Dear Mr. Gibson,
While it is unfortunate that you feel negatively towards those who choose to participate in black bloc, you should probably do a little bit more research before you start writing articles about it. Black bloc is a tactic that is meant to insure anonymity and to symbolize solidarity. Not all anarchists, and not even all people who participate in black bloc are violent, in fact many of them are pacifists. They are attempting to take direct action because that is the only way to catalyze grassroots political change.
I find it strange that you identify with Occupy Wall Street, because the ideology you demonstrated in this article leads me to believe that you are sympathetic to reformism. The term “Occupy Wall Street”, is suggesting that one take a direct action in order to catalyze political change. That is why Occupy Wall Street worked. Occupy Wall Street is not meant to be a campaign for the election of Barack Obama, it is a rejection of all authority and attempt to build communities upon mutual solidarity.
At one point in your article you said this:
“The thing is, Black Bloc tactics actually serve the cause of the 0.1 percent. By making the dominant message about protesters vs. police instead of 99 percent vs. 0.1 percent, your tactics divide public opinion and turn it against the majority of those in the movement who don’t believe in violence of any kind, including property destruction.”
If we are going to start thinking of terms of class (99% versus the 1%) we have to look at the society and capital around us and realize why these structural hierarchies exist. Nope it isn’t because the Democrats need more seats in Congress, instead it stems from the foundation of capitalism: the institution of private property. Private property is unique and relatively new in the history of man because it guarantees property owners the right to access a monopoly on the means of destruction (the use of violence) through state apparatuses (such as the police, prisons, courts, and the military.) Because private property owners can use the state to control the means of destruction, they can also subsequently control the means of production (and thus the flow of labor power.) Capitalism exists because state apparatuses such as the police exist to maintain structural hierarchy. By challenging those monopolies of power, you illegitimate their authority over property, and therefore allow for societal progression.
Occupy Wall Street was revolutionary when they had Zuccotti Park, because that was literally an example of how people can use solidarity to transform private property into collective and individual property. By challenging the state’s monopoly on the means of destruction and the private property owner’s monopoly on the means of production, they created a community based on solidarity. And that is the whole concept behind the ideology of occupying spaces.
Anarchist do not want to “join the movement” because we have been the movement since the very beginning. At the same time we are still autonomous individuals and thus will always challenge reformists to radicalize by agitating. Frederick Douglass once said:
“Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
Posts tagged anarchism
I have a great uncle named Jay Holmes Smith who was instrumental in bringing Gandhi’s use of nonviolent resistance to African-American communities living in NYC, he founded the Harlem Ashram… Anyways I found a hymn he wrote, and I took the liberty of completely changing it (with the exception of a few lines.):
"Listen close and hear the worker’s of the world coming forth, of every race and nation.
We are making a new world for all: Our hearts united in daring expectation.
Listen close as we chant this hymn united: a-anti-anti-capitalista.”
Photographs of a large anarchist rally in union Square, New York City, with Alexander Berkman addressing the crowd, on 11 July 1914.Over 5,000 people attended the mass memorial meeting called by the Anti-Militarist League for Berg, Hanson, and Caron, the three anarchists killed in the Lexington Avenue explosion. Over 800 policemen monitored the meeting, while Berkman, Abbott, Edelsohn, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Carlo Tresca, David Sullivan and Charles Plunkett all spoke for their dead comrades.1We Mourn the Death of Our Comrades // New York City, New York, USA // July 11, 1914
NYU: Cut the Bull!
Day of Action for the Right to Education
Thursday, March 1st
12PM – “NYU: CUT THE BULL” Campus March (Waverly and University-NE Corner Wash Sq Park)
2pm: Manhattan Convergence @ NYC Dept. of Education (52 Chambers Street)
March over Brooklyn Bridge for university and bank protests in downtown Brooklyn
4pm: Speak Out at the Right to Education Assembly, Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn
For more info, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or visit the NYU4OWS website: http://nyu4ows.tumblr.com/
WHY YOU SHOULD JOIN US ON MARCH 1ST
“Students, community members, teachers, and parents across the country will be mobilizing on March 1 for walkouts, teach-ins, and marches to say: Education is a Right, Not a Privilege!Join NYU4OWS and our allies at 12 Noon on Thursday, March 1st as we stand in opposition to tuition hikes, student debt, and corporate governance practices at our university!Here at NYU we’ve seen what happens when a university is run by the 1%: we’re one of the national leaders in student debt with an average student debt burden of almost $35,000 per student. We have the second highest tuition in the country (now $56,000 per year!). While the top administrators vote themselves million dollar packages, they bust GSOC-UAW, the graduate employees’ union, and support the lock-out of workers beyond our campus. For example, Daniel Straus, a trustee of the Law School, is currently locking out hundreds of health care workers at nursing homes he owns in Connecticut, demanding workers give up health care and retirement benefits.
NYU also houses the only Chick-Fil-A franchise in New York City, despite the fact that the company has donated millions of dollars to anti-gay and anti-women hate groups like Focus on the Family.
It’s time for these practices to end! NYU students and community members will meet in the Northeast corner of Washington Square Park (University and Waverly) at 12pm on March 1 to begin a Campus March demanding that NYU “Cut the Bull” and get the spirit of Wall Street out of our university. The March will include speak-outs and other actions at some of the most important symbols of the NYU-Wall Street nexus. It will also begin a campus discussion about how NYU can disassociate itself from the unethical financial institutions that continue to wield tremendous power over this community and so many others.
Following the Campus March at NYU, we will continue on to the Department of Education (52 Chambers Street) to join with students, teachers, and community members from across New York City to protest the banks that profit off student loan debt and the corporatization of education. As a citywide movement, we will assemble at Ft. Greene Park in Brooklyn at 4pm to put forward our vision of an educational system for the 99%.
Across New York, the last few months have seen major protests against tuition hikes at CUNY, ongoing actions against Mayor Bloomberg’s educational policy which has resulted in over 100 school closures and only 13 percent of African-American and Latino youth graduating from high school prepared for college, and the launch of the Occupy Student Debt campaign to protest soaring education costs and bank profiteering. Now we must say: Our education not for sale!#M1 CALL TO ACTION:
We refuse to pay for the crisis created by the 1%. We refuse to accept the dismantling of our schools and universities, while the banks and corporations make record profits. We refuse to accept educational re-segregation, massive tuition increases, outrageous student debt, and increasing privatization and corporatization.
They got bailed out and we got sold out. But through nationally coordinated mass action we can and will turn back the tide of austerity.
We call on all students, teachers, workers, and parents from all levels of education —pre-K-12 through higher education in public and private institutions— and all Occupy assemblies, labor unions, and organizations of oppressed communities, to mobilize on March 1st, 2012 across the country to tell those in power: The resources exist for high-quality education for all. If we make the rich and the corporations pay we can reverse the budget cuts, tuition hikes, and attacks on job security, and fully fund public education and social services.
This is a call to work together, but it is up to each school and organization to determine what local and regional actions—such as strikes, walkouts, occupations, marches, etc.—they will take to say no to business as usual.
We have the momentum, the numbers, and the determination to win. Education is not for sale. Let’s take back our schools. Let’s make history.”