Yet another stupid article on the tactic called “Black Bloc” has been published. It is not exactly what the world has needed to become a better place, but I think it is an exemplary case for the contracditions and ideology behind those articles, which tend to pop up every time there seems to be broader movement accepting the tactic. These articles almost never have a clue about the history or usefulness of the black bloc tactic, but still know that they are one of the problems keeping us from (peaceful) revolution. This time the broader movement is the occupy movement, the author of the black bloc bashing article is Chris Hedges and the titel is “Black Bloc: The Cancer in Occupy”.
You can read it here at truth-out.org, but I’m actually not sure if it’s worth your time. If you have an interest in the anarchist movement, you gonna know anyway what is in it. Black bloc only helps the security and the surveillance state, black blocs are unnecessarily violent, black blocs are against left organisation (beside being itself a sort of ad-hoc-organisation, but nobody seems to keep this in mind), black blocs give “the left” a bad image, oh and of course they are super hypermasculine (for at least one reason why they don’t have to be, read this).
Now these are fairly common accusations and they have all one common error: There isn’t the blac bloc. But I won’t bother to write the details, because others have done that already:
My favourite article is the open letter by David Graeber to Chris Hedges, which you can read at nplusonemag.com. If you only have the patience for one more text, read this, it is worth it. It think the best part is his analysis of the violence inherent to Hedges logic. To call people cancer really isn’t helpful.
There is also a good answer by Don Gato at spectresoftheburieddead.wordpress.com.
But there is also an interview with Chris Hedges, and I think this is another good read, because it tells so much… First of all, he admits that he hasn’t spoken with someone participating in a blac bloc for his article. So where did he get his deep knowledge about the ideas of people in the black bloc? From listening “several hours” to anarchist radio and reading websites. Mostly he seems to identify the black bloc with the primitivism of Zerzan, but since has never actually spoken about this with people participating in black blocs, this is rather arbitrary… You can read the whole interview here.
And if you are interested in the ways his thoughtful criticism has convinced anarchists to change their tactic, read this thread at anarchistnews.org.
CrimethInc. published a text on violence incoroporation the Hedges debatte. It really is worth reading! http://crimethinc.com/texts/recentfeatures/violence.php