A Challenge For People Who Support Black Bloc Tactics

Italiano: illustrazione disegnata di un black bloc
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…

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8 responses to “A Challenge For People Who Support Black Bloc Tactics

  1. I think you hit the nail on the head here. I’ve also been asking why and have run against a wall. I hate to say it but I’m running into a LOT of trustfundie angry white kids among BB. As far as protecting us; That’s F-ing laughable. I think what we’re seeing here is IRA era romanticism…

    • Indeed! Curiously, here in Toronto, one of the most prominent people who marches with (but not as) the black bloc is a man famous for coming from a banking family and who claims them to be from the 1%!

      Isn’t it curious to see how nobody has written a response here? Considering how passionate black bloc practitioners are about their “movement” they sure don’t have many intelligent words to say in defense of it!

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  3. BB is a fail. The G20 saw tens of thousands of activists take time off and make a great effort to announce to their fellow Canadians that there were some very pressing issues that needed their attention. Thanks to the BB all most Canadians saw was burning police cars.

    Protesting is the act of defiantly saying that you don’t like something as a person, as a voter, as a citizen in the society. It says “look, this is me, I am one of you, we shouldn’t have this in our society because I and all these other people with me think this way”. Showing up in a mask is NOT protesting. It’s hurting the protest. It’s saying “Hi, I like to be a part of this but I am too cowardly to bare my face and hold a sign. Wouldn’t want anyone to recognize me here with these folks”.

    I am an activist. The BB is not with me either at the protests that they come out to anyways, or in the ranks of good people that support of building of a better society. That’s just how it is.

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  5. As Alfred so aptly put it to Bruce Wayne in “Dark Knight” – “…some men just want to see the world burn.”

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