are trying to change. If you choose to dismiss this reality, you imperil all you hope to accomplish.

  2. think!

    Aligning ourselves with violent tactics is bad PR.

    The media, however much we don’t like it, is a key to our success. We need to use mass media to “advertise” the movement in order for it to grow.

    Of course none of us like that our society is controlled by the media. That is one of the things we would like to change. But we have to deal with the reality…

    Media coverage of Occupy events will directly determine whether or not we grow. Media coverage will determine whether we succeed or fail. Unfortunately, we can not afford to ignore how we are covered in the media… for now, that is.

  3. Tony

    In response to GreenEngineer,

    There is no such organization as the Black Bloc. Black Bloc is merely a term for a tactic used by persons wishing to defend themselves against increased police surveillance and still have the ability to defend, protect and retaliate against violence.
    I read an article some time back with an interview with someone from an Occupy in the NW dressed in black and covered face saying that when they attended the anti-RNC demonstration in 08. They went in normal clothing and their picture was taken. Federal agents had visited them at their home two weeks later asking why were they at the protest.

    I disagree when you say that the movement needs the middle class. It is quickly becoming apparent that the numbers of the middle class are decreasing and we are separated into the working class and the ruling class.

  4. Tony

    I have been following events in Oakland for a couple weeks now. I read that less than a thousand started camping out in front of city hall. With no incidents of violence, number grew steadily. Then the police attacked the encampment and some protesters fought back. As incidents of violence broke out between Oakland and the police, the numbers of protesters have grown exponentially. Banks threw the first blows when they economically destroyed millions of people’s lives, a few broken windows of theirs is nothing compared to the amount of homelessness and depressing poverty they have caused upon the 99%.

  5. GreenEngineer

    I agree.

    I am a classic example of the 99%: I have a job and own a house; I’m doing OK, but I’m not wealthy by any means. But despite the fact that I am not being personally screwed as badly as many have been, I strongly support the ideas that engendered the occupy movement: regulate the banks, break the oligarchs, take power away from the corporations and return it to the people.

    So I am very disturbed by the fact that OO has not managed to decisively distance itself from the Black Block and their violent tactics. Enough so that I am reconsidering my support for OO. And if I am doing so, then I know many others like me feel similarly.

    It’s really simple: property destruction are counterproductive. It doesn’t matter if it’s “justified”. It doesn’t matter if “property destruction isn’t violence” (it is, but whatever). It doesn’t matter of the police/city/state engage in these tactics. The fact remains – very simply – that OO becomes identified with vandalism and violence, YOU WILL LOSE THE SUPPORT OF THE MIDDLE CLASS. If that happens, OO will become a fringe movement representing only the interests of the extremists and the disenfranchised. You will lose all hope of making meaningful long term political reforms, and condemn the movement to a state of constant but unproductive conflict with the authorities.

    Let me say this again: The 99% movement NEEDS THE SUPPORT OF THE AMERICAN MIDDLE CLASS TO BE SUCCESSFUL. There is no path to success that does not include having the support of the average job-having, house-owning citizen. If you alienate them, you will lose. Which means we will ALL lose, as the oligarchs continue to drain us dry.