Black Block not black block.

Categories: Reflections

Black Blocks are an integral part of left dissent, They have been for a long time. But they need to be part of the demonstration, not counter to it. If the mass of people doesn’t want black block direct action, than they need to respect that.  When the mass of the people demands direct physical intervention, the Block should be there. Black Block is not just a fucking costume you put on. It’s the backbone of resistance to police tactics. It’s true place is in resisting a push by riot squads. Pushing back when the billy clubs come down. Returning the tear gas canisters to their rightful owners. Breaking windows isn’t black block. Graffiti isn’t black block. Its fucking hooliganism.
calling them Anarchist as a slur is inaccurate and insulting both to Anarchist and the accusers.  It is also disingenuous, as the OWS movement has grown it has taken on very Anarchist characteristics. Lack of hierarchy,  direct democracy, temporary autonomous zones. These are ideas straight out of an Anarchist text.

Do not disenfranchise Anarchist voices because of a few black clad thugs. It is more likely a fashion statement than a political one on their part.



3 Responses to “Black Block not black block.”

  1. Winstanley

    It is good that we are grappling with these questions comrades. One of my favorite thinkers on the subject is A.J. Muste. The following is from a Noam Chomsky essay in part about him:

    In a crucial essay written forty years ago, A. J. Muste explained the concept of revolutionary nonviolence that was the guiding principle of an extraordinary life. “In a world built on violence, one must be a revolutionary before one can be a pacifist.” “There is a certain indolence in us, a wish not to be disturbed, which tempts us to think that when things are quiet, all is well. Subconsciously, we tend to give the preference to ‘social peace,’ though it be only apparent, because our lives and possessions seem then secure. Actually, human beings acquiesce too easily in evil conditions; they rebel far too little and too seldom. There is nothing noble about acquiescence in a cramped life or mere submission to superior force.” Muste was insistent that pacifists “get our thinking focussed.” Their foremost task “is to denounce the violence on which the present system is based, and all the evil — material and spiritual — this entails for the masses of men throughout the world…. So long as we are not dealing honestly and adequately with this ninety percent of our problem, there is something ludicrous, and perhaps hypocritical, about our concern over the ten percent of violence employed by the rebels against oppression.” Never in American history have these thoughts been so tragically appropriate as today.

    The task of the revolutionary pacifist is spelled out more fully in the final paragraph of [Muste’s] essay:

    Those who can bring themselves to renounce wealth, position and power accruing from a social system based on violence and putting a premium on acquisitiveness, and to identify themselves in some real fashion with the struggle of the masses toward the light, may help in a measure — more, doubtless, by life than by words — to devise a more excellent way, a technique of social progress less crude, brutal, costly and slow than mankind has yet evolved.

  2. jennystouffer

    I totally agree. I’d like to see one of those kids take a walk together in the 90’s of East Oakland, or the lower bottoms of West Oakland together, wearing the black garb. They’d run into some truly disenfranchised kids, some truly angry kids, and they’d maybe just maybe get a taste of their own medicine.

  3. arachne

    Since the 1980s in Europe black bloc has indeed been integral to growing grass roots dissent as the chronically violent interloper. Their only productive contribution has been to bring violence and destruction to the growing success of peaceful movements. March 26 11 in London, 500,000 peaceful protesters had their work and intentions undermined by black bloc intervention and violence.

    From Guardian coverage of October 15, 2011: ‘hundreds of thousands nicknamed “the indignant” marched without incident in cities across Europe, as the Occupy Wall Street protests, which started in New York, linked up with long-running demonstrations against European governments’ austerity measures.
    Heavy smoke billowed in downtown Rome as a small group broke away and wreaked havoc in streets close to the Colosseum and elsewhere in the city.
    Clad in black with their faces covered, protesters threw rocks, bottles and incendiary devices at banks and Rome police in riot gear. With clubs and hammers, they destroyed bank ATMs, set trash bins on fire and assaulted at least two news crews from Sky Italia. Riot police charged the protesters repeatedly, firing water cannons and tear gas. Around 70 people were injured, according to news reports, including one man who tried to stop the protesters from throwing bottles.” SOUND FAMILIAR? Check on the effect the black bloc on peaceful grassroots movements over the last 20+ years any see a pattern of undermining that movement. There are many who believe that these anonymous vandals are purposefully infiltrating bent on destruction of the social change movements and not on destruction of the status quo. The costume is not a political stance, it is an excuse for unexcusable violence.