on the discussion of whether “black bloc” tactics are useful to social movements:
We’re continuing our discussion of wanting to take the influence of money out of politics with Author and Truthout columnist Chris Hedges. Overturning Citizens United is just one step, but for those that have been monitoring the Occupy movement for over the last four months, they know that it’s about much more. But where does public opinion stand on Occupy now that the majority of the camps have been evicted? Now that we’ve seen in some cities, violence come into play, in what’s meant to be a peaceful movement. Hedges pin points the black bloc anarchists, and calls them the cancer within Occupy. And says that if their confrontational tactics begin to shape public opinion, and allow local governments to justify draconian forms of control, the Occupy movement is finished.
UPDATE 2/8/12: REBUTTAL TO HEDGES ET.AL.: THOSE WHO ARE AGAINST BLACK BLOC TACTICS DON’T UNDERSTAND THE CONTEXT
Chris Hedges’ “Black Bloc” takedown is only the most recent in a series of critiques bashing anarchists and “diversity of tactics” within the national Occupy movement since January 28th’s fog of tear gas has dissipated. While previous criticisms came from the right or center of the political spectrum, these perspectives are arising from the left and mainly from journalists who have not been in the field to witness these tactics in action and within context…
…Some in Occupy Oakland call a consistent pacifist protest approach a “position of privilege” – a position taken by those who have not been in a situation where they have needed to defend themselves against violence, be it economic, physical or otherwise. –Susie Cagle, Truthout
and to add a counterpoint to that, there is the Anonymous statement:
“This issue has been discussed many times during the past several months, and there appears to be a popular consensus that your tactics of chilling and intimidating the citizen press, breaking the windows of small businesses, terrorizing innocent employees and bystanders, and sometimes outright assaulting occupy protesters are unacceptable. You are at best misguided, harmful, and idiotic in your actions.”
the debate goes on and on.
“The dominant, almost general, idea of revolution–particularly the Socialist idea-is that revolution is a violent change of social conditions through which one social class, the working class, becomes dominant over another class, the capitalist class. It is the conception of a purely physical change, and as such it involves only political scene shifting and institutional rearrangements….
There is no greater fallacy than the belief that aims and purposes are one thing, while methods and tactics are another. This fallacy is a potent menace to social regeneration. All human experience teaches that methods and means cannot be separated from the ultimate aim. The means employed become, through individual habit and social practice, part and parcel of the final purpose; they influence it, modify it, and presently the aims and means become identical…
…Applied in practice it means that the period of the actual revolution must be the introduction, the prelude to the new social conditions. It is the threshold to the new life, the new house of humanity. As such it must be of the same spirit as the new life it wishes to achieve, harmonious with the construction of the new edifice.
Today is the parent of tomorrow. The present casts its shadow far into the future. That is the law of life, individual and social. Revolution that divests itself of ethical values thereby lays the foundation of injustice, deceit, and oppression for the future society. The means used to prepare the future become its cornerstone.
It cannot be sufficiently emphasized that revolution is in vain unless inspired by its ultimate ideal. Revolutionary methods must be in tune with revolutionary aims. The means used to further the revolution must harmonize with its purposes. In short, the ethical values which the revolution is to establish in the new society must be initiated by the revolutionary activities. The latter can only serve as a real and dependable bridge to the better life if they are built of the same material as the life to be achieved. Revolution is the mirror of the coming day; it is the child that is to be the human of tomorrow.
i am still all for the Occupy movement and its goals as a whole and support the factions that i think are doing Good, and many groups are! they are being organized, functional, systematic, collaborative! so this is in NO WAY an indictment of those who have been working hard to put nonviolent principles into place for this movement. but particularly in Oakland, many still feel that black bloc is part of the “diversity of tactics” needed (that is: without some violent pushback, the pacifists will just get walked on).
even though that Susie Cagle update above is a most excellent rebuttal showing the complexity of this issue of “diversity of tactics”, which i was very glad to read and you should too, I’m with Anonymous and Goldman, and the black bloc tactics of the OccupyOakland movement (not all, but some, and enough) is not being the change i wish to see (and YES I KNOW THE MEDIA IS SKEWING IT HARD). there is enough violence in oakland that most residents would like it if the “black bloc” would rethink before they provoke an all out riot again. i mean: THERE ARE PROTESTERS PROTESTING THE PROTEST (which i think was AWESOME and IMPORTANT). we don’t need self-appointed pseudo-anarchists making it worse, trying to “prove a point” against the OPD. (+please note that in post #11 i did advocate that the police leave protesters alone, that they are only making it worse and are certainly a huge part of the problem.) we all know how the OPD is. they’ve shown themselves repeatedly. the only point being proven now is that violence begets violence.
3. not to get all hippie on it but didn’t John Lennon teach us anything?
Filed in culture and random linkage, politics and news, QOTD | Tagged with #occupyoakand, #ows, capitalism, goldman, lennon, marxisms, pacifism | Comment (0)
“We’re trying to sell peace, like a product, you know, and sell it like people sell soap or soft drinks. And it’s the only way to get people aware that peace is possible, and it isn’t just inevitable to have violence. Not just war — all forms of violence. People just accept it and think ‘Oh, they did it, or Harold Wilson did it, or Nixon did it,’ they’re always scapegoating people. And it isn’t Nixon’s fault. We’re all responsible for everything that goes on, you know, we’re all responsible for Biafra and Hitler and everything. So we’re just saying “SELL PEACE” — anybody interested in peace just stick it in the window. It’s simple but it lets somebody else know that you want peace too, because you feel alone if you’re the only one thinking ‘wouldn’t it be nice if there was peace and nobody was getting killed.’ So advertise yourself that you’re for peace if you believe in it.”