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