Friday, February 10, 2012

Black Bloc: The Cancer in Occupy

I love to read, watch and listen to blog posts, news articles, and opinion pieces that provide insight into the global backlash against the status quo. I enjoy learning about the views and perspectives of many different organized groups of activists who use direct and indirect action to bring about change. There seems to be a growing list of common grievances and similar demands, but the activists have great difficulty every time they try agree on specific actions that might bring about change.

Anonymous organizes attacks on the servers owned by powerful corporate and government organizations. They circumvent security systems and gather e-mails, private information,  classified data, and even record conference calls in which the FBI and Scotland Yard discuss hacktivism investigations.

Private Bradley Manning downloaded classified diplomatic cables that were eventually posted on Wikileaks. Groups like Demand Progress and CREDO Action Network send e-mails and encourage their readers to post on Facebook and Twitter soliciting signatures for petitions.  But overwhelmingly, most of the activists seem content if they can occupy a public space, hold a sign, shout slogans and sing motivational songs.

The two blog posts below and the resulting comments clearly demonstrate the disent and debate within the anti-establishment movement.  In his latest post, Chris Hedges calls out the Black Bloc as counterproductive to the Occupy movement, and many in the movement are displeased with his divisiveness.

Source: AlterNet

The Black Bloc anarchists, who have been active on the streets in Oakland and other cities, are the cancer of the Occupy movement. The presence of Black Bloc anarchists—so named because they dress in black, obscure their faces, move as a unified mass, seek physical confrontations with police and destroy property—is a gift from heaven to the security and surveillance state. The Occupy encampments in various cities were shut down precisely because they were nonviolent. They were shut down because the state realized the potential of their broad appeal even to those within the systems of power.
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Black Bloc adherents detest those of us on the organized left and seek, quite consciously, to take away our tools of empowerment. They confuse acts of petty vandalism and a repellent cynicism with revolution.
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Because Black Bloc anarchists do not believe in organization, indeed oppose all organized movements, they ensure their own powerlessness. They can only be obstructionist. And they are primarily obstructionist to those who resist.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at AlterNet.

Randall Amster responded to Hedges's by .

Source: Counterpunch

You would be hard-pressed to find anyone on the American Left who has not either benefited from or been influenced by the writings of Chris Hedges. His is a singular and potent voice of progressive journalism, combining the best virtues of diligent reporting and unabashed advocacy for a better world.
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All of which makes his latest piece so disturbing in its full implications. Hedges calls out the anarchist-influenced Black Bloc as “the cancer of the Occupy movement,” and in the process vilifies with a broad brush an entire class of activists and anarchists as “not only deeply intolerant but stupid,” accusing them of “hijacking” and/or seeking to destroy Occupy and other progressive movements.
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So what gives? How is it that someone of his stature, influence, and insight has seemingly “drank the Kool-Aid” of divisiveness and internal finger-pointing that the power elite so obviously want to inculcate within our movements? Does Hedges really believe that a relatively small subset of the larger movement is somehow responsible for scuttling Occupy nationwide?
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To reject someone from the open spaces of a movement that is purporting to represent the 99 percent is to consign them to where, exactly? Since they are presumably not part of the 1 percent (hired provocateurs aside), if they are banished from the 99 percent what options does that leave them? When a movement decides to ‘self-police,’ that shouldn’t be confused with adopting the same punitive and illogical methods of the state.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Counterpunch

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