[Marxism] Black Bloc killed Occupy?

Sophia Burns sophia.burns at protonmail.com
Tue Feb 7 16:22:11 MST 2017

Speaking anecdotally, it's just not true that Black Blocs enjoy zero political support. At least within the activist community/activist periphery in Seattle, I'd say most people range from indifferent or mildly critical to strongly positive - at at confrontational protests, like those on J20, especially when neonazis are likely to be present, I've heard next to no opposition to their presence. Like, the sense is that given the other side's willingness to use violence, we need ppl on our side who will keep the rest of us comparatively safe - and people get that the Black Bloc is that.

Now, it's certainly true that Occupiers who thought it was mostly important to attract "mainstream supporters" (meaning middle-class liberals and the Democratic Party) hated when the Black Bloc was involved. They also hated when non-Black Bloc anarchists showed up, and when Marxists and socialists showed up. This piece treats their perspective as the "authentic" voice of Occupy, but that's an ideological choice by a capitalist newspaper that wants to discredit the Left. And I second the claim that it wasn't anarchists in black who killed Occupy, but rather the FBI-coordinated actions by local police departments that physically dismantled the occupations, forcibly dispersed the Occupiers, and destroyed many of their belongings while inflicting bodily violence on them. And I'm sorry, but it's just not true that the Black Bloc somehow brought that on everyone's head. What brought that down was the fact that people were occupying public squares for weeks on end and protesting against the neoliberal order. The capitalist state tends not to appreciate that.

Black Bloc tactics are often misused and sometimes counterproductive (just like literally every other tactic available). But most of the arguments treating all Black Blocs as somehow monolithic, and acting as if there are never any circumstances where they could possibly be useful, are arguments of convenience from people (conservative or NGO-liberal Dems) who will object to any tactic the Left uses because they object to the Left's goals. Not only is a categorical dismissal of Black Blocs not reflective of the reality on the ground, but it's literally just repeating an anti-socialist instrumental argument.

The Black Bloc is not our enemy. Whether a given example makes large mistakes or doesn't, they're on our side and one-sidedly dismissing the positive examples just plays into the other side's hands.

- Sophia

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-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [Marxism] Black Bloc killed Occupy?
Local Time: February 7, 2017 6:19 AM
UTC Time: February 7, 2017 2:19 PM
From: marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu
To: Sophia Burns <sophia.burns at protonmail.com>

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The SF Chronicle article (SF Chronicle, Feb. 5 2017
Anarchists who helped kill Occupy worry anti-Trump activists
By Kevin Fagan and Michael Bodley)
is essentially a right wing hit piece masquerading as an objective
journalistic feature. Black Bloc did not kill Occupy. The police state
did. While there are certainly issues with the Black Bloc, the tendency
to dismiss them as spoiled bourgeois brats who have no political support is
the liberal left's version of the right wing's redbaiting of more
mainstream protests. Those who do so obviously have little or no actual
knowledge of who makes up most of the Black bloc around the nation.
The bulk of them are not provocateurs or informants. Indeed, many of them
have years of protest activity under their belts that began when they were
teens or young adults. Are their politics extreme? Yes, but mostly
because they believe that other political approaches are too
accommodating. They have a point.

Raising awareness is one thing. Overthrowing capitalism is another.
it's time we organize for the latter. The Black Bloc believes their
tactics are the right ones.If you don't like their actions, get out and
organize (like you keep telling them to do) mass protests with a radical
program that can actually do something besides make us feel good. Don't do
the bossman's work and spread the idea that some of us protesters are good
and some are bad. If you disagree with the Black Bloc, spend your energy
organizing something more effective.
ron j
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