[Marxism] Cut It Out, An Open Letter to Black Bloc Anarchists

dan d.koechlin at wanadoo.fr
Thu May 24 18:37:16 MDT 2012

As usual, one has to start, in such missives, by condemning the 
so-called "black block". So here goes: "the Black Block is doing harm to 
the cause of proletarian self-empowerement by indulging in acts of 
violence which lead working-class people to angrily dismiss them when 
they see them on their TV screens."

For example, booing during a demonstration of wounded Iraqi-war veterans 
while they throw their medals at the security forces is both insensitive 
and counter productive. So is breaking the shop-windows of McDonald's 
and Subway outlets or, for that matter, lobbing molotov cocktails inside 
the lobbies of local Goldman and Sachs offices.

And for the past twenty years, the "Black Block" has served pretty well 
as a reminder of how powerfull the state apparatus is and how 
disorganized the organized working class, i.e. the revolutionary unions, 

The wealthy can destroy pretty much anything that isn't making enough 
profit, but the Black Bloc boogyman better not break a Golden Arch 
window. The sight of a Ronald McDonald Clown spraypainted is just too 
much to bare for the average Joe. And as for the Black Block themselves, 
well they are invariably portrayed as inarticulate, jobless (according 
to the latest OCDE report an alarming 40% of under-26-year-olds are 
unemployed globally) youngsters from a middle-class background.
They are confused about their motives, apparently, since they continue 
to believe that their trashing  of a few banks will inspire the 
working-class to imitate them and engage in sabotage.

But come on ! Let's get real ! Whatever way you look at it, capitalism 
as a system is going through a period of long-term depression since 
2008. One of the main characteristics of Capitalism since its inception 
(the Dutch ? The English ?) is concentration of power, wealth and 
status. I would actually argue that this is the main attribute of a 
system in which the vast majority possesses nothing but their work force 
while a small minority possesses the means of production. But anyway, 
the antics of the "Black Bloc" have no impact whatsoever on the current 
direction Capitalism as a mode of production is heading towards. NONE 
WHATSOEVER. They are of course being used by the media as reminders of 
"what NOT to do" (smash a Goldman and Sachs office, loot an Apple store 
or burn down a Coca Cola Corporation subsidiary) but that doesn"t mean 
the "99%" are not secretly enjoying the "spectacle". They will still go 
to work from 7am to 5pm and pray they can get an extra job somewhere. 
They will still refrain from asking for a rise, "given the present state 
of the economy". And the portrayal of the Black block in the media will 
not change their voting habits.

In conclusion, this whole "Black bloc" obsession within LEft-wing 
groups, fearthful that attempts by civil society to engage in powerfull 
mass action will be ruined by those idiots, is silly. A mass of people 
who are really fed-up with being paid squat and having to pay for 
everything really doesn't give a shit about a few broken shop windows.

As a European, I think anger is steadily rising towards the point where 
nothing makes much sense anyway. Not in France and Germany, not yet, but 
in Greece, Italy and Spain certainly.

So stop focusing on the Black Bloc for heaven's sake. Their puny efforts 
are not the main reason why the working class is still so apathetic. 
Their so-called "violence" is not what is keeping millions of workers 
from taking to the streets. A few daring shouts here, a few broken 
windows there, five or six burning vehicules (great photo op), a 
nonsensical media apparition condeming both red meat and capitalism, a 
youtube shot of a black-clad activist getting the shit beaten out of him 
by speacial riot police in full gear. That is all the Black Bloc amounts 
to because of their perenial refusal to organize (as in ORGANIZE, i.e. 
engage in the slow, open, frustrating, day-to-day work of convincing 
workers to join a union and fight for their rights). Black bloc folk 
imagine that they are the only true free men combatting opression, and 
that everybody else has sold out. We all lack balls, we all lack the 
will to put our lives on the line, we all lack the will to put our money 
where our mouth is, to walk the walk, we are all pussies and turncoats, 
and only they, the local "Black Block" have the guts to smash an ATM 
machine while cameras are rolling.

 From what I have experienced in France, when a large General Strike 
involving millions of workers starts blocking the economy, blocking 
major freeways, oil depots and railway nodes for a period of weeks, 
building barricades and
burning stacks of raw materials so that a plummet of smoke covers the 
entire industrial park, the vandalizing of a few symbols of consumerism 
(which does occurr) becomes completely overlooked by the media.

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