[Marxism] Fwd: The Politics of a Punch: Richard Spencer and the Black Bloc

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Jan 27 10:54:44 MST 2017

Unless you do not own a computer or have been in a coma for the past 
week, you are probably aware of alt-right leader Richard Spencer getting 
punched in the face by a man dressed in black bloc garb. For a 
beleaguered left, this became as inspirational as the appearance of a 
silhouette of Jesus on the sidewalk created by bucket of paint dropped 
accidentally from the top floor of a building under construction would 
be for Christians. In either case, there is little connection between 
overcoming the evils of capitalism or Satan but it matters little to 
those desperately in search of a victory.

One of those believers is Natasha Lennard who wrote an article for The 
Nation breathlessly announcing “Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer Got Punched—You 
Can Thank the Black Bloc”. For Lennard, the punch was a “transcendental 
experience”, akin to watching Roger Federer. Not being a tennis fan, it 
is a bit hard for me to relate to this. Maybe if she said it was like 
watching Muhammad Ali deck Joe Frazier, it would have had more resonance 
but Spencer hardly seemed worse off 15 seconds after the punch.

Lennard was not only a reporter; she was a participant in a black bloc 
action that consisted of 500 people, the largest she bragged since the 
antiwar protests ten years ago. I suppose if the USA had the same 
population as Iceland, this might have been impressive. I admit that if 
the goal is to run around in black clothes and break windows that number 
might count for something. Leonard describes the experience as if it 
were akin to a Sufi ceremony rather than a political protest: “You don’t 
know who does what in a bloc, you don’t look to find out. If bodies run 
out of formation to take a rock to a Starbucks window, they melt back to 
the bloc in as many seconds. Bodies reconciled, kinetic beauty.” Bodies 
reconciled, kinetic beauty? I hate to sound like an old stick in the mud 
but knocking over a trash can happens all the time in my neighborhood as 
drunken 24-year old Ivy League graduates pour out of sports bars late 
Saturday night.


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