[Marxism] Debate over Occupy tactics: an invented controversy

Scott Ritner ritns028 at newschool.edu
Thu Feb 16 12:25:29 MST 2012

I'm curious, and perhaps, Louis, you can clear this up for me, but why is
it that we necessarily need to justify our actions within the liberal
juridical modus of "self defense"? It seems to me that this pandora's box
of self-doubt, which has not so much produced self-critique as it has
unnecessary hand-wringing and disavowals of both the black bloc as a tactic
and the anarchists and left communists that either plan or participate in
them (and yes, they are planned actions for the most part - to assume that
there is no need for organization in the creation of a bloc of any sort and
for any purpose is for both the lauders and detractors of the black bloc a
fallacy) is related more to an enlightenment, dare I say, liberal tendency
within the left to desire an approving nod from those who are our
ideological and material nemeses.

If I may repeat the cliche of supporting a diversity of tactics, I would
venture to qualify that by saying that I also support a diversity of
rationalizations for those tactics. Are you really going to claim that the
"spray-painting" of a Whole Foods is some sort of overstepping of a
communist or socialist morality? Why? Because it causes some small fiscal
damage to one of the largest grocery chains in the US? We should feel bad
for them? That in the midst of a chaotic street protest that the
destruction of property is somehow incompatible with the fight against
capitalism? While I certainly agree that it is ill-advised to break a car
window of an unsuspecting, and quite possibly supportive, worker either of
the traditional proletariat or of the precarious type that has proliferated
in the past 40 years, I don't think I can find it in myself to chastise
someone who takes action against private property even if it is a simple
spectacular act of immature defiance against one of the fundamental forms
of our individuation, of our separation from each other. I see no reason to
be afraid of offensive tactics. Are we in favor of a revolution against the
capitalists and their armed wings, the police and the military? Do we think
that we can perpetually couch our actions in the Anglo-American Juridical
terms of self-defense then we have already lost the fight for intellectual
hegemony, we have already given in.

On another note, the particular medical linguistics that hedges has used
delineates not so much that the black bloc is a "cancer" cells that will
not die off as they should and instead multiply and become deformed, but
instead an auto-immunitary sort of disease that turns the defensive
abilities of the the body into an element that attacks itself directly. In
what I have seen in New York, is quite the opposite. It is far more common
for a member of the "activist peace police" to attack someone building a
barricade or holding a hassle line against the real police, pulling down
their mask or yanking on them from behind by their clothing. This
immunitary function has turned on its own body.


On Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 1:15 PM, Eli Stephens <elishastephens at hotmail.com>wrote:

> ======================================================================
> Rule #1: YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
> ======================================================================
> Louis: "Well, this evades the real crux of the black bloc problem in
> Oakland, namely the imbecilic events of November 2nd that included
> spraypainting a Whole Foods store, busting windows and all the rest.
> This adventurism has nothing to do with self-defense."
> First of all, the article addresses precisely that question (and agrees
> with
> you):
> "The Black Bloc tactic should be criticized when it is clearly being
> harmful
> to the Occupy movement. There is certainly room to critique it, especially
> when it is used offensively." [and it continues on from there]
> Second of all, I doubt that the "real crux" of a problem is one incident
> that happened three months ago. There is little doubt that Hedges' critique
> arose in response to the events of Jan. 28, not the events of Nov. 2.
> Eli Stephens
>  Left I on the News
>  http://lefti.blogspot.com
> ________________________________________________
> Send list submissions to: Marxism at greenhouse.economics.utah.edu
> Set your options at:
> http://greenhouse.economics.utah.edu/mailman/options/marxism/ritns028%40newschool.edu

More information about the Marxism mailing list