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Yesterday was declared by our truthful, honest, and independent media to be "the day which would make or break the occupy movement."

The black block chose, once again, to infiltrate an Occupy action and use it as a platform for violence. They've been a problem before. On the last big national day of action, this happened:

These thugs are attacking the 99%. They're attacking food markets. They're attacking workplaces. They're threatening people who dare speak out against their actions. They're beating up people who stand between the black block and the members of the 99% who the black block is trying to attack.

These people assaulted my friend Tim Pool when he was bringing images of NYPD violence to the world:

Masked men assaulted him for daring to do the ONE thing which is getting the occupy movement attention: keeping the cameras running 24-7. Those cameras are our lifeline. Those cameras are keeping this movement alive, and the first step for any black block action is to destroy or disable every camera they can find.

The black block can have one effect, and only one effect: severing the Occupy movement from Mainstream America.

Occupy represents the frustrations of the majority of Americans. Actions like this can only damage the movement.

Who is the Black Bloc?

The black block is a self-styled anarchist tactic. It is not an identifiable organization. It is a method of creating violence and chaos in the streets. They desire to be an effective street-fighting force to oppose the police. They think they're being bold revolutionaries, when in actuality, they're cowards hiding behind masks, wearing a terrifying uniform.

That uniform is generally all black clothing, and they often carry dowel rods to which black flags have been affixed.

They start fights with the police, they destroy property, they attack other occupiers, and they give the police an excuse to attack us.

What do groups that use black block tactics believe?

One of the organizations which has typically used black block tactics is a group called anti-racist action. They're a streetfighting organization that goes after Nazis and other white nationalist/seperatist groups. They also attack the police and vandalize buildings. To quote them on their own website about Occupy and their tactics and beliefs:

1)"this is not about partisan politics, this is about class solidarity among the 99%" - Not sure we're down with this 99% thing, as it seems to imply a broad class front that includes everyone but the richest of the rich. There are plenty of people left out of the category of the super-rich that I don't want solidarity with, like fascists, white nationalists, police/FBI, politicians, Stalinists, the bourgeoisie and some of the petty bourgeoisie that make up the bosses and landlords that we have so many problems with, etc.
This, by the way, is the logic used by some to justify the Black Bloc's attack on the mission district of San Francisco.

These members of the 99% have slightly more than other members of the 99% and thus, they deserve to have their Toyota minivans destroyed, their small business shop fronts smashed, and their neighborhood vandalized. This is the thinking of the black block, and the various groups that support them.

What has the Black Block accomplished?

The Black Block does three things which harm the movement, and nothing which helps it.

They make a safe haven for agent provocateurs seeking to disrupt occupy actions, they prevent us from getting the police on our side, and they scare the American Public.

In regards to the question of agent provocateurs one occupier who was disgusted with the violence in the mission district posted on his blog:

. You see, I don’t know who, the people I’ll dub as the ‘ringleaders’ of the march were exactly. Nobody did. Yeah some of the aggro people we always have to deal with were there, but these guys weren’t it. You remember those asshole jock bullies in high school? Well that was who was leading the march tonight. Clean cut, athletic, commanding, gravitas not borne of charisma but of testosterone and intimidation. They were decked out in outfits typically attributed to those in the ‘black bloc’ spectrum of tactics, yet their clothes were too new, and something was just off about them. They were very combative and nearly physically violent with the livestreamers on site, and got ignorant with me, a medic, when I intervened and reminded them that I was there to fix them from police violence, not protester on protester violence.

I am typically really bad with names, but I am great with faces. I love people. I love looking into their eyes, looking at their smiles and their body language and trying to guess at their life and stuff. I probably will forget your name the first few times I’ve met you, but I will not forget your face. Even people I pass on the street, I’ll remember you for weeks. With that said, I didn’t recognize any of these people. Their eyes were too angry, their mouths were too severe. They felt “military” if that makes sense. Something just wasn’t right about them on too many levels. I’m not one of those tin foil hat conspiracy theorists, I don’t subscribe to those theories that Queen Elizabeth’s Reptilian slave driver masters run the Fed. I’ve read up on agent provocateurs and plants and that sort of thing and I have to say that without a doubt, I believe 100% that the people that started tonight’s events in the Mission were exactly that.

In other news, Bloomberg is reporting that banks have hired Securitas (Formerly Pinkerton) to run surveillance on occupy groups.

This is the same kind of tactic they use on Labor Unions. It's black block tactics that allow Hired Thugs to disrupt our actions.

In the early days of Occupy, we were really succesful in getting people to say "police are the 99%." This led to people chanting "We are the 99 percent SO ARE YOU!" and "We're fighting for your pension!" at the police. Some of them looked like they were going to cry.

That feeling is gone now, and it's thanks to thugs in the black block that the police aren't marching with us. Their actions allowed thugs like Anthony Bologna to divide the movement.

I don't think I even have to mention what Fox News is continuing to do with reports of Black Block violence.

Why would people support the Black Block?

I've heard only a few arguments in favor of the black block and its tactics, but if anyone here supports the black block, I'll quote your argument and respond to them.

Argument 1: I care about what works, not about high minded ideals.

Same here, buddy. I've never been one to wax ecstatic about high minded ideals over the practicality of politics. That's why I'm a member of the democratic party, and haven't joined the impotent fringe who can't get candidates elected, even if I agree with the ideals of third parties more than I agree with the ideals of the big tent Democrats.

I oppose the black block not because violence is bad, but because the specific tactics which the black block uses are A) Stupid, B) Counterproductive, and C) will never work.

We've never seen any method for political violence achieve an extreme agenda. It just doesn't work. What works is educating the voters, and winning your arguments.

Breaking the windows of a bank will only play into the corporate media attempts to portray occupiers as ignorant thugs.

And to make my point here abundantly clear, if I thought that smashing bank windows would actually help the American Republic move into a more just, more peaceful, and more educated future, I would be running down wall street with a bucket of rocks right now. This is not about being a wishy washy peacenic, this is about what will actually achieve the kind of change we want.

Argument 2: We shouldn't get rid of the black block because we might need them.

Okay, I don't know in what context we might need militant resistance to our government.  For the sake of argument, let's say we've arrived at a place where armed struggle has become necessary. I don't know what that would look like. Perhaps the purveyors of Lolcats took over, created the Itteh Bitteh Kitteh action Comitteh and installed Chairman Meow as a brutal dictator: there are no elections, the constitution is suspended, dog ownership is illegal, etc.

And now, to bring down this awful dictator, we now need some kind of fighting force.

Who would you rather that force be:

A) A bunch of skinny cowards who hide behind masks because they're afraid of taking responsibility for their own actions.
B) The OccupyMarines and other OccupyVeterans who have military training and the OccupyPolice who have firearms training.

I'd argue that even in this scenario, we would want to get rid of the black block. These kids aren't going to want to be told what to do, they're not going to be willing to accept the strict discipline on which every single successful armed resistance force has relied.

Even in such a distopian thought experiment the Black Block is worse than useless.

Down with the Black Block.

If the occupy movement is going to be successful, it needs to take steps to distance itself from black block tactics.

I have some suggestions:

1. That black block tactics (Specifically: The destruction of cameras, the attacks on property) be officially banned by General Assemblies.
2. That black block uniforms be banned by General Assemblies, and people wearing such uniforms asked to change into civilian clothes, or leave.
3. That people acting violently be asked to leave.
4. That General Assemblies organize response teams designed to put themselves nonviolently between black block thugs and the people and properties they're trying to attack.

These steps might, and I stress might, prevent the destruction of the occupy movement at the hands of Securitas, the Banks, and Fox News.

11:49 AM PT: A note about anarchists and anarchy.

There's been some folks equating the black block with all anarchists. I need to be clear, they're not the same thing.

Some of the people most upset by the actions of the Black Block are anarchists themselves.

One of my best friends, an Anarchist, called me in tears after the news of Black Block actions on mayday.

He said:

"They Fucked us, Ollie. They screwed us, and now we have to pick up the pieces while they call us pussies!"

Many anarchists share our commitment to nonviolence and should not be equated with the black block.

3:01 PM PT: Pluto Cratt's comment says everything I meant to say in the briefest possible terms:

It's easy to be a badass when you're wearing a mask and you're part of a paramilitary group. It's a hell of a lot harder to, say, sit still while a cop pepper sprays your face.

And guess which one makes OWS look good to the MSM?

This is about what works. What works is being brave enough to take responsibility for the consequences of your actions.

Originally posted to Occupy Wall Street on Thu May 03, 2012 at 11:25 AM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement and Progressive Hippie.

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  •  Tip Jar (258+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geekesque, alguien, pure prarie, Andrew C White, gulfgal98, Horace Boothroyd III, bluicebank, Shahryar, gzodik, erush1345, Catte Nappe, Thinking Fella, laserhaas, CT Hank, campionrules, greendem, JayRaye, Kamakhya, Prospect Park, homo neurotic, Lost and Found, CJB, Wee Mama, VClib, stegro, ferg, blueoasis, bluedust, Leftcandid, DeminNewJ, Supavash, sneakers563, DarienComp, princess Kes, Adam B, qm1pooh, FG, DRo, GAS, boadicea, TomP, DoGooderLawyer, dsb, Lefty Coaster, arizonablue, Black Knight, tardis10, Cassandra Waites, nickrud, Mogolori, gatorcog, second gen, jethrock, oldmanriver, jacey, trumpeter, IreGyre, Unit Zero, Markoff Chaney, fcvaguy, dance you monster, ask, OIL GUY, netop, quill, pgm 01, legendmn, banjolele, pat of butter in a sea of grits, Emerson, G2geek, EagleOfFreedom, TFinSF, wasatch, sebastianguy99, greycat, SneakySnu, northsylvania, chimpy, COwoman, uciguy30, Aint Supposed to Die a Natural Death, dirkster42, Arilca Mockingbird, leftykook, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, karmsy, Egg, Demeter Rising, owlbear1, susans, Dvalkure, congenitalefty, freeport beach PA, vulcangrrl, Simian, Via Chicago, defluxion10, ladyjames, Huginn and Muninn, Marihilda, Little Flower, timewarp, tapestry, pat bunny, Lonely Texan, CarbonFiberBoy, Lily O Lady, Shockwave, bubbanomics, citisven, Dobber, NoMoreLies, offgrid, Eileen B, mythatsme, kimoconnor, Involuntary Exile, Sophie Amrain, buckstop, jiordan, Alice Venturi, rb608, carpunder, political junquie, yoduuuh do or do not, NYFM, cville townie, Floande, parse this, Dallasdoc, Pat K California, ManhattanMan, AuntieRa, dewley notid, Meteor Blades, I Lurked For Years, Sylv, Mosquito Pilot, ceebee7, Terrapin, Tonedevil, enhydra lutris, Kurt Sperry, Caipirinha, Bluesee, tgypsy, mofembot, gloriana, cacamp, eeff, hooper, bfbenn, 3goldens, old wobbly, cpresley, radical simplicity, Fiona West, mikeconwell, cany, rmonroe, gizmo59, maxcat06, Michael James, cwsmoke, doroma, randallt, Mr Stagger Lee, EdSF, DianeNYS, Quicklund, millwood, be the change you seek, Yasuragi, poliwrangler, exlrrp, flavor411, Jim P, Frameshift, shortgirl, kathny, martini, gramofsam1, jaysunb, peptabysmal, Question Authority, justiceputnam, dotsright, basquebob, Trotskyrepublican, Nowhere Man, ItsaMathJoke, muddy boots, LaraJones, EricS, jeff in nyc, renbear, mahakali overdrive, ranger995, mumtaznepal, Larsstephens, subtropolis, KenBee, histOries Marko, fiddlingnero, roadbear, Sharon Wraight, Sean X, Seneca Doane, Heimyankel, outragedinSF, Free Jazz at High Noon, debedb, litoralis, caul, J Orygun, statsone, bigjacbigjacbigjac, Sanctimonious, the greasybear, Robobagpiper, mntleo2, dkmich, susakinovember, annan, kestrel9000, Matt Z, Habitat Vic, tonyahky, riverlover, BYw, dradams, hazzcon, BB10, reginahny, historys mysteries, crackpot, Xapulin, coolbreeze, UTvoter, MKinTN, deviant24x, sturunner, Its a New Day, rubyclaire, Deward Hastings, Robynhood too, dwahzon, Tom Anderson, cosette, splashy, cotterperson, Glen The Plumber, remembrance, BeninSC, jayskew, Oh Mary Oh, cas2

    An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail.

    by OllieGarkey on Thu May 03, 2012 at 11:25:43 AM PDT

  •  is there any evidence (36+ / 0-)

    that the black block is being used by (fill in the blank here) as an agent provocateur to undermine the work of occupy?

    that was the first thing that came to my mind.

    hope springs eternal and DAMN is she getting tired!

    by alguien on Thu May 03, 2012 at 11:32:39 AM PDT

  •  Black bloc are a bunch of punk asses stuck (36+ / 0-)

    in adolescence who look for an excuse to engage in violence.   Kinder, gentler versions of Dylan Klebold.

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Thu May 03, 2012 at 11:33:04 AM PDT

  •  Ask them to leave? (13+ / 0-)

    Yeah, that'll work.

    I was afraid of this kind of thing. The right wing will try to use these thugs in their propaganda to destroy OWS, Democrats, and the left generally.

    GOP: Bankers, billionaires, suckers, and dupes.

    by gzodik on Thu May 03, 2012 at 11:41:23 AM PDT

    •  don't ask them to leave. call the POLICE! (18+ / 0-)

      tell the police that these individuals are not a part of your group and that they are intending violence and property destruction.

      the problem most people have with bullies, like these assholes, is that they don't go to the authorities about it.

      tell these fucks that they either get the fuck out of there or else.

      i think my cat is possessed by dick cheney

      by Anton Bursch on Thu May 03, 2012 at 12:18:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ask them to leave... (13+ / 0-)

      ...and then unmask them and photograph them, again and again.

      Once you've got photographs of their faces, circulate them amongst local Occupy groups, so that they can be identified and ostracized before they start shit the next time around. If possible, use crowdsourcing to identify them by name.

      Tag them with Silly String, which doesn't damage clothing but isn't easy to remove either, so that they can be identified by the authorities if they try to slip away into the crowd.

      The Black Bloc rely on anonymity; strip them of that, and see whether they're willing to own up to what they do by showing their faces, or if they're too cowardly to take responsibility for their actions.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Thu May 03, 2012 at 12:43:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Unmask them? How? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shockwave, gzodik

        ...merely touching another person is battery as I recall...

        In for a penny in for a pound, the only real tactic that's gonna work is to counter-mob them with enough physical force to restrain them.

        A BIG group of people need to pen them in, and physically sit on them if they resist.

        They WILL NOT respond to pleas of "be nice, WE are" they WILL attack anyone, including legitimate Occupiers not there for the mayhem...

        The ONLY solution is to smother them with gentle restraint from enough people that they can't just slip away and start shit somewhere else.

        An added benefit, when ya sit on them and unmask them and photo their faces, you can uncover all the cops and FBI assholes in their midst!

        "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

        by leftykook on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:00:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So, you oppose violence and to show how (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, VictorLaszlo, gabjoh, Matt Z

          much you oppose it you will be violent.  That's principle right there.

          There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

          by AoT on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:09:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If you call surrounding them... (5+ / 0-)

            ....with a large enough group of people to restrain them "violence" I say YEAH, BRING IT.

            I didn't advocate beating their asses (however much they might deserve it) I advocate physically making them stop.

            That takes enough people willing to stand up together and physically bar them from their intent.

            What do YOU suggest?  Let THOSE FUCKS be the masked face of resistance on teevee and in the press?

            "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

            by leftykook on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:29:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  When you used the term "counter-mob" it sounded (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              leftykook

              like you were advocating for something completely different.  There most certainly are people who have developed non-violent tactics for dealing with people breaking windows and physically harassing the cops at marches.  One of the solutions I've been suggesting is to organize actions that are militant but discourage violent physical confrontation.  Part of the problem is that we have too many stupid marches and not enough other actions.  Mass marches can be good as a show of strength but they are very limited in their ability to achieve anything.

              There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

              by AoT on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:38:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The Mass Group Hug (7+ / 0-)

                Is actually pretty effective. I participated in one at demo in D.C. where Moonie infiltrators tried to disrupt things. Very difficult to hurt anyone when your in the center of a packed mass human beings. Since then, I've volunteered at numerous political events for security work. This is mostly trying to prevent confrontations from developing. Ultimately, you do have to be willing to put your body in between angry, potentially violent people and that's not possible or advisable for everyone.

                •  Your comment hits the nail on the head... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...and illustrates the Achilles's Heel of my suggestion...

                  Ultimately, you do have to be willing to put your body in between angry, potentially violent people and that's not possible or advisable for everyone.
                  Visualize 7 or 8 or a dozen people intent on breaking shit...200 people surround them....Seems to me, some of the 200 are going to be hurt before the group overwhelms the violent dozen.....

                  "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

                  by leftykook on Thu May 03, 2012 at 03:18:21 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Many people got hurt (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    leftykook, radical simplicity

                    in the civil rights struggle. I got whacked with a billy club a couple of times myself.

                    If we can't risk anybody getting hurt, we might as well just go home.

                    GOP: Bankers, billionaires, suckers, and dupes.

                    by gzodik on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:00:12 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  All you have to do is put yourself between the (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    radical simplicity, ZhenRen, TimmyB

                    windows and the dicks with the bricks.

                    They throw the bricks anyway, they're cops or in police employ.

                    There is debate among Anarchists about the merits of the destruction of property.  There is no debate about the merits of violence against persons, except in the most extreme and clear cut cases of immediate self defense.

                    Your vote is your consent.

                    by JesseCW on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:35:48 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  That gives them room to wind up and throw... (0+ / 0-)

                      ....harder!

                      I like the group hug idea above, though what I have in mind is more of a "Group Seizure" or perhaps a REAL "citizen's arrest" mainly to smother resistance with the least amount of physical altercation--it's hard to fight when 20 people grab you and surround you with the mass of their bodies..

                      "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

                      by leftykook on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:47:30 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I understand the you prefer to use violence (7+ / 0-)

                        rather than non-violence when confronting people who do not scare you that much.

                        I understand that if anyone advocated these exact same tactics for stopping a cop who was beating a human being rather than threatening a window, you'd condemning them for "making the movement look bad" by assaulting the  cops in question.

                        More and more it becomes clear that the most ardent Non-Violence purists are really just opposed to violence aimed upward, rather than laterally or down hill.

                        If you're really opposed to violence, don't engage in it (or publicly fantasize about it).

                        Your vote is your consent.

                        by JesseCW on Thu May 03, 2012 at 05:00:34 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Grabbing people so they can't hit you... (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Kamakhya

                          ...isn't preferring to "use violence"

                          Your kid takes a swing at you mid tantrum.  You grab his arm before he can hit you.  I guess that's violence.

                          I'm NOT saying injure anyone.  I'm also saying I wouldn't allow people to wind up and throw at me or take a swing at me, or alternatively, stand there and wring my hands while screwballs and infiltrators destroy shit on teevee.

                          "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

                          by leftykook on Thu May 03, 2012 at 05:52:37 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Restraining people is a violent act. Just a few (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            ZhenRen, TimmyB, bigjacbigjacbigjac

                            comments ago, you wanted to commit that violent act in defense of property.  That's what we were discussing.

                            Now you claim you want to commit that violent act in self defense.  I don't argue that it's wrong to restrain someone so they don't hit - I point out that it is in fact violent, and that it is violence against a person.

                            I don't hold that physical violence in immediate self defense or defense of other is always illegitimate - I hold that it is hypocritical to endorse engaging in that violence for the purpose of defending "pacifism".

                            You would rather assault people than risk being hit with a brick, and you would rather assault people than watch a window be broken.

                            So be it - but understand that those you threaten with assault also have an innate right of self defense.

                            Your vote is your consent.

                            by JesseCW on Thu May 03, 2012 at 07:52:33 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Restraining someone is violence? (6+ / 0-)

                            I didn't know that seatbelts were tools of violence.

                            I thought they prevented damage.

                            This sounds like the kind of mental acrobatics used by the Berkeley PD when it said that linking arms was "not nonviolent."

                            An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail.

                            by OllieGarkey on Thu May 03, 2012 at 07:56:10 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Is there something about consent that is hard for (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            ZhenRen, TimmyB, bigjacbigjacbigjac

                            you to understand?

                            If I grab you in a bear hug and restrain you when you're trying to leave, I don't think you'll be at all confused about whether or not you've been assaulted.

                            Your vote is your consent.

                            by JesseCW on Thu May 03, 2012 at 08:16:59 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It's legal if used to stop another assault. (0+ / 0-)

                            If you're breaking windows, and I hug you in a bear hug, that's legal.

                            It falls under the same rules of self defense or defense of other.

                            An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail.

                            by OllieGarkey on Fri May 04, 2012 at 10:46:14 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  So I guess you're with the bla blo.. (4+ / 0-)

                            ...and can be found with a bandanna and watch cap and a bag of rocks and truncheons?

                            Characterize me all you like.  I've been gassed and shot at by cops with wooden bullets and gas grenades after watching infiltrating instigators incite a fight in the middle of a "peaceful" demonstration, where hundreds of people were injured as a result. Make all the snotty bullshit remarks you like, if you think leaving such people alone is the proper course of action, you are an ENABLER.

                            "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

                            by leftykook on Thu May 03, 2012 at 08:05:42 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Calling your advocacy for violence what it is (4+ / 0-)

                            does not make me an enabler.

                            Rather, it means that I'm refusing to be one.

                            No one but the police are ever responsible for police violence against non violent demonstrators.

                            Personally, I think it's idiotic to vandalize banks we ought to be seizing and turning into day care centers.  But I'm not willing to harm people in order to protect some corporations property.

                            Your vote is your consent.

                            by JesseCW on Thu May 03, 2012 at 08:20:16 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Bullshit (4+ / 0-)

                            Restraining someone who is going to commit violence is not an act of violence, it is an act of compassion.  Y'all have screwed up ideas of violence...In your minds smashing property is perfectly ok, but stopping someone from hurting themselves and others is not.  Weird.

                          •  Grabbing someone you don't know and trying (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            bigjacbigjacbigjac

                            to restrain them is assault.

                            Again, you would never suggest for a moment doing this to a State actor you believed to be attempting an violent act, because you know anyone doing it to a cop would be booked for assaulting an officer.

                            Please try responding to the person you're responding to instead of having an argument with someone you've invented.

                            In your minds smashing property is perfectly ok
                            I have never said smashing property is perfectly ok.  I have repeatedly said that it's stupid.
                            but stopping someone from hurting themselves and others is not
                            If a stranger someday grabs you and restrains you on a public street, let me know if you think it was a violent act.

                            Your vote is your consent.

                            by JesseCW on Fri May 04, 2012 at 02:14:37 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  We are not discussing randomly restraining people (0+ / 0-)

                            We are discussing preventing someone from committing an act of violence.  That is completely different than walking up to a stranger on the street and restraining them for no reason.  It is normal and reasonable to use restraint techniques to break up a fight or stop someone from causing harm.  

                          •  BTW - I didn't argue for "leaving them alone." (4+ / 0-)

                            I offered a non-violent solution - the one you yourself would advocate if they were uniformed agents of the state trying to destroy something you did not wish them to destroy.

                            If they were uniformed cops trying to break windows, you'd never try to detain or restrain them physically.  If someone did, you'd condemn their assault on the cops.

                            Your response was that you preferred to advocate assaulting them.  Your "non-violence" appears to be purely situational and related to how much you fear the person you're mad at.

                            Your vote is your consent.

                            by JesseCW on Thu May 03, 2012 at 08:25:19 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm in complete solidarity here (4+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Kamakhya, caul, JesseCW, leftykook

                            I didn't make my earlier post with the intention of providing a launching pad for advocating street brawls. To the contrary. If the purpose is to avoid violence you don't initiate violence. In the instances I presented I never put my hands on anyone, although I did have to absorb a few blows on one or two occasions.

                            I didn't choose to do so because I'm a pacifist; I'm not a pacifist. I believe in the right and even the obligation, of personal and collective self-defense. But the means one employs must be guided by the ends in view. If the occupy movement is opposed to violent tactics, it can't employ them against a select few. To do so would be as deadly to the movement's effectiveness as any of the actions attributed to Black Bloc tactics.

                            That said, there are serious questions concerning solidarity that must be addressed. I believe that anarchists and left libertarians have a special obligation in this regard. Ultimately, they must decide whether they want to be part of a broad movement, with all the obligations and limitations that entails, or whether they simply want to use that movement as a mechanism for promoting a particular tactical agenda.

                            Regardless of the ultimate outcome, that is a decision that needs to be made sooner rather than later and in the full light of day.  

                          •  Everyone has the right to use their voice and to (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            leftykook

                            put their own body on the line for their values.

                            The way to stop people bent on breaking windows for kicks is the same as the way to stop people bent on breaking our will, our dignity, our environment, and our families for profit.

                            Your vote is your consent.

                            by JesseCW on Fri May 04, 2012 at 02:18:50 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Can't argue with that comment, Jesse... (0+ / 0-)

                            "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

                            by leftykook on Fri May 04, 2012 at 02:55:49 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  JesseCW, (re ""put yourself between") (0+ / 0-)

                      the "put yourself between" tactic probably wouldn't work. Window breakers often use tactics to preclude that. Watch some May Day window breaking vids to see what I mean.

                      Also, realistically, you are not going to always have committed (not to mention trained) people on the spot to do that.

                      I like where you are coming from, but this idea won't work.

                      My vote is for no masks (unless tear-gassed).

                      Resistance Is Fertile - Occupy

                      by Sean X on Fri May 04, 2012 at 12:40:22 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  I like the "Other Actions" plan... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Arilca Mockingbird, roadbear

                the Occupy real estate actions in particular, preventing foreclosures/evictions seems top me to be particularly effective action, a combination of ACTUALLY DOING STUFF that helps people, while demonstrating against the Bankers....

                "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

                by leftykook on Thu May 03, 2012 at 03:24:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Sitting on people and forcibly unmasking them (3+ / 0-)

              is almost certainly assault. Just sayin'.

              'Betting against Facebook since 2012'

              by VictorLaszlo on Thu May 03, 2012 at 03:35:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  So. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                leftykook, Matt Z

                We might have to spend the night in jail? Well no. Our cause is not worth that, is it?

                GOP: Bankers, billionaires, suckers, and dupes.

                by gzodik on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:01:36 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  that was sorta my point... (0+ / 0-)

                the original comment I was responding to was one that suggested unmasking people, which, as far as I know, is assault in itself....merely touching someone is assault, right?  So if someone is going to stop people from Doing Bad Stuff, ya might as well get 200 like-minded folks to carefully sit on the malefactors, rather than merely pulling their masks off...since even touching them is potentially criminal, ya may as well get yer risk's worth of effect!

                "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

                by leftykook on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:24:27 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  There is a fine distinction. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Larsstephens

          If someone is engaged in a forcible felony (like assault) its generally legal to use force to stop them (check local laws first).  

          If possible take a picture of their unmasked face or photo ID.  There are tools to compare the photo to the online universe of sources.  

          Beyond this, I would refer to G2Geek for advice.  

          Under capitalism man exploits man, under communism the roles are reversed.

          by DavidMS on Thu May 03, 2012 at 08:33:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  You ready to take them in a fight? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gzodik

        Because these assholes don't hesitate to gang up on the first person that opposes them and beat the crap out of them as an example.

        Silly string isn't going to do anything, other than get you tackled, punched, kicked and hit with dowels or clubs.  Occupy demonstrators need to organize in advance to deal with Black Bloc. Responders need to confront, surround, and physically prevent the BB from committing mayhem. If they persist, bring in the Occupy Ninjas

        You can tell Monopoly is an old game because there's a luxury tax and rich people can go to jail.

        by Simian on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:50:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Assault them to show how opposed to violence (6+ / 0-)

        as a tactic you are.

        Gotcha.

        Your vote is your consent.

        by JesseCW on Thu May 03, 2012 at 03:18:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Violence might not be be necessary. (0+ / 0-)

          Surround them, crowd them, shout them down?

          GOP: Bankers, billionaires, suckers, and dupes.

          by gzodik on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:04:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm responding to "pull off their masks". (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ZhenRen

            Setting aside the fact that I've got issues with people who have never shown up to any GA babbling on the internet about what OWS ought to be...

            That's assault, and it's violent.  What's more, it's violence against persons, not property.

            I can't stand what JamesGG is doing to my country or the way he's serving the plutocrats by doing all he can to discredit their strongest opposition - but that doesn't mean I'd sink to trying to out him let alone go pawing at his face if I met him in public.

            Your vote is your consent.

            by JesseCW on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:20:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Another angle on Black Block...Obvious (5+ / 0-)

    Our enemies in the corporate state will, if they have not already, take advantage of this by joining them....just like they created the Tea Party.  Who knows.  Maybe they created the Black Block.   They know they can't win out in the open and that violence is death to the movement.

  •  You FILM every single one of these violence (9+ / 0-)

    bas'turds and make copies and turn them in.

    We are Occupy by peaceful protest for "THEY" (the 1%) breaking the Law.

    This is a Black Op tactic specious at best.

    No one is permitted to do evil in my name EVER.


    PLEASE ☺ - Help Stop Mitt (the Pitts) Romney from Stealing [☻] the POTUS!

    by laserhaas on Thu May 03, 2012 at 11:53:35 AM PDT

  •  I confronted Black Bloc @ Oakland May Day (56+ / 0-)

    Me: Fuck you guys! Go back to the suburbs.

    BB: Fuck you, asshole.

    Me: How come you never initiate your own actions, you just attach to ours like parasites?

    BB: You should respect a "diversity of tactics."

    Me: I don't respect you trashing mom and pop stores, they are the 99%.

    BB: Fuck you.

    ME: Show your faces, you pussies.

    BB: Show your dick.

    (Needless to say, not the most productive conversation. But I got a few pats on the back from regular folks who though it was courageous to confront these thugs.)

    "Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed." -- Vaclav Havel

    by greendem on Thu May 03, 2012 at 11:53:56 AM PDT

  •  What's the old joke? (30+ / 0-)

    The cops are easy to spot...

    They're the ones talking about guns and dynamite and hitting back at "THE MAN."

    /snark

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Thu May 03, 2012 at 11:56:22 AM PDT

  •  Much as I disavow this tactic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pgm 01

    under 99% of circumstances, the movement's fundamental principle is non-hierarchy and to allow for diversity of responses.

    Other the other, it also embraces transparency, particularly for public acts and also the right to express disagreements with tactics.  You can also walkaway from these tactics when presented with them.

    "A Republic, if you can keep it."

    by Publius2008 on Thu May 03, 2012 at 11:58:20 AM PDT

    •  Chris Hedges and Amin Husain debated (8+ / 0-)

      the tactic on Democracy Now

      CHRIS HEDGES: My concern is that the tactics of people who identify themselves as Black Bloc—i.e. petty vandalism, taunting the police, covering your faces—are the portal by which the agents provocateurs can enter and destroy the movement. The power of the Occupy movement is that it is a mainstream movement. It expresses and articulates the grievances of the mainstream, which are not articulated during this political process. They are not articulated on MSNBC or Fox or any of the other commercial, corporate networks
      And so, my criticism of the Black Bloc is one over tactic. And I will just conclude by saying I’m not a pacifist. I was in Sarajevo during the war. Human beings can be pushed to a point—you were in East Timor—where violence is the only way that they can protect themselves, their families, their communities. But we’re not there yet. And hopefully we’ll never get there.
      AMIN HUSAIN: Well, I mean, I respect Chris Hedges a great deal, and he’s been a great supporter of the movement. I do think think that the word "movement" constrains our thinking. And I think, in the 21st century, where capitalism is everywhere, there needs to require a new type of struggle and reconceptualization of how that works. I think the way decisions get made in Occupy is by dialogue and by impacting each other in our way of thinking and growing together and building power within and amongst each other. And the statement—the concerns, though valid—and I was in the Palestinian uprising—
      Our actions, by taking public space and having and doing mutual aid type of stuff—and I am—I don’t identify myself as an anarchist. I am coming from a strategic standpoint. Nothing is off the table. You empower individuals. You know—you don’t disempower them. There are smart people that are making strategic decisions over here. It’s an oversimplification of—to just say that the movement needs to make a decision without really kind of rethinking what—how we work.
      I think both sides do have a valid point.  Right now I would lean toward black bloc doing more harm than good because Occupy is still in the building up stage where it needs to bring in more people.  Alinsky talked about the class stratification in Rules, the poor have almost nothing to lose so they will join the fight, but it is the middle who would like more and are afraid to join in and lose what they have who you also need to involve.  Black bloc tactics could turn away those who are afraid of losing what they have while the overall Occupy movement helps those same people feel empowered to push for change.
    •  Guy Fawkes masks...? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, Larsstephens, Sharon Wraight

      As much as I support the OWS movement, I find the claim that it "embraces transparency" a but spurious.

      What separates us, divides us, and diminishes the human spirit.

      by equern on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:14:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, maybe it's time to say that some responses (0+ / 0-)

      are not okay.

  •  For god's sake, no (13+ / 0-)

    I wish I didn't have to work or I'd point out some of the glaring flaws in this.  I'll try to write something later.

    And there's no K in black bloc.

    There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

    by AoT on Thu May 03, 2012 at 12:01:14 PM PDT

  •  Ollie (10+ / 0-)

    Thanks for making the distinction that not all, or even most anarchists are BB.

    How do some of the children of Socialist rebel?

    They become Anarchist.

    The Anarchist in our family is completely non-violent. Won't even eat meat.

    (even votes Dem, like me, so maybe we are both closet dems, shh)

    Solidarity Forever, for the Union makes us strong.-Ralph Chaplin, 1915

    by JayRaye on Thu May 03, 2012 at 12:04:26 PM PDT

  •  Happy to support peaceful anarchists who sincerely (4+ / 0-)

    want progress & a better world.

    Happy to help the police arrest violent anarchists who egoically insist that theirs is the only method to achieve progress & a better world.

    Before elections have their consequences, Activism has consequences for elections.

    by Leftcandid on Thu May 03, 2012 at 12:21:08 PM PDT

  •  Occupy is about protecting society (13+ / 0-)

    whether it's protecting society from parasites on wall street or mother fuckers who vandalize property

    these people are criminals.  just like people who show up to a ball game with the intent to start a brawl.  they need to be shunned.  you should be calling them out as a group and kicking them out as a group.

    i think my cat is possessed by dick cheney

    by Anton Bursch on Thu May 03, 2012 at 12:26:18 PM PDT

  •  We had one who was BB and (12+ / 0-)

    We pretty much kept our distance the entire time, shouted down his angry chants, and filmed him from many angles.

    He went away

    --Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson--

    by idbecrazyif on Thu May 03, 2012 at 12:26:57 PM PDT

  •  Security (7+ / 0-)

    Hmm. I know various occupy groups sponsors legal rights, medic training, etc for folks attending marches.

    It seems it is time to organize event security and put together security details specifically to address the kind of violence that is attributed to Black Black. So if an incident breaks out, a group of Occupy members are ready to band together and contain a situation. In other words, Occupy needs bouncers.

    Just a thought.

  •  Well said. (5+ / 0-)

    I'm from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner Wing of the Democratic Party!

    by TomP on Thu May 03, 2012 at 12:36:44 PM PDT

  •  Not sure if declaring ANYONE as "enemy" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OllieGarkey, TimmyB, Lily O Lady

    is a good idea, or in the spirit that Occupy is trying to achieve....."threat" maybe?

    That said yeah, you are right.

    I wonder how King and Gandhi dealt with the same problem?

    •  Remember, these folks like their anonymity. (8+ / 0-)

      They can take off their masks and black uniforms, and be occupiers again.

      THe black block isn't people, the black block is a tactic.

      An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail.

      by OllieGarkey on Thu May 03, 2012 at 12:50:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OllieGarkey, AoT

        and that fact also answers the subject of: Argument 2: We shouldn't get rid of the black block because we might need them.

        IF there is ever a time and circumstance to pull the bandanas back up, I don't think Bloc-ers will get all pouty and say no, lol.

        I guess the thought I would try to communicate would be along the lines of 'let's see what we can achieve non-violently first.'

        I think the PR deck is too stacked against ANY form of violence right now.

        If, however, for instance, if Rmoney gets elected ........

        To sum up, Occupy has already spectacularly changed the frame and moved the Overton Window through non-violence, I see no use in changing a successful tactic at this point.

        •  Oh and to return to my original pedantry (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT

          As you say BB is a tactic, and tactics are not "enemies".

          Why (and here i ask you to visualize a big smart-assed, but friendly, grin, lol) that would be like declaring a War on Terror, and what kind of idiot would do that!?!?!

          ;-)

      •  That should be in the diary itself. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z

        "They can take off their masks and black uniforms, and be occupiers again." That is what we want.

        Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end.

        by rcbowman on Thu May 03, 2012 at 08:34:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I suspect that they didn't have the same (0+ / 0-)

      problem to any material extent.

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Thu May 03, 2012 at 05:34:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I suspect that the destructive extremists (5+ / 0-)

    are mostly supported by 1% hired ringleaders who are themselves unaware of and well-distanced from their benefactors, the same ones who are the sources of the major ultra rightwing movements.  It would simply be another of the seemingly endless strategies to destroy the left.  And at any time, but especially today, it wouldn't be that difficult to find enough angry and hostile people to follow nor to hide a complicated filtering of the small amounts of money needed to create impetus.

    99%er. 100% opposed to fundamentalist/neoconservative/neoliberal oligarchs.

    by blueoasis on Thu May 03, 2012 at 12:37:59 PM PDT

    •  I suspect that you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT

      haven't really thought about the violence/nonviolence paradigm. (I was going to go with something insulting, as I HATE being called an agent of the state, but I restrained myself)

      Not everyone who does not agree with your tactics is an agent provocateur.

      Check this articleout for a good examination. It's titled "The Illegitimacy of Violence, and
      the Violence of Illegitimacy"

      And please, be careful when you attack other people in the movement as agents provocateur. It's destructive, hurts the cause, and fragments the coalition of the left. I could argue the same about people who keep the bounds of protest within the "acceptable" (read: usually ineffective) limits. Permit protesting has not been an effective tool. But I don't argue that (except for right then. But that doesn't count).

      "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

      by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:17:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting Note About the Cleveland "Occupy" Bomb (5+ / 0-)

    arrests a couple days ago.

    This was 5 young self-described anarchists who had been active in Occupy Cleveland but were frustrated that the group, and no other individual participants, would support any kind of violent action from property damage on up.

    The local public radio news report around noon yesterday mentioned that FBI informant(s) were aware of the 5 at the Occupy activities but the informant had made it clear that Occupy had nothing to do with their activity.

    As we are at anniversary time for the 1970 blowups when there was so much provocateuring and use of isolated people or incidents as excuses for broad law enforcement actions, that seeing the FBI pass on using this to come down on Occupy is a welcome sign.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu May 03, 2012 at 12:50:58 PM PDT

    •  Are you sure about this? (4+ / 0-)
      As we are at anniversary time for the 1970 blowups when there was so much provocateuring and use of isolated people or incidents as excuses for broad law enforcement actions, that seeing the FBI pass on using this to come down on Occupy is a welcome sign.
      Not only was the timing suspect, but I understand the FBI lead these guys to the use of explosives, like they have in the past, whereas all the 5 wanted to do was take down a bank sign, not blow up a bridge.  I think there is more to this story than is out there right now.
      I don't give the FBI a pass to pass on anything they can feather their cap with.

      Well, I guess I don't know what you mean by "equal justice under the law." - Bushy McSpokesperson

      by gatorcog on Thu May 03, 2012 at 01:27:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Black Block is NOT Occupy's "Greatest Enemy" (10+ / 0-)

    Such a claim is absurd on its face.  The 1%, along every tool they use to remain in power, is Occupy's "greatest enemy."  

    In the big scheme of things, they are, at most, a nuisance.  

    However, your suggestions are appropriate way to deal with this nuisance.  I especially like 3 & 4.      

    3. That people acting violently be asked to leave.
    4. That General Assemblies organize response teams designed to put themselves nonviolently between black block thugs and the people and properties they're trying to attack.
         
    •  They're allies of the 1% (Occupy's enemy)... (14+ / 0-)

      ...in trying to shut down peaceful Occupy actions—and thus they are just what you name, one of the tools the 1% uses to remain in power and attack Occupy.

      Whether wittingly or unwittingly, those who engage in violence and vandalism in connection with Occupy are giving law enforcement more excuses to act in violence against peaceful Occupy movements.

      Whether or not the black bloc types are agents provocateur is beside the point, really; either way, they know they're provoking more violence by engaging in acts of violence and vandalism, and are intentionally setting up violent confrontations.

      Whether they're doing it in the honest and rather ridiculous hope that the people will rise up with them and attack the police, or in the double-agent desire to give the police to attack the whole movement, is a meaningless distinction.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Thu May 03, 2012 at 01:00:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You might have a point if it weren't for the fact (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TimmyB, progreen, protectspice, UnaSpenser

        that the police were just as bad if not worse before there was any major black bloc actions.  Scott didn't get shot in Oakland because the black bloc broke windows, he got shot because the police are vicious thugs.  If you look at the various protests more property destruction and confrontation with the police generally leads to fewer arrests.

        There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

        by AoT on Thu May 03, 2012 at 01:22:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  True, but this gives them more pretext. (6+ / 0-)

          If the movement stays peaceful, the public turns against the cops. We saw that with Occupy Oakland and UC Davis... the right-wingers were their usual assholish selves, but most of the public said "that's unbelievably excessive" and there was a lot of negative publicity for the police.

          If the movement starts breaking things and hurting people, the public is a lot less sympathetic, and the police can engage in violence without worrying about as much negative publicity. It's easy copy for newspaper or TV... the small-business owner whose window got smashed, or the regular person who left her apartment in the morning to find her tires slashed because she lives on the wrong street. The Black Bloc are doing the 1%'s work for them, whether wittingly or not.

          "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

          by JamesGG on Thu May 03, 2012 at 01:29:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But they don't need pretext (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TimmyB

            They will move in and use violence no matter what, no matter how much support the movement has or doesn't have.  At least in New York and Oakland.  I've yet to see a situation where the police were seriously deterred by public sympathy.

            There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

            by AoT on Thu May 03, 2012 at 01:33:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's the thing about deterrence... (6+ / 0-)

              ...in situations like these—while there has been police violence in response to nonviolent Occupy movements, it's impossible to demonstrate either of our claims: that the cops wouldn't have been more violent if the Occupiers they acted against were breaking windows and throwing bottles, or that they would have been. It's a bit of a speculative point, really, on either end.

              I'm inclined to think, though, that if Occupiers in camps being broken up—like, say, Zucotti Park, or McPherson Square—had reacted en masse by throwing things at cops and breaking windows, the movement would have a body count by now.

              "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

              by JamesGG on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:02:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think you're right about New York (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rcbowman

                One of the most frustrating things about these conversations is that blanket condemnation doesn't address issues like this.  When you are just constantly yelling at people that they should never do something then when there are other reasons not to do it they will ignore you.

                There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                by AoT on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:17:23 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  So come up with a different tactic. It got to the (0+ / 0-)

                point last year when the movement seemed to be about nothing except whether people could stay in parks or not.

            •  it's early days yet (0+ / 0-)

              OWS is less than a year old. Sufficient support, enough to alter police behavior won't come quickly. Nor will it ever completely alter police behavior. See India right up to partition or Memphis after the voting rights act.

            •  "pretext" implies a media fixation (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joe wobblie, protectspice

              We have to look good for 'the general population' (which of course means middle-class white people).

        •  Okay, since the cops are thugs.. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis, hooper

          ...we get to have OUR thugs too?

          "Our Thugs are SO MUCH BETTER than their thugs..."
          Yeah, that's an effective tactic...just GUARANTEED to get sympathy and solidarity with the movement...

          When the cops attack peaceful people on teevee, they look bad to the public.

          When Bla Blo troublemakers and agents-provocateurs smash windows in grocery stores on teevee, the movement and it's objectives look bad and are undermined.

          "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

          by leftykook on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:17:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  So, do you want to have a movement that makes (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kamakhya

          a point, so people become aware of problems, or do you just want to have a movement about a group of folks on one side and the police on the other side?

      •  No, They are Misguided Allies of the 99% (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, VictorLaszlo

        Let's go through your list of horrors.

        First, they don't try to "shut down" peaceful Occupy actions.  At most, they attempt to destroy private property during Occupy actions.  For the most part, it seems that those resorting to these tactics are not trying to shut down the protest, but to take it in another direction.  

        That being said, they seem to me to be allies who are taking inappropriate actions.  Compare them to the 1%, police, who have actually shut down Occupy actions all over the country.

        That leads to my second point, they don't give law enforcement more excuses to act with violence.  Law enforcement has already acted with violence many, many times to nonviolent protestors.  Black block tactics had nothing to do with it.  There is no evidence of any "cause and effect relationship" between black block tactics and police violence against nonviolent protestors.  Furthermore, the police don't get to beat you merely because some other guy 1,000 miles away broke a window.  This claim is absurd.

        I do agree that engaging in violence is unhelpful.  However, the protestors who are breaking windows are allies who need to be prevented from breaking windows.  They are not Occupy's "worst enemy."  Instead, they are misguided allies who need to provided with other outlets to vent their rage.                      
         

        •  Sorry if that was worded poorly. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          highacidity, Larsstephens, Mgleaf
          First, they don't try to "shut down" peaceful Occupy actions.
          I didn't say they did; apologies if my wording was unclear. My intended meaning there was that they're the allies of the 1% in the 1%'s attempts to shut down Occupy protests, in that vandalism and violence from Black Bloc types provides more pretext to send in the cops, and could turn public opinion against Occupy.
          That leads to my second point, they don't give law enforcement more excuses to act with violence.  Law enforcement has already acted with violence many, many times to nonviolent protestors.
          And when the police did so to nonviolent Occupy movements before the Black Bloc started bringing in their pathetic acts of cowardice, they found that the public, by and large, wasn't very sympathetic.

          The UC Davis police chief had to resign, for example, after the outcry following the pepper-spray incident; had the people pepper-sprayed by that cop been Black Bloc-ers breaking windows and throwing shit at the cops instead of nonviolent protesters in a sit-in, do you seriously think that she wouldn't still have her job?

          Instead, they are misguided allies who need to provided with other outlets to vent their rage.
          Why are we somehow responsible for providing them with other outlets to "vent their rage"? Why are they not responsible for their choices in how to "vent their rage"? The 1% pisses me off too, but I choose to vent my rage in ways that don't involve vandalism or violence. Why is the onus not on them to vent their rage in appropriate ways?

          "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

          by JamesGG on Thu May 03, 2012 at 01:58:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You get nothing by branding them "Enemies" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT

            Exactly what will Occupy gain by treating black block protestors as enemies?

            What is the plan?  Brand them as enemies and then what?  Use violence against them?  Kill them, smash them, or just beat them when they show up on a public street or park?  Is that the plan?

            If using violence against them is not the plan, then you shouldn't act as if they are movements' "worst enemy."  If the plan is to try to convince them of the error of their ways, then don't you think the movement would have a better chance of convincing them not to smash windows if they were treated with respect as allies?

            And if they can't be convinced to forgo violence, then as I wrote above,

            I especially like 3 & 4.      

            3. That people acting violently be asked to leave.
            4. That General Assemblies organize response teams designed to put themselves nonviolently between black block thugs and the people and properties they're trying to attack.

            •  Sorry, they are enemies. Why is it that we can't (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mgleaf, Matt Z

              be clear about this?  

              Are we afraid to criticize anyone who claims to be "left"?  Are we really so naive that we think nobody who claims to be left or "for the people" or a "revolutionary" can possibly be a moron, asshole, criminal, etc?

              3 & 4 are good, yes, but how about simply renouncing violence?  Why can't we do that?

              How about rejecting this pseudo-intelligent "diversity of tactics" crap, unless it specifically rules out violence as part of the range of acceptable diversity?  Would shooting people be "diverse"?

              They are enemies.

               

      •  oh, law enforcement needs an excuse? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, TimmyB, AgavePup

        Huh. Didn't look like it to me. Well, littering's a good excuse. Or "looking like a hippie". Did you just reach for something in your pocket?

        Let's be clear:

        1) Police have never needed an excuse to be violent. They violently cleared Zuccotti with no "violence" from the protesters.
        2) The media have never needed an excuse to claim protesters are violent or to write about them negatively or dismissively. They have never needed an excuse to delegitimize a movement. See: thousands of articles/pieces about how Occupy protesters are dirty hippies, uninformed, using drugs, littering, destroying property by being there, or just plain crazy.
        3) Yep. Honest and ridiculous hope. I agree. I don't do it anymore because I lost that hope and moved to mainstream political movements. But I support them in doing it. Hell, I didn't think that a bunch of folks camping out in Tahrir square could overthrow the dictator of Egypt, but a small but determined group of people went out there and risked it, fought police, destroyed property, and stayed out there. Wait, that sounds like the black bloc....

        Yes, it's unrealistic, idealistic, quixotic. But the same kind of folks were successful in several places. Hell, what were the odds that a fruit vendor self-immolating would be the catalyst for a number of revolutions? They'll be wrong until they're right, and when they're right and the time is ripe for people to...I dunno, fight the power or something...we'll be grateful that they took a stand. Or cursing them because the government that followed the one we overthrew will be a fascist dictatorship. Or cheering them after that fascist dictatorship is overthrown. Or cursing them after they set up a group that executes everyone not faithful to the revolution. (This is the French Revolution, by the way).

        I guess the point is that we can't tell on the short view what was helpful or not. Though we can probably say that the 20-year old kid scribbling a circle-A on the bank sign with a sharpie really didn't do a whole heck of a lot, I don't blame him for it when the media cover that million-person event with a paragraph on his graffiti.

        Here's my argument, in a nutshell. They make up excuses. They lie. They illegitimize you however they can. And they don't need any help to do it. Does it make a difference when someone destroys property rather than just littering/occupying/being a hippie? I don't know, maybe, for the people who are reading more than just the headlines.

        "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

        by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:35:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, it makes a difference. And the U.S. isn't at (0+ / 0-)

          the point of being Mubarek's Egypt or the French nobility.  I'm not saying it won't get there, but it's not there now.  So tactics that might have been necessary in Egypt or 1790's France aren't a good model for here and now.

  •  Thank you for noting.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    black bloc are not anarchists...!

    For the most part young folks here in Denver that are associated with A-stuff..are

    A. very politically aware
    B. more prankster than destructor

    They have been a part of important political actions and especially occupy Denver..

    Every goddamn day I think about Bradley Manning!

  •  Chris Hedges on Black Bloc (9+ / 0-)

    Chris wrote an important article on them in February. He argues that they don't have a place in the movement.

    OWS is a movement against the power structure. It can be won if the population and the police realize that we are all in the 99%. Black bloc tactics can be used to discredit the movement.

    Not sure how to police OWS.

    Here is the Feb article

    http://www.truthdig.com/...

    Chris was a war correspondent for over 20 years. He knows his stuff.

    Here is an April 12,  2012 video of a speech on the Black Bloc at the left forum

    http://www.truthdig.com/...

  •  You claim that the BB makes it easier (8+ / 0-)

    for agents provacateur to infiltrate OWS. But how do you know that the BB isn't ACTUAL agents provacateur pretending to be violent anarchists, in order to turn the media and public against OWS and give the police an excuse to crack down on peaceful protesters? I find it extremely peculiar that the police, which has been so "effective" in cracking down on and arresting peaceful protesters doing nothing harmful or offensive or illegal (or, at worst, engages in civil disobedience), was so ineffective in cracking down on and arresting the BB on May Day.

    VERY peculiar.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Thu May 03, 2012 at 01:01:23 PM PDT

    •  Not that there aren't actual violent activists (6+ / 0-)

      or anarchists or whatever we want to call them who aren't aligned with or working for the police, of course. But something about the nature of more recent violent attacks just strikes me as not genuine, i.e. manufactured false flag black ops.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Thu May 03, 2012 at 01:04:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  as I mentioned earlier (0+ / 0-)

      They need an excuse?

      "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

      by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:36:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, it makes things easier for them (0+ / 0-)

        Legally and in terms of PR. So yes, they do. For now.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Thu May 03, 2012 at 06:17:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  maybe (0+ / 0-)

          the raids on the occupy camps seemed pretty inexusable to me. They did arrest media without reason, violently at times, keep journalists away, etc.
          And they got away with it...

          "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

          by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 06:49:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  They're looking to maximize their position (0+ / 0-)

            I'm sure that they've consulted with "experts" in such things. I.e. professional ratfuckers, former CIA, School of the Americas, etc.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Thu May 03, 2012 at 07:22:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Y'know, I think one of the most effective things (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sean X

            in changing public opinion about the war in Iraq was Camp Casey.  They did not one thing that was illegal, just patiently and with dignity kept on doing what they were doing.

            I'm not saying Camp Casey is a specific tactic that the 99% can use.  I'm saying find a tactic that's not illegal.  Even staying in a public space on and on forever is something the police are going to try to break up eventually.

    •  Exactly. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      Nothing new... It's a police favorite (not the best link, but it might help get someone started in their personal research).

      Be it cops (on their own or on orders), winger kids, provocateurs directly recruited by the 1%, or random nuts, the success of OWS provides an almost irresistible target.  

      Money speaks for money, the devil for his own... Who comes to speak for the skin and the bone?

      by LeftOverAmerica on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:51:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Shocking! Simply shocking! (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tool, Frank Dewey, KJG52, hooper, Mgleaf, Matt Z

    Who would ever have thought that a movement that is ideologically committed to having no formal agenda, no executive organ, no authorized spokespeople, and no formal policing powers could ever have been vulnerable to exploitation by extremists and agents provocateur.  I never saw that one coming.

    Next someone's going to tell me that Liberace was gay.

    Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

    by journeyman on Thu May 03, 2012 at 01:21:40 PM PDT

  •  OT-OG sent kosmail. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe wobblie

    Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Thu May 03, 2012 at 01:22:31 PM PDT

  •  Why not just loudly and consistently call them (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sean X

    cops, to their faces, with signs, and to the media.  Pound the message.

  •  I couldn't agree more with this diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, Larsstephens

    Allowing for diversity of responses is one thing, but letting one group's stupidity undercut and undermine the entire movement is another.  Their tactics are entirely counterproductive and will be latched onto by those seeking to discredit the movement in any way.  

    I agree completely with all four of the diarist's suggestions:

    1. That black block tactics (Specifically: The destruction of cameras, the attacks on property) be officially banned by General Assemblies.
    2. That black block uniforms be banned by General Assemblies, and people wearing such uniforms asked to change into civilian clothes, or leave.
    3. That people acting violently be asked to leave.
    4. That General Assemblies organize response teams designed to put themselves nonviolently between black block thugs and the people and properties they're trying to attack.

    There's another old saying, Senator: don't piss down my back and tell me it's trickle down

    by mosec on Thu May 03, 2012 at 01:47:18 PM PDT

    •  Yes, but why not a real renuciation of violence? (0+ / 0-)

      "Occupy completely rejects violence against people or destruction of property."

      Why that wording?  Just thinking, that if we said "violence against people or property" that could be used to rule out moving a fence, or standing in front of a bulldozer or truck, or blocking a doorway, or almost anything that directly cost corporate profits.  It's easy to imagine Federalists interpreting these as "violence".

      Or maybe someone has better wording or a better idea altogether?  Great.

      We can't allow anyone violent or destructive to say they're "us".  How do we do that?    

  •  Well said (7+ / 0-)

    It's easy to be a badass when you're wearing a mask and you're part of a paramilitary group. It's a hell of a lot harder to, say, sit still while a cop pepper sprays your face.

    And guess which one makes OWS look good the the MSM?

  •  The Black Bloc set me on fire in 2001 (16+ / 0-)

    Not on purpose, but that's what happened.
    True story:
    I attended the protests against George W. Bush's inauguration in 2001.  

    At one point, there were hundreds of protestors in an intersection, we'd taken over all for sides.  So someone with a black bandana covering his face decides to climb a traffic light at set an American Flag on fire...with dozens of people underneath him.

    Of course pieces of the flag fall on me & set my coat on fire.  Thankfully, the crowd around me put the fire out, no harm.  But it was still stupid (I think flag burning is dumb tactic anyway, but that's another story).  

    Since then, I've had no use for the Black Bloc.  

  •  I've got a moment so I'll address the biggest (10+ / 0-)

    problems I see in this.

    The black block is a self-styled anarchist tactic. It is not an identifiable organization.
    While it comes out of anti-authoritarian movements in Europe, specifically the autonomen in Germany doing squat defense, this isn't an anarchist tactic per se, it's just commonly used by anarchists, it can be used by any group.
    It is a method of creating violence and chaos in the streets. They desire to be an effective street-fighting force to oppose the police. They think they're being bold revolutionaries, when in actuality, they're cowards hiding behind masks, wearing a terrifying uniform.
    In Oakland yesterday the first confrontation between the black bloc and the police happened because the police moved in to arrest someone who the city had put a restraining order on, someone who had been convicted of nothing and yet was barred from being at Oscar Grant Plaza.  The black bloc defended this person from the police.  Which was successful at that time although the person was later arrested.  There are plenty of other times when this sort of action has been taken by the black bloc.  Breaking windows is far from the only thing they do.
    That uniform is generally all black clothing, and they often carry dowel rods to which black flags have been affixed.

    They start fights with the police, they destroy property, they attack other occupiers, and they give the police an excuse to attack us.

    It's completely unfair to say that starting fights with other occupiers.  Certainly, there have been cases where this has happened, mainly when people are trying to film them and they are doing something illegal, most of the time other people attack them and start fights with them.  Here in Oakland on the Nov 2nd general strike a man in full motorcycle gear tackle someone who had broken a window and started screaming "We are non-violent!" And that wasn't the only time that sort of thing has happened.

    Also, they don't give the police a reason to attack us.  The police don't need a reason, as illustrated by the fact that the worst of the police violence happened before the black bloc had done any real property destruction.  In fact there have been fewer arrests since the black bloc became more active, not more, which is what we would expect if they were the one's at fault.

    What has the Black Block accomplished?
    They protected people from the police.  They've unarrested people who couldn't afford to be arrested. They've gone into the tear gas with bandannas soaked in vinegar to treat people for inhalation.  People who have taken part in black blocs have also worked in virtually every other part of the Occupation in Oakland, from food to medics.

    There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

    by AoT on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:06:02 PM PDT

  •  I disagree (7+ / 0-)

    This may not be a popular statement, but I've been in the black block. It's a tactic. I'm glad they weren't a part of the initial Occupy stuff- it worked well because there was intense media scrutiny and a good commitment to nonviolence. Now, there isn't the same media attention, and at Oakland, the block involved. I will note- it's been involved in Oakland, and the only stories we've heard have been about Oakland. Yes, the media has painted it as violent. But that always happens. I don't understand why we divide amongst ourselves when the media says we're violent.

    Occupy was supposed to be modeled on the Arab spring, correct? I know that the media has different standards for Western and non-Western protest movements, but do you realize that "99 police stations were put to the torch, thousands of police cars were destroyed, and all of the ruling party's offices around Egypt were burned down" during those nonviolent protests?

    I'd invite you to take a look at the solidarity statementfrom Cairo, where that previous quote was taken from. I'd also invite you to examine your definition of nonviolence. Do you consider the destruction of property or the throwing back of a tear-gas canister as violence? Do you consider property as more important than life?

    Occupy was build on a fundamental disrespect for property rights. Across the country, the single defining feature was that groups "occupied" areas of property. They have been attacked for "destroying" property simply by sleeping on it.

    Here's the fundamental shift that needs to happen. You still believe that, if only we behave correctly, the media will report Occupy honestly and on the front pages. So is Occupy intended only to shift the media narrative? Do you really think that a corporate-owned media will continue reporting on a anti-corporate movement honestly? Does it matter if we make it easier or harder for them?

    What is Occupy? Is it an attempt at revolution like the Arab Spring it was modeled on, or is it an attempt to convince the middle of this country that we are legitimate and sway public opinion?

    Clearly, you hold the opinion that it is the latter. The black block believes in the former. That's the difference.

    Now, you addressed this argument, so let me take a minute to clarify. No, I don't believe throwing rocks through windows will make a difference. But I do believe you have to throw rocks through windows before you can, as the Egyptians did, burn a police station. If you want a revolution, nonviolence will not mean non-destruction of property, it will mean that nobody on our side kills anyone on their side.

    So what it comes down to is scope and limit. I, like you, am fairly pragmatic and don't believe that Occupy will result in an Egypt-type revolution (nor do I wish for our military to step in and overthrow our President. It is a sad reality that violence, or the threat of violence, is inevitable, and the group that wields the threat of violence ends up with the power. In Egypt, it was the military). But I also don't think the people who do believe it are our "greatest enemy." No, they are the people who are our allies, and until we treat them as such (and all our allies) we will fail.

    Here's the key for me. When the left has failed to achieve revolutionary change in nations world over the last 200 years, it has been largely because it fragmented. During the Spanish Civil War, communists betrayed anarchists, center-leftists sided with the conservatives, and the fascist Franco rose to power as a result. No, our enemies- our real enemies- are the corporate-owned media that report a broken window as an act of violence. Everyone who goes along with that, as you are, is tacitly agreeing to their framing.

    That frame is what will destroy the movement. If we essentially agree that a broken window is more important than a billy club to the face, that property is more important than people- they have already won. See the stories- we held ourselves nonviolent, eventually they reported that we were "destroying the parks" by occupying them. Or that we left trash, after they raided us and took our things. The idea that a movement is responsible for the behaviors of its members is another frame that will destroy us- it's been used against us already in Oakland. Fight the frame, not the people who (probably ineffectively) agree with your overall goals and aims.

    "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

    by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:08:45 PM PDT

    •  hm (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT

      I see someone else noticed the presence of a "k". I debated whether to use it or not but elected to spell it in the manner of the diarist. Because you get the idea.

      "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

      by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:10:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dumb m-fers, it's Occupy not Destroy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OllieGarkey

      I'm with that guy.  This parsing seems like bullshit to me and the black block a bunch of morons who don't understand politics and get off on their own drama.  

      You point to our 'real enemies' but you would defend these assholes who make it impossible to actually win politically against those enemies.  

      When the truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

      by Sun dog on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:37:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "win politically" (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, JesseCW, VelvetElvis

        Is this the goal of Occupy? I thought it was to occupy those spaces, not protest. The goal of this tactic used in the Arab Spring was not to convince others of the rightness of their goals, but to simply create (and defend) autonomous space. We were not willing to defend our autonomous spaces from police attacks because we fetishize nonviolence as a dogma, not a tactic. If we had been smart, we would have utilized the black bloc to help us defend what we had established. Instead, Occupy has become a protest movement, protesting to a media hostile to our goals and eager to delegitimize us.

        "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

        by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:49:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Parasites (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mgleaf

          The vast majority of people who come out for Occupy come out with the understanding that they're part of a non-violent movement.  Some shitheads who think it's going to be productive somehow to fight street battles against the police should go ahead and have their own little event.   You preach about 'fetishizing' non-violence but you neither believe in it nor understand it at all.  

          And yes, of course "win politically."  What do you think this is all about?  You sound like you live in a comic book.  "Occupying a space," is a form of protest.  What did you think was going to happen?  Teh Left was going to win a shooting war against Teh Man?  Don't drag peaceful protesters into that.  You might as well be on Koch's payroll.  

          When the truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

          by Sun dog on Thu May 03, 2012 at 03:00:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  excuse me? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW

            im going to restrain myself for the moment at your inflammatory and asinine comments designed only to attack me in an ad hominem, but seriously, "Teh Left...Teh Man?" Don't be an asshole.

            "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

            by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 03:18:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  oops. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              OllieGarkey

              I realized I inadvertently called you an asshole, exactly what I was writing about not doing. Not real "restrained". I apologize for doing the same back at you. I'd like to respond to your ideas, but I can't quite seem to read your comment without getting pissed off at the tone. So....sorry, I'd love to have a real discussion sometime, but if you want to you'll have to repost that with just the ideas and not the....er.....unpleasant tone.

              "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

              by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 03:27:43 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Sun Dog says "Parasites". (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              OllieGarkey

              Chris Hedges went with "Cancer".

              Your Spain reference was very much on point.

              Your vote is your consent.

              by JesseCW on Thu May 03, 2012 at 03:31:43 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  although the differences re:Spain should be noted (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                joe wobblie, rcbowman

                For one thing, 2011-12 is NOT the year of an event like the summer of 1936, in which hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people spontaneously carried out a revolution, collectivized property, and put libertarian communism into practice.  That moment was preceded by some 70 years of organization and agitation.  But it should also be noted that that time period was not simply a linear path of growth until a critical point was inevitably reached- the early 1920s in particular (iirc) were a period of mutual assassinations between police and anarchists, and huge and flagrant bank robberies and so on.  Obviously we're not there either.  And such activities without a social or economic base get nowhere (although the evidence suggests that bank robberies are a great way to build one).

                •  well, of course (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  joe wobblie, JesseCW

                  anarchist bank robberies would be great.

                  No, seriously though- the point was not that we're at some sort of Spanish Civil War tipping point, just that the left has a tendency to fall apart, with one subgroup attacking the other subgroup. I've seen so many political action groups disintegrate because of the differences. We're successful when we act together in a coalition. It's why I defend Obama at times as well- it's important to remain together in order to succeed, even while offering much-needed constructive criticism.

                  The broader idea was excluding people because we disagree with their tactics is harmful to the movement. Though it should be noted that the videos above show tactic-less property destruction (those are not legitimate targets).

                  Nice grasp on the historical events, though. I love that time period. I don't think revolution will happen in this country, at least not without a collapse first.

                  "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

                  by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 06:18:14 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Ah, why the sarcasm? (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    joe wobblie, protectspice

                    Sure they'd be great!  Hell, we could mail every household their own copy of "Fighting For Our Lives".  Maybe hire a big-shot legal team for Marie Mason.  See what Derrick Jensen would need to be paid to just go away.

                    As for the left falling apart- since when are Anarchists on the left?  I don't know if we have a greater enemy than Communists, in particular- Social Democracy is decent if not perfect (although, of course, temporary); even Fascism could likely be survived, or even defeated outright if it wasn't for Communists (whether in Spain, where there was a resistance which was betrayed by them, or in Germany, where the resistance was prevented by them entirely).  But Communism?  We're the first ones who would be rounded up!

                    To say we're on the left- it implies we're on the same political spectrum!

                    Now, that doesn't mean we don't sympathize with individuals.  I pity Progressive Democrats.  I try to remember that Liberals come from a position of privilege, and they have a hard time recognizing it.  But there are limits to the degree I'm willing to say we're on the same side.  To put down principle for the sake of short-term political efficacy- no, certainly not; that's a lesson that's been taught too many times.

                    If that means a group must dissolve, so be it; that's a key principle of Consensus (although the main one which has been neglected by Occupy).  Maybe it would be best if Occupy has a split of some sort- but an Anarchist rather than Marxist split- meaning we stay in solidarity but out of each others' way.

                    As for collapse, I think it's in process, and the next 10-30 years may be a moment in which the State will be vulnerable; unfortunately not many others seem to see it that way.

                    •  not sarcastic (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      rcbowman

                      just...err....informed to the realities.

                      I agree with a lot of what you say. I'll say I might be more willing to form coalitions- I am, in fact mindful of the short-term goals. I don't think that we need to be in coalitions for short-term goals when there's a vulnerable moment. That, I think, is the lesson of history. If it's a real fight with fascism, the communists most definitely do not have our backs, nor do the liberals. I do agree with the idea of Consensus.

                      My concern is only what I've seen- it's really damn hard to get folks to form consensus. Few are even clear on what the range of political philosophies are, much less what they believe. Once occupy grew beyond the initial handful of people, it was going to lose that consensus. Is that a bad thing? Well, the message was diluted.

                      As for me, I think we should build ground-up. Mini- mutual aid societies built on occupied territory, examples of what may come.

                      Anyway, I'm loving the conversation, but I've spent all day ignoring my graduate school work. I need to wrap it up so I can graduate in a couple weeks.

                      "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

                      by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 07:55:58 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  i shouldn't (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT, OllieGarkey

            hide-rate because I'm involved. But in this string you've called me a "dumb m-fer", a "parasite", a "shithead", who "might as well be on Koch's payroll". And then proceeded to mock me. That has no place in a discussion. I didn't call you names. I'm not going to continue to engage you, because you are clearly not interested in having a rational discussion and are more interested in mocking and having a flame war that I want no part of.

            "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

            by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 03:24:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not you (0+ / 0-)

              In regards specifically to "Dumb M-Fers and Parasites."  I'm talking about the people in the street throwing rocks and  fucking up what the vast majority of people in Occupy seem to be trying to do.  I don't think you're doing that but the fact that you seemed to be defending it as, perhaps, maybe kind of a good idea set me off.  

              The 'dumb m-fers' was literally a quote from the video in the diary.  

              Parasites refers to this small group basically latching onto a much larger group and destroying what they're trying to do.  

              Yes, your comments set me off.  And, yeah, apparently it's something that needs to be talked about so my anger doesn't help that.  That's my bungling part in the irony of this all, I suppose, because I'm trying to use anger to illustrate how outrageous and wrong headed I believe your ideas to be in this regard.  

              When the truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

              by Sun dog on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:49:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, it is. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sun dog, Larsstephens, Mgleaf

          The occupiers involved in the Arab Spring had no democratic  recourse. That was the whole point of their rebellion. Their elections were rigged. They had no say, no other way to effect change.

          We live in a democratic country. You may not always like what happens, but the majority do, or we wouldn't have the result we do. Our job as activists is to change the minds of the majority.

          We have no mechanism to effect revolutionary change. There simply aren't enough people who agree with that approach: see this diary if you don't think so. You're talking to the left fringe here, and they don't agree.

          I've said again and again: I can see a freeway bridge coming into town from my kitchen window. There will be no revolution as long as I see SUVs coming to work over that bridge. It's as simple as that.

          The beauty of Occupy is that we got positive publicity for the idea that the 99% should take control. We need that positive publicity. It's worth more than all the money that the Koch's of this country can throw up against us.

          The Black Bloc endangers all of us by allowing the 1% to control the debate, and thus the politics, and thus the result of the next election. That's a terrible danger, and a terrible fate to be responsible for.

          People wish to be settled, only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them. - Emerson

          by CarbonFiberBoy on Thu May 03, 2012 at 03:50:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  As if the 1% doesn't control the debate? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joe wobblie

            Before it was "omg black bloc!" it was "omg scabies and rape!"
            Occupy is not a political movement, in any case, and will continue to give exactly zero fucks about the "result of the next election".  One of the, if not THE, main reasons Occupy exists is frustration with Democrats!

          •  Two points: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gabjoh

            First and foremost, it doesn't take a majority of a country to foment a revolution, you could do it with about 20% of the national population, and far less if it focused on one area.  There are most certainly people who view the black bloc as a legitimate tactic to make that happen, regardless of the real possibility.

            The Black Bloc endangers all of us by allowing the 1% to control the debate,
            No, the 1% controls the media, which controls the debate.  That changed slightly with occupy.  We control the debate here.  Honestly, the fact that we're actually discussing the efficacy of the black bloc as a tactic kind of shows how  much we control the debate as opposed to the constant denunciations from the media.

            There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

            by AoT on Thu May 03, 2012 at 06:21:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh yeah, sure . . . (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Larsstephens

              We control the debate here? Who's that we? Are you personally in control? Looking at the recent rec numbers, it looks like the BB is taking a drubbing.

              And even if I give you the semantic case here, this is what, 300k people at the most? .1%? In terms of actual viewers of course it's closer to .0001%, most of whom don't agree with the BB or with any form of violence.

              So that's a pretty small number. It sure isn't any 20%. After Bush v. Gore was announced, I got on the Internet to see where the demonstration was going to be. I have a pitchfork. Crickets. You sure as hell can't blame the 1% for that. They don't control the intertubes. The vast majority of people are happy with the governance of this country. Deal with it.

              Deal with it by trying to create political change. You really don't want Robespierre. You can't have that, even if you did want it.

              As I said, the reason the the 1% is resuming their control of the debate is exactly because of the BB. They, either purposely or uncaringly, played right into their hands.

              You watch that Rock Center bit on the Situation Room? The most moving part was seeing Obama talk about calling W.

              People wish to be settled, only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them. - Emerson

              by CarbonFiberBoy on Thu May 03, 2012 at 07:14:33 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I'll go back to this (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rcbowman, Kamakhya
           "win politically" (2+ / 0-)
          Is this the goal of Occupy?
          This just left me dumbfounded.  What other goal is there?  Occupy doesn't want to win?  The point is just to "occupy spaces?"  That's not a form of political action?  The goals aren't to effect change in our laws and society?  That's all politics.  Otherwise you're talking about warfare.  That's the undercurrent suggested to me in all of this and what brought about my harsh reaction.  Speaking politely while advocating what it essentially atrocious makes me want to throw some verbal firebombs of my own.  

          Other than the obvious irony of doing that, tell me where I'm wrong.  How is it fair to bring latch this kind of action onto a movement where the vast majority (who you say share your ultimate goals) don't want you there doing it?

          Put another way, because I loved The Monkeywrench Gang too; even if you see that kind of action as being useful and right for what it can accomplish, how does it make sense to basically impose it on a movement of people who showed up intending a very different kind of statement?  That's the part that seems parasitic to me.  

          When the truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

          by Sun dog on Thu May 03, 2012 at 05:40:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If your definition of "politics" is large enough (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sun dog, joe wobblie

            If you think "politics" means "elections" then no.

            •  Well, of course (0+ / 0-)

              Who here thinks the incredibly broad term "politically" only refers to elections?  

              This whole conversation struck me as rather bizarre, actually.  

              When the truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

              by Sun dog on Thu May 03, 2012 at 06:25:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  that is how I viewed it (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sun dog

                it was a misunderstanding, I believe. But one that spoke to an overall point I was making about audiences and protest.

                Every action or statement needs to be viewed in the context of the intended audience. I don't think the MSM is or should be the intended audience of Occupy, so I don't care as much how the MSM might interpret this or that action. I do care, however, how it would be perceived by people watching viral video- an excellent point by MB that caused me to re-evaluate my position.

                "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

                by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 06:54:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yeah, sorry (0+ / 0-)

                  I'm in a bad mood anyway and this stuff ticks me off on a good day.  Stupid to cut off a conversation with flailing language instead of figuring out more of where you were coming from.  Breaking my own rules.

                  The whole nature of street protest/action as a means of making good things happen has vexed me for decades.  It seems such a dicy endeavor.  Even with clear cut goals and unity of purpose in those involved there always seems to be the risk of backlash; of further empowering the forces we come out to oppose in the first place.  Mixing the monkeywrench with a large, popular, peaceful movement seems like intentionally cutting the achilles heel.  And it strikes me as deeply unfair and dangerous for a small group to take it upon themselves to do that; basically making large non-violent movements impossible.  I perceived you as advocating for that and flew off the handle.  

                  When the truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

                  by Sun dog on Thu May 03, 2012 at 07:31:08 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  i'm not sure (0+ / 0-)

                    on whether street protest/action works at all. The Occupy thing surprised me because it got decent positive media attention. I had pretty much stopped paying any attention to that sort of protest. Protest as a way of people showing themselves- the immigrant rights protests, for example, seems marginally effective, but its a lot of flash and bang and no substance.

                    For a long time, I've argued that the greatest benefit of protest is to the protester. There is a moment, sometime when you're squared off with the cops- where you see for the first time the invisible bars of the cage and where you maybe truly feel free. Nobody can take that away from you after you experience it- that moment of feeling empowered and accountable for your own governance. I wish that on everyone, and struggle arguing against it. I think that individual moment may be more powerful than the substantive effect of the entire protest.

                    For Occupy, I can't tell how much effect it has had. It seems to have influenced the public debate. However, more important (to me) is seeing a whole new generation become radicalized. I know people who had never cared about politics get out onto the streets, have a little tussle with the cops, and end up passionate (if a little ignorant) radicals. They'll get to each effect such a large amount of change.

                    I don't think property destruction inherently does that, nor that property destruction in midst of peaceful protest is necessarily a good idea (though it depends- in some countries, the protest provides cover for direct action, and both direct actors and protesters support the action). But I do tend to support that individual experience, and defend it, as stupid as it may look. Lord knows I spent a while playing protester and acting the part of a radical before I got genuinely involved and started organizing.

                    "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

                    by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 08:05:20 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You mentioned 'fetishizing nonviolence' (0+ / 0-)
                      There is a moment, sometime when you're squared off with the cops- where you see for the first time the invisible bars of the cage and where you maybe truly feel free.
                       Couldn't that be fetishizing protest?  And maybe this gets to why there was something in your tone that helped set me off.  To me, we're talking about the broad movement of Occupy where the idea has been to be as inclusive as possible which risks including people who could easily derail the perceived goals of, let's say 99% of the protesters ;-P in pursuit of what for them is a personally rewarding experience.

                      And yes, I see you reflecting on all that in your comments.  I just point to it because I think it's in the nature of what I've sensed, over and over, in dealing with my fellow, er, leftists.  We're polluted with our consumerist culture to the point where we approach actions against that culture as consumers.  

                      Anyway, thanks for hanging in and talking in spite of it all.  I had just watched the scenes of people fighting in the street and, honestly, I don't do a good job of staying calm in the presence of violence.  It has always made my hands shake to see people fight.  That was coming out in my comments.  

                      When the truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

                      by Sun dog on Thu May 03, 2012 at 08:32:42 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  the fetishizing comment (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Sun dog

                        was a direct reference to the Egypt piece. Though I do think it's a problem that we're stuck on one particular tactic and seem to treat it as dogma. "Pacifism as Pathology" by Ward Churchill does a good job of addressing it.

                        Maybe you're right- maybe I am fetishizing protest. I certainly don't see it as accomplishing much, by and large, so I focus more heavily on the positive experience of protesting rather than the effects of protest on society at large ("politics"). And perhaps it is a problem that I assume others will share my own outrage/energy and radicalization with the police and state. Clearly, others don't.

                        That said, I don't think it's inherently a consumerist approach. I think it's more about giving value to the here-and-now real visceral experience of protest, when it's debatable if protest has value outside of that. I think the experience has far more effect than the message. Obviously, it isn't fair to completely subsume the overall message to prioritize a selfish individual experience, my only point is that both have value. If we view protest only through the frame of the effectiveness on society (on politics), I can probably say that nearly every protest I've been to has been a larger or smaller waste of time. But when I look at the experience, and how those experiences shaped me and my political beliefs, passions, and comittment, the total of a week or two I've spent protesting has been incredibly meaningful in defining my political consciousness.

                        "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

                        by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 09:24:51 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

          •  thanks (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sun dog

            For a little more civil tone. Let's be clear- I know you can define politics as anything to do with laws or society, I was using the more commonly understood term that applies to lawmakers, specifically. I don't think Occupy started as a movement to try to get legislation passed- it certainly attempted to be nonpartisan, at least.

            I was also attempting to distinguish between protest and direct action, and making the case that Occupy is more direct action than protest. Protest attempts to appeal to lawmakers to do something, direct action is just that- direct. The statement from the Egyptian guy makes a compelling point about the futility of protest in his country- "who would we protest to?" I think a similar point is true for certain issues in this country- namely, the issues Occupy is advancing. I don't think that the goal should be convincing the MSM of our legitimacy.

            However, Meteor Blades brought up something that I had ignored- Occupy has been based on social media. The audience is not the MSM or the government, but the people themselves. And so there should still be an effort to maintain legitimacy, not in the MSM's eyes, but in the eyes of a viral-video-watching public. For me, that shifted me on this a little towards believing that it wasn't an appropriate place for the black bloc.

            As for the "parasites" thing, I don't know that Occupy has made themselves an exclusive group, though I guess you could make a case for that. I'd put the black bloc-ers on the same level, then, as the everpresent Larouche-ites, the truthers, and the rest of the collection of folks that bring their pet issues to every large public protest.

            Of course, there's the destruction of non-involved private property, which I find reprehensible and unacceptable. That certainly would make a difference. I would argue that the intention of the black bloc has nothing to do with this. I don't think any self-respecting person would really be able to justify that- I'm trying to think of how (maybe something along the lines of Prudhon's "all property is theft?" It's a reach).

            In the end, though, I'd say that there is some parsing to be done. I think that the black bloc does valuable work in protecting protesters in some situations (mainly, when they aren't inciting something). See the exchange between me and Meteor Blades below for that- mainly, it's in Europe. I think that destroying random property is counter-productive and should be stopped by whoever is around, but not by whatever means necessary. And I think that the Occupy movement is probably an inappropriate place for the black bloc- as the diarist noted, the work of protecting protesters can be done by others- say, Occupy Vets- though a similar tactic might be appropriate (the 'uniforms' idea is pragmatic- if you're de-arresting people and resisting police attacks, you don't want to be personally identifiable).

            I don't condemn the black bloc as a whole. I do think they should probably not be part of the Occupy thing. And anyone who randomly destroys private property is an idiot.

            "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

            by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 06:43:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  It sounds like you've given up (0+ / 0-)

          Your long post at the start of this thread, though I don't agree with a lot of it, was well put and worth recommending because it was a good statement of your point of view. This post simply reeks of defeatism. If it is defeatism that is leading you to believe in violence, you are to be pitied. If you act on it, you are to be scorned.

          Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end.

          by rcbowman on Thu May 03, 2012 at 09:06:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  interesting point of view (0+ / 0-)

            I will note that I haven't advocated violence at any point in time. I do believe there is a time and place for property destruction as a tactic. While your final two sentences sound fairly poetic, I'm not sure what the intention is.

            Personally, I've been engaged in a discussion on this with several posters. My opinions are not fixed, and I don't come on message boards like this one to issue one-sided manifestos. I come here to explore what I think and have those views challenged. I suppose your idea of "defeatism" is pointing out that Occupy has been remarkably less successful since abandoning their occupying. Of course, as others have pointed out, they haven't- the media has just failed to cover the more recent attempts to occupy places and the police response.

            The past tense and an honest (if perhaps ill-informed) attempt at analysis of the eviction of Occupy and the tactics used and not used (particularly with respect to the current tactic being discussed) do not together equal "defeatism" to be "pitied" or "scorned." I'd love to have a legitimate discussion, but you need to first inform yourself of what I've been writing rather than reacting to a post and your perception of a tone of a reply.

            "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

            by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 09:37:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I have been reading your posts (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              histOries Marko

              and rec'd a number of them. But this was one of the first I read. I will apologize for pointing that so directly at you, especially as you are not, indeed, advocating violence per se, and are willing to draw distinctions many BB supporters are not between pointlessly destructive hooliganism and other more considered tactics.

              I am, overall, quite impressed with the thought and energy you have put into this discussion, and the degree to which you, and most of the people you've engaged with, have been working at understanding one another.

              Perhaps I am guilty of conflating your attitude with that of some of the other defenders of Black Bloc tactics. The attitude I am reacting to, though, which seemed to be supported in the post I replied to, is the defeatist belief that any political victory, which is to say any peaceful solution, is unachievable.

              Politics, broadly considered, is the art of achieving social ends without violence. The Occupiers clearly started with a decidedly non-violent set of tactics as well as goals. So when you sneer at the idea of "winning politically" in the context of defending - even if in a thoughtful and nuanced manner - tactics which do involve violence, it seems to me to be an admission of failure. Saying that "winning politically" is not the goal seems to imply that either you want to step beyond the pale of rational discourse and resort to revolutionary tactics - politics by other means just as war is diplomacy by other means - or you believe that there is no longer any choice but to do so.

              I am sure the latter is the belief of many, and possibly more all the time. I have my own fears on that score. I live in Oakland, have seen what OO was really like, and am beyond outrage at the behavior of the police department with regard to OO, and at the characterizations of OO in the MSM. But as yet I feel only pity for those who believe our defeat is already so nearly complete that it is time to turn to revolutionary tactics, and scorn for those who have taken up the brickbats in earnest.

              I read your post as that kind of defeatism in the context of this discussion and other posts hereabouts, but I do see that you are framing another sort of hope for the movement in your posts, and one which at least sidelines violent action, if not totally repudiating it. And I do respect that.

              Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end.

              by rcbowman on Thu May 03, 2012 at 11:14:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  that's an interesting take (0+ / 0-)

                and I'd refer to the definition of "winning politically" which I was operating on. It was a very narrowly defined "politics = elections" which was not a great argument, but semi-valid nonetheless. Occupy had been explicitly nonpartisan and apolitical (in that sense).

                I have no opposition to winning politically- narrow definition or broader one. I'd like to win elections, win
                widespread support, and win policy for a generally progressive agenda. My posts on this diary have been intended to (hopefully) get the moderate left to stop reflexively beating up on the black bloc and those who embrace self-defense and property destruction.  They (believe it or not) are not agents provocateurs, but have similar overall goals. While a can certainly respect the point of view that says those tactics have no place in Occupy

                I support anything that moves us forward. Frankly, I don't give a damn if it's incremental progress or revolutionary progress, elections or legislation. What I have seen in my time working and organizing was that the single biggest problem was factionalism. I have my own ideas about what "forward" means that probably differ from those of others on this site. I try to keep it simple: the less authoritarian, the better, and the less exploitatively capitalistic, the better.

                It's interesting to find myself on the radical side of a discussion here at DKos. I typically have been here attempting to do whatever I can to keep the coalition behind President Obama together. Not because I believe that any more than 10% of what he's doing is in line with what I believe, but because it's either slight progress or less/slower regression. But this is not ideologically inconsistent for me. I favor effective tactics to achieve gains of any kind. If those tactics require phone banking and raising money for a candidate, so be it. If the most effective tactic is direct action in the streets, so be it as well.

                I will note that I have not been saying anything in favor of violence. I strongly repudiate physical assault as shown in the video above. I do believe the black bloc has its proper function to serve as a buffer prepared to handle police assaults, though MB made a decent case that it may not be effective in doing that. I also believe that direct action in the form of targeted property destruction can sometimes be appropriate.

                I am not a pacifist. I do not think the Revolution that started this country could have occured using Gandhian nonviolence. I don't think the Civil War and the freeing of the slaves could have been accomplished through nonviolence. I don't think Hitler could have been stopped through nonviolence. Violence, even war, has its place. I think every tactic, from legislation to elections to direct action to actual violence, has its place and time.

                I neither believe that politics has failed nor that Occupy has failed. In fact, I do most of my work these days in supporting candidates for office. I don't think we've come to the point where violence is necessary. However, I don't fault those who do think that the time has come. We have won some battles but the tide of authoritarianism is still pushing in the wrong direction. I gave up the notion a long time ago that revolution or violent overthrow of the government was an effective idea in this country. I think that our techno-industrial civilization will have to falter before we can regain the momentum. However, I have moments of hope- Occupy, the election of 2008. Simply because that hope is tempered by realism does not make me "defeatist."

                One last thought: Does disagreeing with someone about tactics mean I have to condemn them? There is a sense of certainty among many people on this site (and in general) that their "way" is the right one- "we cannot win unless x". The corollary is apparently "therefore you must condemn all who try to do y". Personally, I think we need to do our best to establish sustainable infrastructure because we are in the process of ecological collapse and need to set up systems that will prevent something apocalyptic, and every high-speed rail, solar energy plant, or permaculture garden is a step in that direction. I don't think that violence in the streets will help, and I'm not sure that we're not just switching chairs on the Titanic. But what the hell do I know? If there's one lesson from history (even recent history) it is that even the highly improbable can occur (see...Obama, Occupy, etc.) Hindsight is 20/20 but foresight is far more difficult.

                 I don't condemn the black bloc or a diversity of tactics, because maybe they will be effective. I don't think so, but maybe.

                In the end, it comes down to a question of morality or effectiveness. Do you oppose certain tactics because they are immoral (i.e., all war is wrong, violence is never acceptable) or because they are ineffective? I'm willing to condemn tactics I see as immoral (beating up a cameraman, for example) but I'm hesitant to condemn those that may be ineffective- how do I know?

                "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

                by progreen on Fri May 04, 2012 at 01:51:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Well, if the goal of Occupy is just to occupy for (0+ / 0-)

          the sake of occupying, then I give it a great big yawn, a great big, "Who cares?"

    •  Thoughtful comment (5+ / 0-)

      and thanks for trying to raise the level of discourse and add to the conversation.

      So, it is with respect that I address these statements

      Do you consider the destruction of property or the throwing back of a tear-gas canister as violence?
      It Depends.  Throwing chairs and rocks through the windows of an occupied office or supermarket IS violence.  
      Do you consider property as more important than life?
      No.  And I don't understand why these two questions are often paired by supporters of violent property destruction.  They have no relationship to each other.  
      Occupy was build on a fundamental disrespect for property rights. Across the country, the single defining feature was that groups "occupied" areas of property.

      Wouldn't this be an assertion of property rights?  I don't see anything in the occupation of public areas that seems to imply that the occupy movement was denying the existence of property rights at all, or even challenging that notion.  I strikes me much more as a declaration of ownership (of a park, of a city, of a community, and, in time, of a country and a economy that has been stolen).  Also, the occupied areas were parks and other public spaces that are, in theory, already ours.

      What is Occupy? Is it an attempt at revolution like the Arab Spring it was modeled on, or is it an attempt to convince the middle of this country that we are legitimate and sway public opinion?
      Two questions worth asking. (After removing the phrase "it was modeled on"  Occupy may have been inspired by, but NOT modeled on the Arab Spring.  Closer analogy for a model might be Madrid's Puerta del Sol protests)  I think it also worth keeping in mind that convincing the middle of this country that we are legitimate is not the end goal for anybody involved with occupy.  For those that wish to see a legitimized occupy, it is a means to a greater end: getting the middle of the country to support or join occupy and to make demands on government that will result in a more just and peaceful nation.

      Cheers

      "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars" --Casey Kasem

      by netop on Thu May 03, 2012 at 03:40:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Property Rights (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe wobblie

        To declare that the general public has ownership of public property and does not require the permission of the government to use it is a rejection of property rights as they are conceived in the capitalist sense, because it is a rejection of title and management.  It is an affirmation of property only in the Anarchist sense- ownership by community; ownership determined by use.

  •  Anarchists were some of the first ones on board (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, JesseCW, protectspice, ZhenRen, UnaSpenser

    with occupy.  They aren't really infiltrating it given that they were among the ones who started it.  That's why I groaned when I saw more mainstream activists jumping on board with it.  

    •  yep (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VelvetElvis, AoT, JesseCW, UnaSpenser

      mainstream activists took it over and turned it into a "media-savvy" movement. We won a couple victories using that tactic of appealing to the media, but lost the war, as once that became our goal the success of the movement was tied to the capricious media. In the end, appealing to the media with nonviolent protest is an old tactic that was only effective for a brief period of time because of the novel tactic of occupying. Occupying was new because it was NOT a media appeal, it was an attempt to create autonomous spaces (which I will note is an anarchism-based tactic).

      I will say this: I don't think we will ever win if our primary goal is the creation of a positive media narrative. The media is owned by the corporations we are protesting. If we ever get close to being successful at shifting the mindset of the country, they will shut it down.

      "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

      by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:55:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Black Bloc /=/ anarchists (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WB Reeves

      They are not the same thing. They don't constitute a majority of anarchists, or even a significant minority. They are a tiny fringe element, most of whom claim to be anarchists, but they do not represent "anarchists."

      You can tell Monopoly is an old game because there's a luxury tax and rich people can go to jail.

      by Simian on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:57:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And yet it wasn't Black Bloc tactics... (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, Kamakhya, Mgleaf, Sean X, Matt Z, Caipirinha

    ... when a protestor (no mask, just stupid) stood on top of an occupied building in SF and threw bricks and trash on passerby. It wasn't Black Bloc tactics when a group attacked a local TV news van in Oakland, shattering the windshield and slashing tires. No masks there, either. (And I was just down the street from that one, saw the whole thing.)

    Agree 1000% that Black Bloc doesn't belong anywhere near OWS. Because their mere presence seems to ignite unhelpful behavior. In Oakland on Tuesday, the mood of the crowd was decidedly more angry than I've seen recently, and that anger bubbled over. We need more of what we saw in NYC on Tuesday -- large numbers, nonviolent, force of moral authority.

    But we can't just dismiss off-tactic approaches in OWS as always belonging to some "other." The Oakland GA (among others) has repeatedly been noncommittal about rejecting violence. That leaves the door open for BB jackasses to walk through and play their idiot games. And it sends a signal that maybe a little roughhousing is acceptable. It's not. It's totally not.

    "We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it." -- Willy Wonka

    by Huginn and Muninn on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:39:52 PM PDT

  •  A response from Cairo to this diary (9+ / 0-)

    I was re-reading this, and noted that it served as an effective response to this diary. Occupy is in real danger, not because of the black bloc, but because it is rapidly becoming a protest movement. Occupying was a different tactic, with a different purpose- to take over and manage public spaces collectively. Protesting...well, I did it for a lot of years. Not very effective, really since the Civil Rights Movement. And even that was more effective due to civil disobedience.

    Solidarity Statement from Cairo

    To all those in the United States currently occupying parks, squares and other spaces, your comrades in Cairo are watching you in solidarity. Having received so much advice from you about transitioning to democracy, we thought it's our turn to pass on some advice.

    Indeed, we are now in many ways involved in the same struggle. What most pundits call “The Arab Spring” has its roots in the demonstrations, riots, strikes and occupations taking place all around the world, its foundations lie in years-long struggles by people and popular movements. The moment that we find ourselves in is nothing new, as we in Egypt and others have been fighting against systems of repression, disenfranchisement and the unchecked ravages of global capitalism (yes, we said it, capitalism): a System that has made a world that is dangerous and cruel to its inhabitants. As the interests of government increasingly cater to the interests and comforts of private, transnational capital, our cities and homes have become progressively more abstract and violent places, subject to the casual ravages of the next economic development or urban renewal scheme.

    An entire generation across the globe has grown up realizing, rationally and emotionally, that we have no future in the current order of things. Living under structural adjustment policies and the supposed expertise of international organizations like the World Bank and IMF, we watched as our resources, industries and public services were sold off and dismantled as the “free market” pushed an addiction to foreign goods, to foreign food even. The profits and benefits of those freed markets went elsewhere, while Egypt and other countries in the South found their immiseration reinforced by a massive increase in police repression and torture.

    The current crisis in America and Western Europe has begun to bring this reality home to you as well: that as things stand we will all work ourselves raw, our backs broken by personal debt and public austerity. Not content with carving out the remnants of the public sphere and the welfare state, capitalism and the austerity-state now even attack the private realm and people's right to decent dwelling as thousands of foreclosed-upon homeowners find themselves both homeless and indebted to the banks who have forced them on to the streets.

    So we stand with you not just in your attempts to bring down the old but to experiment with the new. We are not protesting. Who is there to protest to? What could we ask them for that they could grant? We are occupying. We are reclaiming those same spaces of public practice that have been commodified, privatized and locked into the hands of faceless bureaucracy , real estate portfolios, and police ‘protection’. Hold on to these spaces, nurture them, and let the boundaries of your occupations grow. After all, who built these parks, these plazas, these buildings? Whose labor made them real and livable? Why should it seem so natural that they should be withheld from us, policed and disciplined? Reclaiming these spaces and managing them justly and collectively is proof enough of our legitimacy.

    In our own occupations of Tahrir, we encountered people entering the Square every day in tears because it was the first time they had walked through those streets and spaces without being harassed by police; it is not just the ideas that are important, these spaces are fundamental to the possibility of a new world. These are public spaces. Spaces forgathering, leisure, meeting, and interacting – these spaces should be the reason we live in cities. Where the state and the interests of owners have made them inaccessible, exclusive or dangerous, it is up to us to make sure that they are safe, inclusive and just. We have and must continue to open them to anyone that wants to build a better world, particularly for the marginalized, excluded and for those groups who have suffered the worst .

    What you do in these spaces is neither as grandiose and abstract nor as quotidian as “real democracy”; the nascent forms of praxis and social engagement being made in the occupations avoid the empty ideals and stale parliamentarianism that the term democracy has come to represent. And so the occupations must continue, because there is no one left to ask for reform. They must continue because we are creating what we can no longer wait for.

    But the ideologies of property and propriety will manifest themselves again. Whether through the overt opposition of property owners or municipalities to your encampments or the more subtle attempts to control space through traffic regulations, anti-camping laws or health and safety rules. There is a direct conflict between what we seek to make of our cities and our spaces and what the law and the systems of policing standing behind it would have us do.

    We faced such direct and indirect violence , and continue to face it . Those who said that the Egyptian revolution was peaceful did not see the horrors that police visited upon us, nor did they see the resistance and even force that revolutionaries used against the police to defend their tentative occupations and spaces: by the government's own admission; 99 police stations were put to the torch, thousands of police cars were destroyed, and all of the ruling party's offices around Egypt were burned down. Barricades were erected, officers were beaten back and pelted with rocks even as they fired tear gas and live ammunition on us. But at the end of the day on the 28 th of January they retreated, and we had won our cities.

    It is not our desire to participate in violence, but it is even less our desire to lose. If we do not resist, actively, when they come to take what we have won back, then we will surely lose. Do not confuse the tactics that we used when we shouted “peaceful” with fetishizing nonviolence; if the state had given up immediately we would have been overjoyed, but as they sought to abuse us, beat us, kill us, we knew that there was no other option than to fight back. Had we laid down and allowed ourselves to be arrested, tortured, and martyred to “make a point”, we would be no less bloodied, beaten and dead. Be prepared to defend these things you have occupied, that you are building, because, after everything else has been taken from us, these reclaimed spaces are so very precious.

    By way of concluding then, our only real advice to you is to continue, keep going and do not stop. Occupy more, find each other, build larger and larger networks and keep discovering new ways to experiment with social life, consensus, and democracy. Discover new ways to use these spaces, discover new ways to hold on to them and never givethem up again. Resist fiercely when you are under attack, but otherwise take pleasure in what you are doing, let it be easy, fun even. We are all watching one another now, and from Cairo we want to say that we are in solidarity with you, and we love you all for what you are doing.

    Comrades from Cairo.
    24th of October, 2011.

    From http://occupywallst.org/...

    "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

    by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:42:17 PM PDT

    •  sorry, I should have block-quoted this (0+ / 0-)

      "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

      by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:43:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  blockquote or no blockquote, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      offgrid

      I hadn't read this.

      Thanks.

      An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail.

      by OllieGarkey on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:55:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  appreciate the consideration (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, Sean X

        Some earlier comments on this diary were getting nasty. No fault of yours.

        I don't necessarily disagree with you about the black bloc in general. Clearly, attacking cameras is not cool, attacking your reporter friend is even less cool. That is most definitely unacceptable behavior. I'll say I would hope that not everyone, or even most people, would not condone those actions. My posts on here have been more geared towards the general idea of the role of property destruction in Occupy.

        I think we just have to reconsider the goals and aims of Occupy. Is it to appeal to the MSM, as you wrote in the latest update? If that is the goal, you are quite correct in wanting any bloc out of Occupy (though there may still be some implications of "banning" people. The ANSWER folks got fairly authoritarian in their protests, possibly one reason why the antiwar movement lost some steam).

        I do want to challenge that idea, though. Particularly in the modern era of corporate-controlled media, I think our situation is more analogous to Egypt (the line "who would we protest to?" from the Egyptian statement was particularly interesting to me in the context of this discussion).

        I used to do a lot of protesting between 2000-2007. I was involved in a variety of different protests- Bush's (s)election, some local protests against land development, the protests leading up to and immediately after the invasion of Iraq, and the immigration protests. What was interesting was that the framing of coverage of a protest varied, not according to the level of property destruction, but to what the media already had in mind. Many of the antiwar protests didn't get covered at all. I got arrested at one doing a nonviolent civil disobedience action with religious leaders. There was no MSM coverage at all. The protests that did get covered were the ones that were outside the norm- I led one breakaway march that went through the streets of Santa Monica and spilled onto the freeway. Can you guess the headlines? Yep, "protesters snarl traffic on the 405..." etc.

        And then there was the immigration protests. Some of it started as counter-protests to the Minutemen. They, often joined by neo-Nazis in full uniform, threatened the lives of the immigrants at day-labor sites. We threatened the threateners, with larger numbers, forcing the police to separate the groups. The immigrant workers went unharmed. That was my first experience with the effectiveness of the threat of violence (real violence) to protect.

        But the main event was the immigration rally in downtown LA. Perhaps a million people showed up. And at the end of the night, several hundred (mostly hispanic) stayed, and clashed with police. That was the first time I thought we could win- the cops tried their usual divide and conquer strategy, but the protesters threw things and pushed back- Mexican immigrants are unaware of our standards of Nonviolent decorum. The cops retreated for a while, we defended an autonomous zone. They came back, of course. I got out of there as the teargas and the batons came out.

        What was interesting was the coverage. Almost no mention of that event, where several hundred protesters threw things at police. Coverage was overwhelmingly positive. Contrast that to the breakaway march, where the coverage was negative and about freeway traffic and that we "banged on trash cans" (not even any real property destruction).

        My point is this: the MSM choose how they cover a movement or a protest. That choice is not based on whether or not the black bloc broke some newspaper
        machines, but whether or not they want to cover the movement positively. I think we have far less influence on how they cover it than we want to think we do. But there are factors more important than that, even. Appealing to the MSM was an effective tactic for the immigration protest- it didn't challenge the established order. An explicitly class-based movement of the 99%? That threatens the established order. From Haymarket to Sacco and Vanzetti on, the MSM has consistently worked to delegitimize class-based protest. They make sh*t up if they can't find it.

        So why choose tactics that depend on positive coverage by the MSM? The original Occupy idea was media-independent, just an effective taking over of public space. As a protest movement, we're appealing to the equivalent of the Mubarak controlled-media- a group that wants to 1) ignore us and if they cant, 2) delegitimize us. If they can't find real things, they will make them up- see the various media-inflated incidents of "lawlessness" and "murder" in/around the Occupy camps.

        In my opinion, if Occupy has become about trying to get positive coverage for an anticapitalist/anti-income-inequality/anti influence of the 1% movement by the mainstream media that is owned by the 1%, we have already lost. The media outlets owned by the 1% will not ever give us positive coverage of our critiques of the influence and wealth accumulation of the 1%, and no black bloc or naked hippie high as gas will make that worse, just as no beaten and jailed reporter or midnight raid will make them really cover the injustice of it.

        "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

        by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:06:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  so good (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joe wobblie

          I had my rec privileges taken away (I don't even know why; the offending post was deleted and I was never given an explanation) but everything you're saying is fantastic.

        •  true anarchist black bloc actions are not random (0+ / 0-)

          or stupid. They are very considered and are directed at destroying property which has been attained by exploiting others and natural resources.

          They are also not about appealing to the masses or the existing systems. They are about signaling to each other that we are ready to face this cruel system down.

          So, I find if very naive and/or disingenuous for people to write of black bloc because some idiots have done some stupid things claiming to be black bloc tactics.

          It saddens me that we don't have real discourse and dig more deeply into what is really meant by black bloc and how it could be useful to have a small minority of people engage in it - those willing to take the risks that come with it - as a signal light that the Powers That Be don't have absolute control. That they are penetrable. It can open pathways.

          we've never seen a revolution or any real transformative change of power without the willingness to break a few things. Those in power are not going to just say, "oh, look how many people are in the streets. Okay then." They're going to go down fighting. They have the lack of morals and the weaponry to turn on as much violence as they see fit to keep their position. We have to have at least some of us willing to put ourselves on those front lines. Directed property destruction, where there is no violence, can be very powerful. Think about how everyone was in awe and knew that big change was on the way when the Egyptian protesters burned down the Mubarak party headquarters. Did we condemn the Egyptians for that?

        •  As I recall, the original movement was (0+ / 0-)

          specifically, Occupy Wall Street.  So it did seem to be about what the 1% had done to this country and trying to get something done about it.  It wasn't called Occupy Public Spaces.

    •  asdf (0+ / 0-)
      to take over and manage public spaces collectively.
      No, per some here, it is to take over and destroy, not manage. Managing is different.

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Thu May 03, 2012 at 07:18:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sounds lovely. But what happened in America (0+ / 0-)

      is that people who didn't care about any sort of movement or community saw a place to get a free meal.  Now, if you want to be a charity helping homeless people, okay.  But a lot of those people have all kinds of severe problems, and I wonder if the Occupiers are able to deal with all of that?

  •  What a load of shit (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VelvetElvis

    You don't appear to know very much about the black bloc. The fact that you can't even spell it properly indicates that you have done very little reading on the tactic and its history.

    For the record, I don't support black bloc tactics, but nor do I support this type of Chris Hedges-style hit job.

  •  You and Geraldo, eh? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    UnaSpenser
    2. That black block uniforms be banned by General Assemblies, and people wearing such uniforms asked to change into civilian clothes, or leave.
    The hoodies are the problem?

    Your vote is your consent.

    by JesseCW on Thu May 03, 2012 at 03:15:12 PM PDT

    •  The uniform is the problem. (0+ / 0-)

      Watch the first video. The uniform is pretty clear.

      An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail.

      by OllieGarkey on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:01:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  there's a reason (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VelvetElvis, AoT

        A black bloc is a group for direct action at a public event. That direct action can, and often does, include de-arresting people, or otherwise stopping police assaults, or directly preventing police from conducting a raid or attack. They could not effectively do these things without being dressed similarly and having their faces hidden, as they themselves would be arrested.

        I'm sorry you've run into black bloc members who are dicks. Not all of them are. They were a tactic intended- see other countries and trade protests- to protect other marchers from police. They were people prepared to take the brunt of the police assault and thereby allow peaceful protesters time to get out of there. They carried medical supplies and gas masks, and sometimes shields and helmets, so they could protect themselves and other marchers.

        Please do some research on some of the positives of this group in protests in Europe and South America. I recognize that in the US we have a pale imitation of a true black bloc going through the motions. Often, they aren't needed in US protests. But there have been times in Occupy where they have been/would have been helpful. And no, not every, or even most incidents of police violence are the result of black bloc or others provoking them (not that you argued this, but it's worth highlighting).

        "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

        by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:43:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  can someone explain to me (5+ / 0-)

    why the single greatest goal of Occupy has become to appeal to the media? Why that has been the goal of every protest movement since the 1970s?

    Critiques like this one inevitably point to how we are portrayed by the media. That is the only credible argument for Nonviolence (I use the capitalized form to distinguish it from the term meaning harming life. Nonviolence means also not harming property)- that it will get us positive coverage in the media.

    This goal of creating a positive media narrative in an attempt to create meaningful or revolutionary change in the balance of money and power seems insane. Who controls the media? Did we forget that the 1% who benefit from income disparity are the ones who own the news stations we are appealing to?

    The revolutionary left in this country seems caught up in this obsession with creating a positive media narrative and avoiding anything that might trip that up. We contort ourselves, police ourselves, and attack ourselves for not appealing to this news media in the correct way so that they will give us positive coverage.

    Why do you think that asking the CEO and board of directors of Time Warner to put out a statement criticizing themselves for influencing politics and arguing that they should make less money is an effective tactic?
    Yet that's what we do when we try to make our case to CNN.

    Can someone tell me how this will work? I agreed with Occupy- occupying is establishing autonomous communities and creating real alternatives to mainstream culture build on mutual aid and consensus decision-making. But diaries like this one want Occupy to be a protest movement, and to chain itself to the illusory goal of positive news coverage.

    Maybe the black bloc is ineffective and piddling little attempts that are more statement than substance. But damnit, anything that gets outside this insanity of trying to appeal to a hostile and corporate-controlled media is better. Maybe the black bloc's greatest strength is getting you- the people who are trying to appease the corporate media- to think for a second about the effectiveness of tactics.

    "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

    by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 03:15:40 PM PDT

    •  How does it help? (8+ / 0-)

      I don't understand how smashing a shop window does anything toward achieving your goal. All it does is hurt local people and turn off the wider public.

      If your goal is revolution (not a goal of mine personally but you mentioned it), or other goals such as getting money out of politics, reducing income inequality, improving regulation of Wall St or what have you, I don't see how that tactic advances any of those goals.

      •  fair enough (0+ / 0-)

        I'll relate one personal experience. When I was 15, I read the Money Wrench Gang. The (comic) description of people willing to destroy property to defend the environment was compelling enough to get me interested in radical environmentalism. I then realized that people actually did that kind of stuff in real life, that they cared enough about a cause to break the law and risk imprisonment. Moreover, they were trying to do something. Sure, that starbucks window didn't cost a lot, but it cost that company something. It was actually doing something, not just trying to convince others.

        Direct action, when aimed at appropriate targets, does direct damage to the corporation you are opposing and in a language they can understand, money. Sure, it's a tiny amount of money. But it's something.

        I respected that action. It was achieving something, maybe something tiny and insignificant, but it was directly harming that company's bottom line.

        I don't know that I'm alone in that. I think when someone destroys property as a political statement, it provokes one of two reactions. Some people, probably the majority, dismiss it as mindless violence. Others, like me, want to know why someone did it. It makes them question.

        For me, a fictionalized account of property destruction caused me to think and research and investigate. Actual accounts of the same caused me to care, and to believe something could be done. And while I never took up that tactic of property destruction myself, it caused me to move into the political world and act in ways that I thought would help. In the end, to some people it's a visible sign that someone cared strongly enough about something to do something about it.

        "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

        by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:31:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hayduke Lives (0+ / 0-)

          MWG was hugely influential to me as well.  I got involved with EF! and SEAC in my later teens as a direct result of reading that.

        •  I can see (4+ / 0-)

          the point (not agreeing with per se but see the logic) in action against the company / organization you agree with. But the video at the top starts out with attempts to vandalize what appears to be a local grocery or restaurant that has the bad luck of being located at that particular place. That doesn't follow, as far as I can tell.

          •  of course not (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rcbowman

            Idiots are idiots, even dressed up like black bloc. I'm more addressing the overall issue of property destruction- that it is, in fact, an acceptable tactic given the right time, place, and target.

            It's also an overgeneralization to argue that because some black bloc members destroy private property, all do. The overall argument seems a sort of black bloc = property destruction = private and uninvolved property destruction = badness. I'm just trying to separate those out. Not all black bloc members destroy property, and certainly not all destroy property randomly. It's a tactic with an legitimate origin and legitimate purpose, that (like all tactics) can be misued.

            There's no excusing what happened in these videos. But you can't blame what happened on the black bloc as whole, any more than you can blame Occupy as a whole. Despite some assholes taking on the identity of black bloc as cover for their assholiness.

            "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

            by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 06:07:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  OMG... (0+ / 0-)

          So you learned from a comic book that it's ok to destroy private property because the comic book never clued you in to what a franchise is?  In all likelihood the Starbucks window or the Burger King window you smashed cost a small business person the cost of his child's subsidized lunch money for months.  Yeah...bet you feel all macho now admitting that you screwed over some poor sap just like yourself who is just trying desperately to feed his or her family.  Way to go.  That'll teach the Man!

          Furthermore, break the window on a bank...bet it makes you feel pretty alive...until you realize the costs are passed on to me and my family, plus some, and even worse, the media then gets to paint us as a bunch of self entitled children throwing temper tantrums.  Thanks a lot.  

          •  dear sir/madam (0+ / 0-)

            I'd appreciate if you avoided characterizing me as a person who is smashing windows. You clearly didn't read my post. I have never done that. In fact, I've never done any of those things, in part because while I believe in principle that direct action of that sort can be justified given the appropriate target, during the period in my life when I might have even considered doing something like that, I never found a target that did not involve somehow causing harm to a person and not merely a corporate bottom line.

            Perhaps you misunderstood my reference to the Starbucks window smashed during the Seattle WTO protest. Also, even ignoring the personal attack you responded with, you did not even address what the substance of that post was.

            I noted that the direct action of others had given me pause and was fairly formative in helping me realize that there were people who really cared and were passionate about issues in this world. I noted that sometimes, for some people, an action of that sort can make someone think about why. Of course, there are others who dismiss it as mindless destruction. Obviously, you fall into the latter.

            You know, the more I read the comments on this site the less hope I have. Please read my posts first before jumping to conclusions, and if all you have is a comment that is tatamount to saying "you're an absolute moron and I can't believe you would think that," keep it to yourself. I come here to discuss issues, not to yell loud angry noises at someone else.

            "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

            by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 11:04:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Let's re-read your post together... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              netop
              When I was 15, I read the Money Wrench Gang. The (comic) description of people willing to destroy property to defend the environment was compelling enough to get me interested in radical environmentalism.
              When you were a kid, you read a comic book that said it was ok to destroy "property to defend the environment".  It got you excited.
              I then realized that people actually did that kind of stuff in real life, that they cared enough about a cause to break the law and risk imprisonment.
              Really excited.  And then we have the money quote:
              Sure, that starbucks window didn't cost a lot, but it cost that company something.
              No... it cost one family a bunch of money that probably came off their fucking dinner table because of a basic business entity called a franchise whereby the franchisor makes a bajillion dollars off a franchisee.  Anyone willing to break a window show at the very least know whose window they are breaking!

              And finally:

              Direct action, when aimed at appropriate targets, does direct damage to the corporation you are opposing and in a language they can understand, money. Sure, it's a tiny amount of money. But it's something.
              And as I said, direct action(e.g., mindless vandalism)  does not directly hurt the corporations you are so intent on hurting, but rather hurts the Occupy movement as a whole and your family through higher fees on the bottom line.  Yeah...way to change the world.

              There are many better ways.  Lets use them and dump the mindless violence that only helps the 1%.

              •  Perhaps the commenter meant (0+ / 0-)

                The Monkey Wrench Gang.

                I can see that the wiki has a comic book appearing
                cover featured, but the novel I read was definitely
                not a comic book or graphic novel. It was, and remains
                the modern day match point of transferring interest
                into activism- including property destruction.

                OK, I just read that cover is:

                "10th Anniversary edition (1985) from Dream Garden Press, with illustrations by Robert Crumb"
                I'll have to look for that one. I love Robert Crumb's work,
                his personal faults and warts and all notwithstanding.

                It had the same effect on 70-80s era environmentalists
                that Aldo Leopolds' A Sand County Almanac
                had on previous generations, and signaled a change
                in the mindset that gave us manifest destiny and
                a creator granted domain over all of everything.

                Except in the former novel, weren't they intending
                on destroying a 'public' or government dam?
                Wouldn't that be like OWS dirty bombing Central Park?

                If I recall correctly, don't all of the protagonists
                end up incarcerated, on the run from teh law, or dead?
                In that case the blckblc is just following the script,
                towards success, as it were. Or perhaps the opposite?

                Personally, I think that to really convince others of the
                truth of their intentions and goals, fervent activists
                would be well served to incorporate that urgent and
                most radical of protest tactics ever conceived.

                I don't believe anyone would or could contest such an
                occupation as this, nor would any media of any type
                be able to resist its visceral and unquestioned "news value".
                It certainly would separate out all of the for hire agents and
                police spies and others who dare not to dream too large.

                Might be a little difficult growing 'the movement', posthumously,
                but no one would ever be able to question your intent, purity,
                allegiance, or dedication to your own professed goals and ideals.
                Maybe your survival instinct. But what is that when compared to the
                great flowering and opening the blossoms of the worlds eyes?

                Thanks for all of your efforts.

              •  if you (0+ / 0-)

                are intentionally reading into my post what you wish to without any effort at understanding the ideas, go for it.

                I noted the effect on myself- that symbolic destruction of property can have a positive effect. Not that it necessarily does have a positive effect, not that it has no negative effect, not even that it has a net positive effect, just that it can sometimes have an indirect positive effect by getting others to think about why you are doing that property destruction.

                I understand that when I wrote "that starbucks window...cost that company something" you took that as an endorsement of breaking franchise store windows. I was describing my reaction to reading the Monkey Wrench Gang (not a comic book at all- not sure if that's an attempt to characterize that novel as poorly written or a genuine misunderstanding) and then a later experience of reading about/watching news about the Seattle WTO protest.

                So, apparently the substance of your reply is to attack me for being immature, not thinking through the possible consequences of someone else's action I saw in the news (and not understanding the concept of franchises), and not properly condemning an action of "mindless violence." When I was a teenager. Well, guilty. I was, in fact, immature when I was a teenager. Heck, I was immature for quite a few years after that.

                The point remains, however. I saw the broken window at the Starbucks, and wondered why people didn't like Starbucks. Really, I looked closer at the other acts- someone had vandalized a Shell sign. I investigated why people would be angry at Shell, and found the atrocities going on in Nigeria. So yes, the shop owner was probably the one who took the brunt of that. But no, I wasn't outraged, I was curious. I try to live my life like that- not being outraged, but curious. And it turns out that symbolic property destruction can inform. Even today, passing a bank that has been vandalized, I will investigate to see what it is that bank does that people don't agree with and judge those facts for myself. I know it sucks for the bank manager and the bank employees just doing a job, but that doesn't mean I will completely ignore the clear intention of that direct action and assume, despite evidence to the contrary, that it's "mindless".

                In the end, what you're describing is part of the problem of corporations in general. There is nobody to push back against. Take Shell, or Dow Chemical. If we destroy the company property, it's usually an individual that bears the brunt. If we criticize the employees- well, they're just doing their jobs. If we demonize the CEOs, (a decent target), well, they were just trying to keep the shareholders happy. And the shareholders? Well, they're anonymous and too many to count. There is no responsibility, so they can do whatever they please and those who are harmed or those who are held accountable are either completely innocent or no more guilty than you or me.

                So let's recap, because it really isn't fair to just pull out a couple blockquotes, characterize them, and dismiss the actual argument without even addressing it:

                1) Symbolic property destruction might have some direct effect on the corporation (probably indirect- people less likely to want to buy a franchise if it's going to get damaged, people avoiding the location because of the damage, or because they inform themselves.).
                2) Most of the cost goes to the franchisee. Or is borne by the consumer, etc. The "collateral damage" effect.
                3) As symbolic action, it does have some informing effect on some people. As long as it isn't completely random, there is some positive if one person sees and pays attention.
                4) It is debatable whether 1 & 3 outweigh 2.

                #3 was my point. Thank you for bringing up #2. The overall effectiveness of true direct action is another thing entirely, and a discussion I don't think is worth having with you. I didn't appreciate the mocking tone to your post, though I did my best to respond substantively to yours.

                "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

                by progreen on Fri May 04, 2012 at 02:33:06 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  I find this kind of reply very reactionary (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kamakhya

            and not at all respectful, since you didn't bother to notice that the poster has never actually engaged in this activity.

            Please try to see why SOME people might find these tactics meaningful, even if you do not. I find this piece on the subject to be rather eloquent:

            http://humaniterations.net/...

            Thank you for your consideration.

            •  Fair enough (0+ / 0-)

              But, I will say, if you are going to advocate that it is ok to break windows, the fact that you don't personally break windows is kind of meaningless.  I will read the article and step back.  I'm sorry if I offended...I am personally involved with this and get a bit heated.  

              •  Well, I don't hold an absolute position. But, from (0+ / 0-)

                an anarchists point of view, the morality is that no one should have authority over another person. Therefore, if someone is going to break a window, it is no one's place to stop him. He is then fully accountable for how it is received. And if he has broken what are commonly knowns as the laws, then he must be ready to face those consequences.

                One doesn't have to advocate for breaking windows at all to support that way of being.

                •  also.... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Kamakhya

                  In reference to your complaint that the cost of property destruction is simply going to be passed on, our system is designed to pass all the costs of everything down to us, the little folk. Whatever we do to try and change it, will have costs. And for as long as they can get away with it the Owners will force us to pay them. The reason we enable this exploitative and cruel system is because not enough of us are ready to pay the price.

                  I guess I'm asking myself these days, what might be the "return on investment" if a very small, but critical percentage of people were willing to do enough property damage to break down the facade of total control? Because that's usually the tipping point. As long as people think that the Powers That Be have enough control over everything to keep anyone from generating the chaos needed for change (and chaos is always the interim state), then they stay silent and inactive. But, if someone can show them that enough chaos can actually be generated, then they activate.

                  I don't have an answer for myself, yet, as to whether I support property damage as a tactic. A year ago, it would have been a absolute no. Something has shifted in me, though, that I am open to consideration. I think that I've become so aware of how invasive our government has become, how little is really being done to help the average people while the wealthy keep packing in more and more for themselves and just how deep the corruption goes. The corruption isn't about individual people. The very nature of capitalism requires exploitation. And this culture is built on a religious fanaticism vis-a-vis capitalism. How do you break through that? Not by appealing to the very media system which is designed to prop it up. So, how?

                  •  I can see your point (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mahakali overdrive

                    This is why Anonymous is so popular in my opinion.  They crash the websites and hack the websites of some pretty egregious corps and governments and who can't be a little happy at that?  I'd like to think they are targeting the real crooks and not just the poor workers who toil their days away at Starbucks.  So, yeah...even my lines get pretty blurry too,

                •  Yeah, but if a jerk breaks a window at my party (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  netop

                  who is ultimately responsible?  I am.  I don't want jerks breaking windows at my party.  I am a non-violent party.  If jerks want to break windows at their party...that is not my problem.  You see the distinction?

                •  Re: authority over another person (0+ / 0-)
                  He is then fully accountable for how it is received.
                  Unfortunately, others are also accountable for how it is received.  The actions of that window smasher limits the actions of non-window smashers.  The window smasher is exercising control, if not authority, over others.  

                  The non window smasher is (due to real or perceived association with the window smasher) subject to consequences of window smashing, including:
                   - physical harm from police action either immediately or at a future time in response to the vandalism
                   - inability to communicate with the press, public, or government as desired because the subject is now focused on the lawlessness
                   - inability to organize as desired because the elderly, those with children, those with disabilities, and anyone who is not young enough, fast enough, or into clashes enough are discouraged from participating

                  The hypocrisy of this argument seems glaring, but apparently some people have their eyes shut so tight (or at least are looking in a different direction), it is still hard to see.  Plainly, this is what the argument states:

                  No one should limit MY actions, even if s/he will have to bear the burden of those actions.  
                  or
                  No one can tell ME what to do, even if what I want to do is forces you to do something.

                  Also, I don't buy the argument that only the police are responsible for their reactions.  That's like tossing gas and lit matches on the porch and blaming the fire for burning the house down.  Or giving a drunk guy the keys to car a challenging him to race through a crowded market, where he mows down some folk. It is a foreseeable outcome.  To claim otherwise is disingenuous or short-sighted. (I know you don't claim that, but it is an related argument that has come out on this topic before.)

                  "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars" --Casey Kasem

                  by netop on Fri May 04, 2012 at 07:43:54 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Please help with one other question. (0+ / 0-)

                    If

                    the morality is that no one should have authority over another person.
                    then how is the intimidation of, and violence towards those with cameras justified?

                    "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars" --Casey Kasem

                    by netop on Fri May 04, 2012 at 07:51:25 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Also... (0+ / 0-)
                  And if he has broken what are commonly knowns as the laws, then he must be ready to face those consequences.
                  Then why do they were the masks?  I thought it was to avoid consequences.

                  "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars" --Casey Kasem

                  by netop on Fri May 04, 2012 at 07:47:38 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Darn...I can't read the link (0+ / 0-)

              It's not passing my filters which say it is a security risk.  

        •  Were you an environmentalist before you were (0+ / 0-)

          a "radical" environmentalist?

          How many people do you think became environmentalists because of property destruction, or was it mostly environmentalists who felt frustrated that liked property destruction?

    •  I'm all for self-defense. And sometimes... (12+ / 0-)

      ...effective self-defense means offense. Some of the European black bloc tactics have arisen out of that. When attacked by the police, resist. To resist effectively, you must prepare.

      But if the goal really is, using what is now a cliché, to change the dominant paradigm, then the unprovoked and indiscriminate aggressive approaches that some practitioners of black bloc tactics have engaged in will, imo, reinforce the power of those who rule us, not diminish it, that diminishing being something many moderate suburbanites want to see happen.

      Black bloc tactics have not been successful at achieving  more than momentarily the kind of thing your Egyptian correspondent is in solidarity with — holding public spaces or abandoned private spaces. Black bloc tactics are a form of guerrilla warfare. And guerilla warfare never seeks to permanently hold onto turf, only to seize it and move on when overwhelming force is employed. That seems at odds with the original purpose of Occupy and, again, what your Egyptian correspondent has commented upon.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:53:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  true (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mahakali overdrive, netop, rcbowman

        and insightful. Thanks for pointing that out. I do not and have not participated in black bloc actions, but I do get frustrated when criticisms are based only on the "Nonviolence (as we define it) is the only way" idea. I don't know that I disagree with the overall point of the diary (we should not have black bloc tactics as part of Occupy) so much as the specific case he makes (because black bloc is inherently bad). There is a case to be made for that tactic in some situations. I think I probably agree with your argument that Occupy isn't one of those situations.

        And you are correct- black bloc is a specific set of guerilla tactics that fit well with marches but not with the original purpose of Occupy. However, do you think that Occupy is still trying to....for lack of a better term- occupy? It seems they elected to abandon that tactic. In doing so, I'm concerned that they've lost the momentum and become a protest movement. And here is where the Egyptian piece offers some insight, I think. The question is, is protest an effective tactic? I think the Occupiers were not trying to become a marching protest movement- after all, May day was supposed to be a national day of action and strike primarily.

        I could make the argument that as Occupy evolves into a mass march/protest movement the tactics of the black bloc become more appropriate. I'm not sure I agree with that, though. I don't know what the Occupy movement needs, but it certainly isn't identification with a past tried-and-failed tactic (and here, I'm referring to both mass marching and the black bloc). It needs something new- a new tactic. Or perhaps, it needs to rededicate to the occupy tactic and continue to seize public/abandoned private spaces.

        In the end, I don't know. I agree that the black bloc shouldn't be a part of the Occupy movement, though some of those tactics might be appropriate at times for some marches, without referencing the (in)famous black bloc (guy-fawkes-bloc?). De-arresting and protecting marchers are still essential functions in marches, depending on the location. In Oakland and some other places, I would be concerned enough about police assaults that I'd say a similar tactic to protect marchers might be appropriate. Perhaps utilizing our OccupyVets and company? But property destruction doesn't seem to have a place in the Occupy movement (though I do think it's a tactic that has its place and time).

        Thanks for reading and responding in a considerate and thought-provoking way.

        "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

        by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 05:31:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "It needs something new- a new tactic. ... (5+ / 0-)

          ... Or perhaps, it needs to rededicate to the occupy tactic and continue to seize public/abandoned private spaces."

          Agreed. But without knowing what new tactic or whether the one you suggest as a possibility is the right one.

          FTR, I was and am a big fan of The Monkey Wrench Gang. And, because nobody can do anything to do me about it, I will admit that I engaged with others in a few of the tactics mentioned there plus some that are not. We caused problems but we never won a battle.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Thu May 03, 2012 at 06:07:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Well stated (4+ / 0-)

        I go back and forth about how I perceive Black Bloc tactics. I don't perceive them as effective, but I also don't think they agree with someone like me about the intended outcomes of an action, which I can understand since my desired outcomes are probably fairly distinct and even radical compared with the vast majority of people. But to have the matter framed in terms of guerilla warfare does make sense to me and the notion of transitory possession of space versus a more permanent changeover of material goods is, I believe, what really is at stake.

        As a Socialist, I tend to view things pragmatically in terms of ownership and hierarchy. For me, it's still about how to get there, how to achieve better, more equitable social distribution of labor and goods and ownership. It's not simply about overthrowing the status quo without a contingency plan that will be able to supplant a post-capitalist society. I feel that is where I differ from Black Bloc tactics and some Anarchists the most. There's too much Situationism in all of that for me; I'm not interested. I'm interested, personally, in restructuring society so that it's better in a way that will persist over time. Where I do bump up against saying what's right or not is in my personal discomfort with saying what I believe is the right thing or way for others. But it is deeply interesting to consider the temporal element of how a person owns a space or thing, and where that commitment's impulse really lies.

        You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

        by mahakali overdrive on Thu May 03, 2012 at 07:32:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The appeal is to public opinion (0+ / 0-)

      As stated elsewhere in these threads, that is partly by way of the MSM, of course because that's what's there, and partly by way of the new social media, because we finally have that as a tool to do an end-run around the MSM.

      There are two ways to win hearts and minds, if you're a small, determined group that is vastly outgunned. There's the traditional revolutionary method: with small-scale but visible violence, cause a disproportionate backlash, ideally against a large mass of people you're standing among: this gets more people to see the police as the enemy. It's a tried-and-true method. Keep it up long enough, you might spark a revolution. But they don't tend to end well. Things born in violence rarely do.

      The other method is the method of Gandhi, and it's way, way harder. You always wear the white hat. You never, ever engage in tactics that do not represent your views of the society you wish to create. You make your means as high-minded as your ends. When they come at you with batons and tear gas, you get beaten up. It's damned hard, and very few people have the stomach for it. But it is turning people to your side without you being the violent party even once.

      Both can create revolutions. Which revolution would you rather be a part of, though?

      Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end.

      by rcbowman on Thu May 03, 2012 at 09:52:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you OllieGarkey. I favor non-violence (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OllieGarkey

    as it seems to allow the practitioner to claim the moral high ground. And I appreciate all those in OWS who have been streaming the protests. It's because of citizen media that we have visual evidence of police misconduct.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Thu May 03, 2012 at 03:26:45 PM PDT

  •  Same thing happened in the 60s (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OllieGarkey, Meteor Blades, TomP

    As soon as the Left finds a voice and gets an audience they start to splinter into groups fighting each other.  While the right wing just marches along like sheep after the agitator du jour.  They never have any discussions like this.  It is so sad.

    A truly original solution is needed to circumvent this problem.  Protest in some way that cannot be sidetracked by the black bloc?  But how?

    "I don't want to blame anyone. I just want to know how lowering taxes on the rich creates jobs" --Informed citizen at Congressional town hall

    by Time Waits for no Woman on Thu May 03, 2012 at 03:30:12 PM PDT

    •  ....And We Got Nixon In A Landslide (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lily O Lady, TomP

      And I'm guessing this is the one historical fact the GOP recalls accurately.

      There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

      by bernardpliers on Thu May 03, 2012 at 05:37:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Luckily Marxists have been pretty well discredited (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe wobblie, ZhenRen

      Occupy is largely based on Anarchist praxis and we delight in rubbing Marxists' noses in that fact at every opportunity.

      •  Excuse me? Marxists have been "discredited"? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lost and Found, nickrud, Larsstephens

        What exactly do you mean by this? Be clear. It's an incredibly offensive statement, as well as very perceptually limited.

        You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

        by mahakali overdrive on Thu May 03, 2012 at 07:35:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  didn't you hear? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mahakali overdrive

          The USSR is no more!

          /snark, by the way. I'm no Marxist but I value marxist analysis.

          •  I think it's important to (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nickrud, Larsstephens

            because any Democracy which is truly representative of the interests of society as a whole, and all of the individuals within that functional and equal society, will have to tackle the issues surrounding how labor is controlled and apportioned, as well as by whom. To me, there's really not much difference between what Marx proposes and an absolutely functional Democracy where all peoples' voices and power are equal and represented! :)

            You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

            by mahakali overdrive on Thu May 03, 2012 at 08:52:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  the 1960s groups (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ZhenRen

          were generally Marxist-inspired in the same way that Occupy is generally Anarchist-inspired.  Today Marxist forms of organization exist only in pathetic cults while Anarchist praxis spreads like wildfire.  Marxists destroyed their organizations through hostile splits and vanguardism; what else can be expected from would-be tyrants?  For Anarchists, even when we disagree on specifics and go our separate ways, we can stay in solidarity; for us, a split is not disintegration but reproduction!

          The best part is that even the Marxist cults have to use libertarian imagery in order to attract members.  Hahaha, I can't even stand it!

          •  You're measuring Marxism (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Larsstephens, TomP

            by its historical efficacy. You say that Marxists failed, historically, to establish themselves in politically or socially effective, egalitarian ways. Yet you do not hold Anarchism to the same yardstick of political efficacy, instead holding on to your sense of social effectiveness as "solidarity," which is, in truth, an entirely subjective and nebulous concept.

            I do not privilege the social over the political and suggest that they are inextricably intertwined.

            Nor do I see how one makes a point about another political perspective by simply calling it names.

            So I'm still not seeing your points. Sorry.

            You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

            by mahakali overdrive on Thu May 03, 2012 at 08:58:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  This is a gross over simplification (3+ / 0-)

            more of an ideological cartoon than factual history.

        •  Anarchists and Marxists (0+ / 0-)

          have historically not been in agreement. Basically it comes down to the authoritarianism of Marxism that caused the split way back int the 1860's.

          Everywhere you will find that the wealth of the wealthy springs from the poverty of the poor. - from The Conquest of Bread by Peter Kropotkin

          by ZhenRen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 09:42:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Some history: (0+ / 0-)
          In Statism and Anarchy, Mikhail Bakunin identified a "statist" tendency within the socialist movement and contrasted it with anarchist socialism, arguing that Karl Marx's theory of transition from capitalism to socialism in which the working class seized state power in a Dictatorship of the proletariat would eventually lead to a usurpation of power by the state apparatus acting in its own self-interest.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/...

          This rift goes way back...  

          Due to its links to active workers' movements, the International became a significant organization. Karl Marx became a leading figure in the International and a member of its General Council. Proudhon's followers, the mutualists, opposed Marx's state socialism, advocating political abstentionism and small property holdings.[70][71]

          In 1868, following their unsuccessful participation in the League of Peace and Freedom (LPF), Russian revolutionary Mikhail Bakunin and his collectivist anarchist associates joined the First International (which had decided not to get involved with the LPF).[72] They allied themselves with the federalist socialist sections of the International,[73] who advocated the revolutionary overthrow of the state and the collectivization of property.

          At first, the collectivists worked with the Marxists to push the First International in a more revolutionary socialist direction. Subsequently, the International became polarised into two camps, with Marx and Bakunin as their respective figureheads.[74] Bakunin characterised Marx's ideas as centralist and predicted that, if a Marxist party came to power, its leaders would simply take the place of the ruling class they had fought against.[75][76]

          Anarchist historian George Woodcock reports that "The annual Congress of the International had not taken place in 1870 owing to the outbreak of the Paris Commune, and in 1871 the General Council called only a special conference in London. One delegate was able to attend from Spain and none from Italy, while a technical excuse - that they had split away from the Fédération Romande - was used to avoid inviting Bakunin's Swiss supporters. Thus only a tiny minority of anarchists was present, and the General Council's resolutions passed almost unanimously. Most of them were clearly directed against Bakunin and his followers."[30] In 1872, the conflict climaxed with a final split between the two groups at the Hague Congress, where Bakunin and James Guillaume were expelled from the International and its headquarters were transferred to New York. In response, the federalist sections formed their own International at the St. Imier Congress, adopting a revolutionary anarchist program.[77]

          http://en.wikipedia.org/...

          Everywhere you will find that the wealth of the wealthy springs from the poverty of the poor. - from The Conquest of Bread by Peter Kropotkin

          by ZhenRen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 10:49:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It isn't a stretch to say... (0+ / 0-)

            that Bakunin's prediction came to pass with the Russian Revolution. Farmers and peasants were treated terribly by the centralized government.

            Everywhere you will find that the wealth of the wealthy springs from the poverty of the poor. - from The Conquest of Bread by Peter Kropotkin

            by ZhenRen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 11:00:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  There you go again (0+ / 0-)

        Sorry but you're not the Pope and you're not the voice of Anarchism either.

  •  Never heard of this before. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OllieGarkey

    Sounds like the political equivalent of soccer hooligans.  Don't care about the game, they're just there for the fight.

    You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

    by rb608 on Thu May 03, 2012 at 03:33:48 PM PDT

  •  I wish this had been said months ago... (27+ / 0-)

    ...by more people in Occupy. When a few of us veterans of movements past quietly warned about the problems of black bloc tactics, we were generally ridiculed and reminded that our experience wasn't worth shit because a new non-hierarchical paradigm was being created and nothing like what happened in the old days would happen again so we should just zip it. Contrary to my usual self, I pretty much did exactly that.

    While I fully supported the stated objectives of May 1 where those were stated, I expected well ahead of time to see what I saw that day, a lot of good work bashed by black bloc fans doing the work of the 1% by giving the media-as-usual news-pegs upon which to hang the kind of coverage that you always get when there is property or other violence.

    General Assemblies that want to see Occupy continue the good work it has done, and to evolve more effective means of persuading a broader following had better comprehensively denounce black bloc tactics and find ways to isolate its practitioners or it won't be long before Occupy is a memory rather than a movement.

    I say this as a friend and ally, not as an antagonist.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:30:33 PM PDT

    •  Question (0+ / 0-)

      You've had a lot of experience in past movements. It's been my observation that the presence or absence of black bloc/direct action tactics didn't make a real difference in the tone of the MSM coverage, it just gave them a little more ammo.

      I'm not sure if it really swings the coverage. I've had my peaceful actions ignored, had my unconventional tactics dismissed, and seen real anti-police violence (thrown bottles) all but ignored from coverage. I've seen the MSM find something to use to delegitimize a nonviolent protest (usually "littering") and seen violence at protests get actually attributed to police in the media.

      All this has left me thinking that the events don't make the news, the MSM makes the news and then finds events to fill their story.

      Most of the time when I've brought this up it's been countered with an argument that the black bloc is unproductive/bad anyway. But leaving that aside, do you think that we really have all that much sway over the way a movement is covered, particularly a movement that challenges the finances of the people who own those news companies?

      "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

      by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:57:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't disagree that the straight media... (15+ / 0-)

        ...where I was "inside" off and on for 22 of my 35 years in journalism is not going to present a "fair and balanced" picture of what is going on in the movement.

        But media have broadened far more than the days of alternative newspapers, our...uh...blogs of yesteryear, now owned by some of the same corporations or just as bad as the other media. Images on YouTube shared on Facebook, etc., are now part of media and have an impact on more and more people every day.

        I am sure few people on Facebook get upset—I don't—because somebody fired a paintball to splatter the windows of the cop shop or patrol cruiser. But smashing small businesses, trashing people's cars, violently provoking the cops and then calling the response to their response "self defense" is something that doesn't resonate well with the vast majority of the "99%." What is the purpose of such acts? What does it achieve? In my view, it cements the view in the minds of many people who would be otherwise disposed that Occupy is crazy. The Weather Underground utterly destroyed SDS; an organization of 25,000 members and a "periphery" of 200,000 faded in a year to fewer than 1000 because of Weather's tactics.

        And finally, black bloc practitioners are even more vulnerable to infiltration by agents provocateurs, cops or private actors. How long before a masked one of them plants a bomb or kills a cop and vanishes into the crowd?

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Thu May 03, 2012 at 05:16:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'd agree with all of that (0+ / 0-)

          except perhaps the section on agents provocateurs. As long as there are people hiding their face, that will be an issue, and it's become an established enough practice that the agent provocateur could be the only one masked and still wouldn't draw attention. Getting rid of the practice of some people using masks at protests is a sisyphean task.

          You offer a great point about viral video/social media that I wasn't addressing. I'm not sure why I ignored that- I guess I was getting frustrated with the implied or explicit "what will the media think of us" arguments. No, that does make it far more important for Occupy to behave like reasonable actors, so that viewers of unedited videos will view us as legitimate.

          But there's another issue to this. We can agree that any of those things are true- that random property destruction or provocation have no place in the movement- but how does one stop it? I'm not a fan of organizations proscribing acceptable and non-acceptable clothing- it seems fairly authoritarian to me. The extreme to this is the case of other protesters tackling and holding down someone who is engaged in property destruction while chanting "non-violent". I think that serious attempts to cut back on these tactics requires a level of heavy-handedness that is fairly unappealing. It's also a slippery slope- those people who are "in charge" or who obtained the protest permits often have no interest in seeing a protest not follow the rules in that permit. In my opinion, permit-ed protest and free speech zones have been the death of effective protest in this country, far more than the actions of black bloc-ers.

          It's easy to say "we shouldn't allow this." But take a look up in the comments about people's responses to how to handle this- some go way too far. Self-policing in protests is a good concept, but I've rarely seen it handled well. Particularly with a "no-leaders" movement like Occupy, it's very hard to engage in self-policing, as you pointed out. Can you think of an effective way to self-police that doesn't involve relying on the proxy violence of the police? Holding someone down who had committed property destruction and then subjecting them to the pent-up frustration of riot cops doesn't seem like an appealing option to me, particularly when I agree with the overall goals and aims of that person.

          That being said, if someone is randomly breaking shop windows or destroying property destruction, I've got no problem stopping them. That's inappropriate and shouldn't happen. But where's the line? Corporate property destruction is a tactic, and simply because I don't believe it's the most productive one, does that give me the right to subject that person to police violence?

          Questions, questions. I favor some stern words of disapproval and questioning in general (the "tactics" talk), perhaps physically getting in the way for private property destruction, and only using physical violence myself against another protester if they themselves are using physical violence against someone.

          "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

          by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 05:55:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  SDS crashed because of W.U. tactics? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joe wobblie

          Or because it was lead by the sort of insane Marxists that Anarchists have opposed since the First International?

          As for the idea that people hate Black Bloc users- there's something inspirational in seeing people make such an unequivocal statement.  I think you might be underestimating the passion with which most people hate the police. When there's a good video of a Black Bloc in this country defeating a police charge, you'll see how people really feel.

          •  that's a great point (0+ / 0-)

            I didn't want to challenge that point, because it was only a historical reference mostly superfluous to the overall case. But yes, I agree that the Marxists are the ones to blame for the SDS falling apart. To be honest, when I started up a chapter of the new SDS in college, it was the same damn Marxists who made us ineffective. So hard to get consensus with authoritarians.

            It does bring an overall point here, though. Whether or not the black bloc is an appropriate tactic at Occupy is debatable. I'd certainly say that most of the behaviors this diary is criticizing- random destruction of property, attacking media- are not appropriate tactics. However, the original intent of the black bloc may still be appropriate. As I mentioned, though, it might be more PR-friendly for the essential functions of the black bloc- de-arresting, absorbing the brunt of police assaults- to be done by folks dressed a little differently than typical black bloc. But if the Occupy people are going to continue doing marches, the cops will attack eventually, and that will drive away all those non-violent people too. With the black bloc (or similar tactics, I'm not married to the style) they might have time to get out before they get hurt.

            However, what has hurt the left before, as you bring up, is the presence of authoritarianism. The Marxists hurt the SDS, and the Marxist influence on ANSWER was (in my opinion) one of the primary reasons why the antiwar movement was not successful. The effort to remove or banish the black bloc will require a kind of authoritarianism or groupthink that is counter to the ideals of Occupy and is generally not appealing. Perhaps it could be done effectively without an authoritarian approach, but it would have to be done carefully. As I said- I don't want to see people tackling anyone with a bandanna.

            "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

            by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 07:09:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You're mistaken about what killed... (7+ / 0-)

              ...SDS, a difference of opinion between us. But, please, can we be clear on the terminology? There is a big difference between a Marxist and a Marxist-Leninist. Plenty of Marxists then and now are not authoritarians. I was vigorously opposed to ANSWER assuming the leadership role in the antiwar movement when Iraq was at issue because they were not only ML, but a particularly pernicious brand of MLs.

              Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

              by Meteor Blades on Thu May 03, 2012 at 07:22:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  ok (0+ / 0-)

                Fair enough. There's a whole lot of left-wing that is Marxist, a smaller subset is ML. M-L is what I think RanDomino was referring to. I think of the distinction made by some of the anarchists- Communism is authoritarian socialism, Anarchism is libertarian socialism. I kind of threw Marx into the former category for the whole "Communist Manifesto" thing (that whole "dictatorship of the proletariat" thing), even though it was a inflammatory pamphlet that had nowhere near the thought and analysis of Das Kapital. I agree with Marx in Das Kapital- his ideas in the Manifesto, however, seem to have a direct link to ML ideas of "vanguards". To be fair, Trotsky though you needed democracy in there, so authoritarianism is certainly not an essential aspect of a transition to Marxist communism.

                And obviously I'm hazy about what happened fifteen years before I was born, though I think there is legitimate arguments for blaming the WU or for blaming the MLs.

                I agree about the ANSWER folks. Was not a fan of their politics. I still wonder what might have been if those damn authoritarians hadn't gotten control of the antiwar effort.

                "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

                by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 07:40:32 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  No, I mean all Marxists (0+ / 0-)

                  I don't know specifically what kinds of Marxists contributed to SDS's collapse, and I don't really care.  I don't draw any distinction between Marxists, Marxist-Leninists, Trotskyists, Stalinists, Maoists, whatever.  There's a Trotskyist group in Wisconsin (ISO) that uses the same recruiting tactics as cults, and to see what they do to people disgusts me.  They are about as democratic as voting, which is to say that they only allow the illusion of democracy.  Trotsky's personal actions during the Russian Civil War should be enough to say what kind of people are eager to put their name next to his.

                  •  I haven't had enough interaction (0+ / 0-)

                    with marxists to generalize. I've read Marx, I've read a lot more critiques of marxist communism, I've read a lot of anarchist literature. I like the critique of capitalism in Das Kapital- it's right on. I've read enough about the experiences of anarchists at the hands of the communists to dislike the communists, though I've never bothered to distinguish the types.

                    "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

                    by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 08:25:20 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  In anarchist theory (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Free Jazz at High Noon

                a centralized statist form of government is authoritarian. Any Marxist who believes in a central government (as Marx had thought would be necessary) would be considered authoritarian. A Marxist who does not would likely be an anarchist, not a Marxist.

                In Statism and Anarchy, Mikhail Bakunin identified a "statist" tendency within the socialist movement and contrasted it with anarchist socialism, arguing that Karl Marx's theory of transition from capitalism to socialism in which the working class seized state power in a Dictatorship of the proletariat would eventually lead to a usurpation of power by the state apparatus acting in its own self-interest.
                http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                Everywhere you will find that the wealth of the wealthy springs from the poverty of the poor. - from The Conquest of Bread by Peter Kropotkin

                by ZhenRen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 11:21:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  I was in SDS until 1969. It continued... (14+ / 0-)

            ...to grow despite factional divisions right up until the Weather leaders stole the members' list and headed out for their years of bombing. I knew Bernadine Dohrn, Mark Rudd and Judith Clark personally. After he surfaced in 1977, I lived for 18 months in the same communal house as David Gilbert, now doing consecutive terms for the Brinks Armored Car robbery in Nyack, NY, in 1981. So, yes, it was Weather tactical approach (with a little help from Progressive Labor factionalism) that destroyed SDS.

            I've been arrested more than 60 times in protests, beaten by the cops in six cities from Atlanta to Chicago to Denver, faced the FBI at Wounded Knee for 51 days and roughly interrogated by them several times, including three lengthy sessions after Nyack (which I had zero to do with). I have done 39 months plus a few scattered weeks in the slam as both a juvenile and an adult. So I think I understand passionate feelings about cops as well as most people.

            You know what happens after a black bloc defeats a police charge? Next time there is a demonstration, the same cops smash a lot of totally peaceful people, perhaps permanently maiming or even killing a few. Spare me the revolutionary romanticism. It won't attract more people; it will drive them away and get many who stick around hurt. Until there are massive numbers engaged in direct (non-violent) actions or, as cacamp says, organized and educated to back more militant action, black bloc is a hindrance, not a help.

            Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

            by Meteor Blades on Thu May 03, 2012 at 07:17:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  that's good info (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              WB Reeves, mahakali overdrive

              based on your experience. I was operating based on my own, more limited experience. Thanks. I think I will agree with you, though I can't say I've seen a black bloc rebuffing a charge followed by second protest. It could certainly happen, and I suppose you've probably seen it happen.  You make good points, though as I mentioned, I'm not certain about the means of carrying them out.

              "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

              by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 07:45:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's more than "information" (0+ / 0-)

                and more valuable.

                I'm trying to point to something, but sadly, I don't know how to describe it.

                There actually is truth; everything in a discussion or discourse is not merely opinion formed of objective experiences.

                .

                Resistance Is Fertile - Occupy

                by Sean X on Fri May 04, 2012 at 03:18:00 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  that's just, like, your opinion, man. (0+ / 0-)

                  "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

                  by progreen on Fri May 04, 2012 at 02:34:43 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  seriously though (0+ / 0-)

                  I can kind of grasp what you're getting at. "Info" was an inadequate way of saying it. I don't have a rebuttal for his experience, nor is it something I can rebut. However, I do think there is something intangible gained by fighting back. Most of what I would say would be full of overly romanticized notions, though, so I've tried to stick to the objective here.

                  I'm not sure if there is a single Truth. Maybe a range of truths. It's difficult to ascertain.

                  If there is a single truth, it's tough to get here- most people seem pretty certain of their own opinions. I like honest, openminded conversations as a way of challenging my own beliefs.

                  In the end, the best I can do is try to stay open to different opinions and judge only based on my values. A lot of this discussion has been about the effectiveness of tactics- something that I don't believe there is a "truth" to. If the conversation is about effectiveness, you can argue something is ineffective- and you might be right 99999999 times out of 1000000000 (not sure the zeros are right on that, but you get the idea). But the one time it works disproved the "ineffective" argument. What if someone succeeds at (a positive) revoluton? What if the black bloc saved a life (but how would we really know?) or would have saved a life if it was there? What if it saved a life but cost three more? What if there's an angry unicorn on the dark side of the moon?

                  For a long time, my personal creed was "question everything." However, that lack of anything solid was difficult, so I chose some values. I judge my own action on the basis of those values, and I sometimes judge the actions of others on that same standard (though that's difficult). However, what happens when someone proposes tactics to further my values but that I don't think will work? That's where I to to maintain an open mind and question everything still. Because...who really knows what will work in the complicated realm of human experience and reaction?

                  "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

                  by progreen on Fri May 04, 2012 at 02:49:29 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

                    for your thoughtful response.

                    who really knows what will work in the complicated realm of human experience and reaction?
                    I didn't, in 1967 when long-haired male me was taking a walk in my own neighborhood, stopped and taken in for a traffic warrant that didn't exist.

                    I talked to the two cops all the way to the Van Nuys station asking them if they were really doing the kind of work their families could be proud of... My handcuffs were so loose I could have pulled my hand out, but thought it unwise. Put alone in a glass holding cell facing out to the booking room, the door unlocked and wide open, with my booking sheet in a holder next to the door. As time went on, cops came in to book people, saw me in my cell, wandered over and read the sheet and went and asked the sergeant what was going on.

                    I was sitting cross-legged, meditating or singing Beatles' songs ("Life is very short, and there's no ti-yai-yai-yai-yime..."), on the bed/bench and would get up and offer my hand, introducing myself, to officers reading my sheet by the door.  I think they may have closed the door to protect me when the fellow in the cell next door tore the toilet from the floor and they had to call half the station to subdue him.

                    Anyway, I got bailed out and had a court date for which I appeared and sat there all morning through every single case until the room was all but empty whereupon I asked the bailiff if he was going to call my case, and after some running around and whispering, he quietly told me it had been a mistake and I could leave, and I said since I'd made the trip, I'd like to speak with the judge. I think they had to call him back in. So 21-year-old genius here proceeded to lecture the judge for 4-5 minutes on how maybe the system could use some improving, and his lame reply had to do with my supposedly not understanding how dangerous the cops job was in nearby Pacoima! Which didn't work out so well for him since I had lived there and finished high school there. So I guess I won that and goodbye and I could get the bail money after the office in the other building finished shuffling papers in three weeks or so.

                    Dad's bail money. Dad accused me of messing with him about that (maybe he was just angry because he worked damn hard for his money.) I finally got it back for him, but the experience didn't help our relationship any. I had friends who i was living with who had the money to bail me out, owning the very successful head shop only some blocks from the police station, but somehow It didn't seem a good idea to get them involved.

                    And that was that.

                    I have marched and sat-in, but just part of a crowd. All my most meaningful experiences were individual like above, and there are more than a few of them.

                    If someone did now what I did then, probably be bloody on the sidewalk... put myself "innocently" between cops and arrestee, danced when they ordered me to "Turn around." Ground leafy evidence into the lawn...

                    It worked for me.

                    Many years ago, I counted up that I'd been in 10 fights in my life. Five I started because I was pissed, and lost every one; five I was defending myself or someone and won them grandly.

                    who really knows what will work in the complicated realm of human experience and reaction?
                    So, yes, there is that.

                    Best wishes on finishing the grad lwork and graduating.

                    Resistance Is Fertile - Occupy

                    by Sean X on Fri May 04, 2012 at 07:06:37 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  i agree (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Sean X

                      with what you imply here- anger, no. protecting others, maybe. if done right. but as I said- I'm not doing it (black bloc), not planning on doing it, don't necessarily agree with it in this case. I just don't think it ought to be condemned in as strong terms as it is.

                      The movement needs everyone. We need teachers, cops, veterans, soldiers, protesters, organizers, presidents, politicians, non-profits, canvassers, phonebankers, doctors, lawyers, and so on. And we need black bloc-ers. Not necessarily the tactic, but the people who believe in it.

                      We need the people who believe in our president, the people who criticize him, the people who nonviolently resist in the streets, the people who believe in property destruction, and even the people who believe that violent resistance may be necessary. Now, what tactics we believe are best for a particular situation that's a different question. But I don't believe that we need to worry so damn much about what the people on our side on a given issue believe. I don't believe in collective guilt- I think each individual is responsible for his or her own actions. If I believed in collective guilt, I'd have a hard time living in this country, heck, in this consumer society built on exploitation.

                      My job is to do my best within my sphere to move the overall cause forward. To help, in the manner in which I am uniquely suited to. And I hope that we can keep those who support our overall values together enough to hold the line, because I'm pretty sure that if we focus on our differences, they will divide us, and we will fail. That, at least, has been my experience. Perhaps, as someone else in these diary comments argued, we don't- better to split in smaller groups in consensus and solidarity.

                      I like the idea of solidarity. It feels right. I'll have to think on that one.

                      Thanks for the conversation.

                      "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

                      by progreen on Fri May 04, 2012 at 11:05:43 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

            •  As if that won't happen anyway? (0+ / 0-)

              I thought the point of nonviolence is to show moral superiority by passively receiving beatings.  Should a (hypothetical, unfortunately) Black Bloc success result in police taking revenge on pacifists, I would think they should be grateful for accelerating the process.

              Now which do you think people would join- the group where people receive a beating, or the group that can fend one off?

              •  The reality? Except when there is no other... (7+ / 0-)

                ...option, the vast majority of people do not join either those who get beaten or those who, on one or two occasions, might luck out and "defeat" the police. Please show me a few instances where, in the three decades of black bloc tactics, they have resulted in anything more than a temporary victory. Unless vast numbers of Americans are prepared to physically resist or unhesitatingly support other who are, and I assert they are not, what you advocate is counterproductive. It will destroy Occupy and substitute nothing nihilism.

                Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

                by Meteor Blades on Thu May 03, 2012 at 09:09:51 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  perhaps the Black Bloc jumped too soon? (10+ / 0-)

        I am, like MB, a veteran of the protests and struggle of the 60's. I think one main difference is being overlooked and that's 'community organizing'. In the Civil Rights movement and the rebellion I led at Wounded Knee in 1973 a great deal of organizing was done for years in advance of any fighting and/or resistance.

        For many years community organizers in the south had rallied the people to stand up for their rights. They had gone into the black community to urge them to exercise their right to vote. They had convinced the influential black church to join them in the struggle and they had used the legal system to protect and expand civil rights. Therefore when some people fought back in the streets the majority of the community were already committed to the struggle and fully understood what was happening. They had the support of their people before they even attempted to resist.

        In the instance of Wounded Knee, which both MB and I participated in, the American Indian Movement had been organizing on the Pine Ridge reservation for five years and the people through their Chiefs had endorsed our plan to occupy Wounded Knee and defend it with armed resistance. In fact AIM was a minority of the people involved it was a community action led by the people who lived there, we of AIM were their army.

        What's wrong here is that the Black Bloc has done no preparation in the affected community, they expect to use their violence itself as the organizing tactic. It's my opinion that it won't work that way. Instead of understanding and joining, their target community the 99%, willl recoil in disgust and reject the entire movement. "Occupy" began as a committed non-violent movement and millions of Americans endorsed it. They endorsed not being fucked over by the banksters and the 1%. They did not endorse distruction of property and fighting in the streets. Therefore if Occupy now comes out fighting police in the streets and resort to violence as a tactic they are doomed to failure. They will have left their people behind before they have organized them or brought them to an understanding or acceptance of the movement.

        America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

        by cacamp on Thu May 03, 2012 at 06:18:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  if it's any consolation (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joe wobblie

          that's basically what I've been saying to Anarchists.  Unfortunately, many seem to think, "If you attack, the base will come".  Considering the unique goals we have, I'm not entirely sure if they're wrong.

          •  yes and no (0+ / 0-)

            attack, some will come. But the time isn't right yet. I'm an environmentalist- I really do believe that we can't keep living like we have 3 planets and get away with it. Once we no longer have enough resources to keep growing, the inequalities will become more dramatic and more life threatening. I hope we can find a way to "power down" and distribute resources more equitably and sustainably, but I'm not optimistic.

            Overall, though, I think there's an overall idea here. Mutual aid and local communities are a way of organizing and building those relationships. If it was up to me (and it isn't), Occupy would go back to occupying public spaces and keep that vision of equitable society based on principles of mutual aid in people's eyes.

            Rather than swinging for the fences, keep trying to occupy, live, and function as communities in public and abandoned private spaces. That would go a long way towards organizing and building the base for that radical change.

            "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

            by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 07:24:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  They have been, and no one mentions it (0+ / 0-)

              In San Francisco there have been two attempts at the 888 Turk building.  OO tried for that civic center in January.  A couple of months ago in Asheville, NC, there was a try at an abandoned car dealership building.  In all of these cases the police action was swift and overwhelming (and likely illegal), probably because they knew that the example of success in seizing property might set off a tidal wave.

              By my point in this post is to observe that there was practically no mention of any of these attempts outside of their immediate circles (and, of course, among Anarchists, who advocated it from the beginning and spearheaded the aforementioned attempts).  Not on the Progressive websites (truthdig/out, counterpunch, certainly not DailyKos), not on TV, not in print; for what little mention there was, there was even less discussion of the strategy outside of Anarchist circles.

              Of course, it makes sense that unequivocal direct action would not appeal to people who believe the only way to do anything is by having a media campaign and winning elections.

              •  or doing the hard dirty work (0+ / 0-)

                of organizing support prior to the takeover? That's a third alternative. Can't say I'm experienced at it but as some others above have said that seems to have been the most successful model - vanguard movements don't seem to have gone far since the 40's.

                •  Yes, they did (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  joe wobblie

                  by what I saw... I don't think I can find proof; like I said, they were pretty obscure, so I wouldn't even know where to start looking.  But, yes, there were apparently quite a few people working on infrastructure of the projects, and certainly a lot of people participated in each of them.

              •  You know (0+ / 0-)

                when you're not posturing as super anarchist you actually say some sensible things.

        •  patience (3+ / 0-)

          seems to be a luxury of past eras. The Occupy movement happened overnight. I hear and agree with the call for slow development of relationships and organizing, but in today's era of rapid change and overnight phenomena, I'm not sure it's the way.

          That said, I think I agree with you. Violence as a tactic requires that level of preparation. I just wonder how we can learn from what happened in Egypt. Is that impossible for us? Their resistance (violent against the police) happened overnight.

          Perhaps, as some have pointed out, it's just not possible with a relatively content populace. Sure, the middle class is upset about the banksters and income inequality, but they've got food in their bellies.

          I firmly believe that the opportunity for radical change will only be when we finally reap the results of our overshoot of carrying capacity. Peak oil (and peak everything) is ecological reality, in my view, and is just a matter of time. People are still holding on to the 1950's American Dream that everyone can make it big and consume as much as they want. Collapse first- only then can we reorganize society radically. Until then, and in the event that that never happens, we work on gradual change. Which means winning hearts and minds.

          "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

          by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 07:18:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agreed mostly. But let me say that one... (6+ / 0-)

            ...of the key assumptions of the left (including the anarchist left) is that collapse will bring about the radical changes sought. And that collapse is just around the corner. I've been there. We believed capitalism was on its last legs. Now, it's ecological collapse, which is already underway. But if that happens, the radical change we want may be quite a bit different than what happens. The people of the Southwest known as Anasazi resorted, scientists now think, to cannibalism in their drought-induced collapse.

            Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

            by Meteor Blades on Thu May 03, 2012 at 07:29:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It won't be inevitably positive change (0+ / 0-)

              There's no getting around the work that we'd have to do to make it change. I only believe it is one of those moments of opportunity for that sort of change.

              Ecological collapse is a reality- I don't know the timeframe (nobody really does) but I think soon. If Hubbert curves and all that are to be believed (I wrote my thesis on Peak Oil).

              I'm not that naive as to think that it'll collapse and everything will be hunky-dory. I think it'll collapse and everything will go to shit for a while. I've been pushing hard for us to develop sustainability tools so we get what environmentalists call a "soft landing." I don't think we will. What will definitely happen, though, is that society will be forced to re-localize for a while. That may lead to localized fascism, or localized communities of mutual aid. I have hope, given what I've seen of our communities in disaster times (despite the common media motif of "absence of society and police equals crazy lawlessness"), but it will take local organizing and work.

              "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

              by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 08:12:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm more pesimistic (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Larsstephens, Burned

                I think the USA will slowly devolve into a third world type economy while the majority accepts their lot in life. I think this because the USA has already become a police state and that state is getting stronger in all ways. They are also thinking about and planning for civil unrest and civil organizing by redicals like us.

                We have a large part of the population which will help the oligarchs hold power against the people. Not surprisingly they are also the most well armed and war ready of the populance from the tea party to the militias and true para-military outfits like Blackwater.

                Of course in the event of a really horrible ecological collapse all bets are off. In that instance maybe we Indians on the rez are possibly in better shape than most... we're still close to the land and we know hardship. My kids could hunt and fish when they were five and they can skin a deer with the best of them. Who knows.

                America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

                by cacamp on Thu May 03, 2012 at 10:35:27 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  yeah (0+ / 0-)

                  It depends on the state of various resources, level of control of central government, who is in charge if/when it goes down, if a lot of people die too or not, how fast it happens, etc. Too many variables to really predict. My hope is that there will be more opportunities for autonomous local sustainable cultures, like y'all on the Rez. Cities will probably be unpleasant. But again, this is all speculative. If it happens, if it happens in the next few years, if it happens this way or that way. I don't really know, I just am a little more optimistic about human nature than, say "The Road." Though not about governments.

                  I used to think about this a lot. Not really anymore. Like you, my family and I will handle it better than most. I've spent the last four years working in the wilderness for a living, so I'm not uncomfortable in it. I just have hope, and I have a little less hope that we can find a way to move towards equality, freedom, and sustainability absent a collapse than with one. I don't see the state or corporations giving up power voluntarily, and I'm pretty certain that revolution isn't in the cards. We'll see.

                  "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." --Ed Abbey

                  by progreen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 11:41:52 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I agree with this. (0+ / 0-)

                  I hope my agreement won't disturb you, considering the animity with which you view me. ;)

                  I think forming small eco-villages might be the best way to prepare for the worst, and to learn the old ways of hunting and gathering, living off the land. We can't predict which way things would turn if there is a collapse. Humans have lived for eons and have survived and even flourished by being close to the land, as you say.

                  Everywhere you will find that the wealth of the wealthy springs from the poverty of the poor. - from The Conquest of Bread by Peter Kropotkin

                  by ZhenRen on Thu May 03, 2012 at 11:55:01 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I don't "view you" in any way I remember (0+ / 0-)

                    but I pay very little attention to screen names. I'll argue with anyone :). But I'm glad we agee this time.

                    America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

                    by cacamp on Fri May 04, 2012 at 12:26:13 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  Attack on Sight And Break Their Legs? (0+ / 0-)

    It might take a while for them to get the message, but the one that get caught won't be back.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:54:24 PM PDT

  •  Maybe it's an alternative movement (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rhetoricus, Larsstephens

    more likely the guys in masks are just hired goons and ratfuckers.

  •  Obviously The GOP And Fox News Loves Black Block (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greendem

    ....this sort of destructiveness was key to getting Nixon elected.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Thu May 03, 2012 at 05:40:11 PM PDT

  •  I said this months ago and was pilloried for it (0+ / 0-)

    Months ago, in the flower of Occupy's movement I decried the Black Bloc Anarchy movement and called on OWS to destroy any chances of their involvement. I urged Occupiers to pick leadership so that they could distance themselves from the Big Black A, and I told them that allowing the Anarchists to gain any foothold whatsoever would spell the undoing of the Occupy cause.

    I was laughed at, ignored or shouted down.

    I even pointed out that FBI ops were working with the Black Bloc because of their status as useful idiots. More shouting down.

    "Sit down, shut up, we know what we're doing, we're leaderless because there is no point in leadership!"

    That's exactly why the Black Bloc finds you so tasty and delicious. That's exactly why they have NO TROUBLE infiltrating you and co-opting your cause.

    But you didn't listen and now you have a problem, two of them actually, if you bother to make distinctions between the Black Bloc and Pinkerton.

    Personally all I see is different employers but the same mission, "disrupt and destroy Occupy at all costs, even that of human lives."

    And now you'd better be ready to kick ass on two fronts if you expect Occupy to survive.

  •  Co-opt the BB... (0+ / 0-)

    Laugh at them. Use the same tactics that counter protesters employ against Fred Phelps...

    Don't use violence against them.

    Obama 2012 http://whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com/

    by jiffypop on Thu May 03, 2012 at 06:54:05 PM PDT

  •  Either agents provocateur or infantile (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, Free Jazz at High Noon

    types, jerking off and calling it political action.

    Whichever the case, their effect is to hurt ordinary people. The 1% is laughing their ass off at the "threat" these shitheads offer to the establishment. Hell, the 1% would PAY each of them to keep it up. Those they aren't already paying.

    That the Black Ops people claim to not see who they are really hurting tells you all you need to know.


    The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

    by Jim P on Thu May 03, 2012 at 07:51:24 PM PDT

  •  "Blackwater Bloc" (0+ / 0-)

    ..is who they most likely are.

    If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

    by rhetoricus on Thu May 03, 2012 at 07:54:48 PM PDT

  •  I disagree. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    UnaSpenser

    You cannot worry about the traditional media perspective. It's always going to be against OWS. While the black block might not help, tis empowering youth to rebel and there's nothing wrong with that. We need a heck of a lot more of that in our country than what we're seeing. I'm down with OWS and have been since the beginning. I'm non-violent. But the NYPD has become a rogue terrorist organization and must be met with some resistance.

  •  My observation of the BB at Chicago May Day (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, nickrud

    was that they looked foolish. I expected them to say "trick or treat" any minute.  The Board of Trade ,Fed Reserve, and Chase Bankers are not afraid of them.  They are an amusement to them and they guarantee that few middle class working stiffs will join the fight.  

    It is only when the working class honors May Day and marches in the street that the 1% will tremble. Things just aren't bad enough yet (though I am mystified by that sentiment).

    If we ever really need a scary "Black Bloc" they won't be seen parading in the streets.    

  •  thank you for this thoughtful diary - (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Free Jazz at High Noon, Matt Z

    much better than my angry rant....

    but, i'm still angry, so i'm signing off for the night.

    this is too personal for me to stay online tonite.

  •  "they prevent us from getting the police on our... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZhenRen

    side"

    I don't think you know what police are.

    It takes a profound ignorance of history to believe the police will ever take the side of the leftists, nonviolent or otherwise.

    They are paid and ordered to hurt you if you protest the economic establishment.  That's their job.

  •  Good grief (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZhenRen, Kristina40

    What a bunch of nonsense.

    People should read a fucking book and learn about the history of black bloc tactics as they are used (successfully) throughout the world and have been for years.  It's only in this country where everyone has a huge property fetish that they are so demonized.  

    You guys are so conditioned to value property over people that you don't even see you are part of the problem.

    I posted this elsewhere but people really should read this.  After what happened in Seattle I think this is hella dope for people to read right after May Day.

    Why All the Smashy-Smashy? A Beginner's Guide to Targeted Property Destruction.

    Eat your pheasant...drink your wine. Your days are numbered bourgeois swine

    by JustJennifer on Thu May 03, 2012 at 11:10:07 PM PDT

    •  Here is a good place to start reading (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZhenRen, Free Jazz at High Noon

      Eat your pheasant...drink your wine. Your days are numbered bourgeois swine

      by JustJennifer on Thu May 03, 2012 at 11:14:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for that... (0+ / 0-)

      I'll read the articles.

      Everywhere you will find that the wealth of the wealthy springs from the poverty of the poor. - from The Conquest of Bread by Peter Kropotkin

      by ZhenRen on Fri May 04, 2012 at 12:10:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If you want others to listen (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      netop

      you might consider not telling them what they think but letting them tell you what they think

    •  Property Fetish? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oh Mary Oh

      How is not wanting the windows of my business smashed or not wanting my car busted up a "property fetish"?

      How is not wanting my livelihood threatened a "property fetish"?

      If you want to have a dialogue regarding the notion of personal property ownership, you might want to drop the insulting tone which includes declaring that anyone who doesn't agree to live and think like you is "part of the problem".  Part of what problem are the people who don't support attacks on cars and buildings that help people feed, shelter, and clothe themselves and their neighbors?

      Some people should get their heads out of books and see how the other 99% of the world lives.

      Oh yeah...one more thing...that

      You guys are so conditioned to value property over people
      argument.  It's BS.  Human life is more important than property AND pointless destruction of other people's stuff is wrong.  No conflict there.  Stop telling people what they think.

      "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars" --Casey Kasem

      by netop on Fri May 04, 2012 at 10:00:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I thought the greatest enemy to OWS was (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kristina40

    um, Wall Street.

    Everywhere you will find that the wealth of the wealthy springs from the poverty of the poor. - from The Conquest of Bread by Peter Kropotkin

    by ZhenRen on Fri May 04, 2012 at 12:07:06 AM PDT

  •  a couple things (0+ / 0-)

    1. Occupy Oakland needs to end. It is always in the news for the wrong reasons and attracts blackbloc giving everyone a bad name.

    2. blackbloc is proof that anarchy can't work. True anarchy could exist peacefully but that day that happens i'll start shitting rainbows that smell like cinnebuns.

    3. is it(occupy) even being effective anymore?

  •  Can't you identify them by name to the cops? (0+ / 0-)

    I haven't a clue, which is why I'm asking.   Contact the cops.  File a complaint against them.   Ask for a restraining order.  Offer to go undercover for the police to identify and turn them in.  

    "bin Laden's dead, and GM is alive" ~ Biden

    by dkmich on Fri May 04, 2012 at 03:23:23 AM PDT

  •  quibble (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Agathena

    The black block did not cause the banks to go with the pinkertons.  They have used the pinkertons for over a hundred years, whenever the people get the idea that class warfare is bad for them.  

    Agents provocateur in disguise is your best argument against siding with black blck, it's un policable.  

    Otherwise, great diary.  

    If you haven't earned my vote when the time comes, don't blame me when you lose.

    by Nada Lemming on Fri May 04, 2012 at 06:33:10 AM PDT

  •  The thing is you need the WOMEN to be involved (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh

    They are far less likely to be involved if there is violence, leading to it just being claimed to be a bunch of guys "rioting."

    That's one of the main reasons for the non-violence, without any kind of destruction of property or people. The women won't turn out if they don't feel relatively safe. Without the women, you don't get the sympathy from the general public. That sympathy is the only way it works.

    Look at the civil rights struggle, and how the harmless girls and women are portrayed as some of the main characters. It arouses the sympathy and protectiveness of the general public. Think of the painting by Norman Rockwell of the lone black girl walking to school protected by the federal guards. It's a story of justice and fairness, and those that are being hurt needing to be protected.

    That's why the 1% want to get violence going on the part of Occupy, to drive the women out and to make it look like it's just a bunch of young men being thugs. Then it can be easily dismissed, and they could claim it's a "threat" to the peace and security.

    No destruction of any kind is the only way to go, no matter what.

    Women create the entire labor force. Think about it.

    by splashy on Fri May 04, 2012 at 11:24:58 AM PDT

  •  a few things to say . . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh

    1. I'm an anarchist.  Syndicalist.  IWW member since the 80's.

    2. I'm not a pacifist. I wrote the intro to an edition of "Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla", and I firmly believe that in the end only guns will destroy the existing social order.

    But . . . . .

    I agree with everything you say here.  

    Through all the silly ideological debates that surround this issue, there is only one question that ultimately matters-----do actions like this win supporters to our side?

    I think nobody can argue that they do.

    And that settles the matter.

    So, purely as a matter of smart tactics, I wholeheartedly reject violence of any sort, whether against property or persons, as a useful (or even tolerable) tactic for Occupy. It doesn't help us; it only hurts us. So it's a really really dumb idea for us to do it now.

    But if circumstances ever change, I reserve the right to change my mind.

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