[Marxism] Black Bloc, Free Speech, and the Extreme Right Threat

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Aug 16 17:05:13 MDT 2017

(From "The Utopian: a bulletin of anarchist and libertarian thought")

The murders in Portland and at the U. of Maryland and the threats
to Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (and to LeBron James) are clear: these
are virulent racist attacks by white supremacists, and the need to
condemn and defend against them is clearly understood by the
public. On the other hand, the series of confrontations in Berkeley
and elsewhere between the alt-right and the black bloc appear
barely relevant to most people. It has allowed the alt-right to
pretend that all they want is to be able to hold a peaceful rally in a
park to assert their right to free speech. To many, it has the
appearance of two street gangs rumbling over turf. Furthermore,
although the organizers of right wing rallies in Berkeley and
elsewhere are hard-core racists, they don’t present themselves as
such. Rather, they present themselves as standing up for their
rights and as protectors of the public from authoritarian leftist
thugs. (And there’s the black bloc, hooded and masked, looking
every bit the popular image of terrorists!) Many of those who the
alt-right brought to their Berkeley rallies were not themselves hardcore
right-wingers, but believed they were there to defend free
speech and liberty. So at this point tactically, our focus should be
on protesting what our opponents do, not on their right to say it.


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