Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at SPAMdojo.tao.ca
Sat Dec 4 17:59:45 MST 1999

Forwarded From: David Barbarash <otter at vcn.bc.ca>

> (from Independent Media web page)
> : N30 Black Bloc Communique
> by ACME Collective 10:48am Sat Dec 4 '99
> A communique from one section of the black bloc of N30 in Seattle
> On November 30, several groups of individuals in black bloc attacked
> corporate targets in downtown Seattle. Among them were (to name just
a few):
> Fidelity Investment (major investor in Occidental Petroleum, the bane
of the
> U'wa tribe in Columbia)
> Bank of America, US Bancorp, Key Bank and Washington Mutual Bank
> institutions key in the expansion of corporate repression)
> Old Navy, Banana Republic and the GAP (as Fisher family businesses,
rapers of
> Northwest forest lands and sweatshop laborers)
> NikeTown and Levi's (whose overpriced products are made in
> McDonald's (slave-wage fast-food peddlers responsible for destruction
> tropical rainforests for grazing land and slaughter of animals)
> Starbucks (peddlers of an addictive substance whose products are
harvested at
> below-poverty wages by farmers who are forced to destroy their own
> forests in the process)
> Warner Bros. (media monopolists)
> Planet Hollywood (for being Planet Hollywood)
> This activity lasted for over 5 hours and involved the breaking of
> storefront windows and doors and defacing of facades. Slingshots,
> boxes, sledge hammers, mallets, crowbars and nail-pullers were used
> strategically destroy corporate property and gain access (one of the
> targeted Starbucks and Niketown were looted). Eggs filled with glass
> solution, paint-balls and spray-paint were also used.
> The black bloc was a loosely organized cluster of affinity groups and
> individuals who roamed around downtown, pulled this way by a
vulnerable and
> significant storefront and that way by the sight of a police
> Unlike
> the vast majority of activists who were pepper-sprayed, tear-gassed
> shot at
> with rubber bullets on several occasions, most of our section of the
> bloc
> escaped serious injury by remaining constantly in motion and avoiding
> engagement
> with the police. We buddied up, kept tight and watched each others'
> Those attacked by federal thugs were un-arrested by quick-thinking and
> organized
> members of the black bloc. The sense of solidarity was awe-inspiring.
> Unfortunately, the presence and persistence of "peace police" was
> disturbing. On at least 6 separate occasions, so-called "non-violent"
> activists physically attacked individuals who targeted corporate
> Some even went so far as to stand in front of the Niketown super
store and
> tackle and shove the black bloc away. Indeed, such self-described
> "peace-keepers" posed a much greater threat to individuals in the
black bloc
> than the notoriously violent uniformed "peace-keepers" sanctioned by
> state
> (undercover officers have even used the cover of the activist peace-
> to
> ambush those who engage in corporate property destruction).
> Response to the black bloc has highlighted some of the contradictions
> and internal oppressions of the "nonviolent activist" community.
Aside from
> the
> obvious hypocrisy of those who engaged in violence against black-clad
> masked
> people (many of whom were harassed despite the fact that they never
> in
> property destruction), there is the racism of privileged activists
who can
> afford to ignore the violence perpetrated against the bulk of society
and the
> natural world in the name of private property rights. Window-smashing
> engaged and inspired many of the most oppressed members of Seattle's
> community
> more than any giant puppets or sea turtle costumes ever could (not to
> disparage
> the effectiveness of those tools in other communities).
> Here's a little something to dispel the myths that have been
> about
> the N30 black bloc:
> 1. "They are all a bunch of Eugene anarchists." While a few may be
> from Eugene, we hail from all over the United States, including
Seattle. In
> any
> case, most of us are familiar with local issues in Seattle (for
instance, the
> recent occupation of downtown by some of the most nefarious of
> retailers).
> 2. "They are all followers of John Zerzan." A lot of rumors have been
> circulating that we are followers of John Zerzan, an anarcho-
> author
> from Eugene who advocates property destruction. While some of us may
> appreciate
> his writings and analyses, he is in no sense our leader, directly,
> indirectly,
> philisophocally or otherwize.
> 3. "The mass public squat is the headquarters of the anarchists who
> property on November 30th." In reality, most of the people in
the "Autonomous
> Zone" squat are residents of Seattle who have spent most of their
time since
> its opening on the 28th in the squat. While they may know of one-
another, the
> two groups are not co-extensive and in no case could the squat be
> considered the
> headquarters of people who destroyed property.
> 4. "They escalated situations on the 30th, leading to the tear-
gassing of
> passive, non-violent protesters." To answer this, we need only note
> tear-gassing, pepper-spraying and the shooting of rubber bullets all
> before the black blocs (as far as we know) started engaging in
> destruction. In addition, we must resist the tendency to establish a
> relationship between police repression and protest in any form,
whether it
> involved property destruction or not. The police are charged with
> the interests of the wealthy few and the blame for the violence
cannot be
> placed upon those who protest those interests.
> 5. Conversely: "They acted in response to the police repression."
While this
> might be a more positive representation of the black bloc, it is
> false. We refuse to be misconstrued as a purely reactionary force.
While the
> logic of the black bloc may not make sense to some, it is in any case
> pro-active logic.
> 6. "They are a bunch of angry adolescent boys." Aside from the fact
that it
> belies a disturbing ageism and sexism, it is false. Property
destruction is
> not
> merely macho rabble-rousing or testosterone-laden angst release. Nor
is it
> displaced and reactionary anger. It is strategically and specifically
> targeted direct action against corporate interests.
> 7. "They just want to fight." This is pretty absurd, and it
> ignores the eagerness of "peace police" to fight us. Of all the groups
> engaging
> in direct action, the black bloc was perhaps the least interested in
> the authorities and we certainly had no interest in fighting with
> anti-WTO
> activists (despite some rather strong disagreements over tactics).
> 8. "They are a chaotic, disorganized and opportunistic mob." While
many of us
> could surely spend days arguing over what "chaotic" means, we were
> certainly not
> disorganized. The organization may have been fluid and dynamic, but
it was
> tight. As for the charge of opportunism, it would be hard to imagine
who of
> the
> thousands in attendance _didn't_ take advantage of the opportunity
created in
> Seattle to advance their agenda. The question becomes, then, whether
or not
> we
> helped create that opportunity and most of us certainly did (which
leads us
> to
> the next myth):
> 9. "They don't know the issues" or "they aren't activists who've been
> on this." While we may not be professional activists, we've all been
> working on
> this convergence in Seattle for months. Some of us did work in our
> and others came to Seattle months in advance to work on it. To be
sure, we
> were
> responsible for many hundreds of people who came out on the streets
on the
> 30th,
> only a very small minority of which had anything to do with the black
> Most of us have been studying the effects of the global economy,
> engineering, resource extraction, transportation, labor practices,
> elimination
> of indigenous autonomy, animal rights and human rights and we've been
> activism on these issues for many years. We are neither ill-informed
> unexperienced.
> 10. "Masked anarchists are anti-democratic and secretive because they
> their
> identities." Let's face it (with or without a mask)--we aren't living
in a
> democracy right now. If this week has not made it plain enough, let
us remind
> you--we are living in a police state. People tell us that if we
really think
> that we're right, we wouldn't be hiding behind masks. "The truth will
> prevail"
> is the assertion. While this is a fine and noble goal, it does not
jive with
> the present reality. Those who pose the greatest threat to the
interests of
> Capital and State will be persecuted. Some pacifists would have us
> this
> persecution gleefully. Others would tell us that it is a worthy
sacrifice. We
> are not so morose. Nor do we feel we have the privilege to accept
> as a sacrifice: persecution to us is a daily inevitability and we
> our
> few freedoms. To accept incarceration as a form of flattery betrays a
> amount of "first world" privilege. We feel that an attack on private
> is necessary if we are to rebuild a world which is useful, healthful
> joyful
> for everyone. And this despite the fact that hypertrophied private
> rights in this country translate into felony charges for any property
> destruction over $250.
> The primary purpose of this communique is to diffuse some of the aura
> mystery that surrounds the black bloc and make some of its
motivations more
> transparent, since our masks cannot be.
> We contend that property destruction is not a violent activity unless
> destroys lives or causes pain in the process. By this definition,
> property--especially corporate private property--is itself infinitely
> violent than any action taken against it.
> Private property should be distinguished from personal property. The
> latter is based upon use while the former is based upon trade. The
premise of
> personal property is that each of us has what s/he needs. The premise
> private property is that each of us has something that someone else
needs or
> wants. In a society based on private property rights, those who are
able to
> accrue more of what others need or want have greater power. By
> they
> wield greater control over what others perceive as needs and desires,
> usually in
> the interest of increasing profit to themselves.
> Advocates of "free trade" would like to see this process to its
> conclusion: a network of a few industry monopolists with ultimate
> over
> the lives of the everyone else. Advocates of "fair trade" would like
to see
> this process mitigated by government regulations meant to
> impose
> basic humanitarian standards. As anarchists, we despise both
> Private property--and capitalism, by extension--is intrinsicly
violent and
> repressive and cannot be reformed or mitigated. Whether the power of
> is concentrated into the hands of a few corporate heads or diverted
into a
> regulatory apparatus charged with mitigating the disasters of the
> no one
> can be as free or as powerful as they could be in a non-hierarchical
> When we smash a window, we aim to destroy the thin veneer of
> that surrounds private property rights. At the same time, we exorcize
> set
> of violent and destructive social relationships which has been imbued
> almost
> everything around us. By "destroying" private property, we convert its
> limited
> exchange value into an expanded use value. A storefront window
becomes a vent
> to let some fresh air into the oppressive atmosphere of a retail
outlet (at
> least until the police decide to tear-gas a nearby road blockade). A
> newspaper
> box becomes a tool for creating such vents or a small blockade for
> reclamation of public space or an object to improve one's vantage
point by
> standing on it. A dumpster becomes an obstruction to a phalanx of
> cops
> and a source of heat and light. A building facade becomes a message
board to
> record brainstorm ideas for a better world.
> After N30, many people will never see a shop window or a hammer the
> way again. The potential uses of an entire cityscape have increased a
> thousand-fold. The number of broken windows pales in comparison to
the number
> broken spells--spells cast by a corporate hegemony to lull us into
> forgetfulness
> of all the violence committed in the name of private property rights
and of
> all
> the potential of a society without them. Broken windows can be
boarded up
> (with
> yet more waste of our forests) and eventually replaced, but the
shattering of
> assumptions will hopefully persist for some time to come.
> Against Capital and State,
> the ACME Collective
> "Peasant Revolt!"
> -------------
> Disclaimer: these observations and analyses represent only those of
the ACME
> Collective and should not be construed to be representative of the
rest of
> the
> black bloc on N30 or anyone else who engaged in riot or property
> that day.

Macdonald Stainsby

check the "ten point platform" of Tao at: http://new.tao.ca

"To give food aid to a country just because they are starving is a
pretty weak reason."
   Henry Kissinger, 1974
(former American Secretary of State)

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