[Marxism] Black Bloc killed Occupy?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Feb 7 16:35:39 MST 2017

On 2/7/17 6:22 PM, Sophia Burns via Marxism wrote:
> 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.

The question of the effectiveness of the tactic is not the only 
consideration. There is an equally urgent decision that the left has to 
make, namely whether we can build a mass revolutionary movement when a 
minority fraction is so indifferent to the wishes of the majority. As I 
pointed out in my critique of David Graeber today, he dismissed the need 
for a majority vote when the left is building a movement.

He said that he preferred "consensus", a more "horizontalist" approach. 
I think this is a fundamental challenge to the socialist movement's 
practice going back to Karl Marx. What gave the black bloc the right to 
impose its tactics on 10 times the number of protesters at Berkeley? 
What if they didn't want to see windows broken and rockets fired into 
the lobby?

I have spent 20 years attacking the "vanguardist" methodology of groups 
that impose their will through a democratic centralism where the 
democratic part only applies within their ranks. Once they adopt a line, 
that's where the centralism comes in. In the 11 years I was in the 
Trotskyist movement, nobody ever questioned whether it was democratic 
for our members to come to a meeting and vote for a proposal solely on 
the basis of what our floor leaders signaled. I never would support that 
kind of "hierarchical" intervention from a Leninist group today and I 
certainly wouldn't support the kind of unilateral decision-making of 
people wearing bandannas over their face.

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