I’ve been researching & writing about Black Bloc tactics for six months now- ever since someone released the video of Harsha Walia viciously attacking Derrick O’Keefe after the ‘Heart Attack’ incident at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. I was disgusted by Harsha’s take in this video- her use of racism, sexism & classism seemed like a wholly inappropriate tactic for someone who claims they fight for Social Justice…
Since then, I’ve had plenty of personal attacks taken against me. I’ve been called sexist, classist, racist, privileged, and much more- but, not a single supporter of Black Bloc tactics has tried to give me a reason they are useful and necessary. What’s up with that?
So, I’ve researched for hours trying to understand the method behind what seems to be madness of these tactics. I’ve read Peter Gelderloos taking about why pacifism is dangerous, Derrick Jansen telling us there is no hope for the future, and a few dozen articles that tried to counter Chris Hedges‘ position on why Black Bloc is a Cancer…
So far, the only arguments I’ve found in defence of Black Bloc tactics are doubletalk or logical fallacies. Here’s a few of them:
1.) Black Bloc Tactics Will Show The Inherent Violence in the System
This argument says that by initiating violence with the authorities, Black Bloc tactics will provide the general public with knowledge that the police are inherently violent. The people will then become motivated to rise-up against the system and fight back. Unfortunately, as the use of Black Bloc tactics at Occupy have shown this is not true. If anything, it has done the opposite- driving many dedicated people away from the movement.
2.) People’s Pacifism Enables Our Government to Continue Harming Us
This argument makes the mistake of confusing pacifism with apathy. It is the fact that people are apathetic that allows government and corporations to take advantage of us. And, as the (somewhat) successful uprisings in the Middle East have shown, it was not violence that helped them win- it was the fact that the people in those countries actually started to speak out.
3.) If Peaceful Protest Fails We Will Need Black Bloc Tacticians To Protect Us
This argument makes the assumption that if things go wrong we will then need to rely on Black Bloc to protect us. The problem here is that it doesn’t explain how they will accomplish this? I agree, that if out governments decide to get nasty, we will need to learn to fight back. That said, I don’t see how the skills Black Bloc people have gained breaking windows and building home-made shields out of plastic barrels will accomplish this? Personally, I’d feel a lot more comfortable taking directions from the brave members of Occupy Marines, Occupy Army & Occupy Police than from Harsha and her crew.
So, for all of those out there who support what Black Bloc tacticians have been up to these past few months, I have a challenge for you. Use the comments section here on my blog to explain to those of us who aren’t yet sold on Black Bloc tactics why we should accept your philosophy and tactics. Use solid examples and evidence of past success of you have them.
I’m up for a real debate here, and will enter with my ears, heart & mind open to your arguments why I should accept your methods. But, please, make it a clean fight and the avoid personal attacks you’ve taken in the past (and I’ll promise to do the same.) This is your chance to be taken seriously- show us what you’ve got…