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.”